09/09/2016 9:34PM

Mohawk: Favorites explode in Wellwood eliminations


It was a bad night for the favorites in a pair of eliminations for the William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old colts and geldings at Mohawk Racetrack. What The Hill and Seven And Seven took advantage on Friday night while earning good starting positions for the C$350,000 Final on September 17.

In the opening elimination, the heavily favored Rubio lost stride early in the mile and barely got a call during the race. Signal Hill took advantage by darting to command in a 28 4/5 opening quarter before yielding to second choice What The Hill.

With Chris Christoforou subbing for David Miller, who had plane trouble and could not make it to Canada from New Jersey, What The Hill cruised to an easy middle half of 59 seconds. It was just at the third call when Signal Hill pulled the pocket to challenge the leader, but he refused to give way and gamely held off that challenger.

Jake, International Moni and Real Lucky Day wrapped up the top five finalists.

“I didn’t plan on racing my horse on the front with Rubio in there,” said Christoforou, who said he spoke with Miller and they agreed a covered up trip would be better. “It was not his best trip, but he won anyway.”

What The Hill is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables and J and T Silva Stables. After the victory, those same connections chose post three for the colt in the final.

In the second elimination, the fate of the favorite and his driver Yannick Gingras was similar but not identical. Victor Gio It, similar to his Jimmy Takter stablemate, made a break, but he persevered and finished fifth to make the final.

 With horses seemingly breaking at every moment, longshot Soho grabbed command and kept it through fractions of 27 4/5, 58 2/5 and 1:27 3/5. As they hit the third call, Seven And Seven took aim from the pocket and he wore down the leader while holding off King On The Hill late in 1:56.

Mountain Of Love, who made an early break, and the aforementioned Victor Gio It also advanced to the final.

According to co-owner, trainer and driver Thomas Durand, Seven And Seven almost didn’t make it to the race this week. “We couldn’t train her because of a minor stall injury. She had swelling in one leg,” said Durand.

Owned with June Durand and Allan Smith, Seven And Seven won for the third time in six career starts. A son of Blue Chip Farms stallion Chapter Seven, he will start from post two in the final.

C$350,000 William Wellwood Final

1 Real Lucky Day Y. Filion
2 Seven And Seven T. Durand
3 What The Hill D. Miller
4 King On The Hill S. Zeron
5 Victor Gio It Y. Gingras
6 Mountain Of Love R.Waples
7 International Moni S. Zeron
8 Signal Hill R. Waples
9 Jake S. Filion
10 Soho Hanover D. McNair
11AE Rubio Y. Gingras