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MILTON, January 20, 2020 - Woodbine Entertainment today announced the 2020 schedule for its harness racing industry-leading Standardbred stakes program at Woodbine Mohawk Park. More than $20 million in stakes races will be contested over the Mohawk Park racing surface in 2020, including $12 million-plus in Woodbine administrated events. The 2020 stakes season is headlined by a pair of $1 million events (Pepsi North America Cup and Mohawk Million). The 37th Pepsi North America Cup for three-year-old pacers is scheduled for Saturday, June 20, while the inaugural Mohawk Million for two-year-old trotters is slated for Saturday, September 26. Woodbine Mohawk Park will be the only Standardbred track in North America to host multiple million-dollar races in 2020. The Pepsi North America Cup card (June 20) will again feature five additional marquee stakes to go with the nation's most prestigious race for Standardbreds. The $425,000 Fan Hanover for three-year-old pacing fillies, $370,000 Roses Are Red for pacing fillies and mares, $260,000 Goodtimes for three-year-old trotters, $250,000 Armbro Flight for trotting fillies and mares and $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational make up the stacked undercard. Total purses for the evening will exceed $2.5 million. Mohawk Park will provide the setting for harness racing's largest showcase of elite two-year-old talent on Saturday, September 26. The $1 million (USD) Mohawk Million, $850,000 Metro Pace and $550,000 Shes A Great Lady will feature the finest two-year-old trotters and pacers competing in the sport's richest races for rookies. The Mohawk Million for two-year-old trotters follows a buy-in formula, with nine of ten slots in the race available for purchase ($110,000). The tenth and final spot in the Mohawk Million will be awarded to the winner of the $400,000 William Wellwood Memorial, which will be contested on Saturday, September 12. The earlier date for this year's Wellwood provides a clear week prior to the Mohawk Million. New in 2020, Woodbine Entertainment has changed the format of the $650,000 Maple Leaf Trot and the $600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby to remove eliminations and instead proceed to directly to the rich final with the highest lifetime earners (limited to 10) competing on Saturday, September 5. The $665,000 Canadian Trotting Classic and $350,000 Elegantimage follow the same format of highest earners competing for the second consecutive season. They are scheduled for Saturday, September 19. In total, the month of September will feature more than $7 million in stakes races. Woodbine Mohawk Park will again play host to legs of the Miss Versatility and Graduate Series in 2020. The Miss Versatility for older trotting mares takes place on Friday, May 29, while the Graduate Series for four-year-old pacers and trotters will be held on Saturday, June 6. The province's best will compete all-season at Mohawk Park building up to the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals and Grassroots Championships. The Grassroots Championships are scheduled for Saturday, October 3, while the Super Finals will be held on Saturday, October 17. Woodbine will again distribute money to all finishers in major stakes finals during the 2020 season. The winner of the finals will receive the traditional 50% of the total purse, while those finishing sixth through last will take home 1% of the purse. The horses finishing second through fifth will receive 50%-24%-16%-10% of the remaining purse. Nominations for all Woodbine Standardbred Stakes close on Tuesday, February 18. Woodbine continues to administrate stakes for Ontario Racetracks in 2020, including Grand River Raceway, Flamboro Downs, Clinton Raceway and Hanover Raceway. Stakes payments for all Woodbine administrated events can be made payable to Woodbine Entertainment. Payments can be made through the Race Office, by mail or online. To view the 2020 Woodbine Standardbred Stakes schedule, click here. Mark McKelvie

MILTON, ON - January 11, 2020 - Harness racing pacers Sintra battled through rainy and windy conditions to reach up at the wire for a second consecutive Preferred score on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The seven-year-old gelding and driver Jody Jamieson rallied from fifth at the head of the lane to win the $36,000 Preferred Handicap by a neck over Nirvana Seelster, who cut the mile, and the same margin over East End in 1:53.2. Competing on a 'Sloppy' track with rain and high winds, the field of six older pacers were led by Nirvana Seelster through fractions of :27., :57.1 and 1:25.3. Real Surreal angled out from fourth to come first-up going to three-quarters. Sintra sat fifth and followed the cover loosely, while Youaremycandygirl, the lone mare in the field, followed from sixth. After facing little pressure, Nirvana Seelster attempted to close out the victory with a final-quarter sprint, aided by the wind at his back. Sintra was able to make up a little more than four-lengths with a :27 final-quarter to snag the victory. Youaremycandygirl finished fourth on the far outside, with Rockin In Heaven and Real Surreal rounding out the field. Trained by Dave Menary, Sintra is now two for two since returning from injury. The seven-year-old gelding had his 2019 season end last May after starting the campaign six for eight. He's now banked $36,000 in two victories this season for owners Michael Guerriero, Kelly Waxman, Nunzio Vena and Frank Cirillo. Sintra's latest victory improves his career numbers to 26 wins and $1,144,436 earned. He paid $2.50 to win. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment          

MILTON, ON - January 9, 2019 - Woodbine Mohawk Park is set to cap off its first week of the new decade with Preferred action and the Can-Am Pick 4 highlighting Friday and Saturday's harness racing cards. A 10-race card will take place Friday evening, while an 11-race card is on tap for Saturday night. The $32,000 Mares Preferred Handicap Pace will headline Friday's card and a new winner is guaranteed, as last week's winner Youaremycandygirl will tackle the boys in Saturday's $36,000 Preferred Handicap. Kendall Seelster, who was runner-up last week, starts from the outside post-seven and is working towards millionaire status, entering Friday's contested with $952,446. Jody Jamieson will sit behind the five-year-old for trainer Isabelle Darveau. Always well-represented, Richard Moreau sends out a strong duo from the side-by-side positions of posts four and five. Four-year-old Sylph Hanover is three for three since joining the Moreau barn and will make her Preferred debut. Double A Mint, who scored 10 Preferred victories last season, will search for her first top-level score since August. The Mares Preferred Handicap field is completed by (in post position order) Cousin Mary, Inverse Hanover, Better Be Donna N and So Much More. Saturday evening's Preferred Handicap will feature a showdown between the mare Youaremycandygirl and 2017 Canadian Pacing Derby winner Sintra. Moreau trainee Youaremycandygirl was an easy-winner last week in the Mares top-class, making her first start since the TVG Final in late-November at The Meadowlands. The five-year-old has competed and had success at this level, defeating the boys in the Woodbine Preferred on November 9. Dave Menary trainee Sintra had his 2019 campaign cut short due to injury, but the now seven-year-old made a dominant return last week with a 2/14 length score in the Preferred Handicap. The 25-time winner with $1.1 million in career earnings was on pace for a huge season last year, as he won six of eight starts prior to suffering an injury in May. Youaremycandygirl starts from post-four with driver Louis Philippe Roy, while Sintra has post-six in the field of six with Jamieson in the sulky. The Preferred Handicap is completed by (in post position order) Rockin In Heaven, East End, Real Surreal and Nirvana Seelster. Can-Am Pick 4 returns Saturday Saturday evening's card also features the return of the Can-Am Pick 4, a multi-leg wager consisting of two-races at Woodbine Mohawk Park (Race 10 & 11) and two-races at The Meadowlands (Race 10 & 11). The Can-Am Pick 4 sports a $0.20 minimum and low 15 per cent takeout. The sequence starts on Race 10 at Woodbine Mohawk Park and alternates between tracks, finishing on Race 11 at The Meadowlands. The entire program, including past performances for the Can-Am Pick 4 at The Meadowlands, can be downloaded for free at www.Woodbine.com/Mohawk/FreePrograms/. Adriano Sorella to join WRL Owner Adriano Sorella will swing by to join Woodbine's Chad Rozema for an interview on Saturday's edition of Woodbine Racing Live. Sorella has been making noise with his marketing efforts for stallion Jimmy Freight and earlier this week was named a recipient of the USHWA President's Award. Woodbine Racing Live starts at 6:30 p.m. Post time for Friday and Saturday's cards is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 7, 2020 - Woodbine Entertainment announced today changes to its senior leadership team as part of a strategic re-alignment that positions the organization to best fulfil its mission in leading the growth and sustainability of the horse racing industry in Ontario. "Our industry and business have changed significantly over the last few years and this re-alignment of our senior leadership team is the right structure to take advantage of our opportunities and tackle our challenges," said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. "Our sole mandate at Woodbine is to grow and sustain the horse racing industry in our province. We are entirely focused on that mission and these changes reflect our commitment in achieving that goal." The strategic re-alignment involves several senior executives taking on new roles and responsibilities across Woodbine, Woodbine Mohawk Park, and Ontario Racing Management. Joe Aschaiek, previously the Senior Vice President, Finance is now the Chief Financial Officer and will continue to lead all areas of finance for Woodbine Entertainment and play a significant role in driving the organization's strategic imperatives while reporting directly to Lawson. Jonathan Zammit, who has served as the Vice President of Thoroughbred Racing for the last three years, will transition to Vice President, Racing Finance / Associate Executive Director for Ontario Racing Management (ORM) where he will utilize his expertise in strategic finance and experience in horse racing and purse management to maximize wagering handle and optimize race cards working alongside key stakeholders. Zammit, who will report to Aschaiek, will also work alongside Katherine Curry, Executive Director of ORM, to support the entire provincial horse racing industry with respect to the Long-Term Funding Agreement and other strategic financial matters. Jessica Buckley, who was most recently President, Woodbine Mohawk Park and has held several different positions throughout her career in the US and at Woodbine including in wagering, broadcast, government relations and stakeholder relations, is now the Senior Vice President of Standardbred Racing and Thoroughbred Racing. With an extensive background in horse racing that spans more than two decades, Buckley will lead both breeds of world-class racing and report to Lawson, while both the Standardbred and Thoroughbred Racing Operations will report directly into her. Spencer Parazader, who joined Woodbine Entertainment in 2019 and has significant experience in the gaming industry, will take on the role of General Manager for Woodbine Mohawk Park and report into Chief Operating Officer Tom Via. Bill McLinchey will continue in his role of Director of Standardbred Racing reporting to Buckley. "As we enter into a new decade, we remain very optimistic about the horse racing industry, but also recognize that we are not without challenges," said Lawson. "These changes to our senior leadership, along with working closely with our many stakeholders, will ensure a bright future for the great sport of horse racing for decades to come." by Jamie Dykstra, for Woodbine Entertainment  

MILTON, ON - January 3, 2020 - The 2020 live harness racing season at Woodbine Mohawk Park is set to kick-off Saturday (January 4) with an 11-race program. The season-opener is the first of 222 cards of racing scheduled for 2020 at Mohawk Park, which has played host to live harness racing since April of 1963 and became the permanent year-round home of Woodbine Standardbreds in April of 2018. This Saturday's card is headlined by a $36,000 Preferred Handicap Pace (Race 6) and a $32,000 Mares Preferred Handicap Pace (Race 10). Post-10 Second Tier Horsepeople and horseplayers are reminded that Post Position 10 at Woodbine Mohawk Park will continue to start from the second-tier. Post 10 moved to the trailing position at the start of November and this will continue until further notice. New Wagers Starting Saturday, Woodbine Mohawk Park will introduce Rolling Doubles and a Late Pick-5 for every card of live racing. The Rolling Doubles start with the traditional Daily Double on Race 1 and continue with a new Double starting in every race until the Late Double. The regular Double minimums and takeout apply. The Late Pick 5 will start every night on Race 6 and features a $0.20 minimum and a 15 per cent takeout. The Late Pick 5 joins the popular Early Pick 5, which will continue to start every night on Race 1. The Can-Am Pick 4 also returns in 2020. The multi-leg wager featuring two-races from Mohawk Park and two-races from The Meadowlands will be held every Saturday night, beginning January 11. Live Racing Schedule Live Racing takes place every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday throughout the Winter months at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time for each card is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

MILTON, ON - December 26, 2019 - Woodbine Mohawk Park concluded its 2019 harness racing season with the traditional Boxing Day matinee on a foggy Thursday. The $35,000 Valedictory and $35,000 Niagara for three-year-old pacers headlined the 12-race program along with presentations to the season's leading owner, trainer and driver. Cheddar Bay prevailed by a nose over Jknr Liketell in a thrilling finish to the Valedictory Series. Driven by J Harris, Cheddar Bay got away ninth and would pick up cover racing towards the half, eventually sitting second-over and just two-lengths from the top at three-quarters. Virgin Storm blasted from the rail and posted an opening-quarter of :26.4 before releasing Windsun Ricky and retaking the lead before a half of :56. Conboyville grinded away first-up pressuring the leader at three-quarters in 1:25.1. In the stretch, Virgin Storm gave a valiant effort, but surrendered the lead in the final-eighth. Cheddar Bay and Jknr Liketell, who had a ground saving trip in fourth, paced by the lead and would hit the line together with Cheddar Bay prevailing in 1:53.4. Virgin Storm held on for third, while Windsun Ricky was fourth. A gelded son of Betterthancheddar, Cheddar Bay finished second in last week's second-leg after a sixth-place finish in the series opener. The Peter Core trainee is now three for 29 this season with $66,924 earned for owners Donald and Heather McGregor. Cheddar Bay now sports career numbers of four wins and $75,809 in earnings. He paid $23.40 to win. Cheddar Bay Arya Stark completed the sweep of the Niagara Series in fitting fashion by rallying from seventh at the head of the line to reach up for a length and a quarter victory in 1:55.4. Trained by Melissa Lamoureux, Arya Stark got away seventh and would move to the outside at the midway point, but still sat nearly 10 lengths from the lead turning for home. The daughter of Royal Mattjesty and driver Chris Christoforou swept by their rivals to defeat Trip Aces Hanover, Cranberry Brie and Dreamfair Zenfire, who had nearly five on her rivals at three-quarters. Arya Stark is now seven for 36 in 2019 for Lamoureux, Jeffrey Boyd and Jefferson Davis. The sophomore now sits with $89,662 in earnings this season and career numbers of eight wins and $94,537 in earnings. A $2 win ticket on Arya Stark returned $4. Arya Stark Owner Brad Grant and trainer Richard Moreau once again led their respective categories, while Sylvain Filion made a return to the top of the driving ranks. Brad Grant enjoyed another tremendous season by capturing numerous stakes events, while also winning many Preferred and high-level overnights. The Milton, Ontario resident saw horses he owns win 66 races and earn over $1.6 million during 2019 at Mohawk Park. 1187422 Ontario Inc. finished second in wins with 45, while Robert Key finished with 42 wins. Serge Godin's Determination had the second highest earnings in 2019 with $1.3 million, highlighted by 37 victories. Trainer Richard Moreau again led all conditioners in victories and earnings. The Puslinch, Ontario resident posted 181 wins and $3.6 million in earnings. His stable sent out just over 1,300 starters. Carmen Auciello finished in the runner-up spot with 137 wins, while the top-five was rounded out by Ben Baillargeon (87), Rod Boyd (86) and Shawn Steacy (52). Tony Alagna finished second to Moreau in earnings with $3 million, while Auciello ($2.6 million), Nancy Johansson ($2.3 million) and Baillargeon ($2 million) were the only other trainers to surpass $2 million in earnings. There was no final day drama for leading driver, as Sylvain Filion finished with 267 wins, 42 more than nearest rival Louis Philippe Roy. Bob McClure finished third with 205 wins, while Trevor Henry had 193 and Jonathan Drury 177. A resident of Milton, Filion also led all drivers in earnings with $5.4 million. Roy also topped $5 million with $5.1 million, while McClure ($4.7 million) and Henry ($4.2 million) were the other drivers to surpass $4 million on the season. Live racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park now takes a holiday break prior to launching the 2020 season on Saturday, January 4. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment          

