Trainer Bill Robinson and driver John Campbell celebrate their win in the 3-year-old Colt & Gelding Pace with Art Major. It was Campbell's second win on the card.
Harness racing's championship day, the Breeders' Crown, was run on Saturday night at Woodbine. Eight divisions were contested, each at the standard distance of one mile around the fast track. The contestants faced a stiff 20-mile an hour head wind down the stretch with temperatures in the 40's along with intermittent showers and sleet. The world's best drivers were represented, with perennial leader John Campbell and fellow Meadowlands-based driver Luc Ouellette each capturing two events.
The evening started off with the $769,206 Two-Year-Old Filly Trot. Luc Ouellette and his drive, 5-2 second choice Pick Me Up, went gate to wire in a time of 1:57 3/5. Coming out of the 8 hole, Ouellette quickly hustled her up to the front and then slowed the field down to a 3/4 time of 1:27.1 before picking up the pace late to hold off the closing charge of Filly At Bigs by half a length. 6-5 favorite Graceful Touch could only manage fourth. Winning trainer Darren McCall said, "I knew if she could get out on the front she would be OK. I was worried about her fading at the end if she had to cut it. We always knew she was good and had a high turn of speed."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 8 Pick Me Up Ouellette 7.00 4.70 4.00 6 Filly At Bigs Lachance 6.60 6.50 3 Delmartha Miller 7.20 EXACTOR (8-6) paid 45.00 TRIACTOR (8-6-3) paid 378.60 Winning Time: 1:57.3Results Chart
Pick Me Up was joined in the winner's circle by her pet goat. Her trainer said about the goat: "Her (Pick Me Up) manners worried us. She was getting very hot and she walked in the stall and was too nervous. She wouldn't eat. Someone mentioned maybe getting her a companion and they got her a goat. She then cleaned up every oat and was much better. They can't be separated and call to each other all the time. They are so funny - the horse is the boss but they can't do without each other. Like a marriage, I guess."
Luc Ouellette made it two wins in a row when he captured the $829,047 Two-Year-Old Filly Pace with Armbro Amoretto. Taking over the lead after the first time past the stands, the 4-1 shot would hold a good 1 3/4 length lead all the way around the track, holding off the late run of Gordons Jin Ms for the 1/4 length win. 6-5 favorite Remember When came on too late and finished third. Winning trainer Dave Smith said, "I had faith in her for sure. You know what makes her good? $13,000 [her yearling price]. I liked her all along and she's never had any kind of problems. She's healthy and sound. I'll jog her Monday to make sure everything's OK and then she's done for the year."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 3 Armbro Amoretto Ouelette 10.40 6.40 3.30 6 Gordons Jin Ms Ledford 10.30 4.10 5 Remember When Christoforou 2.40 DAILY DOUBLE (8-3) paid 27.50 EXACTOR (3-6) paid 79.70 TRIACTOR (3-6-5) paid 198.50 Winning Time: 1:53Results Chart
Armbro Amoretto out front in the 2-year-old Filly Pace. Winning driver Ouellette said, "I thought I'd get a two-hole trip with her, but there was a little action early. I moved her back to the front. She is good up there, so we tried it. We paced down in 28.3 [final quarter time] into this wind, which is very good."
In the $754,761 Two-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot, the undefeated Broadway Hall with regular driver John Campbell extended his win streak to nine with a dominating 3 1/4 length win as the prohibitive 1-2 favorite. Campbell patiently waited with his colt back in 3rd, 4 lengths off the early pace of 3-1 second choice Bertolio, then got to the center of the track and charged hard down the stretch, completing the mile in 1:57 2/5. Broadway Hall is trained by John Campbell's brother Jim, who said, "He's just such a great horse. He has a great determination to win. He overcomes a lot of things that ordinary horses would have a problem with. When he gets to the racetrack, he comes here to win. When you get a horse like this, it's very rare that you get one that has the determination this horse has. He loves to come to race. The horse makes me look good." John Campbell added, "It's always fun racing and working together with Jim. We've been together a while."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 4 Broadway Hall Campbell 3.00 2.50 2.10 7 Livorno Miller 15.40 7.20 8 Constable Condren 3.70 EXACTOR (4-7) paid 58.70 TRIACTOR (4-7-8) paid 367.70 WIN THREE (8-3-4) paid 24.55 Winning Time: 1:57.2Results Chart
In the $861,111 Three-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot, the huge 1-2 favorite Kadabra did not disappoint his backers. Stalking in the pocket about 2 lengths behind second choice Like A Prayer through the first lap around the track, driver David Miller angled him out in the stretch and passed his pacesetting rival easily, drawing off to a 1 3/4 length victory in a time of 1:54 1/5. The win was the Jim Takter trainee's fourth in a row, including wins in the Canadian Trotting Classic and his Crown elimination last weekend. Driver David Miller said, "Like A Prayer is a very nice horse, you know. I was in a very good spot. My horse seemed a little stronger tonight. You have to give a lot of credit to Jim Takter. He's done a great job keeping him sharp and that is a hard thing to do this time of year. Sure, [winning] is special with this horse. He's been going all year long. I was hoping he'd get there tonight."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 8 Kadabra Miller 3.10 2.20 2.10 7 Like A Prayer Pierce 2.70 2.40 10 Civil Action Lachance 5.00 EXACTOR (8-7) paid 4.50 TRIACTOR (8-7-10) paid 27.00 WIN THREE (3-4-8) paid 12.30 Winning Time: 1:54.1Results Chart
