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'Percy' Proves Moore Right

Published: October 19, 2017 7:57 pm ET

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One year ago this time, Dr. Ian Moore had a decision to make on a yearling from a family he'd had success with in the past. His $110,000 commitment to 2016 yearling Percy Bluechip has paid off handsomely with his first OSS Super Final and a solid chance for his first Breeders Crown trophy.

"I was humming and hawing, it really kind of left me uneasy feeling," co-owner and trainer Dr. Ian Moore told Trot Insider on the decision to race in the Breeders Crown. "She hasn't necessarily been at 100 percent the last couple of starts but after discussion with the owners and I jogged her Monday morning I really couldn't find a reason not to take her and I actually found a couple of things that might actually make her better so we'll see what happens."

The sale topper from the 2016 Forest City Yearling Sale, Percy Bluechip turned heads from the minute she stepped onto the racetrack as a two-year-old. Her career debut was a smashing success as she established a new track and Canadian record in her Ontario Sires Stakes division at Georgian Downs on July 7. The daughter of Shadow Play-Advantest blazed to victory in 1:51.2, smashing the two-year-old pacing filly track record of 1:53.2. It was also a full second faster than the overall freshman track mark and one-fifth of a second better than the longstanding Canadian record for a five-eighths mile track held by Falcons Future (1993) and Voelz Hanover (2007).

Her subsequent efforts stayed true to that form, winning her next three starts at Mohawk Racetrack in identical sizzling 1:51.4 mile times.

Percy Bluechip then ran into a red-hot Kendall Seelster and a future world champion in Youaremycandygirl in her next three tests, finishing second, fourth and fourth respectively. When she raced in the OSS Super Final on October 14, the question marks remained as she went postward as the second choice -- not the betting favourite as she'd been in all her previous OSS events.

The skeptics were silenced as Percy Bluechip rebounded to convincingly defeat provincial rival Kendall Seelster in the $225,000 Super Final.

"The one time she was beat she came home in 26 seconds and only got beat a couple of lengths," noted driver Trevor Henry. "I was happy with the way she raced [Saturday]. She raced really good and I thought she deserved a chance [in the Breeders Crown]."

One key change to her success in the OSS Super Final -- the first for both Moore and Henry -- was a shoeing change. Since her first steps, Moore opted for flip-flops on Percy Bluechip due to her conformation. Heading into the Super Final over an off surface at Mohawk, Moore switched her for the first time to something more traditional: a bar rim shoe with a plastic pad.

"I think flip flops would have been very detrimental on that track," said Moore. "I talked to Trevor, he drove a couple that had [flip flops] and they couldn't get a hold of the track at all."

Moore noted that Percy Bluechip arrived in Indiana on Tuesday night and was turned out on Wednesday morning. He was in Pennsylvania at Hanover Shoe Farms on Wednesday morning, flew to Indiana later that day and jogged Percy Bluechip on Thursday morning, at which time he'd have a better read on a shoeing choice for Friday night.

Owned by Shadow Two Stable of Puslinch, James & Wilma Mackenzie, Ennismore, Ont., and Hudson Standrdbred Stable of Hudson, Que., Percy Bluechip sports a 5-1-0 summary from eight starts with earnings of $440,795. Moore is realistic assessing what's expected from his stable star heading into her Friday night Breeders Crown elim.

"To race against the fillies of this calibre, the best fillies in North America, you're going to have to be 100 percent," said Moore. "She's not going to come here and hope to get by in 51 or 52."

Of the eight fillies in that first Breeders Crown division, six have more than $100,000 in earnings and four have marks faster than 1:52. Percy Bluechip drew Post 4, right inside favoured Rainbow Room (PP5, D. Miller, 2-1). To her inside is fellow OSS product Firestorm (PP3, J. Jamieson, 7-1) who finished ahead of Percy Bluechip the last time they faced each other.

"I know that Rainbow Room will be tough, she's a good filly," stated Henry. "And [Firestorm], she's a good filly too. I've raced against her at Mohawk; she'll be tough."

Henry, who will be making his Hoosier Park debut on Friday, heads into Friday's Breeders Crown elim optimistic on how the Indiana oval will benefit his horse. Forwardly-placed in most of her races, he was pleased with her off-the-pace effort in the Shes A Great Lady and the veteran driver speaks to his filly's versatility.

"She was green because she'd never raced that way before but I was happy with the way she raced. She doesn't have to be on the front," admitted Henry, currently second in Canada with $5.15 million in seasonal purses. "She'll like that track as good as anything; it's a big track, it should help her. We'll see how it goes.

"It will be a lot of fun, something different. I've never been to Hoosier so it will be a good track to see," Henry continued. "It will be good for the track and get some other people to a spot they've likely never seen before."

While he's yet to capture a Breeders Crown trophy, Moore did win an elimination he didn't actually have to race in with Percy Bluechip's sire Shadow Play back in 2008.

"There were 12 declared in that year of three-year-old pacing colts and two of them got byes: Somebeachsomewhere and us," said Moore." We opted to race so that you might potentially win and get to pick your post -- because the only time in his entire career he ever drew the rail [in a stakes race] was in the Little Brown Jug when they drew from 1 through 3. He had been drawing bad all year.

"So we won the elimination and we picked 2. Guess where the other fella drew? Post 3, right beside us. It didn't matter anyway," Moore laughed.

With no option for a Breeders Crown bye this time around, Percy Bluechip will aim to be one of the top five finishers in her elim to qualify for next week's lucrative $600,000 final. Elimination winners, in an order determined by lot, will draw for post positions number one (#1) through five (#5) in the final. All other finalists will be placed in an open draw for the remaining post positions. Hoosier Park scores nine across the starting gate and will have a trailer as the 10 horse in all finals.

1. Come See The Show - Tim Tetrick - Linda Toscano - 10-1
2. Rock On Ladys - John DeLong - Trent Stohler - 20-1
3. Firestorm - Jody Jamieson - Ciaran Morrison - 7-1
4. Percy Bluechip - Trevor Henry - Ian Moore - 4-1
5. Rainbow Room - David Miller - Joe Holloway - 2-1
6. Band Stand - Doug McNair - Tony Alagna - 8-1
7. Majorsspeciallady - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 8-1
8. Kissin In The Sand- Brian Sears - Nancy Johansson - 5-2

1. Pueblo Blue Chip - Jody Jamieson - David Menary - 5-1
2. Im With Her - Paul MacDonell - Paul MacDonell - 8-1
3. Youaremycandygirl - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 8-5
4. Reign On Me - David Miller - R. 'Nifty' Norman - 4-1
5. Strong Opinion - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 8-1
6. Miswave Hanover - Marcus Miller - Erv Miller - 8-1
7. Aims Whisper - Mark MacDonald - Kevin Lare - 10-1
8. Bye Hanover - Brett Miller - Brian Brown - 12-1

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