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MILTON, ON - September 5, 2020 - Harness racing driver James MacDonald engineered his second consecutive Canadian Pacing Derby stunner, guiding Dorsoduro Hanover to a 43-1 upset on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Ron Burke trained Dorsoduro Hanover and MacDonald sat fifth-over turning for home and swept by rivals promptly for a 1:48.4 victory in the $540,000 event. "I always though the seven claimer was my race," joked MacDonald, who also drove Courtly Choice to a 34-1 upset in last year's event. "I'll take the Derby, it's a real honour just to be in it and to win it...I can't even put it in words." A hot opening-quarter of :25.1 was put up by American History after rocketing off the gate along with rail starter Bettors Wish and Backstreet Shadow. Bettors Wish quickly rushed from third to first and led by the half in 52.4. The third-quarter saw Backstreet Shadow come first up at Bettors Wish with the pacers dueling by three-quarters in 1:21.1. The field fanned out wide with the front horses tiring at the head of the lane, setting up a wild finish that saw Dorsoduro Hanover sweep by after being ninth to win by 3 ½ lengths. Dancin Lou came from third-over to finish second, while Century Farroh was third after sitting second-over turning for home. Sintra finished fourth. A five-year-old gelding, Dorsoduro Hanover came into the 'Pacing Derby' off a hard-closing third-place finish in the Dan Patch at Hoosier on August 22. The Burke trainee is now three for eight on the season and sports career numbers of 17 wins and over $1.9 million earned for owners Burke Racing Stable, JandT Silva Purnel & Libb, Weaver Bruscemi and Wingfield Brothers. "Mark Weaver had messaged me earlier in the week and told me the horse had been great, but just had been drawing terrible and then the draw came out and he drew (post-eight)," said MacDonald. "It was one of those races when it looks like there is four or five or six that can win, if you're in the outer flow and they get battling it's usually a long shot that comes in. "Ronnie did such a great job, they were at the half in :52.4 and I was just standing up in the stirrups, like he was ready to go. Thanks a lot for the drive." Dorsoduro Hanover's victory gave trainer Burke a sweep of Saturday's, tagging alongside Atlanta's win in the Maple Leaf Trot. A $2 win ticket on Dorsoduro Hanover returned $88. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

MILTON, ON - September 3, 2020 - Woodbine Mohawk Park would like to remind all harness racing horsepeople, fans and horseplayers of this Saturday's post time change. Post time for the 12-race Canadian Pacing Derby and Maple Leaf Trot card has been pushed back to 7:20 p.m. The later post time is due to the Kentucky Derby, which is scheduled to be run at 7:01 p.m. Over $2 million in purses will be up for grabs on Saturday's stakes-filled program at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot and $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby headline the 12-race program, which features 10 stakes races. Post time is 7:20 p.m. Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

Harness racing this Week: Maple Leaf Trot, Canadian Pacing Derby, Goodtimes final, Simcoe Stakes, Peaceful Way eliminations and William Wellwood Memorial eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ont. and Landmark Stakes, Historic Track, Goshen, N.Y. Schedule of events: Another busy weekend of Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk Park kicks off this Thursday (Sept. 3) with two C$30,000 eliminations in the Peaceful Way for 2-year-old filly trotters and two C$30,000 eliminations in the William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Saturday (Sept. 5) Mohawk Park card is led by the C$560,000 Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters, the C$540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, and the C$215,000 Goodtimes final for 3-year-old colt trotters. Also on the program will be two divisions in the C$227,023 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers. Goshen Historic Track on Sunday (Sept. 6) will feature eight Landmark Stakes events for 2- and 3-year-old male and female pacers and trotters. Complete entries for the Mohawk Park races are available at this link. Entries for the Landmark Stakes will be available later today at this link. Last time: Tall Dark Stranger looked like a million dollars in taking the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup on Saturday night (Aug. 29) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Tall Dark Stranger pulled away down the lane for another impressive score in 1:48.2. New Image Media photo. Trained by Nancy Takter, Tall Dark Stranger and Yannick Gingras were content to let Tattoo Artist make his mark on the lead, as the latter powered from post seven to strike the front early in the proceedings. With Bob McClure in the bike, Tattoo Artist took his nine rivals through an opening quarter-mile carved out in a snappy :25.4, with Tall Dark Stranger settling in second. Longshots Moneyman Hill, in third, and Mayhem Hanover, sitting fourth, watched the pace-setting duo set the tone early. Soon after the quarter-mile mark, Gingras, contesting his ninth Cup, powered his 3-5 favorite to the outside and to the lead, as they cut a half in :53.3. It was Tall Dark Stranger still calling the shots as the field geared up for the stretch drive. McClure pulled Tattoo Artist to the outside looking to track down the front runner. For a brief moment, it appeared as though they were cutting into the lead of Tall Dark Stranger, but he pulled away down the lane for another impressive score in 1:48.2. Tattoo Artist was second, while 127-1 Moneyman Hill finished third. Odds On Osiris, leaving from post 10, rallied to take fourth. There was plenty of emotion in the aftermath of the victory, including a teary-eyed Gingras, and an elated Marvin Katz, who co-owns Tall Dark Stranger with Crawford Farms Racing, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor. It was the second straight Cup title for Takter, who won last year with Captain Crunch. And it was also a historic triumph. "I'm overjoyed, I really am," said Katz. "I've been doing this for a very long time and I've been fortunate to have many great horses, but I think this guy really rates up with some of the greatest horses we've ever seen. This is historic. What he's done tonight has never been done before. He won the Metro as a 2-year-old, he won the Breeders Crown, he's come back to win the Meadowlands Pace and he's won the North America Cup. Somebeachsomewhere, Captaintreacherous... they couldn't do it, but he's done it." The enormity of the accomplishment wasn't lost on Takter, who wasn't able to watch the race in-person. "This is an extra-special colt in extraordinary circumstances," she told Woodbine Mohawk Park. "I'm so proud of the horse and my team." Gingras had ample praise for the competitive spirit shown by the sophomore superstar. "I rolled him to three-quarters pretty hard but he just never quits. He's just a tremendous horse - the best pacing colt I've ever driven, there's no doubt in my mind. He's just an amazing animal. I feel awesome, there's no doubt about it. This means so much. I couldn't be any happier right now." A son of 2001 Cup winner Bettor's Delight, Tall Dark Stranger, closing in on $2 million in earnings, is now 14 for 16 lifetime. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 452; 2. Tim Tetrick - 284; 3. Andrew McCarthy - 257; 4t. Dexter Dunn - 239; 4t. Brian Sears - 239. Trainers: 1. Nancy Takter - 370; 2. Ron Burke - 336; 3. Tony Alagna - 267; 4. Marcus Melander - 228; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 224. Owners: 1. Brad Grant - 98.7; 2. Determination - 90; 3. S R F Stable - 87.5; 4. Courant Inc. - 82; 5. Crawford Farms Racing - 78.9. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit racing will be taking place next week at Woodbine Mohawk Park and The Meadowlands. Mohawk Park's week will feature the finals of the Peaceful Way and William Wellwood Memorial, the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old colt pacers, Simcoe Stakes races for 3-year-old filly pacers and sophomore colt and filly trotters and Champlain Stakes events for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers. The Meadowlands will host the fifth leg of the Miss Versatility for older female trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

