Freshman Fields Set For Breeders Crown

Published: October 21, 2011 07:14 pm EDT

Harness racing’s top two-year-olds gathered at Toronto’s Woodbine Racetrack on Friday night to compete in the elimination round for the prestigious Breeders Crown championships

and Trot Insider has provided recaps of all the action below.

Fresh off a pair of wins in the Bluegrass Series and International Stallion Stakes at Lexington's The Red Mile, Possess The Will advanced first up near the third quarter station and capitalized off of the leader's miscue to prevail in the first of two $25,407 Breeders Crown eliminations for two-year-old trotting colts.

Favourite Magic Tonight (Ron Pierce) fired off the gate from Post 6 and landed the lead in front of Post 4 starter Possess The Will and driver Tim Tetrick. Magic Tonight put up a :28.3 opening quarter before giving way to Quit Smoking Now (David Miller), who swept up from fourth and cleared the lead down the backstretch.

Quit Smoking Now rolled the field past the half in :58.3 with Prestidigitator (Sylvain Filion) on the move from the back of the pack, flushing out Possess The Will.

As Quit Smoking Now entered the final turn, he made a costly miscue and moved to the safety lane leaving Possess The Will to take control before the 1:27.1 third quarter mark. The son of Donato Hanover-Aurora Hall kept the pylon-skimming Magic Tonight and first over Prestidigitator at bay down the stretch to score the 1:56.1 triumph by one and a half lengths. Little Brown Fox (Jim Morrill Jr.) and a late rallying From Above (Brian Sears) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, and will also advance to the final.

"We wanted a shot to go next week and sitting in is not the way to do it and it worked out good for us this week," commented trainer Jim Campbell after the win. "He's the type of horse if you do come first over with him he can sit there and ride. He's very versatile -- you can race him on the front, from behind, first over, anyway, it doesn't matter."

Possess The Will paid $8 to win as the 3-1 third choice. The winner of four races in nine career starts is owned by Pennsylvania's Fashion Farms LLC.

Prior to his perfect Lexington trip, Possess The Will finished fifth in his only other start on Canadian soil -- his William Wellwood Memorial elimination on Sept. 9 at Mohawk Racetrack.

"Well, when he was up here for the Wellwood he didn't race well and it wasn't his fault. We scoped him after the race and he was sick," noted Campbell. "So we took him back home and just got him ready for Lexington. He raced super out there both starts and came back here tonight and he went another big race. I couldn't be happier where we are with him tonight.

"I always like when there's no eliminations because then you're guaranteed to be in the final," he added. "Anything can happen in the elimination, but it was good to get a race over the track. When you're coming off of Lexington and you're coming back to stonedust tracks there's a difference so it's nice to get a race over it."

Uncle Peter and trainer-driver Jimmy Takter swept to command down the backstretch and cruised home to win the other elimination for two-year-old trotting colts.

Blasting off the gate from the outside Post 9, Tymal Oh So Nice (Anthony MacDonald) established the early lead ahead of Post 3 starter Uncle Peter and reeled off a :28.3 opening panel. Meanwhile, Royal Shyster (Dan Daley) and Delano (Ray Schnittker) broke stride behind the gate and favourite Big Chocolate (Dave Miller) also jumped it off while being parked out to the opening quarter.

As the field entered the backstretch, Takter pulled the pocket and Uncle Peter cleared the lead by the :58.3 half-mile marker. The son of Cantab Hall-Victory Treasure opened up a four length lead by the 1:27.2 third quarter mark and left the rest of the field chasing him to the wire in 1:57 flat. Archangel (Jim Morrill Jr.) and American Gangster (Brian Sears) came in second and third while Appomattox (Tim Tetrick) rallied home for fourth and Royal Shyster recovered from his miscue to grab the final championship spot.

"I just let him go the pace he wants. I was hoping for a cover trip because it's quite windy out there today and I didn't want to sit behind the nine-horse -- he was kind of a longshot for me. I thought Dave was going to go to the front but I guess his horse had a little problem with breaking. This horse can do it from behind, but it's windy and tough to be up in front today. You'd rather sit in the deuce and try to grab them in the stretch."

Uncle Peter paid $9.60 to win as the 7-2 third choice. The victory was his third in five career starts for owners John and Jim Fielding of Toronto and New Jersey's Christina Takter and Falkbolagen Ab.

"He's been good from the get-go, he's just been battling a lot of viruses," said Takter of his colt's limited racing schedule so far this season. "He got sick after his first start [a 1:55.1 14 length victory in the Reynolds Stake at Pocono Downs] and we lost a good five or six weeks there. And then he got a little funny in Lexington. He's been a tough horse to keep healthy. His white count has been going up and down a little bit, but talent-wise he's a really good horse."

