Atlanta Makes Canadian Racing History

Published: June 15, 2019 08:38 pm EDT

One week after Hannelore Hanover made Canadian harness racing history, stablemate Atlanta made that record short-lived with a 1:50.2 mile in the $256,000 Armbro Flight Final for older trotting mares.

Emoticon Hanover (Bob McClure) was pointed for the lead from the outside of the field of nine trotting mares, with the two elimination winners Hannelore Hanover (Matt Kakaley) and Atlanta (Yannick Gingras) in the outer flow heading into the first turn. Atlanta found room to settle along the pylons in fifth, but Hannelore Hanover forged on for the front through a punishing :26.3 opening quarter before landing on the lead at the :54.1 half.

Gingras gave Atlanta her cue and powered first-up on her stablemate. With a fierce third quarter move, Atlanta blew by the three-time Armbro Flight champ and hit the third station in 1:23. Up by some five lengths turning for home, Atlanta appeared to have clear sailing for the wire but found unlikely company in the form of Weslynn Dancer (David Miller) who started gaining on the leader in the final eighth of the mile. Gingras asked Atlanta to stay on task and she did, hitting the wire a half-length the best in a mile that, depsite the conditions, fell just one-fifth of a second short of the world record for four-year-old trotting mares. Top Expectations (Daniel Dube) completed the triactor with early leaders Emoticon Hanover and Hannelore Hanover rounding out the top five.

The win in the Armbro Flight was the fourth straight for Gingras and Burke, winning the previous three editions with Hannelore Hanover.

"It was unreal," said Gingras after the win. "Of course, I came up on a horse that got stretched out pretty good so I felt really confident but in the last turn I had a handful of trot. She can trot the turn faster than she can trot the straightaway. I just turned her loose...the acceleration she had was unreal. She went from zero to sixty in three strides. She's an amazing mare."

Ron Burke trains Atlanta (Chapter Seven - Hemi Blue Chip) for owners Brad Grant of Milton, Ont., Crawford Farms Racing of Syracuse, N.Y. and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, Penn. Now four-for-four as a four-year-old, Atlanta boasts 16 lifetime victories and a bankroll exceeding $1.4 million.

"When she's racing against the older mares, she's just unbelievable," said Grant. "She's a freak and she showed it again tonight."

Be sure to check out the recaps and replays from the stakes-loaded card of harness racing action at Woodbine Mohawk Park on 2019 Pepsi North America Cup night in our North America Cup Night News Centre