Edited from Combined Sources – Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt wound Warrawee Michelle off the pegs in the straightaway to collar her tempo-setting stablemate and hold off a swarm of late pursuers to win the $700,000 Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Filly Trot at Harrah’s Hoosier Park on Friday night (Oct. 27) in 1:54.1.
Starting from post 4, Svanstedt settled Warrawee Michelle into a gap from third while her stablemate Senorita Palema raced keenly on the point to a :27.3 first quarter with Sugar Instead sitting the pocket. Senorita Palema managed to slow the tempo to a :57.2 half and the field began to bunch to the far turn, prompting Svanstedt to make his attack.
Warrawee Michelle motored first over through the final turn and loomed to match strides with Senorita Palema past three-quarters in 1:25.2. Senorita Palema folded into the eighth pole, leaving Warrawee Michelle to the lead as late bursts of speed came from Soiree Hanover and Buy A Round down the center of the track. The pair kept gaining to the beam, but Warrawee Michelle maintained the advantage to the finish by a head. Soiree Hanover finished second with Buy A Round taking third and Drawn Impression in fourth.
“She loves to fight, and she doesn’t give up until I tell her we’re done, then she’s done,” Svanstedt said. “I had a good position, and the speed was OK in the race, but she’s a great horse and can leave fast. She’s strong both mentally and physically.”
Collecting her fourth win from nine starts, Warrawee Michelle has now banked $478,125 for owners Ake Svanstedt Inc., Santandrea Inc., and Young Guns. Warrawee Farm bred the daughter of Walner-Sound Check, a $200,000 yearling purchase from the 2022 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Off the 3-2 favorite, she paid $5 to win.
The victory by Warrawee Michelle gave trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt back-to-back victories in the 2-Year-Old Filly Trot, which he won last year with eventual Dan Patch divisional winner Special Way. He is the first trainer to win this event in back-to-back years since Jimmy Takter’s threepeat in 2015 through 2017 and the first driver to win in back-to-back years since Yannick Gingras’s four straight wins from 2014 through 2017.
Two strong moves helped 23-1 Gem Quality and driver Dexter Dunn glide down the stretch to win Friday’s $700,000 Breeders Crown final for freshman male pacers at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. Full of pace throughout, Gem Quality’s 1:50 mile set the track record for 2-year-old colt pacers.
After a recall caused by Newsroom, Dunn took Gem Quality directly to the top when the starting gate guided the field of 10 into battle. Also leaving aggressively was Legendary Hanover (James Macdonald) shooting for the lead from post nine and giving Gem Quality good cover while cutting the first quarter in :26.
Public-choice Captain Albano (Todd McCarthy) lifted from the inside to scoot by the top two and earn his public support with a firm lead through a :54.2 half. Gem Quality rolled comfortably in third as Newsroom (David Miller) muscled to the outside with his best stride, though he did not have much to offer by the 1:23 three-quarters.
The group chasing Captain Albano had no chance gaining over the pacing speed put into gear by Gem Quality. Needing no urging, the Captain Crunch-Twinkle colt took Dunn for an easy ride, passing Captain Albano with Storm Shadow finding room to finish third as Nuclear (Any Miller) found a clear late path to take the fourth spot.
The margin of victory was 1-1/4 lengths.
“I’m not surprised,” said trainer Chris Ryder, who won his sixth Breeders Crown and first with a male student. He said Gem Quality “always had good speed. Last week he pulled up a bit (in the elim) at the wire, so we gave him an easy week and he came in fresh.”
The trip, according to Dunn, looked good from the start. “We used him a little at the gate, but I was happy where we were at the quarter (with cover).” He said his colt “exploded” in the stretch.
Gem Quality paid $48.60 to win.
Let It Ride Stables, Bottom Line Racing, Brad Grant, and Enviro Stables own the track-record-breaker, who won his fourth race in eight starts and has earned $438,940 in his first racing season.
Let It Ride Stables and Bottom Line Racing bred the colt.
Driver Dexter Dunn worked a pocket ride with My Girl EJ behind undefeated Geocentric and roared from the pocket when straightening for home to cross the line a wrapped-up winner in a stakes- and track-record 1:49.2 mile in the $700,000 Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Filly Pace on Friday night at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
My Girl EJ ripped out of post eight and crossed to the lead before a :27 first quarter with stablemate Pass Line in the pocket. Geocentric, the 2-5 favorite, raced third and soon swung off the pegs to brush toward the lead in a stiff second quarter. By the half in :54, Geocentric rolled through the final turn with My Girl EJ swelling and raring to kick off the helmet.
