Day At The Track

Filly to tackle the boys in $320,000 Cane Pace

11:20 AM 05 Aug 2016 NZST
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Pure Country
Pure Country takes on the boys in Saturday's $320,000 Cane Pace

When his homebred harness racing champion Pure Country crossed the finish line to notch her 11th lifetime triumph on May 7 in the $313,800 Miss Pennsylvania final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Adam Bowden was obviously grinning from ear to ear. Obviously his facial expression was the result of pure joy due to the victory, but Bowden acknowledged it was also directly associated with a tremendous weight being lifted off his shoulders.

“When she won that race I breathed a huge sigh of relief,” he said. “Jimmy (Takter, her trainer) had told me after she suffered her first loss in the eliminations the week before that she might have been a little short for that start. There is always some concern when you have an undefeated horse and they lose their first race coming back. You wonder if maybe they did not improve from last year or other horses may have improved, but she erased all those doubts that night.

“I thought it was a terrific race for her. It was a very tough first-over trip on a night when the weather was less than ideal. Not only did she establish a new lifetime mark (1:50.3), but she beat some very nice fillies in Darlinonthebeach, I Said Diamonds, Newborn Sassy and Call Me Queen Be. She illustrated her quality and demonstrated she is prepared to pick up right where she left off last year.”

Pure Country will be facing one of the toughest tests of her career this Saturday (Aug. 6) at Meadowlands Racetrack when she tackles the boys, including Meadowlands Pace winner Control The Moment, in the $320,000 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown. The race attracted 11 entries, so it will be contested at the extended distance of 1-1/8 miles. Pure Country was last year’s Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female pacer and has won 16 of 19 career races. She will start from post position 11 in the second tier and is 4-1 on the morning line.

Only one filly has ever captured the Cane Pace and that happened way back in 1960 when Countess Adios won the race at Yonkers Raceway.

By Somebeachsomewhere and out of the Western Hanover mare Western Montana, Pure Country was bred and is owned by Bowden and his father Chris’ Diamond Creek Farm. Western Montana was one of the very first horses the duo purchased when they began their operation. Father and son paid $50,000 for her as a yearling in 2005 because they were enamored with her pedigree.

Western Montana is a half-sister to LCB (Jate Lobell, $906,348) and a full sibling to Allamerican Ingot ($1,141,193) and Allamerican Inca ($889,090). Western Montana competed for the Bowdens for two years. During her racing career she earned $175,010 and won on five occasions from 16 trips to the gate. She even finished fourth in the Breeders Crown final as a 2-year-old, but her ability was limited by her attitude.

“She was crazy,” Bowden said. “She was very high strung and had a goat in her stall as her constant companion to settle her down. We ended up retiring her when I received a call from Kelly (trainer O'Donnell) saying she was getting to the point where she was dangerous. She would just run off and bolt away even when she was jogging. That is when we decided it was time to breed her, which was always the plan for her anyway.”

Western Montana’s first foal, Live Wire, was by Rocknroll Hanover and amassed just under $64,000 in her days on the track. Her second foal, Homestake, was sired by Ponder and the gelding only managed to accumulate $13,041. The mare’s third offspring was Hunger Games, who is a full sister to Pure Country. The Bowdens kept this filly and raced her for almost two years before selling her in 2014. She banked nearly $70,000.

“All of Western Montana’s foals have had ability but they all had her temperament,” Bowden explained. “That is what limited them as racehorses. Hunger Games also had talent but she took after her mother. Linda Toscano, who trained her, always told us how much she believed in her and that she could be a very nice horse. The Crawfords have her now and they have done fairly well with her.

“My dad and I debated back and forth on selling Hunger Games, so I told him we should sell her and keep Pure Country. In this business you never know what can happen and you are often taking a chance. I’m just glad in this situation I made the right choice.”

From the very beginning Pure Country seemed to stand apart from her older siblings.

“She was a little bit bigger, a little more correct and was never sick or had any physical issues,” Bowden said. “The thing that was different about her was she always had a great mind. Thankfully she did not inherit her mother’s personality. She is a very intelligent horse and with that as well as her speed, it makes her an excellent racehorse.”

Pure Country debuted on June 30, 2015 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in a $30,000 Pennsylvania All Stars event with Brett Miller in the bike. She broke her maiden at first asking and served notice she would be a force to be reckoned with thanks to a blistering :26.3 final quarter panel.

Her next four engagements, all victories, were in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and the filly captured the $350,000 final on Sept. 11 at The Meadows to run her record to a perfect six-for-six.

After dominating her competition in the Keystone State, Pure Country took her show on the road where she took an $81,000 division of the Bluegrass Stake and a $74,700 division of the International Stallion Stake at The Red Mile in Lexington.

The filly completed her freshman season with wins in her $20,000 Breeders Crown elimination and in the $600,000 final at Woodbine Racetrack on Oct. 24.

Pure Country was 10-for-10, earned just shy of $700,000 and was nearly the unanimous selection as the Dan Patch 2-year-old pacing filly champion.

“Jimmy said she could be a great racehorse or it could all blow up in our faces shortly after she began training,” Bowden said. “She has been just perfect all along and has done everything we have ever expected of her. I also think she is in the right hands because Jimmy has been around so many top pacing mares. He knows how to get along with them and he keeps her happy.

“She is very special to us,” he continued. “We have won Breeders Crown races before but this was our first one with a homebred. Words cannot really explain how rewarding and satisfying that feels. It was something we always looked toward accomplishing and she did that for us.”

Bowden admitted Pure Country’s third place finish on April 30 in her $20,000 Miss Pennsylvania elimination was a bit disconcerting, but the powerful fashion in which she rebounded in the following week leads him to believe the filly is primed to defend her crown this season.

“I’m not taking anything away from the other fillies in this division,” he said. “Honestly, I think it’s one of the deepest divisions we have seen in years and it’s unfortunate these fillies do not receive the same kind of attention as the 3-year-old pacing colts and the older horses. It’s just the way it is, but we feel she is prepared for another outstanding year and we are really looking forward to watching her perform.”

The filly enters the Cane Pace on a five race winning streak, including triumphs in the Fan Hanover and James Lynch Memorial in a new lifetime best of 1:49.2.

When her time on the track draws to a close, Pure Country will take up residence with her dam and become a broodmare for the Bowdens.

“We are definitely keeping her and raising all her foals,” he said. “We always thought Western Montana would produce at least one championship caliber baby. Pure Country is it and she proves all our faith in the mare was justified. She has a home for life and we think she will carry on the family tradition without her mother’s quirks.”

$320,000 Cane Pace

Race 7 – Post time 2:32 p.m.

PP-Horse-Sire--Driver-Trainer-Line

1. Check SixSomebeachsomewhere - Yannick Gingras–Ron Burke-3/1

2. Manny American Ideal - Andy Miller–Jessica Okusko-30/1

3. JK Will Power Somebeachsomewhere - David Miller–Ron Burke-10/1

4. Control The MomentWell Said - Brian Sears–Brad Maxwell-2/1

5. Adrian HanoverSomebeachsomewhere - Eric Goodell–Chris Oakes-15/1

6. Manhattan BeachSomebeachsomewhere - Matt Kakaley–Ron Burke-8/1

7. HighlandbeachycoveSomebeachsomewhere - Tim Tetrick–Tony Alagna-25/1

8. Ideal RockyRocknroll Hanover - Corey Callahan–John Butenschoen-15/1

9. American Passport American Ideal - Scott Zeron–Tony Alagna-12/1

10. Big Top Hanover Western Ideal - Joe Bongiorno–Ron Burke-20/1

11. Pure Country Somebeachsomewhere - Brett Miller–Jimmy Takter-4/1

by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

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