Breeders Crown finals highlight Saturday card

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

October 29th, 2017

Since 1984 the most popular phrase in harness racing has been "It All Comes Down To The Breeders Crown" and last Saturday evening Hoosier Park hosted six lucrative finals for trotters and pacers of both genders and all ages and several of the winners joined the short list of harness horse of the year contenders.

In the first Breeders Crown final on the card, Hannelore Hanover (Yannick Gingras) lived up to her role as the 1-2 favorite when she brushed to command early, yielded to Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron) before the half, angled out turning for home and outlasted the late inside bid of Crazy Wow (David Miller) to score in 1:52.1. A five-year-old Swan For All mare trained by Ron Burke, Hannelore Hanover notched her ninth win in 16 starts this year and banked $950,000 and looms one of the contenders for trotter of the year and horse of the year.

In fact, the leading candidates for trotter of the year and horse of the year are female trotters. Both Ariana G (3yoft) and Machego (2yoft) both won their respective Breeders Crown finals one night earlier, while Hannelore Hanover defeated male rivals en route to her 'Crown' final tally. All three will secure the top three spots in the poll this week and the next two months will go along way toward determining champion trotter and horse of the year.

After Hannelore Hanover prevailed as the odds-on choice in her Crown final, the two subsequent finals produced mild upsets. In the $600,000 Breeders Crown final for two-year-old colt trotters, Fiftydallarbill (Trace Tetrick) rallied from off the pace to edge the pocket-sitting Met's Hall (Andy Miller) by a length. The one race later in the $600,000 Breeders Crown final for two-year-old colt pacers, Stay Hungry (Doug McMair) recorded his sixth win in eight starts while Metro hero Lost In Time (Scott Zeron) offered little in defeat.

Then one race later in the $527,500 Breeders Crown final for three-year-old colt trotters, What The Hill (David Miller) benefited from a pocket trip through the first three calls, angled out at the head of the lane and surged clear late to score in 1:52. A sophomore son of Muscle Hill trained by Burke, What The Hill notched his eighth win in 15 starts and pushed his earnings past $750,000 and now looms the leading candidate for division champion despite being disqualified from first in the $1 million Hambletonian earlier.

Then one race later in the $421.000 Breeders Crown Open Pace final, Split The House (Brett Miller) left to gain command, yielded to Mach It So (David Miller), sat a tight pocket through the far turn, angled to the passing lane the top of the stretch, surged through to overtake Mach It So and outlasted the late bid of McWicked (Brian Sears) to score by a length in 1:48.1. A five-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding trained by Chris Oakes, Split The House notched his second win from six starts and pushed his seasonal earnings past $230,000.

Split The House, Mach It So and All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley), who finished fourth after being used hard twice from post nine, are all slated to compete in the second edition of the $100,000 Potomac Pace next Sunday evening at Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland. McWicked is still possible for the Potomac as is Sintra, while Mel Mara, who did not earn a berth in the 'Crown' final, is scheduled to return to Rosecroft for the Potomac.

That same evening at Yonkers Raceway in New York, Dr J. Hanover (Brent Holland) gained command easily soon after the start, got a breather to the half in 56.3 then held safe the late inside bid of Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) and the belated bid of The Real One (Pat Lachance) to score by a length in 1:52. A four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Tony Alagna, Dr. J Hanover notched his second straight score and his fourth win in his last five outings and pushed his career earnings to nearly $500,000.

Bit Of A Legend N angled out first over briefly past the half, dropped back in past three-quarters, angled to the passing lane and finished well enough to gain the place spot. The Real One was stuck behind dull cover heading to three-quarters, angled widest of all in the lane and closed willingly to finish third. Bit Of A Legend N is headed to the $100,000 Potomac Pace next Sunday evening at Rosecroft Raceway and Dr. J Hanover could be headed south as well for that event.