MILTON, September 9, 2023 – A trio of Simcoe Stakes divisions for three-year-old pacers were part of Saturday’s stakes-filled lineup at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
The Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies required two divisions, while the open category needed just one division.
Sylvia Hanover returned to her winning ways with a 1:51.2 victory in the $79,600 first Simcoe Stakes division.
Driven by her regular pilot Bob McClure, Sylvia Hanover took her time by dropping in fourth in the field of seven. Bettors Punch shot out to the lead and got the opening-half easy, leading through clips of :27.1 and :56.4.
The Shawn Steacy trained Sylvia Hanover got her cue to go nearing the half and worked up towards the leader throughout the entire far turn. Bettors Punch hit three-quarters in 1:25.0.
In the stretch, Sylvia Hanover took care of business, powering on by and cruising to a 2 ¼ lengths victory. Mollop Hanover got up for second, while One Last Wish held third over a closing Lady Get Lucky.
“Tonight, she was pretty easy,” said McClure. “She always wants to leave and then she landed. When she decides to move there’s not a whole lot of discussion, you have to move right then. Once she got out there, I just left her alone, kicked for home, I spoke to her and she was waiting on them like she always does. If anything had of come at her she would’ve kicked again.”
Sylvia Hanover showed everyone, including her connections, that she was back on track after making a miscue in her most recent start on August 19 at Pocono.
“I wasn’t the least bit concerned,” said McClure. “It was a mishap in Pocono. It’s a tough track for some big horses, it happens, but I wasn’t concerned at all about her coming back here and getting back into form. She’s a superstar.”
A daughter of Always B Miki, Sylvia Hanover has now won seven of eight starts this season and 15 of 17 in her career. She surpassed $1.3 million in earnings with her Simcoe score for owner Hudson Standardbred Stable.
Sylvia Hanover paid $2.20 to win.
The $79,600 second Simcoe Filly division saw Bellisima Hanover wear down Sweet Amira for a career-best 1:50.1 victory.
Driven by Jody Jamieson, Bellisima Hanover was spotted third around the far turn before angling out first-up to advance towards the leader Sweet Amira. The leader would race by three-quarters in 1:23.1.
In the stretch, Sweet Amira and Bellisima Hanover would square off for a lengthy duel that ultimately saw Bellisima Hanover power by to win by a neck. Cheesy Smile rallied from last to finish third, while Savethelastdance was fourth.
A daughter of Captaintreacherous, Bellisima Hanover was just one for five on the season coming into the Simcoe. The Tony Alagna trainee now sports career numbers of five wins and $286,936 earned for owners Riverview Racing, Alagna Racing, Caviart Farms, Daniel Plouffe and Steve Head.
Bellisima Hanover paid $9.80 to win.
Whatchulookin At reached up to score a 31-1 upset in the $171,300 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers.
With all eyes on Stockade Seelster at 1/9, Whatchulookin At and Moment Is Here would overtake the heavy favourite for their own duel to the wire. Whatchulookin At prevailed by a half a length in a career-best 1:49.3.
Chris Christoforou got the last second call behind Whatchulookin At after travel issues caused Doug McNair to miss Saturday’s card.
“He was just a real gentleman, did everything I asked, very calm horse, very smart horse and he was a pleasure to drive,” said Christoforou. “They let me know very firmly that this horse has had some bad luck, some real bad racing luck lately. They thought he had a real good sprint to him if I save as much ground as possible and use him late and I thought it worked out great”
Stockade Seelster made the lead at a :26.4 opening-quarter and then got things his own way, posting clips of :26.4 and :55.2. Moment Is Here got a two-hole trip, while Whatchulookin At sat third.
In the stretch, Stockade Seelster would surrender the lead and watch as the Whatchulookin At edged Moment Is Here. Stockade Seelster held on for third over Redwood Hanover.
A gelded son of Hes Watching, Whatchulookin At now has three wins in 11 starts this season after capturing three of seven as a rookie. The Gregg McNair trainee’s biggest victory pushes him over $260,000 in earnings for owners Gregg McNair, Jim Newton, Bloomingwood Farms and Paul Kidd.
Whatchulookin At paid $64.30 to win.
Mark McKelvie, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms