Day At The Track

Hambletonian hopefuls excite Antonacci

06:43 AM 09 Jun 2017 NZST
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International Moni Shake It Off Lindy
International Moni
Mark Hall Photo
Shake It Off Lindy
Nigel Soult Photo

Harness racing trainer Frank Antonacci is excited about hitting the Hambletonian trail with two horses this weekend, but he figures he won't be alone in feeling enthused.

"There are a lot of good horses out there," said Antonacci, the trainer of International Moni and Shake It Off Lindy in Friday's eliminations of the Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters at Ontario's Mohawk Racetrack. "Everybody only talked about (returning Dan Patch Award winner) Walner, but there are a lot of nice horses. This is a nice field.

"It'll be a fun year to be a racing fan."

The Goodtimes attracted 17 horses, which were split into two divisions. Last year's Wellwood Memorial winner, Seven And Seven, is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the first division and lightly raced but undefeated Enterprise is the 5-2 choice in the second. The top five finishers from each division will return June 17 for the C$251,000 final.

Ten horses in the Goodtimes are eligible to the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes, which is Aug. 5 at the Meadowlands. The Hambletonian hopefuls in the first elimination are Jake, Snowstorm Hanover, Seven And Seven, Guardian Angel As, Southwind Woody, and International Moni. In the second they are Shake It Off Lindy, Enterprise, AWOL Hanover, and Southwind Cobra.

Friday's card also includes two eliminations of the Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters. Returning Dan Patch Award winner Hannelore Hanover is the 1-2 morning line favorite in the first division followed by Emoticon Hanover at 4-1. The second group finds Broadway Donna at 8-5, Caprice Hill at 9-5 and Charmed Life at 2-1. The top five finishers advance to the C$253,000 Armbro Flight final June 17.

The June 17 card at Mohawk also will feature finals of the Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old male pacers, Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers, and Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers. Eliminations for those events are Saturday.

Antonacci's International Moni and Shake It Off Lindy were stakes-winners last season. International Moni won a division of the International Stallion Stakes in 1:53.1 at Lexington's Red Mile and Shake It Off Lindy captured a division of the Bluegrass Stakes in 1:55 over the same track. International Moni's win time was tied for fourth best by a 2-year-old trotter while Shake It Off Lindy's was tied for 21st.

International Moni won one of 12 races last year, but earned a check 11 times on his way to $154,387. He finished second in the Valley Victory Stakes and was third in the Wellwood. The colt is a son of successful French stallion Love You out of two-time U.S. Horse of the Year Moni Maker, who was a star for the Antonacci family and owned by its Moni Maker Stable until her passing in 2014.

"He was a very good horse last year and he's an even bigger, stronger, better version of that," Antonacci said about International Moni, who remains with the Moni Maker Stable, an amalgamation of members of the Antonacci family and David Reid. "He's come back very good. We're looking forward to a really good year with him."

Moni Maker, trained much of her career by Jimmy Takter, was Horse of the Year in 1998 and 1999 and Trotter of the Year in 2000. She was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. Love You is the sire of 2013 Elitlopp winner Nahar.

"(International Moni) is by far Moni Maker's best offspring; I think that's exciting to see. I think he poses one of the most interesting breeding and racing prospects we've seen in a long time. The horse is really 20 years in the making. He's all class. He never had a bad race last year and gives you everything he's got every time he's out there. He's a gentleman. He's a professional. He's just an absolute pleasure."

Shake It Off Lindy is a son of stallion Crazed out of the Love You-sired mare Nashville Lindy. Crazed was co-owned by the Antonacci family's Lindy Racing Stable and trained by Antonacci. A multiple-stakes-winner, he finished second to Deweycheatumnhowe in the 2008 Hambletonian.

Last year, Shake It Off Lindy won two of nine races and earned $53,976.

"He reminds me a tremendous amount of his dad," Antonacci said about Shake It Off Lindy, bred and owned by the Antonaccis' K R Breeding LLC. "He's got incredible quick speed. For a sixteenth of a mile he could skip off faster than most pacers. That's an exciting burst of speed he's got. He's got a lot of upside."

International Moni and Shake It Off Lindy both enter the Goodtimes off two qualifiers. In their most recent efforts, Shake It Off Lindy finished second by a head to older Dan Patch Award winner Obrigado in 1:54.1 while International Moni was fourth.

"They both qualified twice and both qualified really well," Antonacci said. "It's hard to game plan for these kinds of races this early in the year. You just have your horses ready to go and let the races come to them and don't force it. I think our horses, based on last year's performances and how they've qualified and trained going into the race, are good for this time of year.

"It's just hard to tell where everybody else is on their readiness scale. The only horses we can control are the ones in our shed row. They shipped up and should be there in good order. As long as they're healthy we're ready."

Post time is 7:30 for Friday's first race. Below are the fields for the Armbro Flight and Goodtimes eliminations.

Armbro Flight - Elimination 1 (Race 3)

Post position-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line

1. Hannelore Hanover - Swan For All -Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-1/2

2. Emoticon Hanover - Kadabra - Sylvain Filion-Luc Blais-4/1

3. Non Stick - Lucky Chucky - Brett Miller-Ake Svanstedt-20/1

4. Oho Diamond - Ken Warkentin - Chris Christoforou-Renaldo Morales III-15/1

5. Ready Any Time - Kadabra - Jack Moiseyev-Dagfin Henriksen-20/1

6. Kestrel - Triumphant Caviar - Scott Zeron-Chris Beaver-6/1

7. Renegade Magic - Kadabra - Trevor Henry-Jeffrey Thomson-5/1


Armbro Flight - Elimination 2 (Race 6)

Post position-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line

1. Broadway Donna - Donato Hanover -David Miller-Jim Campbell-8/5

2. Caprice Hill - Kadabra - Doug McNair-Tony Alagna-9/5

3. Lady Ping - Muscle Mass - Jack Moiseyev-Dagfin Henriksen-15/1

4. Flowers N Songs - Deweycheatumnhowe - Randy Waples-Paul Reid-12/1

5. Charmed Life - Majestic Son - Louis Philippe Roy-Rene Allard-2/1

6. Pink Pistol - Cantab Hall - Tim Tetrick-Peter Shody-20/1

7. Majestic Presence - Majestic Son - Chris Christoforou-Dagfin Henriksen-15/1


Goodtimes - Elimination 1 (Race 5)

Post position-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line

1. Ice Hockey Hanover - Donato Hanover - Paul MacDonell-Mike Keeling-12/1

2. Jake - Muscle Hill - Sylvain Filion-Luc Blais-3/1

3. Snowstorm Hanover - Muscle Massive - Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-8/1

4. Seven And Seven - Chapter Seven - David Miller-Tom Durand-5/2

5. Guardian Angel As - Archangel - Tim Tetrick-Anette Lorentzon-6/1

6. Scene A Magician - Daylon Magician - Jack Moiseyev-Jennifer Pinkerton-10/1

7. Southwind Woody - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-12/1

8. Dunbar Hall - Deweycheatumnhowe - Jody Jamieson-Carl Jamieson-8/1

9. International Moni - Love You - Scott Zeron-Frank Antonacci-8/1


Goodtimes - Elimination 2 (Race 8)

Post position-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line

1. Shake It Off Lindy - Crazed - Brett Miller-Frank Antonacci-6/1

2. Manssive - Muscle Mass - Jody Jamieson-Howard Okusko Jr.-15/1

3. Mass Production - Muscle Mass - Rick Zeron-Rick Zeron-4/1

4. Resita - Manofmannymissions - Randy Waples-Per Henriksen-15/1

5. Enterprise - Chapter Seven - Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-5/2

6. AWOL Hanover - Donato Hanover - James MacDonald-Luc Blais-7/2

7. Dancer Hall - Deweycheatumnhowe - Sylvain Filion-Paul Reid-3/1

8. Southwind Cobra - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-10/1

Ken Weingartner

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