Mister Herbie hauled down Chapter Seven to capture the 61st edition of the $750,000 Maple Leaf Trot in a Canadian record 1:50.4 on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack for the O’Brien Award winning driver-trainer combination of Jody Jamieson and Jeff Gillis.
Jamieson settled the four-year-old Here Comes Herbie-Independent Lassie gelding away sixth from post eight while outsider Tall Cotton and Randy Waples fired to command and reached the first quarter mark in :27-seconds. Meanwhile, Winning Mister, driven by Sylvain Filion, made a costly miscue off the gate taking himself out of contention.
Down the backstretch, Rick Zeron pulled Windsong Geant from the pocket and blew by the early speedster with third place Chapter Seven and Tim Tetrick hot on their heels. Chapter Seven cleared to the lead at the :54.4 half-mile mark and opened up two lengths on the field.
As the popular Chapter Seven raced to three-quarters in a track record 1:22.3, Daylon Magician and Jack Moiseyev advanced first up from fourth with Hot Shot Blue Chip, driven by Paul MacDonell, following his cover and Mister Herbie moving third over.
Jamieson sent Mister Herbie wide around the final turn and collared Chapter Seven down the lane. Chapter Seven finished three-quarters of a length behind in second while 71-1 longshot Hot Shot Blue Chip rallied off cover to show.
Mister Herbie’s winning time shaved two-fifths of a second off the Canadian record for aged trotters on a mile track, which was set by Mr Muscleman in 2005 and equalled by Enough Talk, San Pail and Daylon Magician.
“I think [Tim Tetrick with Chapter Seven] was trying to be the last one to the lead and my horse just raced an unbelievable trip once again in his career,” commented Jamieson after the victory. “Every time in these big races he just seems to come up with an extra amazing effort.”
Mister Herbie paid $18.50 to win as the 8-1 third choice. He is bred by Warrawee Farm of Rockwood, Ont. and owned by trainer Jeff Gillis of Hillsburgh, Ont. and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, New York (as J Gillis G Stay), along with Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont.
“Jeff asked me before, ‘Are you confident or hopeful, what are you feeling?’ And I said I’m confident in my horse and I’m hopeful I get a good trip, and third over isn’t the worst place in the world,” said Jamieson. “I was just hoping my cover was going to take me there and they took me as far as I needed to go evidently.
“Tonight is Mister Herbie’s night,” he added. “It was just an amazing experience and we’re enjoying the ride.”
Jamieson, Gillis, Nichol and Stay also celebrated a 1:54.3 victory with Hambletonian eligible Knows Nothing in one of four Canadian Breeders Champsionships featured on the undercard.
(courtesy Standardbred Canada)