MILTON, ON - September 1, 2020 - Fresh off a harness racing record-setting Pepsi North America Cup, Woodbine Mohawk Park continues "Grand Circuit Month" with an all-star $2 million stakes-filled card this Saturday night (September 5). The $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot and $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby bring the best older horses in the sport to Mohawk Park. Both events received a format change this year, removing eliminations and taking the 10 horses with the highest lifetime earnings. The Maple Leaf Trot will bring together one of the richest fields of all-time, as the 10 older trotters competing have combined lifetime earnings of $16.4 million. The field consists of six horses with over $1 million earned, four with over $2 million earned and one with over $3 million earned. Seven-year-old Marion Marauder is the oldest horse in the field and the richest at $3.6 million earned. The 2016 Trotting Triple Crown champion will be making his third appearance in the Maple Leaf Trot after finishing third in last year's race and second in the 2018 edition. The Mike Keeling trainee enters off a win in the Mohawk Park Preferred on August 24. A driver has yet to be named for Marion Marauder. World champion trotting mares Atlanta and Manchego will each be looking for bounce back performances in the Maple Leaf Trot. Atlanta made a rare break in last Saturday's Armbro Flight, while Manchego has given up the lead late in each of her last two starts. Trained by Ron Burke, Atlanta finished second in last year's edition of the Maple Leaf Trot. The five-year-old is two for six this season and has earned $202,292 to bring her career earnings to $2.2 million. Regular pilot Yannick Gingras will steer. Manchego started her season red-hot and will enter her second consecutive Maple Leaf Trot for trainer Nancy Takter. The five-year-old is four for seven this season with $254,921 earned, bringing her career earnings to $2.5 million. Louis-Philippe Roy will drive Manchego for the first time in the Maple Leaf Trot. Guardian Angel As is back to defend his Maple Leaf Trot crown. The Anette Lorentzon trainee captured last year's final in 1:50.4, which was part of a seven-win and $879,788 season. The six-year-old is a 25-time winner, including two this season, and has earned $1.5 million over 61 starts. Jody Jamieson has picked up the driving assignment. Four-year-old Gimpanzee returns to the site of his Breeders Crown score for his first crack at the Maple Leaf Trot. The Marcus Melander trainee is five for six on the season and is the top earning older horse in the sport at $592,392. The career earner of $2.3 million will team with driver Doug McNair for the first time and will have to overcome the outside post nine. Completing the rest of the field is the Ake Svanseted duo of Soul Strong ($398K) and Marseille ($516K), Julie Miller's Lindy The Great ($813K), Ben Baillargeon's Run Director ($629K) and 2018 Canadian Trotting Classic winner Crystal Fashion ($1.8M) for Jim Campbell. A total of 12 horses were entered in this year's Maple Leaf Trot. On The Ropes ($303K) and Steuben Hanover ($140K) did not make the top 10 for lifetime earnings. The Maple Leaf Trot has been carded as Race 5. Post time is approximately 9 p.m. The $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby is the oldest stakes race in Canadian harness racing. A total of 19 older pacers were entered with the top 10 lifetime earners qualifying for the final, while the next nine will compete in a consolation. Double millionaire Bettors Wish is the top earner in this year's 'Pacing Derby' and will start from the rail for trainer Chris Ryder. The four-year-old cut his teeth as a rookie at Mohawk Park and also won an elimination of the Pepsi North America Cup before finishing second in last year's final. Paul MacDonell will reunite with the winner of $2.3 million for the first time since his two-year-old campaign. Trainer Ron Burke will send out four starters in the 'Pacing Derby', as Backstreet Shadow, Dorsoduro Hanover, Filibuster Hanover and This Is The Plan represent the "Burke Brigade". Backstreet Shadow and Filibuster Hanover enter off victories in their most recent starts. Backstreet Shadow finished second to Bettors Wish in the Sam McKee Memorial on August 8, while Filibuster Hanover won the consolation on that day. Yannick Gingras is listed on all the Burke horses and will have his choice of which one to drive. Dr. Ian Moore trainee Century Farroh returns to his home track for the first time since June. The four-year-old most recently captured the Dan Patch on August 14 at Hoosier Park. The former Ontario Sires Stakes champion has hit the board in seven of eight starts this season, posting two wins. Seven-year-old Sintra will be looking for his second Canadian Pacing Derby title and comes in off a strong Preferred score at Mohawk Park. The Tony Beaton trainee captured the 2017 edition and has won six of 13 starts this season. Breeders Crown champions Dancin Lou and American History will look for another marquee victory at the Campbellville oval. Tahnee Camilleri trainee Dancin Lou is three for eight in his four-year-old campaign, while Tony Alagna's American History is two for seven in his five-year-old season. Alagna will also send out Shake That House to complete the field of 10. The Canadian Pacing Derby will go as Race 9 and has an approximate post time of 10:40 p.m. The $65,000 Canadian Pacing Derby Consolation will feature a field of nine, including The Devils Own N. The Anthony Montini trained six-year-old is currently the fastest horse in Canada this season with a mark of 1:48 taken in his Mohawk Park debut on August 22. The consolation event goes as Race 7 with a post time of 9:50 p.m. LET THE GOODTIMES ROLL The $215,000 Goodtimes for three-year-old trotters will also take place on Saturday evening. All eyes will be on Ready For Moni, who is four for five on the season and was a 1:51.4 winner in last week's elimination. The Nancy Takter trainee captured the Zweig Memorial two weeks ago and was the runner-up in this year's $1 million Hambletonian. Ready For Moni races for the Pepsi North America Cup winning-duo of driver Gingras and trainer Takter. Trainer Ben Baillargeon sends out a strong one-two punch with elimination winner HP Royal Theo and Canadian record-holder Hayek. HP Royal Theo won last year's William Wellwood Memorial and last week cruised to a 1:53.1 victory for driver Louis-Philippe Roy, improving to four for seven on the campaign. Hayek finished third in his elimination, coming in off a Canadian record 1:53.3 victory at Grand River in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event. Sylvain Filion guides Hayek, who is also four for seven this season. A field of 10 will battle in the Goodtimes final, which is carded as Race 3 (8:10 p.m.) CUP HORSES RETURN FOR SIMCOE The $227,023 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers has attracted 13 combatants, split into two divisions. A quartet of last Saturday's Pepsi North America Cup starters will compete in Saturday's Grand Circuit contest. Beaumond Hanover narrowly missed making the final of the Pepsi North America Cup, finishing sixth in his elimination. The Jack Darling trainee returns to action after a week off with an opportunity at some redemption. He lines up from the rail for driver Jody Jamieson in a field of seven for the first division. Pepsi North America Cup starter Mayhem Hanover, who finished ninth in the $1 million race, will also compete in the opening split for the driver/trainer team of Doug and Gregg McNair. The second division will see a field of six compete, including Cup starters Tattoo Artist, Captain Barbossa and Capt Midnight. Tattoo Artist finished second in the Pepsi North America Cup to Tall Dark Stranger. The Dr. Moore trainee is five for eight on the season and will have his regular driver Bob McClure steering once again. The Alagna duo of Captain Barbossa, seventh in the Cup, and Capt Midnight, fifth in the Cup, will look to make things difficult for Tattoo Artist. The Simcoe Stakes divisions have been carded as Races 8 (10:15) and 11 (11:30 p.m.). ONTARIO SIRES STAKES ACTION The stakes-filled program Saturday also includes OSS Gold events for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings and three-year-old pacing fillies. The rookie male pacers will have two $105,600 divisions, each with seven-horses. The sophomore pacing fillies will have two $104,800 divisions, each with a field of six. SPECIAL POST TIME Due to the Kentucky Derby, Woodbine Mohawk Park has pushed its start time for Saturday's card back to 7:20 p.m. To download early program pages for the $2 million card, click here. Below are the fields for the $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot and $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby. Race 6 - $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot 1 Soul Strong - Sylvain Filion - Ake Svanstedt 2 Marion Marauder - TBA - Mike Keeling 3 Guardian Angel As - Jody Jamieson - Anette Lorentzon 4 Atlanta - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke 5 Lindy The Great - James MacDonald - Julie Miller 6 Run Director - Sylvain Filion - Ben Baillargeon 7 Marseille - Trevor Henry - Ake Svanstedt 8 Crystal Fashion - Bob McClure - Jim Campbell 9 Gimpanzee - Doug McNair - Marcus Melander 10 Manchego - Louis-Philippe Roy - Nancy Takter AE On The Ropes - Jonathan Drury - Carmen Auciello Race 9 - $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby 1 Bettors Wish - Paul MacDonell - Chris Ryder 2 Dancin Lou - Doug McNair - Tahnee Camilleri 3 Backstreet Shadow - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke 4 Sintra - Jody Jamieson - Anthony Beaton 5 American History - Bob McClure - Tony Alagna 6 Shake That House - Doug McNair - Tony Alagna 7 Century Farroh - Sylvain Filion - Dr. Ian Moore 8 Dorsoduro Hanover - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke 9 Filibuster Hanover - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke 10 This Is The Plan - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke AE Western Joe - Doug McNair - Christopher Choate by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