MILTON, ON - December 23, 2019 - Woodbine Entertainment today announced a pair of new multi-leg wagers and the return of the Can-Am Pick-4 for the 2020 live racing season at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Starting January 4, 2020, Woodbine Mohawk Park will introduce Rolling Doubles and a Late Pick 5 for every card of live racing. The Rolling Doubles start with the traditional Daily Double on Race 1 and continue with a new Double starting in every race until the Late Double. The regular Double minimums and takeout apply. The Late Pick 5 will start every night on Race 6 and features a $0.20 minimum and a 15 per cent takeout. The Late Pick 5 joins the popular Early Pick 5, which will continue to start every night on Race 1. Woodbine Mohawk Park and The Meadowlands will again team up to offer the Can-Am Pick 4. The multi-leg wager will now be offered every Saturday night beginning January 11 and consists of the final two races at Woodbine Mohawk Park plus two races at The Meadowlands. The Can-Am Pick 4 has a $0.20 minimum and 15 per cent takeout. Woodbine Mohawk Park has two cards of live racing (December 23 and 26) remaining for the 2019 season. The Campbellville oval will take a break following the traditional Boxing Day matinee card before launching the 2020 live racing season on Saturday, January 4 at 7:10 p.m. Free Christmas dinner for horsepeople at Mohawk Park Woodbine Mohawk Park would like to inform all horsepeople of a complimentary Christmas dinner being served in the paddock kitchen tonight (December 23). The paddock kitchen will also be serving a free brunch on Boxing Day in the paddock kitchen as a thank you to the horsepeople from Woodbine Entertainment. Post time on Boxing Day is 1 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

MILTON, ON - December 21, 2019 - Traceur Hanover became harness racing's newest millionaire with a runner-up finish in Saturday's seventh-race at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The seven-year-old pacer needed a win or runner-up finish in the $21,000 event to surpass $1 million. 'Traceur' delivered a game effort, battling Islandspecialmajor right to the wire to finish second by three-quarters of a length. Traceur Hanover was purchased by owner Richard Berthiaume for $100,000 as a yearling in 2013. The son of Western Ideal won the Breeders Crown as a two-year-old in 2014 and has since became a mainstay on the Woodbine circuit, competing in top-level classes for several seasons. The Baillargeon trainee has nine wins and 19 top-three finishes in 37 starts this season for $185,030 in earnings. His career numbers now sit at 35 wins and $1,002,379 earned to go with a mark of 1:49.2. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

MILTON, ON - December 21, 2019 - Nirvana Seelster displayed the determination that's helped him earn over $1 million in his harness racing career to give trainer Bill Budd a milestone victory Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Budd entered Saturday's card just a win shy of 2,000 for his career and his longtime stable star Nirvana Seelster fittingly came through with a game victory in the $34,000 Preferred Pace. Driven by Bob McClure, Nirvana Seelster shot to the lead and went unchallenged through solid fractions of :26.4, :55.1 and 1:22.4. East End angled from the two-hole at the head of the lane and took a short lead with an eighth of a mile remaining. Nirvana Seelster refused to give up and battled back at the inside to regain the lead late, winning a wild finish in 1:51. East End finished second by a head, while Ellis Park was third by a neck. Owned by Bruce Davy, Nirvana Seelster scored his fourth win in 30 starts this season and 45th of his career. The eight-year-old gelding has earned over $1.2 million lifetime. This was his first Preferred level victory since September 15, 2018. Budd, 68, has been a fixture on the Woodbine and Ontario racing scene for decades. The Waterdown, Ontario resident started working for Bill Wellwood in 1969 and has made over 10,000 starts as a trainer with his horses earning more than $19 million. Sir Luck and Boulder Creek are two of Budd's most notable students during his training career. Budd's stable is enjoying a strong season, posting 52 wins and earning more than $1.1 million. This marks the third season his stable has surpassed $1 million. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment              

