Day At The Track

Monument Circle contender Always A Prince 'special'

05:14 AM 01 Nov 2018 NZDT
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Always A Prince, harness racing
Always A Prince and driver Trace Tetrick winning an Indiana Sire Stakes Final
Linscott Photo

After skipping the Breeders Crown at Pocono, Always A Prince will have the Breeders Crown come to him.

Sort of.

Always A Prince is among the 10 horses in Friday's $190,000 Monument Circle for 3-year-old male pacers at Hoosier Park. The field features four of the top-five finishers from last Saturday's Breeders Crown final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, including champion Dorsoduro Hanover and runner-up Lather Up.

For the season, the Hoosier Park-based Always A Prince has won 18 of 21 races and $397,875. His victories include the Jenna's Beach Boy at Hoosier, where he defeated Breeders Crown fourth-place finisher Shnitzledosomethin and Jimmy Freight. The gelding also has the Indiana Sire Stakes championship to his credit.

"We were thinking of taking him to the Breeders Crown, but we decided to wait," said Carl Atley, who owns Always A Prince with his wife Melanie. "Now they all come here to Hoosier to race. That's his home ground, so maybe it's a little bit of an advantage for us.

"But it's tough, tough horses coming to race against you. That's part of the game. If you have the purses, the horses will show up. It's nice that Hoosier has got this race. I'm just glad the horse is sound and ready to go in a race like this. We gave him a break last week so we would be prepared for this race."

Always A Prince is trained by Tyler George, but was selected and developed by James "Bill" Dailey, who passed away unexpectedly in May at the age of 57. Each time Always A Prince races, it is a tribute to Dailey.

"Absolutely," said Atley, who was a friend of Dailey's since childhood. "This is really special because this is his.

"Bill was the greatest guy, the hardest worker, always great to be around. He was always so nice to everybody. He treated everybody with respect. It was fun to be around him."

Always A Prince was unraced at age 2 because of soreness, but returned this year and won his first seven races, all in conditioned classes, before tackling the Indiana Sire Stakes circuit. He finished second in his series debut, but has lost only once since in Indiana. His remaining defeat came in the Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park, where he was sixth from post eight.

"As an owner, you always hope to get a horse like this," Atley said. "It's a dream come true.

"His best quality is he takes care of himself. Some horses are so wild and crazy, they kick and carry on, but he goes in and lies down and takes care of himself. He's a well-mannered colt. We're very, very fortunate. He's had a great year. Just unbelievable."

The Monument Circle will be Always A Prince's final start of the year.

"He'll be turned out and come back next year as a 4-year-old," Atley said. "He'll probably go to some of the (stakes) events they have for just the 4-year-olds. There is a tough bunch of 3-year-olds this year. It's not just one or two horses dominating, there are three, or four, or five of them that are really good."

Friday's Hoosier Park card also features the $256,000 Carl Erskine for 3-year-old male trotters, the $137,000 Crossroads of America for 3-year-old female trotters, and the $113,000 USS Indianapolis for 3-year-old female pacers.

In addition, Foiled Again, harness racing's all-time richest horse with $7.60 million, will be in action in a division of the Dick Macomber Memorial, with Ricky Macomber Jr. in the sulky.

The 14-year-old Foiled Again will retire at the end of the year and has won five of his past seven races, upping his career total for victories to 105, on his Farewell Tour. The Ron Burke-trained gelding has raced in Delaware, Ohio, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and Maine during that span and been driven by six different drivers - Montrell Teague, Chris Page, Chris Shaw, Jim Morrill Jr., George Brennan, and Mitchell Cushing.

Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT). For Friday's complete entries, click here.

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

 

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