The last of the eliminations for the Breeders Crown championship weekend went to post on Saturday (Oct. 22) at Woodbine Mohawk Park with action featuring sophomore Standardbreds and older pacing mares on track.
The $4.5-million championship card for three-year-olds and older competition is set for next Saturday (Oct. 29) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Recaps of the evening's eliminations appear below.
Open Pacing Mares
Test Of Faith and driver David Miller made it interesting, but got the job done for the 33rd time in her brilliant career capturing the first of two $33,750 eliminations for the Breeders Crown Mare Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday night. The four-year-old daughter of Art Major held off local favourite So Much More by a nose in a 1:50.1 mile.
Test Of Faith had the outside draw in the seven-mare field and Miller waited patiently in the early stages, allowing first Amazing Dream and then So Much More exchange the lead before moving Test Of Faith with purpose. Following an opening quarter in :26.4, Miller and Test Of Faith gained control and from that point set fractions of :55.1 and 1:22.4 for the middle half with little change in the order as the competition awaited the stretch to tackle the 2021 U.S. Horse of the Year.
Amazing Dream N and Yannick Gingras pulled first with Chase Lounge second over and Mikala coming up third over while off the leader.
Miller didn’t move a muscle in the stretch, but Test Of Faith bore out a bit and allowed So Much More and James MacDonald ample room to make a challenge. So Much More was able to gain ground, but Miller confidently nudged Test Of Faith and the brilliant mare responded just enough to keep her nose in front for the win. So Much More would settle for second. Mikala made up good ground for George Brennan to finish third followed by Amazing Dream N and Chase Lounge with Dexter Dunn. The top five will return for the final on Oct. 29.
Trained by Brett Pelling for owners Melvin Segal, Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Eddie Gran, Test Of Faith won for the fifth straight time this season as she looks for her second straight Breeders Crown trophy. Sent off as the heavy favourite, Test Of Faith returned $2.40 to win.
“She dug in and was pacing pretty hard to the wire,” Miller said following the victory. “She has a tendency to wait on them when she’s on the lead.”
The second $33,750 Breeders Crown elimination saw driver Doug McNair move Grace Hill from last to first in the homestretch as the 9-5 favourite to get up in a three-mare photo on the wire of a 1:51.2 mile. The four-year-old by Always B Miki found a seam between horses in the final eighth and was airborne crossing the wire for her sixth win of the year.
Easy To Please and Racine Bell both left with purpose with the former grabbing the front into the first turn and the latter taking over as the :27.4 first quarter was passed. Brian Sears guided Racine Bell through a pedestrian half of :56.4 before Gias Surreal went on the offensive for driver Bob McClure at the half. No Win No Feed A and Dabarndawgswatchin followed second and third over as Racine Bell managed three-quarters in 1:24.2 and started her sprint home for Sears.
In the homestretch, Gias Surreal backed off but No Win No Feed A was closing steadily on the leader. Easy To Please in the pocket struggled to find racing room, as did Fire Start Hanover. In midstretch, Grace Hill was able to clear off the pylons and slide into the four-path where McNair asked her to pace, and she accelerated instantly.
Grace Hill finished on the far outside just ahead of No Win No Feed A (Andy McCarthy) with Racine Bell (Brian Sears) not far behind in third. Easy To Please (Jordan Stratton) cleared late to finish fourth with Gias Surreal holding the final qualifying berth.
Grace Hill is owned by Tom Hill of Hamilton, Ont., and trained by Virgil Morgan Jr.
“We got room when we needed it,” said McNair following the victory. “She dug in.”
Grace Hill returned $5.80 as the betting choice.
The field for the US$400,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace final was drawn following the eliminations on the Saturday card. The draw is posted below:
$400,000 Breeders Crown Open Mare Pace
Post - Horse
1. Test Of Faith
2. So Much More
4. Chase Lounge
5. Grace Hill
6. Easy To Please
7. No Win No Feed A
8. Amazing Dream N
9. Racine Bell
10. Gias Surreal
Three-Year-Old Trotting Fillies
Jiggy Jog S and Joviality S were impressive winners of the two $33,750 Breeders Crown eliminations for three-year-old trotting fillies Saturday night (Oct. 22) at Woodbine Mohawk Park with the former establishing a track and Canadian record with her 1:51.2 performance.
Jiggy Jog S's division was reduced by one with the scratch of Lilbitalexis. In that race, Doug McNair sent Baby Longstocking straight to the front from post nine but she was quickly passed by Fashion Schooner well before the :28 first quarter.
Tim Tetrick had Fashion Schooner by the half in :56.3 and the three-quarters in 1:23.4. He tried to open a few lengths on the competition, but it wasn’t enough to hold off favourite Jiggy Jog S and Dexter Dunn as they charged first to the wire in a 1:51.2 mile. Fashion Schooner held for second. Also qualifying for next week’s final were Raised By Lindy (Yannick Gingras), Bare My Soul (Scott Zeron) and Venerable (David Miller).
The time represents a track record at the Campbellville, Ot. oval as well as a Canadian record for three-year-old trotting fillies on a seven-eighths mile track, shaving a tick off the previous standard set two years ago by Sorella.
“We got away in a good spot following Yannick’s horse [Raised By Lindy],” said Dexter Dunn after the race. “We weren’t too far off them and coming to the three-quarters we had a good helmet to follow. Timmy did get away on us but she’s so sharp right now. Her win in the Filly Futurity was massive. As soon as I tipped her off cover, she accelerated quick.”
Heading into next week’s final Dunn said, “It’s a great bunch, obviously Joviality is an amazing filly, it will be a good race for sure. My filly won on the front at Lexington, she came from behind tonight, she’s very versatile. We’ll see how it goes.”
As for the track record, he said, “She was doing it pretty easy, she definitely had a lot more left tonight. It’s exciting going into next week.”
Ake Svanstedt trains Jiggy Jog S for owner Jorgen Sparredal of Florida. Saturday's effort improved her summary to 7-3-0 in 12 outings this year.
Tim Tetrick got to the front early in the first elimination as well with Misswalner Fashion, who trotted by the opening quarter in :26.4. She was then covered by last weekend’s Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final winner Mischevious Rose well before the :55.2 half. Mischevious Rose then took the field to three-quarters in 1:24.3.
As they entered the lane, it appeared to be a three-way race between Mischevious Rose, Misswalner Fashion and Pure Countess, but Brian Sears revved a fierce charge with favourite Joviality S to the far outside.
Joviality S never saw the pylons throughout the race, getting away in eighth in the early going and picking up some cover in the outer lane on the backside. As the field raced towards the finish, Joviality S was four or five-wide and closing hard causing announcer Ken Middleton to declare: “This filly is flat out flying.” She flew by her competition to win in 1:52.1.
The remaining positions came in a close finish. In order, Misswalner Fashion, Pure Countess (Ake Svanstedt), Warrawee Xenia (Bob McClure) and Mischevious Rose (Louis-Philippe Roy) racked the respective spots underneath Joviality S to advance to the final next week.
A daughter of Chapter Seven owned by Courant Inc. of Florida, Joviality S is trained by Marcus Melander, who admitted he wasn’t too confident when he saw the trip she was getting.
“In the last turn, I thought this will be tough,” said trainer Marcus Melander after the race. “I thought she was going to make the final but it’s so important to win to draw one through five. She’s had such bad luck drawing bad, even tonight she had the nine-hole and she overcame it. We will get a good draw for next week.”
For the winner, it was her 11th win in 14 trips this year and ups her 2022 bankroll over $1 million. The Breeders Crown winner during her freshman season, Joviality S now has $1.9 million earned in her impressive career to date.
“She’s racing great the whole season. She started out in May and we’re here in October and she’s still in form. She’s just a great horse,” said Melander.
The field was drawn for the US$600,000 Breeders Crown final after the eliminations. The draw is posted below.
$600,000 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Filly Trot
Post - Horse
1. Bare My Soul
2. Jiggy Jog S
3. Mischievous Rose
4. Joviality S
5. Misswalner Fashion
6. Fashion Schooner
7. Warrawee Xenia
8. Raised By Lindy
9. Pure Countess
Three-Year-Old Trotting Colts & Geldings
Double-digit dividends paid off the winners of each $33,750 elimination for the Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colt Trot on Saturday night (Oct. 22) at Woodbine Mohawk Park, with King Of The North delivering at odds of 28-1 and Double Deceiver scoring at 7-1.
Leaving from post nine, driver Mark MacDonald hustled King Of The North off the wings and kept him flat to lead to a :26.4 first quarter with Twin B Archie in the pocket and Pretender racing third. King Of The North continued to roll on the lead through a :55.4 half while readying for a first-over challenge from Pretender. MacDonald then uncorked the Ray Schnittker trainee to three-quarters and widened to an open-length lead to three-quarters in 1:23.
Clear coming for home, King Of The North soon faced a diminishing lead with Branded By Lindy closing ground from a second-over trip. Branded By Lindy (Yannick Gingras) loomed nearer with each stride, but King Of The North clung to victory by a half length in 1:51.1. Fast As The Wind (Dexter Dunn) closed for third with Hambletonian champ Cool Papa Bell (Todd McCarthy) and Twin B Archie (James MacDonald) rounding the finalists.
“He’s a super sure-footed horse, he just kind of touched his knee a little bit and put a bobble in,” said Mark MacDonald after the race. “I was ready for him; he’ll do that sometimes, so I had a good hold of him and he just came right back trotting. He was still wanting to get into gear, so I kept going forward.
“He’s a good horse,” MacDonald also said. “I think I read his obituary in August on the USTA, but we started the year off and were just trying to target him… and unfortunately, he made a break in the Hambletonian. We were targeting him for the later races. If we come out of here with a Breeders Crown ‘W’, it’d still be a successful year.”
King Of The North added to an account now worth $829,255 with his seventh victory from 22 starts. The Walner colt, from the Donato Hanover mare Check Me Out, races for owners Schnittker War, Arden Homestead Stable, Nolamaura Racing LLC and Steven Arnold. Steve Jones and Ray Schnittker bred the colt, who paid $59.20 to win.
A lane opened at the pylons for ground-saving Double Deceiver to dash through and outsprint Slay to the finish of a 1:52.4 mile in the first elimination.
World At War Deo darted from the outermost post in the octet to lead the field by a :28.1 first quarter before Temporal Hanover swept to the front up the backside. Temporal Hanover then coasted around the final turn as Golden Wall As pushed uncovered along the rim with Slay in tow and Double Deceiver sticking to the cones in the rear of the field.
Past three-quarters in 1:25.1, the field swarmed Temporal Hanover as he drifted and soon retreated through the pack. Golden Wall As surged to a narrow lead in midstretch until Double Deceiver accelerated through the gap developed at the pylons for a near-last to first blitz in the stretch. Slay (Joe Bongiorno) slung off Golden Wall As’s cover to give chase but only gave pursuit to take second in a 1:52.4 mile, beaten a head. Golden Wall As (Tony Hall) finished third with Keg Stand (Jimmy Takter) and World At War Deo (Yannick Gingras) completing the finalists.
“I never used him, stayed to the inside and when we got room, he exploded,” said winning driver David Miller after the race. “If he’d had gotten room [in the Kentucky Futurity], he would’ve been real close. In hindsight… yeah, it didn’t hurt him. But I’m just glad to see him get into the final and actually win. Now we’re looking pretty good.”
Double Deceiver, a gelding by Cantab Hall from the Donato Hanover mare Sarcy, collected his 10th win from 23 starts and has now earned $568,354 for owner Pinske Stables. Carter Pinske trains the gelding bred by Steve Stewart and Oakwood Farms who paid $17.90 to win.
With their elimination victories, King Of The North and Double Deceiver earned a protected draw between posts one and five for the $675,000 final next Saturday (Oct. 29) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
The field was drawn for the Three-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot. The draw is posted below.
$600,000 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot
Post - Horse
1. King Of The North
2. Fast As The Wind
4. Double Deceiver
5. Branded By Lindy
6. World At War Deo
7. Keg Stand
8. Twin B Archie
9. Cool Papa Bell
10. Golden Wall As
Three-Year-Old Pacing Colts & Geldings
Two standout sophomore colts, Pebble Beach and Bythemissal, punched their tickets to the big dance in a pair of $33,750 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colt Pace eliminations.
The first division saw an absolutely dominating performance courtesy of Pebble Beach.
