Mohawk features best of both gaits

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Ted Black

June 21st, 2016

Saturday evening's lucrative card at Mohawk Raceway in Toronto, Canada, gave onlookers an early indication of which horses could emerge among the three-year-old divisions for both trotters and pacers.

Early on the Saturday card, Hannelore Hanover (Yannick Gingras) uncorked a sensational mile to lead throughout and capture the $26,000 Armbro Flight Stakes final for three-year-old filly trotters in 1:51. Trained by Ron Burke, Hannelore Hanover had feasted on foes at Hoosier Park before her venture to Mohawk, but Saturday night she immediately ascended to the head of the class with a powerhouse performance reminiscent of another Burke-trained trotting filly, Mission Brief.

Then two races later on the card, Marion Marauder posted a mild 8-1 upset in the $268,000 Goodtimes final for three-year-old trotting colts. But his effort was hardly as impressive as the one Hannelore Hanover delivered less than an hour earlier and he is hardly a cinch to capture the Hambletonian this summer.

But several races later on the program, Pure Country (Brett Miller) secured her status as the leading sophomore pacing filly in the land when she rallied third over to capture the $450,000 Fan Hanover final for trainer Jimmy Takter. Last year's two-year-old pacing filly champion courtesy of an unbeaten record from 10 starts, Pure Country notched her third win in five starts this year and remains the leader of this division.

Then several races later on the card, Betting Line (David Miller) rallied second over to capture the $1 million North America Cup final for three-year-old pacing colts. Trained by Casie Coleman of Sportswriter fame, Betting Line prevailed as the solid even-money favorite and rapidly ascended to the head of the class among this division. He will be a major player in the lucrative stakes this summer and fall.

In the races between the Fan Hanover and the North America Cup, Lady Shadow led throughout to capture the $400,000 Roses Are Red final for pacing fillies and mares in 1:48.1 and vaulted to the early lead in the chase for Maryland-bred horse of the year honors. Then Always B Miki rallied from midpack and second over to capture the $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup in 1:47.1 in a tuneup for this Saturday's Ben Franklin eliminations at Pocono Downs.

Then on Monday evening at Harrington Raceway, JW Renegade (1:55.1), Next Success (1:54) and John's Dream (1:53.3) each captured their respective Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund splits for three-year-old pacing colts and all three will now head to the $100,000 DSBF final on Governor's Day, July 28. Next Success and John's Dream each won a pair of elims while JW Renegade notched his first elim tally after finishing second to Next Success in the opening leg.