On Derby Day Dancin Yankee, who generally steers clear of the FFA set, raced in the $50,000 Van Rose Invitational at Pocono Downs after making several starts in the Levy Series at Yonkers Raceway. Dovuto Hanover was the 9/5 favorite and Dancin Yankee was second choice at 3/1. Trainer Josh Green was still in business at that time. Sweet Lou, who was coming off an unsuccessful run of three starts in the Levy was 15/1 for Matt Kakaley. Abelard Hanover, Golden Receiver and Dancin Yankee flew to the quarter in :25.2—perhaps the fastest opening panel ever at that track. The latter took control on the back for Brett Miller and won in a lifetime best 1:49. The highly regarded graduate of the Kentucky Sire Stakes program, Bandolito, was second and Lou came late to get third. Considering the speed explosion Lou treated us to not long after this, the Van Rose proved to be a major upset. Also, a couple of weeks later Dancin Yankee matched Pet Rock’s 1:47.2 world record and broke the 1:47.4 track record at Pocono Downs.
JK Endofanera won a split of the SBSW and was 1/2 favorite in his Cup elimination the following week. However, he disappointed in that race, finishing third behind Lyonssomewhere. As a result In the final JK End, who drew the nine with Sears, was sent away at 12/1 while Tellitlikeitis, who didn’t win anything of note all year except for his Cup elimination, was established as the 9/5 favorite. Lyonssomewhere blew to the quarter in :25.1, the fastest open ever in a Cup final, and Sears took his time and came late to win in 1:48.4 and pay $26.30.
In early June at Mohawk D’Orsay, who won the Muscle Hill and Ima Lula last year, came off the rail late and fired past dueling divas Bee A Magician (3/5) and Classic Martine (1/1) for Sylvain Filion in an elimination for the Armbro Flight. The Yankee Glide 5-year-old paid a generous $111.30 for her 1:52.1 win.
The winner of the Molson Pace this year and last, State Treasurer, was the 3/2 favorite in this year’s Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational. Foiled Again, who had dropped four in a row, was co-second choice at 7/2 with Sunshine Beach. Foiled needed this one, but was denied by paternal brother Evenin Of Pleasure, a four-year-old preferred pacer, on his best days, who never left the rail and paid $164.30 for the win in reign to Sylvain Filion. Foiled would endure seven more losses before finally winning a Quillen elimination.
On June 21 Domethatagain, a five-year-old Bettor’s Delight pacer trained by the horse whisperer, Rene Allard, upset Captaintreacherous and Foiled in a Franklin elimination. The Captain was making his second start after having won the Maturity at the Meadowlands. Simon Allard carried the 3/5 favorite, Captain T, to the 3/8 and pocketed to that one the rest of the way. He beat Tetrick’s star pacer a head at 29/1 and paid $60.20. This was a harbinger of things to come in a stress filled four-year-old campaign for Captaintreacherous.
Sylvain Filion was behind the wheel for several high-end upsets in 2014: D’Orsay, Evenin of Pleasure and a couple with Intimidate. The latter came off cover and ran down 1/5 favorite Sebastian K on a nasty night at Mohawk in the Maple Leaf Trot. The five-year-old Justice Hall gelding paid $96.50 for the 1:54.2 win. He also knocked off Sebastian, the even money favorite, in the TVG more than four months later, paying $30.00. This time Scott Zeron drove. That secured the two highest purses for aged trotters in NA for the lightly raced Intimidate.
On August 30 at Mohawk Modern Legend, the only horse in the David Drew stable, came off cover and won the Canadian Pacing Derby in 1:47.2 for David Miller. The richest son of Modern Art, who paid $135.70, set a stakes record and tied the track and Canadian records in overcoming a potent quartet from the Burke stable. The seemingly invincible Sweet Lou, who was the 1/5 favorite, faded at the end and failed to make the board. This race signaled a sea change for Lou, who lost his next four starts before finishing on a high note with a win in the TVG.
On October 5 the legend, Sebastian K, suffered his third loss of the year in the Allerage at The Red Mile. Trace Tetrick hustled Creatine out of the 8 post at the start, allowed his trotter to be covered up, and ultimately erased a five length lead held by Sebastian through the stretch to win in 1:51.2 and pay $64.80. Like Intimidate, the winner of last year’s Kentucky Futurity has some experience winning the big one. He had finished second to Natural Herbie in the Chip Noble the previous week.
Speaking of Natural Herbie, Verlin Yoder’s four-year-old Here Comes Herbie trotter, who had won the Vincennes at the Meadowlands in early August at a surprisingly stingy 4/1, beat Commander Crowe and Sebastian in the 1 ¼ mile International Trot Preview Invitational at Yonkers. Herbie paid $21.60 from the seven post. Commander Crowe was second, while Sebastian broke early and was no factor.
In late October 1/5 superstar Mission Brief broke at the start of the Goldsmith Maid. So did Jolene, Gatka Hanover and Danielle Hall. The Explosive Matter filly, Smexi, who finished fourth in her elimination at 27/1 for trainer Jimmy Takter, rode a pocket trip to victory for Corey Callahan, paying $159.30.
This falls outside the high-end nature of the above examples, but on October 30 at Monticello the trotter Edgar beat NW 210 at 146/1 for Jimmy Marohn Jr, paying $294.50.