"It's great, we're really happy to be here," added Jim Fielding, who also shares in the ownership of another finalist, Little Brown Fox.

Following the eliminations, Uncle Peter and Possess The Will chose their post positions for the $600,000 final. Here is a look at the complete field following the post draw with the elimination driver listed and trainer:

Post Position - Horse - Driver - Trainer
1. Archangel - J. Morrill Jr. - P. Arrigenna
2. Little Brown Fox - J. Morrill Jr. - J. Takter
3. Uncle Peter - J. Takter - J. Takter
4. Possess The Will - T. Tetrick - J. Campbell
5. Magic Tonight - R. Pierce - N. Daley
6. Appomattox - T. Tetrick - F. Antonacci
7. Prestidigitator - S. Filion - R. Jones
8. Royal Shyster - D. Daley - D. Daley
9. From Above - B. Sears - G. Peck
10. American Gangster - B. Sears - C. Oakes
AE.1 Delano - R. Schnittker - R. Schnittker
AE.2 Classic Conway - S. Bouchard - C. Connor

Check Me Out put an end to For A Dancer's eight-race undefeated win streak as she cruised to victory in the lone $25,407 elimination for two-year-old trotting fillies.

For A Dancer (Jeff Gregory) established the early lead from Post 6 and put up a :29-second opening quarter panel. Meanwhile, outsider Aunt Mel (Dave Miller) floated up and settled into the two-hole ahead of Check Me Out and driver Tim Tetrick.

As the field entered the backstretch, Check Me Out swept to command within a blink of an eye and reached the half in :58.1. She proceeded to three-quarters in 1:27.2 while Aunt Mel advanced first up with Miss Paris (Scott Zeron) and eventual breaker Personal Style (Ron Pierce) following her cover.

Check Me Out extended her lead to two and a half lengths down the stretch and hit the wire in 1:55.4. For A Dancer and Aunt Mel finished second and third. Also advancing to the final are Miss Paris, Lima Playmate (Jim Morrill Jr.), Real Babe (Ray Schnittker), Talbotcreek Jewely (Paul MacDonell), and Uncommon Night (Brian Sears). The top eight finishers in the elimination will join Circles and Win Missy B, who received byes based on their seasonal earnings, in the final.

"I was very happy with the way [the trip] worked out," said Tetrick after the victory. "Earlier there I just wanted to get away clean and clear and there was a couple of leavers so I got room and put Dave in the hole. My filly was nice and relaxed and would do anything I wanted to do tonight and I just went ahead and moved her to the front because it's very important to win your elimination to pick your post [for the final]. She cruised the rest of the way and was very strong at the wire."

Check Me Out paid $2.50 to win. The daughter of Donato Hanover-Illusion Bi, this year's Merrie Annabelle champion, earned her third straight win after capturing divisions of the Bluegrass Series and International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile. She now sports 11 wins in 13 starts on her record with a pair of second-place finishes in September in her Peaceful Way elimination and the final (from Post 10) -- her most recent starts in Canada.

"She's been good every start. She just had some bad luck there the one race where she got beat in her elimination," said Tetrick. "She just wasn't on her game. She still raced good, but she just wasn't on her game. She's bounced back for every start since then. I think she's gotten better and stronger every start."

Trainer Ray Schnittker co-owns the filly with Charles Iannazzo of New York.

Here is a look at the field for next week's final in post position order:

Post Postion - Horse - Driver
1. Talbotcreek Jewely - P. MacDonell
2. Circles - J. Hebert
3. Lima Playmate - J. Morrill Jr.
4. Check Me Out - T. Tetrick
5. Win Missy B - B. Sears
6. Real Babe - R. Schnittker
7. Miss Paris - S. Zeron
8. Uncommon Night - B. Sears
9. For A Dancer - J. Gregory
10. Aunt Mel - D. Miller

A Rocknroll Dance pushed his win streak to four in the first of two $25,407 eliminations for two-year-old pacing colts.

D Terminata (John Campbell) flashed early gate speed as he sprinted to the first quarter in :26.4 with Hillbilly Hanover (Dave Miller) getting away second and the parked out State Treasurer (Mark MacDonald) taking back into the three-hole ahead of Metro Pace runner-up A Rocknroll Dance.

Driver Yannick Gingras sent the favoured A Rocknroll Dance first up down the backstretch and the Rocknroll Hanover-Wichita Hanover colt roared to the top en route to the :54.4 half.

Bettors Edge (Tim Tetrick) then launched his attack from fifth and moved up to apply pressure to the leader past three-quarters in 1:23 with Speed Again (Jody Jamieson) and Peck Blue Chip (Brian Sears) following his cover. A Rocknroll Dance pressed on while D Terminata jumped it off in behind, causing interference to the outside and trailing horses.

