Mohawk Raceway offers stellar Saturday program

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

June 17th, 2018

One week after thoroughbred racing fans celebrated the coronation of Justify as its 13th Triple Crown winner courtesy of his Belmont Stakes score, harness racing fans turned their attention to Mohawk Raceway in Canada as the seven-eighths mile oval hosted a stellar card that also put the spotlight of three-year-old colts of both gaits.

While the three-year-olds may have been in the spotlight on Saturday night, the stakes portion of the card opened with Hannelore Hanover (Yannick Gingras) easily living up to her role as the 1-9 favorite in the $250,000 Armbro Flight for trotting fillies and mares when she carved out honest fractions and sprinted clear from the pocket-sitting Emoticon Hanover (Bob McClure) to a four-length score in 1:52.

Harness racing's reigning horse of the year and also the sport's top rated horse of either gait or gender in the latest Breeders Crown/Hambletonian Society Top 10 poll, Hannelore Hanover remained perfect in four starts on the season with her handy score in the Armbro Flight final. The six-year-old Swan For All mare trained by Ron Burke has been odds-on in all four of her starts this year - including one against male rivals - and will almost assuredly be very well backed in her future outings as she rapidly approaches the $3 million plateau in career earnings.

Then two races later in the $75,000 North America Cup consolation, Courtly Choice (James McDonald) lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite when he benefited from second over cover from fellow Maryland-bred Summer Travel (David Miller) down the backside then through the far turn then swept to command and drew clear to a three-length score in 1:49.2. Unlucky when impeded while first over in the NA Cup elim won by Lather Up the week before, Courtly Choice notched his third win from four starts this year and soared past the $120,000 mark in career earnings.

Then one race later in the $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup for older pacers, Sintra (Jody Jamieson) benefited from a second over trip down the backside and through the far turn, swept to command easily at the head of the lane and held safe 2-5 favorite McWicked (David Miller) to score by three lengths in 1:48 flat. A five-year-old Mach Three gelding trained by David Menary, Sintra recorded his first win in three starts this year following a pair of second-place efforts behind McWicked in the Preferred here and now looms only $12,000 shy of reaching the $1 million plateau in career earnings.

Then three races later in the $415,000 Fan Hanover final for three-year-old filly pacers, Shower Play (Louis Phillipe Roy) benefited from a lively early tempo and live cover while third over behind favored Kissin In The Sand (Scott Zeron), rallied widest of all through the lane and wore down the leaders in deep stretch to score by a length in 1:50.2. A sophomore daughter of Shadow Play trained by Rene Dion, Shower Play notched her second win in three starts this year and now owns five wins and over $260,000 banked from eight career tries.

Then one race later in the $266,000 Goodtimes final for three-year-old colt trotters, Wolfgang (Gingras) easily lived up to his role as the even-money when he quarter moved to command, led the way through honest fractions over a track that had not been favorable to speed and drew clear in the lane to a four-length score in 1:52.1. A sophomore son of My MVP trained by Jimmy Takter, Wolfgang notched his second straight win to start the season and now owns five wins and $465,000 banked from 12 lifetime tries and looms the future book favorite for the Grade I, $1 million Hambletonian in August.

Then one race later in the $370,000 Roses Are Red final for older pacing fillies and mares, Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) lived up to her billing as the 3-5 favorite when she changed tactics considerably and left alertly to wrestle command from Blazin Britches (David Miller) nearing a wicked 25.4 opener, maintained and honest tempo by the half in 54.2, met serious pressure from Blue Moon Stride (Corey Callahan) through the far turn and outlasted that one and L A Delight (Gingras) to score by a neck in 1:49.3.

A five-year-old Tintin In America mare trained by Jim King, Jr. for owner Richard Poilucci, Shartin N rebounded from an early miscue in her elimination to notch her 11th win in 14 starts this year and push her seasonal earnings past $600,000. Shartin N had already won the $373,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final at Yonkers Raceway for the King-Tetrick tandem and Saturday night she easily maintained her status at the head of the class with a gritty score as the odds-on choice.

Then one race later in the main event on the card, the $1 million North America Cup final for three-year-old colt pacers, Lather Up (Montrell Teague) lived up to his billing as the 3-5 favorite when he left alertly to secure good early position, yielded briefly to Done Well (Tetrick) in a 26.3 opener then immediately retook before the half in 54.1, met token pressure from Nutcracker Sweet (David Miller) through the far turn and by three-quarters in 1:21.3, shook loose from that one then edged clear from Done Well and Lost In Time to score (Zeron) to score in 1:48.1.

A sophomore son of I'm Gorgeous trained by George Teague for owner-breeders Gary & Barbara Iles, Lather Up remained perfect in six starts this year and pushed his seasonal earnings toward $600,000 with his sharp score. Lather Up has won 10 of 13 career outings and rocketed to the head of the class among sophomore pacing colts and prevailed in one of the few graded stakes in which Wiggle Itjiggleit got beat. Done Well saved ground inside to gain the place spot while Lost In Time rallied feverishly for the show spot despite excess cover.