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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Breeders Crown Recap

The 2009 Breeders Crown for aged horses are in the books. Plenty of records were set; some races were run by favorites; others by longshots. All that was missing were fans attending the races. But first, a quick review of the races.

Lucky Jim won easily in 1:52.1 over a good track in the Breeders Crown for Aged Open Trotters. After the quarter, Lucky Jim took the lead and then controlled the rest of the race. His race was a text book example of how a 1-9 favorite should win. With his win, Lucky Jim is now fourteen for fifteen this year and holds the Meadowlands record for consecutive wins by a trotter by winning fourteen straight.

While the plans are to shut Lucky Jim down for the rest of the year, it would be nice to see if some racetracks could put together some races to keep Lucky Jim racing through the Red Mile's meet; it would be interesting to see what kind of record he could set down in Lexington. Unfortunately, we likely will not get the opportunity. The good news is the owners are already planning next year's campaign and are looking to include the Elitlopp in those plans. If Lucky Jim can successfully navigate the 5/8 and half mile ovals, he has the potential to become one of the greatest aged trotters.

As for the Breeders Cup Open Mare Trot, Buck I St Pat came through with the money on the line in winning in a stakes record 1:52. While her race was not as easy as Lucky Jim's, she was able to go four wide turning into the stretch and pull away. Hopefully she will be returning to the racing wars next year and will return to Sweden to take another shot at the Elitlopp.

Won the West shocked the aged pacers with his Breeders Crown Aged Open Pace victory in a record 1:47, the fastest crown race in any division. In this case, Won the West's victory was a tribute to the perfect trip. For me, the most impressive horse in this race was Shadow Play. Despite being an 'almost certain to be scratched' he managed to finish a solid 2nd despite his foot problems. Shadow Play may be one of those horses where we never get to see his full potential due to soundness issues.

Hana Hanover equaled the world record 1:48.4 in the Breeders Crown for Aged Open Mares upsetting the field at 13-1 in a driving finish against Tug River Princess.

One thing to note. If you watch the replays of these races, you will see the apron is virtually empty. Sure the weather was not great, but just the same, having only 10,060 people at the tack (that includes those who showed up for afternoon simulcasting) is a sad commentary which should not be ignored. We can congratulate all the winners and pat ourselves on the back for putting on a good show but what good is it if no ones sees it? Perhaps this is one of the reasons the Hambletonian Society is moving to a one day extravaganza starting next year at Pocono Downs.

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