Breeders Crown finals set for Saturday night at Pocono Downs

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Ted Black

October 26th, 2018

Since 1984 the most popular phrase in harness racing has been "It All Comes Down To The Breeders Crown" and this Saturday night Pocono Downs will host all 12 Breeders Crown finals as many of the division titles and harness racing's horse of the year will likely be decided at the Pennsylvania five-eighths mile oval.

The first two races on the card are $75,000 Invitational events for three-year-olds, one each for pacers and trotters. In the opening race, Maryland-breds Slick Tony (Russell Foster) and Ideal Feeling (Tim Tetrick) will get an acid test against Jimmy Freight (Louis Roy), Hitman Hill (George Napolitano, Jr.) and Stay Hungry (Doug McNair). The latter trio has faced considerably tougher throughout the year and will in this event as a consolation prize.

The Breeders Crown events get underway in the third race with the $600,000 final for two-year-old filly pacers. Beautyonthebeach (Tetrick) has won five of 11 starts and earned over $200,000, but may have peaked at Lexington. St Somewhere (Matt Kakaley) and Tall Drink Hanover (Andrew McCarthy) won their respective BC elims in 1:52.2 and 1:51.3, while Warrawee Ubeat (Yannick Gingras) will look to rebound from being upended as the choice in her elim after winning at Lexington in 1:48.3. Queen Of The Pride (Tony Hall) and Maryland-bred Zero Tolerance (David Miller) both sport upset chances.

One race later in the $600k final for two-year-old colt trotters, unbeaten Gimpanzee (Brian Sears) will seek the ninth straight win to begin his career after winning his elim in 1:54.4 and will get tested by fellow elim winner Smart As Hill (McCarthy), Chin Chin Hall (Peter Wrenn) and the talented Green Manalishi (Tetrick) who has won five of nine starts and been second four times and should be a major player throughout this affair.

Then one race later in the $600k final for two-year-old filly trotters, Woodside Charm (Verlin Yoder) will put her unblemished record on the line when she goes in quest of her seventh straight tally and division honors following a 1:53 score in her elim. Elim winners When Dovescry (Simon Allard) and Champagne Jane (Bob McClure) will get modest support, as will Special Honor (Andy Miller) and The Ice Dutchess (Gingras) both of which settled for minor spoils last weekend.

One race later in the $500k final for three-year-old filly pacers, Kissin In The Sand (Scott Zeron) looms the solid choice despite post nine having won her last three starts including a 1:47.4 score at Lexington and 10 of 14 overall this year. Her main threats are clearly Youaremycandygirl (Gingras) and Alexa's Power (Tetrick) who are no stranger to the favorite and serious stakes competition.

Then one race later in the $500k final for three-year-old colt trotters, elim winners Tactical Landing (Sears) and Six Pack (Ake Svandstedt) will vie for the favorite's role and divisional honors in a modest group that also includes Fiftydallarbill (Brett Miller), Crystal Fashion (Tetrick) and Maryland-bred Met's Hall (Andy Miller), who has already been the runner-up in both the Grade I Hambletonian and Kentucky Futurity finals.

One race later in the $600k final for two-year-old colt pacers, Proof (David Miller), No Mas Amor (Kakaley), Captain Crunch (McCarthy), Air Force Hanover (Tetrick) and Blood Money (Gingras) all look poised for victory. Proof won his elim in 1:52.1, while No Mas Amor has been staging upsets in recent outings having won his elim at 10-1 after taking an event at Lexington at 114-1 in 1:49.1 for trainer Linda Toscano.

Then one race later in the $500k final for aged trotters, Guardian Angel As (Kakaley), fresh off his 1:52.3 elim score, will tackle Top Flight Angel (Andy Miller), Homicide Hunter (Napolitano), Cruazado Del Noche (Sears) and Marion Marauder (Zeron), the division leader who owns six wins and $600,000 banked from 12 starts this year and 20 of 50 career tries. Cruzado Del Noche won the $1 million Yonkers International in his North American debut at 32-1 then failed at 3-2 last week in his BC elim.

One race later in the $270k Aged Mare pace, Shartin N (Tetrick) will seek to put the finishing touches on her division title for trainer Jim King, Jr., boasting 17 wins and $830,000 banked from 22 starts. Fellow BC elim winner Call Me Queen Be (Eric Carlson) and defending division champion Pure Country (Gingras) will seek mild upsets as will Caviart Ally (McCarthy) and Maryland-breds Twinkle (Zeron) and Newborn Sassy (David Miller) who could spoil the party despite their opposing draws.

Then one race later in the $500k final for three-year-old filly trotters, perhaps the one event that could decide division honors, trotter of the year and horse of the year, Hambletonian heroine Atlanta (Zeron) will seek her ninth win from 13 starts following an impressive BC elim score. She will tangle with serious threats Plunge Blue Chip (Svandstedt), Phaetosive (George Brennan) and Manchego (Gingras), all of which could enhance their solid resumes with a Breeders Crown triumph.

One race later in the $530k final for three-year-old colt pacers, elim winners Dorsoduro Hanover (Kakaley) and This Is The Plan (Tetrick) will tangle with Thinkbig Dreambig (Gingras), American History (McCarthy) and Lather Up (Montrell Teague). With Courtly Choice absent after failing to earn a spot in the final, both Dorsoduro Hanover and Lather Up could emerge with divisional honors with an emphatic Breeders Crown victory on Saturday night.

Then one race later in the $250k Open Mare Trot, Broadway Donna (David Miller), NF Happenstance (Jack Parker, Jr.), Emoticon Hanover (Daniel Dube) and Ariana G (Gingras) will all seek divisional honors. Ariana G has won five of 13 starts and banked $560,000 for Takter and boasts 26 victories and $2.45 million banked from 39 career tries and sports wins against older males and merits the division title amid the subpar campaign delivered by reigning horse of the year Hannelore Hanover.

One race later in the finale, the $430k final for aged pacers, McWicked (Sears) has won nine of 16 starts and earned $1.2 million from 16 starts for trainer Casie Coleman and can cinch division honors with a victory and join the compact group of serious contenders for pacer of the year and horse of the year. Lazarus N (Gingras) has won twice and been second four times in six starts since arriving from New Zealand as the 'Down Under Wonder' and merits an upset chance here, as does Filibuster Hanover (Kakaley), All Bets Off (McCarthy) and Donttellmeagain (Tetrick), who upset McWicked while taking the Dayton Derby in 1:47.4 last month.

McWicked, Lazarus N, All Bets Off and Donttellmeagain are all possibles for the third renewal of the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway on Sunday, December 2. Rosecroft will offer a solid 13-race card on Sunday with many of the better events, including the $12,000 Open I Handicap on the latter portion of the program. Wakizashi Hanover, third in the inaugural Potomac Pace two years ago, will likely be the favorite in Sunday's feature.