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Crown Champs Slated To Qualify

Published: April 28, 2021 8:20 pm ET

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As stakes season rapidly approaches, some of harness racing's most talented athletes — including five defending Breeders Crown champions — are among the 102 horses programmed to qualify at The Meadowlands on Friday morning (April 30).

Two-time Crown winner Amigo Volo headlines a stacked field of stakes-tested trotters in the eighth qualifier on the 14-race program. A winner of nine of 15 races — including the Breeders Crown, Kentucky Futurity — and nearly a million dollars in his three-year-old campaign, the gelded son of Father Patrick will return from a 5-1/2-month layoff after capping his sophomore season with a decisive 1:50.2 win in the Matron Stakes at Dover Downs. Usual driver Dexter Dunn is slated to drive the Nifty Norman trainee from post nine. The field also includes the last two Hambletonian champions in Forbidden Trade (post three, Bob McClure) and Ramona Hill (post seven, Andy McCarthy), as well as 2019 Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry (post four, David Miller).

Last year's standout rookie pacing colt, Perfect Sting, is slated to make his second preseason appearance of 2021 after capping his 1:52.2 qualifying mile at The Meadowlands on April 24 with a sharp :25.4 final quarter. The royally-bred sophomore — by Always B Miki and out of Shebestingin — rose to every challenge he faced as a two-year-old, finishing his campaign with a 1:50.2 dead heat win with Summa Cum Laude in the Breeders Crown, and looked extremely sharp on the other side of a six-month layoff by way of his 4-1/4-length qualifying win. As usual, David Miller will drive the Joe Holloway trainee for Brittany Farms and Val D'Or Farms, and the pair will start from post six.

O'Brien Award winner On A Streak, who also won last year's Breeders Crown for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings after finishing third in the Mohawk Million, heads the morning's second qualifier, and has drawn the pole in a field of eight sophomores — six of which are eligible to the Hambletonian — to contest the morning's second qualifier. Fellow O'Brien honouree Bob McClure retains the drive aboard the son of Cantab Hall for Determination and trainer Luc Blais. Also among the octet are Kindergarten Classic winner Dees Red Delicous (post six, Corey Callahan) and Valley Victory winner Bee Forever (post seven, Victor Kirby).

Lady Chaos, another reigning Crown holder, heads a field of seven sophomore trotting fillies in the morning's fourth heat. The daughter of Cantab Hall banked over $560,000 while winning six times in her rookie season, including a clean sweep in the Breeders Crown two-year-old filly trot and the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship. Usual driver David Miller is slated to drive Lady Chaos from post four for trainer Linda Toscano. To her immediate right will be Crown runner-up Mazzarati, who will be handled by trainer Lucas Wallin in her first appearance since a third-place finish behind Anoka Hanover in the Kindergarten Classic.

Peaky Sneaky, who upset the recently-retired Party Girl Hill in last year's Breeders Crown for three-year-old pacing fillies and finished second to stablemate Kissin In The Sand in the season-ending TVG Mares Pace, leads a field of six fillies and mares in the 11th qualifier. The now four-year-old daughter of Bettors Delight won her April 17 qualifier in 1:54.2, and has drawn the pole for her second preseason tune-up. Andy McCarthy is listed to drive for trainer Nancy Takter, who also has entered Matron runner-up JK First Lady (post six, Dunn) in the event.

Also of note, Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final champion pacer Rhythm In Motion will compete in the final qualifying race of the session, facing seven other older pacers. James MacDonald, who won the 2017 World Driving Championship, will drive the son of Big Jim for trainer Sara Baillargeon and the partnership of Santo and Nunzio Vena.

First post for the qualifying session is slated for 10 a.m.

To view entries for the qualifying card, click here. For program pages, click here.

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