CAMPBELLVILLE, September 2 – Grand Circuit week continued Friday night atwith three-year-old trotting fillies and two-year-old trotting colts and geldings in the harness racing spotlight.
The $221,204and $212,447 each featured two divisions on Friday evening.
In the $111,352 second Simcoe division, Caprice Hill was back in her familiar spot in the Mohawk winner's circle after another dominating victory.
Leaving from post nine, Caprice Hill and driver Randy Waples were parked around the first turn, but eventually got the front at three-eighths. The daughter of Kadabra cruised through middle-half fractions of :57 and 1:25.4.
In the stretch, Caprice Hill trotted home effortlessly in :27.2 to win by 6½ lengths in 1:53.1. Miss Tezsla finished second, while Gin And Lindy was third.
"Horses like (Caprice Hill), they don't come around too often," said Waples. "I just hope that she keeps her form and carries on through the rest of the year because she is just an amazing filly to be around, like she is so smart and a complete professional."
A daughter of Kadabra, Caprice Hill surpassed the $1 million mark in career earnings with her Simcoe Stakes victory. She now has six wins in nine starts this season and 13 victories overall for owner Tom Hill.
Caprice Hill won a division of the Casual Breeze Stakes last week and now has three wins in a row. She paid $2.50 to win.
Just like Caprice Hill, Emoticon Hanover picked up her second consecutive Grand Circuit victory in the $109,852 first Simcoe division.
Driven by Sylvain Filion, Emoticon Hanover got stretched out around the first turn, as she was parked by the first station in :26.4, before clearing to command. After catching a second-quarter breather, Emoticon Hanover was confronted around the final turn by Double Exposure.
Emoticon Hanover reached the three-quarter pole in 1:26.1 and promptly turned aside her challenger and pulled away to win by two lengths in 1:54.2.
"That was the first time I got strung out like that with her," said Filion following the victory. "But as soon as I cleared to the front I was able to relax in the middle-half and she was real strong on the end of it."
Dream Child finished second, while Royal Charm was third.
A daughter of Kadabra, Emoticon Hanover is trained by Luc Blais for owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. She now has five wins in nine starts this season for earnings of over $272,000.
Thursday's victory was the ninth career score for the Ontario Sires Stakes standout and her career bankroll now sits at $491,584. Emoticon Hanover paid $2.60 to win.
Signal Hill stunned his rivals at 25-1 in the $106,974 first Champlain division.
The son of Muscle Hill shot off the wings of the gate and straight to the front for driver Yannick Gingras. Signal Hill posted an opening-quarter of :27.4, but Gingras was able to slow things down in the backstretch to reach the half in :57.3.
Unchallenged around the far turn, Gingras said goodbye to the field and let Signal Hill trot out to a six-length lead at the three-quarter pole in 1:26. The Tony Alagna trainee trotted home in :29.1 to win by 4¼ lengths.
King Of The Hill, the 3/5 favourite, finished second, while Jake grabbed third.
Friday was the first time Gingras sat behind Signal Hill and the rookie trotter was a handful for the reinsman prior to the race.
"I liked him after he was trying to kick me out of the bike the whole post parade," joked Gingras. "I could tell Timmy (Tetrick) was struggling a little bit with (King Of The Hill) behind the gate to get him out cleanly, so I just took my chance and tried to put mine in play."
A $250,000 purchase at last year's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Signal Hill now has two wins in four starts with both victories coming at Mohawk. He is trained by Alagna for owners Brittany Farms, David McDuffee, Marvin Katz and Adriano Sorella.
Signal Hill now has $64,312 earned in four starts. He paid $55.60 to win
Gingras returned to the winner's circle in the $105,473 second division with Rubio.
The Jimmy Takter trained colt was sent off as the 3-5 favourite and followed Peter Haughton Memorial winner What The Hill around the oval through fractions of :28.4, 58.3 and 1:27.4.
In the stretch, Rubio edged to the outside and went toe-to-toe with What The Hill, ultimately powering by to win by a length and a half in 1:56. Mountain Of Love and Soho Hanover rounded out the Superfecta.
A son of Cantab Hall, Rubio entered Friday's contest off his only loss, a third-place effort in the Haughton Memorial. The Takter trainee now has five wins, including a dead-heat victory in the Haughton elimination, in six starts to begin his career.
"He's got great manners, but he has high speed," said Gingras following the victory. "He likes to track horses and he likes to get his nose up front.
"In the Peter Haughton elimination, he really should've gotten beat, but he was digging in at the wire and trying to win, you can't teach that. They either want to win or they don't."
Rubio, who was a $75,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Brixton Medical Inc. and Jim Fielding. He now has over $120,000 in earnings.
Rubio paid $3.20 to win.
Grand Circuit action continues Saturday evening with over $2.4 million up for grabs on the Canadian Pacing Derby and Metro Pace card. Post time is 7:30 p.m.