Comeback special: Alrajah One IT returns in record form in Maple Leaf Trot

Comeback special: Alrajah One IT returns in record form in Maple Leaf Trot

MILTON, September 2, 2023 – Last year’s Maple Leaf Trot was far from memorable for Alrajah One IT. On Saturday night under the lights and in the spotlight at Woodbine Mohawk Park, the trotting titan was back and better than ever.

A year ago, the Italian-bred powerhouse was scratched out of the race in which he was tabbed as the morning-line favourite due to injury.

With no starts in 2023, the 7-year-old stallion was making his seasonal debut in the $530,000 Maple Leaf Trot final, nearly 13 months after his last race, a two-length win in the John Cashman Memorial on August 6, 2022.

If there was any question as to whether he would have any ring rust, Alrajah One IT, making his first start in Canada, answered the bell with a knockout performance in a star-stacked edition of the race.

Its Academic, second choice on the tote board, took control early, striking front from post six and leading his seven rivals into the first turn, as Dexter Dunn, in rein to Alrajah One IT, settled his charge into fifth.

Cutting an opening quarter in :27.0, Its Academic was followed by Fashion Frenzie, Logan Park, Venerate and Alrajah One IT. It was status quo through a half reached in :55.1, as Dunn maintained a patient hand on the 4-5 favourite.

Its Academic was still in charge as he navigated the turn for home but Venerate was in hot pursuit and dialed up the pressure on the leader through three-quarters in 1:23.0. Dunn had Alrajah One IT rolling before straightening for home and began to cut into the lead of Its Academic.

Mid-way down the lane, Alrajah One IT powered by his rival and then crossed the wire a 1 ½-length winner, stopping the clock in 1:50.2, and setting off a trifecta of records, specifically, the stakes, track and Canadian standards. Its Academic held second, Rattle My Cage was third and Fashion Frenzie, who finished fifth, was elevated to fourth after Venerate broke stride late.

“He’s some kind of horse, isn’t he?” said Dunn. “I fell in love with him last year. I got to sit behind him, and he did amazing things. A little bit like last year, he doesn’t really give you a feel on the helmet and when you move him off the helmet, he just takes off. He shows unbelievable speed for a trotter. I was really happy with where I got away.”

Alrajah One had qualified twice this summer with trainer Ake Svanstedt in the race bike. On July 22 at The Meadowlands, he was timed in 1:52.2, finishing second. On August 9, this time at Pocono, he was a 21 ½-length victor in the same clocking.

The son of Maharajah-Mariu (by Varenne), who began his breeding career earlier in the year, went three-for-three in 2022, taking the Crawford Farms Trot at The Meadowlands, the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park, and the aforementioned John Cashman Memorial at The Meadowlands.

“I’ve been so lucky I’ve sat behind some great, great trotters,” said Dunn. “When he came over, I didn’t know too much about him. Ake was happy with him, and he’s done unbelievable things.”

Owned by Scuderia My Horse Inc. and bred by Luca Crosetti, Alrajah One IT is now 17-4-6 from 44 lifetime starts and has over $1.7 million in career earnings.

He paid $3.80 for the victory.

Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms

Grace Martin
Grace Martin Communications Specialist, Woodbine Entertainment
Horse Racing - SB
About Woodbine Entertainment

Woodbine Entertainment is the largest horse racing operator in Canada, with Thoroughbred horse racing at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, and Standardbred horse racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Milton. Woodbine Entertaiment also owns and operates HPIbet, Canada’s only betting platform dedicated to horse racing. Woodbine and Mohawk Park are host to several world-class racing events including The King’s Plate, three Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races, and the Pepsi North America Cup. Run without share capital, Woodbine Entertainment has a mandate to financially invest all profit back into the horse racing industry and the 25,000 jobs it supports across Ontario.   

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555 Rexdale Blvd. Toronto, Ontario.