CAMPBELLVILLE, Ont. - Jody Jamieson and Mister Herbie stole the show Saturday night at the $750,000 Maple Leaf Trot.
Jamieson drove Mister Herbie to an upset victory over race favourite Chapter Seven in the open trot event for three year-olds and older at Mohawk Racetrack. Jamieson had Mister Herbie sitting fifth for most of the race before moving past Chapter Seven down the stretch to earn the shocking win in a Canadian record time of one minute 50.4 seconds.
"My horse just raced an unbelievable trip once again," Jamieson said. "Everytime in these big races he seems to come up with an extra-amazing effort.
"This horse has just been amazing. He has been great his whole career and culminates with a huge victory tonight.''
Chapter Seven came in as the horse to beat fresh off his recent 1:50.4 world record-tying performance in the Titan Cup at The Meadowlands on June 29. Last year's Breeders Crown winner had won both of his 2012 starts with $120,850 in earnings to start his four-year-old campaign.
And it looked good early for Chapter Seven as American driver Tim Tetrick took the 2/5 favourite to the lead shortly after the quarter-mile mark while Jamieson, a native of Truro, N.S., now living in Moffat, Ont., kept the Canadian-bred and owned Mister Herbie fifth for most of the race and let things unfold in front of him.
"Jeff (trainer Jeff Gillis) asked me before, 'Are you confident? Are you hopeful? How are you feeling?''' Jamieson said. "I said, 'I'm confident in my horse and I'm hopeful that I get a good trip.'
"I was hoping the cover was going to take me there and it took me as far as I needed to go evidently.''
It seems Gillis didn't share Jamieson's confidence and admitted after he was surprised to see Mister Herbie rally for the victory.
“I am thrilled with where he came from," Gillis said. "Around the last turn I thought he was in an impossible spot.
"I really didn't think we could get there from there, especially with Chapter Seven clear on the lead, but (Mister Herbie) is a tremendous horse. He surprises us almost every time out. I'm tickled as I can be.”
Gillis also had his concerns with Mister Herbie starting from the No. 8 position.
"I was just a little bit worried with the eight-hole and a bunch of the better ones inside of us just how the trip would work out," he said. "It just worked out and I couldn't be happier.”
Tetrick tipped his cap to Jamieson, saying Mister Herbie was the deserving winner.
“You have to give props to Jody’s horse, he raced an amazing race," Tetrick said. "(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.”
San Pail had won the last three Maple Leaf Trot events. However the eight-year-old son of San Pellegrino, which took horse of the year honours on both sides of the border in 2011, didn't participate in this year's race due to sickness and injury.
"We're real sorry San Pail couldn't be here because he's a true champion and we would've liked to have a shot at him," Jamieson said. "But you know there will be another day for San Pail and Mister Herbie to go head to head.
"We wish him best of luck and a speedy recovery but tonight is Mister Herbie's night . . . it was just an amazing experience.''
The two horses went head-to-head in April, with Mister Herbie winning the race and San Pail taking second.
On Saturday, Chapter Seven finished second in the 10-horse field with Hot Shot Blue Chip taking third.
The remainder of the field, in order of finish, included: Daylon Magician; Windsong Geant; Star Ruffnready; Tall Cotton; Arch Madness; Blue Porsche; and Winning Mister.
Mister Herbie returned $18.50, $5.40 and $4.20 while Chapter Seven paid $2.70 and $2.30. Hot Shot Blue Chip returned $10.90.
Mister Herbie found the winner's circle for the fifth time in seven starts this season and has missed the money just once in 2012. He came into Saturday's race having won his Mohawk qualifier July 6 by a whopping 24 lengths in 1:52.3, a Canadian record for a trotting qualifier, after finishing a disappointing sixth in the $109,853 Earl Rowe on May 26 at Georgian Downs.
Now the four-year-old gelding has won 15 career wins.
Earlier on the card, Tetrick drove Anndrovette, a 13-1 longshot, to victory in the $391,000 Roses Are Red final for fillies and mares three years old up and up.
Anndrovette earned her fifth win in 15 starts this season in a world-record time of 1:48.1 and paid $28.40, $8.60 and $5.60.
Drop The Ball was second and returned $4.10 and $3.10 while third-place finisher Rocklamation paid $3.50.