Technically, the most important thing about the Breeders Crown eliminations held this past weekend at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs was the opportunity for horses to reach the big-money finals. Yet these superstar horses went at each other as if there were no tomorrows. Several world records fell and the anticipation for the finals at Pocono on October 19 rose. Here is a division-by-division recap of all of the amazing action in the Eliminations on Friday and Saturday night.
TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES: An early break by odds-on favorite Designed To Be in the first split highlighted the unpredictable nature of young trotters. In that division, Jimmy Takter trainee Shake It Cerry, with Ron Pierce in the bike, used a pocket trip to win in a modest 1:54:1. In the second division, Cooler Schooner, who set a world record the last time he was at Pocono, scorched the track to the tune of 1:52:2 and won by 10 ¾ lengths for the combo of trainer Jim Campbell and driver John Campbell.
TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES: The Campbells were at it again in the first division of this class, as their filly Gallie Bythe Beach rolled on the front end to victory in a world-record matching performance of 1:50:3. That record didn’t last very long. Just two races later, All Star Rating, from the lethal combination of Yannick Gingras and Ron Burke, popped out of the pocket and upended the six-race winning streak of Precocious Beauty, who was the 1-9 favorite in the race, in 1:50:1.
TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS: There was only one elimination in this group, with the top seven out of nine reaching the final. Father Patrick, winner of eight of nine races coming into the night, had to deal with the outside #9 post and the blinding speed of Nuncio, who left just to his inside and set ridiculous fractions. Yet Father Patrick, from the combo of Takter and Gingras, stayed close enough to rally in 1:52:1, breaking the world record for the age group by more than a second.
TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS: With only the top three from each of the three eliminations making the final, the margin for error was small in this group. Somestarsomewhere, courtesy of Burke and Gingras, started Saturday night’s action with a world record win of 1:49:4. The second split was a shocker, as 31-1 shot Doo Wop Hanover, driven by Pierce for trainer Steve Elliott, rallied as the favorites faltered to win in 1:51:3. Trained by Pocono’s own Chris Oakes, Luck Be Withyou stayed on the front end for Pierce in the final split for a convincing three-length win in 1:50.
THREE-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES: In the first of two divisions, Coffeecake Hanover, trained by Burke and driven by Pocono regular Matt Kakaley, surprised higher-regarded foes To Dream On and Frau Blucher with a pocket trip to win at 10-1 in 1:52:4. But all eyes in the final will be on Bee A Magician. Driven by Brian Sears and trained by Nifty Norman, the filly stayed unbeaten after 14 starts this year with a no-sweat victory in the second split in 1:52:4.
AGED TROTTING MARES: Bax Of Life and D’Orsay staged a fantastic showdown in the stretch in the first elimination of this group. Bax Of Life, driven by John Campbell for trainer Jerry Duford, won a tight photo in 1:52:4. Maven, a powerhouse mare from the barn of trainer Jonas Czernyson, upstaged everyone in the second split. With Gingras in the bike, she rolled by her competition to win going away in 1:51:4, a new world record for 4-year-old trotting mares.
THREE-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS: The world record for 3-year-old pacing geldings on a 5/8-mile oval fell in the first of two eliminations of this group, with David Miller guiding Lucan Hanover, trained by Casie Coleman, to a scorching win in 1:48. The sport’s preeminent equine star did not disappoint in the second split, as Tim Tetrick drove Captaintreacherous, trained by Tony Alagna, to a hard-fought win in 1:49:2, giving the Captain 11 wins in 12 races this season.
THREE-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS: The trip means so much in these races, as All Laid Out, driven by David Miller for trainer Noel Daley, found out when he rallied from the pocket to neck out favorite Smilin Eli in the first division in 1:52:4. Spider Blue Chip, who won the Colonial in his previous start at Pocono, returned in style in the second split, as he parlayed a great rate job by Pierce to a win by a head in 1:52:4.
AGED PACING MARES: Coming off a loss in her last start at Pocono, Anndrovette, the two-time defending Breeders Crown champion in this division, could have taken a bye to the finals. But the mare from the PJ Fraley barn decided to go for a victory in the lone elimination, and the decision paid off. With Tim Tetrick in the bike, the 6-year-old mare worked out a pocket trip and snuck up the passing lane for a tight win in 1:49:1.
AGED PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS: There are very few superlatives left to utilize when describing the exploits of 9-year-old veteran Foiled Again. He seems to be getting fresher with age, as he showed in the elimination with a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:48:2. The combo of Gingras and Burke were behind this victory as well, and now we’ll all be watching next week to see if Foiled Again can put the exclamation point on his career with his first ever Breeders Crown win.
That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Jim Bevigiia for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs