Day At The Track

Vacation time is up for Captain Crunch

06:00 AM 29 Aug 2019 NZST
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Captain Crunch, harness racing Captain Crunch, harness racing
Captain Crunch
Ken Weingartner photo
Captain Crunch and driver Scott Zeron
Mark Hall/USTA photo

After a four-week respite, Captain Crunch is ready to get back to work. The award-winning harness racing pacing colt's layoff followed a seven-start first half of his campaign, which saw the Nancy Johansson trainee post five wins including the North America Cup and Cane Pace.

Captain Crunch's most recent race was the Cane, which he won by a neck over Bettor's Wish in 1:48 on Aug. 3, Hambletonian Day, at The Meadowlands. With many of August's remaining top events for 3-year-old pacers on half-mile ovals, such as the Milstein Memorial and Messenger Stakes, the colt's connections opted for the opportunity to refresh for the second half of the season.

This weekend, Captain Crunch returns to action when he meets six rivals in Saturday's C$171,503 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old pacers at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A trip to The Meadows on Sept. 7 for the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship is expected to follow.

"We didn't have many options after the Cane," said Alan Katz of the 3 Brothers Stables, which shares ownership of Captain Crunch with Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. "We knew the situation. We didn't want to race him in the Messenger or the Milstein on a half, so we decided to race him in the Simcoe.

"That was basically the game plan right from the get-go. A little break in the schedule can only help him."

Captain Crunch, the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer, has won 11 of 17 career races and earned $1.26 million. His top victories last season came in the Breeders Crown and year-ending Governor's Cup.

This year, he opened with back-to-back wins in divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes before going off stride in his elimination for the North America Cup. The colt jumped a shadow in the first turn but rallied to finish fifth and advance to the $750,000 final, which he won as the fourth choice at odds of 4-1 in 1:47.2. The time is the fastest in history by a 3-year-old pacer on Canadian soil.

"The fans got off him pretty quickly when he made that break," Katz said. "You're not going to get $10 (for a win payout) on him anymore this year, that's for sure. That $10 was a gift for people who bet him.

"That to me was his best start. He came back to show you what kind of horse he is."

Captain Crunch followed with a win in his Meadowlands Pace elimination and then finished fourth in the final, beaten three-quarters of a length, after setting fractions that culminated in reaching three-quarters of a mile in 1:19.3. Three weeks later, he rebounded with his triumph in the Cane Pace.

"He's a dream come true," Katz said. "He's just one great horse. He always shows up, gives it all he's got. He's so game.

"We couldn't ask for anything better than this. He's lived up to all our expectations, and more. He's a once-in-a-lifetime horse. It's hard to get horses like him. We've been in this business a long time, since 1975, and to get a horse who's going to be a stallion like him, it hasn't occurred for us before. Not this type of quality. He's been great."

In the Simcoe, Captain Crunch and driver Scott Zeron will start from post two. Meadowlands Pace winner Best In Show leaves from post one while Century Farroh, the winner of nine of 11 races this season, begins from post three. The remainder of the field is Better Up, Stag Party, Tyga Hanover, and Bronx Seelster.

"Scott loved (Captain Crunch) from day one and has done a tremendous job driving the horse," Katz said. "Nancy and Marcus (Johansson) have done a fantastic job with him. A lot of horses don't come back at 3 as good as they were at 2. He came back even better. Nancy has done a great job managing him.

"To have a horse like him is just a pleasure. And the partners, we all get along great. What more can you ask? I wish we had more like him. You can only hope."

Racing begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. In addition to the Simcoe (race nine on the card), the track hosts the C$600,000 Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters (race five) and C$525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers (race eight).

For complete entries, click here.

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: