2011 Breeders Crown In The Books

Published: October 29, 2011 04:50 pm EDT

Harness racing’s top athletes put on a fantastic show at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ont. on Saturday night during the prestigious Breeders Crown card featuring over $6 million in purses with all 12 championships on the same program for the first time ever in Canada.

Trot Insider has provided updates on all the action below.

Supplemental entry Frenchfrysnvinegar overcame a Post 10 start and parked out trip to kick off the stakes action for her local connections with a 1:53.3 triumph in the $301,170 Breeders Crown Open Mare Trot.

Friendly Amigo (Anthony MacDonald) worked her way to the lead during a :27-second opening quarter, but gave way to the parked out Post 9 starter Autumn Escapade (Brian Sears) down the backstretch.

From there, Action Broadway (Mark MacDonald) advanced first over from fifth providing the parked out Frenchfrysnvinegar and driver Jody Jamieson with cover. Action Broadway reached the top at the :56.4 half and proceeded to three-quarters in 1:24.4 with Frenchfrysnvinegar looming.

Action Broadway maintained her lead into the lane, but Frenchfrysnvinegar surged ahead in deep stretch for the half-length victory. Action Broadway held on for second with Autumn Escapade squeezing up the rail for third.

"I think she [deserved a shot]," said trainer Jeff Gillis after the victory. "I obviously wasn't expecting to draw the 10-hole -- I anticipated about eight entries -- but it worked out. Jody almost worked out a perfect second over trip, but his cover cleared and she made the most out of it. Around the last turn I didn't think [she was going to get there], but halfway down the lane I thought she had a shot because she will not quit."

The six-year-old daughter of Angus Hall-Gugus, who has won 22 races lifetime while banking over $613,000, is owned and bred by David Smith of Rockwood, Ont. Frenchfrysnvinegar has hit the board in 18 of 25 starts (eight wins) this year while banking over $351,000 racing against the top male trotters on the WEG circuit.

"This is amazing," said Chris Tymon, Smith’s nephew. "I’m so happy to pick up his trophy for him. I think he deserves it.

"I’m going to hold it for ransom, though, to pick it up," he laughed. "Jody gave an excellent drive and played it out perfectly. I was hooting and hollering down the stretch and she just came on strong at the end."

Frenchfrysnvinegar paid $10.60 to win as the 4-1 third choice.

Favourite Check Me Out swept to command down the backstretch and left the rest of the field chasing her to the wire in the $602,340 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Filly Trot, setting a new stakes record of 1:54.4.

For A Dancer (Jeff Gregory) blasted off the gate from Post 8 and established the early lead during the :28-second opening quarter. Meanwhile, elimination winner Check Me Out and catch-driver Ron Pierce left from Post 3 with Win Missy B (Brian Sears) caught three-wide to her outside.

Win Missy B pressed on and cleared the lead down the backstretch with Check Me Out hot on her heels.

Check Me Out rolled to the top and reached the half in :57.1. She then led the way past three-quarters in 1:26.4 and opened up two lengths on the field in the stretch with Win Missy B and For A Dancer following for second and third.

"This filly is a very good filly. I kind of figured out why I haven't been able to beat her all year," laughed Pierce, who picked up the drive at the last minute while regular reinsman Tim Tetrick was stranded in New Jersey with multiple other drivers due to inclement weather conditions. "You know what, I didn't have to ask her to go. I just sat there. She did all the work."

Check Me Out paid $2.90 to win as the 3-5 favourite. Ray Schnittker trains and co-owns the daughter of Donato Hanover-Illusion Bi with Charles Iannazzo of Tappan, New York. She now has 12 wins and two seconds on her 14 race record with over $824,000 banked in earnings.

"I was here in 2007 with Deweycheatumnhowe and they told me I'll never have another great horse," said Iannazzo. "Well I think we have. And I am really, really excited. Ray Schnittker does a great job training. Timmy, unfortunately was not here, but when I heard Ron Pierce I said we're not doing too bad. He's a great driver and I'm just ecstatic. It's wonderful to race here at this great racetrack. Thank you."

Favourite Economy Terror unleashed her late kick and swept past the duelling leaders down the stretch to capture the $602,340 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Filly Pace in a 1:51 track record equalling performance.

Firing off the gate from the outside Post 9, 70-1 longshot Podges Lady (Luc Ouellette) took control of the field and posted a speedy :26.2 opening quarter with Economy Terror and driver Brian Sears getting away fifth from Post 5.

Down the backstretch, Big McDeal (Jody Jamieson) pulled the pocket and swept to command. As she raced past the half in :55, Pirouette Hanover (Ron Pierce) launched a first over attack from third with Marty Party (Dave Palone) following her cover.

Pirouette Hanover moved up to apply heavy pressure and edged ahead, but Big McDeal dug in and regained control by the 1:22.3 three-quarters mark.

Around the final turn, Economy Terror angled off the pylons and into the three path before flying past the front-runners with :27.3 final quarter speed. Handsoffmycookie (Jeff Gregory) came on for second while Pirouette Hanover finished third.

The 1:51 winning time equalled Cabrini Hanover and Idyllic's track record for two-year-old pacing fillies.

"I knew they were heating up at third-quarters pretty good and I felt pretty confident in the spot I was at that she could pick them off," commented Sears in the winner's circle. "She's just a really good feeling filly and I've liked her from day one. She's definitely a really nice horse.

"She does seem to be getting bigger and stronger and like I said, she just feels so good when she gets on the track; she's ringing her head and wanting to kick and stuff like that. So she's a good feeling filly and there's nothing like a sharp filly when they're on the their game."

Economy Terror paid $3.50 to win. The daughter of Western Terror-Mattatonic is trained by Chris Oakes and now boasts seven wins and three seconds in 10 lifetime starts with earnings over $734,000.

"Like Brian said, she's just been a good horse from day one," said Oakes. "We were blessed enough to get her and I'm really thankful to my owners Chuck Pompey, Howard Taylor, and Edwin Gold. I'm just happy for those guys. She's been a real handful, but we've been very patient and have just taken our time. Good things happen when you're patient with them."

Sweet Lou left his rivals in the dust as he romped to a 1:49 World Record performance in the $652,535 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Pace.

I Fought Dalaw (Ron Pierce) blasted to command from the outside Post 10 during a sizzling :26.1 opening quarter, but gave way to the parked out Sing For Me George (Scott Zeron) down the backstretch.

Driver Dave Palone then made his move with the Ron Burke-trained Sweet Lou, sending the son of Yankee Cruiser-Sweet Future first up from fourth. The elimination winner was forced three-deep in his quest for the lead as I Fought Dalaw also pulled out from the pocket. But Sweet Lou pressed on and cleared to command past the :54.3 half-mile mark.

Sweet Lou began to kick away from the field as they moved past three-quarters in 1:21.4 and he poured it on the stretch en route to the record-setting victory.

The time of the mile lowered Big Jim (also a track and Canadian record) and A Rocknroll Dance's World Record for freshman male pacers by one-fifth of a second.

A Rocknroll Dance (Randy Waples) rallied home for second-place honours, finishing seven and a half lengths behind the winner, while Hurrikane Kingcole (Luc Ouellette) came in third.

"He's just super intelligent and has been a gentleman from the word 'go'," said driver Dave Palone of the winning colt. "He just loves to do his work. He's awesome gaited. He just does everything you ask for; he doesn't act like a baby at all."

Sweet Lou paid $4.50 to win as the 6-5 favourite. He now boasts 10 wins and two seconds on his 12-race record with over $688,000 earned for Pennsylvania's Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and New Jersey's Lawrence Karr and Phillip Collura.

"I’m usually a claiming guy; $10,000, $20,000 claimers. I always said winning that was just as good as winning a stakes race, but after this I think I was wrong," said co-owner Mark Weaver. "This is pretty sweet. I wasn’t very nervous. I was just looking at the timer and hoping he could put a good mark on. I just wanted him to get to the wire. This is my first Breeders Crown. It’s as big as it gets."

Weaver's fellow owners were just a thrilled with winning one of harness racing's most coveted prizes.

"This is why you’re in harness racing," added Karr. "This is the pinnacle. We’ve had a lot of nice horses before, but never a colt like this. This is really our dream. I haven’t slept for about a week leading up to this race. I was thinking about it every night, even though I have no impact on the race. We love Yankee Cruiser as a sire. We looked at every single Yankee Cruiser in the sale. This was by far the best bred horse by Yankee Cruiser and Ron loved him physically. He’s more than fulfilled our expectations."

"We’ve been looking for a horse like this since we’ve been buying horses," said retiree Collura, who worked for 30 years for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. "When we saw him in Harrisburg, Ron said he thought he was the best Yankee Cruiser colt that we’d seen and we were buying him. It’s a dream come true. This is my fifth year with Ron and Mickey. You can’t be with better people. It’s been great."

Uncle Peter carried Palone right back to the winner's circle after winning the $602,340 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Trot in 1:55 flat.

Royal Shyster (Dan Daley) made a dash for the lead from Post 8 as the wings of the gate folded and settled on top ahead of Post 3 starter Uncle Peter and Palone, a late driver sub-in for trainer Jimmy Takter. Meanwhile, Little Brown Fox (John Campbell) made an early break in stride as did Appomattox (Luc Ouellette).

Following a :27.3 opening quarter, elimination winner Uncle Peter swept to command with the other elim winner Possess The Will (Jody Jamieson) following that move. Possess The Will cleared the lead at the :56.4 half-mile mark and maintained a two-length lead past three-quarters in 1:25.2.

Down the stretch, Palone pulled the pocket with Uncle Peter once again and stepped by Possess The Will to win by over two lengths. Delano (Ray Schnittker) closed with a fury, rallying from the backfield to show behind Possess The Will.

"He was a perfect horse to drive," said Palone after the victory. "Jimmy informed me this afternoon that he wasn’t going to make it and told me I was going to love him. He’s got a good mouth and you can do anything you want with him. He thought he was going to be extra good tonight. Kudos to him, he had him on his toes."

Uncle Peter paid $11.40 to win. The son of Cantab Hall-Victory Treasure is owned by John and Jim Fielding of Toronto, along with New Jersey's Christina Takter and Falkbolagen Ab. The lightly raced colt is now four-for-six in his career with over $347,000 in earnings.

“This is what keeps us playing this crazy game,” said John Fielding, noting that the win was extra special as the colt is named after his late brother Peter.

“My youngest brother Peter died 10 years ago this past March. I am partners with my brother Jim and my good friends the Takters. My mom and dad are here tonight and a lot of friends of ours so it has been extra special. Training down he was always a special horse. We had high expectations of him. He showed a lot of speed and has really come to hand at the right time. Dave Palone drove a fantastic race and Jimmy Takter, the best in the business, had this horse completely ready to go, which was terrific.”

Mark Kesmodel trainees Anndrovette and Chancey Lady swept the top two spots in the $301,170 Breeders Crown Open Mare Pace.

With Luc Ouellette catch-driving, elimination winner and 3-5 favourite Anndrovette fired off the gate from Post 5 with 86-1 Rock N Soul (Sylvain Filion) rolling up to clear before the first turn from Post 8.

Following a :26.1 first quarter, millionairess Anndrovette retook the lead and rolled past middle splits of :54.2 and 1:21.3.

She entered the stretch with a three length lead on her foes and widened that margin to four and a half en route to a career-best 1:49.2 triumph. Her stablemate, Chancey Lady (Dave Palone), rallied home for second. Early trailer Blissful Smile (Jack Moiseyev), one of five Tony O'Sullivan starters in the field, closed well for third.

"If you’re going catch a catch-drive at the last second this is the one you want," said Ouellette in the winner's circle. "It was pretty easy, I just pointed her forward and she just did it on her own. If I could have, I would have put Sylvain in behind me, but we might have wasted a little time trying to do that so I figured just let him go and come back.”

The four-year-old daughter of Riverboat King-Easy Miss is co-owned by Jeffrey Bamond and Joseph Davino of New Jersey. She notched her 11th win of the season from 19 starts and pushed her seasonal bankroll to over $747,000.

"We purchased her at the Meadowlands Mixed Sale [at the end of her three-year-old year]," noted Bamond in the winner's circle. "She won the New York Sire Stakes and some other stakes races and she's just getting better and better. This is my first trip to the Breeders Crown and I couldn't be happier. I have done this [owned horses] for quite some time, but never had anything like this. This is a dream come true."

Anndrovette paid $3.30 to win for the 21st time in her career.

Canada's hometown hero San Pail may just have cemented Horse of the Year honours as he held off international heavyweights Rapide Lebel and Commander Crowe to win the $602,340 Breeders Crown Open Trot in 1:51.4 in front of a roaring crowd.

Define The World (Paul MacDonell) established the early lead from the inside post position while Arch Madness (Brian Sears) settled into the pocket. Meanwhile, Post 2 starter San Pail and driver Randy Waples got away third and moved off the pylons keeping the parked out Rapide Lebel (Eric Raffin) three-deep to the sizzling :26.2 opening quarter mark.

San Pail rolled up to take over command down the backstretch and reached the half in :54.4 and three-quarters in 1:23.1 with Rapide Lebel looming first over and Commander Crowe (Christophe Martens) following his cover.

Around the final turn, Lucky Jim (Jody Jamieson) looked to go three-wide from third over, but made a costly break in stride.

Meanwhile back on top, 3-5 favourite San Pail led the field in front of the cheering crowd and held off Rapide Lebel by a neck to score his seventh straight win. Commander Crowe finished one length behind in third.

The seven-year-old son of San Pellegrino-Village Beauty is owned by trainer Rod Hughes of Dunsford, Ont. and breeder Glenn Van Camp of Port Perry, Ont.

"He's a World champion right now, I’m going to say thank you to Randy Waples right here," said an elated Hughes amidst the winner's circle celebrations. "Moved before the quarter and it probably proved to be an exceptional drive, thank you Randy. I think it will be a while [before my feet touch the ground]."

"Well, good horses you can do that, they make you look good," said Waples. "He’s just an unbelievable horse. But I have to give full credit to Rod, his crew, the Hughes' and Mr. Van Camp. Rod does so much good by this horse. Seems like he has him at his very best when it counts and he’s just an unbelievable horse.

"I was moving into the first turn and I was more than willing to sit third. I settled with him before, but when I saw Rapide Lebel starting to come I changed my mind and kept him three-wide as long as I could," continued the Milton, Ont. reinsman. "I just didn’t want to give up the position. At this track it is so important to have position, you have got to be up near the front. I honestly think that if I had stayed where I was and the other horse had gotten to the front I don’t think I would have beat him. They both raced unbelievable, they are truly champion horses those two [European] horses. They are just unbelievable, it was a great experience to race against them. I’m glad that I beat them, but they didn’t lose any races tonight. They just raced unbelievable. What a rush!"

San Pail paid $3.20 to win for the 49th time in his career. Canada's two-time defending Older Trotting Horse of the Year pushed his seasonal earnings well over the million dollar mark and lifetime earnings to a whopping $2,977,885. The three-time Maple Leaf Trot champion now boasts 14 wins and two seconds in 16 starts this year.

"There are so many things that add up to a great horse," added Waples in front of the accomplished trotter's fans. "He’s got all of them; he’s got heart, he’s got stamina, he’s got everything going for him. I’m getting choked up saying this, but I’m so thankful for all you people that come out and support this horse. It means so much to hear you guys cheering and everyone that loves this horse as much as we do. I just love this horse to death.”

Canadian sweetheart Monkey On My Wheel held off favourite Drop The Ball in a 1:49.3 stakes record mile in the $501,950 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Filly Pace.

Idyllic (Mark MacDonald) fired off the gate from the outside post position and blazed through an opening quarter of :25.4 and half in :53.2 with Monkey On My Wheel and driver Jody Jamieson following in the pocket.

With the outer flow advancing up the backstretch led by 1-2 favourite Drop The Ball (Luc Ouellette), Jamieson pulled Monkey On My Wheel from the pocket and swept to command before the 1:21.1 third quarter mark.

Monkey On My Wheel carried a two length lead into the stretch and held off the quick-closing Drop The Ball to win by half a length. Foxy Lady (Sylvain Filion) finished third off a three-hole trip.

Monkey On My Wheel paid $12.90 to win for the mild 5-1 upset.

“It looks like it might have been worth the move," laughed Alberta native Travis Umphrey, who trains and co-owns the daughter of Mach Three-Legislation with breeder Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont. "You miss all your friends and all that but jeez, this is sure great here tonight.

"We got in on her when she was just turning two," continued the horseman, who currently resides in Guelph, Ont. "Mac bought her back as a yearling so I can’t really take any credit for that. She trained down great right from the get-go, it was just really fortunate that Mac let us in on her. We have just had so much fun with her this year.”

The Ontario Sires Stakes superstar has won seven of her 16 seasonal starts while banking over $741,000. She now boasts a lifetime record reading 10-10-1 in 24 starts and is quickly nearing the million-dollar mark in earnings.

“I thought she raced great last week, but I didn’t think that we could beat Drop The Ball and we were going to be happy with second tonight. She raced poor a couple starts ago, but we were happy with her last week and ecstatic with her tonight.”

Despite a well-documented rough start to his campaign due to illness, Chapter Seven has rounded into form late in the season and exploded down the stretch to capture the $612,379 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colt Trot in 1:53 flat.

Hambletonian champion Broad Bahn (Jim Morrill Jr.) fired to command from Post 7 during a :27.4 opening quarter, but gave way to the pocket-pulling Manofmanymissions (Dave Palone) down the backstretch.

Fresh off a victory in the Kentucky Futurity, Manofmanymissions cleared the lead at the :56.4 half while Canadian Trotting Classic champ Daylon Magician (Jack Moiseyev) advanced first over from fourth with elimination winner Chapter Seven and catch-driver Jeff Gregory following his cover.

Daylon Magician applied heavy pressure to Manofmanymissions past the 1:24.3 three-quarters mark and into the stretch.

At the top of the lane, Manofmanymissions made a costly miscue and moved into the safety lane, handing the lead to Daylon Magician. However, Chapter Seven quickly swept up off cover and drew away to a seven length victory, which was just one-fifth of a second off his lifetime mark. Broad Bahn finished second and Daylon Magician was third.

"It worked out quite well. I got to start him out as a two-year-old and it's looking like I will get to finish him off as a three-year-old, maybe,” said Gregory, who drove Chapter Seven early in his career and was filling in tonight for Tim Tetrick, who was one of four drivers stranded in New Jersey due to poor weather conditions. "The trip worked out great, I didn’t have to use him at all. He was still fresh at the head of the stretch. I never even pulled the ear plugs on him. He was great.”

Chapter Seven paid $4.90 to win his third stakes race in a row.

"The last thing I said to Jeff was that he has been primed and he’s been prepped and he’s ready for this race, and he’s coming into this race as good as a horse can come,” said trainer Linda Toscano.

The son of Windsongs Legacy-La Riviera Lindy is owned by Richard Gutnick and Gary Cocco of Pennsylvania, New Jersey's Southwind Farm, and Jerry Silva of New York. He has won half of his eight starts this year while earning over $647,000. He is now 11-for-16 lifetime with a nearly $860,000 banked.

Favourite Cedar Dove struck the front down the backstretch and drew away from her rivals to score a 1:53.3 stakes record equalling victory in the $501,950 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Filly Trot.

Jezzy (Ray Schnittker) fired to the lead from Post 7 with Oh Sweet Baby (Mario Baillargeon) settling into the pocket and the Ron Pierce-driven Cedar Dove getting away third.

Jezzy led the way past the :27.1 opening quarter mark before Pierce sent his filly first over. Cedar Dove cleared before the half in :57 and proceeded to three-quarters in 1:25.3.

The elimination winner spun into the stretch and opened up a four length lead on her foes to win with Crys Dream (Luc Ouellette) rallying from second over to place and Oh Sweet Baby following in third.

"Tonight was a piece of cake," said Pierce after the victory. "She was a little faster than the other fillies and when she floated out of there she was nice and relaxed, just followed them around down the back, then I tipped her out. She pretty much did it all by herself.

"It’s very important to keep her relaxed. She is a little insecure and unsure of herself and everything going on all around her, so you just have to keep her relaxed.”

Cedar Dove paid $3.30 to win as the 3-5 favourite. The daughter of Andover Hall-Pine For Her, winner of this year's Kentucky Filly Futurity just three starts back, is trained by Noel Daley. John Fielding shared in his second Breeders Crown win of the night with co-owner Adam Victor And Son Stable of New York.

For Cedar Dove, the win was her sixth in 15 seasonal starts and doubled her 2011 earnings. The seven-time career winner has banked over half a million dollars this year and more than $688,000 lifetime.

The Canadian-owned and trained Betterthancheddar prevailed in a thrilling finish to capture the $501,950 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colt Pace in 1:49.2.

Meadowlands Pace champion and odds-on favourite Roll With Joe (Ron Pierce) cleared the lead ahead of elimination winner Betterthancheddar and catch-driver Mark MacDonald at the :26-second opening quarter mark, but the parked out Post 9 starter Big Bad John (Jim Morrill Jr.) quickly rolled up to take over after down the backstretch.

Little Brown Jug champion Big Bad John led the way to the half in :53.4 and three-quarters in 1:21.2 with elimination winner Westwardho Hanover (Dave Palone) advancing first over and Adios winner Alsace Hanover (Scott Zeron) and North America Cup champion Up The Credit (Jody Jamieson) following his cover.

Westwardho Hanover battled head-to-head with Big Bad John and pushed ahead into the stretch while the Casie Coleman-trained Betterthancheddar slipped up the rail, Roll With Joe split horses and Alsace Hanover came flying home on the far outside. Betterthancheddar proved to be better than the rest, however, as he got up in the nick of time to score (by a nose). Roll With Joe was second-best and Alsace Hanover finished third.

"I figured Roll With Joe and Big Bad John were going to keep coming," explained MacDonald after the win. "They were the two I thought I had to beat and then around the last turn it didn’t look like Big Bad John was the one to beat. He was getting a bit tired and I’m pretty sure that Casie would be cursing me out if I didn’t find a way to get him out somewhere so I got lucky and got up the rail. I just slipped out there late."

Betterthancheddar paid $11 to win as the 9-2 third choice. The son of Bettors Delight-Lady Ashlee Ann is owned by Steve Calhoun of Chatham, Ont. and the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Ont. Unraced as a two-year-old, he now has won half of his 16 starts while banking over $586,000.

"He didn’t make me look as much of a fool with my foot in my mouth tonight," laughed Coleman. "I have touted this horse since he was a two-year-old. He’s just been a freak ever since day one. He had a lot of health issues, but everything is good now. He is on his game and Mark did an awesome job stick handling him and getting him up the outside, although, it didn’t look so good halfway up the lane, but he got through."

Bettor Sweet survived a first over journey and pulled off an 8-1 mild upset with his dazzling 1:48.4 triumph in the finale, the $501,950 Breeders Crown Open Pace.

Dial Or No Dial (Jack Moiseyev) fired off a sizzling :25.4 opening quarter with Bettor Sweet and John Campbell following in the two-hole.

Down the backstretch, the parked out Alexie Mattosie (Jody Jamieson) worked his way to the top and reached the half in :53.3. At that point, Campbell angled Bettor Sweet off the pylons and advanced first up past three-quarters in 1:21.4 with favourite We Will See (Ron Pierce) and Foiled Again (Dave Palone) following his cover.

Bettor Sweet struck the front at the top of the stretch and held off the quick-closing Foiled Again and We Will See for the narrow victory, which pushed his lifetime earnings over the $2 million mark.

“I wanted to get off the gate and get into position," said Campbell, who has won more Breeders Crown trophies than any other driver. "He doesn’t mind coming first up. He will race horses, he will race his heart out. Even though he was first up at the head of the stretch, he still felt strong and I knew he would be tough to beat.”

Bettor Sweet paid $18.90 to win for the 22nd time in his career. The six-year-old gelded son of Bettors Delight-Sweet Future, a winner of eight races in 23 starts and over $841,000 this year, is trained by Thomas Cancelliere for his brother John Cancelliere of New Jersey.

Breeders Crown Drivers Stranded

The snowstorm that forced the cancellation of some race cards on the East Coast also forced a slew of late driver changes. Late Saturday afternoon, Tim Tetrick confirmed with Trot Insider that he, George Brennan, David Miller, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter and Trond Smedshammer were all stranded in New Jersey and will not make it to Woodbine.

To view the results from Saturday night's card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Racetrack.



What would be sad is if Mr. Hughes actually does exactly as he says and keeps a great white shark in a small pond. He finally gave this horse a chance to prove all his closet supporters right by taking on all the best in North America and crossing the border. The horse responded with a vengeance, vindicating those who firmly believed in him but were degraded for it. Now it's time to cross the pond.

The horse has said to his trainer, "Have faith in me.I am ready to take my place in history as one of the greatest trotters to look through a bridle. I'm not afraid of anyone."

Heed your noble horse's call Mr. Hughes, he deserves a shot, or there will always be doubters. If the horse is sound, fit and ready, let him do the talking in front of enormous crowds of true fans in Sweden,France, Italy...who await eagerly to see and fall in love with this great champion. A horse's career is finite, and he will not always be at his best. Not taking the opportunity would do the horse, the fans, and the industry a disservice. It's a gamble and it may fail, but if you take the easy way out, you may always regret it. I'm sure you know in your heart it is the right thing to do.

Any others who feel the same as me, please join me in encouraging Mr. Hughes.


I don't want to take anything away from San Pail but let's be honest here. Due to the enormous popularity San Pail has over here people will be biased. Don't get me wrong I agree that he is horse of the year and one of the greatest trotters ever. But let's put things in perspective here.

Rapide Lebel raced two heats on September 17th. He was then off the rest of the time prior to the Breeders Crown. He flies in 48 hours prior to the race. Neither horse nor driver had a race over the track which means a) don't know if the horse will like the track and b) the driver is not familiar with track bias such as it being a very speed favouring track. These are two distinct advantages that San Pail and Randy Waples both enjoyed. Randy himself alluded to it. Then the horse goes the entire mile parked on the outside only to lose by a neck. In most people's opinion that would be an unbelievable mile. Does that mean he is a better horse then SP. No it does not. Does that mean that SP is a better horse. No it does not. What it means is that on this particular night SP got a better trip and won. On any given night the reverse can happen. They have not raced enough times against each other to know who truly is the better horse. How would SP fare if he flew over to Sweden and raced Rapide Lebel over there? Until it happens we won't know. Because he is such a good horse logic would suggest he would race very well. But that doesn't mean he would win for sure.

Anyone who knows racing knows that the trip makes all the difference. Just as it did when the Beach got beat. On this particular night Randy Waples gave the better steer and that was all it took to make the difference. But on any given Sunday......

I have to agree Mr. Horsman, Rapid Lebel had no excuse to lose by a neck he just simply wasn't good enough LOL. Arriving 48 hrs before the race from an overseas flight, racing another horse on his home turf and parking the entire mile 1st up could not possibly be an excuse for getting beat a neck. What was i thinking.

Its nice to see that the drivers who did not make it to Saturday's Breeders Crown events have apologized for not being there. Nevertheless the apology from some of them came across as somewhat half hearted. They blamed the weather instead of themselves for not planning accordingly.

Everybody with access to any sort of news outlet knew about the forecast for the upcoming storm. It was up to these guys to make sure they got there early enough(read Friday or Saturday morning) to avoid even the POSSIBILITY of missing these races.

Regardless, its time to turn the page. The bottom line is that in most situations, the guys most hurt by their absence were the drivers themselves who missed out on cashing in on a bountiful payday and the honor associated with it. Bravo to those drivers who did have the foresight to make sure that they were there despite the ominous weather threats.

What an opportunity for the sport of harness racing to arrange a match race between Rapd Lebel and San Pail. It would bring much needed publicity to a dying industry. They could make the purse at least $300 thousand with it being winner take all, with one race condition and that is the horse who cuts the mile must go a fair 3/4's of say 1.24 so it just isn't a race where they walk to the 3/4's and sprint home. I would assume though that it is probably already to late to pull this off.

The drivers and Jimmy Takter who missed out on their WO drives were racing at Vernon Downs on Friday night. Not all of them, mind you, but some of them.

Nobody in this group were penciled in to drive in the USA on Sat.
Ray Schnittker was at Vernon on Friday night AND at WO on Sat. night for the big races.

When I read the changes on Sat. at 6 PM, I almost fell off my chair. The changes never should have happened. John Campbell. Dave Palone, Ron Pierce and others from the US were winning WO races on Sat. night.The balance of the US drivers were blocked in by a blizzard in New Jersey.

That's why Scott Zeron will someday headline this sport. His Dad Rick Zeron would make sure that all his drives were there and that nobody else would take them.

I personally feel bad that I was not able to see the missing US drivers duke it out down the stretch. Tim Tetrick was down to drive 11 of the 12 races.

But, that's racing. When a mistake is made (stranded drivers), there will always be someone to take their place on the empty race bike.

I have to agree with Cary. That was BY FAR one of the best, if not the best drives I've seen in a very long time. Again, it goes to what I've been saying about our Canadian talent. Mark drove that horse better than any of the Americans could have. That was a TSN highlight of the night drive for sure. Great job JR.

I was hoping that San Pail would win his race so there could be no doubt as to what horse would win horse of the year honors in north america and by San Pail winning it left no doubt as to him being horse of the year but there was one other thing this race cleared up and that is, that Rapid Lebel is easily the best trotter on the planet. To not have raced in more then a month and to ship over seas and arrive in ontario on thursday night, combined with the brutal trip his driver gave him and to be beat by only a neck was one of the great efforts in the history of the sport. The wire could not have come up fast enough for San Pail because Rapid Lebel looked like he could trot all day, what a horse what an effort. The other horse Commander Crowe was also brilliant considering that he also only arrived on thursday evening. These horses are indeed the two best trotters in the world.

In reply to by John Carter

Seems to me if he was the best trotter on the planet, he wouldn't have finished second to San Pail. Good horse? YES, best on the planet, on any given night, Maybe. Saturday night , Breeders Crown, against San Pail, SECOND.. end of story.

The drivers who didn't make it up for the races should be ashamed of themselves. Not only were they irresponsible, but in my opinion they were disrespectful to the sport that puts food on their table. This was Harness Racing's most important day of the year. Can you imagine the jockeys for the Breeders Cup not showing up in time to race. It wasn't as though the bad weather was unexpected. It had been forecasted all week. Ironically Tim Tetrick and Yannick Gingras raced at Vernon Downs the evening before, yet they chose not to drive or fly to Toronto less than a five hour drive away. Brian Sears and Jeff Gregory were also at Vernon. They made it up to Woodbine with plenty of time to spare. I realize that the drivers might have been given wrong information by their charter airline. But the bottom line was that this was Harness Racing's biggest night and no excuses barring health are acceptable.

Congratulations to all BC winners on Saturday night!! What a spectacular night of racing!! To Rod Hughes, Glenn Van Camp, their families and of course Randy Waples, congrats on an outstanding win with San Pail!! Our first trip out to Woodbine was a birthday present I will never forget!!

It was a great night of racing. It was unfortunatel that Timmy T, Yannick, and Dave Miller got stranded as their horses all did very well. Not sure why they didn't make the trip up here earlier. The format of having all the Breeders Crown races on one card is how it should be. It makes for a night of unbelievable racing. There were many great races, Sweet Lou in word record time, San Pail holding off Rapide Lebel, Bettor Sweet with JC in the bike winning yet another Crown, MM's really good steer of Betterthencheddar. I was very happy for Mark given the tough year he has had. Entertaining night all around and of course very happy for Linda Toscano.

The Breeders Crown in my opinion should always alternate between the Meadowlands and Woodbine, the two premier harness tracks in the world and the 1 mile and 7/8ths tracks gives every horse a good shot at winning.

Not trying to rain on anyone's parade but in my opinion the best performance of the night came from the horse that didn't win. It's my opinion that to ask a horse( Rapide Lebel) who has not have raced in almost a month and a half, to travel across the pond to a new track he has never tried, go parked almost the entire mile against a horse as great as San Pail and keep coming the way he did was just unbeleivable. My hats off to San Pail and I'm very happy for his connections but I have to wonder if Rapide Lebel had a race over the track to get ready or perhaps even had seen the wood and made the lead, hmmmmm........

On another note it was a great night of racing and I'm glad to see John Campbell win one. The Breeders Crown just wouldn't seem right without JC in the winners circle at least once.

In reply to by fantom

I agree with you,Rapide Lebel went an unbelievible trip when you consider his trip over seas,short rest and the tip he got in the mile,I just hope that this is not the last time we see rapid Lebel and San Pail face off..

Maybe San Pail can make the trip over seas in the Spring?

Thank you to all the Canadian heroes of the the Breeder's Crown for a wonderful evening of racing. Randy, San Pail, Jody, Frenchfriesandvinegar, Mark, Betterthancheddar, John Campbell, Luc, all the trainers, owners and breeders - you made us all proud to be Canadian. And thank you to the Score for broadcasting such a memorable night of racing.

Very exciting evening and thoroughly enjoyed the show. Gained new respect for the European horses (not the driver however), but was interesting to see the different driving styles. They certainly put on a great performance.

Very impressed with Sweet Lou, looking forward to seeing him again next year. Most exciting race was the aged trot. With the international flavour to it and the big question on how the European horses would handle the track it was a great race. Congrats to San Pail and connections for his win.

Great format to have all 12 B.C's the same night, I hope they do the same next year.
3.8 M handle, I think it was a success.

What an amazing night of racing! The performance by Betterthancheddar & Mark MacDonald was something that will be remembered for many years to come. Congraatulations to all the connections.

And what an effort shown by Monkey On My Wheel(& Jody)!Travis...I was cheering so loud that my neighbours must have thought I'd lost it.I am very happy for you,my friend & also for Mac. I have been following the exploits of Monkey all year & this is certainy a great wrap-up to a tremendous season. Congratulations & continued success!

frenchfriesandvinegar was the most impressive win of the night, coming from the outside and being parked for most of half a mile and still have enough with jody doing the driving didn't hurt at all. Jody Jamieson is the best driver in Canada and possibly north America with Tim Tetrick... Mr. Tetrick missed out on three wins and 2 seconds with other jockeys driving his horses. Who knows how many times he would have won?

Congrats to Mark MacDonald...by far the most outstanding and skillful drive of all the Breeders Crown races aboard Betterthancheddar...Casie was Lucky to have you...Great Job

Glad to see you win one Mark and I hope this is the beginning of a geat finnish to this year followed by a great 2012!

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