10/09/2014 10:19AM

Mohawk: Sportswriter leads the way on Super Night

New Image Media
Reverend Hanover is undefeated in three career starts.

Perhaps none other than former trainer Casie Coleman would have guessed it, but 2-year-old sons and daughters of first-crop sire Sportswriter stand atop the North American leaderboard at $1,893,735 in earnings. Nowhere is the dominance of Sportswriter more evident than in Ontario-Sired races, specifically the $250,000 Super Finals on Saturday at Mohawk for rookie pacers, where 12 of the 20 starters originated from the former North America Cup winner.

Sportswriter, who won eight of 14 career races and $1,566,460, spent his career under the care of Coleman, who sends out five of his progeny in the colt and gelding final and one in the filly division. The trainer couldn’t be happier with the success of her former pupil.

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“It is pretty cool, no doubt,” said Coleman, who admitted she went “all-in” expecting big things from Sportswriter in the breeding shed. “I really believe in him. I never went in just emotionally. I like to think I’m a pretty good business person. He is a gorgeous animal with a perfect gait, manners, and speed. I can’t think of anything I would have changed about him.”

Coleman purchased nine Sportswriter yearlings in 2013 and reports that eight have made it to stakes races this year. Speaking to her strong business acumen, she got plenty of value and return on her investment. She paid but $58,000 for three of her finalists on Saturday, and that includes top prospect Reverend Hanover, undefeated in three trips to the track.

“I had to pay a lot more this year,” said Coleman, who laid out $90,000 for a pair of yearlings at the Lexington Selected Sale.

Reverend Hanover is clearly the top prospect of her Super Final contingent. The $24,000 Harrisburg purchase, out of the mare Razzle My Tazzle, has already captured two Ontario Sire Stakes legs and looms as the one to beat in the final. Coleman always felt the colt was high on talent, but his training hit a snag when he bucked a shin returning home from Coleman’s winter base in Florida. That incident delayed his career debut until September and sealed his fate for the rest of 2014.

“He’s not eligible to the Breeders Crown or the Governor’s Cup. I wish we could do it over, but at the time payments were due I didn’t even know if he would be ready to race at all this year. If he trains back the way I think he will, he’ll be in most of the big dances next year,” said Coleman, who added that all five of her colts would be making their last starts on Saturday.

Reverend Hanover leaves from post five as the odds-on 4-5 favorite with regular driver Chris Christoforou in the bike.

Coleman also starts Southwind Indy, Bob Ben And John, Sportskeeper, and Rollwiththepunches in the fourth race $250,000 final.

“Bob Ben And John was extremely impressive early in the year. He’s small but gives you all he’s got,” said Coleman, who added that Sportskeeper wouldn’t shock her if he came up with a strong effort, and Drachan Hanover was the horse she feared most in the race.

Southwind Mischief is the lone Coleman trainee in the $250,000 filly final, one of eight Super Final races on the 13-race card. After a series of subpar efforts, the freshman showed some late pace on September 29 at Mohawk.

“I was much happier with her last week,” said Coleman. “She trained well and seems to be feeling good. I think she has been getting a bit tired lately, but I hope she has one more in her.”

Sports Chic, another daughter of Sportswriter, is the 7-2 morning-line favorite in the field, while Southwind Mischief will open at 12-1 in the in the seventh-race final.

The Saturday Mohawk program kicks off at 7:25 p.m. and features a $50,000 guaranteed Pick Four starting in the fourth race on the card.

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