Three time Breeders Crown winner Eternal Camnation lead the post parade for the 2-year-old Filly Pace then had a retirement ceremony afterwards.
The 21st Breeders Crown finals were contested on Saturday night October 23 at Woodbine Racetrack. These races often decide the year end championships for these divisions, so the best 2 and 3-year-old standardbreds in North America were on the track. It was a chilly evening, with a stiff tailwind through the stretch which the fields traverse twice in each race, so the stage was set for some record-breaking times.
In the $698,625 2-Year-Old Filly Trot, 9-5 second choice Flirtin Miss stalked the early pace of 31-1 longshot Twin B Senorita, then took over at the top of the stretch and held off the late run of 3-4 favorite Solveig to win by 3/4 length in a track record of 1:56 1/5. It was another 5 lengths back to 12-1 shot Strong Tea in third. The race was a sweep for trainer Jim Takter, who trained the first two finishers. Takter said, "A nice way to start the evening. As for Solveig, she was second in a record mile and it's very tough to win from post 9 on this track." Driver John Campbell, after his 41st Crown win, said, "I'd never drove her before but was impressed racing against her. She's very professional for a 2-year-old trotting filly. She felt strong throughout the mile and never quit, good on the gate and left well. I kept her attention through the stretch and trotted right through the wire." Results chart
In the $762,500 3-Year-Old Filly Pace, prohibitive 1-4 favorite Rainbow Blue lived up to expectation, grabbing the lead from 8-1 shot Invitro after a half mile, then cruising away to an easy victory by 1 1/4 lengths over that rival in a track record tying 1:51. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to 14-1 shot L Dees Val in third. Winning trainer George Teague Jr said, "I was a little bit concerned going into the race because of the days off in between, but she trained sharp on Monday." Asked what he thinks of possibly winning Horse of the Year, he said, "I think it's important to anyone in the business." Results chart
The $721,000 2-Year-Old Filly Pace treated fans to the first longshot of the night, as 6-5 favorite Cabrini Hanover faded badly in the final furlong, as 8-1 shot Restive Hanover came out wide around the turn from fifth early to rally strongly through the lane and drive away from the field, winning by 3 3/4 lengths over 2-1 second choice Fast Ruffles in 1:52 4/5. It was a length back to Savannah Sky in third, while Cabrini Hanover disappointed in fifth. Winning driver Andy Miller, with his first Crown win, said, "It's a great thrill. I didn't like the 10 hole, I was hoping for cover and I ended up in a good spot. She's a strong finisher, always turns in good efforts." Mike Lachance, driver of beaten favorite Cabrini Hanover said, "She just didn't have her normal pop tonight. She made it very easy to get o the top but she didn't fire at the top of the stretch. I don't know why but she just came up empty." Results chart
Between races, the retiring Eternal Camnation was paraded out for the fans for the last time before heading to the breeding shed. Owner Jeff Miller said, "She's been a great horse and there's a sense of cheating her out. The other girls were taking their turns on her and that's tough on her. She's definitely been a blessing, she's allowed us to meet some really nice people. She's a great horse, I hope she'll be a great mom too. "
It was bombs away in the $625,000 3-Year-Old Colt Trot as 39-1 shot Yankee Slide stalked the early pace of 7-1 shot Cincinnati Kid, then closed inside the 1/8 pole to win by 1 1/4 length over the pacesetter in a time of 1:54 4/5. It was another 1 1/4 length back to 2-1 favorite Cantab Hall, who drew the unfavorable 11 post and was left with too much to do through the stretch. Winning owner Joe Pennacchio said, "We don't like being told we won't belong with the top horses and Yankee Slide really showed them up tonight." Winning trainer Steve Elliott said, "I've known he was a good horse, he always had the speed and we had trouble keeping him under control. He has tons of ability but he's just green. You could say we got lucky but he is the best trotter I've had since Valley Victory." Mike Lachance, driver of beaten favorite Cantab Hall, said, "He made up a huge amount of ground in the stretch. He raced great, the way he's supposed to. There was no speed inside whatsoever." Results chart
Trainer Jim Takter was back in the $657,375 2-Year-Old Colt Trot, as 1-4 favorite Ken Warkentin satisfied his backers with a front-running victory in a time of 1:57 1/5. Ken Warkentin looked home free at the top of the stretch, clear by 1 1/4 lengths, but 6-1 shot Southfork made a race of it, stubbornly battling with him inside the final 1/16 mile, but the favorite would not yield, winning by just a length. It was a 5 length gap back to 13-1 shot Travelin Lite in third. Winning driver David Miller said, "He might be just a little horse but he goes pretty big." Jim Takter said, "He is a heck of a horse, he is just a phenomenal animal. You're always scared coming off a fraction like that (3/4 in 1:30 1/5) but it would have taken a great horse to go by him in the stretch tonight. We will stop for him this year and bring him back next season." Results chart
The $625,000 Three-Year-Old Filly Trot saw even-money favorite Housethatruthbuilt stalk the early pace in 3rd early, take over the lead after 3/4 mile and then hold off the late charge of 16-1 longshot Bramasole to win by 1 length. The final time was a track record 1:53 3/5. It was another 2 lengths back to 42-1 shot In The Shell in third. Winning trainer Trond Smedshammer said, "She is something else. I think this filly will develop into a great older trotting mare.Last year she was big and awkward and had a lot of problems with soundness. Last year she had to have OCD's removed (calcified chips in the hocks) from her legs. We plan to race her next year, maybe we will do a European Tour with her too." Results chart
The richest race of the night was the $829,000 Two-Year-Old Colt Pace. 7-1 shot Village Jolt went straight to the front, angling in from the outside post, and led every step of the way, drawing off through the lane to win by 4 1/4 lengths over 6-5 favorite Allamerican Inca in a time of 1:51 1/5. It was a head back to 3-2 second choice Shanghai Phil in third. Winning trainer Ed Hart said, "He was just super good tonight. The nine-hole scares you a bit, but he's got such good gate speed that I knew Ron (Pierce, driver) would get him up there at some point. Ronny got to the front and was able to back the race off a bit. I felt pretty good when they reached the half and saw Allamerican Inca first-over." Results chart
Capping off the richest night in harness racing was the $693,750 Three-Year-Old Colt Pace. 5-1 shot Western Terror went wide around both turns while stalking the early pace, then closed well through the lane to win by 3/4 length over 7-5 favorite Quik Pulse Mindale in a time of 1:50 2/5. It was another length back to 2-1 second choice Geartogear in third. Driver Brian Sears, celebrating his third win on the card, said, "I just wanted to get away without using my horse to hard. My only concern was pulling Quik Pulse Mindale into the winners circle on my back but my colt raced super." Winning owner David Brooks added, "I think Western Terror was just terrific. When its time to race in a big race there is only one person you want training for you and that's Brett Pelling. This colt has been super, he's been spectacular all year." Results chart