MILTON, September 10, 2020 – An opportunity never seen before is set to be presented when the winner of this Saturday’s $535,000 William Wellwood Memorial has their picture taken.
The Mohawk Million on September 26 at Woodbine Mohawk Park is set to become harness racing’s newest million-dollar race, joining the Pepsi North America Cup and Hambletonian as this season’s only million-dollar events.
The ‘Cup’ and Hambletonian each have their own legacy and while the Mohawk Million’s story is just being written, the race has already become a one-of-a-kind for the sport of harness racing.
The winner of this Saturday’s William Wellwood Memorial for two-year-old trotters will not only take home the winner’s share of the $535,000 purse but will also receive a slot in the $1 million (USD) Mohawk Million for free.
No nomination fee. No sustaining payment. No starting fee. Win the Wellwood Memorial and you’re guaranteed a spot in a million-dollar race.
The other nine slots in the Mohawk Million were sold earlier this year for $110,000 (USD) each.
The nine slot owners are not required to declare a two-year-old trotter for the race until entry time on September 22. Each slot is an entity that may be sold, traded or subject to lease.
This Saturday’s William Wellwood Memorial will not only determine the owner of the tenth slot but will also signal the start of crunch time for the nine slot purchasers to determine what they will do with their own.
Only two of the nine slot owners will be represented in the Wellwood Memorial.
Serge Godin’s Determination sends out the undefeated Macho Martini and elimination runner-up On A Streak. John Fielding is the co-owner of rail starter Locatelli. Should Determination or Fielding win the Wellwood Memorial, they will have two slots in the Mohawk Million, with Saturday’s winner required to use one of them.
The Wellwood Memorial is being billed as the showdown of undefeated colts, as Macho Martini and Southwind Tyrion will meet for the first time. The Ake Svanstedt trained Southwind Tyrion is four for four, while Luc Blais trained Macho Martini is seven for seven.
Macho Martini’s owner Serge Godin is loaded with high-end two-year-old talent and would have no problem filling a second spot in the Mohawk Million should Macho Martini win. Just like the Wellwood, Determination has a one-two punch in Saturday’s $335,000 Peaceful Way for two-year-old trotting fillies with the undefeated Donna Soprano and elimination winner Dicentra.
The past several weeks at Mohawk Park have seen Macho Martini dominate, posting victories in multiple OSS Gold races, the Millard Farms Series and Champlain.
“He’s just so handy, so nice, so good gaited and so smart,” driver Bob McClure said of Macho Martini after last week’s elimination win. “I’m just repeating myself at this point, but he’s very special.
“I’m very fortunate that Determination has a very exceptional group of two-year-old trotters. It’s nice to see for the Determination Stable, Serge Godin, because he deserves it and it’s great for Luc (Blais). He works hard.”
If Southwind Tyrion can hand Macho Martini his first loss, that would in all likelihood set up a rematch in the Mohawk Million.
Originally owned by Lennart Agren’s S R F Stable, Southwind Tyrion’s ownership group has grown to include Knutsson Trotting and Brittany Farms & Riverview Racing early in his sensational rookie season.
The connections of ‘Tyrion’ have admitted to having their eyes on the Mohawk Million slot. Agren told the USTA earlier this week he “absolutely” hopes to win the final slot in the Million.
“We’ll see what happens,” Svanstedt told USTA’s Ken Weingartner. “We need luck. But I think Southwind Tyrion is as good as he can be.”
The undefeated colts will draw most of the attention, but the other eight trotters have all at one point or another shown flashes of high-end potential. To some, an upset victory would be fitting to fulfill the fantasy that many owners and trainers had in February when nominating to the Wellwood Memorial.
This year’s William Wellwood Memorial drew 196 nominations, a significant increase from past years that can be linked to the increased stakes of the race.
The original announcement of the Mohawk Million and slot-deciding Wellwood Memorial was made on September 26, 2019, which will be exactly one-year to the date when the inaugural Mohawk Million is contested.
In a society that loves to speculate, the William Wellwood Memorial will undoubtably be the kick-off to an intriguing period that fans and racing participants will enjoy. There will be nine full days from the completion of the Wellwood Memorial to Mohawk Million entry time for slot owners to make a decision.
Sell your slot? Name a horse? Enter a filly? Partner up?
Many possibilities for the Mohawk Million slot owners, but only one thing will be certain following Saturday night, one horse is going to a million-dollar race for free.
The William Wellwood Memorial is carded as Race 9 (10:20 p.m.) on Saturday’s $1.6 million stakes-filled card at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time for the 13-race card is 7 p.m.
The field for the William Wellwood Memorial is listed below:
1 Locatelli (Andrew McCarthy/Nancy Takter)
2 On A Streak (Scott Young/Luc Blais)
3 Southwind Tyrion (Yannick Gingras/Ake Svanstedt)
4 Full Of Muscles (Trevor Henry/Brad Maxwell)
5 Logan Park (Louis-Philippe Roy/Rob Fellows)
6 Macho Martini (Bob McClure/Luc Blais)
7 Warrawee Whisper (Jonathan Drury/Shawn Steacy)
8 Tokyo Seelster (Sylvain Filion/Richard Moreau)
9 Muscle Dynasty (Paul MacDonell/Mike Keeling)
10 Magical Muscle Man (Doug McNair/Marcus Melander)
AE Jula Muscle Pack (Louis-Philippe Roy/Per Engblom)
The Mohawk Million slot owners are listed below:
Courant Inc. (Anders Ström)
Determination (Serge Godin)
Diamond Creek Racing (Adam Bowden)
Dreamland Farms (Gina Ghent)
Fashion Farms (Jules Siegel)
Glengate Farms (Jim Bullock)