Woodbine Mohawk Park: Hunterton Farm could net unique Mohawk Million trifecta

If success really does lead to success, keep a close eye on oh well Saturday’s Mohawk Million.

As one of Standardbred Racing’s most successful and respected breeding operations, Hunterton Farms, owned by Steve and Cindy Stewart, remains at the top of its game.

Established in 1981 on an 80-acre, leased family farm in Lexington, Kentucky, the ranch took over state operations in 1996 in Paris and has grown to more than 900 acres on land that includes the famous Stoner Creek Stud and the historic Woodlawn Farm. Huh.

The largest standardbred farm in the world that does not raise stallions, Hunterton’s primary focus is to match and breed each mare to the best stallion.

Some notable names Hunterton has picked up over the years include first year stars Wallner Peyton and Strong Poison, sophomore standouts Joviality Ace, Venerable and veteran champion Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven, Clear Vision, Forbidden Trade, Trixton, Mission Brief and Tall Dark. Stanger included. ,

The breeding achievements eventually led to the creation of the Hunterton Sales Agency. The agency, one of Harness Racing’s leading annual consignors, is the sales outlet for the year bred and raised by the farm for itself, its partners and its customers.

Hunterton now produces over 200 mares each year and sells approximately 150 each fall at auctions in Lexington, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

That winning reputation has also led to one of the most prestigious and unique events on the North American harness racing calendar, the Mohawk Million.

Raced for the first time in 2020, Veneret took the inaugural edition of the Million. A year later, it was time for the venerable to head into the limelight after the victory over the head.

For Hunterton Farms, the win was twice as good, given that they co-bred both winners.

"Those were very memorable victories, and knowing that we bred the horses is a real source of pride. Apart from this it is also very good for business. The two mares, Jolene Jolen, with Venerable, and Peaceful Kemp, with Veneret, are young mares. They are going to have children who will continue to sell. We were fortunate to have produced those two, the venerable and the venerable. If the Mohawk Million hadn’t been there in the last two years, there’s a good chance they wouldn’t have been two of the year in their respective divisions. honored [a daughter of Walner] The boys were beaten, and was in his quiver, which gave him the voting edge. To feliciatate [a son of Love You (France)]Well, it was the same thing. When you have the title of a two year old kid of the year, it’s a huge statement when it comes to selling their siblings."

The obvious question regarding this year’s race is undoubtedly, ‘What would Hunterton do for an encore?’

That answer is as interesting as Milian himself.

Although he did not make a starter for the 2022 edition, Hunterton bought one of the nine slots (the last slot goes to the winner of the William Wellwood Memorial) for $100,000.

In association with owner SRF Stable, the partnership will be represented by Oh Well, the rising star of the Muscle Hill-fine-tuned lady.

"Next year we have only one way to repeat that we have done well this year, so we can be breeder and slot holder," Stewart said. "People asked why we did this because we don’t race horses, we keep them. Obviously, we garnered the first two winners, but a lot of our teammates are playing as hell. They have more money than questions. There is no guarantee of winning this race, any race for that matter, but we were happy to do so. This is good for the game."

Sporting a 3-2-0 record from five starts, oh well, a Marcus Melander apprentice, was hip number 58, buying $530,000 at the 2021 Harrisburg Earling Sale.

After two qualifiers, both victories, Oh Well took to the track for his first parimutuel dash, second place, one nose behind, went in 1:53 4/5 at the New Jersey Cyrus Stakes Race The Meadowlands on June 30 .

A first-breaking score on July 8 was followed by a three-quarter-length victory in their $240,000 New Jersey Cyrus Stakes division final two weeks later.

On 6 August Peter finished second at Houghton, Oh Well returned to the winning circle on 16 September.

The $275,000 for the oh well New Jersey running horse was at the top of his game in the New Jersey Classic. To rein in Tim Tetrick, the rookie was put on the lead, and after a quarter in :27 4/5, posted a second in :30, finishing with a confident one-length score.

"He is a great horse" Melander said after the race. "After Houghton we gave him a break. He needed a break because there is still a lot of running to do."

For now, the focus of the connection is on a bet-laden card Saturday night under the Woodbine Mohawk Park lights, with a total purse of $3.5 million.

The Stewarts, who will be at Woodbine Mohawk Park to watch the race, have a chance to hit a unique Mohawk Million trifecta.

They will also get to see other horses bred in action, especially Tip Top Cat, at Metro Pace.

"We are excited to be there. We’ve had a lot of success in Metro, most recently including Tall Dark Stanger and Exploit. And to Million, to be able to call on Lennart Agren, the man behind SRF, and see if we can come up with a partnership for the race, and then it becomes a reality. Is. We’ve done well in this business, and I thought [buying a slot] It was the right thing to do. It was a great opportunity and I’m glad we made it."

Not that joining a race is stress-relieving.

"To be a part of it is certainly not for the faint of heart," Stewart chuckled. "There are a lot of intricacies in this race, but that’s what makes it exciting. With two-year-olds, just because you ran a good race a month or two ago, doesn’t mean the horse will be up to snuff for a million. So, we saw a lot and didn’t do much calling.

"We waited until Friday and as it turned out, oh well he ran that night and ran well, showing off all the credentials you’re looking for. You can’t ask for more resumes to go into the race. One of the partners knows Marcus Melander and texted him that night. The good news is that there is a boss, so you don’t need to have a committee meeting. The next morning, I talked to the mate and asked to let me know if Lennart was ready to race because if it didn’t, we would have to find another horse. Luckily, it all worked out." 

If past history is any indication of how the Mohawk Million will play out, it’s likely that Hunterton Farms will have another reason – and the treasured win – to celebrate.

"It’s going to be fun, that’s for sure," Stewart said. "We are really happy to be a part of it."

-Edited release (Woodbine Entertainment)

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