Four previous champions will be in action Friday (Oct. 20) as the road to this year’s Breeders Crown finals begins with eliminations for female trotters and pacers at Hoosier Park Casino & Racing. Eliminations for male trotters and pacers will be contested Saturday. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) both nights.
A total of 166 horses entered this year’s $6 million Breeders Crown, nearly equaling the 174 horses in 2016. The finals for the female trotters and pacers will be held Friday (Oct. 27), and the finals for the male trotters and pacers are Saturday (Oct. 28) at Hoosier Park.
All of the divisions for female trotters and pacers require eliminations with the exception of the $250,000 Mare Trot. That race attracted five horses, which are, in alphabetical order: Caprice Hill, Emoticon Hanover, Flowers N Songs, Pasithea Face S, and Pink Pistol. All five will advance directly to the Oct. 27 final. The draw for the Mare Trot will be held this weekend.
Hannelore Hanover, who won last year’s Mare Trot, was entered in this year’s Open Trot against the boys.
The $250,000 Mare Pace received 13 entrants, including past Breeders Crown winners Call Me Queen Be, Lady Shadow, and Pure Country. The top five finishers from two $25,000 eliminations will advance to the final.
Lady Shadow won last year’s Mare Pace and Call Me Queen Be was last season’s 3-year-old champion. Pure Country won her Crown in 2015 as a 2-year-old. Shelliscape was the most recent horse to win consecutive Mare Pace titles, in 2013 and 2014. No 3-year-old filly pacing champion has ever returned to capture a Crown at 4.
Another returning champion, Ariana G, leads a group of 11 in the Breeders Crown event for 3-year-old female trotters. Twelve horses are needed to split a division into two eliminations, so Ariana G and Thats All Moni received byes to the final based on seasonal earnings. The remaining nine horses will compete for eight spots in the final.
Ariana G, the No. 2-ranked horse in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, has won 11 of 14 races this season and earned $873,690. She is trained by Jimmy Takter, who has won a record 30 Breeders Crown finals. Takter also trains Thats All Moni, who has won four of 12 races and earned $238,141.
The $25,000 elimination field for the 3-year-old female trotters includes Kentucky Filly Futurity winner Ice Attraction, who defeated Ariana G by a neck in the Oct. 8 race. The three finishers to follow Ice Attraction and Ariana G — Dream Together, Dream Baby Dream and Sunshine Delight — also are in the elimination.
The Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female pacers also got a field of 11. New York Sire Stakes champion Obvious Blue Chip and Lismore Pace winner Tequila Monday received byes to the final after the connections of the group’s top money-earners, Caviart Ally and Agent Q, elected to race in the $25,000 elimination.
Caviart Ally has won six of her last 10 races and finished no worse than second during that span. Her victories include the Jugette and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Agent Q, who lost to Someomensomewhere by a nose in last year’s Breeders Crown, has finished off the board only twice in 23 career races, winning 11.
Agent Q has raced only once since Sept. 13, a win on Oct. 12 in the Circle City at Hoosier Park.
“This is the way we had it set up,” Agent Q’s trainer Aaron Lambert said. “It was the plan all along to race these three weeks. Plus if you win the elimination you can’t draw outside. We skipped (the Red Mile meet) on purpose to try to get it done out here.”
Two $20,000 eliminations will be held for both the 2-year-old female pacers and 2-year-old female trotters. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to their respective finals.
Stakes-winners Percy Bluechip, Rainbow Room and Youaremycandygirl are among the 16 horses entered in the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female pacers. That trio has combined to win 16 of 24 races and $1.01 million.
In the 2-year-old filly trot, Manchego leads a group of 17. Undefeated in 10 career races, Manchego has earned $563,948 and is ranked No. 3 in the sport’s Top 10 poll.
Following are the fields for Friday’s eliminations with named drivers and trainers.
