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Mister Herbie scores Maple Leaf Trot in 1:50.4

July 21, 2012

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Mister Herbie and Jody Jamieson pulled an 8-1 upset in the 61st edition of $750,000 Maple Leaf Trot, Saturday evening at Mohawk.

Chapter Seven was the odds-on post-time favourite and was strong throughout the race, but Mister Herbie was better, getting up in the final strides to edge his rival in 1:50.4.  Hot Shot Blue Chip, at 71-1, was third.

Mister Herbie, an Ontario-bred son of Here Comes Herbie, was trained to the 3/4-length victory by Jeff Gillis, who also owns a piece of the four-year-old with Gerald Stay and Mac Nichol.

Tall Cotton gained an early lead through a split of :27, but was taken over soon after by Chapter Seven, who took the field through a half-mile and three-quarters of a mile in :54.4 and 1:22.3, respectively.

Mister Herbie began his march to the lead wide in the stretch, despite trouble, and struck front in the shadow of the wire.

Jamieson gave credit to the brown gelding.  "My horse just raced an unbelievable trip once again.  In these big races, he just seems to come up with an extra amazing effort.  This horse has just been amazing. He has been great his whole career. It just culminates with huge victory tonight.

"Jeff asked me before, he said, 'Are you confident? Are you hopeful? Like what are you feeling?' I said, 'I am confident in my horse and hopeful that I get a good trip.' You know third-over isn't the worst place in the world. I just was hoping that the cover would take me there and they took me as far as I needed to go, evidently."

Jamieson also acknowledged the Maple Leaf Trot's three-time defending champion, San Pail, who is injured.  "We are really sorry San Pail couldn't be here because he is a huge champion. We would have liked to have a shot at him, but there will be another day for San Pail and Mister Herbie to go head to head. We wish him the best of luck and a speedy recovery, but tonight is Mister Herbie's night by absolutely no means."

Tim Tetrick, who drove Chapter Seven, gave credit to Mister Herbie, while not diminishing his own trotter. "(Chapter Seven) raced great.  You have to give props to Jody's horse (Mister Herbie), he raced an amazing race.  He shows up when the money's down.  We went 50 and a piece (1:50.4) and (Chapter Seven) just got beat.  He felt really good. But the other horse just out-trotted him tonight.  My horse had three weeks off, which didn't help him."

It was Mister Herbie's fifth win of the season and 15th career victory, a stunning effort off a seven-week layoff.  He last raced on May 26.  He qualified on July 6 in a very fast 1:52.3.

"Mister Herbie is a tremendous horse," Gillis said.  "He surprises us almost every time out. I'm tickled as I can be.  "That kind of stuff doesn't really concern me (Mister Herbie's layoff). We had him trained up pretty good. We qualified him fast, faster than we would generally ever qualify a horse."

Mister Herbie paid $18.50, $5.40, $4.20 across the board and combined with Chapter Seven ($2.70, $2.30) for the $58.50 exactor. Hot Shot Blue Chip ($10.90 to show) rounded out the $789.40 triactor. (WEG)
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