By Ken Weingartner—Two horses in history have won the Canadian Trotting Classic at age 3 and Maple Leaf Trot at age 4. Crystal Fashion will try to add his name to the list this weekend.
Crystal Fashion brings a three-race win streak to Saturday’s C$600,000 Maple Leaf Trot at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Jim Campbell-trained 4-year-old gelding won his Maple Leaf Trot elimination last week, following victories in the Cashman Memorial and Hambletonian Maturity.
He will start the Maple Leaf final from post two with David Miller at the lines. Crystal Fashion, who won last year’s Canadian Trotting Classic as part of a $1.08-million season, is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind 5-2 favorite Guardian Angel AS, who also was a Maple Leaf elimination winner.
With a win Crystal Fashion would join Market Share and Mr Muscleman as the only horses to win the Canadian Trotting Classic, which is for 3-year-olds, and Maple Leaf Trot in successive years. Market Share accomplished the feat in 2012-13; Mr Muscleman in 2003-04. Mr Muscleman added a second Maple Leaf title in 2005. Ima Lula is the only other horse to win both the Canadian Trotting Classic and Maple Leaf, in 1977, but she captured both at age 4, prior to the CTC being restricted to 3-year-olds.
“We’ve been very fortunate,” Campbell said about Crystal Fashion. “He’s come up big in some of the big races. He’s always been the type of horse to give us a great effort every time we put him out there.
“He definitely is more versatile this year. You can race him any way you want, which is a huge advantage when you’re racing at this level. Even as a 2- and 3-year-old, being first over never bothered him, but he was always better chasing horses. This year, he can chase after them or he can go on the front end; he can do it from either way. It gives the driver options.”
Crystal Fashion, owned by Fashion Farms, has won 18 of 38 career races and finished worse than third only six times. Only once has he been worse than fifth. In addition to his aforementioned victories, his triumphs last year included the Beal Memorial, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, and an elimination of the Hambletonian. He finished fourth in the Hambletonian final.
“The biggest change (from last year) is that he’s grown and filled out a lot,” Campbell said. “But his mannerisms are the same as they have been the last couple years. He’s just a nice horse to be around. He’s a real pleasure. He’s just got a great personality. He’s always got his head out (of his stall) and is looking for someone to come up and say hi to him.”
Crystal Fashion is part of a talented field in the Maple Leaf. The 10-horse group includes three Trotter of the Year recipients — Atlanta and Marion Marauder in the U.S. and Speeding Spur in New Zealand — as well as divisional award-winners Emoticon Hanover in Canada and Manchego and Six Pack in the States.
Earlier this year, Atlanta trotted the fastest mile in Canadian history when she won the Armbro Flight Stakes in 1:50.2 at Mohawk. Guardian Angel AS became the fastest male trotter in a race on a half-mile track when he won the Cleveland Trotting Classic in 1:52 at Northfield Park.
“This has got to be one of the best races of the year,” Campbell said. “I think it sets up for a good betting race. The way it looks, anything could happen. I’m sure there is going to be a lot of action in there.
“You could make a point for a lot of horses in there. There are a lot that have been on their game lately and a couple that are maybe starting to come back into form. For a trainer with a horse in there, it’s a tough race; it’s hard to say which way it’ll go. But on the other hand, for somebody that loves watching horse racing, they’re going to see a really good race.”
Racing begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Mohawk. The Maple Leaf Trot is race five on the card, which also includes the C$525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers (race eight) and C$171,503 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old pacers (race nine). For complete entries, click here.
Following is the field for the C$600,000 Maple Leaf Trot.
1-Six Pack-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-4/1
2-Crystal Fashion-David Miller-Jim Campbell-3/1
3-Guardian Angel AS-Tim Tetrick-Anette Lorentzon-5/2
4-Speeding Spur N-Jody Jamieson-Linda Toscano-10/1
5-Dancer Hall-James MacDonald-Rod Boyd-20/1
6-Dream Together-Randy Waples-Luc Blais-15/1
7-Manchego-Andy McCarthy-Nancy Johansson-8/1
8-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Mike Keeling-8/1
9-Emoticon Hanover-Dan Dube-Luc Blais-20/1
10-Atlanta-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-9/2