CAMPBELLVILLE, May 27 – Saturday’s card of racing at Mohawk Racetrack had a little bit of everything, including a pair of sub-1:50 miles.
A total of 11-races were contested under ideal conditions for late-May and several horses took full advantage of the nice weather.
Six-year-old pacer Nirvana Seelster led the way with a 1:49 score in the $27,000 feature race.
The Bill Budd trainee was sent to the front by driver Trevor Henry and posted fractions of :26.1, :55 and 1:22.1 along the way to a gritty victory.
Four-year-old Easy Lover Hanover came up the rail late to pressure the leader, but the Budd trainee dug in to hold on for his fifth win of the season and 28th overall. Owned by Bruce Davy, Nirvana Seelster has banked over $77,000 this season to bring his career earnings to nearly $600,000.
The 1:49 mile is the fastest mile this season in Canada.
Earlier in the evening, McKinney claimed the title of Canada’s fastest horse in 2017 for a brief moment with a 1:49.1 victory in an $18,000 event.
The Kyle Fellows trainee capitalized off a two-hole trip from driver Sylvain Filion to pick up his second win of the season. Seven-year-old Duc Dorleans showed the way and hung up big fractions, including a 1:21.3 three-quarter time, but couldn’t hold off McKinney and lost by a head.
A seven-year-old gelding, McKinney is owned by Fellows, Daniel Knechtel and Arpad Szabo. The 1:49.1 mile Saturday established a new career-mark for the 22-time winner and earner of over $366,000.
Saturday’s card also saw champion trotter Mister Herbie, a winner of over $1.8 million, record his first victory in nearly four-years. The Jeff Gillis trainee crossed the wire first in a $20,000 event to pick up his first win since July 1, 2013.
Driven by Jody Jamieson, Mister Herbie trotted a final-quarter of :28.2 to track down and defeat Fearless Man by a neck. The 2012 Maple Leaf Trot champion was making his third start of 2017 after having not raced since September of 2014.
Saturday’s victory was the 19th career win for Mister Herbie, who is owned by Gillis, Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay.
The evening’s final race also featured some flashy fractions, but it was the payouts that caught the attention of many.
Seven-year-old pacer Lonewolf Currier ran away from his rivals to post fractions of :25.3, :53.1 and 1:21.4. However, fatigue would set in and Lonewolf Currier made a break when being swallowed up by rivals in the lane.
Artful Bliss came through to pick up the pieces and scored a 43/1 upset for driver Phil Hudon and trainer Rod Boyd. The four-year-old, who was winless since early-March, paid $88 to win.
The top-five finishers were rounded out by horses at odds of 6/1, 10/1, 34/1 and 5/2, opening the door for a potential single-winning ticket in the Jackpot Hi-5.
However, the payouts revealed there was no winning Jackpot Hi-5 tickets, which means Saturday’s entire pool of $19,808, minus takeout, is added to the carryover. The carryover going into Monday now sits at $49,137.68.
Live racing resumes Monday with an 11-race card beginning at 7:30 p.m.