05/24/2012 9:08PM

Western Fair: Trainer McNair has two chances at a Molson Pace victory


Four years ago trainer Gregg McNair watched his horse Eagle Luck capture the Molson Pace in stakes record time from post eight with Trevor Henry at the lines. Tomorrow night he’s hoping history will repeat itself in the $300,000 Molson Pace final at The Raceway at Western Fair District.

Stonebridge Tonic, one of two starters for McNair in the track’s signature race, will leave from the trailing post eight and he’ll have the track’s leading driver, Trevor Henry at the lines.

“That’s why we put him there,” joked McNair referring to Eagle Luck’s 1:51 1/5 victory from the same post with the same driver.

McNair’s other starter is millionaire Aracache Hanover, who was an impressive winner in his elimination last week, holding of defending champion Foiled Again to win in 1:51. He had the rail for that performance and will find the going tougher on Friday as he’s drawn the outside post seven.

“I think the best horses drew six (Foiled Again) and seven, and those are the toughest spots to leave from at London,” noted McNair. “But you’ve got to start from somewhere and you never know what’s going to happen in a race, that’s why we race them. We also have a three-horse entry (Ron Burke’s three starters Foiled Again, Clear Vision and Atochia) to contend with.”

McNair’s son Doug, one of the country’s top young drivers, will be in the sulky behind Aracache.

“He went a monster mile last week and he’s a half-mile specialist,” Doug noted earlier this week. “The only thing we’re worried about is the post position, but that’s horse racing, I guess. I don’t know how the race is going to shape up; it’s tough to say.”

Both McNairs acknowledge that the race should be a wide open event and Gregg notes the trip to the London half-miler could be as eventful as the one on track.

“Both horses are pretty studdy, you have to be careful working with them and they can be a pain to truck. We have five in [Friday] so we may have to take two loads.”

Aracache Hanover comes into Friday’s event with three wins and three thirds in nine starts this year. The winner of $1,143,537 lifetime is owned by William Switala and James Martin of New York, who purchased him as a yearling for $37,000. The Dragon Again 5-year-old has been trained by McNair since the start of his career.

Stonebridge Tonic has also had the benefit of McNair’s expert care from the start of his 2-year-old season. The now 5-year-old Camluck son who has $576,000 earned to date is owned by McNair and Len Gamble. He came into the Molson eliminations off three straight wins at Yonkers’ half-mile oval.

“We had him in the Levy Series and he was slower to come back then I’d hoped but he also had some bad post positions there,” said Gregg.

To win a second Molson Pace final would be special for Gregg McNair.

“It’s a great race to be in, and at London I am racing against so many of the people I grew up with. But to win another one from those posts, it will be tough,” said McNair

Friday’s card at The Raceway has a special post time of 6:50 p.m. with the featured event going to post as race 10 (approximately 9:40). The card also includes an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final for 3-year-old trotting colts and four City of London Series Finals.

(edited press release - Western Fair)

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