Day At The Track

Amigo Volo going for second straight Breeders Crown

09:04 AM 29 Oct 2020 NZDT
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Amigo Volo, harness racing
Amigo Volo and driver Dexter Dunn
Dean Gilette photo

Six weeks ago, harness racing trainer Nifty Norman said he couldn't be happier with the way Amigo Volo looked heading into the rest of the season. As the horse prepares for Saturday's $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters, it's safe to say he remains enthusiastic.

Amigo Volo, who was the Breeders Crown champion at age 2, won the Kentucky Futurity on Oct. 11 at Red Mile and followed up with a track-record victory in his Crown elimination last Saturday at Harrah's Hoosier Park. Going back to mid-August, he has won five of six races and finished second in the other.

"He has not let me down," Norman said. "Even last week, I was kind of mildly shocked at how good he was. He's just solid. He's raced in just about every race there is, and he's as good now as he was at the start. He maybe even better. That's a good sign for a horse."

Amigo Volo won his elimination in 1:51.2, the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old trotter at Hoosier Park. The time was just one-fifth of a second off the track's overall record.

In Saturday's Breeders Crown final, Amigo Volo will start from post two with driver Dexter Dunn. He is the 6-5 morning-line favorite. Three male trotters this century have won Crown trophies at ages 2 and 3: Gimpanzee, 2018-2019; Father Patrick, 2013-2014; and Muscle Hill, 2008-2009. Amigo Volo is by Father Patrick out of Margarita Momma.

For the year, Amigo Volo has won seven of 13 races. Lifetime, the multiple world-record-setting gelding has won 13 of 25 starts and $1.21 million in purses for owners Pinske Stables and David J. Miller.

"It won't be easy, but I think that at the moment he's probably the best horse," said Norman, who has won four Breeders Crown finals. "I've got a good driver, a good draw, so I've got as good a shot as anybody."

Norman also sends out Chestnut Hill in the event. Chestnut Hill finished second by a neck to Capricornus in the other Breeders Crown elimination.

For the year, Chestnut Hill has won three of 14 races, including the Canadian Trotting Classic. The colt is by Muscle Hill out of Poof She's Gone, a filly that provided Norman his first Breeders Crown trophy in 2009. He is owned by Mel Hartman, David McDuffee, and Little E. Hartman and McDuffee bred Chestnut Hill with Herb Liverman.

Chestnut Hill will start from post nine, the outermost spot on the gate, with David Miller in the sulky. The colt is 15-1 on the morning line.

"I thought he raced really good last week, but then the draw just crushed him," Norman said. "Now you're really relying on luck. But you know what, he's had some bad draws or rough trips and got good finishes out of them. A few things went his way, and he always gets home good. The horse himself is in good shape."

Ready For Moni, who won the Goodtimes Stakes and Harry M. Zweig Memorial after finishing second in the Hambletonian, is the 7-2 second choice. Capricornus is 6-1.

Norman's Breeders Crown weekend begins Friday with Fire Start Hanover in the $600,000 final for 2-year-old female pacers. The filly had a five-race win streak snapped with a second-place finish to Continualou in her elimination.

Fire Start Hanover is the 3-1 favorite, starting from post seven with driver Dunn.

"I was very happy with her run," Norman said. "She was sick after Lexington, we brought her home, she had five days off. I only trained her once. I thought she would be kind of short, but she was actually really good. Even though she's drawn seven, I think she'll go really good. I think that run last week will really help her and she's good either way, she can leave or she can race from off the pace.

"She's a nice filly and I think she's got a good shot. She's a big, strong thing, and has just gotten better as the year has gone on. I've got a lot of confidence in her."

Harrah's Hoosier Park hosts the four $600,000 Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-olds on Friday. The remaining eight finals, for 3-year-olds and older horses, are Saturday. Racing begins at 6 p.m. (EDT) both nights.

The 2020 Breeders Crown, presented by the Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership, is the 37th edition of the $6 million event. Harrah's Hoosier Park will provide a free live high-definition streaming of the races on YouTube.

Following is the field for Saturday's Breeders Crown 3-year-old colt-and-gelding trot final.

1-Capricornus-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-6/1
2-Amigo Volo-Dexter Dunn-R. Nifty Norman-6/5
3-Ready For Moni-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Takter-7/2
4-Play Trix On Me-Joe Bongiorno-Linda Toscano-20/1
5-Hillexotic-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-20/1
6-Maesteraemon-Scott Zeron-Marcus Melander-15/1
7-Back Of The Neck-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-8/1
8-Beads-Brian Sears-Per Engblom-8/1
9-Chestnut Hill-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-15/1
10-Gangster Hanover-Andrew McCarthy-Ake Svanstedt-20/1

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 



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