CAMPBELLVILLE, ON - North America's trotting elite will congregate at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday, Sept. 14 and among the contestants in the William Wellwood Memorial, Peaceful Way and Canadian Trotting Classic Finals are 10 Ontario-sired stars hoping to keep the trophies close to home.
After winning his elimination from Post 10, Harper Blue Chip is among the favourites in the $365,000 William Wellwood Memorial Final. The colt and Milton resident will line up at Post 3 in the final and trainer is expecting a world class battle.
"I think he's got his work cut out for him," says the Lansdowne resident. "Father Patrick is pretty highly rated, and rightly so with the races he's won, but he did look a little vulnerable on the last turn."
Favourite Father Patrick will start from Post 4 and comes into the contest on a five race win streak. Harper Blue Chip's streak only extends to two races, but Steacy feels the colt is showing steady improvement.
"He broke well, trained down well. He was quiet, well mannered, smart - similar to his father. He never showed high speed, but he always did what you wanted," recalls Steacy, who trained to $1,993,157 in career earnings. "With each race he got better, and the speed started to come.
" really likes this horse and we both hope we haven't hit the bottom of the well yet," adds the horseman.
Steacy shares ownership of Harper Blue Chip with Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall and David Reid of Glenburnie. The partners purchased the colt out of last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $40,000.
"I always go looking for 's. I'm a true believer," says Steacy. "I really believe is a great sire, and I've trained quite a few of his. He didn't catch the Grand Circuit mares like and the likes of that did, but I think if he had you'd see a lot more than three in these Finals."
In addition to Harper Blue Chip, gelding P L Hercules will also compete in the William Wellwood Memorial from Post 6 and filly Serendipitious will start from Post 8 in the Peaceful Way Final.
In last week's Peaceful Way Eliminations, two of the three winners were Ontario-sired fillies. I Jasmin and Danica Hall trotted to 1:57.1 and 1:57.3 victories respectively and will line up at Posts 2 and 3 in the $374,000 final.
"It tells you that we're producing quality horses, doesn't it," says trainer Doug McIntosh, who sends the D daughter into Saturday's final on behalf of owner-breeder Walnut Hall Limited of Lexington, KY.
Like Harper Blue Chip, Danica Hall captured her elimination and her Champlain Stakes division one week earlier to ride into Saturday's final on a two race win streak. And like Steacy, McIntosh knows Danica Hall is in for a tough battle in the $374,000 Final.
"She's a nice filly, but that race on Saturday night is a tough race. Whoever gets a trip in there will win," says the Wheatley resident. "That two-year-old trotting filly division is very deep."
Trotting specialist of Acton will steer Danica Hall in pursuit of the biggest prize of her young career.
Among the other fillies expected to be favoured in the final is Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series division leader Riveting Rose, who will start from Post 5. The daughter rallied from an early break in the elimination round to finish third for driver of Guelph, trainer of Peterborough and his partners Don Allensen of Wyoming, J And T Stables of Newmarket and John Hayes of Sharon.
Rounding out the Ontario-sired hopefuls in the two-year-old finals are colt Massive Talent, who gets Post 1 in the William Wellwood Memorial, and fillies Toughs Legacy and White Becomes Her, who will start from Posts 9 and 10 in the Peaceful Way.
In the $686,000 Canadian Trotting Classic Final Toocool Forschool carries the Ontario-sired torch from Post 5. The colt finished fifth behind Master Of Law in the elimination round and will be looking for a return to the form that saw him post a personal best 1:53.4 at Mohawk in his June 8 Goodtimes Elimination.
Moffat resident will steer Toocool Forschool for Glenn Lalonde of Guelph and owners Roland Rocco of Lasalle, QC and Benoit Gendron of Beaconsfield, QC.
The 10 Ontario-sired entries are matched only by the number of young trotters hailing from Pennsylvania. The other jurisdictions represented are New Jersey with six hopefuls, New York with three and with one.
Post time for Mohawk Racetrack's Saturday, Sept. 14 program is 7:25 pm, with the William Wellwood Memorial Final slated as Race 3, the Peaceful Way Final going postward in Race 5 and the Canadian Trotting Classic rounding out the evening in Race 8.
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