Mohawk stars prominent in the premier stakes race at The Raceway at The Western Fair District.
by Melissa Keith
Canada’s two most successful current harness tracks by handle are Woodbine Mohawk Park and The Raceway at The Western Fair District. Next Friday (May 26), top older pacers converge at the latter for the $150,000 Camluck Classic Invitational. Two of them are coming in after May victories at seven-eighths-mile Mohawk, a track that clearly plays to different strengths.
American History (p,3,1:47m; $1,494,205) won the May 13 WMP preferred-2 in a sizzling 1:48.2 seasonal best, currently the fastest Canadian mile of 2023. His half-mile track record is 1:49.3, set when he captured the 2019 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway for previous connections.
Now owned by Brad Grant of Milton, ON and trained by Richard Moreau, the 8-year-old stallion has been racing exclusively at Mohawk since June 4, 2022, when he won his first start after the 2022 Camluck Classic. Starting from The Raceway’s outside post position on May 27, American History and driver Travis Cullen trailed throughout the 1:50.2 edition, won by Jimmy Freight.
The American Ideal—Perfect Touch son’s Mohawk debut was in an elimination for the 2018 North America Cup, in which the former Tony Alagna trainee finished third as the beaten favorite. In line to Yannick Gingras for the final, American History was parked throughout and finished last behind 1:48.1 winner Lather Up.
He found redemption in the 2019 Breeders Crown open pace at Mohawk. Sent to the opening quarter in :25.4 by catch driver Joe Bongiorno, American History surrendered his early lead to Dorsoduro Hanover past the half. The 4-year-old came on again down the stretch, taking the inside path to a 1:48.3 victory.
So far this season, American History has four wins at Mohawk. At publication deadline, he was slated to take on seven other free-for-allers in Mohawk’s Saturday night (May 20) top class. Driver Trevor Henry was aboard for the pacer’s Canadian seasonal record last Saturday and is driving him for just the second time this Saturday.
Other confirmed 2023 Camluck Classic entrants include Whichwaytothebeach (p, 3, 1:49.2s; $647,445), who began his 2023 campaign with a 1:50.1 WMP victory on May 8, for driver James MacDonald and trainer Desiree Jones. The 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere—Swinging Beauty gelding is owned by Gino Toscani of Mount Hope, ON, and will be stepping up in class at Mohawk Saturday night (May 20). The Camluck Classic will be his first start at The Raceway at Western Fair. His record on a half is a front-end 1:52.4 victory in a leg of the 2022 Borgata Series at Yonkers Raceway.
Three horses who have been recently active at Yonkers will be taking on the two Mohawk-based pacers in the 2023 Camluck Classic:
Reigning half-mile track World Champion This Is The Plan (p, 6, 1:47.3h; $3,038,197) had a tough trip in the 2022 Camluck Classic, starting from The Raceway’s trailing post and finishing second-last for driver Trevor Henry.
The 2022 MGM Borgata Pacing Series champion Funatthebeach N (p, 8, 1:49.2h; $1,062,487) finished third in a May 14, 2022 WMP preferred before his fourth-place finish for driver Jordan Stratton in the 2022 Camluck Classic.
Covered Bridge (p, 4, 1:48.3m; $827,250) is making his first appearance at the London, ON half-mile. He captured two legs of the 2023 MGM Borgata Series and was third as beaten favorite in the final. The gelding is undefeated in the Yonkers open handicap this month, in two starts from outside posts.
Idealsomemagic A (p, 9, 1:51.2h; $283,317) arrived in the U.S. from Australia late last year, making just one North American start. The Cory Stratton trainee has since racked up eight 2023 victories at Yonkers, including three legs of the MGM Borgata Series.
Newcomer Mac’s Big Boy (p, 5, 1:48.4s; $435,346) was confirmed on Friday (May 19), as the track has released the names of participating pacers in a staggered fashion over the past week. The gelding has two wins this year, most recently in Hoosier Park’s open 1-2 on May 5.
With seven confirmed starters and the draw coming up on Monday (May 22), The Raceway at Western Fair has not confirmed a possible eighth starter in the Camluck Classic. Speculation has swirled about who that pacer, rumored to be a WMP regular, might be. The name was unconfirmed at deadline.
TICKETS ON SALE FOR PEPSI NA CUP
The 40th annual Pepsi North America Cup is scheduled for Saturday, June 17 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Tickets went on sale on Saturday (May 19). Each $10 general admission ticket is redeemable as a $10 betting voucher for the North America Cup live card. Advance tickets can only be purchased at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Admission for youth (17 years of age and younger) remains free.