The eliminations for this year's Breeders Crown are in the books, and the stage is now set for next Saturday's blockbuster card of racing at The Meadowlands.
Here's a recap of what transpired in Saturday's eliminations:
Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colt Trot - $25,000 eliminations
Sutton overcame an outside post and knocked off the recent Triple Crown winner, Marion Marauder, in the first of two Breeders Crown eliminations.
Andy Miller left hard with the Julie Miller trainee, and after parking past the quarter in :28.1 they crossed over in front of the field. Marion Marauder rushed out of his four-hole in the backstretch and eventually worked his way to the lead. He zipped through middle splits of :56 and 1:25.3, but when tested in the lane by the pocket-popping Sutton he gave way. Sutton’s :28.3 kicker was enough to earn him the win by a head over Marion Marauder in 1:54.2. Nabbing the remaining cheques were Southwind Frank, Lagerfeld and Double L Lindy.
“He has been good all year,” said driver Andy Miller. “[He’s] just had a lack of luck I guess. In the Futurity, he had the outside in a 12-horse field; he was four deep in the first turn and three deep in the last turn and only got beat five lengths. And in the Hambo, he just missed. He’s been knocking at the door, so next week hopefully will be his turn.”
Sent off at odds of 6-1, the son of Donato Hanover-I Wanted Wings improved his 2016 record to 5-2-1 from 14 starts with the win. The seven-time winner has banked $382,431 for Andy Miller Stable Inc along with Jason Allen and Douglas Allen.
Bar Hopping turned in one of the most impressive performances of the night thanks to his 1:52.4 score for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Jimmy Takter.
Tetrick was content to sit fourth with the colt while Southern Cross hammered out first-half fractions of :28.1 and :57.2. Tetrick angled Bar Hopping to the outside in the backstretch, and the trotter took off like a shot. In a matter of strides he worked his way to the lead and proceeded to take the field past the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1. He then trucked home in :27.3 to win by 3-1/2 lengths over Waitlifter K in 1:52.4. The final cheques went to Muscle Hustle, Winter Harbor and Love Matters.
“I thought this was a magnificent mile for him,” said trainer Jimmy Takter. “You look at all the times here tonight, and everybody understands the wind is very hard in the stretch and it’s freaking freezing. He’s just learning how to race and has a lack of confidence, but one day he’ll get it.”
Sent off as the 1-5 favourite in the eight-horse affair, Bar Hopping improved his 2016 record to 7-2-4 from 16 starts with the victory. The eight-time winner, who is owned by Christina Takter, Hatfield Stable, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, became harness racing’s newest millionaire with the win.
Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colt Pace - $25,000 eliminations
Check Six was pointed to the lead by driver Yannick Gingras, and once they cleared to the top it was game over.
The Ron Burke trainee dictated the pace through fractions of :28.1, :56.2 and 1:23.4 before turning on the jets late and firing home in :26.4 to win by 1-1/4 lengths over Lyons Snyder in 1:50.3. Rounding out the top five finishers were Dr J Hanover, Racing Hill and Fine Diamond.
“I don't know about overachiever, but he did make a lot of money this year,” said driver Yannick Gingras. “There's a couple of tough horses and he's right below the top ones, but he puts in a performance like this, yeah, I think he can go with most of them.”
Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, William Switala and James Martin share ownership on the 13-time winner who has compiled a 9-3-1 record this season from 19 trips postward. The pacer recently went over $900,000 in lifetime earnings.
The big story in this elimination was the late scratch of Betting Line. The dominant pacer in the division was forced to be scratched from the elimination after what is believed to be a reaction to a spider bite. The horse was treated with antibiotics by a veterinarian and further updates will be offered once more details become available.
Western Fame was a popular winner in his elimination, but he had to fend off late pressure in order to do so for driver Mark MacDonald.
The son of Western Ideal-Shyaway was hustled to the lead, and once he got there he was on the hook for panels of :27.2, :56 and 1:25. He uncorked a :27-second closing panel which was good enough to earn him the win by a nose over Fernando Hanover in 1:52. Rounding out the top five finishers were Manhattan Beach, Katies Rocker and JJ Flynn.
“I think he was the best in there but it kind of turned into a sprint and he's not a sprinter,” said driver Mark MacDonald. “He's a grinder and he almost got out sprinted but he dug in. He's very game. He's tough to get by and he dug in.”
Jimmy Takter trains the pacer for owner/breeder Brittany Farms of Versailles, KY. After going winless in three starts as a rookie, the sophomore has followed-up with a 6-7-1 record from 21 trips postward this season. He’s stashed away more than $380,000 to date.
Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Filly Trot - $25,000 eliminations
All The Time returned to the scene of Hambletonian Oaks score and rallied to an impressive victory in her elimination for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter.
