Filion In It To Win It

Published: October 23, 2015 07:36 pm EDT

Sylvain Filion won't be as busy as he usually is on a Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack, and the drives he does have are mostly longshots, but he's still enthused.

"Any driver dreams of winning a Breeders Crown. It's always special. You can feel it even in the paddock before the race. The atmosphere is different. And you can't win if you're not in it," said Filion, 46, Canada's leading driver by earnings in 2015.

He has two Breeders Crown victories to his name: older pacer Goliath Bayama in 2001 and two-year-old trotter Wheeling N Dealin in 2012.

Saturday, he has four chances to add to his total.

First up is Emoticon Hanover for trainer Luc Blais in the $778,440 final for two-year-old trotting fillies, 20-1 in the morning line.

"She's been sick a few times this year and she wasn't 100 per cent last week (finishing fifth behind Haughty in her elimination). Luc is working hard to get her back to what she was. We have the nine-hole and it will be tough to overcome that."

In the $648,700 final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings, Filion will drive Lookslikeachpndale, also for Blais and also 20-1. The Muscle Hill colt broke in his Canadian Trotting Classic elimination in September, but rebounded with a 1:55.4 victory at Woodbine this month and has been first or second in seven of 10 starts this year.

"He's been racing pretty good and he's coming up to the race fresh," Filion said. "We got post two and if he minds his manners, we could get a good cheque. Obviously, Pinkman will be tough to beat, he's been racing great all year."

Filion's third drive, pacing mare Sandbetweenurtoes, has the lowest morning line odds of his Breeders Crown starters, 6-1. He drove her twice in September for trainer Richard Moreau, finishing second in an elimination and a close third in the final of the Milton Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack.

"She's a very nice mare and we have a good post (two), which is perfect for her. If the trip goes well, she's got a good shot."

His fourth and final starter is millionaire trotter Intimidate, also for Blais, listed at 12-1 in the $689,244 Breeders Crown Trot. The six-year-old gelding is a past Breeders Crown champion (for driver Ron Pierce), but is winless in 12 starts this season.

"He's had a lot of ups and downs this year, some soundness issues, but he's been sound the last couple of weeks," Filion said. "He just hasn't had that kick turning for home we've seen in past years. I don't know if it's because he's getting older. We're trying to figure it out. He's way better than he shows, but I think we'll need a small miracle (to win)."

For the first time in three years, Woodbine Racetrack will again host the Breeders Crown, harness racing’s most spectacular evening, when 12 championship finals, offering more than $6 million in purse money. It’s the richest day of horse racing in Canada as North America’s best two-year-olds, three-year-olds and older pacers and trotters will be in the spotlight seeking to claim divisional and possibly Harness Horse of the Year honours. TSN2 will air a special one hour telecast across Canada from 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. and will televise two of the 12 Crown finals live, the $500,000 Three-Year-Old Colt Trot at 9:19 p.m. and the $531,250 Three-Year-Old Colt Pace at 9:44 p.m. ET.

Among the marketing activities on Breeders Crown night are WEG’s First Bet On Us $2 voucher and a free toque (while supplies last), available on the 3rd Floor; $10,000 in Instant Cash Giveaways (wager through a self-serve wagering terminal at Woodbine for 100 chances to win $100) and a mandatory Jackpot Hi 5 payout on Race 13 (the carryover pool is currently at $557,000) scheduled for 11:27 p.m.

In addition, there will be two $100,000 Guaranteed Pick 4’s, Early (Races 4-7) and Late (Races 8-11).

To view the entries for the Breeders Crown card, and for past performances for the Breeders Crown entrants courtesy TrackIT, click one of the following links:

2015 Breeders Crown Finals:

(A Trot Insider exclusive by Paul Delean)

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