MILTON, August 27, 2022 – The field is set for the 2022 Canadian Pacing Derby following a pair of $40,000 eliminations on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Jimmy Freight and Bulldog Hanover captured their respective eliminations, rolling into next Saturday's rich final in top form. Each elimination featured a field of seven with the top-five finishers advancing.
With familiar face Louis-Philippe Roy in the race bike, Jimmy Freight, owned by Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Jimmy Freight Stable, was full of pace late, storming home down the lane to take the first Derby elimination in 1:49.1.
It was fleet-of-foot Warrawee Vital who called the shots early, blasting off the gate and assuming command going into the first turn as Lous Pearlman followed in second with Jimmy Freight tucked into third.
In front after a quarter in :27.4, Warrawee Vital was still unfettered on the lead through a half in :56.1 with Lous Pearlman and Jimmy Freight maintaining their second and third position, respectively.
Roy continued to keep a patient hand as the field approached the three-quarter mark, as Trevor Henry called on Warrawee Vital for his best as rivals closed in from all sides. Mid-way down the lane, Jimmy Freight hit his best stride, rocketing along the inside to hit front en route to a 1 ¾-length score.
A game Warrawee Vital secured second, Poseidon Seelster finished third and Lous Pearlman was fourth. Rockyroad Hanover, who went off as the 3-5 choice, eked out the fifth spot to move on to the final.
“Jimmy Freight made it look so easy for me,” said Roy, of the multiple stakes winner who posted his 33rd career victory. “It makes my job east. You can do whatever you want. You’re almost never in a bad position, bad spot. You just respect the horse a little bit and he’s going to give you all he has.”
It’s something co-owner Adriano Sorella has seen time and again from the seven-year-old son of Sportswriter-Allamerican Summer.
The bay pacer, who had been temporarily sidelined due to injury this season, was at the top of his game in a sparkling elimination effort under the lights at Mohawk.
“He looked good tonight,” said Sorella, of the veteran star who won the 2022 Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational in June. “We aimed for the Canadian Pacing Derby… and we’re ready for it.”
Bred by Alan Eden and Randell Eden, Jimmy Freight, back in the barn of trainer Richard Moreau, returned $9.40 for the win.
It wasn’t the easiest trip for Bulldog Hanover, but the end result was exactly what was expected in the second Canadian Pacing Derby elimination.
Leaving from the outside post seven, Bulldog Hanover, with Dexter Dunn in the sulky, couldn’t find a spot along the rail initially as My Pal Joe was in front at the quarter in :26.2, but This Is The Plan soon took over the lead and guided his six rivals through a half in :54.1.
Desperate Man, with Trevor Henry at the controls, popped to the outside ahead of the three-quarter pole, and last year’s Pepsi North America Cup winner stormed to the front around the turn for home as Dunn unleashed Bulldog Hanover to the outside.
The four-year-old bay, who paced the fastest mile in the history of harness racing winning the William R. Haughton Memorial in 1:45.4 on July 16, stormed to the front late and went on to notch another convincing triumph.
At the wire, Bulldog Hanover was a 2 ½-length winner in 1:48.0. Desperate Man was second, Tattoo Artist was third and Abuckabett Hanover fourth.
“I was happy to take a helmet,” said Dunn. “He’s been on the front for quite a few starts now. The speed was on, so we just took a back seat and got a good trip after that. He knows his job. He’s such a cool horse to drive. The last eighth, was when he was just starting to warm up it felt like.”
Trained by Jack Darling and co-owned with Brad Grant of Milton, Ont. the son of Shadow Play-BJs Squall made it eight straight trips to the winner’s circle while boosting his record to 23-3-1 from 31 career starts.
“I was just a little bit nervous,” said Darling, of the early stages of the race. “It wasn’t the plan. But I’ve actually been hoping that he could catch a trip like that and just race from behind one of these times. I like to say he’s a phenomenal horse, he’s got a great driver, an excellent caretaker, a lucky trainer and a couple lucky owners.”
Does the record-holding star pacer have more to offer?
“I guess we’re going to keep finding out,” offered Dunn.
Bred by Hanover Shoe Farms, Bulldog Hanover paid $2.30 for the victory.
The draw for next Saturday’s $650,000 final took place following the eliminations. Bulldog Hanover and Jimmy Freight had the right to select their posts following their elimination victories.
1 – Rockyroad Hanover
2 – Jimmy Freight
3 – Abuckabett Hanover
4 – Bulldog Hanover
5 – Poseidon Hanover
6 – Desperate Man
7 – Lous Pearlman
8 – Tattoo Artist
9 – Workin Ona Mystery
10 – Warrawee Vital
AE – My Pal Joe
The post-position draw for the $610,000 Maple Leaf Trot also took place on Saturday evening. The Maple Leaf Trot did not require eliminations.
1 – Its Academic
2 – Ecurie D
3 – Back Of The Neck
4 – Forbidden Trade
5 – Fashion Frenzie
6 – Logan Park
7 – Alrajah One IT
8 – Atlanta
9 – Perfetto
10 – Locatelli
Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7 p.m.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications