Campbellville, ON --- Harness racing’s finest is taking over Mohawk Racetrack.
The annual Grand Circuit week begins Thursday (Aug. 28) with the Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies and wraps up next Saturday (Sept. 6).
The Champlain Stakes for 2-year-olds and Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-olds are staples on the Grand Circuit schedule every year.
“Having North America’s top 2- and 3-year-olds come to Mohawk is exciting and something we all look forward to,” said Scott McKelvie, WEG’s Racing Secretary and Director of Racing. “The Grand Circuit’s annual visit is always a highlight of the racing season.”
Thursday night three Champlain divisions for more than C$83,000 will take place for the freshman trotting fillies.
Spirit To Win (post three), the winner of this year’s Pure Ivory Series, leads the group of eight in the first division. A daughter of Cantab Hall–Celebrity Spirit, Spirit To Win has won three times in four career starts for trainer Dustin Jones.
The second division features Ontario Sires Stakes standout Danielle Hall (post six) for the trainer/driver duo of Carl and Jody Jamieson. A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe–Debbie Hall, Danielle Hall has won four of her five career starts for earnings of $126,303.
Jolene Jolene (post one) is the 4-5 morning line favorite in the third and final division. Trained by Jonas Czernyson, Jolene Jolene is a daughter of Muscle Hill–Celebrity Speedie and has one win in four career starts. She was the runner-up in the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle at the Meadowlands on Aug. 2.
The stakes action will continue on Friday night with two divisions of more than C$103,000 of the Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies and two C$124,621 divisions of the Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters.
World champion Lifetime Pursuit, the winner of this year’s Hambletonian Oaks, headlines the group of 13 3-year-old trotting fillies. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Lifetime Pursuit will start from post six in the second Simcoe Stakes division (race nine) with driver Brett Miller. She is coming off a stakes record victory of 1:52.1 in the Casual Breeze Stakes last Friday at Mohawk.
Miller and Takter will also team up in the second Champlain Stakes division with freshman trotting colt French Laundry. A son of Muscles Yankee–Creamy Mimi, French Laundry has won three of his five career starts and will start from post three.
On Saturday evening, the C$207,689 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies and the C$218,076 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters will take place as part of the massive Canadian Pacing Derby card.
Precocious Beauty leads a group of nine 3-year-old pacing fillies in the Simcoe Stakes. Last year’s She’s A Great Lady Stakes winner, Precocious Beauty will start from post four for the trainer/driver team of Gregg and Doug McNair.
A large field of 12 3-year-old trotters, starring this year’s Hambletonian winner Trixton, will meet in their Simcoe Stakes division. Trixton, who has drawn post 11 in the second tier, will be making his first start since capturing the $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands on Aug. 2.
Trixton will also be making his first start at Mohawk since he set the track record of 1:51.3 in the $250,332 Goodtimes Stakes on June 14. Trainer Jimmy Takter will take his usual position in the bike behind Trixton on Saturday evening.
After a busy weekend, the Champlain and Simcoe Stakes action will resume next Saturday (Sept. 6) with the C$260,000 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers, the C$240,000 Champlain Stakes for the 2-year-old pacing fillies and the C$240,000 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers.