09/07/2016 12:30PM

Mohawk: Grandma's Moni back on track for Peaceful Way

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To paraphrase the poet Robert Burns, the best laid plans of mice and horse trainers often go awry.

Frank Antonacci had mapped out a schedule for 2-year-old female trotter Grandma’s Moni, but the filly got sick after winning her debut in a sharp 1:55 2/5 at the Meadowlands Racetrack and the trainer was forced to abandon his early-season plans. She missed two races, but Grandma’s Moni is back on track for Thursday’s eliminations for the Peaceful Way Stakes at Mohawk.

Grandma’s Moni is in the first of two Peaceful Way eliminations and is 9-2 on the morning line. She will start from post four with driver Scott Zeron in a nine-horse field.

“Plan --- and then plan to have your plan go wrong,” Antonacci said with a laugh about Grandma’s Moni’s early setback to illness. “We made a conscious decision to race her lightly until the fall. We’re really not too far off where we wanted to be, but I would have preferred to have another race into her going into this week.

“But good horses can overcome, so hopefully she’s as good as we think she may be.”

Bred and owned by the Moni Maker Stable, Grandma’s Moni is a daughter of stallion Donato Hanover, the Horse of the Year in 2007, out of the mare All Our Moni. Her second dam is two-time Horse of the Year Moni Maker and she is a full sister to Reigning Moni, who competes in Saturday’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship at The Meadows.

Antonacci was impressed with Grandma’s Moni from the beginning.

“She was head and shoulders better than the rest all winter,” Antonacci said. “She was the most talented. She’s an impressive horse. Hopefully things continue to go well now. Hopefully she’s the one we’ve been waiting for.”

Grandma’s Moni won her first start by 2-1/2 lengths over Crann Tara in a division of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old female trotters at the Meadowlands on July 22. Her winning time of 1:55 2/5 is tied for the eighth fastest among all 2-year-old female trotters this season.

The plan was to race Grandma’s Moni in the second leg of the Kindergarten Series on Aug. 18 at Vernon and then head to Mohawk for the Sept. 1 Champlain Stakes. Instead, Antonacci decided to skip the Champlain and qualify Grandma’s Moni on Aug. 30 at Mohawk. She won in 1:58 1/5.

“We just focused on getting her healthy,” Antonacci said. “We qualified her there last week and she felt good and she trained good again over the weekend. Talent-wise, I think she belongs with those other fillies (in the Peaceful Way). Hopefully she’ll get a good start back this week and then be primed and ready to go for the final.”

The Peaceful Way final is Sept. 17 at Mohawk. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the final.

Thats All Moni is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the first Peaceful Way elimination. The Jimmy Takter-trained filly has a win on the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit and finished second to Ariana G in a division of last week’s Champlain. Ariana G, undefeated in five career starts, is the 3-5 choice in the second Peaceful Way elim. She also is from the Takter Stable.

Antonacci’s visit to Mohawk for stakes eliminations is not limited to Grandma’s Moni in the Peaceful Way. A day later, the trainer will send out International Moni in the first of two eliminations for the William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters.

International Moni is the penultimate foal out of the late Moni Maker. He is by accomplished French sire Love You, whose offspring include 2013 Elitlopp winner Nahar. On Saturday night, Nahar – owned by Daniel and Henrik Sedin of the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks – makes his first start in North America in an elimination for the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk.

Winless in four starts, International Moni is 15-1 on the morning line in his elimination. He also is owned by breeder Moni Maker Stable, which is made up of members of the Antonacci family and David Reid.

“He’s in tough, but he’s a pretty nice horse,” Antonacci said. “We expect he will keep improving.”

Takter-trained Rubio, the winner of a Champlain division last week, is the even-money favorite in the first Wellwood elimination. Rubio, bred by the Antonacci-Reid connected Moni Market Breeders, is a son of stallion Cantab Hall with foreign blood courtesy of his dam, Italienne Girl. Peter Haughton Memorial winner What The Hill, from the stable of trainer Ron Burke, is the 9-5 second choice in that elimination.

In the second elimination, Italian-born Victor Gio, by the French star Ready Cash, is the 2-1 favorite for the Takter Stable.

“It seems like there are some nice horses, especially this year, coming from that out-crossing,” Antonacci said. “It’s something that’s been working out well for us. It makes it a little more interesting than seeing the same old same old.” 

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com