CAMPBELLVILLE, July 15 - A stellar 13-race card featuring the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot has been assembled for Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk Racetrack.
Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter (1:49), highlights the field of ten for the 63rd edition of Canada's most storied trotting event, the Maple Leaf Trot (Race 9).
The eight-year-old "Scandinavian Powerhouse" won his elimination last Friday (July 11) for trainer-driver Ake Svandstedt in 1:52.2. Upon earning the right to select his post position for the final, Svandstedt selected the rail as the starting spot for his prized trotter.
Svandstedt, a top horseman in his native Sweden for many years, relocated his stable to North America this season and is in the midst of a successful campaign, thanks in large part to Sebastian K who is a perfect five for five on North American soil.
The high point of the season thus far for Sebastian K was a seven-length victory in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs on June 28, in which he became the fastest trotter in the history of harness racing with a jaw-dropping mile time of 1:49.
Before coming to North America, Sebastian K had victories in top events such as the 2013 Oslo Grand Prix, a heat of the 2013 Elitlopp and the 2012 UET Trotting Masters.
The nine rivals who will look to knock Sebastian K off the top of the mountain, include the last two Maple Leaf Trot winners, Mister Herbie ('12) and Market Share ('13).
Market Share won the second elimination last week in 1:53 with a last quarter of :26.4 for driverand trainer . His connections selected post position two for the final.
The five-year-son of Revenue - Classical Flirt is the richest horse in the field with over $3.2 million in career earnings.
Market Share followed up his Maple Leaf Trot victory last year with a triumph in the Breeders Crown.
His career highlights also include two million-dollar race victories in 2012 in the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and the Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk.
Leading the charge for the local horses will be Mister Herbie, who finished runner-up to Market Share in not only his elimination last week, but also in last year's final.
Thetrainee won the 2012 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot in a stakes and track record clocking of 1:50.4 and was last year's O'Brien Award winner as top older trotter in Canada.
Mister Herbie will start from post six and will be driven by Hall of Fame driverwho won his first and only Maple Leaf Trot in 1988 with Natural Image.
The seven other challengers in the field are a group of well accomplished standardbreds.
Intimidate, a past Breeders Crown and O'Brien Award winner, will start from post three for driverand trainer .
, North America's leading trainer, will send out two starters.
, post four, was the 2012 Yonkers Trot champion, while , post five, has had success in both North America and Europe with victories in the 2012 Copenhagen Cup in Denmark and the 2013 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia.
Creatine, last year'sFuturity winner, will start from post seven for the duo of Hall of Fame driver and trotting conditioner .
Undercover Strike will leave from post eight and is a Preferred winner at both Mohawk and the Meadows. He is sent out by trainerand will be driven by .
Flanagan Memory, who won last year's Goodtimes, Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and an O'Brien Award, starts from post nine for trainerand Woodbine/Mohawk's leading driver .
Modern Family, a multiple stakes winner, will start from post ten for trainerand will have , a two-time Maple Leaf Trot winner, in the sulky.
The field of ten for the Maple Leaf Trot has combined for 188 career victories and career earnings of $13,837,506.
The Maple Leaf Trot undercard will feature four Canadian Breeders Championships (Races 2,3,7,10) for three-year-olds.
, a three-time Maple Leaf Trot winning driver ('03 Rotation, '06 Peaceful Way, '07 ), recently announced his retirement from driving.
Ritchie will be on hand Saturday night to present the trophy to this year's winner and will be a special guest on Mohawk Racing Live's pre-game show beginning at 6:45 p.m.
Post time for Saturday's Maple Leaf Trot card is 7:25 p.m, with the Maple Leaf Trot expected to go behind the gate at 10:05 p.m.
Here is the field for the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot.
Race 9 - Maple Leaf Trot - Purse: $603,000
1. Sebastian K - Ake Svandstedt - Ake Svandstedt - 2/5
2. Market Share -- - 6-1
3. Intimidate -- - 12-1
4.- - - 10-1
5.- Randall Waples - - 20-1
6. Mister Herbie -- - 15-1
7. Creatine -- - 15-1
8. Undercover Strike -- - 25-1
9. Flanagan Memory -- - 25-1
10. Modern Family -- - 20-1
AE: Wheeling N Dealin -- - N/A
by Mark McKelvie, for WEG