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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Repositioned Yonkers Trot And Breeders Crown

Periodic fits of outrage over the fact that the Yonkers Trot continues to serve as a leg of the Trotting Triple Crown are predictable, and inevitable since the track owns the rights to the title and concept. Some wanted the World Trotting Derby to take that spot, but that race is no more. Others lobbied for the Colonial, but that race has also been terminated. At least the Yonkers Trot is reliable; the race has been held continuously for 58 years, ever since Scott Frost won the inaugural edition in 1955.

Over the years the YT has been held in June, July, August and September; of late it has served as the first leg of the Triple Crown. Two years ago it was held on July 7, while last year it was stepped up three weeks to July 27, a week before the Hambletonion. Two years ago Archangel benefited from first quarter mayhem and in 2013 it was Dewycolorintheline who scooted away from a troubled start. No classics of late.

A look at this year's calendar indicates the Yonkers Trot will move ahead three months to October 25, when it will share a card with the Messenger, Hudson Filly and Lady Maud--Super Saturday at Yonkers. This would position the race about three weeks after the Kentucky Futurity and make it the third leg of the Triple Crown. The purse is $500,000. The Breeders Crown, which will carry a similar purse, will be raced at the Meadowlands a month later on November 22.

Winning the Triple Crown obviously isn't a priority for most of today's owners and trainers--Glidemaster was the last to do it in 2006--but it may be tougher for some to ignore the Yonkers Trot in late October than it was when the race was held in July. If a colt has captured two legs, why not go for the third. It will serve as a potentially lucrative stepping stone between the Futurity and the BC. Throw in the Canadian Trotting Classic in mid-September and it will be a busy autumn for Father Patrick and friends.

Typically the Messenger, Matron Series, American-National Series, Windy City and Galt take place after the Breeders Crown, but with the BC being raced so late in the season that probably won't happen in 2014. Also, the Progress Pace generally takes place on what is now BC weekend. I don't imagine the folks at Dover want to butt heads with the Crown. This should be interesting.

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