MILTON, August 26, 2021 – The Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotters kicked off “Grand Circuit Month” at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening.
A total of five divisions were contested, three for colts and geldings and two for fillies, over a ‘Good’ track.
Delilah Hanover came from last at the half to win the first $85,975 division for trotting fillies in 1:56.4. Bob McClure was in the sulky for trainer Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman.
“I told Bob she wants to have horses in front of her, but I didn’t really mean all of them,” said Norman post-race. “But when (Bob McClure) got her into the outer flow, she seemed to pick it up and she always gets home good…it worked out good…she looked good in the straight. She finishes up good so that’s what you need.”
Resolving and driver Trevor Henry did the road work, cutting out fractions of :28.3, :58 and 1:27.1. After getting seventh and last, McClure had Delilah Hanover positioned third-over turning for home and the daughter of Muscle Hill stormed by her rivals with a :28.4 final-quarter to win convincingly by 3 ½ lengths.
Eternal Lee finished second, while Missy Trix was third.
A $440,000 yearling purchase at the Standardbred Horse Sale, Delilah Hanover is the second foal out of Danielle Hanover, a sister to the legendary Donato Hanover, and is a sibling of star three-year-old filly Darlene Hanover.
Delilah Hanover is now two for six with $117,998 earned for owners David McDuffee, Mel Hartman, Paul Bordogna and Mary Kinsley Arnold.
A $2 win ticket on the ‘Nifty’ Norman trainee returned $3.40.
Undefeated Adare Castle posted a coast-to-coast victory in the second $85,975 division for fillies. The Mark Etsell trainee went off at odds of 1-9 with James MacDonald at the controls.
“That’s a long way for a two-year-old to go on the front by themself,” said MacDonald. “She’s kind of lazy…I was starting to wonder if she was maybe just no good tonight because she wouldn’t pick the line up and as soon as I called on her at the top of the stretch she was just nitrous.
“She’s a nice filly and that’s a nice start for her and she’s heading into the big ones the right way.”
Adare Castle posted fractions of :28.3, :58.4 and 1:28.2 before stepping home in :28 to win in 1:56.2 by 2 ½ lengths. Samosa finished second ahead of Lady Montague in third.
A daughter of Muscle Mass, Adare Castle is now four for four to begin her career. All four victories have come in stakes contest, as her previous three starts before Thursday were in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold events.
Just a $10,000 yearling purchase at last November’s Standardbred Horse Sale, Adare Castle has now banked $195,087 for owners Etsell, Robert Newton, Graham Hopkins and Peter Porter. She paid $2.30 to win.
The Champlain Open Trot saw the duo of Doug McNair and Marcus Melander take two of the three divisions.
Letsdoit S went to the front and never looked back to win the $62,307 first Champlain division for colts and geldings in 1:56. Doug McNair had the driving assignment for trainer Marcus Melander.
“(Marcus Melander) said this one the trips hadn’t been working out great for him,” said McNair post-race. “Just jogging around in the post parade he feels like a nice horse. He trots nice and he’s real professional, he makes your job a lot easier. When I got him in the race he had his ears up the whole way and knew exactly what to do.”
A son of Nuncio, Letsdoit S left from post six and made the front at the opening-quarter in :28.3. The race was never in doubt from that point, as Letsdoit S posted panels of :58.1 and 1:27.4 before kicking away from rivals with a :28.1 final-quarter to win by three lengths.
Mr Fritter finished second, while World At War Deo was third.
A homebred for Stall TZ Inc, Letsdoit S improved his record to two wins in four starts and $49,087 earned with Thursday’s triumph. The Melander trainee paid $2.90 to win.
McNair and Melander went back to the winner’s circle in the evening’s $62,307 final division with Temporal Hanover.
An action-packed contest, Delgado and driver Scott Young shot out to the early-lead before Global Daytrader S worked around a :29 opening-quarter. Race-favourite Duly Resolved landed third and driver Paul MacDonell sent him to the top in the second-quarter. The lead was short-lived for Duly Resolved, as McNair followed immediately with Temporal Hanover, moving to the lead at a :57.3 half.
Halfway around the final turn, Delgado marched first-up to challenge Temporal Hanover at three-quarters in 1:28.1, pinning in Duly Resolved. All eyes were on Duly Resolved in the stretch drive, as the previously undefeated rookie was in desperate need of room, but that room never developed until too late, as Temporal Hanover held on to win by a neck in 1:57. Delgado finished third.
“When he cleared at the half, he made a big move and just in the stretch there I don’t know if he was empty or green,” said McNair of Temporal Hanover keeping Duly Resolved locked in. “He didn’t trot away from them, I wasn’t backing into them that’s for sure.
“(Marcus) said he’s a nice gaited horse and you can kind of race him from anywhere.”
A $55,000 yearling purchase at the Standardbred Horse Sale, Temporal Hanover is now three for six with $114,087 earned for owners Amg Stable Inc, Kenneth Kjellgren, Rick Wahlstedt and Heights Stable. The Melander trainee was the runner-up in July’s New Jersey Sires Stakes final.
A $2 win ticket on Temporal Hanover returned $5.50.
Twin B Archie powered up in the stretch after a second-over trip to win the $63,306 second division in a strong 1:54.3. James MacDonald guided the Scott McEneny trainee to the victory.
After getting away fifth, Twin B Archie was able to secure the cover of first-over attacker Pretender going into the final turn. Pretender would overtake the lead at the top of the stretch from Drinks At Home, but interfered with that rival coming off the turn.
Twin B Archie and Pretender squared off down the lane, with the McEneny student prevailing by three-quarters of a length. Depsite a strong effort, Pretender was disqualified and placed from second to seventh for interference. Devereux Seelster and Mercutio were vaulted up into the top-three.
A gelded son of Archangel, Twin B Archie now has two wins and has never missed the top-two in five starts. The $52,000 Standardbred Horse Sale yearling purchase will look to ride the momentum from Thursday through the remainder of Woodbine Mohawk Park’s Grand Circuit schedule.
“I feel really good and hopefully we’re going into next really good for the William Wellwood,” said McEneny, who pointed out that Twin B Archie didn’t show Grand Circuit talent in the early stages of training. “He’s always been very lazy, he was tough to get trained down until I started getting him behind the gate and then he just got better and better. He’s got his quirks, you have to watch him because if he gets scared of something he’ll take off.”
Twin B Archie has now earned $95,064 for owners McEneny, Domenic Chiaravalle, Floyd Marshall and Martwest Racing Stable. He paid $5 to win.
Grand Circuit action resumes Saturday evening with seven stakes contests on a 13-race card. The Somebeachsomewhere, Nassagaweya, Eternal Camnation and Simcoe are all part of Saturday’s stacked lineup.
Live racing continues Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7 p.m.