The Breeders’ Crown Finals return to Woodbine Mohawk Park this weekend. And while the two-day event is filled with the top stars of belt racing, the Canadian horse takes its place at the top of the tent.
The Hanover Bulldog, who lives just a few country blocks away from Campbellville Oval, will try to wrap up his North American Horse of the Year honors when he leads the $600,000 open pace race, one of eight finals for the championship Saturday night.
The Hanover Bulldog, owned by Brad Grant of Milton and coach Jack Darling of Cambridge, was a local star at second and third. This year, he gained international acclaim with a series of quick wins over the summer in the Meadowlands that culminated in the fastest mile in belt racing history, averaging 1:45 4/5 on July 16.
He later won the Canadian Basing Derby in August, but was unbeaten at the Red Mile on October 9 when, in an attempt to break his own record, he ran out of steam late and was overtaken by Aliuage Hanover, one of his rivals, on Saturday. He entered the race after winning the qualifier 1:51 2/5 last weekend.
“I’ve had a lot of good horses,” Darling said. “But he is a special, distinguished horse.”
“I wish everyone had one like him once in their life.”
Dexter Dunn will once again share a Bulldog Hanover who will start from sixth on the 11-horsepower stacked field.
Darling, who will be inducted into the Canadian Horseracing Hall of Fame next year, knows the Hanover Bulldog will get his hands on it.
“These are tough horses, fast horses,” he said. “It will be a tough race.”
Back of the Neck award winner Maple Leaf Trout heads a deep field in the $600,000 open trot race. He will be joined by Amigo Volo, who won the Breeders’ Crown the last time the event was held in Mohawk in 2019. Defending champion Ecurie DK, Jujubee and his academic and local stars Forbidden Trade and Fashion Frenzie were also shown.
The three-year-old colt of $600,000 Pebble Beach, who won the North American Cup in June, will play Bythemissal, the Ohio star who won the Little Brown Jug title last month. Both horses won the elimination qualifiers. I Did It Myway also has a great opportunity after a solid showing in his races at the Red Mile.
Colt’s $600,000 trot is a wide open issue after the King of the North and Double Deceiver scored a surprise win in the eliminations. Cole will challenge Papa Bell, who beat the Hamptonian at a hefty price, but starts from ninth. Getting a better tie with a chance is Slay, who won the Canadian Trotting Classic last month.
If Bulldog Hanover can’t make it and the Test of Faith does what is expected of her at the $350,000 open mare pace, she will likely defend the Horse of the Year title. But she will have to improve from her elimination when she barely wins by taking her nose. She will face Grace Hill, who won the other elimination.
For the past five years, Atlanta has been one of the most popular stars in the sport. The Mohawk will deposit it in her $350,000 open mare trot. The 37-race winner and $3.7 million brought a lot of memories to driver Yannick Gingras.
“She’s a great mare,” he said after her latest win at the Red Mile. “It is one of the greatest companies in the industry and it has been a pleasure to lead it.”
You’ll encounter a field stacked with the likes of Bella Bellini, When Dovescry, and Refined all having stellar seasons.
Elimination winners Gigi Jugg and Juvaletti are presiding over an impressive revamp of the three-year-old’s $600,000 filly race. Jiggy Jog may have the current upper hand after winning her first-ever head-to-head fight at Kentucky Filly Futurity earlier this month and then setting a Canadian record in elimination with 1:51 2/5. Although Joviality made a breathtaking charge in deep depth to earn her heat.
Boudoir Hanover is among the favorites for the $600,000 filly game, and a win could lead to two fantastic weeks for owner Daniel Plouffe. Longtime belt runner Plouffe owns a stake in thoroughbreds including Queen’s Plate winner Moira, who is expected to take part in the Breeders’ Filely and Mare Turf Cup in Keeneland next week. Sea Silk, Treachious Dragon, Max Contract, and Niki Hill can also compete in a wide open case.
stars of the future
Friday’s ticket starts the $6.7 million event with four finals worth $600,000 for two-year-olds. The result of the elimination shook the two-year-old colt as two of the season’s biggest stars will have to make the journey from a wide start.
Oh well that captured Mohawk Million on September 24th, he was second to Celebrity Bambino in his heat and would start from 9th. Starting alongside him will be Winners Bet, a William Welwood Memorial winner who was no match for local Gaines Hanover horse, who will try to grab the top prize starting with the railroad.
Local horse Sylvia Hannover will take her winning streak with six straight races to the two-year-old filly’s final. She defeated Charleston to win the Great Lady title on September 24 and that filly would be her main opponent once again.
Another local superstar, Righteous Resolve, will be looking for her eighth win this year in the two-year-old filly’s races. She will be challenged by Special Way, who won the elimination match for coach Ake Svanstedt, as well as Instagram Model.
The two elimination winners who rose to prominence in Kentucky last month, the Confederate and Handlelikeaporsche will head to head in the two-year-old colt race. The local Stockade Seelster is sure to be hopeful in the mix.
First post on both nights at 7pm