Dunn gave My Girl EJ her head by three-quarters in 1:22.2 and stormed clear into the lane as Geocentric tired through the field. Pass Line gave futile pursuit to her stablemate to secure second, beaten by three lengths, with 49-1 shot Camerican slipping through off a pylon trip to take third and Its A Love Thing finishing fourth.
“We had to use her from a wide draw, but she’s been in such great form and her elimination last week was super,” said Dunn, who won this event for the third time after winning back-to-back years in 2020 with Fire Start Hanover and in 2021 with Niki Hill.
“I thought in that race we wanted to be following Timmy (Tetrick with Geocentric), so that was my gameplan and we got the job done. I didn’t know if I could beat her, because Geocentric has been so awesome this year, but I knew I had a chance the way (my horse) has been racing. That’s the way horse racing goes, you know? You get the right horse on the right night, and she turns up, and she certainly turned up tonight.”
The 1:49.2 mark from My Girl EJ lowered the stakes record for this division set nearly 10 years ago by JK She’salady, who won the 2014 renewal at The Meadowlands in 1:50.2. My Girl EJ also gave trainer Ron Burke his third victory in the 2-Year-Old Filly Pace, which he won in 2017 with Youaremycandygirl and in 2018 with Warrawee Ubeaut. Burke also bred My Girl EJ with Weaver Bruscemi and Elizabeth Novak.
“They’re not only our mares, but the first two (finishers) were our sires,” said Burke, who conditioned Breeders Crown winner Sweet Lou from 2011 to 2014 and double millionaire All Bets Off. “It’s been a great run with these guys. Geocentric is a great horse, I love her, but I’ve said all along I’d never trade my filly for anybody. She’s as good as anything. She’s going to be an even better filly when she gets onto smaller tracks next year. She’s a top, top horse.”
Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Elizabeth Novak share ownership of My Girl EJ with Howard Taylor. The daughter of Sweet Lou-Lucy’s Peal, a full sister to Burke millionaire Lou’s Pearlman, won her fourth race from 11 starts and has accrued $599,097 in earnings. Off the 7-2 second choice, she paid $9.40 to win.
Karl, driven by Yannick Gingras, was at his best Friday night, winning the $700,000 Breeders Crown final for freshman colt and gelding trotters with a track- and stakes-record 1:51.4 performance at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
The Nancy Takter-trained thunderbolt, a son of Tactical Landing-Avalicious, settled in fourth following the start. Security Protected got control leaving quickly, followed by second-choice T C I, who then rushed to gain the top as the :26.4 first panel was recorded.
Gingras moved Karl to the front in a :56.1 half and reached three-quarters in 1:25.
T C I chased Karl to make it look like a two-trotter race down the lane, but victory was never in doubt for Karl as he drew away to win by three lengths. The previous stakes record, 1:52.4, was set by On A Streak at Hoosier in 2020.
The record-setter gave trainer Nancy Takter the ninth Breeders Crown winner of her career. T C I held for second over Security Protected, with Private Access fourth.
Christina and Nancy Takter, Black Horse Racing, Crawford Farms Racing, and Bender Sweden Inc. own Karl. Bred by Crawford Farms, Karl paid $3.40 to win as the 3-5 favorite.
With the sterling win, Karl’s earnings expanded to $709,760. He has won seven of eight starts, with his only setback coming by a nose to T C I on Oct. 6 at the Red Mile.
Gingras was aglow by the performance.
“He was fine in the hole, but first off, all the credit goes to Nancy,” he said of the trainer. “The horse I had last week wasn’t the same horse I had tonight. She changed the shoes, the bit (and) a bunch of things on the horse. She gambled and it paid off. She sent me a video of him yesterday and he looked tremendous.”
Gingras knew he was flying behind Karl.
“He’s so fast. He has so many gears,” he said. “I think he’s the best horse I’ve ever sat behind. He has so much ability. I was high on him in the beginning of the year; he’s the best 2-year-old I have ever driven.”
Gingras said he looks forward to resuming the rivalry between Karl and T C I next year.
“Both trainers are great trainers,” he said about Takter and Ron Burke, who conditions T C I. “His horses come back fast and strong every year. He has shown that for 12 years in a row, so I know (T C I) will come back fine and the battle will be on.”
stories written by Ray Cotolo and Frank Cotolo for Breeders Crown and compiled by Ken Weingartner, USTA