Mired in traffic for most of the mile, the daughter of Muscle Hill-Cantab It All tracked cover from third over while Spicedbourbongirl and Non Stick and Fad Finance took turns on the lead through fractions of :28.4, :57.4 and 1:26.3. Gingras swept his charge into the centre of the racetrack in the lane and she kicked home in :27.4 to prevail by half a length over odds-on favourite Caprice Hill in 1:55.1. Also advancing to the final are Fad Finance, Dewdle All Day and Side Bet Hanover.
“Last time she was racing was the Hambletonian Oaks,” said trainer Jimmy Takter. “She won it, but unfortunately, the day after she went through colic surgery and she's been out since then. This is a really sweet moment for me. I mean, to see this filly coming back, she's just a pure champion, this girl, now that she's better.
“Mid-Atlantic [Veterinary Clinic] did a heck of a job and we were very fortunate that it was not the most serious kind of colic, but you know it was enough that we had to open her up,” he added. “To be here for the Breeders Crown, that is what I was waiting for and she sure looked great tonight.”
After going 7-for-12 as a rookie, All The Time has put together a 5-3-0 record from eight trips to the track this season for partners Marvin Katz of Toronto and Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ont. All The Time has put together a cash stash of $935,106 to date.
Fresh off her straight heats win in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, Broadway Donna extended her winning streak to three-in-a-row thanks to a courageous win in her Breeders Crown elimination.
David Miller, who had to overcome Post 10 with the Jim Campbell pupil, was parked every step of the mile with the 7-5 favourite, who watched Emoticon Hanover steal away with fractions of :28, :57.4 and 1:27. Broadway Donna found another gear in the lane, however, and her :27.1 kicker propelled her to the win by half a length over Emoticon Hanover in 1:55. Rounding out the top five finishers were Flowers N Songs, Earn Your Wings and Celebrity Eventsy.
The daughter of Donato Hanover-Broadway Schooner went 9-for-10 as a rookie and she’s followed-up with a 6-2-1 record this season from just 11 trips to the track. The photogenic homebred has banked $945,994 for owner/breeder Fashion Farms LLC of New Hope, PA.
Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Filly Pace - $20,000 eliminations
Roaring To Go turned a two-hole trip into a mini upset in her elimination for driver Brett Miller and trainer Kevin Lare.
Miller dropped his charge into the garden spot behind odds-on favourite Idyllic Beach who was permitted to steal away with soft panels of :28.2, :57.2 and 1:25.3. Miller angled off the rail around the final turn and Roaring To Go fired home in :27 to win by 2-1/4 lengths over Agent Q in 1:52.4. Idyllic Beach faded to finish third, while Thats The Ticket and Brazuca rounded out the top five finishers.
“It's like I keep telling Frank (Chick) all the time, she's just getting better every week,” said trainer Kevin Lare. “Every time I train her, I'm like she could never be better and the same thing this week, just never better. She's been very good and he [Brett Miller] knows that she loves to go get a horse and it worked out really well for her.”
The daughter of Art Major-Lionness Hanover extended her winning streak to three-in-a-row for owner Frank Chick of Harrington, DE. The seven-time winner has banked $252,636 to date.
Tori Hanover rallied from well off the pace to capture her assignment at odds of 11-1 for the tandem of driver Scott Zeron and trainer Tony Alagna.
Zeron was in no hurry with the rookie, who got away seventh, and held that position while race favourite Someomensomewhere chopped out first-half fractions of :28 and :57.2. She was still the leader at the three-quarter pole in 1:26.3, but despite getting away with sensible speed she couldn’t fend off the late-rushing Tori Hanover. Zeron was able to conjure up a :27.2 final frame from the freshman who drew clear to win by a length over Someomensomewhere in 1:54.4. Rounding out the top five finishers were Blameitonthenight, Jayes A Lady and Rockette.
“She [Tori Hanover] was a product of a great trip tonight,” said driver Scott Zeron. “She can really smoke home. I had her in a position where I loaded her three-wide and she gave me everything she had and it was enough tonight.”
The lightly-raced daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Trim Hanover now owns a 3-2-0 record from just five trips to the track for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York and Brittany Farms of Versailles, KY.
Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Filly Pace - $25,000 eliminations
Pure Country survived a tough, first-over trip to capture her elimination in 1:51 for driver Brett Miller and trainer Jimmy Takter.
The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Montana got away fourth while odds-on favourite Darlinonthebeach scooted to the front and got away with very sensible panels of :27.4, :55.3 and 1:23.2. Pure Country came first up on the way to the half, and she remained in that position as the field wheeled into the lane. Pure Country kicked out closing panel of :27.2 which was good enough to win by half a length over L A Delight. Rounding out the top five finishers were Call Me Queen Be, Darlinonthebeach and Kiss Me Onthebeach.
