CAMPBELLVILLE, August 26 – Rookie pacers got their first taste of Mohawk Grand Circuit action Saturday night in the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation Stakes.
The $226,050 Nassagaweya Stakes featured 20 pacing colts and geldings split into two divisions, while a field of nine pacing fillies met up in the $192,333 Eternal Camnation.
The second Nassagaweya split was supposed to feature Casie Coleman trainee Summer Travel, but the undefeated son of Western Ideal was scratched early on Saturday due to sickness.
Pedro Hanover turned in a strong stretch rally to win the $112,525 division in 1:52.1.
Driven by Andrew McCarthy, Pedro Hanover was unhurried in the beginning and got away eighth in the field of nine. The 3/2 favourite would sit near the back and wait for the outer-flow to develop.
Courtly Choice was used hard from an outside starting spot and got to the lead at three-eighths and fronted the field by the half in :55.4.
Odds On Lauderdale got out from fifth heading into the far turn and came first-up, while Courtly Choice led to three-quarters in 1:24. Pedro Hanover was situated fourth-over and was ninth turning for home.
In the stretch, Pedro Hanover unleashed a furious stretch rally and swept by his rivals to win in 1:52.1. Trump That finished 2 ¼ lengths back in second, while Hudson Phil and Odds On Lauderdale rounded out the top-four finishers.
A son of Somebeachsomewhere, Pedro Hanover came into Saturday’s contest off a Pennsylvania Sires Stakes victory on August 14. The Andrew Harris trainee was teaming up with McCarthy for the first time Saturday.
“It looked like he was far out, but I knew as long as he was within six or seven lengths of them he would catch them,” said Harris. “He’s just got one of the biggest burst of speed I’ve ever seen.”
Owned by Brad Gray and Denise Guerriero, Pedro Hanover was an $80,000 purchase at last November’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale. The rookie pacing colt now has three wins in five starts and $114,656 earned.
Harris confirmed that Pedro Hanover will head back to Pennsylvania for the Sires Stakes Championship next Saturday.
Pedro Hanover paid $5 to win.
The $113,525 opening division saw Shadow Moon come out on top in a wild finish.
The Dr. Ian Moore trained son of Shadow Play started from the second-tier in a field of 11 and got away seventh with driver Trevor Henry. Declan Seelster, the 4/5 favourite, cleared to the lead at three-eighths before surrendering the lead at the half to Babes Dig Me, who finally found the pylons and the front after starting from post-ten.
Babes Dig Me faced immediate pressure on the far turn with Dragon Time coming first-up, supplying cover for This Is The Plan and Shadow Moon. The three-quarter time was 1:23.4.
The scramble was on in the stretch, as Babes Dig Me gave way. This Is The Plan and Shadow Moon both fired off cover and hooked up for a good stretch battle, which saw Shadow Moon prevail by a head in 1:51.4.
Declan Seelster split between rivals late to finish third, while Dragon Time was fourth.
Shadow Moon, who suffered his first loss last week in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event, is now four for five to start his career and is the first horse (out of 17) to win from the second-tier this season at Mohawk.
“It might not have been a bad thing that he was trailing actually,” said Henry post-race. “He gets pretty warm, but he’s good off a helmet, so it was probably the best thing for him.”
A $60,000 yearling purchase last November at Harrisburg, Shadow Moon has earned $146,737 for owners Dr. Ian Moore, R G McGroup LTD, Serge Savard and Gordon McComb.
Shadow Moon is eligible to next Saturday’s Champlain Stakes. He paid $7.90 to win.
Percy Bluechip improved her record to four for four with a gate-to-wire 1:51.4 victory for Henry and Moore in the $192,333 Eternal Camnation Stakes.
The undefeated daughter of Shadow Play left from post-eight and got to the lead to post an opening-quarter of :26.4. The 2/5 favourite got front-end respect and was able to catch a soft second-quarter of :29.2.
Kissin In The Sand came first-up on the far turn from fourth and got to within in a length of Percy Bluechip, but the Moore trainee was ready for the confrontation. Percy Bluechip paced a :28 third-quarter, followed by a :27.3 kicker to secure the victory.
“She’s a very special filly,” said Moore post-race. “She showed me tonight how sensible she is because I just made a couple bit changes and the plugs again tonight and she was very relaxed warming up…and very relaxed in the race as well.”
Kendall Seelster, who got a two-hole trip, got out late, but came up a length short to finish second. Kissin In The Sand was third, while Pueblo Blue Chip was fourth.
A $110,000 purchase at last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale, Percy Bluechip has now banked $240,766 for owners Shadow Two Stable, James & Wilma MacKenzie and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc.
Moore noted that he may skip next week’s Champlain Stakes or an OSS Gold the week after in order to have Percy Bluechip primed and ready for the Shes A Great Lady eliminations on September 16.
Percy Bluechip paid $2.90 to win.
Live racing continues Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m.