Trainer Carmen Auciello continues to bring heat to the frozen dirt at Woodbine Mohawk Park, winning four races on the 10-race card Saturday (Jan. 8) including a victory in the $34,000 Preferred Pace by Uhtred.
Leaving from post three, driver Jody Jamieson settled Uhtred in the pocket behind phenom mare So Much More to a :27.4 first quarter. The five-year-old Art Major gelding stayed put through a :56.3 half and 1:24.3 three-quarters, where 7-5 favourite Wheels On Fire mounted a first-over bid out of third. Wheels On Fire ground into contention through the lane while So Much More clung to command, though Uhtred snuck onto the scene through an inside seam late to land a nose in front at the beam in a 1:51.4 mile. So Much More settled for second with Wheels On Fire finishing third and Beyond Better closing for fourth.
Owned by Earl Hill Jr. and Stephen Klunowski, Uhtred won his ninth race from 20 starts, pushing his earnings to $207,242. He paid $11.10 to win.
Auciello won his next just two races later when Grand Poobah ($14.20) grabbed the leader early and never let go to the finish in a $14,000 overnight pace. He secured the grand slam with back-to-back wins late in the card by Rays Kredit ($4.40) and Woodmere Stealdeal ($6.70).
Series action continued on Saturday with the second $20,000 preliminary for the New Year Claiming Series. Mustang Beach overcame a traffic-burdened journey from his second-tier post to deliver as the favourite in that event in 1:55.
Enduring interference when Saratoga Blue Chip broke behind the gate and soon was pulled up, Mustang Beach regained his footing to race seventh to a :27.3 first quarter set by Mayhem Like Me. Driver Doug McNair got underway with Mustang Beach to a :56 half, grabbing cover to race second over behind All Cheddar to the final turn. With the outer tier making a steady advance, Mustang Beach drew to within six lengths of the lead before McNair motored the four-year-old Sunshine Beach gelding to the center of the course by three-quarters in 1:25.3. He promptly swooped the field and opened a two-length lead through the stretch to score over pocket-sitter P L Oliver. All Cheddar finished third and Montysgonemarble took fourth.
Trained by Duane Marfisi for owner Busi Racing, Mustang Beach won his sixth race from 33 starts, pushing his earnings to $92,557. He paid $3.80 to win.
To view Saturday’s harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results – Woodbine Mohawk Park.