The buzz surrounding four-year-old trotter Musical Rhythm got even louder Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The Ben Baillargeon trainee scored his ninth consecutive victory Saturday against six rivals in the $20,000 Don Mills Trotting Series second leg.
A son of Cantab Hall, Musical Rhythm trotted out strong at the start for driver Mario Baillargeon and got away second. Olympic Son, who was returning to the local circuit following a stint south of the border, sprinted to the lead and posted a snappy opening-quarter of :26.2.
Baillargeon wasted little time circling Musical Rhythm to the lead in the second-quarter and posted a half-mile clocking of :56. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1, Musical Rhythm charged home effortlessly in :27.2 to win by 3 ¼ lengths in 1:52.4.
Mystery Bet rallied from sixth to finish second, while Grana Padanno, a stablemate of Musical Rhythm, finished third.
A $33,000 purchase at last November's Harrisburg mixed sale, Musical Rhythm has won 10 of 11 starts for owners Santo & Nunzio Vena, Claude Hamel and Ben Baillargeon. The son of Cantab Hall is seven for seven this season for $91,000 in earnings. Musical Rhythm has earned $131,000 since being purchased in November. A $2 win ticket Saturday on the four-year-old returned $2.20.
The Baillargeon trainee will now go for the series sweep in next Saturday's $42,600 final. In order to be eligible to the Don Mills, the four and five-year-old trotters had to be non-winners of $150,000 lifetime as of December 31, 2015.
Also on Saturday, Nickle Bag picked up his eighth win of the season in the $34,000 Preferred Pace.
A field of seven squared off in the weekly feature event and it was a wide open contest, as three different horses (Boomboom Ballykeel, Ellis Park, Nirvana Seelster) had captured the Preferred over the previous three weeks.
Nickle Bag entered Saturday winless in his last three starts after a six-race win streak. The Bill Robinson trainee found his way back to the winner's circle thanks to a second-over trip from driver Trevor Henry.
Nirvana Seelster cut out fractions of :27.3, :55.3 and 1:23 to lead the field into the lane, while Nickle Bag sat second-over on the back of Ellis Park. In the stretch, Nickle Bag ripped off cover and surged by in deep stretch for the 1:50 victory. Ellis Park edged out Nirvana Seelster to finish second.
A six-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover, Nickle Bag now has eight wins in 13 starts this season. Saturday's victory was his 27th career score and pushes his career earnings over $600,000 for owners Linda and Harry Loyens. Nickle Bag paid $5.90 to win.
Live racing resumes Monday evening at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. (WEG)