MILTON, ON - August 31, 2019 - Courtly Choice and driver James MacDonald stormed by harness racing rivals in the stretch for a 30-1 upset victory in Saturday's $525,000C Canadian Pacing Derby at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Blake MacIntosh trained four-year-old rallied from sixth with a :25.3 final-quarter to nail heavy-favourite Lather Up at the wire for a 1:48.4 victory. "It was amazing, I can't even put it into words I'm so happy," said MacDonald. "I've been trying to get a crack at one of these big ones in Canada and I just haven't had a lot of luck and tonight the race set up great and the horse was just unbelievable." Lather Up and driver Montrell Teague brushed from fourth to first entering the backstretch to overtake This Is The Plan, who cut a :25.4 opening-quarter. Courtly Choice and MacDonald got away seventh in the field and were following defending champion McWicked. After a :54.1 half, Lather Up was confronted by first-up challenger Done Well heading to three-quarters. The racing action got tight going to three-quarters, as This Is The Plan was climbing over the back of Teague with Lather Up. The 1/5 favourite has previously had issues with turns and gave up a short-advantage to Done Well at three-quarters in 1:22.1. Courtly Choice and MacDonald were set up to follow McWicked around the final-turn, but the defending champion moved back down to the rail. Courtly Choice ultimately was placed a couple lengths behind the second-over challenger Western Fame turning for home. In the stretch, Lather Up embraced the straightaway and tried to pull away from rivals. Victory appeared to be within reach for Lather Up, until all eyes focused on Courtly Choice flying on the far outside, powering by rivals to reach up for a half length victory. Lather Up settled for second, while Western Fame was third and This Is The Plan finished fourth. "I can't even explain the feeling he was pacing so hard," said MacDonald of Courtly Choice. "I knew I had a lot of pace, but he was just trying to get into gear, and then everyone was kind of just fanning out and I didn't know what Lather Up would do because he always comes back on and he's just such a great horse. "Lather Up has just been unbeatable, and just special to watch. Even just to be on the track is an honour and then to get to beat him in front of my home crowd... it was amazing." A four-year-old son of Art Major, Courtly Choice picks up his fourth win in 12 outings this season and 16th of his career. Last year's Little Brown Jug champion has now earned over $1.3 million for owners Hutt Racing Stable, Mac And Heim Stables, Daniel Plouffe and Touchstone Farms Inc. The Canadian Pacing Derby victory is the first for driver MacDonald and trainer MacIntosh, who noted the victory ranks near the top for him personally. "Right up there because winning at your home track and we were an underdog coming in," said MacIntosh, noting that Courtly Choice was starting to return to top form in recent weeks. "I knew that James was taking care of him there the last couple weeks, and he looked like he was back to his old self, (I'm) just ecstatic about this." Courtly Choice paid $71.30, $9.20, $4.60. The $2 Exacta with Lather Up returned $205.90, while the $2 Trifecta with Western Fame paid $1,946.20. The Superfecta completed by This Is The Plan paid $6,524.75 for a $1 ticket. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

