Milton, ON — The C$750,000 Metro Pace headlines another C$1.7 million-plus card this Saturday (Sept. 21) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Harness racing’s richest race for 2-year-olds will see a field of 10 pacing colts and geldings clash to add their name to a long list of memorable Metro champions. The C$540,000 She’s A Great Lady for 2-year-old pacing fillies and C$250,000 Milton Stakes for pacing mares join the Metro Pace as marquee races this Saturday.
Capt Midnight (post three) is the expected favorite for the Metro Pace. The Tony Alagna trainee has dominated rookie stakes this season at Mohawk Park, winning five in a row at the Milton oval to bring his season record to five wins, a mark of 1:49.4 and $160,714 earned in seven starts.
A son of 2012 Metro winner Captaintreacherous, Capt Midnight won his elimination easily in 1:51.4 for driver Andrew McCarthy to go with his victories in the Dream Maker, Nassagaweya and Champlain. The Alagna student sold for $350,000 at last November’s Harrisburg yearling sale and is owned by Marvin Katz, Kenneth Jacobs, Brad Grant and Capt Midnight Racing.
Capt Midnight is joined by stablemates Captain Kirk (post five, Bob McClure) and Esai Hanover (post eight, Trevor Henry) to give Alagna a trio of starters in his attempt for a third Metro Pace victory. Artspeak, who is the sire of Esai Hanover, won the 2014 edition to give Alagna his second Metro following Captaintreacherous’ triumph in 2012.
Tall Dark Stranger will look to stop the run of Capt Midnight and continue his own for trainer Nancy Johansson. The son of Bettor’s Delight is undefeated in five starts and took last Saturday’s other elimination in a career-best 1:50.1 for driver Yannick Gingras.
A $330,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, Tall Dark Stranger has won four in a row since arriving at Mohawk Park, including a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions. The only horse with a perfect record in this year’s Metro has earned $95,640 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor.
Johnasson has already won the Pepsi North America Cup this season, and a victory Saturday with Tall Dark Stranger would give her a sweep of the track’s two richest races.
Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Papi Rob Hanover (post nine, David Miller) dueled with Tall Dark Stranger in last week’s elimination, surrendering the lead in deep stretch to come up just a head short. The Brett Pelling-trained son of Somebeachsomewhere is two for six and has hit the board in each start to earn $183,795 for owner David McDuffee. He was a $130,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase.
Blake MacIntosh joins Alagna as the only other trainer with multiple horses in this year’s Metro Pace. Somebeachsomewhere colt Team Best (post six, James MacDonald) and Sportswriter colt Beach Blanket Book (post 10, Doug McNair) race for Team MacIntosh.
Local hopes will also ride with trainers Richard Moreau and Dustin Jones. Sportswriter colt YS Mathis (post one, Louis-Philippe Roy) goes for Moreau and has victories in the Champlain and an OSS Gold to his name. Jones’ One For Julius (post seven, Chris Christoforou) is a son of Hes Watching and finished second to the aforementioned YS Mathis in an OSS Gold division on August 31.
Completing the field is Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division winner Seeyou At Thebeach (post two, Tim Tetrick). The Brian Brown student is the third entrant for sire Somebeachsomewhere.
The C$750,000 Metro Pace has been carded as race nine.
The C$540,000 She’s A Great Lady for pacing fillies will have all eyes on the respective stars of the Ontario and Pennsylvania programs.
Chantal Mitchell trainee Alicorn (post five, Roy) has rewritten the Ontario Sires Stakes record book multiple times this season and cruised to a career best-equaling 1:50.3 victory in her elimination. The daughter of Bettor’s Delight is five for eight and is riding a three-race win streak.
Alicorn was a $30,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase by Windermere Stable LLC and Robert Muscara. Her sensational rookie campaign has earned her connections $177,395.
Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Lyons Sentinel (post four, Tetrick) tied the track and Canadian record with a stunning 1:50.1 victory in her elimination. The Jim King Jr. trainee is charted with an insane :52.3 back half in her dazzling elimination victory.
