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A Tall Order For Top Expectations

Published: October 26, 2017 2:14 pm ET

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Quebec owner Daniel Plouffe was on the short end of one of the biggest Breeders Crown upsets back in 1999, when his star Blissfull Hall fell to Grinfromeartoear in the final for three-year-old pacers at Mohawk Racetrack.

This time, he's hoping to be the giant killer when his Cantab Hall filly Top Expectations tackles unbeaten Manchego in the $600,000 final for two-year-old trotting fillies on Friday at Hoosier Park.

Manchego is unbeaten in 11 starts and will be a prohibitive favourite, but Plouffe notes that favourites often falter in the Crown, which comes at a time of year when many horses are showing signs of weariness after grueling campaigns.

"The (Little Brown) Jug took a lot out of Blissfull, and he was getting tired by then," Plouffe said. "Manchego looks almost unbeatable, but anything can happen in a race. I know I like my horse a lot and I think she's got a chance. I don't even mind the post (six). She really trotted that last eighth of a mile in her elimination (finishing third to Machego after being locked up around the final turn). She just seems to be less nervous and gaining in maturity with every start these last two months."

That included a win in the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile, where she equaled Manchego's winning time in another division.

With three victories and eight top-three finishes in 11 starts, Top Expectations to date has collected more than $215,000 and more than met Plouffe's expectations. The race will be her last this year.

Trained by Erv Miller, the Cantab Hall filly is Plouffe's first Breeders Crown starter since 2009. The best results from seven previous entries were Blissfull Hall's third in the three-year-old pace and a fourth by Marnie Hall in the mares' pace in 2006.

"Definitely, it's a race I'd like to win someday," said the supermarket owner from Quebec's Eastern Townships.

$600,000 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Filly Trot
Post Position-Name-Driver-Trainer
1-Atlanta-Rick Zeron-Rick Zeron
2-S M S Princess-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt
3-Hey Blondie-Andrew McCarthy-Chuck Sylvester
4-Manchego-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter
5-Phaetosive-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer
6-Top Expectations-Marcus Miller-Erv Miller
7-Jordan Blue Chip-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood
8-Lily Stride-Tim Tetrick-Mark Harder
9-Seviyorum-Andy Miller-Julie Miller
10-Looking For Zelda-Tony Hall-Norm Parker
AE1-Basquiat-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter
AE2-Impinktoo-Peter Wrenn-Jim Dailey

For Breeders Crown past performances pages, click one of the following links:

2017 Breeders Crown Program Pages - Friday, October 27

2017 Breeders Crown Program Pages - Saturday, October 28

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)

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