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Older Breeders Crown Finals Drawn

HypnoticBlueChip.jpg

Published: October 2, 2010 1:40 pm ET

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Hypnotic Blue Chip has provided trainer Kevin McDermott with memorable performances this season while testing himself against the best older pacers in North America. McDermott hopes the 4-year-old horse give another top effort in next Saturday’s $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

With regular driver Jody Jamieson in the sulky, Hypnotic Blue Chip will start from post No. 4 in the Breeders Crown. Shark Gesture, the No. 1-ranked horses in harness racing’s weekly Top 10 poll, drew the rail while Bobby Quillen Memorial winner Foiled Again got post two and stablemate Won The West got five.

“That’s a perfect spot for him,” McDermott said about Hypnotic Blue Chip’s starting position, which has the best win percentage (15.6 percent) at Pocono Downs this year. “He doesn’t have to leave; he can stalk. That’s probably a good second- or third-over spot from there.”

Hypnotic Blue Chip has won seven of 22 races this year and earned $718,399 for owner Francis Azur, who purchased the horse for $325,000 at the Tattersalls Select Mixed Sale in January.

Among the horse’s wins this year was a world-record 1:47.2 triumph in a $182,500 division of the U.S. Pacing Championship on August 7 at the Meadowlands.

He also won the $100,000 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park on July 3 and was second in the $702,500 William R. Haughton Memorial and $748,800 Canadian Pacing Derby.

He was seventh-placed-sixth in the Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway on September 20. He finished no worse than second in his previous five starts and earned a check in his previous 13 races.

“The first disappointment all year was Harrington, and that was just the seven hole. It was an impossible spot,” McDermott said. “He’s just been a real good, real sound horse all year. Like every other horse, it’s the end of the year and I think they all want a break now. But he’s danced just about every dance and he’s held up good.”

Hypnotic Blue Chip is scheduled to race in tonight’s open at Pocono Downs. He will start from post eight in a field of eight. Breeders Crown Open finalist Lisagain also is in the race.

“We’ll just give him a nice trip, let him finish up, and see what happens,” McDermott said.

Shark Gesture tuned up for the Breeders Crown with a 1:50.3 qualifier at Pocono Downs on September 23. The 7-year-old horse has won seven of 11 races this season, including the Haughton Memorial and $228,000 Bettor’s Delight, and earned $918,875. He went off stride in the $748,800 Canadian Pacing Derby on September 4 at Mohawk Racetrack and finished last, marking the first time he finished worse than second this year.

“He’s in good shape,” trainer Larry Remmen said. “I would have liked to have had a prep race, but this will work out all right. He qualified in hand over there (at Pocono Downs). He’s easy to train and can go whatever you want by himself. He’s not one of those horses that need a race.

“I’m just looking forward to getting straightened away and kicking it into gear and seeing who can catch him.”

Remmen and driver George Brennan, who last Saturday became the 11th driver in history to eclipse $100 million in career purses, were unable to determine why Shark Gesture went off stride in the Canadian Pacing Derby.

“I don’t think he was on the bit like usual and I don’t think George was able to help him,” Remmen said. “Usually, he’s really aggressive and for some reason he was underaggressive that night. Those things happen. But there was nothing we could pinpoint. I’m not going to say it will never happen again, but I don’t expect it to happen again.”

Shark Gesture won the 2006 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers and has won $2.81 million in his career.

Won The West is seeking to join Boulder Creek (2004-05) and Red Bow Tie (1998-99) as the only repeat winners of the Breeders Crown Open Pace. He won last year’s event in a stakes-record 1:47 at the Meadowlands. Won The West has won five of 15 races this year and finished no worse than third in any start while earning $1 million. His triumphs include the Canadian Pacing Derby and the $293,280 Molson Pace.

The 6-year-old gelding is trained by Ron Burke and driven by David Miller. Won The West was the 2009 Dan Patch Award winner for best older male pacer. He has won $3.12 million in his career. He has two wins, three seconds and a third since being scratched from the Ben Franklin Pace final on July 18 because of leg swelling.

Won The West’s last race was a second-place finish to stablemate Foiled Again in the $354,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial on September 20 at Harrington Raceway.

“Ever since the Ben Franklin we’ve had to monitor his races,” Burke said. “I’m glad he didn’t have an elimination. He’s coming into the race good; his last mile was probably his best. We’re very happy with him. Both my boys are coming off sharp efforts.”

Foiled Again has won seven of 19 races this season, including the $460,000 George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series final, and banked $676,510. He is trained by Burke and driven by Yannick Gingras.

“Small-track racing suits him great, and (Won The West) too,” Burke said. “I think it might bring Shark Gesture back to us a little bit more, too. I think we have a good chance depending on the draw of maybe upsetting.”

Following is the Breeders Crown Open Pace draw, with listed drivers and trainers:
1. Shark Gesture, George Brennan, Larry Remmen
2. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke
3. Bettor Sweet, Brian Sears, Tom Cancelliere
4. Hypnotic Blue Chip, Jody Jamieson, Kevin McDermott
5. Won The West, David Miller, Ron Burke
6. Lisagain, Andy Miller, Erv Miller
7. Clear Vision, Ron Pierce, Richard “Nifty” Norman
8. Blueridge Western, Daniel Dube, Kevin McDermott

The Breeders Crown Open Trot and Mare Trot were also drawn on Saturday, Oct. 2. Nine will go to the post in the $600,000 Open Trot and seven make up the $250,000 Mare Trot, both part of the $6 million 12-race final program at Mohegan at Pocono Downs on Oct. 9 with a special post of 5:00 p.m.

Here is the Open Trot field with assigned drivers:
1. Hot Shot Blue Chip, David Miller
2. Slave Dream, John Campbell
3. Neighsay Hanover, Tim Tetrick
4. Define The World, Paul Macdonell
5. Enough Talk, Ron Pierce
6. Lucky Jim, Andy Miller
7. Triumphant Caviar, Luc Ouellette
8. All Cantab Trevor Ritchie
9. Lanson, Mike Lachance

Lucky Jim, trained by Julie Miller and driven by her husband Andy, heads to the Open trot off a track-record 1:52 win at Vernon in the $195,000 Credit Winner on Sept. 17, his first start after a two-month layoff.

"I was a little concerned he wasn’t tight enough, but Andy drove him exactly how we’d talked about and he got up there," Julie said about Lucky Jim’s return performance. "He was the same old Jim."

Last year, Lucky Jim won the Breeders Crown on his way to the Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter. This season, he has won five of 11 starts, finished second four times, and earned $417,344. He will try to become the first horse to repeat as Breeders Crown Open Trot champion since Fool’s Goal (2002-‘03). The only other multiple winner was No Sex Please in 1990 and 1992.
"I would have liked to race [before the final], but the fact we’re not is fine too," Miller said. "I was very indifferent about it."

Enough Talk won the $235,750 Titan Cup in July at the Meadowlands and was second to Slave Dream in the $300,000 Nat Ray in August.

Triumphant Caviar is coming off a track-record 1:53.1 victory at Indiana Downs in the $100,000 Pride In Progress free-for-all. Christopher Beaver, his trainer, is happy how the four-year-old is doing now but was not excited about drawing post 7. "I was hoping for the middle or closer to the rail but it could be worse. The way I saw them racing [in the elims], it may be all right from our post."

Chris says "Caviar" likes the outside. "He’s not a front-racing horse. I’ll leave the tactics to Luc but I can’t see the horse coming fast off the gate. Besides, when he gets on top be becomes a bit lazy; he’s much better when he is chasing down a horse. He’s very competitive."

Here is the draw for the fierce older trotters in the Mare Trot, with assigned drivers.

1. Windsong Soprano, Ron Pierce
2. Elusive Desire, John Campbell
3. Yursa Hanover Daniel Dube
4. Southwind Wasabi, Yannick Gingras
5. Autumn Escapade, David Miller
6. Jersey As; George Brennan
7. Buck I St Pat, Tim Tetrick

Buck I St Pat was third in the $93,500 Ms Versatility Series Final at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio. She finished behind Autumn Escapade and Windsong Soprano in a world-record-equaling 1:53.2 mile.

For the year, Buck I St Pat has won six of 16 races, including the $340,470 Armbro Flight and $100,000 Maxie Lee Memorial, and earned $483,695. She has won 46 of 89 races and banked $1.88 million and was voted the best trotting mare the last two years by the U.S. Harness Writers Association.

"I was a little disappointed with her last start, but she went first up into a world-record mile," trainer Ron Burke said. "We were a little bit worried we over-raced her. She really doesn’t respond to being raced a lot. I was thrilled there were no eliminations this week; I think that really plays much better for her to just come right in and race."

Yursa Hanover won the $150,000 Conway Hall at Vernon Downs on Sept. 10. She also won the $25,000 Ms Versatility at Tioga Downs on Aug. 22. She has been an outcast to this whole group, finishing fifth almost every start.

Yursa Hanover - Conway Hall

Windsong Soprano is winless since June, but has finished second in her last six starts. Three of those seconds were in the Ms Versatility Series and final.

(with files from Hambletonian Society)


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