By Ken Weingartner, for the Breeders Crown —
ANDERSON, Indiana — Gimpanzee made it three Breeders Crown titles in a row by winning Saturday’s (Oct. 31) $500,000 Open Trot by a length over Crystal Fashion in 1:51.3 at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. Atlanta finished third.
Gimpanzee, a 4-year-old stallion, became the fifth trotter in history to win at least three Breeders Crown trophies, joining Peace Corps, Grades Singing, Mack Lobell, and Manchego — who accomplished the feat earlier in the night. Peace Corps, who leads the group with a record four Crowns, and Mack Lobell are the only others to win titles at ages 2, 3, and 4.
In addition, Gimpanzee became the first trotter to win a Breeders Crown at age 3 and return to capture the Open Trot at 4 since his sire, Chapter Seven, did so in 2011 and 2012.
“He’s just an amazing horse and means a lot to me,” trainer Marcus Melander said. “He’s been with us from the start since we bought him at the Harrisburg sale, and it’s just amazing what a journey it’s been for us.
“This is our third win together, and it’s very tough to win these Breeders Crown races. I’m very happy. Doing it with this horse — taking his third straight Breeders Crown — just shows how good of a horse he is.”
Gimpanzee and driver Brian Sears followed early leader Crystal Fashion around the first turn through an opening :27.3 quarter before moving to the front on the backstretch. From there, Gimpanzee hit the half in :56.4 and three-quarters in 1:24.1.
Atlanta, the lone mare in the field, tried to launch a challenge on the last turn, but Gimpanzee kept both Crystal Fashion and Atlanta at bay down the stretch.
“I didn’t know what Brian had planned,” Melander said. “I think (Gimpanzee) is better chasing horses, but they went a little softer there on the backside and he could get the lead.”
Gimpanzee, out of the mare Steamy Windows, has won eight of 11 races this season and 25 of 34 in his career, with earnings of $2.70 million. He is owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. He was bred by Order By Stable.
Sent off as the even money favorite, Gimpanzee paid $4.00 to win.
CENTURY FARROH POUNCES, UPSETS CROWN OPEN PACE
By Jay Bergman, for the Breeders Crown
David Miller had Century Farroh in just the right spot, and the 4-year-old son of Mach Three charged by favorite Bettor’s Wish in the late stages to capture the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Harrah’s Hoosier Park on Saturday night (Oct. 31).
Century Farroh left hard from the outside and tucked in behind early speedster Backstreet Shadow heading into the first turn. Tim Tetrick guided Backstreet Shadow to the quarter in :26.3 and was able to slow the half to :54.1 as favorite Bettor’s Wish and driver Dexter Dunn tracked from fourth after leaving the gate.
Dunn pulled with Bettor’s Wish and methodically moved without cover, towing Sectionline Bigry into the race in second-over position. Backstreet Shadow controlled the lead at the three-quarter marker in 1:21.2, but Dunn appeared poised and Bettor’s Wish moved with purpose into the homestretch to take control.
David Miller had to wait for the passing lane to find room, and once he got that room, he roused the Dr. Ian Moore trainee and got the response he was looking for. As the leaders approached the finish line, Century Farroh had the momentum and got the best of Bettor’s Wish by a neck, denying that horse a second straight Crown title.
Backstreet Shadow managed to hold on to the third spot, with This Is The Plan and Filibuster Hanover rounding out the top five finishers.
Century Farroh won for just the fourth time this year in 15 starts for the Ratchford Stable and pushed his career earnings over the $1 million mark. Century Spring Farms bred the winner, who returned $17.40.
“When I landed in the two-hole, I was pretty happy,” said Miller following the race. The Hall of Fame driver was far from confident heading into the stretch. “I wouldn’t say I was loaded, but when I popped the earplugs, he got the job done.”
The Breeders Crown victory for Century Farroh was eerily similar to his August Dan Patch triumph at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, where he tracked down the pacesetting Bettor’s Wish in the shadow of the wire.
SANDBETWEENMYTOES SHOCKS TALL DARK STRANGER
By James Witherite, for the Breeders Crown
ANDERSON, Ind. — Despite Tall Dark Stranger’s most valiant effort, his absolute reign among 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings came to an end in Saturday night’s (Oct. 31) $500,000 Breeders Crown, as 200-1 shot Sandbetweenmytoes lifted down the grandstand side to narrowly record a 1:48.3 win over the divisional leader.
Sandbetweenmytoes got away ninth in the field of 10 while Cattlewash (David Miller) and Warrawee Vital (Tim Tetrick) threw down through a :25.3 first quarter. Upon reaching the backstretch, Yannick Gingras moved Tall Dark Stranger out from third to brush for the lead, and they cleared after being strung out by Cattlewash through a punishing :52.3 half mile.
Tall Dark Stranger controlled an uncontested lead through the far turn, but after reaching three-quarters in 1:20.3 and turning for home, the odds-on favorite looked vulnerable as the outer tier had finally caught up to him. The first-over No Lou Zing (Dexter Dunn) worked to within striking range at the eighth pole, Cattlewash launched for the open stretch, and Captain Barbossa (Joe Bongiorno) took a solid shot off cover as well — but as he had done on numerous occasions this season, Tall Dark Stranger dug deep to find more while under siege.
Game as Tall Dark Stranger was, though, one of the unlikeliest of rivals had his number. Scott Zeron fanned Sandbetweenmytoes — who was towed into contention from fourth-over — to the five-path in upper stretch, and they found their best gear in the final sixteenth. The gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere lifted to collar Tall Dark Stranger by a neck, with Cattlewash finishing third and Save Me A Dance fourth.
The $409.80 win mutuel yielded by Sandbetweenmytoes was the highest ever in the 37-year history of the Breeders Crown.
Trainer Jim Campbell felt the race set up perfectly for his gelding, and that he had the potential to contend:
“He had a good week, and before the race, Scotty and I talked it over,” he said. “Where we were at, we had to hope for a hot pace up front. We got it, and Sandbetweenmytoes took advantage of it.”
Despite the faith he had in Sandbetweenmytoes, Campbell was just as surprised by the end result as anyone:
“I wasn’t confident [in the result] until they flashed his number up, because I watched one angle and thought we had a shot,” he said. “Watching the race live, I couldn’t tell … it was tight; he just happened to go the right way at the wire to get his nose up.”
The Fashion Farms homebred has now won seven of 15 races and $487,135 in purses this season.
BREEDERS CROWN REDEPTION FOR KISSIN IN THE SAND
By Ray Cotolo, for the Breeders Crown
ANDERSON, Ind. — Thrice a Breeders Crown competitor but now finally a bride, Kissin In The Sand kept defending Horse of the Year Shartin N at bay and equaled the stakes record in the $300,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace on Saturday (Oct. 31) at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
Kissin In The Sand was parked to a :26.4 opening quarter, but cleared command from Shartin N entering the backstretch. Warrawee Ubeaut raced third as the field lined up single file to a :54.2 half, where Caviart Ally tipped first-over from sixth. Caviart Ally’s uncovered rush prompted Warrawee Ubeaut to vacate the cones from third and lead the two-wide tier after Kissin In The Sand to three-quarters in 1:22.1.
Warrawee Ubeaut drew to equal terms with Kissin In The Sand straightening for the finish, but leveled off nearing the eighth pole. Once arriving at the open stretch, Shartin N shot from the pocket after Kissin In The Sand to mount a final charge after the leader, but finished a length shy of victory. Warrawee Ubeaut finished third with Sweet Lucy Lou sweeping up the pegs for fourth.
“I only got on this mare within the last six weeks, but she’s been extremely powerful the later half of the season,” winning driver Dexter Dunn said after the race. “[We] made a move, got the front, and she kicked really well down the stretch. She’s just been vicious lately and she showed it again tonight — a 1:48.4 mile… a strong run.”
Kissin In The Sand, a 5-year-old mare by Somebeachsomewhere, collected her seventh win from 11 starts this season and her 26th from 57 overall, earning $1,669,094 for owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables. Nancy Takter trains the mare bred by Christina Takter, John Fielding and R A W Equine who missed qualifying for the Breeders Crown at 2, finished second in the Breeders Crown as a 3-year-old, and was third in last year’s Mare Pace.
Her 1:48.4 mile equaled the stakes record set by Hana Hanover in 2009.
“Nancy did the right thing — she decided not to take the bye in the eliminations and race the horse. That way, we were afforded the three-hole, and I think that made a big difference in the final,” Bud Hatfield said. “It’s a very special feeling [to win]. We love this horse; she’s such a wonderful animal. I can’t be any happier than I am right now.”
Kissin In The Sand paid $2.80 to win.
SOPHOMORE TROTTER AMIGO VOLO HANGS TOUGH
By Frank Cotolo, for the Breeders Crown
ANDERSON, Ind. — Dexter Dunn drove Amigo Volo to victory for the second week, posting a 1:53 win in the $500,000 Breeders Crown 3-year-old colt and gelding trot on Saturday (Oct. 31) at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
Play Trix On Me left quickly along with Back Of The Neck, who advanced to take the lead at the end of a :27.1. Amigo Volo angled from third and rolled by the new leader to take control of the pace.
Gliding atop the field, Amigo Volo cut a :56 half with no pressure, but Ready For Moni took to the outside and passed Back Of The Neck and Play Trix On Me at the rail to chase the leader, with Gangster Hanover second-over and Chestnut Hill poised to go wide in the stretch.
After reaching three-quarters in 1:24.4, Dunn began to urge Amigo Volo to stay afloat in the stretch as Play Trix On Me found a path inside and driver Joe Bongiorno had his colt closing rapidly. It took a photo finish to separate the huge public choice with the 27-1 shot, but Amigo Volo was a breath ahead and won in 1:53.
Play Trix On Me was second, Chestnut Hill passed tired rivals to take third, and Hillexotic, another long shot, picked up the fourth spot.
Amigo Volo is trained by Richard “Nifty” Norman for the Pinske Stables and David J. Miller.
“It’s been an incredible year,” 25-year-old co-owner Carter Pinske said before offering a humble comment, saying, “I’m going to have a long career, so I guess it’ll be downhill from here.”
As for Amigo Volo, Pinske said he had one word to describe his colt: “Guts.”
Amigo Volo, a son of Father Patrick and Margarita Momma, won his eighth race in 14 starts this season with the championship. He returned $3.00 to win.
FILLY PEAKY SNEAKY UPSETS PARTY GIRL HILL
By Jay Bergman, for the Breeders Crown
ANDERSON, Ind. — Peaky Sneaky became the first filly to defeat Party Girl Hill — and she made the most of it, capturing the $500,000 Breeders Crown sophomore filly pace on Saturday night (Oct. 31) at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in rein to driver Yannick Gingras.
Gingras and Peaky Sneaky left explosively to secure the lead before yielding into the opening bend to Rocknificent and driver Scott Zeron. The Nancy Takter trainee was quick to regain at the :26.2 opening quarter, and she then stung the 1-5 favorite Party Girl Hill before allowing her to pass at the halfway point in :54.
Party Girl Hill and Dexter Dunn kept the tempo lively, hitting three-quarters in 1:21.3 while second choice Lyons Sentinel and Tim Tetrick crept into contention first-over and was on the leader’s flank heading into the homestretch.
Unlike in her 14 straight victories, Party Girl Hill and Dunn looked vulnerable on Breeders Crown night under outside pressure from Lyons Sentinel. And once the inside passing lane opened, Peaky Sneaky picked up the fight. The three fillies raced head-to-head through deep stretch, with Party Girl Hill fighting valiantly. Ultimately, Peaky Sneaky wore her down in the closing strides to prevail in a stakes record 1:49 mile. Lyons Sentinel edged Party Girl Hill for second.
Peaky Sneaky is owned by Howard and Judith Taylor and Order By Stable, and was bred by White Birch Farms. The victory was her sixth on the season in 14 tries. The Bettor’s Delight filly paid $16.20 as the third choice.
“She was tremendous last week,” Gingras said of Peaky Sneaky. “I thought she had a shot.”
Takter has believed in Peaky Sneaky all year long:
“She was so good. I’ve been saying all along that she’s going to win a big one. She won the right big one.
NEXT LEVEL STUFF TAKES BREEDERS CROWN TITLE
By Ray Cotolo, for the Breeders Crown
ANDERSON, Ind. — Long left in the shadow of her division’s titans, Next Level Stuff took the throne with an open-stretch dash past Hypnotic AM and Hambletonian Oaks winner Sorella to win the $500,000 Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old filly trot on Saturday (Oct. 31) at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
Protecting position from the pylon post, Next Level Stuff eased into the pocket as Sorella slid to top and Hypnotic AM rolled towards the front past a :27.2 first quarter. Hypnotic AM grabbed the lead into the backstretch and seated Sorella in the pocket as the tempo accelerated by a :55.2 half.
Approaching the far turn, Love A Good Story kicked off the pylons from fourth and pressed forward to challenge Hypnotic AM to three-quarters in 1:23.4, but began to lose ground off the bend. Sorella swung out of the pocket nearing the eighth pole, leaving a seam up the inside for Next Level Stuff to dart through to the open stretch as Hypnotic AM tired. Next Level Stuff charged to the finish with the most momentum, holding off Sorella in a stakes and track record 1:52 mile while Ab’sattitudexpress rallied for third and Hypnotic AM settled for fourth.
“She raced really good; her last three starts, she’s really been coming into top form,” winning driver Tim Tetrick said after the race. “Last week she got home in :26 and a piece and raced well, and today we got kind of the same trip — but with the long stretch, we had plenty of time to get there. She’s definitely exceeded expectations, that’s for sure.”
A homebred Sebastian K S filly for Runthetable Stables, Next Level Stuff won her seventh race from 13 starts this season and her 13th from 23 overall, earning $646,816. Jim Campbell trains the winner, who returned an $18.00 mutuel.
“My family’s been with Jim Campbell for 30-plus years,” Scott Farber of Runthetable Stables said. “My stable’s named after my father, who I loved with all my heart. He’s my best friend in the entire world and I just miss him so much and I hope I made him proud tonight.
“I’m so proud of this horse. I’m so proud of being a small part of the Campbell family. There’s just no way I’m going to be able to put this into words.”
MANCHEGO EARNS THIRD BREEDERS CROWN TITLE
By Ken Weingartner, for the Breeders Crown
ANDERSON, Ind. — Manchego became only the fourth trotter in history to win three Breeders Crown trophies by capturing Saturday’s (Oct. 31) $300,000 Mare Trot in 1:52 at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. Dispatched as the 4-5 favorite, Manchego won by 3-1/4 lengths over Plunge Blue Chip. When Dovescry overcame a break at the start to rally for third.
Manchego joined Peace Corps, Grades Singing and Mack Lobell as the only trotters with at least three Crowns. Peace Corps holds the Breeders Crown record with four titles; Grades Singing and Mack Lobell each had three.
In Saturday’s final, Felicityshagwell S went to the front followed by Plunge Blue Chip, Weslynn Quest, and Manchego. The top four remained in that order through a :27.3 opening quarter and :56 half.
Entering the last turn, driver Dexter Dunn put Manchego on a first-over march. She was third to three-quarters in 1:24.2, and she briefly followed Plunge Blue Chip (Åke Svanstedt) — who pulled the pocket in the stretch — before powering past her rivals for the victory.
“It actually worked out good because I got on (Svanstedt’s) helmet for a while; he sort of beat me into the stretch there,” Dunn said. “Once I moved her off Åke’s helmet, she really exploded.
“She’s an amazing horse. She really did it easy. It was a good performance tonight. It’s a pleasure to sit behind her.”
Manchego’s previous Breeders Crown triumphs came at age 2 at Hoosier Park in 2017 and at age 4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park last year.
“It sure never gets old,” said owner Barry Guariglia of Black Horse Racing. “She’s an awesome mare. It’s been a great ride.”
Manchego, a 5-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill out of Secret Magic, is trained by Nancy Takter. Manchego has won five of 12 races this year and 32 of 55 in her career, with earnings of $2.56 million.
She was bred by Brittany Farms. Manchego paid $3.80 to win.
Breeders Crown results coverage at HRI made available through auspices of U S Trotting Association