07/09/2013 3:12PM

Mohawk: Mister Herbie to defend Maple Leaf Trot title on July 20

New Image Media
Mister Herbie has only made three starts in 2013.

With eight horses entering this morning for the $543,000 Maple Leaf Trot, set for July 20 at Mohawk Racetrack, no eliminations will be required for the 2013 edition of the classic race for open trotters.

Mister Herbie, last year’s defending champion, will look for back-to-back wins in the rich event for trainer and co-owner Jeff Gillis.

The son of Here Comes Herbie has banked $1,312,263 along with 17 career victories.

Coming into the historic event, Gillis believes it will be a terrific race for both horses and fans.

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“I would say the competition is deeper and maybe more evenly matched than last year. Last year it seemed like it was us and Chapter Seven,” said Gillis. “This year there is no Chapter Seven, but there is a bunch of others that all seem to be able to go. A lot of four-year-olds have returned very well and from good connections. It’s going to be a very exciting to race in it and for the fans.”

Mister Herbie has raced just three times this season, which Gillis has taken into account.

“He’s had a hoof issue, which was been well documented so we’re not really as fit as we’d like to be,” he said. “He’s a good horse and has won after long layoffs before. I suppose eliminations will likely favor him as he’d get an extra tightener. I couldn’t risk racing him tonight (Monday) in the Preferred and have to come right back in five days if they have eliminations.

“His hoof issue right now is under control and right now it’s just catching up,” Gillis continued. “He didn’t have a harness on him for two and a half weeks after his last start at The Meadowlands (Arthur Cutler Memorial), so we’re just getting him fit again.”

Gillis claims that Mister Herbie is ‘The Perfect Horse.’

“There is nothing not to like about him. I think it’s very rare to get a good or a great horse that is easy on himself, good to jog and good to work around. I don’t have a bad thing to say about him, so actually he’s the perfect horse.”

The son of Here Comes Herbie has a career record of 17-8-3 from 39 career starts for co-owners Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay. Regular pilot Jody Jamieson will once again be in the drivers seat.

The 2013 Maple Leaf Trot horses are listed alphabetically as follows:

Arch Madness
Burnin Money
Knows Nothing
Market Share
Mister Herbie
Uncle Peter
Wishing Stone

The draw will take place on Saturday evening at Mohawk.

The $323,500 Roses Are Red Stakes, featuring North America’s top aged female pacers, is also part of the Maple Leaf Trot undercard on July 20 and pair of $35,000 eliminations will be held this Saturday.

The fields will line up as follows:

Race 3

1) Monkey On My Wheel
2) Shelliscape
3) Major Look

4) Anndrovette

5) Rocklamation
6) Camille

7) Swinging Beauty

Race 10

1) Bettor B Lucky
2) Greystone Ladylike

3) Drop The Ball
4) Economy Terror

5) Waasmula
6) Docs Hope

7) Krispy Apple

-edited release(WEG)