Day At The Track

Super exceptional card this Saturday at Mohawk

08:52 AM 28 Aug 2013 NZST
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Arthur Blue Chip, harness racing Western Vintage, harness racing Let's Drink On It, harness racing
Arthur Blue Chip
Western Vintage
Let's Drink On It

Metro Pace, Canadian Pacing Derby and Shes A Great Lady Stakes

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 27…The continent’s finest two-year-old pacers will be showcased Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack in the $683,000 Metro Pace, part of a solid card of harness racing.

More than $1.7 million in purses are being offered in three stakes alone, the Metro, the $651,000 Canadian Pacing Derby and the $451,000 Shes A Great Lady.

The Metro, which has been won recently by such champions as Rocknroll Hanover (2004), Somebeachsomewhere (2007), Sportswriter (2009) and Captaintreacherous (2012), is headed by the three elimination winners from last Saturday - Western Vintage, Arthur Blue Chip and Lets Drink On It, who earned their connections the privilege of picking a post position before the balance of the field was drawn.

Western Vintage (PP3, Yannick Gingras) may well be the post-time favourite, coming off an impressive two length score over Winds of Change and Play It Again Sam in 1:51.3. Owned by Perry Soderberg of New Jersey and trained by Nancy Johansson, the son of Western Ideal-Major Harmony was just a $7,000 yearling purchase but has now banked $117,250 while taking four of five starts, his only blemish coming in a Nassagaweya division on August 17 when making a break at the start.

“He was full of pace. He was just waiting for me to call on him,” said Gingras, after the race. “Every time I’ve called on him so far, he’s had something left. I think he has as good a chance as anybody and he’s done nothing wrong so far.”

Arthur Blue Chip (PP4, Randy Waples) was equally as impressive in his elim, fending off all challengers to win by one and one-half lengths over Luck Be Withyou and Tellitlikeitis in 1:51.2. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore for the Shadow One Stable of Guelph, Ontario, the son of Shadow Play-Advantest was a $135,000 yearling purchase but has already ‘won himself out’, now with $194,495 in the bank while taking five of seven starts, including a Nassagaweya division on August 17.

“He’s getting to be a really nice colt now,” said Moore. “He’s just getting better every day.”

Lets Drink On It (PP2, Jim Morrill Jr.) showed a lot of determination last week, repulsing a late bid by Boomboom Ballykeel to prevail by a neck in 1:51.1, the fastest of the three elims. Trained by Joe Seekman for American owners Martin Scharf, Larry Bond and Hal Hewitt, the son of Art Official-Letmedowneasy, only a $12,000 yearling purchase, has won four of six outings and $117,417.

Completing the field for the Metro Pace, which goes postward at 9:25 p.m., are Boomboom Ballykeel (PP1, Sylvain Filion), Tellitlikeitis (PP5, Ron Pierce), Winds Of Change (PP6, Scott Zeron), Luck Be Withyou (PP7, Phil Hudon), Beat The Drum (PP8, TBA), Play It Again Sam (PP9, David Miller) and Ideal Magic (PP10, Tim Tetrick).

The historic Canadian Pacing Derby, first contested in 1936, annually brings together the best older pacers in North America, with a winners roster in the past 10 years which includes Real Desire, Art Major, Lis Mara, Mister Big and Foiled Again.

Topping this year’s lineup are A Rocknroll Dance and Bolt The Duer, both of whom sparkled in last week’s elims. A Rocknroll Dance (PP3, Tim Tetrick) set a Canadian record of 1:47.3 last Saturday, hanging on by a neck over Clear Vision. That effort followed a world record performance of 1:47.4 on a 5/8ths track, when the four-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover-Wichita Hanover took an Invitational at Pocono Downs on August 17.

It was the 15th win for A Rocknroll Dance, who has banked over $2 million for trainer James Mulinix and A Rocknroll Dance Stable of Wauseon, Ohio.

Bolt The Duer (PP2, Mark MacDonald) took his elim by three and one-quarter lengths over Sweet Lou in 1:48.1. The four-year-old son of Ponder-Wonderbolt was also coming off a world record performance when taking the Gerrity at Saratoga, a half-mile track, in 1:49. It was his 19th career win as he’s now earned over $1.6 million for trainer Peter Foley and All Star Racing of Towaco, New Jersey.

Other big names set to renew rivalries in the Derby, set for 10:25 pm, are the Ron Burke-trained and co-owned Sweet Lou (PP1, Yannick Gingras), who has earned almost $2 million and the nine-year-old defending champion Foiled Again (PP5, TBA), the richest pacer in history with career earnings of over $5.2 million and 70 wins, who pulled a 14-1 upset last year.

Elim winners Precocious Beauty and Beach Gal head the Shes A Great Lady for two-year-old filly pacers, slated for 8:45 p.m. Precocious Beauty (PP2, Doug McNair) was a two and one-quarter length winner last week in 1:52.1 as the 1-2 choice, her third win in five starts. The daughter of Art Major-Precious Beauty, trained by Gregg McNair for owner-breeder James Avritt of Lebanon, Kentucky, also romped in a division of the Eternal Camnation on August 17, when setting a stakes record of 1:50.2.

Lightly-raced Beach Gal (PP3, Scott Zeron) pulled off a 17-1 shocker in her elim, blowing by her rivals in a blistering 1:50.3 to win by four lengths. Trained by David Menary for Ontario owners Ken Ewen, Hewvilla Farms, Denis Breton and Larry Menary, the daughter of champion Somebeachsomewhere-Michelle My Gal was making just her third career start in the elim, after winning her debut, then finishing third to Shes Da Bomb in an Eternal Camnation division.

Post time for the first of 12 races on Saturday is 7:25 p.m.

by Greg Gangle

 

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