TORONTO, ON-- Pure Country maintained her undefeated streak in the $600,000 ($778,440 Cdn)two-year-old filly pace, winning in 1:51.4 as the 1-9 harness racing favorite at .
Call Me Queen Be obtained the lead from the outset, setting a :26.1 quarter while Mayhem Seelster rushed towards the top. Immediately into the backstretch, Pure Country was moving first over and towards the top, securing the lead through a :55.1 half.
Flying towards the pacesetter into the far turn, first-over Lyons River Pride put her nose in front of Pure Country, but couldn't clear the lead. With the plugs pulled, Pure Country retook command and journeyed by three-quarters in 1:23.4.
After three-quarters, Pure Country extended her lead to three lengths over closing Shezarealdeal and Mayhem Seelster. She held her three-length lead until the wire, winning in 1:51.4.
Yankee Moonshine and Soft Idea were fourth and fifth, respectively.
A homebred filly fromby out of the Western Hanover mare Western Montana, Pure Country collected her 10th win of the season and pushed her seasonal earnings to $692,954. Trained by , she paid $2.30 to win. It was Takter's 22nd Crown victory, extending his lead on the all-time record for Crown wins by a trainer.
Driverscored his first Breeders Crown win aboard the filly.
"Oh my God, it feels so good to win it," Miller said. "I'm so glad this race was early and I'm so glad we were able to win it.
"I was being a little cautious with her out of the gate, and it almost cost me [the race]. I got very lucky to get out. Once I got out, I kind of eased her to the front, even though :55.1 is a big half. She's just a tremendous horse."
Miller said he had Pure Country, "pretty much shut down" when Pure Country was headed by Lyons River Pride in the last turn. "I was trying to give her a breather; I was still pretty confident in the last turn. She's got all the tools and some grit to her, too."
Brett Miller – Pure Country;
On how it played out in his head vs. reality:
“No, I was actually hoping I could get away somewhere either right up close or right to the front where I didn’t have to do any work. But in the first turn, I almost got myself into a lot of trouble and almost got trapped and once I got her out she had to do a lot of work but she’s such a tough filly and I’ve never driven anything like her before she just toughed it out after that.”
On winning your first Crown with a star favorite vs. a long shot surprise… pressure?
“The pressure is different with THIS filly. She was coming into the race undefeated. I’ve driven some undefeated horses before and, you know, at one time they’ve all gotten beat. There was pressure tonight, being undefeated and knowing I had a shot at getting one of these. I feel so relieved now. I’m so glad this was the second race. If she was in late and I was having a bad night through the night, it would’ve weighed on me.
As good as you dreamt it?
“Oh yeah. It felt great”
[Brett’s wife is from Canada.. “so any time we get to come up here it’s fun because it’s home for her”.
Trainer Tony O’Sullivan (2nd Shezarealdeal and 3rd Mayhem Seelster)
It surprised me Mayhem Seelster I little, just because you’re not going to get anything from the back and she ended up going to the front which ended up affecting Call Me Queen Be (also trained by O’Sullivan), but they raced great. I’m ecstatic. Ecstatic.
As for Shezarealdeal, last week she was a little flat and this week she had plenty of pace and chased horses down and Mayhem Seelster really hung in tough against horses that are better than her.
I didn’t see it happening like that. I knew Call Me Queen Be was going to leave because that’s what she likes to do. Mayhem, we just wanted to get her into the race. I didn’t know that’s how the race was going to unfold and I’m just really, really proud of Mayhem Seelster.
By Ray Cotolo