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March Madness, Mohawk Style: Auciello excited for New Holland Pacing and Trotting Series

February 8, 2023

MILTON, February 8, 2023– Carmen Auciello, who finds himself 59 training wins away from reaching the 2,000-mark for his career, will have some new opportunities at Woodbine Mohawk Park to consider in his pursuit of the milestone.

The recently unveiled New Holland Pacing and Trotting Series, sponsored by New Holland Agriculture, is open to horses of any age that were non-winners of $150,000 (fillies & mares $175,000) in 2022. Each event – the series starts on March 6 – will feature two $30,000 preliminary legs and a $60,000 added money final.

Auciello, who had a personal-best 197 wins in 2022, expects both series to draw some notable names to go postward at Mohawk.

Woodmere Stealdeal in the winner’s circle on January 28, 2023 (New Image Media)

“There are definitely going to be some decent horses who will compete in this. It’s nice to give the above average, but not quite at the top horses, a chance to show how talented they are. A lot of the horses that will likely be in these races are racing at the $34,000 Preferred level at Mohawk and finishing third or fourth and make just enough money to keep themselves at that level each week. It’s quite rare that they would get up and beat those top horses, so to have this, it gives them a chance to race for good money and not have to battle with the elite stars.”

“I do really like this series. We have three weeks to show how good and competitive these horses are. I love racing up in Canada so much because the schedule is so consistent. The best horses get in every week and it’s rare that a horse has to sit out. That’s what I like about this series. It’s going to be good racing for people to bet on and a good chance for these horses to race for good money.”

The veteran conditioner could be represented by several starters in the New Holland pacing side.

“For the pacers, I probably have around four or five,” started Auciello. “Woodmere Stealdeal just won the Preferred [on January 28] and he fits this, which is nice. Highland Beach Lover is at the top of his game right now and also fits, so I’m going to pay him into it. Uhtred, who hasn’t raced in almost a year, has been qualifying. He’ll need a couple qualifiers and a couple tighteners, but we’re pointing him towards that as well. I have a couple who are on the fringe, but I might pay in as well. Islandspecialmajor and Hughie Junior, they are both horses that on any given day with the right trip could surprise any of those horses. “I’m a little low on trotters. I have one, Meadowbranch Noble, who if he steps up, I might consider entering as well.”

Highlandbeachlover and driver Jonathan Drury winning the fifth race on January 21, 2023 at Woodbine Mohawk Park (New Image Media)

Having more chances to close in on 2,000 wins is certainly something Auciello, who had his first 100-win (106) campaign in 2012, certainly appreciates.

He’s hoping to carry the strong form his stable showed in 2022, one that had its fair share of ups and downs throughout the course of the season, into another successful year.

“We focus mostly on overnight horses, very few young horses or stakes horses. Last year was a huge rollercoaster. The first two or three months of the year we were on fire, then three really bad months in the summer, a couple good months in the fall and then ended the year very poorly. It’s funny how it goes sometimes. My mindset is to be consistent, which isn’t always easy. At the end of the day, I’m pretty happy with the way things are and how they’re going.”

The dates for the New Holland events are listed below:  

New Holland Trotting Series

  • Leg 1: Monday, March 6
  • Leg 2: Monday, March 13
  • Final: Saturday, March 25

New Holland Pacing Series 

  • Leg 1: Saturday, March 11
  • Leg 2: Saturday, March 18
  • Final: Saturday, March 25

Nominations close Wednesday, February 15. The nomination fee is $500. 

By Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

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