The richest event of the evening, the $943,809 Two-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace, gave longshot backers a reason to celebrate, as the 19-1 outsider Totally Western gave his trainer and co-owner Bill Wallace and driver Mario Baillargeon their first Breeders' Crown wins. 6-5 favorite and elimination winner Allamerican Native set very fast early fractions while Totally Western stayed two lengths back in second. After 3/4 in 1:22 2/5 Baillargeon sent Totally Western all out and he blew right by the pacesetter with a furlong to go, winning by 5 1/4 lengths. Driver Baillargeon said, "He was still strong at the three-quarters. I looked behind and we were about five, six lengths away from the field so I thought we had a good shot there."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 6 Totally Western Baillargeon 40.70 9.90 4.20 9 Allamerican Native Brennan 3.80 2.70 3 Whatanartist Campbell 2.90 EXACTOR (6-9) paid 176.50 TRIACTOR (6-9-3) paid 391.70 Winning Time: 1:52.3Results Chart
Cameron Hall came to Woodbine looking for her second Breeders' Crown win, and she got it in the $861,111 Three-Year-Old Filly Trot. Settling in third after leading the field the first time by the stands, the 8-5 favorite got stuck in traffic at the top of the stretch. Driver Trevor Ritchie was desperately looking for an opening, and when the inside opened up, he took it and Cameron Hall quickly accelerated through to get 1/2 length clear at the line in a time of 1:55 4/5. Ritchie said, "I have been pretty lucky (with trotters) the last few years. I have been driving some pretty good trotters and that makes my job pretty easy. I figured the outside two likely would be leaving hard so I wanted to get a pretty good position, I really wanted to follow (driver) John (Campbell, on Lissome Hanover). I was hoping the racing gods were going to be working for me and they did. Trainer Robert Stewart did a fabulous job on this mare. This mare got a little bit tired mid-summer. He freshened her up, brought her back and she is as good as ever."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 8 Cameron Hall Ritchie 5.30 3.70 2.60 6 Dig That Girl Condren 11.90 5.80 2 Sturdy Lori Christoforou 4.00 EXACTOR (8-6) paid 75.20 TRIACTOR (8-6-2) paid 405.10 WIN THREE (8-6-8) paid 874.65 WIN FOUR (8-8-6-8) paid 3128.15 Winning Time: 1:55.4Results Chart
Bettors looking for a big payday got it in the $793,650 Three-Year-Old Filly Pace. The shortest odds on the board all night was Worldly Beauty, sent off at 2-5, off of her record this year of 10 wins and 2 seconds from 12 starts. Getting the lead after a half mile and holding it most of the way around the track, it looked like she was on her way to another easy win. But coming on the outside from as far back as 8th early on was the 49-1 shot Allamerican Nadia, who caught the big favorite at the line for a 1/2 length win in a career best time of 1:53. Interestingly, Worldly Beauty was also the heavy favorite in last year's Two-Year-Old Filly Pace and also disappointed by finishing fourth. Winning driver Chris Christoforou Jr. said, "It was clear sailing the whole way. [After] a lot of seconds and thirds [tonight] I was really wanting to win one."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 2 Allamerican Nadia Christoforou 99.90 19.50 10.10 1 Worldly Beauty Ouellette 2.30 2.10 10 Lady Graceful Campbell 6.70 EXACTOR (2-1) paid 291.80 SUPERFECTA (2-1-10-6) paid 17026.40 TRIACTOR (2-1-10) paid 4010.50 WIN THREE (6-8-2) paid 19533.90 Winning Time: 1:53Results Chart
Allamerican Nadia was a shocking upset winner over heavy favorite Worldly Beauty in the 3-year-old Filly Pace. Here she is in the post parade as she won on the far outside and that picture just didn't turn out.
In the final event of the night, the $793,650 Three-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace, another heavy favorite came out on top. John Campbell drove the 4-5 choice Art Major to an easy gate to wire victory over some tough competition in the form of fellow Bill Robinson trainees Red River Hanover and Mach Three. But the Cane Pace and Confederation Cup winner was not to be denied, easily holding off elimination winner and 5-2 second choice McArdle by a 1-1/2 lengths in 1:51. Trainer Robinson said, "I have had an awful good bunch of them, but this guy's kind of come up to the plate the last month or so. He was pretty near unbeatable tonight. It's a real good mile with that wind, I think. I think he's the cream of the crop right now."
# Horse Driver Win Place Show 2 Art Major Campbell 3.60 7.40 2.30 7 McArdle Lachance 3.40 3.30 8 Allamerican Ingot Miller 5.90 EXACTOR (2-7) paid 6.80 TRIACTOR (2-7-8) paid 49.20 Winning Time: 1:51Results Chart
Favorite Art Major was a wire-to-wire winner in the 3-year-old Colt & Gelding Pace. Driver John Campbell said: "He has been great. The second half of the season, he just hasn't gone a bad race at all. He's a very easy horse to drive, he gets out of the gate so well and when he controls things, he is tough to get by. He felt strong, I knew the horse in behind, McArdle, had a lot of pace too. I didn't want him to get out too early. But I was very happy with my horse, he went a real strong race. 1:51 is a very good mile out there tonight."
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 ©2002 Cindy Pierson Dulay, licensed to About.