Record Number of Entries for Breeders’ Crown
The entries for the $6.2 million Breeders Crown events at The Meadowlands Racetrack saw an overflow 174 trotters and pacers in the entry box to qualify for the 12-race finals on Friday, Oct. 28, and Saturday, Oct. 29. This is the highest number of entries in the last five years.
There were 68 2-year-olds and 65 3-year-olds entered, forcing eliminations in all divisions for Saturday (Oct. 22). The record number of entries forced the 2-year-old filly trotters eliminations to be held Friday (Oct. 21). The Mare Pace elims, the only open event to split with 14 entries, will go as scheduled on Friday night.
All 2-year-old finals will go for $600,000, which is the richest purse offered for that age group in North America.
The following open races will go straight to finals on Friday, Oct. 28. Post positions for all open events will be drawn live at The Meadowlands on Friday, Oct. 21. The winners of the Mare Pace elims, as with all elimination winner, will draw by lot for inside posts 1-5.
The $500,000 Open Trot, with nine entered in alphabetical order: Centurion ATM, Crazy Wow, Crescent Fashion, Flanagan Memory, Il Sogno Dream, JL Cruze, Lookslikeachpndale, Resolve, Windsun Revenge.
The $250,000 Mare Trot with eight entered in alphabetical order: Barn Doll, Bee A Magician, Charmed Life, Classical Annie, D’One, Hannelore Hanover, I’m So Fancy, Shake It Cerry.
The $421,000 Open Pace with 10 entered in alphabetical order: All Bets Off, Always B Miki, Americanprimetime, Dealt A Winner, Luck Be Withyou, Mach It So, Melmerby Beach, Shamballa, Split The House, Wiggle It Jiggleit.
Post positions for the 2- and 3-year-old finals will be drawn Saturday, Oct. 22 after the elimination races. Post time is 7:15 p.m. for Breeders Crown elimination nights.
Complete elimination and final fields will be available when elimination draws are finalized.
No elims needed Open Trot (9) Mare Trot (8) Open Pace (10) Friday Breeders Crown elims 2YO Filly Trot (15) Mare Pace (14) Saturday Breeders Crown elims 2YO Colt Pace (17) 2YO Filly Pace (16) 2YO Colt Trot (20) 3YO Colt Pace (16) 3YO Filly Pace (14) 3YO Colt Trot (16) 3YO Filly Trot (19)
Cranbury, NJ – The world’s fastest pacer, Always B Miki, who recently reset the time standard in harness racing to 1:46, leads a group of 39 eligible harness racing pacers for the $400,000 Breeders Crown Pace slated for Friday, Oct. 28, at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Always B Miki, the defending Breeders Crown Pace champion, is one of a record six Breeders Crown champions among the eligible pacers: the 5-year-old son of Always A Virgin is joined by Freaky Feet Pete (2015 sophomore pacing champ); Foiled Again (2013 Open Pace); Luck Be Withyou (2013 freshman champ); McWicked (2014 sophomore champ); and Traceur Hanover (2014 2-year-old-colt pace champ). Both Freaky Feet Pete and McWicked have called it quits this season.
Also eligible is the sensational Shamballa, who was just 1-1/4 lengths back of Always B Miki in that historic 1:46 mile, and also defeated both divisional leaders Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit in a 1:47.1 score in the U.S. Pacing Championship at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day, Aug. 6. Shamballa is driven by the red-hot Scott Zeron, who is having a career year at age 27, having just won the Triple Crown of Trotting with Marion Marauder. Zeron has more than $800,000 in Crown earnings though he is still seeking his first title.
The battle for division supremacy may very well come down to the Breeders Crown, as 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit is not eligible to the program which has stallion eligibility as its cornerstone.
The $400,000 Breeders Crown Pace carries a supplemental tag of $50,000, and supplements are due Monday, Oct. 17, at the Meadowlands race office. The starting fee is included in the supplemental amount, and at least 50 percent of the supplemental money, minus the normal starting fee, is added to the purse of the individual events.
Horses eligible to the Breeders Crown events must enter by 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 18, also at the Meadowlands race office.
Elimination events, if necessary, will be raced on Friday, Oct. 21.
A complete listing of all eligibles to the 12 events and more information on the conditions of the race can be found at www.hambletonian.com.
