High noon on Saturday, Oct. 15 was the deadline for the invited foreign classic winners to declare in to the harness racing $600,000 Breeders Crown Trot at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.
Both French superstar Rapide Lebel and Swedish-bred and owned Commander Crowe remain committed to the entry box.
Both are European stand-outs and will be making their first North American starts. Commander Crowe is trained by Frenchman Fabrice Souloy, who also brought top trotting mare Premiere Steed to Canada and the U.S. this summer. His owner, Calle Wihlborg, accepted the invitation to race after Commander Crowe’s Prix d’Ete victory at Vincennes in September.
Rapide Lebel is conditioned by Sébastien Guarato, owned by Alexandre Prevost, and secured his Crown invitation by winning both heats of the Åby Stora Pris in September in Molndal, Sweden.
The invitations are conditional. The connections of both horses must pay the starting fee ($12,000) as well as the amount of the sustaining payments ($3,000) for the $600,000 race. However, once properly declared they advance directly to the final and bypass eliminations, should they be needed.
Commander Crowe and Rapide Lebel have not accepted into an easy slot. They are expected to face Glenn Van Camp and Rodney Hughes’ San Pail, the best trotter in all of North America. San Pail has won his last five starts since his historic third Maple Leaf title in July, and boasts a 14-12-2 record on the year.
The Breeders Crown Trot is on his home turf of Woodbine, where the winner of $2.6 million tunes up tonight in a Breeders Crown prep race, along with other Breeders Crown eligibles 2009 Crown champ Lucky Jim, Il Villaggio, Define The World and Windsong Geant.
2011 will be just the second time all 12 Breeders Crown events will be raced on a single card, and the first time all 12 will be hosted in Canada.
The last invited foreigner to win this event was ten years ago when Italian sensationstormed the Meadowlands oval in a world-record 1:51.1. Though another Italian stallion, , was placed first in this event at Mohawk over Corleone Kosmos in 2007, he entered the race as a supplement.
Supplemental payments for the Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Events and Open events are due & payable on Monday, October 17, 2011 at 12:00 noon in the racing secretary's office at Mohawk Racetrack [(905) 854-7805]. There are no supplemental provisions for two-year-olds.
Eligible horse must entered by 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, also at the Mohawk race office.
The complete list of horses eligible to all 12 Breeders Crown events as well as the racing conditions can be found at www.Hambletonian.org.