MILTON, April 24, 2018 – It doesn’t take long for everything to feel routine.
Two weeks into the Woodbine Mohawk Park season and it feels like racing never left during the Winter months. The weather is finally turning in the right direction and a good buzz can be felt throughout the Campbellville track.
Many individuals, trainers and drivers, should be feeling good, as the Wins over the last week were well spread out. It seems everyone is getting a taste of the Winner’s Circle early in the meet and that’s a good sign for what could be in store throughout the Spring and into Stakes season. (YES! Stakes season is only a few weeks away!).
If you want to know just how spread out the Wins were, keep scrolling! It’s time for “The Weekly Roundup”.
LEADING DRIVER(S) OF THE WEEK –
Jonathan Drury/Trevor Henry/James MacDonald/Doug McNair (5 wins)
We weren’t telling a fib when we said the wins were spread out! During 41 races over the last week, four different drivers captured five-races each. The leading quartet were followed closely be four other drivers with at least three wins.
Doug McNair is no stranger to being Driver of the Week. The O’Brien Award winner captured three-races on Saturday night, including the $34,000 Preferred with Easy Lover Hanover, to help put him at the top. McNair drove in 27 races and had a winning percentage of 18.5%.
Jonathan Drury posted “Driving Doubles” on Thursday and Saturday, while squeezing a win in on Friday for his five tallies. The return to Woodbine Mohawk Park has been kind to Drury, as he has been having plenty of success and currently leads all reinsmen with nine-victories. The combination of Drury and trainer Carmen Auciello (see below) clicked for three-wins over the week, including back-to-back wins on Saturday with Artistic Madison and Major Hill. Drury went 5 for 29 over the week for a 17.2% winning percentage.
Trevor Henry is another driver that has enjoyed the return to Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Arthur, Ontario resident has hit the board 24-times from 56 drives since returning to Mohawk Park, which is second-only to Louis Philippe Roy (28) in that category. Henry had at least a win on all four-cards last week. He posted a “Driving Double” on Friday, which included a win with upper-level pacing mare Circle The Page. Henry drove in 31 races over the four-cards and had a winning percentage of 16.1%.
James MacDonald joined Henry as the only drivers to have at least a win on all four-cards last week. The Guelph, Ontario resident posted two-wins on Thursday before scoring “Singles” the following three-evening. MacDonald is the “go-to” reinsman for trainer Mark Steacy and the duo teamed up for a pair of wins over the week, including a score with Tuxedo Bay in a $20,000 event Saturday. MacDonald has hit the board in 22 of 41 drives at Mohawk Park (7 cards) and has the highest UDRS (.331) among drivers with at least 10 starts. The current World Driving Champ went 5 for 29 over the week for a 17.2% winning percentage.
Jody Jamieson (4 wins), Chris Christoforou (3 wins), Sylvain Filion (3 wins), Phil Hudon (3 wins)
NOTE: 15 different drivers won races over the last week (41 races)
DRIVER OF THE WEEK STANDINGS: (After 15 weeks)
Roy – 8.5
McNair – 3.5
Henry – 1.5
Jamieson – 1.5
Drury – 0.5
J. MacDonald – 0.5
LEADING TRAINER(S) OF THE WEEK –
Carmen Auciello/Per Henriksen/Blake MacIntosh (3 wins)
After posting the most wins in eight consecutive weeks, Richard Moreau has was unable to grab the top spot for the second-straight week. Carmen Auciello led all trainers from April 12-16 and once again he found himself at the top.
However, Per Henriksen and Blake MacIntosh also posted three-wins over the most recent week to share “Trainer of the Week” title.
Auciello’s barn went three for 23 over four-nights of racing. They posted a pair of wins on Saturday with Artistic Madison and Major Hill. The other win for the Stouffville resident’s stable came in Thursday’s finale with Badstormanyport. Auciello’s winning percentage for the week was 13%. He currently leads the Woodbine Mohawk Park trainer standings with 7 wins, three-more than Richard Moreau.
Per Henriksen is known as a “Trotting Master” and we’re entering that time of the year where his talents really show off. Henriksen’s barn went three for seven over the last week for an outstanding 42.8% winning percentage. Henriksen’s victories came Friday with nine-year-old Pepe Di Jesolo, Saturday with four-year-old Kameran Hanover and Monday with three-year-old filly Illusioneesta. Chris Christoforou drove all three to victory.
Blake MacIntosh primarily focuses on younger horses and he has to be very excited about the upcoming season after posting three-wins (all with three-year-olds) during the most recent week. MacIntosh’s barn sent out just four starters and their only horse not to win picked up a fourth-place cheque. MacIntosh picked up a pair of wins on Thursday with pacing filly Thats What I Said and gelded pacer Life Happened. Twin B Peaches, who raced last season in the Shes A Great Lady and New York Sires Stakes Finals, won Friday to give her back-to-back scores to start 2018.
