by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications
Flanagan Memory and driver Brian Sears flushed out heavily favored Resolve past the half and then just waited their turn to wear down the field to win the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Trot in 1:52.1 by a length on Friday (Oct. 28) at The Meadowlands.
Flanagan Memory ($10.60) is trained by Rene Dion and co-owned by him with Liette Flanagan. He is a 6-year-old Kadabra-Classy Stacy stallion.
Windsun Revenge (Scott Zeron) was first to the lead in :27, with Crazy Wow in second and 1-5 favorite Resolve behind JL Cruze, who was third. Past the first quarter, Sears was on the move from sixth with Flanagan Memory, which caused trainer/driver Åke Svanstedt to tip off the rail and head for the lead.
At the :55.3 half, Windsun Revenge was still on the lead, with Crazy Wow in second and Resolve looking to pass him on the outside. Resolve was second on the outside to Windsun Revenge by the 1:23.2 three-quarters.
When the field straightened for home, Yannick Gingras was moving for the lead on the rail with Crazy Wow, while Svanstedt and Resolve briefly got a nose in front of the field before Brian Sears and Flanagan Memory trotted fastest of all to the wire. Resolve held for second and JL Cruze was third.
“We got a nice trip tonight with him,” said Sears. “We got to follow Resolve halfway down the lane so it worked well. The horse has been racing really good and Rene and Susie (Kerwood, his caretaker) really deserve it, they’ve done a great job with the horse, really awesome.
“It was a really big effort in the International Trot two weeks ago (he was third). He came out of it good and to finish third with the overland trip he got and still coming at the wire. This horse, he likes to pick them up late. He’s a solid horse, he’s a contender, always going forward at the wire.”
Flanagan Memory has won six of his 14 starts this year with earnings of $636,537. He has 19 lifetime victories and has banked $1,533,070.
“Like they all say, it all comes down to the Breeders Crown,” said Rene Dion, “and for that horse it’s been like a fantastic journey. He impresses me all the time with every race he does. Lots of times he’s the underdog, but he always closes very strong. He’s been racing good all summer actually.
“It’s definitely a great story. I was very good friends with Michel (Flanagan). He always wanted to have a great trotter and unfortunately he didn’t have the chance to be here for this one. I’m glad I’m a partner with Liette. It’s been a good journey. To have this horse and the horse to be that good and racing that great, it’s definitely special.”