Previews – By Ken Warkentin, Meadowlands
2YO Filly Trot
Ariana G is a deserving favorite and looks to follow in the footsteps of her older sister All The Time, who won this last year. Jimmy Takter looks for a record eighth win in this division. 18 of 32 winners have sealed division honors, including seven of the last nine. This daughter of Muscle Hill has won eight of nine, including the NJSS Final, Jim Doherty, Champlain, Peaceful Way and International Stallion Stake division in a career best 1:51.4. Muscle Hill also sent out the 2014 winner Mission Brief, who set the stakes record of 1:51.4, and Yannick Gingras guided Takter’s To Dream On to victory in 2012. That’s All Moni, Fine Tuned Lady, Temple Ruins and Chezatter all rate highly.
2YO Colt & Gelding Trot
With his stunning 1:51.3 world record in an International Stallion Stake division, Walner has carried the first crop baton for back-to-back Breeders Crown champion Chapter Seven. The late-blooming Linda Toscano trainee has won four of five starts. NJSS champion What The Hill is trying to join Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill and Father Patrick as the only winners of the Peter Haughton Memorial to also win a Breeders Crown. Seven of nine winners of this event between 2006 and 2014 went on to be the Hambletonian favorite and four of them won. Devious Man, Southwind Cobra, Snowstorm Hanover, King On The Hill and Signal Hill all deserve a long look in this highly competitive division.
3YO Filly Trot
Hambletonian Oaks champion and 2015 Breeders Crown winner All The Time has bounced back from colic surgery to qualify for Jimmy Takter, who has won the last two editions with Wild Honey  and Shake It Cerry . Oaks runner up Caprice Hill has remained prominent on the Grand Circuit, but will have to rebound off a badly beaten tenth in the Elegantimage as the heavy favorite. Broadway Donna won the Kentucky Filly Futurity in straight heats. Flowers N Songs was an upset winner of the Zweig and Royal Charm was a 33-1 bomb in the Elegantimage.
3YO Colt & Gelding Trot
Hambletonian Hero Marion Marauder sealed his division sweeping the Trotting Triple Crown. In fact, the leading money winning trotter of 2016 has a serious shot at Horse of the Year for trainer Paula Wellwood. Mack Lobell, Malabar Man and Muscle Hill all won this enroute to Horse of the Year honors. Scott Zeron looks to cap his dream season of firsts with his initial Breeders Crown trophy. 2015 Crown champion Southwind Frank just missed in the Hambletonian and Kentucky Futurity. Bar Hopping counts the Zweig and Canadian Trotting Classic to his credit. That son of Muscle Hill would give Jimmy Takter a record six wins in this event. Last year, Takter’s The Bank pulled a 14-1 upset over 1-5 stablemate Pinkman.
Hannelore Hanover has been the dominant queen of her division, winning 15 of 17 for trainer Ron Burke, who won this back-to-back with Buck I St Pat. The Indiana-sired four-year-old by Swan For All also has Horse of the Year aspirations. With Yannick Gingras in the bike, she scored major victories against the boys in the Hambletonian Maturity and Centaur Trotting Classic. The $1.2 million winner drew the rail in the Yonkers International and may take on the males in the Breeders Crown Open Trot. Two-time Breeders Crown champion and 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician has come back from injury and qualified. Last year’s winner D One kicked off a record five-win night for Dave Miller and may return. Last year’s runner up, back-to-back Breeders Crown champion and 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry has been a solid second to Hannelore Hanover on three occasions this season.
With post two in the Yonkers International, division leader Resolve drew alongside Hannelore Hanover. This Muscle Hill five-year-old won the Cutler, Cashman and Maple Leaf Trot, and was second in the Elitlopp and Crawford Farms for Ake Svanstedt. There could be a rematch with Hannelore Hanover in this year’s Open Trot. The consistent Obrigado would have to supplement. That six-year-old millionaire drew post six in the Yonkers International, and won the Maxie Lee, Charlie Hill, Cleveland Classic, Crawford Farms and Dayton Derby. Flanagan Memory has post four in the Yonkers Trot. That son of Kadabra won the Allerage Farms over Crazy Wow and JL Cruze. Mack Lobell, Moni Maker, San Pail and Chapter Seven all won this enroute to Horse of the Year. Commander Crowe became the oldest to win a Breeders Crown at age 11 in 2014, while equaling the stakes record of 1:51
2016 Breeders Crown Preview – Pacers
2YO Filly Pace
With seven wins and three seconds in ten career starts, Idyllic Beach is the clear leader in this division for trainer Jimmy Takter, who sent out 2015 winner Pure Country to a perfect ten-for-ten season. Takter’s See You At Peelers completed a 13-for-13 season winning this Crown event in 2010. Takter also won this with Uffizi Hanover in 2013. Takter’s daughter Nancy Johansson had 2014 winner JK She’salady, who capped a 15-for-15 Horse of the Year campaign. Idyllic Beach, a daughter of 2008 Breeders Crown champion Somebeachsomewhere, has been a star in PASS, and won the She’s A Great Lady in 1:50.3, the Kentuckiana and an International Stallion Stake division. Roaring To Go upset Idyllic Beach in a Bluegrass division. Agent Q upset Idyllic Beach in the PASS Final and was second in the She’s A Great Lady.
