Day At The Track

Takter hopes Kissin ends Crown curse

07:10 AM 31 Oct 2020 NZDT
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Kissin In The Sand, harness racing Manchego, harness racing
Kissin In The Sand and driver Dexter Dunn
Mark Hall/USTA photo
Ken Weingartner photo

Two years ago, harness racing trainer Nancy Takter accepted a bye for Kissin In The Sand and advanced directly to the Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old female pacers. By skipping the eliminations, though, Kissin In The Sand missed the chance to earn an inside starting position with a win.

Kissin In The Sand ended up drawing post nine for the final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, got parked out the entire mile, and finished second by three-quarters of a length.

So, this year when Takter was once again offered a Breeders Crown bye for Kissin In The Sand, she declined.

And Kissin In The Sand drew post nine for her elimination at Harrah's Hoosier Park.

"I was like, what the heck," Takter said with a laugh. This time, however, Kissin In The Sand prevailed from post nine, winning the single elimination by three-quarters of a length and securing post-position safety for the final.

Kissin In The Sand starts from post three in Saturday's $300,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace at Hoosier Park. Dexter Dunn will drive the 5-year-old, who brings a five-race win streak to the event and is the 7-5 morning-line favorite.

"She's just been really good," Takter said. "She's a little cursed when it comes to the Breeders Crown, so I hope we can get this done. She's my girl."

Kissin The Sand is making her fourth appearance in the Breeders Crown, and her third in a final. Last year, she drew post seven in a seven-horse Mare Pace final at Woodbine Mohawk Park and finished third. In 2017, at Hoosier, she drew post eight in an eight-horse elimination and failed to advance.

For her career, the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Kiss Me Kate has won 25 of 56 races and $1.51 million for owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables. She was a Dan Patch Award winner at age 3.

Saturday's Mare Pace field includes three previous Breeders Crown champions: 2019 Mare Pace winner Caviart Ally, 2018 Mare Pace winner Shartin N, and 2- and 3-year-old filly winner Warrawee Ubeaut. Shartin N, the 2019 Horse of the Year, is the 2-1 second choice.

Caviart Ally will attempt to become the first repeat Mare Pace winner since Shelliscape in 2013-14. Warrawee Ubeaut will try to become the first female pacer to win three consecutive Breeders Crown finals and the first 3-year-old filly champ to win the Mare Pace as a 4-year-old.

Kissin In The Sand is one of four morning-line favorites Takter will send out in Saturday's eight Breeders Crown finals. The others are 3-year-old colt pacer Tall Dark Stranger, 3-year-old filly trotter Spoiled Princess, and 5-year-old mare trotter Manchego.

(To read a story on Tall Dark Stranger, click here. To read about Spoiled Princess, click here.)

Manchego is a two-time Breeders Crown champion, with titles at ages 2 and 4. Only three trotters in history have won three or more Breeders Crown trophies. Female trotter Peace Corps holds the record with four. Grades Singing, another female, won three as did male trotter Mack Lobell.

Manchego, a daughter of Muscle Hill-Secret Magic, has won 31 of 54 career races and $2.41 million. She was a Dan Patch Award winner at age 2 and is owned by Black Horse Racing. She will start the $300,000 Breeders Crown Mare Trot from post seven with Dunn in the sulky and is the 8-5 morning-line favorite.

She is the fastest female trotter in history, with a 1:49 mile in 2019, and the only female trotter ever with sub-1:50 wins in multiple years.

Last Saturday, Manchego finished second to Gimpanzee, a stallion with two Breeders Crown titles to his credit, in an invitational at Hoosier. She was sixth for most of the mile before closing with a :25.1 last quarter. As a point of reference, the fastest last quarter by a trotter in Breeders Crown history is :26, shared by Greenshoe and Chin Chin Hall in 2019.

"I was really happy with her," said Takter, a four-time Breeders Crown winner. "I made some changes on her just to keep her a little quieter. I changed her bit and put an ear hood on her, just so she could maybe be taken off the gate a little bit more and not go so hard the first three-eighths of a mile. She trotted really good. I changed her shoes up a little bit too. I think she'll be in good form this week. She needed that mile."

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 Mare Pace.

1-Sweet Lucy Lou-Brian Sears-Robert Cleary-30/1
2-Rockin Nola-Joey Putnam-Joe Putnam-8/1
3-Kissin In The Sand-Dexter Dunn-Nancy Takter-7/5
4-Caviart Ally-Andrew McCarthy-Brett Pelling-15/1
5-Warrawee Ubeaut-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-6/1
6-Shartin N-Tim Tetrick-Jim King Jr.-2/1
7-Philly Hanover-Scott Zeron-Robert Fellows-30/1
8-Treacherous Reign-David Miller-Tony Alagna-30/1
9-Trillions Hanover-Bob McClure-Tom Fanning-20/1
10-Stonebridge Soul-Brett Miller-Chris Ryder-30/1

Stonebridge Soul starts from the second tier.

Following is the field for Saturday's Breeders Crown Mare Trot.

1-Weslynn Quest-Scott Zeron-Chris Beaver-20/1
2-Conway Kellyanne-Yannick Gingras-Daryl Bontrager-30/1
3-Pat Matters-Andrew McCarthy-R. Nifty Norman-8/1
4-When Dovescry-David Miller-Brett Pelling-7/2
5-Plunge Blue Chip-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-9/5
6-Felicityshagwell S-Andy Miller-Ake Svanstedt-15/1
7-Manchego-Dexter Dunn-Nancy Takter-8/5
8-Grand Swan-LeWayne Miller-LeWayne Miller-20/1

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 



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