MILTON, ON - December 20, 2019 - Woodbine Entertainment today announced the date for the inaugural Mohawk Million, to be contested in 2020 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The $1 million (USD) race for two-year-old trotters will headline a $2.5 million-plus card on Saturday, September 26, 2020. The $850,000 (estimated) Metro Pace and $540,000 (estimated) She's A Great Lady will also take place on September 26 to showcase harness racing's finest two-year-olds. The Mohawk Million follows a buy-in formula with nine of 10 slots in the race available for purchase. The tenth and final spot will be awarded to the connections of the 2020 William Wellwood Memorial winner at no cost. The William Wellwood Memorial is scheduled for Saturday, September 12, 2020, two-weeks prior to the Mohawk Million. A slot in the Mohawk Million costs $110,000 (USD) and is considered an entity, which may be sold, traded or leased. Slot payments have been split into two $55,000 installments. The first payment is due February 18, 2020 with the second payment due June 1, 2020. Any interested parties seeking more information on the Mohawk Million may contact Bill McLinchey, Director of Racing, at bmclinchey@woodbine.com. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

MILTON, ON - December 20, 2019 - Woodbine Mohawk Park is happy to offer any AGCO Racing License holders a 25 per cent discount on its Boxing Day (December 26) brunch in the Terrace Trackside Buffet. The Boxing Day brunch will feature Prime Rib and Ham along with a variety of hot items, salads and desserts. Any owners and horsepeople who present their AGCO Racing License to their sever will be able to acquire 25 per cent off the buffet price for their entire table. (Max table of six). The regular buffet price before discount is $49.95. The Terrace Trackside Buffet opens at Noon on Boxing Day. Post time for the matinee card is 1 p.m. To make a reservation, call 1-888-341-0207 + 2 +1 or visit www.Woodbine.com/Mohawk/Dining/Terrace-Dining-Room. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

MILTON, ON - December 19, 2019 - The Race Office at Woodbine Mohawk Park would like to issue a reminder to all horsepeople of its holiday harness racing draw schedule. The entry box for the annual Boxing Day (December 26) matinee program closes Friday morning (December 20) at 10:30 a.m. Live racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park takes a holiday break following the Boxing Day card. The first card of 2020 is scheduled for Saturday, January 4. The draw for January 4 will be held on Tuesday, December 31. Entry box closes at 10:30 a.m. The entire draw schedule for the coming weeks is available below: Enter Friday (Dec 20) for Thursday (Dec 26) Enter Tuesday (Dec 31) for Saturday (Jan 4) Enter Thursday (Jan 2) for Monday (January 6) by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment          

MILTON, ON - December 17, 2019 - Woodbine Entertainment today announced a mandatory payout on the Standardbred Jackpot Hi-5 for this Saturday (December 21) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Jackpot Hi-5 wagering has been suspended for the remainder of the week until Saturday's mandatory payout. The carryover heading into the mandatory payout will be $180,992.59. The most recent Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout at Woodbine Mohawk Park shattered records on March 30, 2019. A record $2.8 million in new money was wagered on the Jackpot Hi-5 with a $0.20 winning ticket returning $2,458.36. This will mark for the fourth consecutive year that Woodbine will offer a mandatory payout on the Jackpot Hi-5 just prior to Christmas. Last year's pre-Christmas mandatory payout had two returns, as a dead-heat for fourth left two winning combinations, which returned $6,750.61 and $8,116.66 for a $0.20 ticket. The draw for Saturday's card of racing takes place on Wednesday. The Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout race will be the final race on the card, which has a first-race post time of 7:10 p.m. Free program pages will be available at www.WoodbineMohawkPark.com. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

