Muscle Hill draws off in the stretch in the Breeders Crown 3-year-old Colt Trot.
The fall Breeders Crown card settles the year-end championships for the 2 and 3-year-old divisions, with eight races contested at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday night, each at the standard 1 mile distance around the 7 furlong oval in Toronto. Conditions were less than ideal, as competitors faced temperatures in the mid 40's with stiff 20 mile per hour headwinds gusting up to 30mph through the stretch accompanied by intermittent drizzle and showers. Still a good crowd showed up, all wanting to see Muscle Hill go for his 20th win in a row before retiring to stud.
Charts for the day can be found here.
The $617,880 Three-Year-Old Colt Trot featured a full field of 10, but all eyes were on Muscle Hill, winner of 19 straight coming in, including the Canadian Trotting Classic, Hambletonian, and the World Trotting Derby. Place and show wagering was cancelled, as Muscle Hill was bet down to 1-20. The second choice was 22-1 Swan For All, second in the Bluegrass last out, over 44-1 third choice Neighsay Hanover, who defeated Swan For All in the Bluegrass.
Driver Ron Pierce sent Swan for All to the front first time past the stands through 1/4 in 28 3/5, while Brian Sears kept Muscle Hill in midpack fourth on the outside away from traffic trouble around the clubhouse turn. Down the backstretch, Muscle Hill powered his way to the front through fractions of 57 2/5 and 1:24 1/5. Through the stretch, Swan for All broke stride while trying to keep up with Muscle Hill, as the heavy favorite opened up a 4 length lead with a furlong to go. 83-1 Triumphant Caviar steadily gained on Muscle Hill to no avail, as Muscle Hill cruised under the line under wraps 2 1/2 lengths in front in 1:54 1/5. It was another 3 3/4 lengths back to Swan For All, who was disqualified from 3rd to 6th for veering inside the pylons when he broke stride.
# Horse Win Place Show 1-Muscle Hill 2.10 0.00 0.00 6-Triumphant Caviar 0.00 0.00 5-Neighsay Hanover 0.00 Final time: 1:54.1 Exacta (1-6) 26.40 Trifecta (1-6-5) 121.20 Superfecta (1-6-5-4) 879.05 Results chart
Muscle Hill in the winner's circle. This was his 20th win in a row and his final career start before retiring to stud. Trainer Greg Peck said, "I don't think he ever was (pushed in a race). The slowest he was going was at the wire tonight and it was only (the wind) that could slow him down. I'm humbled by the horse. Now that it's all over, I will say he is the greatest trotter ever. I've never seen a horse that won so easily and looked like they were ready to go again."
Muscle Hill warms up before the race. Co-owner Tom Pontone said, "If you told me two years ago I'd be at the Breeders Crown 2 years in a row, I would have never guessed it. We were looking for him to be a good trotter. I believed he is the best trotter I've seen in 25 to 30 years. I can't wait to race one of his offspring. I would love to see him race five more years, but he did what he had to do and now it's time for him to go to stud."
Co-owner Jerry Silva added, "You're always nervous before a race. Brian knows Muscle Hill and Muscle Hill knows Brian. They're a great twosome. To finish the year undefeated is amazing. I never had a horse, in all my years of racing that was undefeated. And he did it. He did it like I knew he would do it."
The final Breeders Crown race for 2009 was the $617,880 Three-Year-Old Colt Pace. Well Said, winner of the North America Cup, Battle of Brandywine, and the Little Brown Jug, was sent off as the even-money favorite in the field of 10, off a disappointing 4th place finish in the Tattersalls last out. In to challenge him included 9-2 second choice Mr. Wiggles, runner-up in the Adios before finishing fourth in both the Battle of Brandywine and the Cane Pace, and 5-1 third choice If I Can Dream, second in the Jug behind Well Said before upsetting him in the Tattersalls.
72-1 Carnivore led around the clubhouse turn through 1/4 in 26 2/5 but If I Can Dream and driver Tim Tetrick cruised past him on the backstretch, opening up by 1 1/2 lengths through fractions of 54 seconds and 1:21 3/5. Favorite Well Said was wide around both turns as far back as 9th. Entering the stretch, If I Can Dream continued to lead with Mr. Wiggles giving chase 1 3/4 lengths behind. Mr. Wiggles steadily gained on If I Can Dream late but was left with too much ground to make up, as If I Can Dream easily held him off by 1/2 a length in 1:51 1/5. It was another 3/4 length back to 33-1 Vertical Horizon third. Well Said failed to rally late, finishing a disappointing 5th beaten 2 1/2 lengths at the line.
