The Breeders' Crown
North America's best two and three year old harness horses gathered at Woodbine on Friday night for the Breeders' Crown. Like its Thoroughbred counterpart, the Breeders' Cup, the Breeders' Crown was instituted by the Hambletonian Society in 1984 with the objective of stimulating public awareness of racing and uniting the sport's stars in a finale to the racing season, settling the year-end championships on the track. However, a distinct difference between them is that the older horse events are held on a different date and site as the 2 and 3 year old events.
The night started off with the Two Year Old Filly Trot. Huge favorite Cameron Hall did not disappoint her backers under the reins of driver Mike Lachance. Leaving alertly from the 6 post, she led every step of the way en route to a 1 3/4 length win over Emotional Rescue in a final time of 1:57 3/5. It was her fourth win in 5 starts. The race was delayed for several minutes after the judges ruled a recall, but it obviously didn't affect the heavy favorite in the restart. Lachance explains, "She's a green filly and the recall didn't help. She got a little hyper and I was afraid I was going to have a hard time to get away at the gate. In the stretch, when I asked her, she had more in the tank and she showed some class."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 7 Cameron Hall Lachance 3.10 2.60 2.30 4 Emotional Rescue Ouellette 4.20 3.40 3 Missys Goalfire Johnson 9.90 EXACTOR (7-4) paid 12.10 TRIACTOR (7-4-3) paid 112.90 Winning Time: 1:57.3Results Chart
Cameron Hall and Mike Lachance drawing away for the victory in the Two Year Old Filly Trot.
The Two Year Old Filly Pace brought the first longshot result of the day, with 7-1 shot Cam Swifty coming from off the pace to get up for a 3/4 length win over 10-1 shot Roaring Good Time. Early pacesetter Northern Sky was third and odds-on favorite Worldly Beauty was fourth, suffering from a wide trip. The win was Cam Swifty's ninth in 11 starts. Driver James Meittinis said, "It worked out well, a nice half in 55. They were speeding a bit up front and we worked up a nice third over trip and she just blasted home. She was excellent. Trainer Don Swick has done a tremendous job keeping this filly fit and happy."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 4 Cam Swifty Meittinis 16.80 6.40 3.60 1 Roaring Good Time Magee 9.80 4.20 3 Northern Sky Lachance 3.30 DAILY DOUBLE (7-4) paid 28.40 EXACTOR (4-1) paid 98.20 TRIACTOR (4-1-3) paid 442.60 Winning Time: 1:52.4 (New Track Record)Results Chart
The trophy presentation for Cam Swifty, winner of the Two Year Old Filly Pace in track record time of 1:52.4.
Huge payoffs lit up the board after the Two Year Old Colt Trot, as the locals had their first win of the day. Then-undefeated Andover Hall, sent off as a prohibitive 1-9 favorite, went off-stride at the start. Driver John Campbell was unable to get him back on stride and he finished dead last. 9-1 chance Mo Monet Hanover set the early pace before giving way in the stretch to the hard driving 34-1 shot Duke Of York and Whitesand Titan. However, Whitesand Titan had interfered with Chips Nino during the stretch drive and was disqualified to seventh. With the DQ, the longest shot on the board and fourth place finisher O U Man moved up to third, resulting in an $18,379.90 trifecta. Winning trainer John Bax said, "I knew he was a champion when he crossed the finish line. When the 1-9 shot makes a break, you couldn't ask for a better script." John Campbell said of his beaten favorite, "He threw his head behind the gate and got jammed up. It's very uncharacteristic and he picked a very unfortunate time to do it."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 6 Duke Of York Macdonell 70.30 21.70 24.90 1 Mo Monet Hanover Lindstedt 8.80 11.70 8 O U Man Condren 64.00 EXACTOR (6-1) paid 520.90 TRIACTOR (6-1-8) paid 18,379.90 WIN THREE (7-4-6) paid 746.30 Winning Time: 1:57.3Results Chart
It was a tight finish in the Two Year Old Colt Trot with Duke of York in the middle, Mo Monet Hanover on the rail, and O U Man on the outside.
Fourth race of the night was the Three Year Old Colt Trot. Supplemental entry Liberty Balance did not disappoint as the odds-on favorite, going gate to wire and holding off the late charge of Pegasus Spur in deep stretch, in a running time of 1:55. An ecstatic Randall Waples, celebrating his first Cup win, said, "It's been a while coming. He seems to race his best in front. He relaxes up there. I just wanted to give him a fair chance. If he got beat, he got beat." Winning trainer Pat Hunt said, "Seems like it [supplemental entry fee] was a good investment right about now. He had things a little easy on the front end early in the race and I expected to have enough horse left in the stretch."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 4 Liberty Balance Waples 3.50 2.50 2.70 7 Pegasus Spur Lachance 4.00 3.40 1 Norvelous Hanover Christoforou 5.70 EXACTOR (4-7) paid 15.60 TRIACTOR (4-7-1) paid 100.40 WIN THREE (4-6-4) paid 828.75 Winning Time: 1:55Results Chart
Liberty Balance and Ron Waples speed on to victory in the Three Year Old Colt Trot.
