MILTON, September 1, 2020 – Fresh off a record-setting Pepsi North America Cup, Woodbine Mohawk Park continues “Grand Circuit Month” with an all-star $2 million stakes-filled card this Saturday night (September 5).
The $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot and $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby bring the best older horses in the sport to Mohawk Park. Both events received a format change this year, removing eliminations and taking the 10 horses with the highest lifetime earnings.
The Maple Leaf Trot will bring together one of the richest fields of all-time, as the 10 older trotters competing have combined lifetime earnings of $16.4 million. The field consists of six horses with over $1 million earned, four with over $2 million earned and one with over $3 million earned.
Seven-year-old Marion Marauder is the oldest horse in the field and the richest at $3.6 million earned. The 2016 Trotting Triple Crown champion will be making his third appearance in the Maple Leaf Trot after finishing third in last year’s race and second in the 2018 edition. The Mike Keeling trainee enters off a win in the Mohawk Park Preferred on August 24.
A driver has yet to be named for Marion Marauder.
World champion trotting mares Atlanta and Manchego will each be looking for bounce back performances in the Maple Leaf Trot. Atlanta made a rare break in last Saturday’s Armbro Flight, while Manchego has given up the lead late in each of her last two starts.
Trained by Ron Burke, Atlanta finished second in last year’s edition of the Maple Leaf Trot. The five-year-old is two for six this season and has earned $202,292 to bring her career earnings to $2.2 million. Regular pilot Yannick Gingras will steer.
Manchego started her season red-hot and will enter her second consecutive Maple Leaf Trot for trainer Nancy Takter. The five-year-old is four for seven this season with $254,921 earned, bringing her career earnings to $2.5 million. Louis-Philippe Roy will drive Manchego for the first time in the Maple Leaf Trot.
Guardian Angel As is back to defend his Maple Leaf Trot crown. The Anette Lorentzon trainee captured last year’s final in 1:50.4, which was part of a seven-win and $879,788 season. The six-year-old is a 25-time winner, including two this season, and has earned $1.5 million over 61 starts. Jody Jamieson has picked up the driving assignment.
Four-year-old Gimpanzee returns to the site of his Breeders Crown score for his first crack at the Maple Leaf Trot. The Marcus Melander trainee is five for six on the season and is the top earning older horse in the sport at $592,392. The career earner of $2.3 million will team with driver Doug McNair for the first time and will have to overcome the outside post nine.
Completing the rest of the field is the Ake Svanseted duo of Soul Strong ($398K) and Marseille ($516K), Julie Miller’s Lindy The Great ($813K), Ben Baillargeon’s Run Director ($629K) and 2018 Canadian Trotting Classic winner Crystal Fashion ($1.8M) for Jim Campbell.
A total of 12 horses were entered in this year’s Maple Leaf Trot. On The Ropes ($303K) and Steuben Hanover ($140K) did not make the top 10 for lifetime earnings.
The Maple Leaf Trot has been carded as Race 5. Post time is approximately 9 p.m.
The $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby is the oldest stakes race in Canadian harness racing. A total of 19 older pacers were entered with the top 10 lifetime earners qualifying for the final, while the next nine will compete in a consolation.
Double millionaire Bettors Wish is the top earner in this year’s ‘Pacing Derby’ and will start from the rail for trainer Chris Ryder. The four-year-old cut his teeth as a rookie at Mohawk Park and also won an elimination of the Pepsi North America Cup before finishing second in last year’s final. Paul MacDonell will reunite with the winner of $2.3 million for the first time since his two-year-old campaign.
Trainer Ron Burke will send out four starters in the ‘Pacing Derby’, as Backstreet Shadow, Dorsoduro Hanover, Filibuster Hanover and This Is The Plan represent the “Burke Brigade”. Backstreet Shadow and Filibuster Hanover enter off victories in their most recent starts.
Backstreet Shadow finished second to Bettors Wish in the Sam McKee Memorial on August 8, while Filibuster Hanover won the consolation on that day.
Yannick Gingras is listed on all the Burke horses and will have his choice of which one to drive.
Dr. Ian Moore trainee Century Farroh returns to his home track for the first time since June. The four-year-old most recently captured the Dan Patch on August 14 at Hoosier Park. The former Ontario Sires Stakes champion has hit the board in seven of eight starts this season, posting two wins.
Seven-year-old Sintra will be looking for his second Canadian Pacing Derby title and comes in off a strong Preferred score at Mohawk Park. The Tony Beaton trainee captured the 2017 edition and has won six of 13 starts this season.
Breeders Crown champions Dancin Lou and American History will look for another marquee victory at the Campbellville oval. Tahnee Camilleri trainee Dancin Lou is three for eight in his four-year-old campaign, while Tony Alagna’s American History is two for seven in his five-year-old season.