MILTON, ON - December 17, 2019 - Woodbine Entertainment today announced a partnership with owner Adriano Sorella to launch the Jimmy Freight Stakes in 2023, an event restricted to two-year-olds sired by Jimmy Freight. The new event will have a purse of $100,000, posted by Sorella, and be held at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 2023 on a date to be determined. Foals from mares bred to Jimmy Freight, who stands at Winbak Farm of Ontario, during the upcoming 2020 breeding season will be eligible. Along with founding this new race for offspring of his stallion, Sorella will be a sponsor of World Class Standardbred racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park during the 2020 season. "I am very pleased to be working with Woodbine Entertainment in regards to this new Stake race named after Jimmy Freight," said Sorella. "Working with Jessica Buckley and her team at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and seeing their excitement, it made this decision an easy one." The Jimmy Freight Stakes will have no staking payments. Only two-year-old sons or daughters of Jimmy Freight that have made a minimum of two starts at Woodbine Mohawk Park will be eligible to enter. The field shall be limited to ten (10) starters. Should more than ten (10) enter, the ten (10) horses with the highest earnings will be selected to race. "This is unique thinking by Mr. Sorella, and we commend his enthusiasm in supporting his stallion and the Standardbred industry with this type of investment," said Jessica Buckley, President of Woodbine Mohawk Park. "With Winbak Farm as an existing partner, we are pleased to add Jimmy Freight to our sponsorship group." Jimmy Freight, an O'Brien Award winner with 21 wins, $1.4 million in earnings and a mark of 1:48.1, is heading into his first season of stallion duty at Winbak Farm of Ontario. His first crop will sell at the 2022 yearling sales prior to debuting on the racetrack in 2023. "I have been buying horses for years, and I understand that there is a big commitment when buying a yearling," said Sorella. "I wanted to add an incentive for not only the buyers, but also the breeders who are breeding to Jimmy Freight. With this race for $100,000 it gives a breeder and a buyer just another edge as there is no risk to either. No stakes payments, no entry fees." Adriano Sorella and driver Louis Philippe Roy Jimmy Freight was one of the most consistent performers in recent memory, posting 21 wins and 43 top-three finishes in 52 career starts. The richest and fastest son of Sportswriter finished outside the top-five only twice during his outstanding racing career. The list of accomplishments for Jimmy Freight includes multiple OSS Gold wins at age two, victories in the Somebeachsomewhere and OSS Super Final at age three and triumphs over harness racing's heavyweights in the Mohawk Gold Cup and Dayton Pacing Derby at age four. The Jimmy Freight Stakes becomes North American harness racing's only race restricted to the offspring of one stallion. "I truly believe this is something that is needed," said Sorella. "Taking the initiative to move forward with a race like this shows my commitment to the sport. I really do believe we have some forward thinkers within the industry, I'm just trying to support my stallion, my partners, and Winbak Farm who have been great to work with." Jimmy Freight stands at Winbak Farm of Ontario for $5,000 (CAD). by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment            

MILTON, ON - December 9, 2019 - Tonight's (December 9) card of live harness racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park has been cancelled due to unsafe track conditions caused by mild temperatures and rain. The first leg of the Valedictory Series, originally scheduled for tonight, has been moved to this Thursday's (December 12) program. The second leg of the series will now take place on December 19 with the final to be contested on Boxing Day (December 26). Live racing is scheduled to resume Thursday evening (December 12) at Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment            

