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‘Schooner’ Looks To Sizzle In ‘Crown’

Published: October 18, 2013 5:09 pm ET

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John Campbell remembers a time when people wondered whether Cooler Schooner could become a racehorse. Now they might only wonder how fast she can go.

Cooler Schooner, who in August trotted the fastest mile in harness racing history for a two-year-old on any size track when she won in 1:51.3 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, is the 5-2 morning line favourite in Saturday’s $500,000 Breeders Crown for two-year-old fillies.

All 12 Breeders Crown championships will be held Saturday at Pocono Downs. First-race post time is 5:00 p.m.

Cooler Schooner won her Breeders Crown elimination race last weekend by nearly 11 lengths in 1:52.2.

“She was tough training down and there were many people that saw her train and thought she wouldn’t make the races,” Campbell said. “She’s definitely made them and made an impact.”

Campbell drives Cooler Schooner for his brother, trainer Jim Campbell. The filly is a daughter of stallion Broadway Hall, who gave the Campbell brothers their only Breeders Crown victory together when he won the two-year-old colt trot in 2002. She is a full sister to Broadway Schooner, who also was trained by Jim Campbell and won the 2009 Breeders Crown for three-year-old filly trotters.

Now the Campbells will try to win another trophy, for their family as well as Cooler Schooner’s.

“She can just go so easy, nothing surprises me anymore,” said Jim Campbell, who has won a total of three Breeders Crown finals. “After she set that world record, nothing surprises me with her. If she keeps her head on straight, she can go with anybody. But she has to repeat this type of performance (Saturday).”

Cooler Schooner has won four of 10 starts and earned $133,231 for owner Fashion Farms. In three of her first five starts she went off stride during the early part of the race. The races in which she made those breaks are the only ones when Cooler Schooner failed to lead the field to the opening quarter-mile.

“She’s a little headstrong, but she sure can go,” said John Campbell, who has won a record 45 Breeders Crown titles. “She’s a little difficult to deal with, but down the backstretch (in her elimination) I backed her up and she actually relaxed. But it takes that far into the race to be able to rate her and that’s a little more than you’d like. But she was very strong finishing.”

When asked how talented Cooler Schooner is, the driver grinned.

“She’s extremely talented,” John Campbell said, with a little extra emphasis on the word ‘extremely.’ “We’ve had faith in her ability all year. She’s just gifted with athletic ability. She travels like a pacer, there’s no wasted motion. Her gait is just absolutely flawless. She has a really good attitude. Even when she gets tired she still tries.”

Jim Campbell has three horses in the Breeders Crown finals, with Credit Fashion at 5-1 in the race for two-year-old male trotters and Sometimes Said at 12-1 in the event for two-year-old male pacers.

Cooler Schooner will face a tough field in her division, led by the Jimmy Takter triumvirate of Shake It Cerry, Lifetime Pursuit and Scream And Shout.

If Cooler Schooner wins, she and sister Broadway Schooner will join a small group of full siblings to capture Breeders Crown trophies: CR Kay Suzie and CR Renegade, Flirtin Miss and Pick Me Up, Western Terror and If I Can Dream, and Economy Terror and Yellow Diamond (who, interestingly, were sired by Western Terror).

“Personality-wise, she’s pretty much a clone of ‘Broadway,’” Jim Campbell said. “I think next year she’s going to mature a lot. Her sister was the exact same way. She’s not like a crazy filly to be around; she’s the biggest sweetheart you could be around. I think a lot of it is just immaturity.

“Like John says, she’s just so gifted. She’s got no wasted motion to her and she’s got tremendous speed. She’s like a natural.”

(Hambletonian Society / Breeders Crown)

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