Day At The Track

Venerate will get respect in Crown final

03:20 AM 28 Oct 2020 NZDT
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Venerate, harness racing In Range, harness racing
Venerate and driver Andy Miller
Dean Gilette photo
In Range and driver Tim Tetrick get up in final strides
Dean Gilette photo

After watching Venerate become the fastest 2-year-old trotter ever at Harrah's Hoosier Park by winning his Breeders Crown elimination in 1:52.2 last week, harness racing trainer Julie Miller offered a succinct summary of the colt's effort.

"If he minds his manners and stays focused, that's the kind of performance we thought he could put in," Miller said.

Venerate heads to Friday's $600,000 Breeders Crown final for 2-year-old male trotters with four wins in his last six starts. He went off stride in the two losses.

In addition to capturing his Crown elimination, Venerate's victories include the inaugural Mohawk Million and the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship. Overall, the son of Love You-Peaceful Kemp has won five of nine races and earned $703,114. He is owned by Pinske Stables and Andy Miller Stable Inc.

"He can be his own worst enemy," Julie Miller said prior to the elimination. "He's kind of immature mentally and is still trying to figure out what we're asking of him. He wants to do the right thing, he's trying to figure it out."

On Friday, Venerate will start from post five with Andy Miller, Julie's husband, in the sulky. Julie and Andy have won one Crown together, with Lucky Jim in the 2009 Open Trot. Andy has a total of five trophies as a driver.

"(Venerate) is the horse to beat in my opinion," said trainer Marcus Melander, who conditions In Range, the winner of the event's other elimination. "That's a great horse."

In Range won his Crown elimination by a neck over Brookview Bolt in 1:54.1. The colt, by Bar Hopping out of Ilia, has won five of nine races and earned $276,003 for owners AMG Stable, Kenneth Kjellgren, Tomas Hans Asell, and Rick Wahlstedt. He has finished worse than second only once, a sixth-place finish in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes.

Tim Tetrick will drive In Range, starting from post three.

"He's only had one bad race this year, and that was the first week of Lexington, and we didn't really know what was going on with him that week," said Melander, who has won two Breeders Crown trophies, both with trotter Gimpanzee.

"Otherwise, he's been great. You can never count him out because he's always right there. He'll be right there with them."

Friday's final also includes William Wellwood Memorial winner On A Streak and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Captain Corey, who was undefeated in five races before finishing second to Venerate in their Crown elimination.

"He raced good," trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt said about Captain Corey, "but Venerate was better." He added, "We're not giving up. We're going to fight (in the final)."

Captain Corey is one of two Svanstedt-trained colts in the race. Yannick Gingras will drive Delayed Hanover, who was third in the elimination won by In Range.

"He raced OK, but I expected more of him," Svanstedt said. "He didn't come home so good. Maybe it was a long trip (to Hoosier) too close to the race. Now, he is there for a week and can take it easy, so maybe he can be better."

Jim Campbell also has two finalists, Cricket Fashion and Take All Comers, who punched his ticket to the Breeders Crown by winning a Bluegrass Stakes division on Oct. 2 at Red Mile. The gelding finished third in his Crown elimination, which was won by Venerate.

"I'm very happy with him," Campbell said. "He was a very confident third. We've kind of taken it week to week with him. When we brought him to Lexington, we were going to race him the first week and see how he raced. He went out and raced super and that's when we decided to go to the Breeders Crown with him. We chose not to race him the second week (in Lexington) intentionally."

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 the $600,000 Breeders Crown final for 2-year-old male trotters.

1-Take All Comers-David Miller-Jim Campbell
2-Cricket Fashion-Dexter Dunn-Jim Campbell
3-In Range-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander
4-On A Streak-Bob McClure-Luc Blais
5-Venerate-Andy Miller-Julie Miller
6-Muscle Dynasty-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood
7-Captain Corey-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt
8-Delayed Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ake Svanstedt
9-Moonstone S-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander
10-Brookview Bolt-Dexter Dunn-Ron Burke

Brookview Bolt starts from the second tier.

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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