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Can Alagna's Colts Finish 1-2?

Published: October 26, 2012 1:59 pm ET

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With trainer Tony Alagna sending two elimination winners postward in the Breeders Crown Final for two-year-old pacing colts, the question that remains to be answered is whether or not Captaintreacherous and Wake Up Peter can sweep the top two spots. Alagna answered that question very quickly.

"I think they can," Alagna told Trot Insider at the Breeders Crown draw. "I think the right horses are in the right shape. Both horses are in good shape coming into the race, I have two guys [Tim Tetrick and Andy Miller] that can get the job done. You never know what's going to happen, you hope things will go your way. But ability-wise, they can be 1-2 if everything went right."

In the eyes of many, Captaintreacherous is the lock of the night. The freshman son of Somebeachsomewhere has been outstanding for Alagna and owners Brittany Farms of Versailles, Ky., Marvin Katz of Toronto, Ont., Joe Sbrocco of Brecksville, Oh. and White Birch Farm of Allentown, N.J. After losing his pari-mutuel debut by a neck back in July, the 'Captain' has commandeered eight straight wins including the Woodrow Wilson at The Meadowlands and the $1-million Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. His four wins in 1:50 or faster is unparalled for a rookie pacer, with his most recent win coming in a sharp 1:50 in his $25,000 Breeders Crown elim.

After almost getting beat in his prior start at the Red Mile - just winning by a nose in 1:50.2 - the detractors started to wonder if Captaintreacherous was tired. Those boo-birds were silenced with the rebound effort Captaintreacherous put forth last week.

"He was sick his last start at Lexington, his blood work showed that he was fighting a virus, and you could just tell three days after that race at Lexington he was back on his A Game," noted Alagna. "He shipped up here great, he trained back great, he scoped well Tuesday after training, and he put in a dazzling performance. Hopefully he carries that into this Saturday."

By design, Alagna has kept the workload between races light for Captaintreacherous and thus far the plan has paid off handsomely.

"We spent a lot of time early in the year in between his baby races and his first starts trying to get an idea of what he could do with not a lot of work, and I hoped that would pay off for me at the end of the year and it really has," said the Illinois native. "The horse condition-wise and weight-wise looks as good now as he did at the start of the year. I think that's a true testament to the horse and knowing that he doesn't have to have a lot of work this time of year."

After Saturday's Breeders Crown Final, Captaintreacherous will be shut down for the season "win, lose or draw" according to Alagna. The colt will be turned out in Kentucky at Brittany Farms before starting back in early January, and that follows the schedule the connections had mapped out.

Perhaps the biggest competition for Captaintreacherous could be stablemate Wake Up Peter. Alagna wasn't as surprised as the betting public, who let that horse go at odds of 13-1.

"I said to Scott [Zeron] based on how he raced his last start at Lexington and the way he came out of that race and trained back that he had as good a shot as anyone in that race," commented Alagna. "When Scott came back he was just in awe of how good the horse was."

One horse from the Alagna barn that hasn't exactly cooperated with plans is Mel Mara, but his trainer couldn't be more pleased with his form coming into Saturday's Breeders Crown Final for three-year-old pacing colts - a division that many agree is the most wide-open.

"I don't think there's any other horse in that race going into [Saturday's race] in any better shape or that showed a mid-season turn around like this horse has," stated Alagna. "One of the questions people have asked me most often is, 'are you surprised at how good this horse has gotten?' and I say, 'I'm disappointed he wasnt this good all year.' We really thought he was this type of horse, he was just never able to put everything together. He has so many of the same characteristics as Lis Mara, and I tell people all the time if you follow the path of Lis Mara this horse is doing the exact same thing. I see this horse following the same path."

Mel Mara will be back on the track at four, the age at which his sire Lis Mara exploded and excelled. On Saturday, Mel Mara will have to excel from the outside post 10.

"Hopefully [Ron] can get something worked out from the 10-hole and the horse will get a good shot," said Alagna. "I think he's a horse that can make things happen and I think we have the right driver for that. If anybody can find a way to get a good spot and get us away in good shape, it's Ron Pierce."

While Mel Mara leaves from the outside of the gate, three-year-old trotting colt Mr Chicago has the inside post and Scott Zeron aboard. With only six starts on the season and a gap in the middle of his schedule, Alagna shed light on why the colt was away from the track.

"He won his first start back as a three-year-old in 1:55 at the Meadowlands, parked every step of the way out of the 10-hole, we did some vet work on him after that start and he had a reaction to the acid we used in his left front ankle. He lost three months, spent a week at the clinic. It was a very bad situation. We thought we were going to lose him."

Alagna is content with having the rail against this group, given where his main competition is lining up.

"I think that when you have a horse that isn't an elimination winner and not considered one of the ones to beat, the rail's a great spot because you plan on getting out of there in a spot where you can be up close and hope things work out."

Things didn't quite work out for two-year-old trotting filly Handover Belle in her most recent outing. When she appeared to be track down divisional star To Dream On in Lexington earlier this month, the filly made a costly break in stride.

"She showed at Lexington she could go with To Dream On. The second week she was going to be right on the wire with her and she stepped on one of her flip-flop shoes and made a break. Yannick [Gingras] and Mike [LaChance] both said, even Jimmy Takter and I were talking about it after the race, he said 'we were going to be right on the line together'. She's shown she's that kind of filly."

Prior to her most recent outing, the homebred daughter of Andover Hall had fared well against this level of stakes competition.

"She was third to [Bee A Magician and To Dream On] in the Peaceful Way, and she had the nine-hole that night," "So of course it was a two-horse race, she had to take her beating and sit ninth, and wait, and make one big run to be third...she was never going to catch those fillies. But since that time she's matured out a lot since then."

Alagna's sixth Breeders Crown Final entrant is Rockaround Sue, who finished a hard-closing second to Romantic Moment.

"If I could put her heart in a bigger horse's body, because she's not that big but there aren't many horses that are more determined than her. She weaved in and out horses and was an excellent second last week, I was very happy," noted Alagna. "She got the 7 hole, I'm OK with that draw. If they mix things up early with her kick on the end of it, she can definitely get a piece of the money."

Given his stable sent up 10 starters in last week's eliminations, Alagna is tickled to have six heading postward this Saturday night.

"To have ten entries and to have six of them make the final, the horses showed up that we thought would, I was a little disappointed with the performance on My MVP, Nikki Beach just had a bad go in behind the starting gate, really no fault of anybody's just misfortune, but the six that made it I thought had legit shots or I definitely wouldn't have brought them up."

First race post time for Saturday’s Breeders Crown card is 6:30 p.m. The Score, Canada’s all-sports channel, will carry the $6 million Breeders Crown championships live from Woodbine Racetrack from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. (EDT) and the broadcast will also be streamed live on MavTV in the U.S.

Entries for Saturday night's star-studded card of harness racing at Woodbine are available at the following link: Saturday Woodbine Entries.

Program pages are available here through TrackIT. An easy-to-read program is available here.

Think you know who will win Saturday's Breeders Crown races? Enter the Breeders Crown Fantasy Pool. It's easy to enter, free to play and you could win a $100 gift card for the racetrack of your choice. Click here to enter the contest.


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