2YO Colt & Gelding Pace
By setting mile-track world records of 1:49 in their respective International Stallion Stake divisions, Huntsville and Downbytheseaside, one-two finishers in the PASS Final, have stamped themselves as major players in this wide-open division. Huntsville went two-for-two at The Red Mile for trainer Ray Schnittker. Downbytheseaside, also a son of Somebeachsomewhere, is trained by Brain Brown, and that colt also won both Grand Circuit events in Lexington. Ocean Colony won a Metro elimination. Ideal Wheel finished third in the Metro. Boogie Shuffle, Chip Walther, Normandy Beach, Mcthriller, R J P and Blood Line were all prominent during The Red Mile Grand Circuit Meet.
3YO Filly Pace
This division has been a real shootout all season between Pure Country, L A Delight, Call Me Queen Be, Darlinonthebeach and Blue Moon Stride. Last year’s undefeated Dan Patch Award winner Pure Country has wins in the Miss PA, Fan Hanover, James Lynch, Simcoe and a Tattersalls division for Jimmy Takter. OSS star L A Delight won the Nadia Lobell and Jugette Final. PASS champion Call Me Queen Be won a Jugette heat, was second in that final, then took a Tattersalls division. Darlinonthebeach won the Shady Daisy, Valley Vorge and divisions of the Bluegrass and Tattersalls. NJSS champion Blue Moon Stride won the Mistletoe Shalee, Miss New Jersey and a Bluegrass division. This event could likely settle year-end honors.
3YO Colt & Gelding Pace
If Betting Line wins this Breeders Crown does the son of Bettor’s Delight deserve Horse of the Year? The Casie Coleman trainee has reeled off 13 in a row, including the North America Cup, Carl Millstein, Battle of Brandywine and Little Brown Jug, and is a close second in earnings this season just behind Wiggle It Jiggleit. He is by far the fastest three-year-old of the year with a 1:47.2 world record at Pocono Downs. Racing Hill has fashioned a $1.3 million season for Tony Alagna, winning the Hempt, Adios, Messenger and an American Ideal division. Control The Moment won the Meadowlands Pace and Cane Pace. Check Six won the PA Classic, PASS Final and a Bluegrass division. In 2014, Always B Miki and Limelight Beach were both scratched from this event, and Mcwicked was able to seal the division for Casie Coleman.
Lady Shadow has dominated this division with major wins in the Roses Are Red, Golden Girls, Lady Liberty and Milton. The Ontario-sired millionaire by Shadow Play, trained by Ron Adams, has been driven by Yannick Gingras and James MacDonald, and will be looking for a bounce-back effort in this Breeders Crown, while returning to a track she loves. On October 9, she set the pace and faded to eighth as the heavy favorite in the Allerage Farms at The Red Mile. Solar Sister upset Lady Shadow in the Artiscape and finished second in both the Golden Girls and Lady Liberty, the latter two at a mile and one eighth. Yagonnakissmeornot won the Bluechip Matchmaker Final and was second in the Milton. This event has produced upsets in the last three editions with Color’s A Virgin and Shelliscape winning it back-to-back. Both Eternal Camnation and Anndrovette have won it twice.
So, with Marion Marauder, Hannelore Hanover and Betting Line all with their hats in the ring for Horse of the Year, let’s add two more from this category: Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jigglit. Always B Miki’s amazing comeback story continued this season for trainer Jimmy Takter, winning the Mohawk Gold Cup, Ben Franklin, Haughton, Ewart, Hoosier Park Derby and world record 1:46 in the Allerage Farms. The six-year-old Indiana-sired son of Always A Virgin would make a strong case if he can score his second straight Breeders Crown, and especially if he can outmuscle arch-rival Wiggle It Jigglit. Last year, Always B Miki capped a record Breeders Crown Night for Dave Milller  and Jimmy Takter . On the other side, defending Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit has a chance to make history, but his connections must pay the supplemental fee. This Indiana-sired four-year-old by Mr Wiggles is the sport’s leading money winner this season at $1.5 million, with major victories in the Battle of Lake Erie, Mullin, Graduate, Gerrity, Dan Patch, Canadian Pacing Derby, Quillen and Dayton Derby. The potential marquee match up would produce plenty of hype, fireworks and a possible Horse of the Year defining moment.