By Kimberly French for Breeders’ Crown — A highly anticipated clash between Breeders Crown elimination winners Perfect Sting (David Miller) and Southwind Gendry (Yannick Gingras) on Friday (Oct. 30) at Harrah’s Hoosier Park did not disappoint. In fact, it was epic, as Summa Cum Laude (Brian Sears) inserted himself into the fray right at the line to not only finish in front of Southwind Gendry, but to dead heat with Perfect Sting in the $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers in 1:50.2. It was the first occasion in the 37 editions of the Breeders Crown that there has been a dead heat for a victory.
Two-year-old pacing colts Perfect Sting (#2, inside) and Summa Cum Laude (#6) hit the finish line together in the first dead heat for win in the 37-year history of the Breeders Crown. Southwind Gendry (#3) finished third. Dean Gillette Photography.
Right when the wings of the gate folded, the duel was on as Southwind Gendry went to the lead with Perfect Sting right behind him through a blistering first fraction of :25.3. Miller had no intention of allowing that rival to get away from him and sent Perfect Sting to the lead prior to a half-mile in :54.1. Southwind Gendry sat in the pocket biding his time with JK Going West (LeWayne Miller) in third.
As Perfect Sting and Southwind Gendry headed to the three-quarter pole in 1:22.4, they provided a bit of separation between themselves and their eight rivals. It appeared the battle was on, and it certainly was.
After Abuckabett Hanover (Andrew McCarthy) made a nasty break on the outside, Perfect Sting and Southwind Gendry threw down the gauntlet in the stretch. While those horses were locked in on one another, JK Going West hit his best stride and Summa Cum Laude had moved from sixth to fourth.
As the horses paced to the finish line, it became obvious Perfect Sting and Southwind Gendry had their hooves full. All four horses in contention crossed the line nearly as a quartet and the decision was too close to call. A photograph determined exactly that, as Perfect Sting and Summa Cum Laude could not be separated. Southwind Gendry was third and JK Going West was fourth.
“I knew I was getting close,” said Sears. “And Hoosier Park has a long stretch.”
Summa Cum Laude is a son of Somebeachsomewhere and Western Graduate, trained by Ron Burke for the Burke Racing Stable, Phil Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi. He was bred by Nick Surick Stable and J L Benson Stables. His record now stands at four wins in 13 starts.
For Perfect Sting, the triumph kept his unblemished record intact. The son of Always B Miki and Shebestingin is now 10-for-10 and competes as a homebred for Brittany Farms and Val D’Or Farms.
“We talked the talk right in the beginning of the year, and he backed it up,” said Joe Holloway, Perfect Sting’s trainer. “I trained the dad and the mom and a lot of other very nice horses, but I said right away this horse is the best I’ve ever had. He proved that tonight. None of them went undefeated as a 2-year-old or won like he did tonight.”
Summa Cum Laude paid $11.20 while Perfect Sting paid his supporters $2.20.