Birthday, off at 35-1, was sent to the front early with fellow 33-1 shot Dalby Hanover picking up the chase in second, Magical Arthur sat third and 1-5 choice Pebble Beach tucked in fourth through an opening panel in :26.2. Pebble Beach was then on the move as Todd McCarthy guided the multiple stakes winner to the front and through a half in :54.1.
Ahead by 2-1/2 lengths after three-quarters reached in 1:22, Pebble Beach — coming into his Breeders Crown elimination off a victory in the $363,500 Tattersalls Pace on Oct. 9 — darted away from his rivals with ease down the lane, cruising to a geared-down 2-3/4-length victory in 1:48.3.
Birthday (David Miller) held second, while a hard-charging Ponda Warrior (Scott Zeron) rallied to net third. Also qualifying for next Saturday’s final were Fourever Boy (Dexter Dunn) and Dreamfair Arnie B (Tim Tetrick), who finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
With the win, Pebble Beach is undefeated in four starts at Woodbine Mohawk Park, with his biggest win coming in the $1-million Pepsi North America Cup on June 18.
“This was the best he’s been,” said trainer Noel Daley. “He finished it off. Todd said he was like a different horse tonight. I don’t know if it was the Lasix that made the difference but tonight, that was even better than he was earlier in the year. He was really sharp during the week here, literally kicking his shoes off in the paddock. So, I’m glad he just finished it off and showed that he’s back to form.”
After some tough recent results at The Red Mile, Pebble Beach was back on track and back in the winner’s circle.
“You know, it was disappointing all the time,” said Daley. “I just knew he was better than that.”
A son of Downbytheseaside, Pebble Beach posted his 14th win in 25 starts this season and has now amassed more than $1.4 million in lifetime earnings for owners Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco, Country Club Acres and LAExpressFoderaDeoVolente.
Bred by Brittany Farm, the bay colt was an $85,000 purchase at the 2020 Lexington Select Sale as Hip No. 710.
Bythemissal continued his dream season with a strong effort in the second elimination.
Second choice on the toteboard, I Did It Myway overtook Greatest Ending for the lead into the first turn, with Bythemissal sitting third and Mad Max Hanover in fourth, as the pacesetter brought the field to the opening quarter in :27.2. Chris Page, in rein to Bythemissal, was on the march soon after, and the duo struck the front, 1-1/2 lengths ahead of I Did It Myway after a half reached in :54.4.
The pair were still one-two after three-quarters in 1:23 and began to pull away from their foes down the lane. I Did It My Way (Andy McCarthy) looked to reel in his rival in the late going, but Bythemissal wouldn’t be denied as he posted a three-quarter length score in 1:49.1. Greatest Ending (Mark MacDonald), Mad Max Hanover (Tim Tetrick) and Captain Cowboy (Dexter Dunn) also earned a spot in next Saturday’s final.
“I’m always a little apprehensive, who’s on the outside, but the horse felt really good,” said Page. “Kind of got a nice third-quarter breather, so I knew he’d have a pretty good punch coming home.”
It was yet another polished performance from this year’s Little Brown Jug victor, trained by Ron Burke, who co-owns with Eric Good, Rich Lombardo Racing and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The Downbytheseaside-Dismissal gelding became the first Ohio-bred Jug champion since 1988 winner BJ Scoot.
Now, the bay, who won his only two-year-old start banking $3,000 for the victory, will have the opportunity to add another piece of serious Standardbred hardware to his connections’ trophy case.
Bythemissal will also carry a five-race win streak into next Saturday’s showdown with Pebble Beach and eight other rivals.
“Who would’ve thought that from there [Little Brown Jug], I would be here talking to you for the Breeders Crown,” said Page after the race. “To win the Jug, that was definitely the top of my bucket list, and this is up there near the top, so we’ve got to finish next week.”
Bythemissal, who paid $3.50 for the win, is now 13-2-0 from 15 starts.
Bred by Stephen Dey, the gelding was a $135,000 purchase (Hip No. 794) at the 2020 Lexington Select Sale.
The field for the final will be drawn at the Breeders Crown press conference on Tuesday along with the Open Pace and Open Trot divisions. For recaps of the two-year-old eliminations contested on Friday, click here.
To view Saturday's harness racing results, click the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.
(With files from Woodbine/Hambletonian Society)