Niki Hill dominated her two-year-old pacing filly foes to add a Breeders Crown title to her near-perfect resume during the Friday freshman finals at The Meadowlands.
"I think it was a statement from start to finish," said Chris Ryder of his trainee's impressive winning effort.
Niki Hill was on the move early, leaving from post seven and bypassing a spot at the pylons to take over command through a :26.2 first quarter from the quick-leaving elimination winner Queen Of Success (Andy McCarthy).
"She's got a high cruising speed and I didn't want to get her jammed up and start her up again," said driver Dexter Dunn of his winning move. "She likes to roll and I wanted to take luck out of the equation. I thought I had the best filly in the race and drove her like that and she did the rest. She's a great filly."
After finishing second by less than a length in her first defeat last week, Niki Hill led with authority through a half in :54.4 and three-quarters in 1:23.1 before extending her lead by nearly five lengths through the stretch to score in 1:51 over the sloppy track. Sea Silk (Chris Page) finished up in second off an overland trip from post 10, overtaking Treacherous Dragon (Tim Tetrick), who was flushed first-up from fourth down the backstretch.
"I was super proud of her tonight," said Ryder. "Last week, we had a little bit of a hiccup and she tied up a little bit and just a few minor issues but she was herself tonight."
Sent postward as the 3-5 favourite, Niki Hill returned $3.40 to win.
Bred by Stephen Dey of Allentown, New Jersey, Niki Hill was a $155,000 yearling purchase at last year's Lexington Selected Sale. The daughter of two-time Breeders Crown champion Always B Miki out of Road Bet is now seven-for-eight with the lion's share of the $600,000 purse lifting her bankroll to $684,541 for owner Tom Hill of Lancashire, U.K. Her victories include the Shes A Great Lady Stakes and International Stallion Stakes.
Ryder said after today's huge effort the connections will take it week by week with the freshman filly, who could compete in the Kindergarten and Three Diamonds.
Dunn picked up his second consecutive victory in the Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Filly Pace after driving the Nifty Norman-trained Fire Start Hanover in last year's event.
All the recaps from Friday's opening night of Breeders Crown finals can be found in the 2021 Breeders Crown News Centre.