The journey began exactly a month ago, when Bold Eagle and his harness racing caretaker Hugues Monthule boarded a horse van in the French countryside. The pair made their way to the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, flew into Toronto International on Oct.19 and were ensconced in the woodsy, overgrown Mohawk backstretch by the first race on Breeders Crown elimination night. Flash forward to 10 a.m. Sunday morning (Oct. 27), Pierre Pilarski, Thomas and Sabine Bernereau, and Francois Jamier sat around a high-top table near the front of the Quest Restaurant on the ground floor of the Hilton hotel in Mississauga. Situated about halfway between downtown Toronto and Woodbine Mohawk Park, the hotel was quiet, save for a few families checking out and a handful of early risers enjoying the pool and hot tub, and only a few of the restaurant's tables were occupied. Outside, overnight downpours late in the preceding evening and early that morning gave way to gray, overcast skies. The sharp, cold air left flags in tatters and whipped open hotel doors as high winds gusted through the Eastern Ontario city. Despite the dreary conditions, Bold Eagle's connections sat looking relaxed and content. Bright-eyed and with smiles on their faces, they enjoyed each other's company and cordially entertained the occasional visitors who offered congratulations, accolades, and thanks to the team who brought their champion trotter across the Atlantic to post a dominating victory in the Breeders Crown Open Trot only 11 hours before. While the aftermath proved tranquil, the hours leading up to Bold Eagle's victory were fraught with nerves and stress. Bold Eagle arrived in the Mohawk paddock around 8 p.m. on race night and took his place in a stall in the northwest corner near the test barn. With his cotton-stuffed ears forward and head held up in the crossties, Bold Eagle stood quietly with a black-and-red cooler draped cleanly over his back as the finishing touches were put on his braided forelock. As the time to warm up grew closer, though, the stallion became animated. While longtime caretaker Monthule and trainer Sebastien Guarato began to pull equipment out of the black tack box positioned in the aisle just in front of the stall, Bold Eagle began lowering his head and pawing at the rubber-matted floor. Gentle pats on the shoulder, stern warnings, and kisses on the nose from Monthule helped stem the trotter's eagerness, but Bold Eagle soon grew more excitable. As Breeders Crown winners made their way past to the test barn, Bold Eagle fixed his gaze on them, extended his neck, and delivered deep, loud roars. His demonstrations intensified as the sophomore trotting fillies, stationed in the row across from Bold Eagle's stall, lined up to head out to the track. Jamier, an agent, the Bernereaus, co-owners, and Priscilla Navillod, Bold Eagle's masseuse and dentist, joined Monthule and Guarato as Bold Eagle prepared for his warmup around 9:45 p.m. Absent from the group was Pilarski, who remained in the clubhouse. "He was too nervous to come see 'Bold,' " said Kim Gudmand, a Danish photographer and fan who has followed Bold Eagle around Europe since the trotter's 3-year-old campaign and has become close with the trotter's owners. "He wanted to stay upstairs." "I was nervous, but it was not so much pressure from outside, it was more inside pressure," Pilarski explained via translation by Jamier. "Now (Bold Eagle) is getting on the edge where he is not so easy in front like he used to be. We came over here, so of course there was some pressure. "We arrived (Friday). We were pretty tired (Friday) night. We were at the racetrack," Pilarski said. "We went to downtown Toronto (Saturday) to get lunch and we all tried to get time just to destress. But when we arrived here, we could feel the pressure." In the early years of Bold Eagle's career, the trotter would warm up twice on race day, once with Monthule and once with his driver. Now, the 8-year-old is too excitable on the track and only goes for one light preparation with his driver. Two races after winning a Breeders Crown with Winndevie and immediately after driving McWicked to a fourth-place finish in the Open Pace, Brian Sears met Bold Eagle in the paddock and headed out onto the track with him, led by Monthule and with the rest of the team in close pursuit. The warmup was Sears' first time taking the lines behind Bold Eagle and although he talked briefly with the connections in the days leading up to the race, there was little other prep work the Hall of Famer could do ahead of hopping in the sulky. Sears took Bold Eagle one lap clockwise around the seven-furlong oval during a short break in the rain. Although high-strung, Bold Eagle quickly trotted up on the heels of two other joggers near the end of his lap and slowed to match their pace. Sears took Bold Eagle past the paddock and down the stretch, turned him, and went a short spurt at a quicker tempo before returning Bold Eagle to the hands of Monthule. Sears hopped off the bike outside the paddock door and made a B-line for the front of the paddock, darting down a narrow alley formed by the building's exterior and the parked starting gate. The White Knight's colors were tarnished with wet stone dust and the driver chomped furiously on a piece of gum. "He was alright, pretty grabby," Sears quickly commented before jumping in the bike behind Greenshoe and heading out for another heat. After his warmup, Bold Eagle's attitude changed again. After returning to his stall, Bold Eagle stood with all four feet planted firmly on the ground. Neck bowed and ears pinned back, the trotter put on his game face as the final preparations were made for his start. Boosted by Bold Eagle's work leading up to the race, Guarato had been steady all night. The trainer felt confident his trotter would earn a check after training Bold Eagle over the Mohawk oval Thursday (Oct. 24) "I was very satisfied and confident about the fact that he trained well," Guarato said via translation by Jamier. "He handled the turns the right way and he was calm and relaxed and had good energy. I was confident to be one-two-three." A chink in Guarato's armor of confidence finally showed as the trainer watching unnervingly as a Go-Pro was affixed to one of the shafts of Bold Eagle's sulky shortly before race time. Only after being reassured that American History carried the camera in his Open Pace victory earlier in the evening did Guarato's fixation on the device subside. At 10:40 p.m., Guarato and Monthule were at work in Bold Eagle's stall making the final preparations for the race. Sabine Bernereau found a seat on the edge of the tack box while Thomas stood in front of the stall, hands shoved in his pockets, shuffling his feet. Finally, Monthule unhooked the crossties and led Bold Eagle into the aisle. Guarato