MILTON, ON - August 27, 2019 - McWicked, the richest pacing stallion in harness racing history with over $4.5 million earned, returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park this Saturday's (August 31) to defend his title in the $525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby Owned by Ed James' S S G Stables, McWicked sat atop the free-for-all pacing ranks last season with a campaign consisting of 12 wins from 19 starts and earnings of over $1.6 million. The son of McArdle also overcame a season-long challenge by besting the down-under wonder Lazarus N in progress to a horse of the year title--making him the oldest recipient of the honour in the sport's history. While Mcwicked won in his seasonal debut this year, he has since mostly only collected cheques in his division's top events--losing thrice to Canadian Pacing Derby favourite Lather Up. However, Coleman has only seen improvement from her stable's star. "He's always been a great horse, but I think the competition this year is the toughest it's ever been yet," Coleman said. "Lazarus was a good horse no doubt, but I was never one that lived up to how much they hyped that horse up--he was a very good horse but I always thought I was better than him. "Basically, I don't think Lather Up and Lazarus are in the same league," Coleman also said. "I think Lather Up is a complete freak and I am scared of him--I think on a smaller track I have a better chance to beat him if he doesn't pace the turns so well, but on a big track that horse is a beast. Whereas I never went to the gate thinking I couldn't beat Lazarus; I always thought I could beat Lazarus. And with Lather Up I realize that I need a lot of things to go my way and a lot of things to not go his way in order to beat him." Mcwicked, who Coleman said is training as good as he has ever trained, faces a field composed mostly of four-year-olds. He will rematch others who have beaten him this year, including This Is The Plan (PP1) and Jimmy Freight (PP4). Mcwicked starts from the outermost post in the field of nine with David Miller in the bike. "I wanted to get sick when I saw the draw," Coleman said. "The nine hole in that field... he's got his work cut out for him. That's going to be a tough race. If he had an inside post, I'd feel a whole lot more confident, but the nine hole is going to be tough, especially since Wicked doesn't normally leave a whole lot. He'll definitely be giving it all he's got. It's just that in this class of horses, everybody can come home in :25-and-a-piece and :26. So we need to hope he's not spotted too far off coming down the lane. "But saying that, the horse is in great shape," Coleman also said. "He's healthy, sound, feeling great, couldn't have trained any better this morning. Everything seems very, very good with the horse. I just really wish we could've drawn a little better but now we need a little bit of racing luck to work that way." While Mcwicked faces a challenge Saturday night, the aged dynamo could have a chance to claim stakes glory as a nine-year-old. "He's sound, healthy, sharp, you would never know the horse is eight-years-old," Coleman said. "As I've always said, if he was my horse, I would be taking one of these offers to go to stud because I just know how much money these horses make when they go to stud. "But his owner is bound and determined; if [McWicked's] racing top level and he's healthy, he wants to keep racing. It's great for harness racing that a horse like him can stay on the track this long." The Canadian Pacing Derby is carded as Race 8 on Saturday's $1.6 million card at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The $525,000 Maple Leaf Trot joins the 'Pacing Derby' as a co-main event. Post time is 7:10 p.m. No Training Saturday at Mohawk Park Woodbine Mohawk Park would like to inform all horsepeople of a trio of Saturdays when training will not be available at the track. The track and paddock will be closed on August 31, September 14 and 21. Only horses in retention for that evening’s stakes races will be allowed to use the track on those dates. By Ray Cotolo for Woodbine Entertainment

This Week: Yonkers Trot, Messenger Stakes, Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Maple Leaf Trot, Canadian Pacing Derby, Simcoe Stakes, and Champlain Stakes, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario. Schedule of events: A busy holiday weekend of Grand Circuit action is led by a pair of Triple Crown events at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Aug. 31). The Hilltop oval will host the $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-old trotters and the $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers. These races will be the second legs in the Triple Crown for their respective gaits. Also on the Saturday program will be the $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot for 3-year-olds and the $122,224 Lady Maud for 3-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk commences on Thursday (Aug. 29) with two divisions in the C$195,597 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Aug. 30) program is highlighted by a single division in the C$128,876 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Saturday (Aug. 31) program features the C$600,000 Maple Leat Trot for older trotters and the C$525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers. Also on the program will be a single division in the C$171,503 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers. Complete entries for the races at Yonkers are available at this link. Entries for the Woodbine Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: It was a 'non-Bettor's Wish' Saturday night (Aug. 24) during Yonkers Raceway's eliminations for the 64th Messenger Stakes. Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn), the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into the second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, summarily disposed of his five rivals in a non-wagering elimination. A pole-sitting second early in the $40,000 off-the-card elimination, Bettor's Wish took over from American Mercury (Tyler Buter) before a :28 opening quarter-mile. After a pedestrian :58 intermission, Escapetothebeach (Corey Callahan) tried it first-up from fourth. Bettor's Wish led through a 1:26.1 three-quarters, eventually holding off American Mercury by a half-length in 1:53.2. Escapetothebeach backed away but held third, with Branquinho (Jason Bartlett) fourth. That quartet goes into this Saturday night's (Aug. 31) $500,000 finale of the Messenger. Bettor's Wish, a Bettor's Delight colt, has hit the board in 22-of-23 career tries (13 wins, seven seconds, two thirds, $1,131,600). He now has eight wins and three seconds in 11 '19 tries ($859,544). Chris Ryder co-owns (with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Bettors Wish Partners) and trains. "He was just so great, so easy to drive," Dunn said. "I can't wait for next week." The on-the-card, $40,000 elimination saw Aflame Hanover (Callahan, $6) finish what he started. From post position three, he never had an issue (:27.4, :56.3, 1:24, 1:52), beating pocketed pole-sitter U S Captain (Bartlett) by 1-1/2 lengths. Waterway (Joe Bongiorno), paired with the runner-up as the 17-10 wagering choice, was a closing third, while 37-1 rank outsider Reigning Deo (George Brennan) was a ground-saving fourth to advance. For second choice Aflame Hanover, a Russell Hanover gelding co-owned by trainer Linda and Tony Schadel, it was his fourth win in 16 seasonal starts. "He was super," Callahan said. "He did everything I asked. His hobble hanger broke, but that didn't bother him." Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 776; 2. Yannick Gingras - 581; 3. David Miller - 486; 4. Dexter Dunn - 419; 5. Brian Sears - 374. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 713; 2. Tony Alagna - 366; 3. Jim King Jr. - 299; 4. Marcus Melander - 279; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 233. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 192; 2. Brad Grant - 137.5; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 134.6; 4. Courant Inc. - 122.5; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 122.1. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Scioto Downs, and Tioga Downs. Woodbine Mohawk will feature eliminations of the Peaceful Way and William Wellwood Memorial, Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-olds (filly pacers, filly trotters and colt trotters) and Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old pacers; Scioto will host the Jim Ewart Memorial for older pacers and the Charlie Hill for older trotters; and Tioga Downs will feature a leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

