09/11/2013 2:04PM

Mohawk: Master Of Law in peak form for Canadian Trotting Classic

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Master Of Law has won six straight starts.

The three-year-old trotting colt division historically has been a difficult one to dominate. Year-in-year-out there tend to be two seasons in this division divided by races run through the Hambletonian in early August and those run afterwards. In as much as Royalty For Life emerged as the leader of the division to this point, the trend appears to be turning towards a new player, the likely favorite in Saturday’s C$686,000 Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk. His name is Master Of Law, and his meteoric rise to the top rung is a testament to family values, both equine and human.

“My dad loved the pedigree,” said Frank Antonacci, Master Of Law’s trainer. “He was an immature, gangly-looking yearling. I think that’s why we were able to get him for just $70,000.”

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Master Of Law is from the first crop of Hambletonian winner Deweycheatumnhowe and the $1 million trotting mare Possess The Magic. Despite the lofty pedigree, not everything would go smoothly for Antonacci and company during the early stages of training. Growth, or lack of development, combined with the horse’s quirky nature of doing what he wanted to do at all times, made things difficult training down. Yet all along Antonacci felt there was something to like about the colt.

When Master Of Law got to Lexington last fall, the ownership group elected to sever a future stallion career for the purpose of hopefully developing a racehorse.

The difference in Master Of Law began to show this year. The gelding displayed high speed but did not have the experience to go with top horses early on. Antonacci, who hails from a family that has supported the industry for a half-century with a focus on trotters, knew that time would be a critical factor in seeing Master Of Law achieve his potential.

Heading into Saturday’s rich final, Master Of Law is riding a six race winning streak that includes an open-length impressive score in the $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes final at the Red Mile.

Though that mile was trotted in 1:52 4/5, last week’s impressive 1:53 4/5 mile at Mohawk against open caliber company may have been even more impressive.

“He was out and first over for the last three quarters and he was still trotting at the wire. He impressed me,” said Antonacci.

While the trainer liked what he saw, immediately following the two Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations driver Scott Zeron was faced with what appeared on the outside to be a difficult choice. He had earlier won a faster elimination with the improving Your So Vain. In that division he defeated Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life rather impressively.

“I got a call from Domenico (Cecere, his assistant trainer) after the race and he told me that Scott was sticking with the horse,” said Antonacci. “I believe Scott deserves as much credit in helping develop this horse as me and the other trainers and caretakers.”

On Saturday, Master Of Law will tackle the toughest field he’s faced in his seven-race career. Starting from post three by choice, he’ll have the option of racing from on or off the pace. Antonacci believes the horse is versatile enough to excel no matter what the strategy is. He has enormous confidence that Master Of Law belongs at this level and can over time become a top aged horse.

The Canadian Trotting Classic, race eight on Mohawk’s 12-race program with a first post at 7:25 p.m., has the top two finishers in the Hambletonian, Royalty For Life (post six) and Smilin Eli (post 10). Neither was all that impressive during their elimination race, but there’s more money riding on the final that could make for more aggressive handling.

Your So Vain, the son of Donato Hanover that Zeron deserted, gets top pilot Randy Waples in the sulky and starts from post four. He’s been a completely different horse since returning to Ontario after a disappointing outing in the Hambletonian. His connections hope that his soundness issues are behind him. Last week’s imposing off the pace score suggests speed is not an issue. Nevertheless, Your So Vain may have to prove that he’s more than a one-run type to secure a victory.

Antonacci said that Master Of Law would be shipped to Lexington following the race for Grand Circuit competition later this month. He was not made eligible for the Breeders Crown, but the trainer hinted if the horse is performing at the same high level come October that the connections would consider a supplement to the prestigious event.

On the pacing side, Antonacci has an impressive, albeit lightly-raced three-year-old filly named Aunt Caroline. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was a solid closing second behind I Luv The Nitelife in the Simcoe at Mohawk on September 2 and races in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes consolation on Friday at The Meadows.

“I can’t wait to take another shot at I Luv The Nitelife,” said Antonacci. That prospective duel may have to wait until the Breeders Crown.

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