“She's such a champion, she can race anyway,” said driver Brett Miller. “I always feel like she's better when she has a target, she's chasing a horse. Obviously she can do it anyway. She was very tough tonight.”
Diamond Creek Racing of Wellsville, PA owns the 19-time winner who now owns a 9-4-3 seasonal record from 19 trips to the track. Pure Country will look to add to her bankroll which stands at $1,829,227.
Newborn Sassy was sent off as the 3-2 favourite in her elimination, and she passed the test with flying colours for the team of driver Tim Tetrick and trainer/co-owner Jo Ann Looney-King.
Tetrick got away fourth with the filly, who was later backed up to fifth as the field headed past the half. Panels of :29, :56.4 and 1:25.2 were served up by Lindwood Beachgirl and then Blue Moon Stride, but it was Newborn Sassy who eventually used a :27-second closing kick to prevail by three-quarters of a length over Blue Moon Stride in 1:53. Also taking home cheques were Penpal, Skinny Dipper and Lindwood Beachgirl.
“I thought she was going to be really good in this field,” said trainer Jo Ann Looney-King. “We got in late and I thought she was a winner from the time we got here tonight. That's going to be a tough one [Final], we're up against Pure Country. There are just so many, they're just such good fillies. She's up for it and we're going to have her as good as we can get her and I hope we can be real competitive and maybe beat those horses next week. There's no reason at all why I can't win a Breeders Crown and that's what I want to do.”
Looney-King shares ownership on the daughter of Western Ideal-Sass Newton with CC Racing LLC of Mokena, IL. The filly was an eight-time winner last year, and she’s managed to go 7-for-18 this season. The 15-time winner has banked more than $565,000 in her career.
Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Pace - $20,000 eliminations
Huntsville was a handy winner in his elimination assignment for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Ray Schnittker. The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show sat fifth through first-half fractions of :27.2 and :56.4, but Tetrick started up the engine on his charge on the way to the final turn. Huntsville tipped off the pylons and went after Odds On Delray, who was still in charge of the tempo at the three-quarter pole in 1:24.4. Huntsville accelerated quickly and took over command at the head of the lane and then used a :26.3 closing quarter to win by 2-1/4 lengths over Miso Fast in 1:51.3. Rounding out the top five finishers were Ocean Colony, Odds On Delray and Ozone Blue Chip.
“He's been getting stronger every week and racing from behind and he seems like he's getting stronger every time he races.,” said trainer/co-owner Ray Schnittker. “He's a great big horse, 16 hands. If he stays sound, I think he could have a great year next year. Huntsville is a lot smarter horse than One More Laugh but One More Laugh was really, really tough so they're tough to compare.”
From nine starts, Huntsville has managed to compile an impressive record of 6-3-0 while banking $303,234 for Schnittker and partners Ted Gewertz, Charles Iannazzo and Steven Arnold.
Downbytheseaside was an overwhelming favourite in the final elimination for this year’s Breeders Crown, and the Brian Brown pupil cruised to an easy triumph for driver David Miller.
The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Sprig Hanover was fifth and parked at the quarter pole, but he was in charge of the tempo as the field raced by the half in :56.3. He proceeded to lead the field to the three-quarter pole in 1:24.2, and then he zipped home in a :27-second clip to win by 3-3/4 lengths over Normandy Beach in 1:51.2. Rounding out the top five finishers in the group were Boogie Shuffle, Blood Line and Filibuster Hanover.
It’s now four-in-a-row and counting for the consistent campaigner who owns a 7-2-2 record from 11 trips postward this season. The career winner of $249,706 is owned by Country Club Acres Inc, Joe Sbrocco and Richard Lombardo.
Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Trot - $20,000 eliminations
Walner was bet off the board as you might expect in his elimination, and the world champion didn’t disappoint for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Linda Toscano.
The son of Chapter Seven-Random Destiny got away fourth while Giveitgasandgo shot to the top and led the field past the quarter pole in :28. Walner edged off the pylons in the backstretch and rushed to the lead with the greatest of ease. He fronted the group through middle splits of :56.3 and 1:25. A :28.3 closing panel was more than enough for him to win by three lengths over What The Hill in 1:53.3. Rounding out the top five finishers were Giveitgasandgo, Dover Dan and Sir John F.
“He's got a ton of talent and he wants to do his job and he's got a ton of speed to go with it. Everything's there,” said driver Tim Tetrick.
Ken Jacobs of Baldwinsville, NY owns the five-time winner, who was bred by Esa Lahtinen’s Overseas Farms Ltd of Campbellville, Ont. The lion’s share of the purse bumped Walner’s earnings to $88,750.
Sortie pulled off a 10-1 upset thanks to his deep stretch heroics for driver Andrew McCarthy.
