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Greenshoe To Face Older Foes

Published: October 25, 2019 12:27 pm ET

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The connections of trotting star Greenshoe don't plan on pulling the shoes from the soon-to-stud son of Father Patrick after this weekend's Breeders Crown final at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Of course, plans can change. But trainer Marcus Melander told Trot Insider that Greenshoe is likely to race in the TVG Final at The Meadowlands in November.

"We want to race him against the older ones," Melander indicated of his plans with Greenshoe, "but he needs to be good on Saturday. If he's been good as he's been all year, we'll probably go for the TVG."

Greenshoe, who arrived in Canada on Wednesday after his 1:51.1 win in the Kentucky Futurity, leads a trio of Melander trainees in Saturday's (Oct. 26) $655,000 Breeders Crown for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings. The winner of $1.2 million rides a five-race winning streak into the Crown, and his connections accepted a bye to the final.

"We shipped home from Lexington, and then we just trained him and prepared him for this," indicated Melander, a native of Sweden who manages a 60-horse stable at Egyptian Acres in New Egypt, N.J. "I think he'll be ready; he feels like he's still in form, even if he had a long season."

Despite being installed the 3-5 early favourite in his event — carded as Saturday's seventh race — Melander still feels Greenshoe isn't a 100 per cent shoo-in.

"There are some nice three-year-olds in there — Dont Letem raced really well last week, Forbidden Trade, and my other horses all raced good," said Melander. "It's just not going out there and winning; he's going to have to work a little bit for it."

As usual, Brian Sears will drive Greenshoe, and the pair will start from post four in the 10-horse field.

Two other sophomores will give Melander a shot in the three-year-old male trot: Green Manalishi S from post one after finishing third in last week's elimination, and Gimpanzee from post six after unleashing a wicked stretch kick into a tepid early pace to finish fourth.

Green Manalishi S, who was perched in the pocket behind Dont Letem in last week's elimination, overcame a bit of an anxious moment as the pace picked up in the third quarter, Melander related:

"It was a pretty slow half and then it turned into a sprint. He almost made a break in the middle of the last turn and Timmy (Tetrick) almost lost him, but he did a great job keeping him trotting. He lost a little bit of speed, so it just felt like he pulled up to his speed, and Timmy wasn't too hard on him either. That's not his race either; he likes to grind them down on the outside or when it's more of a speed race."

Tim Tetrick will once again drive the son of Muscle Hill, whose six seasonal wins include a 1:52.4 triumph in the $605,000 Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk on Sept. 14.

New York standout Gimpanzee gave Melander his first Breeders Crown title last year at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and despite his likelihood of being overshadowed after storming home belatedly in the elimination, could still prove a big contender.

"I thought he raced the best in the race," said Melander of the Chapter Seven colt whose 15 career wins include last year's Crown, the Yonkers Trot, and his New York Sire Stakes finals at both two and three. "From where he sat, he flew home in a :26 flat last quarter, and for the last eighth of a mile he was really going at it. I think he can be dangerous on Saturday. He got the six-hole which is not bad, and he can leave. He'll be a big contender, for sure."

In the elimination, Gimpanzee got caught in a dull flow on the far turn, and was 11-1/2 lengths away from Dont Letem a quarter from home. But Melander was more than pleased with how he finished.

"He should have had a good trip, but the horse that was in front of him didn't go as well as we had hoped," explained Melander. "Hopefully going for $500,000 (U.S.) this week, David (Miller) will be a little more aggressive with him. It was a good race for him last week, going with that kind of speed over the line and feeling strong."

In addition to his trio of three-year-old trotting colts, Melander will send juveniles Hypnotic AM, Rome Pays Off and Capricornus to post in Friday's (Oct. 25) Crown trotting finals, and Miss Trixton to post in Saturday's $655,000 three-year-old filly trot, carded as race four.

After wins in the Jim Doherty Memorial and the New York Sire Stakes final, the versatile Hypnotic AM has been installed the 5-2 morning line favourite in Friday's $786,000 two-year-old filly trot (race six), and she figures to be stronger in her second start back from a brief spell since September.

"I think she raced good (in the elimination); it was her first start in five weeks or something like that," said Melander. "I was happy with her effort — she still went in [1]:53.2. The two-year-old colts went in 1:55. It was a good mile out there, and Sister Sledge (who won the elimination) is not a bad horse. She got a little fresh on the lead, so we'll maybe do some equipment changes so she'll be a little bit more calm. I think we have one of the better fillies, and from the one-hole, I expect a good effort. She's been training well during the week."

Brian Sears will drive seven-time winner Hypnotic AM, who is also eligible to the Goldsmith Maid at The Meadowlands later in the fall.

Two races later, Melander will get two more shots at the Crown, accounting for Rome Pays Off (Mattias Melander, post six, 8-1) and Capricornus (Tetrick, post eight, 7-2) in the $786,000 two-year-old male trot.

"I think it was a clear choice to take the bye," Marcus Melander said of Capricornus, who was second in the $370,000 William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk in September and was third in his most recent appearance, the $92,100 International Stallion at The Red Mile on Oct. 3. "A lot can happen going into an elimination — you can make a break, there's so much that can happen. So we took the bye; it was a pretty easy decision. We were supposed to qualify him on (last) Friday, but we trained him instead at The Meadowlands because I didn't want to go against Guardian Angel As in the qualifier. So we just trained in 1:57 at The Meadowlands, and we're very happy for him. He shows up every start; he's been racing good all year."

Capricornus and Rome Pays Off — who lifted belatedly to take third in the elimination — will both have to square off against divisional standout Real Cool Sam, who has won all nine of his career starts to date.

Of Melander's seven Crown starters, Miss Trixton may be the biggest outsider, listed at 20-1 in the three-year-old filly trot in line to Mattias Melander from post two. But the 27-year-old trainer feels she too can prove at least a minor player in her event.

"She doesn't win too often," Marcus Melander admits, but the daughter of Trixton did rally from off the pace to take fourth in both the Hambletonian Oaks and her Crown elimination. "If she can end up like she's been doing all year and get a good cheque, we'll be happy. She finished really strong in the elimination. She's been feeling good, training good, and we've got a good post. I wouldn't be too surprised if she got a good cheque, because she's a solid horse."

With seven entrants scattered throughout the weekend, Melander feels confident in his chances at a second Crown after Gimpanzee gave him his first last year:

"I was fortunate to win it last year. It's what we aim for, to win these big races. I think I have — with the two-year-old fillies and three-year-old colts — the best chances on paper. We have some of the favourites and we've got some outsiders too. I'm excited. It's going to be tough to win of course, because it's a lot of good horses and a lot of good trainers. It's a great race to win and I just hope that we'll be fortunate to do it again."

Breeders Crown finals for two-year-olds will be contested on Friday at Mohawk. The finals for three-year-olds and older horses will be showcased on Saturday. Racing will begin at 7 p.m. (EDT) on both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year’s Breeders Crown.

Program Pages (courtesy of TrackIT)

Program Pages (courtesy of TrackIT)

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