Day At The Track

Howard Taylor sends eight into Breeders Crown

06:25 AM 23 Oct 2015 NZDT
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Howard Taylor
Howard Taylor and Buck I St Pat in 2011

Louisville, KY --- He has owned more than 800 horses during his several decades of being involved in the sport, but Philadelphia attorney Howard Taylor still can’t quite wrap his head around the fact he has eight in-to-go for Saturday’s (Oct. 24) Breeders Crown races at Woodbine.

“Frankly I’m shocked,” he said. “I’m sitting here talking about it now and it still has not sunken in. The crazy thing is probably the best horse I have right now is not eligible and will be racing at Hoosier Park for $45,000. That would be Betting Exchange. He drew post nine against Wiggle It Jiggleit, but ever since we made an equipment change with him he has been terrific. I expect him to race really well.”

The first occasion Taylor will have the opportunity to add to his collection of three Breeders Crown trophies is in the $250,000 Open Mare Trot, which is the very first race, with Handover Belle, a 5-year-old daughter of Andover Hall and the Lindy Lane mare Harbour Belle, who has earned just over $513,000 during her career. The mare was sixth in her 2013 Crown event and ninth in 2012. She will leave from post position 11 with Matt Kakaley in the sulky and Ron Burke as the trainer.

Her competition includes Daylon Miracle, who is a relatively new acquisition for Taylor. The world champion offspring of Pegasus Spur and Daylon Marvel is now six. With a bankroll of just under $595,000, Daylon Miracle is conditioned by Rene Allard and will be guided from post position eight by Brent Miller. She is 15-1 on the morning line, while Handover Belle is 20-1.

“Daylon Miracle is as tough as they come,” Taylor said. “I think she can trot with any of them and I have been very impressed with a lot of her races. She is always very competitive and has a shot to win. Handover Belle is doing well as of late and she is also capable of putting in a good effort.”

Taylor’s next opportunity for a piece of hardware lies with Southwind Roulette in the $500,000 3-year-old filly pace which goes off as the fourth race. Despite finishing second in this year’s edition of the Jugette, possessing the 2014 title as the Keystone State’s 2-year-old pacing filly champ and amassing a $468,045 bankroll, the daughter of  Somebeachsomewhere and the Artsplace mare Southwind Rio, is 10-1 on the morning line. Like Handover Belle, she hails from the barn of Ron Burke and will be piloted by Yannick Gingras, who won four Breeders Crown titles last year.

“You know what’s funny is she raced so hard last year and was a grinder,” Taylor said. “I wondered if she would come back as good this year at three. She hasn’t been as sharp, but she was super in the Jugette which surprised me. She always gives all she has and is right there. That’s why she deserves the chance. She may not have won a race this year, but she always picks up a check.”

I’m So Fancy will represent Taylor in the $500,000 3-year-old filly trot which is carded as the sixth race. Bred by Taylor, the daughter of Donato Hanover is a half-sister to Handover Belle and despite being overshadowed by her superstar stablemate Mission Brief, she has managed to accumulate $133,141 in purse money in just one season of competition. I’m So Fancy will be driven by Matt Kakaley, is 30-1 on the morning line and will start from post position five. Burke is also her conditioner.

“I have no illusions about her ability,” Taylor said. “But she is a nice that filly that does always try very hard, but she is no Mission Brief. That’s for sure.”

The undefeated 2-year-old pacing colt Control The Moment may very well be Taylor’s best chance to collect his fourth Crown. Trained by Brad Maxwell who co-owns with Taylor, Ed Gold and Ben Mudry, the son of Well Said and Life’sliltreasure is a perfect 8-for-8, has earned $341,757 and will start pacing from post position three in the seventh race. The colt is the 8-5 morning line favorite for the $600,000 contest and Randy Waples will assume his customary position in the bike.

“I really think Well Said is going to make one heck of a sire,” Taylor said. “That’s one of the reasons I bought in on this colt and also brought Ed (Gold) in. Every time we are partners it seems to strike gold. Our first horse was Buck I St Pat (2009, 2010 Breeders Crown winner), then Ginger And Fred, Fred And Ginger and Economy Terror (2011 Breeders Crown winner). Everyone knows the story about our involvement with this horse, but he is exciting. Especially since Brad didn’t think he was much of anything until he qualified and then he called me up saying he thought he was really special.”

Race eight brings about one of the biggest surprises, if not the number one shocker, that Taylor has ever experienced in the business. That would be the Ake Svanstedt trained Crescent Fashion, who just finished a strong second to divisional leader Pinkman in the $527,000 Kentucky Futurity. The son of Muscle Hill and Fashion Feline is also owned by Laura Noren and Order By Stable. He will begin trotting from post seven with Scott Zeron holding the lines and is 12-1 on the morning line.

“It was a good thing I was sitting down because I couldn’t believe my eyes when that horse not only finished second, but a strong second by holding off other horses in the lane,” Taylor said. “I have never been that shell shocked in my life at how well a horse has performed. We bought him for $13,000 as a 2-year-old and Ake all of a sudden had us supplementing him to everything, including the Hambletonian, which I wasn’t sure he was that quality of horse. He won at Yonkers impressively earlier in the year, but there were no real quality horses in there.

“I thought at the top of the stretch (in the Futurity) he might be able to hold on and get a check for fourth place, but I could not believe my eyes with the way he finished. I’m fascinated to see how he performs in the Breeders Crown.”

Kelvin Harrison trainee In The Arsenal will contest the $531,250 3-year-old colt and gelding pace, while 2014 O’Brien Award winner Lady Shadow, who is conditioned by Ron Adams, will participate in the $250,000 Open Mare Pace.

In The Arsenal, a son of American Ideal and Ladyotra, would become a millionaire by finishing first or second in this event. He is always a threat within his division and will be steered by Brian Sears from post nine. He is a juicy 15-1 on the morning line as Artspeak, Wakizashi Hanover and Freaky Feet Pete received most of the attention.

Lady Shadow, meanwhile, does not come in under the radar. The daughter of Shadow Play and the Camluck mare Lady Camella is 4-1 on the morning line by virtue of her continued consistency throughout her entire career. She will be in rein to regular driver Doug McNair and is co-owned by Taylor's BFJ Stable, as well as Ed Gold, Carl Atley and David Kryway.

“When she came up for sale, she had a pretty high price tag for an unproven horse,” Taylor said. “That’s when I called Ed (Gold) up and asked him if he wanted to buy a piece of her. He told me, 'She has a great pedigree so even if she doesn’t work out on the track, she is worth that as a broodmare. I’m in.' Then we go out and buy her, which I was still thinking she was too expensive and she made all the money back we paid for her in like three weeks. That never happens in this business and was certainly a first for me. She is another horse that always has a chance to win and she should be ready to go this weekend.”

Taylor fosters no blind hopes that he will be traveling home with eight Breeders Crown trophies. He is just thrilled to have a quality stable that allows him to participate.

“I could never have imagined it would work out this way,” he said. “It is like I have a wealth of riches and am just very fortunate to have the right horses at the best time. Of course I would like to win, but I also know what kind of horses they are up against. I’m just going to enjoy being able to be there with my wife and watch them race.”

by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

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