Is she the best female pacer in harness racing right now? There's a chance we could see Warrawee Ubeaut take on the sport's older pacing mares in the TVG Final and if her Breeders Crown-winning performance is any indication she's a serious threat.
Yannick Gingras left for position with 1/5 shot Warrawee Ubeaut in the $720,500 ($550,000 USD) Breeders Crown Final for three-year-old pacing fillies, allowing Stonebridge Soul (Tim Tetrick) and Treacherous Reign (Dexter Dunn) to take turns on the lead through a :25.3 opener. Gingras moved from fourth and patiently stalked Treacherous Reign to clear to the lead before a :54.4 half.
The first to challenge the favourite was Tall Drink Hanover (Andy McCarthy), out from fifth and advancing to second through the third quarter, reached in 1:23.1 but Warrawee Ubeaut was still nearly two lengths clear. In the stretch, Gingras asked his mare to stay on task and she responded with a solid :26.4 finale to her 1:50.2 mile. Tall Dark Hanover was a length back in second with Stonebridge Soul third.
"We were talking before the race, Ronnie [Burke] and I, and the only move we didn't want to make was the move into the wind up the backstretch," said a victorious Yannick Gingras. "Strategy-wise maybe it didn't work out the way we wanted but she was getting a little anxious in the first turn so I figured instead of fighting with her I'd just let her go. I thought she was much the best and it was her race to lose...but she is so tough and so sharp right now. It's unreal."
Bred by nearby Warrawee Farm of Rockwood, Ont., Warrawee Ubeaut (Sweet Lou - Great Memories) now sports a summary of 12-2-3 from her 17 seasonal starts for trainer Ron Burke and his co-owners Phil Collura of Mountain Top, Penn., JandT Silva Purnel & Libby stable of Delray Beach, Fl. and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, Penn. The winner's share of the purse puts her seasonal bankroll at $1,044,402 and career bankroll just shy of $1.7 million.
"It’s hard to repeat, for sure. I’m proud of her," said Burke. "That’s back-to-back years on two terrible nights and she overcame. I think she’s doing everything we could ask of her right now."
When asked if she can get much better, Burke replied "No, but she can go faster. One of these days it will set up where somebody cuts out huge numbers and she can sit in, just like last year when she went (1):48, and she’ll do something special then. She’s just a very special horse."
Trainer Tony Alagna finished second with Tall Drink Hanover while his other entrant Treacherous Reign finished fifth .
"Warrawee Ubeaut has been dominant, she was very good the second part of the season.," said Alagna. "Treacherous Reign got stung pretty good getting to the front. I thought the other filly raced great first over. She came first over from fifth which is very tough to do, especially into a headwind, so I thought it was a great effort for her."