MILTON, October 25, 2022 – Participants and dignitaries gathered Tuesday evening at Country Heritage Park in Milton, Ontario for a special post-position draw and dinner celebrating this weekend’s Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
The post draws for the Open Pace, Open Trot and 3-Year-Old Colt Pace were conducted to set the stage for this weekend’s 12 championship races. Posts for the other nine Crown events were drawn during this past Friday and Saturday’s cards of live racing.
Bulldog Hanover, the World’s fastest Standardbred, will be the headliner in the $600,000 (USD) Breeders Crown Open Pace, which is carded as the main event, Race 9, on Saturday.
The Jack Darling trained Bulldog Hanover will start from post six with driver Dexter Dunn in an overflow field of 11.
“I was happy with that [post six],” Darling told Mark McKelvie moments after learning his post. “I was a little bit worried about that nine-hole, but I’m really happy with the six. I’ve had some good horses, but to have a horse like this is a really special thing, and I wish everybody could have a horse like this once in their life.”
Bulldog Hanover has impressively won 12 of 14 starts this season, earning $1.2 million in the process. The four-year-old son of Shadow Play established a new harness racing record mile time of 1:45.4 on July 16 at The Meadowlands. The World Record mile is one of five sub-1:47 miles turned in by the “Bulldog” this season.
Darling shares ownership of the World Champion with prominent owner Brad Grant.
“I think it’s sunk in because I think I’ve watched it 42 times on TV, so it’s sunk in,” said Darling, of the record mile. “He came out of it [Allerage Pace] good. He’s had a good week at home and I expect to him to give a good effort this week.”
Bulldog Hanover enters Saturday’s Breeders Crown off a rare defeat after 2021 Canadian Pacing Derby winner Allywag Hanover pulled the upset win in the Allerage Pace on October 9 at The Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky.
Allywag Hanover will start from post three on Saturday for driver Todd McCarthy and trainer Brett Pelling.
The Breeders Crown Open Pace is carded as Race 9 on Saturday with an approximate post time of 10:47 p.m. (ET).
Bythemissal and Pebble Beach ready for Crown showdown
The $600,000 Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Colt Pace will be the third meeting between Pepsi North America Cup winner Pebble Beach and Little Brown Jug winner Bythemissal.
Both standouts captured their respective eliminations this past Saturday and were guaranteed to draw a post from one to five at Tuesday’s draw.
Pebble Beach will start from post five for driver Todd McCarthy and trainer Noel Daley, while Bythemissal will go from post two for reinsman Chris Page and trainer Ron Burke.
“When we were training him down, he did seem like he was better than pretty much anything in the barn, training down, so we knew he was pretty nice,” offered Burke. “But he has even surprised us. It seems like wherever we go, the more we ask of him, the more he does.”
After winning the Pepsi North America Cup in mid-June, Pebble Beach struggled to keep his winning ways alive. The Daley trainee won just three of his next nine starts, finishing second in five of those appearances.
Pebble Beach gutted out a win in the Tattersalls on October 9 at The Red Mile before returning to Mohawk Park last weekend. The son of Downbytheseaside turned in a career-best 1:48.3 victory to improve to four for four at the Campbellville oval.
“This was the best he’s been,” said trainer Daley after Saturday’s elimination. “He finished it off. Todd said he was like a different horse tonight. I don’t know if it was the Lasix that made the difference but tonight, that was even better than he was earlier in the year. He was really sharp during the week here, literally kicking his shoes off in the paddock. So, I’m glad he just finished it off and showed that he’s back to form.”
Bythemissal was a supplement entry to the Breeders Crown for the ‘Burke Brigade’. The gelded son of Downbytheseaside cleaned up in this year’s Ohio Sires Stakes and has made a big splash in a few Grand Circuit appearances, winning the Adios, Milstein and Jug.
The Burke trainee improved to 12 for 14 this season with his elimination victory on Saturday.
Leading Ohio reinsman Page is enjoying the ride with Bythemissal.
“Who would’ve thought that from there [Little Brown Jug], I would be here talking to you for the Breeders Crown,” Page told Woodbine’s Mark McKelvie after Saturday’s race. “To win the Jug, that was definitely the top of my bucket list, and this is up there near the top, so we’ve got to finish next week.”
Another top contender in the 3-Year-Old Colt Pace is fan-favourite Fourever Boy (post seven), who’s made a field-high 20 starts this season. The Tim Twaddle trainee has danced all the big dances, posting notable wins in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship, Simcoe Stakes and a heat of the Jug.
The Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Colt Pace is carded as Race 7 on Saturday with an approximate post time of 9:47 p.m. (ET).
Heavyweights ready to battle in Crown Open Trot
With a who’s who field of North America’s most recent top male trotters, the $600,000 (USD) Breeders Crown Open Trot will look to steal the show on Saturday at Mohawk Park.
Defending Breeders Crown champions Ecurie D DK and Jujubee are among the 11 starters in one of the weekend’s main events.
Ecurie D DK, who has drawn post five, is one of four starters in the Open Trot for trainer Ake Svanstedt, who also sends out Ambassador Hanover (post 10), Back Of The Neck (post eight) and Rattle My Cage (post nine).
The six-year-old Ecurie D DK captured last year’s Crown Open Trot in just his second start on North American soil. Fans have only been able to get a few glimpses of the trotting star, as Saturday will be just his sixth start of the season. His lone victory came in his season debut in the Cutler Memorial back in May at The Meadowlands.
Back Of The Neck will be returning to Mohawk Park for the first time since upsetting his star stablemate in the Maple Leaf Trot on September 3.
Greg Wright Jr. trainee Jujubee will start from post six with driver Andrew McCarthy in search of the Breeders Crown double at ages three and four.
Jujubee captured last year’s 3-Year-Old Colt Trot to cap off a spectacular 2021 campaign. Unfortunately for Wright Jr. and owner/breeder Jon Erdner, an injury while preparing for his four-year-old season kept the trotter out until September.
Making up for lost time, Jujubee captured the Allerage Trot on October 9 at The Red Mile to secure his first win in four starts this season.
Not to overshadowed, Amigo Volo will be attempting to win his third Breeders Crown title. The five-year-old captured his first Crown event at age two in 2019 at Mohawk Park and then followed up with a Crown victory at age three in 2020 at Hoosier Park.
Hoping to find some more ‘Mohawk Magic’, Amigo Volo will start from post three with driver Dexter Dunn.
The Breeders Crown Open Trot is carded as Race 8 on Saturday with an approximate post time of 10:17 p.m. (ET).
Crown set for Friday and Saturday
Friday evening’s card at Woodbine Mohawk Park will feature the Breeders Crown finals for 2-Year-Olds. The four events are carded as Races 6 through 9. Post time is 7 p.m.
Saturday’s second Crown card at Mohawk Park will consist of the finals for the 3-Year-Old and Open divisions. The eight Crown events are carded as Races 2 through 9. Post time is 7 p.m.