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Baillargeon expects trotting colts to show their speed Monday
CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — In order to race in Monday’s Gold Eliminations at Mohawk Racetrack, a two-year-old trotting colt was required to qualify or race in 2:05 or faster over a seventh-eighths mile oval.
Over a five-eighths mile surface the requirement is 2:06, and over a half-mile track it is 2:09. Most of the 25 entrants in the Gold Series season opener made their preparations over the Mohawk oval and head into their elimination off a mile between 2:00 and 2:03, which trainer Benoit Baillargeon predicts will be two seconds too slow on Monday.
“That race, they’ll go in 1:58 or 1:59,” says the Rockwood, ON resident. “These trotters, nobody’s been pushing yet, but to win they’ll have to go in 1:58 or 1:59; I would say 1:58.”
Baillargeon will start two youngsters in Monday’s event, which features three $40,000 Eliminations, and the veteran horseman figures one colt is ready to produce the speed required to vie for a berth in the July 19 Gold Final, while the other may need one more start before he reaches the 1:58 range.
“Don Pietro, I’m pretty sure he can trot a mile in 1:58,” notes Baillargeon. “The other one (Revonah Hanover), he’s about ready to trot a mile in 2:00. I wish I had one more start under his belt.”
Baillargeon, Santo Vena of Brampton, ON, C. Tremblay Holding Inc. of Brossard, QC and SOC GE Denis Robidoux Inc. of Granby, OC purchased Don Pietro at the end of June, and the Here Comes Herbie son heads into his Ontario Sires Stakes debut off a 2:00.2 victory in a July 3 qualifier at Mohawk. Former co-owner Jack Moiseyev mentioned to Baillargeon that he had a nice trotting colt for sale, and when the trainer saw Don Pietro win a June 19 qualifier by a dominant eight lengths in 2:03, he arranged for a test drive.
“I went out and trained him and I liked him. He’s all about trot, all about trot,” says the horseman.
“The price was okay, it wasn’t anything crazy like $200,000. He was affordable,” adds Baillargeon. “If I get out on him this year I’m going to be happy.”
Don Pietro will start from Post 7 in the first elimination on Monday, with Mario Baillargeon in the race bike for the second time. The pair faces a field of seven, of which the top three finishers will advance to the $130,000 Gold Final.
Stablemate Revonah Hanover gets Post 2 in the second elimination, with Mario Baillargeon at the helm, and his trainer is expecting a solid, if not speedy, performance from the Striking Sahbra youngster.
“He’s not a big horse, but he’s all trot,” notes Baillargeon, who trains the colt for Richard Berthiaume of Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC.
A $55,000 yearling purchase from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale last fall, Revonah Hanover posted two runner-up finishes in qualifying action. On June 25 he toured the Mohawk oval in 2:04.3 and on July 3 he was second with a 2:02.4 effort. The seventh offspring of former Ontario Sires Stakes standout Remarkable Image, Revonah Hanover’s most successful siblings are Rushmore Hanover, a winner of $411,689, and Reinsman Hanover, who boasts a record of 1:54.1.
Over the long term Baillargeon hopes both colts can battle in the upper echelons of the Ontario Sires Stakes program, but the horseman has been in business long enough to know that June qualifiers can be a poor indicator of racing success.
“It depends on how much money you make. They can look good, but you don’t make any money because there are five, six or seven better than you,” says the trainer with a wry chuckle. “Hopefully things work out.”
Mohawk Racetrack’s first race rolls in behind the starting gate at 7:20 pm on Monday evening, and the two-year-old trotting colts will make their Gold Series debuts in Races 2, 3 and 7. The top three finishers from each elimination, plus one fourth-place finisher drawn by lot, will advance to the $130,000 Gold Final next Monday.
For complete entries please go to: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/entries/data/e0712mohsn.dat.