Alagna will also send out Shake That House to complete the field of 10.
The Canadian Pacing Derby will go as Race 9 and has an approximate post time of 10:40 p.m.
The $65,000 Canadian Pacing Derby Consolation will feature a field of nine, including The Devils Own N. The Anthony Montini trained six-year-old is currently the fastest horse in Canada this season with a mark of 1:48 taken in his Mohawk Park debut on August 22.
The consolation event goes as Race 7 with a post time of 9:50 p.m.
LET THE GOODTIMES ROLL
The $215,000 Goodtimes for three-year-old trotters will also take place on Saturday evening.
All eyes will be on Ready For Moni, who is four for five on the season and was a 1:51.4 winner in last week’s elimination. The Nancy Takter trainee captured the Zweig Memorial two weeks ago and was the runner-up in this year’s $1 million Hambletonian.
Ready For Moni races for the Pepsi North America Cup winning-duo of driver Gingras and trainer Takter.
Trainer Ben Baillargeon sends out a strong one-two punch with elimination winner HP Royal Theo and Canadian record-holder Hayek.
HP Royal Theo won last year’s William Wellwood Memorial and last week cruised to a 1:53.1 victory for driver Louis-Philippe Roy, improving to four for seven on the campaign. Hayek finished third in his elimination, coming in off a Canadian record 1:53.3 victory at Grand River in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event. Sylvain Filion guides Hayek, who is also four for seven this season.
A field of 10 will battle in the Goodtimes final, which is carded as Race 3 (8:10 p.m.)
CUP HORSES RETURN FOR SIMCOE
The $227,023 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers has attracted 13 combatants, split into two divisions. A quartet of last Saturday’s Pepsi North America Cup starters will compete in Saturday’s Grand Circuit contest.
Beaumond Hanover narrowly missed making the final of the Pepsi North America Cup, finishing sixth in his elimination. The Jack Darling trainee returns to action after a week off with an opportunity at some redemption. He lines up from the rail for driver Jody Jamieson in a field of seven for the first division.
Pepsi North America Cup starter Mayhem Hanover, who finished ninth in the $1 million race, will also compete in the opening split for the driver/trainer team of Doug and Gregg McNair.
The second division will see a field of six compete, including Cup starters Tattoo Artist, Captain Barbossa and Capt Midnight.
Tattoo Artist finished second in the Pepsi North America Cup to Tall Dark Stranger. The Dr. Moore trainee is five for eight on the season and will have his regular driver Bob McClure steering once again.
The Alagna duo of Captain Barbossa, seventh in the Cup, and Capt Midnight, fifth in the Cup, will look to make things difficult for Tattoo Artist.
The Simcoe Stakes divisions have been carded as Races 8 (10:15) and 11 (11:30 p.m.).
ONTARIO SIRES STAKES ACTION
The stakes-filled program Saturday also includes OSS Gold events for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings and three-year-old pacing fillies.
The rookie male pacers will have two $105,600 divisions, each with seven-horses. The sophomore pacing fillies will have two $104,800 divisions, each with a field of six.
SPECIAL POST TIME
Due to the Kentucky Derby, Woodbine Mohawk Park has pushed its start time for Saturday’s card back to 7:20 p.m.
To download early program pages for the $2 million card, click here.
Below are the fields for the $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot and $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby.
Race 6 – $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot
1 Soul Strong – Sylvain Filion – Ake Svanstedt
2 Marion Marauder – TBA – Mike Keeling
3 Guardian Angel As – Jody Jamieson – Anette Lorentzon
4 Atlanta – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke
5 Lindy The Great – James MacDonald – Julie Miller
6 Run Director – Sylvain Filion – Ben Baillargeon
7 Marseille – Trevor Henry – Ake Svanstedt
8 Crystal Fashion – Bob McClure – Jim Campbell
9 Gimpanzee – Doug McNair – Marcus Melander
10 Manchego – Louis-Philippe Roy – Nancy Takter
AE On The Ropes – Jonathan Drury – Carmen Auciello
Race 9 – $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby
1 Bettors Wish – Paul MacDonell – Chris Ryder
2 Dancin Lou – Doug McNair – Tahnee Camilleri
3 Backstreet Shadow – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke
4 Sintra – Jody Jamieson – Anthony Beaton
5 American History – Bob McClure – Tony Alagna
6 Shake That House – Doug McNair – Tony Alagna
7 Century Farroh – Sylvain Filion – Dr. Ian Moore
8 Dorsoduro Hanover – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke
9 Filibuster Hanover – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke
10 This Is The Plan – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke
AE Western Joe – Doug McNair – Christopher Choate