CLOSE BEHIND: Bill Budd (2 wins), Tony O’Sullivan (2 wins)
NOTE: 31 different trainers won races over the last week (41 races)
TRAINER OF THE WEEK STANDINGS: (After 15 weeks)
Moreau – 12
Auciello – 2.5
P.Henriksen – 0.5
MacIntosh – 0.5
“YOU GET A WIN AND YOU GET A WIN…EVERYONE GETS A WIN” – Monday, April 23
Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park was a good night for many, as 10 different drivers won a race and 10 different trainers won a race. That’s 20 different individuals, plus many owners, that can all say they were a winner. It does not happen often and this rare occurrence certainly caught the eye of many. It will be interesting to track how next Monday’s card goes, when many of these horses will race again.
Here is a breakdown of the 10 different drivers and 10 different trainers that won a race Monday.
Race 1: Chris Christoforou/Per Henriksen
Race 2: Doug McNair/Ron Adams
Race 3: Randy Waples/John Bax
Race 4: James MacDonald/Kyle Fellows
Race 5: Jody Jamieson/Stephanie Jamieson
Race 6: Anthony MacDonald/Jason McGinnis
Race 7: Steve Byron/Dave Byron
Race 8: Sylvain Filion/Nick Gallucci
Race 9: Phil Hudon/Bruce MacDonald
Race 10: Trevor Henry/Curt Blake
This doesn't happen to often. pic.twitter.com/3iiepZHyP1
— Clive Cohen (@woodbinephotos) April 24, 2018
‘EASY LOVER’ DAZZLES IN 2018 DEBUT – April 21
No horse finished 2018 on the Woodbine Entertainment circuit hotter than Easy Lover Hanover. The Ben Wallace trainee wrapped up his campaign on a six-race win streak (all in the Preferred), which set the stage for a promising 2018.
After a few months off, Easy Lover Hanover returned with a pair of winning qualifiers to prepare him for his season debut. The betting public didn’t hammer the Wallace trainee, likely not sure he would be ready to reclaim the Preferred in just his first start…
SPOILER ALERT: ‘Easy Lover’ was ready and paid $7.70 to win!
Easy Lover Hanover was sent to the front by driver Doug McNair, fought off a third-quarter battle from favourite Nirvana Seelster and finished up in :27.1 to win by a length in 1:49.3. It was the 26th career win for ‘Easy Lover’ and his fifth sub-1:50 triumph.
Owned by Brad Grant, Easy Lover Hanover has $598,509 in career earnings and could be a major player in the Grand Circuit stakes this season.
JUST 5 DROP OUT, 70 REMAIN ELIGIBLE TO PEPSI #NACUP – April 23
With the 2018 Woodbine Mohawk Park season underway, focus will soon shift to this year’s $1 million Pepsi North America Cup. Canada’s richest harness race will see the continent’s best three-year-old pacers clash on June 16.
The stakes payment process for the Pepsi North America Cup is as follows:
February 15: Nominations Fee $500 = 79 nominated
March 15: 1st Sustaining Payment $1,000 = 75 sustained
April 15: 2nd Sustaining Payment $1,000 = 70 sustained
May 15: 3rd Sustaining Payment $2,000 = ?
June 9: Starting Fee (Eliminations) = ?
A total of 79 sophomores were nominated. Just four dropped out after the first sustaining payment and now just five more did not make the second payment. This creates plenty of excitement as the Pepsi North America Cup dream is alive and well for many.
The list of 70 remaining eligible horses is headlined by award-winners Stay Hungry and Lost In Time.
Check out all the details of the latest payment and who is still eligible by clicking here.
DRIVERS MEET FANS, TOUR UPGRADES FACILITIES – April 21
A collection of Woodbine Entertainment’s top drivers met fans and distributed free programs on Saturday evening, as part of special “Welcome Back” festivities.
— Mark McKelvie (@MohawkMarkM) April 21, 2018
After mingling with fans, drivers Trevor Henry, Sylvain Filion, Bob McClure, Chris Christoforou, James MacDonald and Louis Philippe Roy went for a tour of Woodbine Mohawk Parks’s brand new kitchen and met Chef Rob and his team in MHK.
Trevor Henry, Sylvain Filion, Bob McClure, Chris Christoforou, James MacDonald and Louis Philippe Roy met Chef Rob and his crew during a stop by the new kitchen for MHK. @WoodbineSB pic.twitter.com/xtkh7mOPjv
— Mark McKelvie (@MohawkMarkM) April 21, 2018
The reinsmen also had a chance to check out the brand new VIP Suites in the Terrace Dining Room. The new suites can accommodate up to 40 people or be split to hold two separate parties of 20.
— Mark McKelvie (@MohawkMarkM) April 21, 2018
UP NEXT: April 26-30
Live Racing resumes Thursday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park and continues Friday, Saturday and Monday. Post Time each night is 7:30 p.m. Click here to visit the FREE Program page.