A daughter of Captaintreachrous, Lyons Sentinel enters Saturday’s rich final on a four-race win streak to sport a record of five wins and three runner-up finishes in eight starts. The $55,000 Harrisburg yearling grad has banked $287,955 for owners Threelyonsracing.
Alagna trainee Reflect With Me (post two, McCarthy) had a four-race win streak snapped by Lyons Sentinel in their elimination, but the daughter of Captaintreacherous will be ready for a shot at redemption in the event her connections have had their eyes set on.
A $120,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, Reflect With Me captured the Whenuwishuponastar, Eternal Camnation and Champlain during her win streak. She currently sits at four wins, a pair of runner-up finishes and $112,485 earned in eight starts for owners Brittany Farms and Brad Grant.
Johansson will have a pair of chances in the C$540,000 event. She sends out Western Ideal filly JK First Lady (post six, Gingras), who is the firstfoal out of 2014 She’s A Great Lady winner JK Shesalady, and Bettor’s Delight filly Peaky Sneaky (post seven, McNair).
The field for the She’s A Great Lady is completed by Paul Reid trainee Off The Press (post one, Sylvain Filion), Bill Budd trainee Saulsbrook Raven (post three, MacDonald), Dr. Ian Moore trainee Alexa Skye (post eight, Dexter Dunn), Dave Menary trainee Somebeachsometime (post nine, Jody Jamieson) and Susie Kerwood trainee Betalady (post 10, Miller).
The C$540,000 Shes A Great Lady has been carded as race five.
Moving away from the rookies, older pacing mares will also have a chance to shine in the C$250,000 Milton Stakes.
The dominant Shartin N was the expected heavy favorite for the Milton, but sickness has forced her connections to scratch from Saturday’s race. The removal of harness racing’s leading candidate for Horse of the Year opens the door for a competitive contest.
Youaremycandygirl (post onee, Roy) has been the talk of the town in recent weeks at Mohawk Park. The 4-year-old is two for two since moving into the barn of trainer Moreau, posting dazzling victories of 1:49.1 and 1:48.3 in back-to-back Mares Preferred events.
Owned by William Donovan, Youaremycandygirl won the 2017 She’s A Great Lady and went on to earn more than $1.4 million during her first two seasons on the track. This year she is three for 11, bringing her career numbers to 21 wins and $1.5 million earned in 39 starts.
Trainer Moreau will also send out Double A Mint (post eight, Bob McClure) in Saturday’s contest. The 4-year-old has raced in every month this year, winning 12 of 25 starts and earning $170,087.
Caviart Ally (post nine, McCarthy) returns to Mohawk Park to defend her Milton Stakes title. The 5-year-old won last year’s Milton by three lengths and has put together another strong campaign in 2019, racing in the shadow of division leader Shartin N.
Trained by Pelling, Caviart Ally has hit the board in all 14 of her starts this season, including five wins and seven runner-up finishes. She has earned $1.4 million during her racing career for owners Caviart Farms.
Nick Surick trainee Bettor’s Up (post four, Tetrick) rolls into the Milton with confidence after edging Caviart Ally by a head in last week’s Great Northeast Series final at Pocono. The 5-year-old joins Double A Mint as the mares with most starts this season, winning six of 25 outings and earning $166,380.
It wouldn’t be a major stake this season at Mohawk Park without representation from the Johansson barn. Not to overlooked, Kissin In The Sand (post two, Gingras) has earned her only two victories this season over the last month at Mohawk Park. The winner of $1.1 million is two for 12 this year with $54,155 earned.
Local connections are all over the Milton Stakes final, with three other mares joining Double A Mint as regular competitors in the Mares Preferred. Rene Dion trainee Shower Play (post six, Jamieson), Alagna trainee Seaswift Joy N (post seven, Tetrick) and Rod Boyd trainee Kendall Seelster (post 10, MacDonald) will look for home-track success.
Completing the field is Dylan Davis trainee Apple Bottom Jeans (post three, Callahan). The 6-year-old will be making her Mohawk Park debut and most recently was third in the Great Northeast Series final.
The C$250,000 Milton Stakes has been carded as race seven.
Post time for Saturday’s C$1.7 million card is 7:10 p.m. For full event details, visit www.WoodbineMohawkPark.com.