This Week: Canadian Trotting Classic, Elegantimage, Metro Pace eliminations, She’s A Great Lady eliminations and Milton Stakes eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ont. and Kindergarten Series, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J.
Schedule of events: Another busy night of Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk Park takes place this Saturday (Sept. 19) and is led by the C$560,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-old male trotters and the C$350,000 Elegantimage for 3-year-old filly trotters. Rounding out the action is a pair of C$40,000 Metro Stakes eliminations for 2-year-old colt pacers, two C$35,000 She’s A Great Lady eliminations for 2-year-old filly pacers and a pair of C$35,000 Milton Stakes eliminations for older pacing mares.
On Friday (Sept. 18) The Meadowlands hosts the opening leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old pacers and trotters. There will be three $20,000 divisions for both the colt and filly trotters and two $20,000 divisions for both the colt and filly pacers.
Last time: On A Streak punched his ticket to the Mohawk Million with an upset in last Saturday’s C$535,000 William Wellwood Memorial for driver Scott Young, trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination.
The Wellwood Memorial was hyped as the showdown between undefeated freshman trotting colts Macho Martini and Southwind Tyrion, but both saw their perfect records broken when Macho Martini’s Blais stablemate On A Streak gamely dug in to hold off Southwind Tyrion in a thrilling stretch drive.
“This is incredible, even a guy like me doesn’t have a whole lot of words,” said Young after the biggest win of his career. “I took a look over and saw (Southwind Tyrion) first up and (Macho Martini) following him obviously and I thought I could try and get a little distance in the last turn and my colt dug all the way down the lane and I still thought (Southwind Tyrion) was going to get me halfway down the lane, but he kept digging and we got it.”
On A Streak and Young got away third in a :27.2 opening quarter set by Logan Park. Southwind Tyrion and Yannick Gingras got away fourth, while Macho Martini and driver Bob McClure were kept wide by their rival going into the turn. On A Streak got his cue to go in the second quarter and made the front before hitting the half in :57.2.
The second quarter also saw Macho Martini ready to go on, but he was waiting on Southwind Tyrion to move. That move to the outside by Southwind Tyrion ultimately forced Macho Martini three-wide going into the final turn before finding room to slide in a lane onto his rival’s back.
On A Streak and Young ramped up the tempo on the far turn to race by three-quarters in 1:25.4 with Southwind Tyrion approaching first-up.
In the stretch, Southwind Tyrion confronted On A Streak and the rookies went to war. Macho Martini dipped to the inside and stayed with the top pair, finishing third by just over a length. The final strides saw On A Streak prevail by a head for a timely maiden-breaking score.
On A Streak paid $32 to win.
Donna Soprano made a three-wide move up the backstretch moving to the lead and never looked back for a dominating 1:53.3 victory in the C$335,000 Peaceful Way 2-year-old filly trot for the team of McClure, Blais and Determination.
“I’ve talked many times about her temperament and she’s a little flighty, but I’ve also said she’s getting better every week and she was perfect tonight,” said McClure. “I moved her three-wide, she landed on the front and she came right back to me and just coasted home. She’s a very special filly and I’m just very lucky to drive her.”
The early stages of the Peaceful Way saw many starters leaving for position with Dream Chapter stretching out Dicentra through a :27.1 opening quarter. Donna Soprano had yet to see the rail in mid-pack when McClure opted to circle three wide around Amazone Duharas. The heavy favorite cleared stablemate Dicentra just after a :56.4 half.
Donna Soprano trotted by three-quarters in 1:25.2 with slight pressure from Amazone Duharas before leaving her rivals far behind with a wrapped up :28.1 final quarter to win by 4-1/4 lengths. Lady Chaos rallied for second, while You Will Be Queen and Imextraspecial completed the superfecta.
Donna Soprano paid $2.70 to win.
Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website.
Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2020 Grand Circuit awards.
Here are the leaders following this past weekend:
Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras – 583; 2. Andrew McCarthy – 337; 3. Tim Tetrick – 284; 4. Bob McClure – 275; 5t. Dexter Dunn – 239; 5t. Brian Sears – 239.
Trainers: 1. Nancy Takter – 410; 2. Ron Burke – 376; 3. Tony Alagna – 362; 4. Ake Svanstedt – 264; 5. Marcus Melander – 233.
Owners: 1. Determination – 185; 2. Brad Grant – 142.9; 3. S R F Stable – 95; 4. Crawford Farms Racing – 90.6; 5. Burke Racing Stable – 86.4.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit racing will be taking place next week at the Delaware County (Ohio) Fair, Hoosier Park, Woodbine Mohawk Park and The Meadowlands. Delaware will host nine Grand Circuit races, led by the Little Brown Jug for 3-year-old pacers. Hoosier Park features eight Grand Circuit races, including the Caesars Trotting Classic for open trotters. Mohawk Park’s week will include the Mohawk Million for 2-year-old trotters and the Metro Pace and She’s A Great Lady finals for freshman pacers. The Meadowlands will host the second leg of the Kindergarten Series for freshman pacers and trotters.