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Norman Confident In His 'Amigo'

Published: October 28, 2020 4:58 pm ET

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Six weeks ago, trainer Richard 'Nifty' Norman said he couldn’t be happier with the way Amigo Volo looked heading into the rest of the season. As the horse prepares for Saturday’s $500,000 Breeders Crown for three-year-old male trotters, it’s safe to say he remains enthusiastic.

Amigo Volo, who was a Breeders Crown champion at age two, won the Kentucky Futurity on October 11 at Red Mile and followed that up with a track record victory in his 'Crown' elimination last Saturday at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. Going back to mid-August, he has won five of six races and finished second in the other.

“He has not let me down,” Norman said. “Even last week, I was kind of mildly shocked at how good he was. He’s just solid. He’s raced in just about every race there is, and he’s as good now as he was at the start. He may be even better. That’s a good sign for a horse.”

Amigo Volo won his elimination in 1:51.2, the fastest mile ever by a three-year-old trotter at Hoosier Park. The time was just one-fifth of a second off the track’s overall record.


Amigo Volo, pictured victorious during his 2020 Breeders Crown elimination.

In Saturday’s Breeders Crown final, Amigo Volo will start from Post 2 with driver Dexter Dunn. He is the 6-5 morning line favourite. Three male trotters this century have won Crown trophies at ages two and three: Gimpanzee, 2018-2019; Father Patrick, 2013-2014; and Muscle Hill, 2008-2009. Amigo Volo is by Father Patrick and out of Margarita Momma.

For the year, Amigo Volo has won seven of his 13 races. Lifetime, the multiple world-record-setting gelding has won 13 of 25 starts and $1.21 million in purses for owners Pinske Stables and David J. Miller.

“It won’t be easy, but I think that at the moment he’s probably the best horse,” said Norman, who has won four Breeders Crown finals. “I’ve got a good driver, a good draw, so I’ve got as good a shot as anybody.”

Norman will also send out Chestnut Hill in the event. Chestnut Hill finished second by a neck to Capricornus in the other Breeders Crown elimination.


Chestnut Hill (3), pictured firing under the wire in his Canadian Trotting Classic victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

For the year, Chestnut Hill has won three of his 14 races, including the Canadian Trotting Classic. The colt is by Muscle Hill out of Poof Shes Gone, a filly who in 2009 provided Norman his first Breeders Crown trophy. He is owned by Mel Hartman, David McDuffee, and Little E. Hartman and McDuffee bred Chestnut Hill with Herb Liverman.

Chestnut Hill will start from Post 9, the outermost spot on the gate, with David Miller in the sulky. The colt is 15-1 on the morning line.

“I thought he raced really good last week, but then the draw just crushed him,” Norman said. “Now you’re really relying on luck. But you know what, he’s had some bad draws or rough trips and got good finishes out of them. A few things went his way, and he always gets home good. The horse himself is in good shape.”

Ready For Moni, who won the Goodtimes Stakes and Harry M. Zweig Memorial after finishing second in the Hambletonian, is the 7-2 second choice. Capricornus is 6-1.


Fire Start Hanover, victorious in 2020 International Stallion Stakes action.

Norman’s Breeders Crown weekend will begin on Friday with Fire Start Hanover in the $600,000 final for two-year-old female pacers. The filly had a five-race win streak snapped with a second-place finish to Continualou in her elimination.

Fire Start Hanover is the 3-1 early favourite, and is set to start from Post 7 with driver Dunn.

“I was very happy with her [performance],” Norman said. “She was sick after Lexington; we brought her home, (and) she had five days off. I only trained her once. I thought she would be kind of short, but she was actually really good. Even though she’s drawn [Post 7], I think she’ll go really good. I think that [performance] last week will really help her; and she’s good either way, she can leave or she can race from off the pace.

“She’s a nice filly and I think she’s got a good shot. She’s a big, strong thing, and has just gotten better as the year has gone on. I’ve got a lot of confidence in her.”

Harrah’s Hoosier Park will host the four $600,000 Breeders Crown finals for two-year-olds on Friday. The remaining eight finals, for three-year-olds and older horses, will be raced on Saturday. Racing will begin at 6 p.m. (EDT) on both nights.

The 2020 Breeders Crown, presented by the Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership, is the 37th edition of the $6 million event. Harrah’s Hoosier Park will provide a free live high-definition streaming of the races on YouTube.

The field for Saturday’s Breeders Crown three-year-old colt and gelding trot final appears below..

(PP - Horse - Driver - Trainer - ML)
1 - Capricornus - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 6-1
2 - Amigo Volo - Dexter Dunn - R. Nifty Norman - 6-5
3 - Ready For Moni - Yannick Gingras - Nancy Takter - 7-2
4 - Play Trix On Me - Joe Bongiorno - Linda Toscano - 20-1
5 - Hillexotic - Trond Smedshammer - Trond Smedshammer - 20-1
6 - Maesteraemon - Scott Zeron - Marcus Melander - 15-1
7 - Back Of The Neck - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 8-1
8 - Beads - Brian Sears - Per Engblom - 8-1
9 - Chestnut Hill - David Miller - R. Nifty Norman - 15-1
10 - Gangster Hanover - Andrew McCarthy - Ake Svanstedt - 20-1

(USTA)


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