The Noel Daley pupil got away in mid-pack before moving into the flow on the way to the three-quarter pole. Moonshiner Hanover supplied the field with splits of :28.3, :57.4 and 1:26.3, but despite those sensible fractions he couldn’t seal the deal. Sortie was fifth and tracking cover as the field headed into the final quarter of the contest, and he fired home in :27.3 en route to rallying to the win by 1-3/4 lengths over Moonshiner Hanover in 1:55. Grabbing the final cheques were Fly On, Jake and Snowstorm Hanover.
“He kinda stepped on the gas there [at the five eighths pole] and he got to slipping a little bit so I just had to watch him for a few steps and when he straightened up he was fine,” said driver Andrew McCarthy. “At the head of the stretch I thought I did, you know it's a long stretch.I knew I had plenty of trot it's just a matter of making sure I stayed flat and kept going.”
It was the second lifetime win for the son of Explosive Matter-Win B, who is owned by Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco, Mario Mazza and Sortie Stable.
Post positions for all of the finals are now complete, and they are as follows:
Open Trot - $500,000
1 – Il Sogno Dream
2 – Resolve
3 – JL Cruse
4 – Windsun Revenge
5 – Crescent Fashion
6 – Centurion ATM
7 – Flanagan Memory
8 – Crazy Wow
9 – Lookslikeachpndale
Mares Trot - $250,000
1 – Charmed Life
2 – Hannelore Hanover
3 – Classical Annie
4 – Im So Fancy
5 – Bee A Magician
6 – Barn Doll
7 – D One
8 – Shake It Cerry
Open Pace - $421,000
1 – Split The House
2 – Shamballa
3 – Mach It So
4 – Always B Miki
5 – Dealt A Winner
6 – All Bets Off
7 – Wiggle It Jiggleit
8 – Luck Be Withyou
9 – Melmerby Beach
10 – Americanprimetime
Mares Pace - $250,000
1 – Divine Caroline
2 – Lady Shadow
3 – Katie Said
4 – Frost Damage Blues
5 – Solar Sister
6 – Skippin By
7 – Sassa Hanover
8 – Regil Elektra
9 – Bettor Be Steppin
10 – Bedroomconfessions
3-year-old Colt and Gelding Trot - $500,000
1 – Waitlifter K
2 – Marion Marauder
3 – Bar Hopping
4 – Sutton
5 – Muscle Hustle
6 – Double L Lindy
7 – Love Matters
8 – Winter Harbor
9 – Southwind Frank
10 – Lagerfeld
3-year-old Filly Trot - $500,000
1 – Caprice Hill
2 – All the Time
3 – Earn Your Wings
4 – Celebrity Eventsy
5 – Broadway Donna
6 – Dewdle All Day
7 – Emoticon Hanover
8 – Fad Finance
9 – Flowers N Songs
10 – Side Bet Hanover
3-year-old Colt and Gelding Pace - $500,000
1 – Western Fame
2 – Check Six
3 – Lyons Snyder
4 – Fine Diamond
5 – Racing Hill
6 – Katies Rocker
7 – Dr J Hanover
8 – Fernando Hanover
9 – Manhattan Beach
10 – JJ Flynn
3-year-old Filly Pace - $500,000
1 – Kiss Me Onthebeach
2 – Penpal
3 – Pure Country
4 – Newborn Sass
5 – Skinny Dipper
6 – Darlinonthebeach
7 – Blue Moon Stride
8 – L A Delight
9 – Call Me Queen Be
10 – Lindwood Beachgirl
2-year-old Colt and Gelding Trot - $600,000
1 – Giveitgasandgo
2 – Walner
3 – Snowstorm Hanover
4 – Sortie
5 – Dover Dan
6 – Sir John F
7 – Moonshiner Hanover
8 – What the Hill
9 – Fly On
10 – Jake
2-year-old Filly Trot - $600,000
1 – Thats All Moni
2 – Cameron Hill
3 – Chezatter
4 – Ariana G
5 – Hillarmbro
6 – Sunshine Delight
7 – Evelyn
8 – Treviso
9 – Broadway Idole
10 – Princess Aurora
2-year-old Colt and Gelding Pace - $600,000
1 – Filibuster Hanover
2 – Downbytheseaside
3 – Huntsville
4 – Ocean Colony
5 – Boogie Shuffle
6 – Miso Fast
7 – Normandy Beach
8 – Odds On Delray
9 – Blood Line
10 – Ozone Blue Chip
2-year-old Filly Pace - $600,000
1 – Tori Hanover
2 – Jayes A Lady
3 – Rockette
4 – Brazuca
5 – Roaring To Go
6 – Someomensomewhere
7 – Thats The Ticket
8 – Blameitonthenight
9 – Idyllic Beach
10 – Agent Q
Breeders Crown Kicks Off In Style
To view results for Saturday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Results – Meadowlands Racetrack