$25,000 MARE PACE ELIMINATION 1
1. Wrangler Magic-Daniel Dube-Erv Miller
2. Pure Country-Mark MacDonald-Jimmy Takter
3. Windsun Glory-Trace Tetrick-Ron Burke
4. Darlinonthebeach-Brett Miller-Nancy Johansson
5. Lady Shadow-Yannick Gingras-Ron Adams
6. Blue Moon Stride-David Miller-Mark Harder
$25,000 MARE PACE ELIMINATION 2
1. Nike Franco N-Tim Tetrick-Jim King Jr.
2. Sassa Hanover-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke
3. L A Delight-Corey Callahan-Bob McIntosh
4. Medusa-Tony Hall-Jeff Cullipher
5. Seventimesavirgin-John DeLong-John DeLong
6. Bedroomconfessions-Scott Zeron-Tony Alagna
7. Call Me Queen Be-Scott Zeron-Ross Croghan
$25,000 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE ELIMINATION
1. Caviart Ally-Andy McCarthy-Noel Daley
2. Terrortina-Tony Hall-Norm Parker
3. Agent Q-David Miller-Aaron Lambert
4. Blazin Britches-Trace Tetrick-Brian Brown
5. Jaye’s A Lady-Andy Miller-Nancy Johansson
6. Inverse Hanover-Peter Wrenn-R. “Nifty” Norman
7. Idyllic Beach-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter
8. Ella Christina-Tim Tetrick-Nick Surick
9. Carol’s Z Tam-Ricky Macomber Jr.-Jamie Macomber
$20,000 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE ELIMINATION 1
1. Come See The Show-Tim Tetrick-Linda Toscano
2. Rock On Ladys-Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Trent Stohler
3. Firestorm-Jody Jamieson-James Morrison
4. Percy Bluechip-Trevor Henry-Ian Moore
5. Rainbow Room-David Miller-Joe Holloway
6. Band Stand-Tim Tetrick-Tony Alagna
7. Majorsspeciallady-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke
8. Kissin In The Sand-Tim Tetrick-Nancy Johansson
$20,000 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE ELIMINATION 2
1. Pueblo Blue Chip-Jody Jamieson-David Menary
2. Im With Her-Paul MacDonell-Paul MacDonell
3. Youaremycandygirl-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke
4. Reign On Me-Yannick Gingras-R. “Nifty” Norman
5. Strong Opinion-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke
6. Miswave Hanover-Marcus Miller-Erv Miller
7. Aims Whisper-Mark MacDonald-Kevin Lare
8. Bye Hanover-Brett Miller-Brian Brown
$25,000 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT ELIMINATION
1. Ice Attraction-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt
2. Overdraft Volo-Andy Miller-Julie Miller
3. Checkmate Time-Donald Dupont-Marie Dupont
4. Highland Top Hill-David Miller-Marty Fine
5. Fine Tuned Lady-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen
6. Southwind Avanti-Tim Tetrick-Anette Lorentzon
7. Dream Baby Dream-Rod Allen-Rod Allen
8. Dream Together-Daniel Dube-Luc Blais
9. Sunshine Delight-Brett Miller-Staffan Lind
$20,000 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT ELIMINATION 1
1. Atlanta-Rick Zeron-Rick Zeron
2. Phaetosive-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer
3. Jordan Blue Chip-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood
4. Lima Novelty-Tim Tetrick-Linda Toscano
5. Seviyorum-Andy Miller-Julie Miller
6. Alloveragain-Tim Tetrick-John Bax
7. Hey Blondie-Andy McCarthy-Chuck Sylvester
8. Basquiat-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter
$20,000 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT ELIMINATION 2
1. Looking For Zelda-Tony Hall-Norm Parker
2. Msnaughtyashill-Sam Widger-Jeff Edwards
3. Courtney Hanover-Rick Zeron-Rick Zeron
4. Manchego-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter
5. Top Expectations-Marcus Miller-Erv Miller
6. S M S Princess-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt
7. Live Laugh Love-David Miller-R. “Nifty” Norman
8. Impinktoo-David Miller/Peter Wrenn-Jim Dailey
9. Lily Stride-Tim Tetrick-Mark Harder
–by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications