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Handicapper Blog

Posted by Ken Warkentin on Monday, September 24, 2012 10:42 AM

For almost three decades, Breeders Crown Night has set the stage for harness racing’s definite year-end championships.  The sport’s top stars in all 12 divisions will compete on one blockbuster program for the second straight year at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday, October 27.  Big money, prestige and major impact on voting for divisional honors and Horse of the Year are all on the line & great moments abound. 

That’s why it all comes down to the Breeders Crown. 

Here’s a preview of some of the prime time players going into the Grand Circuit meet at Lexington for 2012. 

 

In the 2YO Filly Trot division, Bee A Magician and To Dream On could hook up in a rematch.  Bee A Magician handed To Dream On her first career loss with a relentless rally in the Peaceful Way Final at Mohawk.  Rick Zeron gave the Kadabra filly a great drive to gun down the heavy favorite in 1:53.4 for trainer Nifty Norman.  To Dream On had won her first five starts for Jimmy Takter, which included a 1:54 Big M track record in the Merrie Annabelle. 

 

The 2YO Colt Trot division had an undefeated colt going into the William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk, and Wheeling N Dealin extended his streak to seven in a row with a dominating 1:55.3 score for Sylvain Filion and trainer Dustin Jones.  The Magestic Son colt defeated Murmur Hanover and elimination winner My Man Can.  Peter Haughton Memorial upsetter Aperfectyankee didn’t make the final.  Jimmy Takter will look to win this Crown trophy again with NJSS champion Corky and half-mile track world champion Dontyouforgetit.  

 

The 2YO Filly Pace division was shaping up as a late-season tussle between L Dees Lioness and I Luv The Nitelife.  L Dees Lioness fought off I Luv The Nitelife to win the Champlain Stakes at Mohawk in 1:51.4, right after I Luv The Nitelife beat her in the She’s A Great Lady Final in 1:51.  I Luv The Nitelife, a Rocknroll Hanover filly trained by Chris Ryder, set a world record of 1:50.1 in her She’s A Great Lady elimination. Casie Coleman trains L Dees Lioness, from the great first crop of Somebeachsomewhere.  Trainer Tony Alagna also has a pair of contenders in Authorize and Nikki Beach.  

 

Not only does it appear Captaintreacherous has a lock on the 2YO Colt Pace division, this outstanding freshman from the tremendous first crop of Somebeachsomewhere has looked like the sport’s next superstar.  He’s won five of six, three in sub 1:50 fashion, including a stakes record equaling 1:49.2 in the Metro Final at Mohawk, after taking his elimination in 1:49.3 for Tim Tetrick and trainer Tony Alagna.  Captaintreacherous also won the Woodrow Wilson is a stakes record of 1:49.3.  Vegas Vacation, Apprentice Hanover, Johny Rock & Doctor Butch are among those who definitely have their work cut out for them. 

 

The 3YO Filly Trot division looks like a lock for Check Me Out, who is a leading candidate for Horse of the Year.  The outstanding daughter of  Donato Hanover reeled off a world record of 1:51.3 in the Del Miller Memorial at the Meadowlands for Tim Tetrick and trainer Ray Schnittker.  Check Me Out has equaled that twice in the Zweig at Vernon Downs and the PASS Final at Pocono Downs.  Hambletonian Oaks upsetter Personal Style, Maven, Bluff, Win Missy B, Valdonna, Superstar Hanover and Miss Paris all have a tall mountain to climb. 

 

Another lucrative campaign for Tim Tetrick and the storybook season for trainer Linda Toscano could culminate into a Crowning moment in the 3YO Colt Trot with Hambletonian champion Market Share.  The son of Revenue equaled the stakes record of 1:52.2 in the Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk, defeating Jimmy Takter stablemates Little Brown Fox and Guccio.  Tetrick joined John Campbell and Bill O’Donnell as the only drivers to win three million-dollar races in a single season.  Archangel, Knows Nothing, and My MVP are also among the top contenders.  World champion Goo Goo Gaa Gaa would have to be supplemented. 

 

The 3YO Filly Pace may belong to American Jewel, who set a world record of 1:48.2 in the Fan Hanover Final at Mohawk for Tim Tetrick and trainer Jimmy Takter.  The Brittany Farms owned and bred daughter of American Ideal also set a stakes record of 1:49.4 in the Simcoe Stakes and won the James Lynch Memorial in 1:49.2 at Pocono Downs.  American Jewel got roughed up in the Jugette as trainer Ron Burke finished one-two with Darena Hanover and Bettor B Lucky.  Mistletoe Shalee winner Major Look, NYSS champion Romantic Moment and 2YO Breeders Crown champion Economy Terror will all have a say in this division. 

 

Despite not being eligible to the Breeders Crown, yet still a possible supplemental entry, Michael’s Power surged to the top of the fiercely competitive glamour boy division with his second two-heat win of the season in the Little Brown Jug.  23yo Scott Zeron deftly guided the Camluck gelding through a 1:52.3 elimination, then went wire-to-wire in a world record 1:50 in the final, defeating first elimination winner & 2YO Breeders Crown champion Sweet Lou.  Casie Coleman has trained Michael’s Power through a million dollar season.  Panther Hanover, the New Jersey Classic winner in 1:47.2, Meadowlands Pace winner A Rocknroll Dance, the speedy Hurrikane Kingcole, 1:47.4 Adios world record setter Bolt The Duer, 1:47.4 North America Cup winner Thinking Out Loud, Pet Rock, Heston Blue Chip and Dapper Dude all have a serious shot at Crown glory.  

 

The Older Trotting Mares division features a big threat to repeat in Ontario hometown hero Frenchfrysnvinegar.  The 7YO Angus Hall mare served notice by going all the way in the Miss Versatility Final at Delaware in 1:54, just three fifths off a world record.  Jody Jamieson teamed up with trainer Jeff Gillis, who’s supplemental gamble paid off last year despite post 10.  3YO Breeders Crown champion Cedar Dove had to settle for third in Ohio, Beatgoeson Hanover was fourth, last year’s Crown runner-up Action-Broadway finished sixth. 

    

The Older Pacing Mares division has been a season-long slugfest between defending Breeders Crown champion Anndrovette, the fastest female of all-time Put On A Show, Golden Girls winner Rebeka Bayama and another world champion Drop The Ball.  The Milton Stakes Final at Mohawk only served to scramble the picture further.  Fast fractions, a closer’s bias and road trouble for several key rivals paved the way for a longshot rally from Rocklamation.  The 4YO daughter of Rocknroll Hanover became the sport’s newest millionaire by lowering the stakes record to 1:49.4 for Brett Miller and trainer Ron Burke. 

 

Horse of the Year contender Chapter Seven posted an unprecedented start to his 4yo season with back-to-back world records of 1:50.4, then lowered it to 1:50.1 in the Nat Ray for Tim Tetrick and trainer Linda Toscano.  After setting a stakes record of 1:52.1 in the Maxie Lee, the son of Windsong’s Legacy suffered a narrow loss to Hot Shot Blue Chip in the Credit Winner at Vernon Downs.  Chapter Seven also had to settle for second to Ontario star Mister Herbie in the Maple Leaf Trot.  So with triple millionaire Arch Madness back in winning form, and defending champion San Pail sidelined by injury, an epic showdown looms in the Breeders Crown for Older Trotting Horses.    

 

The Breeders Crown for Older Pacers might not only be the race of the night, but the race of the year.  Last year’s runner-up Foiled Again pulled a 1:48.3 upset in the Canadian Pacing Derby over 2011 3YO Crown champion Betterthancheddar and last year’s Open Crown winner Bettor Sweet.  The richest pacer in history at $4.4 million would become the oldest pacer to win a Crown at age eight.  At age seven, the amazing Golden Receiver has won Presidential, Spring Championship, Graduate, US Pacing Championship and William Haughton Memorial.  We Will See, at $2.5 million and third in last year’s Crown, can’t be left out.  

 

That’s our preview of the 2012 Breeders Crown before the stars emerge during two weeks of Grand Circuit action at The Red Mile, Crown eliminations are Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22, and once again, all 12 finals are Saturday, October 27 at Woodbine, the stage is set for the Kings and Queens of the Crown, watch and wager on Breeders Crown Night at the Meadowlands Racetrack, Winners Bayonne and online at 4njbets.com  

 



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Ken
Warkentin

Ken Warkentin has been a member of the award-winning broadcast team at Meadowlands Racetrack as the Track Announcer and television commentator for 25 years. Ken has appeared on national television networks such as ESPN, called 15 editions of the $1 million Hambletonian, and worked as a member of the broadcast team for NBC Sports and CBS Sports.

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