Homeracing

Mohawk and Yonkers offer ample elims

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Ted Black

August 26th, 2018

Hours after thoroughbred racing fans attempted to grasp the importance and depth of the Travers Stakes and undercard at Saratoga Race Course, harness racing enthusiasts focused their attention on Mohawk Park and Yonkers Raceway which offered numerous stakes eliminations for lucrative finals looming next weekend.

In the second race on the Mohawk Saturday card, Key West (Brett Miller) just lived up to her role as the 1-4 favorite in the first $84,000 Eternal Camnation split for two-year-old filly pacers when she quarter moved to command and just outlasted the late bids of Ideation Hanover and Queen Of The Pride to score by a neck in 1:52.1. A freshman daughter of Captaintrecherous trained by Tony Alagna, Key West recorded her third win in five starts and nearly tripled her career earnings to $65,000.

Then one race later in the first $40,000 Maple Leaf Trot elim for older trotters, Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron) lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite despite being idle since Hambo Day when he rallied widest of all to gain command inside the eighth pole and just outlasted the late surge of 9-5 favorite Dancer Hall (Sylvain Filion) to score by a length in 1:53.1.

A five-year-old Muscle Hill stallion trained by Michael Keeling, Marion Marauder now owns five wins and $335,000 banked from eight starts this year and a stellar 19-14-5 slate and just over $3 million banked from 43 career outings. He will certainly be among the faves in the lucrative final next weekend, but onlookers need to keep a close eye on Dancer Hall who rallied from far back to get second in a superb effort and he has never been worse than second in 14 seasonal starts for trainer Paul Reid.

Then one race later in the second $83,000 Eternal Camnation split for two-year-old filly pacers, Quebec Blue Chip (Jody Jamieson) led through modest fractions of 27 and 57.1 and 1:25.3 and just held safe Odds On St. Lucie (Brett Miller) to score in 1:53.2. A juvenile daughter of Sportsmaster trained by David Menary, Quebec Blue Chip has won four straight races and five of seven starts overall and banked nearly $210,000 along the way.

Then one race later in the second Maple Leaf Trot elim, Ariana G (David Miller) forged a 10-1 upset when she rallied from well off the pace to overtake Will Take Charge (Tetrick) and Hannelore Hanover (Yannick Gingras) to score by a neck in 1:52.4 A four-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill trained by Jimmy Takter, Ariana G notched her fourth win in eight starts this year and now owns 25 wins from 34 career tries and banked $2.36 million and looms a serious threat in the final along with Will Take Charge while Hannelore Hanover appears to be well past her prime and destined to relinquish her title as harness horse of the year.

Then one race later in the first $92,000 Nassagaweya Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings, Captain Crunch (Zeron) kept his perfect record in tact when he left and raced parked to gain command in a 27.1 opener, got a breather by the half in 56 flat, met token pressure from Lyons Johnny Jnr (Tetrick) through the far turn, shook loose at the head of the lane and held safe the late bid of Goldberg (Montrell Teague) to score in 1:52 for his third win in as many starts to begin his career.

One race later in the third $84,000 Eternal Camnation division for juvenile filly pacers, Tall Drink Hanover (Andrew McCarthy) easily lived up to her role as the 1-9 favorite when she gained command early and led throughout to score by three lengths in 1:52.1. A freshman daughter of Captaintrecherous out of a mare by The Panderosa, Tall Drink Hanover has won three straight races and three of five outings overall and banked $70,000 for trainer To ny Alagna.

Two races later in the second $92,000 Nassagaweya split for two-year-old pacing colts, Captain Ahab (Andrew McCarthy) lived up to his billing as the 1-9 favorite when he rallied from well off the pace to sweep to command at the head of the lane and just outlast the late kick of Lyons Night Hawk (Tetrick) to score by a length in 1:51.4. A juvenile son of Captaintrecherous trained by Alagna, Captain Ahab has won all five of her career starts and banked $80,000 and banked $85,000 and looms as the early favorite for the champion two-year-old pacing colt title.

Then one race later in the third $92,000 Nassagaweya division, Stag Party (David Miller) easily lived up to his role as the 1-5 favorite when he rallied from well off the pace with a wicked move down the backside and romped home eight lengths clear in 1:52.2. A juvenile son of Bettor's Delight trained by Casie Coleman, Stag Party recorded his second straight victory and owns four wins and $160,000 banked from five career outings.

That same evening at Yonkers Raceway, Babes Dig Me (George Brennan) quarter moved to command in 26.3, got a breather by the half in 56.1, faced serious pressure from JK Wildfire down the backside and through the far turn and just lasted to score in 1:52.2 in the first $40,000 Messenger Stakes elimination for three-year-old pacing colts. JK Wildfire, Topville Olympian and Nutcracker Sweet also advanced to the $500,000 final next week, but this split appeared much softer than the next one.

One race later in the second Messenger Stakes elim, Jimmy Freight (Louis Roy) stamped himself as the future book favorite for the $500k final next weekend when he left to gain command in a 27.4 opener, got a breather to the half in 56.2, met token pressure from Springsteen (Brian Sears) down the backside, shook loose on the far turn and romped home five lengths clear in 1:50.3, shattering the track and stakes record for his group. It was his eighth win in 13 starts this year for the Sportsmaster colt trained by Andrew Harris.

Then one race later in the $44,000 Open Handicap, Scott Rocks (Eric Goodell) gained command in a 27.3 opener, got a breather to the half in 56.4, met pressure from Somewhere In L A (Jason Bartlett) down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:24.2 then just outlasted that one through the lane to score in 1:52.1. It was the second straight win for Scott Rocks, while Somewhere In L A has won three times and been second twice in his last five outings and could be a prime contender for the $150,000 Bobby Quilllen Memorial at Harrington Raceway next month.

Then one race later in the $35,000 Preferred, Doctor Butch (Bartlett) lived up to his role as the 3-5 favorite from the rail when he left well, yielded briefly to Caviart Luca (Brennan), retook before the opener in 27.4, got a breather to the half in 56.3 and three-quarters in 1:24.2 and held safe the inside bid of Doctor Butch to score in 1:52.1. An eight-year-old Art Major stallion trained by Richard Banca, Doctor Butch now owns a 7-8-2 slate and $145,000 banked from 28 seasonal outings.

Then one race later in the non-winners of $30,000 last five starts class for older pacers, Gratian Hanover (Joe Bongiorno) left, got rebuffed before the opener by Control Tower (Brent Holland), attempted to take command by the half in 55.3 and was rebuffed again, raced parked down the backside and through the far turn and still edged past the leader for a neck score in 1:51.1. A six-year-old Western Ideal gelding owned and trained by Jenn Bongiorno, Gratian Hanover now sports a 6-3-2 slate and $110,000 banked from 22 seasonal starts.

Then two races later in the second non-winners of $30,000 last five starts class for pacers, Travel Playlist (Bartlett) gained command through the first turn, carved out modest fractions on the lead and held safe Military Master to score by nearly a length in 1:52.4. A Maryland-bred son of Art Major trained by Erv Miller, Travel Playlist notched his second straight victory, four wins in his last six outings and five wins in 10 starts this year and pushed his career earnings past $310,000.
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