MILTON, ON - August 27, 2019 - Harness racing's heavyweights will clash this Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park for the $600,000 Maple Leaf Trot and $525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby. Over $1.6 million in purses will be up for grabs on a stakes-filled program, including the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers and Ontario Sires Stakes Gold for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings joining the co-main events. The Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters has been carded as Race 5, while the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers will go as Race 8. The Canadian Pacing Derby is the oldest stakes race in Canadian harness racing and this year's edition will feature a field of nine with $14.2 million in combined career earnings, including the defending champion and the co-fastest Standardbred of all-time. Casie Coleman trainee McWicked is returning to defend his 'Pacing Derby' title. The eight-year-old captured last year's edition in convincing fashion en route to being named the Horse of the Year in both Canada and the US. McWicked continues to add to incredible legacy with over $500,000 earned this season to bring his career earnings to $4.5 million for owner Ed James' S S G Stables. The superstar pacer led all Standardbreds in earnings last season, becoming the oldest horse in 43 years to top the money standings. He is also the oldest horse in harness racing history to receive Horse of the Year honours. David Miller, who steered McWicked to victory in last year's race, will sit behind the Coleman trainee for the first-time this season. The duo will start from the outside post-nine. Lather Up, the co-fastest Standardbred of all-time, will return to the site of his richest victory and attempt to add another lucrative victory to his dream season. The four-year-old captured last year's $1 million Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Park and earlier this season matched Always B Miki's world record of 1:46 at The Meadowlands. Trained by Clyde Francis, Lather Up is undefeated in six career starts at Mohawk Park. The son of Im Gorgeous is currently riding a four-race win streak, which includes victories in the Dan Patch, Sam McKee Memorial, Haughton Memorial and Graduate Series, to bring his season record to eight wins in 11 starts and career record to 23 wins in 36 starts. Montrell Teague will team up with the career-earner of $1.7 million to start from post-five. The Canadian Pacing Derby field also includes This Is The Plan (PP1, Yannick Gingras), Done Well (PP2, Andrew McCarthy), Western Fame (PP3, Louis Philippe Roy), Jimmy Freight (PP4, Scott Zeron), Courtly Choice (PP6, James MacDonald), Filibuster Hanover (PP7, Gingras) and Casimir Richie P (PP8, Sylvain Filion). The Maple Leaf Trot will feature an 'All-Star' field of ten older trotters, including four mares, competing for a purse of $600,000. Eliminations winners Crystal Fashion and Guardian Angel As carry the momentum into Saturday's final. Jim Campbell trainee Crystal Fashion will be looking to pull off the Canadian Trotting Classic-Maple Leaf Trot back-to-back. The four-year-old captured last year's marquee event for sophomore trotters and returned to Mohawk Park to win his elimination last Saturday by a pair of lengths in 1:52. Crystal Fashion is currently on a three-race win streak to bring his four-year-old record to five wins and $450,775 earned in nine starts. His career numbers sit at 18 wins and $1.7 million earned for owner Fashion Farms. David Miller will guide the Campbell trainee from post-two. Anette Lorentzon trainee Guardian Angel As has been putting together a fantastic five-year-old season and enters the Maple Leaf Trot final off a game 1:51.4 elimination score. The five-year-old has won six of nine starts and earned just shy of $400,000 this season. Guatdian Angel As has competed in many marquee events over his career. A victory in the Maple Leaf Trot would mark his first classic victory and push him over $1 million in career earnings for owners Acl Stuteri and Kjell Johansson. Driver Tim Tetrick has the assignment behind Guardian Angel As and the duo will start from post-three. A quartet of accomplished mares will compete in Saturday's Maple Leaf Trot. World champion Atlanta was just short to Guardian Angel As in last Saturday's elimination and will now have to overcome post-ten. The Ron Burke trainee captured the Armbro Flight earlier this year at Mohawk in Track Record fashion. Luc Blais trainee Emoticon Hanover will compete in her second Maple Leaf Trot final. The two-time Breeders Crown champion is the second-richest horse in the field with over $1.7 million earned. She will start from post-nine. Blais will also send out mare Dream Together, a career-earner of $835,250, from post-six. Manchego completes the mare quartet and will start from post-seven. The Nancy Johansson trained four-year-old has a pair of victories this season and will be looking to add to her career-earnings of $1.7 million. The richest horse in the Maple Leaf Trot field is six-year-old Marion Marauder at $3.3 million. The Mike Keeling trainee is winless in five starts this season but rallied in his elimination to finish second. The Maple Leaf Trot field is completed by millionaire Six Pack (PP1, Ake Svanstedt), Speeding Spur N (PP4, Jody Jamieson) and Dancer Hall (PP5, Bob McClure). Saturday's program also includes the return of Pepsi North America Cup winner Captain Crunch to Mohawk Park for the $171,503 Simcoe Stakes. Captain Crunch will tackle Meadowlands Pace winner Best In Show and five other rivals in the Grand Circuit contest. Trained by Nancy Johansson, Captain Crunch will be making his first start since winning the Cane Pace on August 3. The son of Captaintreacherous has won five of seven starts this season and earned $777,027 for owners 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms. The Simcoe Stakes is carded as Race 9. A trio of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings will also take place on Saturday's program. The second division will see the undefeated Johansson trained colt Tall Dark Stranger search for his fourth consecutive victory. The OSS Gold divisions are carded as Races 2, 3 and 6. Post time for Saturday evening's $1.6 million card is 7:10 p.m. Visit www.WoodbineMohawkPark.com for full event details. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

MILTON, ON - August 20, 2019 - World champion Lather Up and defending champion McWicked headline a group of nine entrants for this year's $525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby. The entry box for Canada's oldest harness stakes race closed Tuesday morning with nine older pacers entered. Eliminations will not be required for this year's edition of the Canadian Pacing Derby and all nine will compete in the $525,000 final on Saturday, August 31 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Lather Up, the co-fastest Standardbred of all-time, will return to the site of his richest victory and attempt to add another lucrative victory to his dream season. The four-year-old captured last year's $1 million Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Park and earlier this season matched Always B Miki's world record of 1:46 at The Meadowlands. Trained by Clyde Francis, Lather Up is undefeated in six career starts at Mohawk Park. The son of Im Gorgeous is currently riding a four-race win streak, which includes victories in the Dan Patch, Sam McKee Memorial, Haughton Memorial and Graduate Series, to bring his season record to eight wins in 11 starts and career record to 23 wins in 36 starts. A 50 per cent interest in Lather Up was recently purchased by Taylor Made Sales and Stallions, who owned last year's 'Pacing Derby' runner-up Lazarus N. The ownership group of Lather Up consists of his breeders Gary & Barbara Iles, George Teague and Taylor Made Stallions. The four-year-old currently sits at $1.7 million in career earnings. Casie Coleman trainee McWicked is returning to defend his 'Pacing Derby' title. The eight-year-old captured last year's edition in convincing fashion en route to being named the Horse of the Year in both Canada and the US. McWicked continues to add to incredible legacy with over $500,000 earned this season to bring his career earnings to $4.5 million for owner Ed James' S S G Stables. The superstar pacer led all Standardbreds in earnings last season, becoming the oldest horse in 43 years to top the money standings. He is also the oldest horse in harness racing history to receive Horse of the Year honours. The Coleman trained McWicked most recently captured the Roll With Joe last Sunday afternoon at Tioga. Lather Up and McWicked have competed against each other five-times this season. The season-series currently favours Lather Up, who has scored victories in four of those five meetings. Ron Burke trainee This Is The Plan heads towards the Canadian Pacing Derby with plenty of momentum on his side. The four-year-old gelding captured last Sunday's Prix D'Ete at Hippodrome 3R in a Canadian record of 1:49.1. This Is The Plan's only other victory this season came against four of his 'Pacing Derby' rivals in the $500,000 Ben Franklin at Pocono. He sports the second highest seasonal earnings in the field with $651,868 collected in 13 starts. Done Well and Filibuster Hanover join This Is The Plan to make up a trio of competitors in this year's edition from the Burke barn. There are plenty of local hopefuls joining McWicked in this year's 'Pacing Derby. Dr. Ian Moore trainee Casimir Richie P, Blake MacIntosh trainee Courtly Choice, Richard Moreau trainee Jimmy Freight and Carmen Auciello trainee Western Fame will all compete in the $525,000 contest. Courtly Choice captured last year's Little Brown Jug and tuned up last Saturday for the 'Pacing Derby' with a 1:49 victory in the Preferred at Mohawk Park. He's won three of 10 stars to this point in his four-year-old campaign. Casimir Richie P has quietly risen to the Preferred ranks during his four-year-old season, posting six wins in 15 starts. Despite just one win this season, Jimmy Freight has banked more than $250,000 in 11 starts. The four-year-old's lone victory came in the Mohawk Gold Cup and he's also finished second in the Confederation Cup and Battle of Lake Erie. Levy Series winner Western Fame ranks third among the nine entrants in seasonal earnings with $551,400 earned in 13 starts this season. The six-year-old joined the barn of Auciello for his most recent effort, a second-place finish to Courtly Choice in last Saturday's Preferred. The nine entrants in this year's Canadian Pacing Derby have combined career earnings of $14.2 million. The draw for the $525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby final will take place Saturday evening (August 24). The $600,000 Maple Leaf Trot joins the 'Pacing Derby' to headline an huge stakes program on August 31 at Mohawk Park. The entrants for this year's Canadian Pacing Derby are listed in alphabetical order: Casimir Richie P Courtly Choice Done Well Filibuster Hanover Jimmy Freight Lather Up McWicked This Is The Plan Western Fame by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