A Rocknroll Dance continued to lead down the stretch and halted the teletimer in 1:51 flat with a two and a three-quarter length winning margin. Bettors Edge was the runner-up with Hurrikane Kingcole (Luc Ouellette) coming on for third. Also making the final were Hillbilly Hanover, who finished fourth, and fifth-place finisher Speed Again.

"I heard John scream and I looked back and saw his horse was running so at that point I just turned mine loose and I figured it would be pretty tough for anyone getting interfered with to come and catch me," said Gingras after the victory. "But he just coasted to the wire. He was wrapped up and I think we saved some for next week."

The 3-5 favourite paid $3.40 to win. Fresh off consecutive victories in the Elevation at Indiana Downs and divisions of the Bluegrass Series and International Stallion Stakes, A Rocknroll Dance recorded his fifth win in eight career outings for trainer James Mulinix, who also co-owns with Denny Miller of Ohio, and Jerry and Theresa Silva of New York.

"He's really game. He never gets tired," said Gingras of A Rocknroll Dance's best attribute.

Delivering on his 7-5 pari-mutuel promise, Sweet Lou surged past his rivals in deep stretch to capture the second elimination for two-year-old pacing colts.

I Fought Dalaw (Dave Miller) blasted off the gate from Post 5 and put up a sizzling :26.1 opening quarter with Shakerattlenrock (Tim Tetrick) gapped back in second and the rest of field trailing multiple lengths behind.

As I Fought Dalaw approached the half in :54.1, Sing For Me George (Scott Zeron) advanced first up from fourth with Lawgiver Hanover (George Brennan) and the Dave Palone-driven and Ron Burke-trained Sweet Lou following his cover.

Sing For Me George began to reel in I Fought Dalaw as they moved past three-quarters in 1:22 and headed down the stretch, but Sweet Lou was full of late pace and swept past both colts on the far outside to score the two length victory in a career-best 1:50 flat. Sing For Me George edged out I Fought Dalaw for second. Escape The News (Brian Sears) finished fourth and Lawgiver Hanover was fifth.

Sweet Lou paid $4.90 to win. The son of Yankee Cruiser-Sweet Future, a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship winner, has won nine times and has never finished worse than second in 11 career starts.

"I hooked up with him in the baby races in the summer and Ronnie loved him," said Palone. "The first time I sat behind him I thought he could be a special colt. He just advanced along and in the Sire Stakes he was pretty much the best so I put him on lead. The last couple of races he raced on a helmet [finishing second and first in Lexington] and he's even more effective that way. I really wasn't as worried about him as I was myself having never raced behind the [timed] gate. I just wanted to get away quiet and not put him in a bad spot.

"I was hoping they would go exactly the way it did. I would have liked to get away maybe a little more alert, but I didn't want to make a mistake from the rail. I was happy with him. They just kept moving along, which helps. He was following along and he was going into the last turn loaded. When I moved him I thought he was the best. He was pretty wrapped up."

Sweet Lou is owned by the Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Pennsylvania, along with Lawrence Karr and Phillip Collura of New Jersey.

Here is a look at the field for next week's final in post position order:

Post Position - Horse - Driver
1. Escape The News - B. Sears
2. Bettors Edge - T. Tetrick
3. Sweet Lou - D. Palone
4. A Rocknroll Dance - Y. Gingras
5. Hurrikane Kingcole - L. Ouellette
6. Hillbilly Hanover - D. Miller
7. Sing For Me George - S. Zeron
8. Speed Again - J. Jamieson
9. Lawgiver Hanover - G. Brennan
10. I Fought Dalaw - D. Miller

No eliminations were required for the two-year-old pacing fillies. All nine entries will advance to the $600,000 final. Here is a look at the field in post position order:

Post Position - Horse - Driver - Trainer
1 - Marty Party – D. Palone - J. Holloway
2 - Handsoffmycookie – T. Tetrick - S. Di Domenico
3 - Pirouette Hanover – R. Pierce - E. Hart
4 - Apogee Hanover – S. Zeron - E. Miller
5 - Economy Terror – B. Sears - C. Oakes
6 - Shelliscape – R. Waples - R. McIntosh
7 - Big Mcdeal – J. Jamieson - J. Darling
8 - Angel Scent – D. Miller - B. Wallace
9 - Podges Lady – Y. Gingras - J. Seekman

Eliminations will continue tomorrow (Saturday) night at Woodbine Racetrack for the three-year-olds and the aged pacing mare division.

The $6 million Breeders Crown championship night will take place next Saturday, Oct. 29 at Woodbine Racetrack.

To view Friday’s harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results – Woodbine Racetrack.

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