by Mark McKelvie – WEG Communications
Cambellville, ON — Habitat, driven by Yannick Gingras, wired his nine rivals to take the C$390,000 William Wellwood Memorial final by a widening 6-3/4 lengths, Saturday (Sept 13) at Mohawk Racetrack.
On a night when the trotting stars of tomorrow shared the spotlight with the star trotters of today, Habitat announced his presence as a possible future champion.
The 8-5 second choice went immediately to the front from the six-hole, chased by the 3-5 favorite Uncle Lasse, who suddenly made a break.
After getting the opening quarter in 28 seconds flat, Habitat continued to motor along, reaching the half in :57.2 before sprinting away from his foes around the far turn.
After three-quarters in 1:26.1, the 2-year-old son of Conway Hall-Habits Best was five lengths in front and drew off for the impressive score in 1:54.2, his fourth win in seven starts for trainer and co-owner Ron Burke.
Last week, he’d finished second to Uncle Lasse in one of the Wellwood elims, but when the favorite broke stride early, his main foe was eliminated.
“My horse is really handy,” said Gingras. “I knew the horse to beat was Uncle Lasse. Actually, I didn’t realize that he run (broke stride). I’ve really liked him from the get-go. He’s very well-mannered, good-gaited and does everything right, a real nice 2-year-old.”
Last year, Father Patrick flashed his talent when romping in the Wellwood en route to divisional honors.
He was also the heavy favorite in this year’s Hambletonian but made an early break. Father Patrick was scheduled to race later Saturday night in the rich Canadian Trotting Classic.
Habitat paid $5.20, $3.50 and $2.90, combining with longshot Jetpedia ($13.60, $7.60) for a $99.80 (6-7) exactor. A 6-7-8 (Southwind Stryker, $7.80) triactor was worth a huge $1,156.30, while a $1 Superfecta [6-7-8-10 (Big Rich)] came back a whopping $8,001.50.