MILTON, September 5, 2020 – Atlanta bounced back from a miscue in her last start to win the $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot in 1:50.4 on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
The five-year-old mare shot off cover for driver Yannick Gingras at the head of the stretch and powered by rivals for a four lengths score. The Ron Burke trainee matched the stakes record held by Guardian Angel As (2019) and Mister Herbie (2012).
“All the credit goes to Ron Burke,” said Gingras of Atlanta’s bounce back performance off a break in last Saturday’s Armbro Flight. “A guy like him with the brain he has, right away after the race last week he called me and said I know what the problem is.
“We changed the shoes four starts back and it went good the first start, the next start it was a little worse and then a little worse and then last week she made a break, but the memory the guy has is unreal and all the credit to him tonight because she definitely bounced back big.”
Early action saw Crystal Fashion blast to the lead for a :26.3 opening-quarter. Lindy The Great ignored a rail spot and kept marching on, clearing to command quickly in the second-split. The new leader saw the front briefly, as Manchego and driver Louis Philippe Roy had their eyes on making the front despite a second-tier starting spot.
Manchego hit the half in :54.3 and Roy kept his foot on the gas pedal, trotting a :27.2 third-quarter to reach that marker in 1:22.
Guardian Angel As, last year’s champion, moved to the outside racing to the half to lead the outside charge, while Atlanta and driver Gingras moved out from fifth and received a second-over tow around the final turn.
In the stretch, Atlanta stormed by her rivals and off to her third win of the season and 23rd lifetime. Lindy The Great dug in and grabbed second, while Gimpanzee, the even-money favourite, finished third after following Atlanta. Crystal Fashion was fourth, while Manchego dropped back to fifth.
“(Atlanta) felt so strong and I had a handful of trot in the last turn and when I tipped her she came off cover like a sports car,” said Gingras. “I knew right then even though (Manchego) was up by five that I’d catch (her), she was tremendous.”
Atlanta adds the Maple Leaf Trot to her Hall of Fame career. The victory is not only redemption from last week’s break, but also a runner-up finish in last year’s Maple Leaf Trot.
“She’s a great mare and Ronnie said after last week not to worry, made a couple of adjustments and we’ll win her,” said co-owner Brad Grant. “I don’t know what to say, but to do it here (at Mohawk Park), I wish it was crowded.”
Atlanta has now earned over $400,000 this season to bring her career total to $2,525,160 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Grant and Howard Taylor. She paid $7.60 to win.
The Maple Leaf Trot has now seen a mare win three of the last six editions, as Atlanta joins Hannelore Hanover and Bee A Magician as recent winners.