Drawing the post positions with honourary drawmaster John Campbell (right) and Racing Secretary Scott McKelvie.
On Friday and Saturday night, Woodbine Mohawk Park in Campbellville will host all twelve of the Breeders Crown championship races for all the divisions of trotters and pacers, with $6 million (US) in purses up for grabs. This marks the return of the event to Southern Ontario after a 4-year-absence, the last time being at Woodbine Racetrack, which no longer hosts standardbred racing. Eliminations were held this weekend and post positions were drawn for the $600,000 2-Year-Old Colt Pace, the $600,000 3-Year-Old Colt Pace, and the $500,000 Open Trot on Tuesday at Mohawk with honourary drawmaster John Campbell, the legendary driver who retired from the sulky in 2017 and moved to his new role as president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, replacing the retiring Dr. Tom Charters. Campbell spoke briefly about the importance of the Breeders Crown series and how it has become an international event with more European horses shipping over to compete. The Crown will be contested over 2 nights, with the four 2-year-old divisions running on Friday and the remaining divisions (four for 3-year-olds and four "opens" for older horses) run on Saturday.
Honourary drawmaster John Campbell, a Hall of Fame driver and President of the Hambletonian Society, with Woodbine Mohawk Park President Jessica Buckley, and President of Woodbine Entertainment Jim Lawson with one of the Breeders Crown trophies.
Michael Keeling, trainer of Marion Marauder who drew the dreaded post 11 (meaning he will start in the second row behind the 1 horse Bold Eagle) as a 12-1 shot in the Open Trot with Scott Zeron in the bike said, "It's been a frustrating year. It would be nice for Marauder to finally capture the big one at home. He's a horse that maybe needs that on his resume. It's just going to be a great race, a great field and we're going to give it a try. He captured the Triple Crown from the No. 11 hole so it's not something that scares us. Our horse doesn't push off the gate great anyway so trailing puts us on the rail and behind a great horse (Bold Eagle). I think it might be an advantage to us. I know Scott isn't going to be upset about it. (Bold Eagle's presence) creates a great buzz, for sure (it's good news)," he said. "If you're going to win a Breeders Crown, you want to beat the best and right now apparently he's the best so we have to go after him."
Nancy Johansson trains Tall Dark Stranger in the 2-Year-Old Colt Pace who drew post 7 with driver Yannick Gingras as the 2-1 second choice on the morning line. This will be the first Breeders' Crown since Johansson's Hall of Fame father Jimmy Takter retired at the end of the 2018 season. Johansson said, "His bloodwork didn't come back perfectly unfortunately. Hopefully we can get that squared away. I changed his front shoes for the final so hopefully we get a little bit more speed out of him. He's a good horse. The way his bloodwork actually looked after the race, he put in a very good performance. I was happy with him regardless. Yannick and I work really well together. He has driven a lot for my dad and our family has a great relationship with him. I know he drives my horses with confidence. When I decided I needed to make a change, I called Yannick to see if he was interested and obviously, he was and now we're trying to win."
Some of the 12 Breeders Crown trophies on display.
The Breeders Crown kicks off with 4 races on Championship Friday starting with the 6th race, the $600,000 2-Year-Old Filly Trot at 9:08PM and ending with the 9th race, the $600,000 2-Year-Old Colt Trot at 10:41PM. Championship Saturday features 8 races starting with race 2, the $300,000 Open Mare Pace at 7:26PM and ending with race 9, the $500,000 Open Trot at 10:42PM. Each race will be contested at the standard 1 mile distance around 2 turns of the 7/8 mile stonedust oval. The full card can be seen live on TVG and RTN in the United States and HPItv in Canada. Canadians can also see some of the races during a special on TSN2 on Saturday from 9-10pm ET.
You can view the full entries for the Friday card here and for the Saturday card here.
Race 9 -- BREEDERS CROWN - FINAL - 2 YEAR OLD COLTS & GELDINGS PACE. PURSE $600,000 U.S. Post time: 10:42 P.M. Friday Oct. 25 Post Horse Driver Trainer Odds 1 Mayhem Hanover D McNair R McNair 20-1 2 Allywag Hanover Ti Tetrick C Coleman 15-1 3 Papi Rob Hanover D Miller B Pelling 8-5 4 Cattlewash L Roy R Burke 8-1 5 Capt Midnight A McCarthy T Alagna 3-1 6 Major Betts D Dunn M Harder 15-1 7 Tall Dark Stranger Y Gingras N Johansson 2-1 8 Freedom Warrior B Sears K Lare 15-1 9 Catch The Fire W Wilder J Ackley 15-1 10 Put To Right B McClure T Alagna 20-1 AE1 Team Best Ja MacDonald B MacIntosh 20-1 AE2 Seeyou At Thebeach(L) Ti Tetrick B Brown Race 8 -- BREEDERS CROWN - FINAL - 3 YEAR OLD COLTS & GELDINGS PACE. PURSE $600,000 U.S. Post time: 10:12 P.M. Saturday Oct. 26 Post Horse Driver Trainer Odds 1 Southwind Ozzi(L) B Sears W MacKenzie 7-2 2 Captain Crunch(L) Y Gingras N Johansson 5-2 3 Covered Bridge Ja MacDonald B MacIntosh 12-1 4 Dancin Lou(L) A McCarthy T Camilleri 4-1 5 Bettors Wish D Dunn C Ryder 9-5 6 Best In Show B Mcclure L Toscano 10-1 7 Semi Tough D Miller R Burke 20-1 8 Fixed Idea Ra Waples T Clements 20-1 9 Bronx Seelster S Allard R Allard 20-1 10 De Los Cielos Deo(L) M Kakaley R Burke 20-1 AE1 Century Farroh S Filion I Moore 10-1 AE2 Cant Beach That D Miller B Pelling Race 9 -- BREEDERS CROWN - FINAL - Open Trot. PURSE $500,000 U.S. Post time: 10:42 P.M. Saturday Oct. 26 Post Horse Driver Trainer Odds 1 Bold Eagle B Sears S Guarato 4-1 2 Will Take Charge(L) D Dunn J Gillis 15-1 3 Mission Accepted(L) C Page R Burke 12-1 4 Fiftydallarbill(L) To Be Announced K Adams 20-1 5 Guardian Angel As Ti Tetrick A Lorentzon 7-2 6 Atlanta Y Gingras R Burke 5-1 7 Lindy The Great(L) L Roy D Cecere 3-1 8 Dunbar Hall J Jamieson S Jamieson 20-1 9 Southwind Chrome(L) D McNair J Cullipher 10-1 10 Six Pack(L) A Svanstedt A Svanstedt 9-2 11 Marion Marauder S Zeron M Keeling 12-1
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