By KEN WEINGARTNER — Third Shift and Moon Bridge got a little unscheduled time off recently because of sickness, but the two Ake Svanstedt trainees are ready to go Friday (Oct. 18) in the single Breeders Crown elimination for 2-year-old male trotters at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Thirteen horses were entered for the event, with the connections of Real Cool Sam, Port Perry, and Capricornus accepting byes to advance directly to the final.
The top seven finishers from the remaining 10-horse field will join that trio in the $600,000 final Oct. 25 at Mohawk.
Two-time Grand Circuit-winner Amigo Volo, a son of Father Patrick from the stable of trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman, is the elim’s 5-2 morning-line favorite from post three.
Dexter Dunn will drive the gelding, who won divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes at Lexington’s Red Mile in his most recent outings.
Third Shift, the New York Sire Stakes champion, is 8-1 and will be driven by Svanstedt from post one. Moon Bridge, who won the Ontario Sire Stakes championship this past Saturday at Mohawk, is 10-1 and will start from post seven with Sylvain Filion.
Svanstedt considered sending the horses to the recently concluded Grand Circuit meet at Red Mile, but the health of the horses changed those plans.
“Third Shift was sick, so we left him at home and decided to go for the Breeders Crown,” Svanstedt said. “It was the same with Moon Beam. He was sick and hadn’t raced for one month before the (Ontario) final. But both of them are sound and healthy now and I hope they can do good races.”
Third Shift enters Friday having last raced in the New York championship Sept. 14 at Batavia Downs. The colt, by two-time Breeders Crown champ Chapter Seven out of Overnight Command, zipped around the half-mile oval in a track- and stakes-record 1:56.
He shaved more than a second off the previous Batavia standard of 1:57.1 and three-fifths of a second off the stakes record, which was set last year by Dan Patch Award winner Gimpanzee.
“He hasn’t raced since then, but he was very good in the final,” said Svanstedt, who owns Third Shift with Mellby Gard Inc. “He has trained good and everything is good with him. He has everything. He is fast and strong and has a very good head. He is a horse that always tries; he wants to win. He’s a good horse.”
Third Shift has won three of six races, finished second twice, and earned $198,212. His fastest win time of the campaign, 1:54.4, came at seven-eighths-mile Vernon Downs in a preliminary round of the New York Sire Stakes.
“He is a big horse, but he handled the (half-mile) tracks good,” Svanstedt said. “I hope he can go faster on the big track (at seven-eighths-mile Mohawk). He raced in (1):54 at Vernon in his third race, so I think he can go faster on the big track.”
Moon Bridge was unraced for nearly a month when he captured the Ontario title, beating Port Perry by a head in 1:55.4. The colt, by E L Titan out of Classic Belle, has won two of six races and earned $149,953 for owners Esa Lahtinen, Janne Korpi, and Jussi Hietalahti. He was bred by Lahtinen’s Overseas Farms and Korpi.
“He was good,” Svanstedt said. “He is a nervous horse, but he handles it good. We have to be careful with him; we always take it easy with him. But he is a good racehorse. He comes to race.”
All eliminations for 2-year-olds, which go for $25,000 each, are Friday at Mohawk. Hypnotic AM and Ramona Hill are the morning-line favorites in the elims for 2-year-old filly trotters; Baby Your The Best, Alicorn and Lyons Sentinel get the nods in the elims for 2-year-old filly pacers; and Tall Dark Stranger is the choice in the single elimination for 2-year-old male pacers.
Elimination winners, in an order determined by lot, draw for post positions one through five for the finals. The draws for the 2-year-old finals, except for the colt-and-gelding pace, will be conducted Friday following the eliminations. The draw for the colt-and-gelding pace will be Tuesday at the post-position draw and press conference at Woodbine Mohawk Park.