CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — There is $2.4 million on the line at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night as 76 premier Ontario Sires Stakes horses battle in eight $300,000 Super Finals.
After gathering points through 10 regular season Gold Series Eliminations and Finals, the top point earners from each division are headed to the Campbellville oval to compete for year-end honours. Kicking off the lucrative evening are the two-year-old trotting fillies and colts and driver Chris Christoforou will be at the lines of favourites Peaceful Way and Eilean Donon in Races 1 and 2.
“They’re both nice trotters and, pound for pound, I think the filly is the best there is,” says the Campbellville resident. “I think she’s the best in the world right now.”
Peaceful Way heads into the $300,000 Super Final on a seven race win streak that has seen her dominate not only her Ontario-sired peers, but the top fillies in North America. In addition to a pair of Gold Eliminations and one Gold Final, the Angus Hall daughter captured her elimination and the final of the Oakville Stakes and the Goldsmith Maid Stakes at Mohawk, posting a personal best 1:56.2 in her Oct. 11 Goldsmith Maid Elimination and earning October Horse of the Month honours from the United States Trotting Association.
“She’s very intimidating,” notes Christoforou. “She has so much quick speed and she comes right back to me within two steps. It makes her hard to beat.”
Trained by David Tingley of Guelph for his partners Angie Stiller of Arva and Joseph and Barbara Myers of Jamesville, VA, Peaceful Way will start from Post 6 on Saturday, the closest she has been to the rail since the Sept. 15 Oakville Final.
“For her, that’s like the rail,” says Christoforou with a chuckle. “But she comes to fight every time and she hasn’t been tired any time I’ve ever driven her.”
After the Super Final Peaceful Way’s connections can choose between the Canadian Breeders Championship and the Breeders’ Crown but either way, if the winner of $841,522 continues on her current tear, she stands to be the second straight Ontario-sired two-year-old to crack $1 million, following the trail blazed by last season’s freshman pacing colt star Sir Luck.
After doing his part to move Peaceful Way closer the seven figure mark, Christoforou will take up the lines behind Eilean Donon in the second race. The Angus Hall son starts from Post 4 and Christoforou says Mohawk fans can expect to see him employ his preferred front-end style in the rich season finale.
“He’s been raced on the front his whole life, its the only thing he knows, so he’ll probably be there again Saturday night,” says the driver. “Maybe in the spring we’ll try something different, but right now he’s pretty determined.”
Christoforou and trainer Brad Maxwell tried to expand Eilean Donon’s repertoire in an Oct. 28 qualifier, but the headstrong youngster was not interested in learning how to come from behind.
“I tried to sit in to the quarter and then move him out, and he didn’t want anything to do with it,” explains Christoforou. “He wants to be where he wants to be, so we’re just going to let him do his thing.”
Eilean Donon’s �thing’ has resulted in a record of six wins, two seconds and a third in 10 starts for earnings of $318,201 on behalf of owners Steve Stewart of Paris, KY, Joseph Taylor of Lexington, KY and Benjamin Taylor of Nicholasville, KY. Maxwell chose not to send the colt to Western Fair Raceway for the last Gold Series so he heads into Saturday’s skirmish off a five-week rest, broken up by the Oct. 28 qualifier.
Grand Sovereign captured the Nov. 1 Gold Final in track record time over the London half-mile and will start from Post 6 in the Super Final. Christoforou will also have his eyes peeled for Valley Victory Final winner Beardmore from Post 3.
The talented two-year-old trotting fillies kick off the $2.4 million Championship at 7:40 pm on Saturday night and the trotting colts follow on their heels in Race 2. The other six Super Finals are featured as Races 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 on the Mohawk Racetrack program.