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Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Few Thoughts on the Breeders Crown and Other News

For those who want a detailed recap of the Breeders Crown Finals, Standardbred Canada has an excellent summary of the races along with replays of the twelve races.   Another great source for recaps is Harness Racing Update

The sting of not winning the Hambletonian last year for Chapter Seven's connections should be completely eliminated with Chapter Seven's victory in the Breeders Crown Trot, defeating European superstar Commander Crowe in 1:52.3.  While Commander Crowe tired late to finish third, the Commander was not embarrassed considering he arrived in Canada just two days earlier and remained in quarantine.  This should not minimize Chapter Seven's victory as he was forced to race on the outside uncovered the entire mile.

With the victory of Chapter Seven, there is no doubt who will be the Horse of the Year for 2012.  This victory, along with Heston Blue Chip's, caps a year to remember for trainer Linda Toscano. 

Europe didn't go home empty handed though.  After a disappointing start to her North American campaign, the connections of Tamla Celeber S was vindicated by a 1:55.2 victory in the Breeders Crown Mare Trot which was accomplished with an impressive closing kick thanks to Brian Sears' changing the strategy of the five year old mare by racing from the back. It turns out that was the medicine she needed.

 I liked the race winner, but was not willing to settle for 9-1 odds on the horse.  Needless to say, I  was kicking myself for my decision. 

At one time New Jersey was the capital for racing when it came to breeding, but with five winners last night being sired by horses in New York, it is clear New York may be the top dog in American breeding these days.  This was illustrated last night in three year old colt and gelding final won by Heston Blue Chip in 1:49.2 over the good track.

Granted Heston Blue Chip had a much easier campaign than the others as he spent a good part of his season racing in the NYSS, but with harness racing gravitating more towards the trainig strategy styles of Thoroughreds, expect to see more of this.

HANA Harness' The Pen vs. The Chip Handicapping Challenge concluded last night at Woodbine Racetrack and the Pen's were the top dogs in the contest thanks to Mark McKelvie, who was in the lead most of the way.  While McKelvie led most of the way, Chip handicapper Earl the Pearl made it interesting with a furious closing bid the last three legs of the contest, but the wire came soon enough for McKelvie to secure the title.  Congratulations to Mark on his victory. 

Harness Racing Going Hollywood?  A film called Johnny Longshot is set to begin filming in early 2013 with filming being centered at Lebanon Raceway.  It will be nice to see a film about harness racing making it.  Look for the film in late 2013 or early 2014.

With Hurrican Sandy due to visit the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast this week, don't be surprised to see racing cancelled at some tracks over the next few days.  Check your local racetrack's website or the USTA's for such announcements. 

If you don't see a post for a few days, it will be due to Hurricane Sandy.  I will return, it's just a case of when.

Cal-Expo's fall meet opens this coming Friday.  More news about this later this week.   

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