Day At The Track

Simcoe and Champlain Stakes wrap up at Mohawk

11:52 AM 06 Sep 2014 NZST
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Western Vintage winning an elimination of the Metro Pace at Mohawk last year
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Lyons Again (left) and Lyons Levi Lewis (right) training last week at Mohawk Racetrack
Michael Burns Photo

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 5 - Hot off the heels of a successful Canadian Pacing Derby night, Mohawk Racetrack will play host to another stakes filled card tomorrow night.

Grand Circuit week will wrap up with the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers and the Champlain Stakes for the two-year-old pacers of both sexes.

Lyons Levi Lewis (PP4), the runner-up in last Saturday's $667,000 Metro Pace, headlines the first $123,120 Champlain Stakes division for two-year-old pacers.

Trained by Ron Burke, Lyons Levi Lewis finished 3 ½ lengths behind Artspeak in the Metro, but paced his final quarter in a solid :26.3.

A son of Well Said - Tongue In Cheek, Lyons Levi Lewis has one win in seven starts, but has finished second on four of those occasions.

Owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound, Lyons Levi Lewis will team up with driver Sylvain Filion for the first time tomorrow night and is listed as the 5/2 morning line favourite.

Also in the field of eight is Freedomformysoul (PP2) for trainer Nancy Johansson and driver Marcus Johansson.

A son of If I Can Dream - Hello Grin, Freedomformysoul has shown a lot of promise with two victories in the New York Sires Stakes, but has not been able to find consistency in his performances.

"He is wicked fast that one, but he is kind of green," said Marcus Johansson, "You don't know what side he wakes up on, but if he wake up on the right side he can go as fast as any horse I've ever sat behind."

Freedomformysoul sold for $12,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and has earned more than $35,000 in six career starts.

In the second $123,120 division, another Ron Burke trainee is the 5/2 morning line choice.

Lyons Again (PP1) races for the same connections as Lyons Levi Lewis and just like his stablemate took home a big chunk of the Metro Pace purse when he finished third in last Saturday's final.

A son of Dragon Again - A Filly To Fear, Lyons Again has yet to win in six career starts, but has finished second three times, along with two third place finishes.

A consistent performer, Lyons Again has the highest earnings ($130,821) in the field of nine despite having never won a race.

Starting beside Lyons Again is Nassagaweya Stakes division winner Traceur Hanover (PP2).

Trained by Normand Bardier Jr, Traceur Hanover finished fourth in the Metro Pace final and has won three times in six career starts.

Randy Waples will drive the son of Western Ideal.

Two divisions of the Simcoe Stakes will also take place for the three-year-old pacers.

The first $106,038 division will feature a small, but talented group of six lining up behind the gate.

Western Vintage (PP1) has been installed as the 7/5 morning line favourite for trainer Nancy Johansson and driver Marcus Johansson.

After a successful two-year-old campaign, Western Vintage's three-year-old season hasn't gone exactly as planned with only one win in seven starts, but he is coming off a good second place effort in last week's three-year-old open.

Marcus Johansson noted the son of Western Ideal had a bit of a health issue earlier in the season that was holding him back.

"We had a little trouble with his blood in the beginning of the year," said Johansson. "But he seems like he is getting better now and hopefully he can put a good effort in."

Western Vintage was just a $7,000 yearling purchase and has earned more than $412,000 in his career.

Also in the field of six is the Tony Alagna trainee, Dancin Hill (PP4).

Dancin Hill won two starts back in a conditioned event at Mohawk and last week finished third in the three-year-old open.

The son of Rocknroll Hanover has picked up a cheque in all eleven starts this season and will once again team up with driver Scott Zeron.

Starting from post six in the opening division is On Golden Ponder for trainer Bob McIntosh and driver Randy Waples.

On Golden Ponder most recently won the $175,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes final last Sunday night at The Red Mile.

Rounding out the field is Winds Of Change (PP2), Carracci Hanover (PP3) and Major Deagan (PP5).

Seven three-year-old pacers will contest the second division for a purse of $107,538.

Ontario Sires Stakes star Jet Airway (PP2) is the 7/5 morning line favourite.

Before finishing fourth in last week's three-year-old open, Jet Airway had won three starts in a row, including a seven length blowout victory in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg on August 4 at Grand River.

Trained by Tony Alagna, regular pilot Randy Waples will be at the controls.

Looking to build off his victory in last week's three-year-old open is Melmerby Beach (PP5).

Last week's victory earned a new career mark for Melmerby Beach of 1:50.

Melmerby Beach races for the same duo that raced his sire, Somebeachsomewhere, trainer Brent MacGrath and driver Paul Macdonell.

The other five starters in the second division are Three Of Clubs (PP1), Victor Bayama (PP3), Somewhere Fancy (PP4), Play It Again Sam (PP6) and Surprise Hanover (PP7).

14 freshman pacing fillies have been split into two Champlain Stakes divisions.

Despite having three starters from last week's $480,000 Shes A Great Lady Stakes final, the first $117,557 division could be the breakout party for a filly making her Grand Circuit debut.

Shes A Hot Mess (PP3) broke her maiden last Friday at Mohawk in a dazzling 1:52.1.

Trained by Tony Alagna, Shes A Hot Mess struggled in her first two starts, but after a few weeks off those issues appear to be put to rest as she won by seven lengths last week.

Scott Zeron will sit behind the daughter of American Ideal - Sure Fun Tryin, who is the second choice on the morning line at 3-1.

Shakai Hanover (PP7) is the morning line favourite at 2-1 and is coming into the Champlain off a third place finish in the Shes A Great Lady.

Trained by Carl Jamieson and driven by Jody Jamieson, Shakai Hanover won a division of the Eternal Camnation Stakes at Mohawk on August 16.

The daughter of Well Said - Shes A Fan has two victories in six career starts and earnings of over $139,000.

The second $117,557 division appears to be a wide open affair.

Sports Chic, the 5/2 morning line choice, has been having a ton of success racing on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit.

A daughter of Sportswriter - Vesta Blue Chip, Sports Chic is trained by Blake Macintosh and has won four times in six starts, while never finishing worse than second.

Jody Jamieson will sit behind Sports Chic who has earned more than $139,000 in her young career.

Looking to build off her victory in the Shes A Great Lady consolation is The Show Returns (PP6).

A daughter of Rocknroll Hanover - Stienams Place, The Show Returns broke her maiden in a leg of the Whenuwishuponastar Series on July 24, but was never better than fourth in her next three starts.

Last Saturday night, The Show Returns got back on track with a career best victory of 1:52.

This week, the filly moves into the Tony O'Sullivan barn and will be driven by Scott Zeron.

Originally scheduled for tomorrow night, eliminations were not needed for the Canadian Trotting Classic as the field of seven trotters will head straight to the rich final on Saturday, September 13.

Post time for tomorrow night's stakes filled card is 7:25 p.m.

by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
 
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