Next was the Two Year Old Colt Pace, the richest race of the night with $620,000 up for grabs. Perennial champion driver John Campbell, winless in Crown events since 1998, finally broke his losing streak behind Western Shooter, following a thrilling stretch duel with even money favorite Mach Three. The running time was 1:51, equalling the track record. Winning trainer Bob McIntosh said, "He's just like a big kid. He has a world of talent but he just seems to get himself in trouble. John [Campbell] said last week if we just can get position we can show the world what he can really do. He got the position, and he showed the world."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 5 Western Shooter Campbell 10.00 4.30 3.20 3 Mach Three Waples 2.70 2.40 2 Three Olives Hiteman 3.30 EXACTOR (5-3) paid 30.80 TRIACTOR (5-3-2) paid 98.70 WIN THREE (4-5-5) paid 92.65 Winning Time: 1:51 (Equalled Track Record)Results Chart
Another close finish in the Two Year Old Colt Pace with winner Western Shooter on the outside of Mach Three with Three Olives just behind.
Campbell made it two in a row with his win behind Syrinx Hanover in the Three Year Old Filly Trot. Stalking the pace in fourth for the first half mile, Campbell made his move on the final turn and by mid stretch had gained the lead from the tiring pacesetter Yankee Fribble and drew off to a four length win in 1:55 1/5, with late charging Fun and Strikes finishing second. Driver John Campbell said, "I feel privileged to able to drive her. She's just very easy to drive. When you ask her to go, she does. She's very relaxed. And she makes my job so easy."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 1 Syrinx Hanover Campbell 2.60 2.10 2.10 9 Fun And Strokes Ouellette 4.40 3.40 7 True Diva Lachance 8.70 EXACTOR (1-9) paid 8.90 TRIACTOR (1-9-7) paid 140.50 WIN THREE (5-5-1) paid 86.50 WIN FOUR (4-5-5-1) paid 232.35 Winning Time: 1:51Results Chart
Syrinx Hanover and John Campbell all alone at the finish of the Three Year Old Filly Trot.
The win pushed Campbell's career earnings over the $200 million mark, making him the first harness driver in history to reach that milestone. Crediting his father Jack, who is recovering from recent surgery, for all of his success. "He taught me all the horsemanship I still rely on today.
It was business as usual for Bunny Lake in the Three Year Old Filly Trot, as she scored her sixteenth consecutive win as the deserving 2-5 favorite. Under the reins of driver-trainer John Stark, the daughter of champion Precious Bunny fought off the early pace challenges of Sand Slicorice and Cathedra Dot Com. Dismissing them and taking the lead once and for all at the top of the stretch, she gained a 2 length lead at that point and held off Cathedra Dot Com's late rush for the 3/4 length win in 1:52 4/5. Stark said, "I have no idea how she does it, week after week, travelling, everything. She was grabbing on, she didn't want to give up the lead that quick. But I wasn't worried about getting trapped. There was a big gap behind us. For her to go this long, I never would have figured she would be this sharp at this time of year. It's amazing she can keep doing it." The win was Stark's first in the Breeders' Crown and pushed Bunny Lake into the millionaire's club, with earnings of over $1.3 million.
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 1 Bunny Lake Stark 2.80 2.30 2.10 2 Cathedra Dot Com Miller 2.90 2.50 4 Raging Heart Ouellette 5.80 EXACTOR (1-2) paid 4.20 SUPERFECTA (1-2-4-5) paid 542.25 TRIACTOR (1-2-4) paid 28.70 WIN THREE (5-1-1) paid 11.95 Winning Time: 1:52.4Results Chart
Bunny Lake notches her 17th victory in 19 starts this year in the Three Year Old Filly Trot.
It has absolutely been a dream season, said Arthur Spring who, along with his wife Wendy, comprise the W Springtime Racing Stable who have been owners for nearly 30 years, primarily with claiming horses, but who are living the dream of a lifetime with Bunny Lake.
The finale of the night was the Three Year Old Colt Pace and the expected rematch of Bettors Delight, winner of the North America Cup and the Little Brown Jug, and Meadowlands Pace winner Real Desire. Catching everyone off guard, John Campbell quickly rushed Real Desire to the front early and blistered an early quarter in 25 3/5, and would go on to win gate to wire in a solid 1:50. Bettors Delight raced in third most of the way around and tired at the end to a disappointing fourth place finish as the odds on favorite. The win was Campbell's third of the night. Trainer Blair Burgess said, "It feels pretty good. They heard me screaming in the paddock, I'm sure. It was a surprise one [Campbell's drive]. There were a good group of horses behind him. And he had to battle hard to the end. It's very sweet because the competition has been so tough with Bettors Delight all year. It's that much more special just to beat a good horse like that."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 5 Real Desire Campbell 6.40 4.30 3.10 1B Lotsa Clout Miller 4.70 4.30 1 Bagel Beach Boy Ouellette 4.30 EXACTOR (5-1B) paid 23.30 TRIACTOR (5-1B-1) paid 33.20 WIN THREE (1-1-5) paid 6.25 Winning Time: 1:50Results Chart
Real Desire holds off Lotsa Clout to win the Three Year Old Colt Pace.
More Breeders' Crown info:
- Breeders' Crown site - articles for each race here
- Race recaps - from USTA
- Results charts - from Woodbine
- Video replays of each race - from USTA
Photos ©2001 Cindy Pierson Dulay, licensed to About.
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