# Horse Win Place Show 6-If I Can Dream 11.30 5.20 4.70 2-Mr Wiggles 4.80 3.70 3-Vertical Horizon 14.40 Final time: 1:51.1 Exacta (6-2) 60.00 Trifecta (6-2-3) 892.60 Superfecta (6-2-3-8) 3789.85 Results chart
Left: Trophy presentation for the Breeders Crown 3-year-old Colt Pace. His driver Tim Tetrick said, "The strategy was to go forward. If I could be in control, that was great. My horse's game is to try to make everyone tired if he can. He's done it 4 or 5 times this year and really done well. I just wanted to get to the front especially with the wind down the lane because it would be hard to pass. I was hoping I could go fractions like that where everybody couldn't out sprint him. My horse is not a real big sprinter on the end of it but he's a gutsy colt."
Right: If I Can Dream gets cuddled by his groom in the winner's circle.
The first stakes race on the card was the $731,158 Three-Year-Old Filly Pace. Garnset Stakes winner Yellow Diamond was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the field of 8 over 2-1 second choice Shacked Up, winner of the Simcoe, and 6-1 third choice Ginger and Fred, runner-up in the Jugette final.
70-1 longest shot Kabbalah Karen B was sent to the front down on the pylons by driver Mark MacDonald getting the initial quarter in 27 1/5 but Yellow Diamond easily took over the lead on the backstretch through a half in 55 3/5 and 3/4 in 1:22 2/5 with Ginger and Fred stalking her 1 1/2 lengths behind. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. asked Yellow Diamond to open up through the stretch and she extended her lead to 2 lengths at the 1/8 pole. Ginger and Fred put in a strong late rally but Yellow Diamond held her off late to get the win by a neck in 1:51 2/5. It was another 2 lengths back to 16-1 Shanghai Lil third.
# Horse Win Place Show 2-Yellow Diamond 3.80 2.90 2.20 7-Ginger And Fred 6.30 4.00 5-Shanghai Lil 5.50 Final time: 1:51.2 Exacta (2-7) 23.80 Trifecta (2-7-5) 138.30 Superfecta (2-7-5-6) 171.70 Results chart
Yellow Diamond in the winner's circle. Her driver Jim Morrill Jr. said, "I was concerned because Ginger And Fred is a top filly. I knew she was going to give me a run for my money. I was just hoping my filly was 100%, and she was. She's just a great filly. To go as long as she's gone, as hard as she's gone all season and to put in an effort like that just shows how tough she really is. Tracy (Brainard, trainer) had her super tonight. It's just a pleasure to drive this caliber of horse."
A full field of 10 lined up behind the starter in the $617,880 Two-Year-Old Filly Trot. Champlain Stakes winner Poof She's Gone was sent off as the 4-5 favorite off a 2nd place finish in the Peaceful Way. In to challenge her included Peaceful Way winner Costa Rica at 7-2 and Pennsylvania Sires Stakes winner Fashion Feline at 4-1.
The two longest shots on the board, 154-1 Levis Lady and 104-1 Ultimate Cameron, battled for the lead around the clubhouse turn through fractions of 28 4/5 and 58 2/5, while being stalked by Costa Rica to their outside. Down the backstretch, Costa Rica took over the lead, getting 3/4 in 1:26 3/5. Poof She's Gone raced in midpack fourth on the outside early, but gained on the leaders on the far turn. Poof She's Gone passed the tiring pacesetters at the 3/16 pole and opened up a 1 3/4 length lead in mid-stretch. Ultimate Cameron fought back but to no avail as Poof She's Gone finished 1 length in front in 1:56 3/5. It was another 1/2 length back to late-running 14-1 Tequila Slammer third.
# Horse Win Place Show 4-Poof Shes Gone 3.70 2.80 2.10 6-Ultimate Cameron 43.80 17.50 3-Tequila Slammer 4.90 Final time: 1:56.3 Exacta (4-6) 177.10 Trifecta (4-6-3) 1061.60 Superfecta (4-6-3-1) 2590.85 Results chart
Poof Shes Gone in the winner's circle. Her driver Dave Miller said, "Poof raced great. She went a big, big mile there. I had to come early and got left first over and she just overpowered them. Her best quality is she can do that. She's a strong filly and she can rough it. She's the complete package." Co-owner John Fielding added, "Definitely worth the $170,000 yearling price tag. She's been a fantastic filly since Nifty (trainer Richard Norman) took her home from the sale. It's been a fantastic year. Nifty, his wife and his daughter do a great job with her. She's been tough all year from the Merrie Annabelle in August to today. Great to see Nifty get his first Crown, he's a fantastic horseman."
Lucky Chucky was sent off as the 9-10 favorite in the $617,880 Two-Year-Old Colt Trot off a 5-race win streak including the Valley Victory and the Bluegrass Stakes. Also in the field were 3-2 second choice Pilgrims Taj, runner-up in the Valley Victory before winning the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes, and 9-1 third choice Wishing Stone, second in the American National before winning his division of the Bluegrass.
Driver Steve Condren sent 65-1 Magic Fruit to the front on the clubhouse turn through 1/4 in 28 1/5 before 12-1 Temple of Doom took over on the backstretch through 1/2 in 57 4/5. John Campbell kept Lucky Chucky out wide early in fourth, then asked him for run on the far turn. Lucky Chucky took over the lead at the top of the lane through 3/4 in 1:26 3/5, but Magic Fruit fought back to regain a 1/2 length advantage at the 1/8 pole. However, Pilgrims Taj, wide back in 6th early, closed wish a rush down the center of the track to pass them both late to get the win by a length in 1:57 1/5. Lucky Chucky out finished Magic Fruit late to get second by 1/4 length.
# Horse Win Place Show 2-Pilgrims Taj 5.10 2.60 2.40 4-Lucky Chucky 2.20 2.10 7-Magic Fruit 8.70 Final time: 1:53.3 Exacta (2-4) 10.20 Trifecta (2-4-7) 181.20 Superfecta (2-4-7-1) 544.80 Results chart
Pilgrims Taj in the winner's circle. His co-owner Robert Bongiorno said, "I groomed horses for nothing, trained horses for many years, owning horses is a thrill for me. It's just a great thrill for me tonight. I hope they don't have a video of it. We were crazy in the stands, we thought we had a good shot to win but the bias was against us, the wind blowing in the horse's faces. Thank God he overcame it." His driver Mike Lachance added, "On the backstretch I couldn't keep up to (Lucky Chucky). He was trotting too fast for what I wanted to go with my horse. But I didn't care if I was on the outside on the last turn. My horse loves that. When you hit a horse like that, the horse hits you. We just got lucky to be involved with a horse like that."
A contentious field of 9 went to post in the $628,178 Two-Year-Old Filly Pace. Put On A Show was sent off as the 2-1 favorite off wins in the She's a Great Lady and the Bluegrass Stakes. In to challenge her included 5-2 second choice Higher and Higher, runner-up in the She's a Great Lady, and 3-1 third choice Fancy Filly, winner of the Three Diamonds at Chester.
65-1 Ticket to Rock was quickest away and opened up a 1 3/4 length advantage on the clubhouse turn through an opening quarter in 27 3/5, before relinquishing the lead to Put On A Show to her outside on the backstretch. The favorite set fractions of 56 2/5 and 1:24 while as many as 2 1/4 lengths in front of Fancy Filly and driver Brian Sears who stalked her in second. With 1/8 mile remaining, Put On A Show continued to lead by 2 lengths but Fancy Filly wore her down late to win by 1 length in 1:53 4/5. It was a long 3 lengths back to Ticket to Rock third.
# Horse Win Place Show 2-Fancy Filly 7.80 3.60 2.70 9-Put On A Show 3.40 3.10 5-Ticket To Rock 9.70 Final time: 1:53.4 Exacta (2-9) 25.80 Trifecta (2-9-5) 470.80 Superfecta (2-9-5-10) 2731.85 Results chart
Fancy Filly in the winner's circle with trainer Brenda Teague on the left front. Her trainer and co-owner George Teague Jr. said, "A Breeders Crown is always nice to get. She started the season well and this puts a polish on the season. She'll get time off now and we'll bring her back for next season. She doesn't seem any worse for wear. She seems as fresh as the day we started. She loves what she's doing. That's one of the qualities only in the great ones. They love to do what they do and she can race any way. She doesn't have to take her racetrack with her." Driver Brian Sears added, "The filly has got a lot of fight in her. (Put On A Show) paced away from her a little bit, but she never knows to quit. She dug right in and chased her down. I was really happy to win with her because I got a bad trip when I finished third with her in the She's A Great Lady. I was glad to make up for it."
The $617,880 Three-Year-Old Filly Trot included a full field of 10 with Bluegrass Stakes winner Margarita Momma sent off as the 6-5 favorite over 2-1 second choice Elusive Desire, winner of the Simcoe and the Ontario Sires Stakes. 5-1 Broadway Schooner, runner-up in both the Moni Maker and the Bluegrass, completed the top three on the board.
Driver Dave Miller hustled 13-1 Seaside to the lead from the 8 post first time past the finish through 1/4 in 28 1/5 before 6-1 Yursa Hanover and Tim Tetrick took over the lead on the outside down the backstretch through 1/2 in 57 1/5 and 3/4 in 1:26, with Elusive Desire a length behind in second. Yursa Hanover continued to lead to the 1/8 pole but tired badly to eventually finish 7th, while Broadway Schooner, 7th for the first 3/4 mile, closed with a rush to win by 3/4 length over Elusive Desire in 1:57. It was just a neck back to Seaside third, and 1 1/4 lengths more to favorite Margarita Momma fourth.
# Horse Win Place Show 7-Broadway Schooner 12.90 5.30 3.80 4-Elusive Desire 3.50 2.70 8-Seaside 6.30 Final time: 1:57 Exacta (7-4) 39.10 Trifecta (7-4-8) 366.20 Superfecta (7-4-8-1) 604.75 Results chart
Broadway Schooner in the winner's circle. Her driver Brian Sears said, "The trip worked out good. They were battling it out and my filly, she's kind of like a one-speeder, but it's a long stretch and we were able to get by them. I'm really happy to do some more good for Arlene and Jules (Siegel); they're great owners and have a lot of passion for the business." Paul MacDonell behind runner-up Elusive Desire added, "She's been tremendous all year and tonight just got beat. She has no excuses. The wind is very strong and very tiring on these horses and it's not easy out there. The track really isn't that bad, but the wind is giving these horses a tough time."
An overflow field of 11 went in the $720,860 Two-Year-Old Colt Pace, with Sportswriter the expected 3-5 choice, coming into the race undefeated in 7 starts, including the Nassagaweya, Metro Pace, and Champlain. Looking for the upset included 2-1 second choice All Speed Hanover, winner of his division of the Bluegrass, and 8-1 third choice Rockin Image, winner of the International Stallion Series Stakes at the Red Mile last out.
Driver Mark MacDonald sent Sportswriter to the front immediately, getting fractions of 27 4/5, 55 4/5, and 1:23 3/5 while being stalked by 213-1 OK Commander a 1/4 length behind and to his outside the whole way. Entering the stretch, Ron Pierce sent All Speed Hanover to the far outside after racing well back in 6th early. All Speed Hanover hooked Sportswriter at the 3/16 pole and the pair battled head to head in an all-out drive the length of the stretch. All Speed Hanover dug in late to get the hard-fought win by a head in 1:52. It was a long 4 3/4 lengths back to 98-1 Kyle Major third.
# Horse Win Place Show 6-All Speed Hanover 6.40 3.10 2.40 2-Sportswriter 2.30 2.10 11-Kyle Major 6.90 Final Time: 1:52 Exacta (6-2) paid 11.40 Superfecta (6-2-11-1) paid 416.45 Trifecta (6-2-11) paid 316.20 Results chart
All Speed Hanover in the winner's circle. Winning co-owner John Fielding said, "It was just unbelievable. You can't take anything away from Sportswriter. He was huge tonight. What a great 3-year-old year it will be for both of those if they face off against each other. That was just a great race tonight. Fantastic.” Co-owner Adam Victor Jr. added, "We don't have enough stretch drives like that between 2 champions. And those were 2 champions tonight."
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