MILTON, ON -  February 15, 2019 - Woodbine Entertainment would like to issue a final reminder of today's (February 15) deadline for nominations to its 2019 stakes program at Mohawk Park. Nominations are due for all major stakes, including the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup for three-year-old pacers, Canada's richest Standardbred race. Below is the full list of events with nominations closing today (February 15): Pepsi North America Cup (3-year-old pace) Armbro Flight (3-year-olds & older, fillies & mares trot) Canadian Pacing Derby (3-year-olds & older pace) Canadian Trotting Classic (3-year-old trot) Casual Breeze (3-year-old filly trot) Elegantimage (3-year-old filly trot) Eternal Camnation (2-year-old filly pace) Fan Hanover (3-year-old filly pace) Goodtimes (3-year-old trot) Maple Leaf Trot (3-year-olds & older trot) Metro Pace (2-year-old pace) Milton (3-year-olds & older, fillies & mares pace) Nassagaweya (2-year-old pace) Peaceful Way (2-year-old filly trot) Roses Are Red (3-year-olds & older, fillies & mares pace) Shes A Great Lady (2-year-old filly pace) Somebeachsomewhere (3-year-old pace) William Wellwood Memorial (2-year-old trot) Woodbine also handles the administration of stakes events contested at various tracks across Ontario. Nominations are due today for the following events: Grand River Raceway: Battle of Waterloo (Ontario Sired 2-year-old pace) Battle of the Belles (Ontario Sired 2-year-old filly pace) Flamboro Downs: Confederation Cup (4-year-old pace) Hanover Raceway: Balanced Image (Ontario Sired 2-year-old trot) Dream Of Glory (Ontario Sired 3-year-old trot, non-winners of $75,000, fillies $100,000, in 2018) Clinton Raceway: Kin Pace (Ontario Sired 3-year-old filly pace, non-winners of $50,000 in 2018) The 2019 Woodbine Stakes Booklet can be viewed by clicking here. To view the nomination form for today's closing, click here. Stakes payments can be made online by clicking here. If sending nominations by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than February 15, 2019 or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications  

This Week: Canadian Trotting Classic, Elegantimage, William Wellwood Memorial, and Peaceful Way finals; and Milton Stakes, Metro and She's A Great Lady eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario; and Kindergarten Series, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off at Tioga Downs on Friday (Sept. 14) with two $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old filly trotters and single $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt trotters, 2-year-old colt pacers and 2-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk Park also begins on Friday with two C$35,000 eliminations in the Milton for older pacing mares. A big Saturday card will feature the C$665,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-old open trotters, the C$340,000 Elegantimage for 3-year-old filly trotters, the C$400,000 William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old trotting colts, the C$385,000 Peaceful Way for 2-year-old trotting fillies, two C$40,000 eliminations in the Metro for 2-year-old pacing colts and two C$35,000 eliminations in the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old pacing fillies. Complete entries for the Tioga races are available at this link. Entries for the Woodbine Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: On Saturday evening (Sept. 8) at Eldorado Scioto Downs, Split The House (Aaron Merriman) demonstrated why he is the defending Breeders Crown champion with a 1:49.1 triumph over Nuclear Dragon (Dan Noble) in the $250,000 Jim Ewart Memorial. Split The House was a neck winner over Nuclear Dragon in 1:49.1 on a sloppy track. Filibuster Hanover (Tony Hall) was third, with Western Fame (Tyler Smith) and favored McWicked (David Miller) dead-heating for fourth on the sloppy track. Merriman and his charge stated their case when leaving with conviction from post position six. Nuclear Dragon, however, snatched the front to lead the field through a sharp :26.2 first quarter-mile. Noble continued to sulky-sit as Nuclear Dragon paced his splits in :53.2 and 1:20.4. It appeared the 6-year-old gelding was on his way to his first Grand Circuit victory. That is until a resurgent Split The House rallied on the rail to win by a neck and collect his second victory of the season in nine starts and 14th in 39 career efforts. Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Split The House is trained by Chris Oakes. He has now earned $306,846 in 2018 and $913,179 lifetime. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 843.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 820.5; 3. David Miller - 539.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 402; 5. Jordan Stratton - 288. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 697.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 629; 3. Tony Alagna - 440; 4. Jim Campbell - 256; 5. Erv Miller - 245. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 169; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 154.3; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 149.3; 4. Brittany Farms - 147.4; 5. Robert Key - 122. Looking ahead: A busy schedule of Grand Circuit racing will be taking place next week at the Delaware County Fair, Woodbine Mohawk Park and Hoosier Park. Delaware will be hosting nine Grand Circuit events, led by the Little Brown Jug, the third and final leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds; Woodbine Mohawk will feature the finals of the Milton for older pacing mares and Metro and She's A Great Lady for freshman pacers; Hoosier will host seven Grand Circuit races, including the Caesars Trotting Classic for open trotters and the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for open pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit    

