MILTON, September 25, 2021 – The filly Venerable extended her unbeaten streak to eight in tonight’s $1 million Mohawk Million but local favourite Duly Resolved made her earn that hefty cheque with a very exciting battle down the stretch. The rich contest for two-year-old trotters from across North America anchored a stakes laden card at Woodbine Mohawk Park, the richest night of harness racing in Canada this year.
As the race got underway it was Duly Resolved with his head down and determined from post eight to grab the lead early. His nemesis in the William Wellwood final, King Of The North, went offstride through the first turn, as did Mischevious Rose, and Duly Resolved headed the field by the opener in :27.1.
They were three-wide for a bit with Venerable and Selfie Queen both attempting to take over control but the latter made a break and the former was successful, hitting the half in :56.3. Southwind Domino came to call and was at the leader’s bike at the 1:26.1 third panel.
As the field headed down the stretch Paul MacDonell was able to find a lane for Duly Resolved and he took full advantage. The Ontario-sired son of Resolve showed great resolve and was just short as the filly managed to hit the wire first in 1:54.2.
Valentina Blu, another of the four fillies in the field, was third with The Mighty Hill taking fourth. King Of The North recovered from his early miscue to grab the final cheque.
Venerable is now eight for eight in her young career. The daughter of first crop sire Walner is owned by David McDuffee, Mel Hartman, Paul Bordogna and Steve Arnold. A $210,000 yearling at last year’s Lexington Select Sale, she now has well over a million banked.
Bred by Maumee River Stables, Black Creek Farm, Martin Schmucker, and Steve Stewart, she is the third foal of Jolene Jolene, who earned $239,000 from just 11 lifetime starts. Her family traces to the top Ontario trotting mare B Cor Tamara whose family is responsible for many champions.
Steve Stewart earns the distinction of being a breeder of the first two Mohawk Million champions as he also bred the winner of the inaugural event, Venerate, along with the Kemppi Stable.
Dave Miller, who has driven Venerable in all of her starts for trainer Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman, was all smiles after the race. “It’s tremendous, a great, great feeling. I can’t explain how game and tough she is. Her performance on the track is what shows it. She really (dug in).
“My game plan was to try and get some cover (that didn’t work). She got a pretty soft middle half and her heart and her guts got her to the wire.”
“They don’t get old when you race for a million dollars,” laughed McDuffee. “She’s been great right from the get go, never disappointed yet. There aren’t many races for a million, so this was the right place to go for her. Going against the boys is the frosting on the cake and it puts her right up there.”
As for his partners he said: “They are great guys, we’ve had some luck together, I’m excited as hell for them. They’re easy partners to work with.”
The Mohawk Million is a unique stake race in that nine owners buy a spot to race in it for $100,000. The 10th spot is awarded to the winner of the Wellwood Memorial. Tonight’s race was the second year for the event.
The slots purchased by two of the country’s top owners, Brad Grant and Steve Heimbecker, were used by tonight’s first and second place finishers.