After letting a lead slip away in her elimination, Caviart Ally will try and be a little less zealous and a lot more powerful down the stretch in Friday’s $500,000 Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old female pacers at Hoosier Park.
Entering last Friday’s elimination as one of the favorites, Caviart Ally left from the rail and led into the stretch before fading to fifth, behind upset winner Ella Christina, Idyllic Beach, Agent Q and Carol’s Z Tam.
“She got a little aggressive on me, so we might have to make a couple changes to get her quieted down,” driver Andy McCarthy said. “It was her first time at the track and as soon as we went out there I could tell she was a little too aggressive. I would have liked to have raced her a little better, but I really didn’t have any option.”
Trained by Noel Daley, Caviart Ally has hit the board in 15 of 18 starts, with seven wins, five places and three shows. Her biggest win was also the biggest ever for long-time owners Judy and Buck Chaffee, when she claimed the Jugette Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers. She leads all finalists in 2017 earnings with $556,145.
“We’ll get her settled down for next week,” McCarthy said. “I’m sure she will be a lot better. She’s had a great year. She’s done a good job this year. (Her elimination) was a little uncharacteristic, with her getting hot like that.”
Speaking of getting hot, Ella Christina was on fire in a good way at the tail end of the elimination. She entered the race at 35-1 odds and entered the top of the stretch in sixth place. Ella Christina joined the large group of frontrunners late, and was angled out by driver Tim Tetrick before roaring down the center of the track to win it in a time of 1:51.
Ella Christina, who has seven wins and two places in 17 season’s starts, entered the Breeders Crown elimination off a sixth-place finish in the Courageous Lady. She led for most of the mile in that race before dropping back in the stretch, but managed to reverse her fortunes in this one.
“We shipped five hours that morning to Cleveland and we ended up pulling her blood Monday morning after the race and she tied up,” said trainer Nick Surick, whose horse has earned $120,311 this year. “Her muscle enzymes were pretty high and she just wasn’t herself that day.
“She got stuck on the lead and they pressed her (:26.4 opening quarter, :55 half); she really never got a breather. She’s a smaller filly and they were at her throat the whole mile, and she just wasn’t having it that night.”
Ella Christina got by Idyllic Beach (second) and Agent Q (third) in the Crown elimination while they were challenging Caviart Ally for the lead.
“She was all right,” Agent Q’s trainer Aaron Lambert said. “We’ll tune her up a little this week and look forward (to the final). We’ll maybe give her a little more of a blowout this week.”
She will hope to make up for heartbreak after finishing second by a nose in last year’s Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female pacers. Driven by David Miller, Agent Q is tied with Tequila Monday for the second most wins this season (eight) among the finalists, behind only Blazin Britches who has 10. She is also the second-highest earner at $509,066, having finished in the money in 12 of 14 starts. And her best time of 1:48.4 is tied with Blazin Britches for fastest in the field.
“Her season has been great,” Lambert said. “Except for getting sick one time and making a break the other time, you couldn’t fault her. (Making the break) was just an off track, and one of those racing incidents. Apart from that she’s been super.”
Despite Idyllic Beach not being able to close for an elimination victory, trainer Jimmy Takter was happy with the effort of last year’s Dan Patch Award winner as best 2-year-old female pacer.
“She raced really good,” Takter said. “She was battling on and off several tie-ups (this year); I had a big problem with that. We missed a few starts because of that. It looks like she’s coming back in the right form.”
With Yannick Gingras in the sulky, Idyllic Beach has won $376,671 this year thanks to four firsts, four seconds and three thirds in 15 starts.
“She’s a player,” Takter said. “You can never rule her out. She’s always on the board. She’s made over a million dollars (lifetime); I’m proud of her. She could be right there.”
Two horses who received byes into the final were Mark Steacy’s Obvious Blue Chip (six wins, $374,430), who has been in the money in 10 of 16 starts; and Chris Oakes’ Tequila Monday (eight wins, $379,517), who has hit the board in 16 of 20 starts.
Following is the field for Friday’s $500,000 Breeders Crown 3-year-old filly pace.
1-Blazin Britches-Trace Tetrick-Brian Brown-6/1
2-Caviart Ally-Andrew McCarthy-Noel Daley-3/1
3-Ella Christina-Tim Tetrick-Nick Surick-4/1
4-Inverse Hanover-Peter Wrenn-R. Nifty Norman-20/1
5-Agent Q-David Miller-Aaron Lambert-7/2
6-Carol’s Z Tam-Ricky Macomber Jr.-Jamie Macomber-15/1
7-Idyllic Beach-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-9/2
8-Jaye’s A Lady-Andy Miller-Nancy Johansson-30/1
9-Tequila Monday-David Miller-Chris Oakes-15/1
10-Obvious Blue Chip-Scott Zeron-Mark Steacy-12/1
by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent