ANDERSON, Ind. — The best harness racers in the country met at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Oct. 27 and 28 for the Breeders Crown championships. Many of the winners have connections to New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Hannelore Hanover became the first female winner of the Breeders Crown Open Trot in 19 years, beating Crazy Wow by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:52.1 in the $526,250 final at Marion Marauder was third.
Crazy Wow led the field around the first turn, with Hannelore Hanover staying to his outside in a move for the lead. She got there just prior to the quarter, reached in :26.3, but held the spot only briefly as Marion Marauder trotted by and took the group to the half in :55.3.
Marion Marauder remained on top as the field hit three-quarters in 1:25, but Hannelore Hanover and driver Yannick Gingras were soon to make a move in the stretch to take the lead for good.
"I honestly didn't see that one coming," said Gingras about Marion Marauder leaving hard off the gate. "I didn't really want to be in a two-hole, I know he is a nice horse, but I didn't want to be behind him. It's just the way it goes and it worked out."
Hannelore Hanover, a 5-year-old mare trained by Ron Burke, became the first female winner of the Open Trot since Moni Maker in 1998. The only other mare to win the Open Trot was CR Kay Suzie in 1996.
For the year, Hannelore Hanover has won nine of 16 races and earned $952,879. For her career, the former Indiana Sire Stakes champion has won 35 of 57 races and earned $2.37 million.
Hannelore Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables. Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi each have seven Breeders Crown wins while J&T Silva Stables has three and Frank Baldachino two.
Hannelore Hanover is a daughter of Swan For All out of the mare High Sobriety. She was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms and foaled in Pennsylvania.
"It's an Indiana-bred, we bought her as a baby,” Baldachino said. “We never had expectations when we bought her. If she had been a nice Indiana sired horse we would have been tickled pink. And for her to do this tonight is incredible."
Gingras picked up his fourth Breeders Crown win of the weekend and pushed his career total to 20. Burke got his 12th trophy as a trainer.
Hannelore Hanover paid $3 to win as the 1-2 favorite.
Ariana G wins $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters
As co-owner Marvin Katz made his way to the winner’s circle for another celebration with Ariana G, the word he used to best describe the 3-year-old female trotter was “fantastic.” He could have chosen others, including dominant.
Ariana G won the $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female trotters by 5¼ lengths over Ice Attraction in 1:54.3 over a sloppy track. Dream Together finished third. Ariana G joined Shake It Cerry as the only trotting fillies since 2002 to win the Breeders Crown at ages 2 and 3.
Shake It Cerry was trained by New Jersey-based Jimmy Takter, as is Ariana G. Takter extended his record for Breeders Crown training wins to 32 with Ariana G’s victory.
Ariana G, driven by Yannick Gingras, has won 12 of 15 races this year and earned $1.12 million. For her career, she has won 21 of 26 races and earned $1.86 million.
Overdraft Volo led the field to the opening quarter in :27.1, but was still parked outside Checkmate Time when they hit the marker. Gingras moved three wide around the duo to take the lead in a :55.3 half and never slowed from there.
“They tried to beat her, they just can’t,” said Katz, who bred Ariana G with Al Libfeld and still owns the filly with Libfeld. “I know she’s great. I know she’s a fantastic, exceptional, one-of-a-kind type filly. I just wanted her to perform well. She’s great. She’s fantastic.
“(This year) is different. She was a 2-year-old last year, her career was ahead of her. Right now, she’s at the pinnacle of the sport. She gotten so many accolades that she richly deserves. She’s been a star for the whole industry for the whole year. She’s really an exceptional, rare filly. She’s one of these fillies that comes along every five or 10 years.
“Jimmy Takter, Yannick Gingras, they deserve all the credit. They’ve managed her fabulously.”
Katz has 10 Breeders Crown wins and Libfeld nine. Gingras, who earlier on the card drove the Takter-trained Manchego to victory, has 18 trophies.
“I thought she was by far the best trotting filly in the country and she proved it tonight,” said Gingras. “Donald (Dupont with Checkmate Time) definitely took it to Andy (Miller with Overdraft Volo) and I didn’t get in the hole because it looked like he was going to let him go very easy, but then he took him all the way to the half. That’s the way it goes, when you go for $500,000, they are racing.”
Ariana G paid $2.40 as the 1-5 favorite.
Youaremycandygirl wins 2-Year-Old Filly Pace
Youaremycandygirl, the heavy 2-5 public choice off a strong elimination score a week earlier, won the $600,000 Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Filly Pace by 4½ lengths. The time for the mile was 1:53.2 over a sloppy track. Yannick Gingras drove the filly for trainer Ron Burke.
Youaremycandygirl (American Ideal-Sweet Lady Jane) was in total control from start to finish. She cut the first quarter in :27.1, passing a quick-leaving Rainbow Room, who sat second through a :56.3 half and three-quarters in 1:25.2.
Around the last turn, Youaremycandygirl drew clear of a quick-closing Majorsspeciallady, who paced past Rainbow Room to get second. Firestorm came late for fourth.
Youaremycandygirl is a New York Sires Stakes winner and now boasts a record of seven wins from nine starts and $627,195 in earnings.
Birnam Wood Farms bred Youaremycandygirl for owner W.J. Donovan. She paid $2.80 to win.
Pure Country Gets Up To Win Mare Pace
Eight horses fanned across the track in a battle down the stretch with Pure Country surging in the closing strides to capture the $250,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace by 1¼ lengths over Bedroomconfessions in 1:52.1 over a sloppy track. Lady Shadow was third.
Pure Country, trained by Jimmy Takter for Adam Bowden’s Diamond Creek Racing, was a Breeders Crown champion at age 2. Diamond Creek Farm bred the filly, who snapped a four-race skid with her Breeders Crown win at odds of 14-1.
“We have been dealing with a lot of struggling with her all year,” said Takter. “She got sick early and then she raced good. She is a pure champion. She has made over $2 million and that is hard to do in this game. She is just a fantastic horse and I am so happy for Adam. He raised this filly and she is just so wonderful.”
Lady Shadow took the lead after a tussle with 6-5 favorite Nike Franco N and Darlinonthebeach, bringing the field to the opening quarter in :26.2. She set the pace from there, with the half in :54.4 and three-quarters in 1:23.2, before facing pressure from everywhere as the field made its way down the stretch.
Pure Country was sixth at the top of the lane, but rallied on the outside to win.
“I thought she had a shot, I really did,” said winning driver Mark MacDonald. “I thought the way the race was going to go it would work out. I figured Lady Shadow would blast out of there from the outside and I had a couple of good ones inside of me to follow. I kind of almost automatically was going to get a good trip and it turned out and she did.”
“I’ve always been lucky in the Breeders Crown,” said Takter. “It’s like a magic night for me. I won six in one year and three almost every year. Things just work out for me on that night. I don’t know why, but we have a great crew and my trainer has done a fantastic job. Without those guys, I can’t do it.”
Pure Country, a Dan Patch Award winner at ages 2 and 3, has won four of 14 races this year and earned $376,293. For her career, she has won 24 of 45 starts and earned $2.14 million.
She paid $31 to win.
Stay Hungry $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers
Stay Hungry charged off the final turn to overtake Western Passage and then held off Shnitzledosomethin by a neck to win the $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers in 1:50.4. Closing Statement was third.
Shnitzledosomethin, Karpathian Kid and Western Pleasure all spent time in front during the first three-quarters of the race, with the quarter in :26.1, half in :54.3 and three-quarters in 1:22.3.
Stay Hungry was sixth up the backstretch and three wide coming off the final turn.
Doug McNair guided Stay Hungry to victory and earned his first Breeders Crown win. It was the third trophy for New Jersey-based trainer Tony Alagna.
“It worked out but I moved him pretty early down the backstretch,” said McNair. “This track with the long stretch, it worked out pretty good. This colt, I moved him, and he knew what to do and he raced awesome. It’s exciting. I think I’ve driven in five or six of these Breeders Crowns and never won, so it’s a big thrill for me.”
Stay Hungry has won six of eight races and earned $437,964 for owners Brad Grant and Irwin Samelman. It was the first Breeders Crown win for both.
“At the head of the lane I was a little worried having to go three wide,” said Grant. “But he’s showed up every race for us this year. Dougie gave us a great drive.
“We were confident. Tony and I talk a lot and we were very confident with the colt and believed he deserved to be here and could get it done and he did. It’s rewarding. My dad won this with Bettor’s Delight and to win it tonight means a lot.”
Stay Hungry is a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare My Little Dragon, who was a three-time Breeders Crown champion. The colt was bred by AV & Son Bloodstock.
Sent off at odds of 9-2, Stay Hungry paid $11 to win.
Favorite Lost In Time was sixth-placed-fifth because of interference.
What The Hill dominates again
New Jersey-sired, What The Hill dominated his division foes again as he won the $527,500 Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot in 1:52.3. David Miller drove the winner.
Four left the gate evenly, finding spots behind Lindy The Great, who guided the field through a :26.4 opening quarter. In the catbird seat was slight 7-5 favorite What The Hill as positions stayed the same through a half in :55.4.
Yes Mickey began an overland journey to chase the top two, passing Top Flight Angel and Seven And Seven, who had no chance when What The Hill left the pocket and glided down the stretch to deny Lindy The Great the win, as International Moni, also 7-5 at post time, closed strongly down the center of the track.
What The Hill stayed in flight to win by 2 lengths over Lindy The Great, who held second as International Moni picked up the third spot.
Stan Klemencic bred What The Hill (Muscle Hill-K T Cha Cha). Ron Burke trains the colt, owned by his Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables and J & T Silva Stables.
What The Hill paid $4.80 to win.
Split The House Wins Open Pace
New Jersey-Sired, Split The House made his second move worthy of winning the $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace in a sparkling 1:48.1. Brett Miller drove the winner, who hit the finish one length in front of McWicked.
Split The House (Rocknroll Hanover-Shake That Junk) left alertly but settled for second as All Bets Off soared from the outside nine post to take the early lead. The first quarter came up in a sizzling :25.4 as the shuffling began.
From the second tier the first takeover came when Keystone Velocity went to the outside and brushed to the lead, putting All Bets Off in second, but not for long. Split The House retook the lead with another brush, passing those two.
The battles were not over as All Bets Off returned to the outside and took on Mach It So, one of the early leaders shuffled, as the lead exchanged through a half in :53.4 and three-quarters in 1:21.1.
Into the stretch, the duelers were Mach It So and All Bets Off, but neither could handle the second move by Split The House, as he passed the battling duo and took the win.
McWicked took advantage of the late duel and flew by the pair to take second. Mach It So earned the show spot. Both were sent to the gate at odds of 2-1, with Mach It So the slight actual favorite.
Fair Winds Farm in New Jersey bred Split The House, who is owned by Crawford Farms Racing of New York. Chris Oakes trains the 5-year-old gelding, who won his second race of the season in only his sixth start of the year.
Split The House paid $18.40 to win.
For race replays go to www.hoosierpark.com/racing/2017breederscrown/.
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