MILTON, ON - August 30, 2018 - Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter has done everything and more during his career in harness racing. The 58-year-old has trained and managed some of the sport's greatest champions for more than two decades and every year continues to add names to his list of 'All-Stars'. With $130 million in career earnings and too many award winners to list, it's fair to ask what keeps Jimmy Takter motivated and excited for his work? Enter Lazarus. 'The Wonder from Down Under' is Takter's latest project and exactly the kind of challenge he seeks at this stage in his career. "When you've had as many top horses as I've had over the last 20 years, that's what I crave, that's my excitement," said Takter of training Lazarus. "When they send me a horse they paid big money for, it's a great challenge. "There are a lot of things that can go wrong, it's a million things that can go wrong. You can question am I too tough on him. That's why you've got to have a feeling for it." Takter is a king of his craft and taken horses to the top in every way. His ranking among the greatest trainers of all-time is backed by his ability to get horses to the top, whether they started with him, like Ariana G, or arrived in his barn with more to accomplish, like Always B Miki. "I've been dealing with great horses and I think at my age I've developed into maybe one of the best in the world to manage a great horse," Takter said. "It's one thing to get a great horse there and then another thing to keep it there and keep it going. "I still have my Great Vintage and Sunfire Blue Chip winning races. Great Vintage winning the Open at Yonkers at 10-years-old. That's what I'm good at. They are great horses, but they start getting a little older, so you've got to manage them right, put them in the right races, race them when you know they are ready." Taylor Made Stallions, the leading consignor of Thoroughbreds, purchased Down Under champion Lazarus earlier this year to bring the six-year-old to North America with hopes to conquer the best older pacers in Canada and the U.S. It was no shock to fans and industry participants that Takter was the trainer selected by the Thoroughbred breeding powerhouse to prepare and manage 'The Wonder from Down Under'. "Taylor Made, they are new customers in my operation, they've given me 100 per cent free hands how to manage this horse," Takter said. "They are absolutely first-class owners, they love this." The addition of Taylor Made into the Standardbred game made headlines throughout the sport and has been a breath of fresh air. Duncan Taylor, CEO of Taylor Made Sales and Stallions, leads the team that has been bold in promoting their star and working with racetracks. "They're not regular owners," Takter noted. "Taylor Made is the biggest Thoroughbred seller in the business. They've sold yearlings over $2 billion in sales and another additional $1 billion privately. "I wouldn't be surprised if they have someone land with a parachute with Lazarus on it. They are great people. They give away things. They are givers not takers." Lazarus has just one star under his belt in North America, but the son of Bettors Delight has been the talk of the sport in both Canada and the U.S. He arrived in North America with 35 wins and more than $2.6 million earned in 45 starts Down Under. 'The Wonder from Down Under' arrived in Takter's barn with a lengthy list of accomplishments, but with the look of a horse that had just traveled across the world. "He's a good-looking horse, but not 'wow'," Takter said. "He came up and he had about two and a half days of flying, it's like a horror trip to get here." Lazarus adjusted to his new environment and entered Takter's training routine, growing stronger with each week. "He adapted to it very fast and I started feeling this horse is ready." Lazarus took to the track at The Meadowlands on July 28 and more than proved his trainer's judgement, qualifying in 1:48.3. Next step was a race and the six-year-old made an even bigger statement defeating many of the division's best in the Dan Patch at Hoosier Park on August 10. Viewed as an equine Rockstar Down Under, Lazarus has impressed Takter with his attitude. "Every day I see him he gets more personality coming out of him and he talks a lot this horse," Takter said. "It's so funny when you're training him he talks the entire mile. "I've never seen a horse that talks as much as he does." The Hall of Fame trainer is no stranger to media requests, but the following Lazarus receives is unlike anything seen in North America. "Every time he races I have to do something," Takter noted. "When he won in Indiana he made the headline news (in New Zealand) on national tv, not just the sports." The hype surrounding Lazarus continues to grow and the six-year-old is by far the star of the show at Mohawk Park on Saturday evening for the Canadian Pacing Derby. Fans attending Saturday's card will receive a special poster and rally towel to commemorate Lazarus' Canadian debut. Takter believes Lazarus is the boost North American harness racing needs. "We need this in harness racing, we really do need a horse that is special and people want to come out and it's a great horse for racetracks to promote," Takter said. "People will say 'I need to go out and see this horse from New Zealand'." The Canadian Pacing Derby is the next stop for Project: Lazarus. As expected, Takter is confident heading into the $600,000 race and enjoying the journey managing another champion. "I know this horse is very special." by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications  

MILTON, ON - August 28, 2018 - The $651,000 Maple Leaf Trot and $600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby will be the co-main events for this Saturday's $1.7 million card at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The rich events are joined by the $191,200 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings and the $169,183 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotters to make up the stakes portion of a 13-race card. The $600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby will feature the Canadian debut of Lazarus. 'The Wonder from Down Under' has drawn post-two in the 10-horse field and enters off a stunning victory in his North American debut on August 10 at Hoosier Park. Lazarus was driven aggressively by Yannick Gingras from an outside post in his U.S. debut, powering on the front to a 1:48.4 victory. The inside starting spot allows Gingras to have more options and he is considering them all heading into the Canadian Pacing Derby. "I think (Lazarus) loves to chase horses down," said Gingras to Sky Sports Radio earlier this week. "I don't have nothing against maybe somehow work a second-over or even come first-over with him if the fractions are hot at the front, I'm not against that. "This is a new race and there will be a different strategy." Lazarus is trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter for Taylor Made Stallions, who purchased the Down Under champion earlier this year. The son of Bettors Delight has won 36 of 46 starts and accumulated $2.8 million in earnings. The Canadian Pacing Derby did not require eliminations with 10 horses entering, forcing Takter to change his plans and train Lazarus at his farm in New Jersey. "I stretched him out a little bit 1:51.3 mile here at my farm last Wednesday (August 22)," said Takter on Tuesday. "He felt really nice and I was very happy with how he felt and couldn't be happier." Seven-year-old McWicked is pegged as Lazarus' biggest challenger and will start one spot over in post-three for driver David Miller and trainer Casie Coleman. A triple-millionaire, McWicked finished a hard-closing third on August 10 at Hoosier and joins Lazarus as the horses off the longest going into the Pacing Derby. The Coleman trainee has won six of 10 starts this season and is a 28-time winner during his career. The Canadian Pacing Derby field also includes Split The House (PP1, Brett Miller), last year's Breeders Crown champion, Sintra (PP8, Jody Jamieson), last year's Pacing Derby champion, and three starterss from the Ron Burke barn. Rockin Ron (PP4, Louis Philippe Roy), Filibuster Hanover (PP5, Tim Tetrick) and All Bets Off (PP6, Matt Kakaley) make up the three-headed monster for harness racing's leading trainer. The $600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby has been carded as Race 8 and is set for a 9:45 p.m. post time. A special half-hour broadcast of the Canadian Pacing Derby will air on TSN GO from 9:30-10 p.m. The $651,000 Maple Leaf Trot features one of the deepest fields in recent history. The 10-horse field for the Maple Leaf Trot consists of five-winners of more than $2 million in career earnings and six-winners of more than $1 million. Defending champion Hannelore Hanover (PP7, Gingras) will be looking to bounce back from a third-place finish in her elimination to try and retain her crowd. The Burke trained six-year-old mare is on a three-race losing streak heading into the final. Ariana G (PP4, David Miller) offers trainer Takter a legit chance at a sweep of Saturday's co-main events, as the four-year-old mare teamed up with driver David Miller for the first-time last weekend to win her elimination in 1:52.4. A World Champion at three, Ariana G has earned $2.3 million during her career and has won seven of eight career starts at Mohawk Park. Marion Marauder (PP3, Scott Zeron), the 2016 Trotting Triple Crown champion, is riding plenty of momentum into the final. The five-year-old won his elimination in 1:53.1 and surpassed $3 million in career earnings with the winner's share of the $40,000 purse. Trained by Mike Keeling and Paula Wellwood, Marion Marauder has won five of eight starts this season and will enter Saturday's contest having won four of his last five. ""He's just fun to race and fun to watch," said Keeling following last Saturday's elimination. "He doesn't have particular style...You just kind of watch and go 'how does he get this done' but him and Scott (Zeron) just get along so well. It's been a great ride and I hope we get to keep going." The Maple Leaf Trot has been carded as Race 10 and is set for a 10:35 p.m. post time. Saturday's card also features the $169,183 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotters. The Grand Circuit event has attracted a field of 11 and all starters are eligible to the Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations on September 8. The Simcoe Stakes is carded as Race 5. The $191,200 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings will feature two divisionx Saturday, which have been carded as Races 3 and 9. Post time for Saturday's $1.7 million card is 7:10 p.m. To view the entries and an early-program for Saturday's card, click here. Fans attending Saturday's races will receive a special Lazarus poster to commemorate his visit to Woodbine Mohawk Park. Several of the posters will have a special marking for the lucky poster-holders to have it signed by the connections of 'The Wonder from Down Under'. Lazarus rally towels will also be distributed during the evening. The great entertainment for fans on Saturday will not be limited to the 13-races contested. The Canadian Cowgirls drill team, consisting of 28 women and 28 horses, will perform following the third-race in front of the grandstand. Canadian country recording artist Elyse Saunders will sing the Canadian national anthem prior to the first-race. She will also be performing for fans in between races until 11 p.m. For more information about Saturday's Canadian Pacing Derby and Maple Leaf Trot, visit www.WoodbineMohawkPark.com. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

LAZARUS’ dominant debut US win certainly didn’t surprise former world champion driver James MacDonald. In fact, MacDonald is already strongly tipping a repeat dose in the $600,000 Canadian Derby at Woodbine Mohawk on Sunday morning NZ time. “This race is no harder than last time. I’d expect the same result. He’s drawn better and should be fitter. McWicked would be the danger again if he can get the right trip,” he said. “Lazarus earnt so much respect last start the way he won. If Yannick wants to press for the front or gets headed and wants to re-take, he’s got that respect now.” So where will another win this week sit Lazarus on the scale of North America’s best pacers, which is essentially the world’s best? “These are the best of the best he’s facing this week. There might be a few others here and there, but it won’t get harder than this,” MacDonald said. “If he keeps going the way he is, he will be the best over here. “The sky is the limit for him knowing Yannick (Gingras, driver) told me he should keep getting better as he gets fitter and adapts more to the style of racing.” MacDonald’s opinion of Lazarus was in high demand at home given he had the opportunity to watch the megastar win the Perth Inter Dominion in the flesh while he contested some invitational driver races at Gloucester Park last December. “I told everyone I’d never seen a horse do what he did in that final, sit parked and run past them like he did,” he said. “I think he was a bit under-estimated when he got here, but not anymore. Not after that first win. “My only query was how would acclimatise to the shorter speed racing and how fast he could get off the gate, but he answered both those things in that first win.” Adam Hamilton

Lazarus has a rare chance to complete a historic full set of major race wins after securing a perfect draw for Sunday's C$615,000 Canadian Pacing Derby. The champion Kiwi pacer has drawn barrier two in his second North American start, which is scheduled for 1.50pm (NZ time) on Sunday and after his bullying win in the Dan Patch in Indiana two weeks ago he has opened a $1.45 favourite with the NZ TAB. The Dan Patch was Lazarus' first start for his new United States owners after being sold for $4 million in the hopes he can win some of North America's biggest races and become a dual-hemisphere stallion prospect. The Dan Patch victory, in which Lazarus overcame barrier nine to lead for most of the race, saw the hype around the six-year-old go sky high and with Sunday's field not much stronger, Lazarus will only need to maintain that performance level to probably win again. Although trotting races are held in many parts of the world, the pacing gait is the focal point of the harness racing industry in only four countries - New Zealand, Australia, United States and Canada. If Lazarus wins on Sunday, he will have won a group one race or equivalent level race in all four of those countries inside 10 months. So while Kiwi pacing heroes such as Cardigan Bay and Young Quinn have tasted serious success in North America before, Lazarus' effort might be the first clean-sweep in such a short-time frame. Such is the interest in the superstar, Trackside television plan to have 20 minutes of lead-in from the Woodbine track before the race. Closer to home, Dream About Me looks set to start favourite in Friday night's Maurice Holmes Vase at Addington as the countdown to the New Zealand Trotting Cup starts to get serious. Thefixer downed Dream About Me in the first open class race of the season last Thursday but that was under handicap conditions with Dream About Me off 30m. On Friday, they meet under free-for-all conditions and with Dream About Me expected to derive enormous benefit from last Thursday she could well head the market. Both Thefixer and Dream About Me have been touted as possible Victoria Cup raiders in mid-October as that Melton classic is unlikely to have the depth of previous years and could be a lucrative target for the stablemates before they return to Addington for the New Zealand Cup in November. Michael Guerin

MILTON, ON - August 27, 2018 – Woodbine Mohawk Park has unveiled a special Instagram contest that will send one lucky fan and a friend to this Saturday’s (September 1) $600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for a Lazarus experience. ‘The Wonder from Down Under’ will be making his Canadian debut in the Pacing Derby and the Instagram contest winner will be able to enjoy the race from his owners’ point of view, including a potential trip to the winner’s circle. The contest winner will receive the opportunity to join Taylor Made Farm, the owner of Lazarus, for dinner in the Terrace Trackside Buffet and to watch all of Saturday’s stakes action from the best seats in the house. To enter the contest, go to @WoodbineSB on Instagram, ‘Like’ the Canadian Pacing Derby contest post and tag a friend in the comment section. The contest is open until Noon on Thursday, August 30. A single winner will be drawn immediately following the closing of the contest and contacted via Instagram. The winner must be able to attend the Canadian Pacing Derby on Saturday and transportation is not provided. The $600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby and $651,000 Maple Leaf Trot are the co-main events on Saturday’s rich card. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

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