First crop sires well represented in Mohawk baby races

by Melissa Keith

Originally slated for June 10, Woodbine Mohawk Park’s complimentary owners’ breakfast was rescheduled for Saturday (June 24). The week of the original event, Environment Canada issued a Special Air Quality Alert for Toronto, which was enough to cancel the Thursday (June 8) Mohawk card for health reasons. On Friday (June 9), live racing and eight qualifiers for 2-year-old fillies did take place after the air cleared, but the owners’ breakfast was postponed.

Qualifying races for 2-year-olds began for the 2023 WMP season on June 3, said Bill McLinchey, director of standardbred racing at Woodbine Entertainment. The untitled June 24 breakfast at the Mohawk Harvest Kitchen restaurant was open to all racehorse owners, trainers, drivers and caretakers an hour prior to the 10 a.m. start for the baby races.

“We decided it was best to postpone the breakfast, as there were only six baby races scheduled for the original date,” McLinchey said. “We split them up over two days, as there are too many qualifiers for one day. Splitting colts and fillies seems to spread them out equally over the two days.”

McLinchey told HRU he was, “definitely happy with the number of 2-year-olds that are qualifying so far” at Woodbine Mohawk Park. “The 2-year-old Ontario Sires Stakes starts a week later this year, so I think it has allowed trainers some extra time to get qualified and prepped for the long season. We have also had some extremely busy training days at Mohawk. I think that is a good sign for building the local horse supply.”

A total of 92 male trotters and pacers were entered in Saturday’s 12 WMP qualifiers for 2-year-olds, with the first crops of Jimmy Freight (p,7,1:48.0s; $1,704,176); Stag Party (p, 7,1:50.2f; $817,375); Greenshoe (3, 1:49.4m; $1,353,772); Six Pack (3, 1:49.1m; $1,939,604); The Bank (3, 1:50.4m; $1,110,300); and Alarm Detector (2, 1:52.4s; $327,696) represented. The first full crop of McWicked (p, 7, 1:46.2m; $4,930,967) was also in the spotlight, with eight sons set to qualify.

A few six-figure yearlings of 2022 were in the mix, including:

In qualifier 2, Legendary Hanover (Huntsville—Lillian Hanover), a half-brother to Linedrive Hanover, debuting for trainer Anthony Beaton and owners West Wins Stable, Wellington, FL; Eric Good, Davidsonville, MD; and Mark Dumain, Pine Bush, NY. The colt sold for $260,000 last year at Harrisburg.

In qualifier 8, the same owners and trainer were sending out Sinatra Hanover (Bettors Delight—Sawyer), a $100,000 Harrisburg yearling.

In qualifier 4, Finite (Resolve—Awesome Chrissy), who brought $100,000 at Harrisburg last year, was making his first appearance for trainer Clarke Beelby and owner Coyote Wynd Farms, Oakville, ON.

In qualifier 6, Private Access (Muscle Hill—Open Access), a $250,000 Harrisburg yearling, was slated to debut for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination, Montreal, QC.

In qualifier 7, Minett (Always B Miki—Muskoka Moonlight), a $135,000 Harrisburg yearling, was due to make a second qualifying appearance for trainer Dr. Ian Moore and owners Moore; Mac Nichol, Burlington, ON; Bolton Farms Llc, Clermont, FL; and Reginald Petitpas, Irishtown, NB. The colt went gate-to-wire in 1:58 flat in his first baby race, June 16 at Mohawk for driver Jody Jamieson.

Friday (June 23), freshman trotting and pacing fillies took to the Campbellville, ON track for 12 qualifiers. Dr. Ian Moore trained the day’s fastest and co-second-fastest winners. Ann (He’s Watching—Addicted To Love) overtook early leader Pass And Stow (Betting Line—Ok Heavenly) to win qualifier 1 in 1:55for driver Trevor Henry and owners Wilma and James Mackenzie, Ennismore, ON. Ann also won her first qualifier at Mohawk on June 15, in 1:58.

Odds On Platinum (Bettors Delight—American Jewel) also won her second consecutive qualifier for trainer Moore, driver Tyler Moore, and owner Odds On Racing, Boca Raton, FL, pacing to a front-end 1:55.3 qualifying victory.

“Ann will race in the [Ontario Sires Stakes] Gold which I believe is June 10 or 11,” said Ian Moore after the Friday baby races, discussing the pari-mutuel debuts for both winning fillies. “Platinum is also eligible to OSS and will be starting in an upcoming Gold.” He said he did not expect to be taking part in the breakfast Saturday.

“Well, of course I will be on the track and in the paddock. This is standardbred racing, not thoroughbreds,” Moore said with a laugh. “I will likely have to go with a couple [as driver] myself, because Tyler [Moore] has to head to Hanover [Raceway] early.”

What do promising baby race performances reveal, if anything, about upcoming pari-mutuel races? Ian cautioned against overestimating 2-year-olds based on eye-catching early miles.

“Strong qualifiers are good, but not necessarily to end all,” he said. “I have had babies qualify really well and basically that’s as fast as they go, and, conversely, I have had poor qualifiers step up on race day.”