and Navillod hitched the brand new black-and-red Gorilla race bike to Bold Eagle's harness and tightened the Go-Pro mount a final time. The Gorilla was one of two equipment changes that evening, replacing the Custom model bikes used by Björn Goop and Franck Nivard overseas. Bold Eagle would also race without an undercheck in the Breeders Crown. "He has a tendency to play with it. It was the first time I took it off," Guarato said. Sears donned Pilarski's black-and-red colors, slipped a yellow cap over his helmet, and adjusted his goggles before striding up to Bold Eagle. Tucking the whip under his right arm, Sears clipped the pull-cord for the earplugs in place near his left stirrup, took the lines in his brown-gloved hands, and then came the call from the judge crackling over the paddock's loudspeakers. "Bring 'em out." Monthule led Bold Eagle to the paddock door, Sears hopped in the bike, and the trio made their way out. While the rain had given way for Bold Eagle's warm up, it returned with a vengeance for his race. In combination with high winds blowing down the stretch, the monsoon delayed the start of the 3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace as pylons floated up out of their moorings and blew into the center of the track. Earlier in the evening, a wayward pylon forced a recall. Such delays and recalls proved Bold Eagle's undoing before the 2018 Elitloppet elimination. Although there were no such hindrances before the Open Trot, Bold Eagle still appeared agitated in the post parade. He threw his head up and down, darted left, then right, and looked to the grandstand as something caught his eye. Monthule watched from the porch outside the paddock, seeking refuge from the weather under the overhanging roof. Photographers, journalists, and fellow horsepeople - by now, friends - put their hands on his shoulders, hugged him, and wished him luck. Monthule politely accepted each, but his gaze never left his champion on the track. Each time Bold Eagle passed in front of the paddock, Monthule hopped down from his perch and ran to the edge of the track, black-leather shank in hand, ready to lend assistance to Sears if needed. Once, he obliged and Monthule led Bold Eagle up the stretch, past the row of photographers before turning Bold Eagle loose again. Monthule remained out on the track at the end of the line of cameras as Bold Eagle and his 10 rivals faced the gate for the Open Trot. Even as his competitors put their noses on the barrier, Bold Eagle lagged behind from his inside post position, throwing his head and jerking from side to side. However, as he caught the gate, Bold Eagle picked up his head and put his nose to the wings. As the truck sped away, Bold Eagle trotted straight and true, quickest off the car for the first several strides before letting Atlanta, Guardian Angel As, and Lindy The Great dictate the tempo. Reaching the backstretch, Sears yanked on the right line, tipping Bold Eagle's face into the stiff wind. Bold Eagle glided up from a 4 1/4-length deficit to take the lead passing the half. Lindy The Great faded in the pocket while Six Pack tried to follow Bold Eagle's move, but was left without cover, and Atlanta rode the pylons. Bold Eagle straightened away with the lead as Six Pack continued to give chase and Atlanta angled wide. Sears turned the whip onto Bold Eagle's hind end, and as easily as Bold Eagle left the gate, he put up 2 lengths in deep stretch. Sears took three glances over his right shoulder and on the last, realizing he could not be caught, raised his whip in victory. Bold Eagle trotted past the finish post with the plugs still in and his ears pricked as he completed the mile in 1:52.0. A huge smile lit up on Monthule's face and the caretaker thrust both arms straight up over his head as he part-ran, part-skipped, part-jumped up the stretch watching Bold Eagle cross the line. In the clubhouse, Pilarski, the Bernereaus, and Jamier stood pressed up against the glass. They clapped, clamored, and leaned as Bold Eagle neared the finish. Just like Monthule, the quartet threw their hands up as he crossed the line before embracing in a group hug. The pent-up stresses of the evening were instantly lifted, and the heavy rains went unnoticed to the dozens of owners, friends, and fans of Bold Eagle who flooded the track on the way to the winner's circle. Pleas of "clear the track, clear the track," from the outriders as a new batch of horses started their warmups went unheeded as Bold Eagle returned to the winner's circle. Sears threw a Bold Eagle scarf around his neck, "Allez Bold Eagle" and French flags flew, and smiles lit up the night as the cameras clicked away. Back in the paddock, after completing the post-race testing procedures and getting cleaned off, Bold Eagle stomped around with his neck bowed and his ears pinned back, looking none the worse for his dominant display. "I'm very, very happy for Bold, just to get this race in his record. To come here and to win," Pilarski said, looking over his champion. "It's going to make all his fans very happy." Although Bold Eagle is most regarded for his victories in the French classics going 2,700 meters, Guarato praised the trotter's abilities at 1-mile. "The first time he went to Solvalla, he beat the European record. It was amazing. The first time he went to Solvalla, nobody saw that before, what he did there," the trainer said. "The first time he's come here, he's a monster." The Breeders Crown Trot is Bold Eagle's 46th victory and boosts his earnings to $5,692,680. It is the first North American win for the horse, owner, and trainer. Although Bold Eagle and Pilarski had never raced in North America before, Guarato sent Rapide Lebel to a second-place finish behind San Pail in the 2011 Breeders Crown Trot at Woodbine. "I'm extremely satisfied and happy," Guarato said. "This horse brings a lot of happiness to everybody. The last couple of months, he was maybe not as good as he used to be. But he's still a champion and today, to win in front of everybody in North American is huge, huge." Bold Eagle traveled home to France Friday, Nov. 1. He will seek a third victory in the Grand Prix d'Amérique at Vincennes this January. "The plan is to probably race every four weeks to prepare for the Prix d'Amerique," Guarato said." It depends on how he takes the trip back home, but he could race in the Prix du Bourbonnais (Dec. 8) or the Prix du Bourgogne (Dec. 29)." The connections have since stated the Dec. 8 race at Vincennes will be Bold Eagle's next start. The morning after their Breeders Crown win, as Jamier sat with Pilarski and the Bernereaus back at the Hilton, it wasn't too early to dream about the future. "Maybe we'll be back next year," Jamier teased with a smile. by Brandon Valvo, for the Breeders Crown

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