Homeracing

Friday harness preview

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

November 13th, 2014

Since the first events were contested in 1984, harness racing fans have often sworn by the adage that "It All Comes down to the Breeders Crown" and that will certainly be the case over the next two weekends at the Meadowlands as the New Jersey one-mile oval hosts the eliminations and finals for all 12 Breeders Crown events for pacers and trotters.

In many of the previous years the Breeders Crown has had a profound impact on divisional honors and horse of the year voting and that will certainly be the case again this fall since there are no genuine runaways for horse of the year. Trotters Sebastian K, Father Patrick, Nuncio and Shake It Cerry all have a case for the honor as does unbeaten freshman pacing filly sensation, JK Shesalady. While none of the sport's glamour division, the sophomore colt pacers, have truly ascended to the head of the class, the Breeders Crown final for that group on November 22 will likely determine that champion.

On Friday evening the Meadowlands will host Breeders Crown eliminations for two-year-old filly pacers, two-year-old filly trotters, three-year-old filly pacers and three-year-old filly trotters. While the freshman filly pacer award perhaps already belongs to JK Shesalady, the other three divisions should be decided this weekend and next with much of the weight falling on next weekend's finals.

In the evening's second race, the first $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination for freshman filly trotters, much of the attention will get focused on Mission Brief (Yannick Gingras) an early season sensation for trainer Ron Burke who has flopped in a pair of recent lucrative finals as the odds-on choice. Mission Brief broke stride as the 1-5 choice in the $350,000 Peaceful Way final at Mohawk Racetrack and later went off stride as the 1-5 favorite in the $400,000 Goldsmith Maid final at Woodbine. She has won seven of 11 starts and will likely be the odds-on choice again here, but Mission Brief cannot be backed with any genuine confidence at a short price right now.

Then one race later in the third, the first $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination for two-year-old filly pacers, certainly all eyes will be on JK Shesalady (Tim Tetrick) for numerous reasons. Not only is the Art Major filly unbeaten in 10 career outings and heads the national top 10 poll, the Nancy Johansson trainee will not have the services of Gingras for the first time. The talented catch driver opted to drive Sassa Hanover for Burke after the filly captured the $200,000 Matron Stakes at Dover Downs in 1:52.3 over an off track.

Then one race later in the fourth, the first $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination for three-year-old filly pacers, Act Now (George Brennan) will look to atone for her failure as the 1-5 choice in the $180,000 Matron Stakes at Dover last week. The Nikolas Drennan trainee had won the Lady Maud at Yonkers impressively on the Messenger Stakes and Yonkers Trot undercard, but simply flopped in the Matron. American-National and Cinderella Stakes winner Sayitall BB (Gingras) will get plenty of support, as will Major Dancer (Brian Sears) and Gallie Bythe Beach (Tetrick).

Then two races later in the sixth, the second $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination for two-year-old filly pacers, look for either Well Hello There (Matt Kakaley), Southwind Roulette (Gingras), Heart Major (Ron Pierce), Sports Chic (Jody Jamieson) or Happy Becky (David Miller) to prevail in this wide-open affair. Both Well Hello There and Southwind Roulette arrive from the Burke barn, while Maryland-breds Sports Chic and Happy Becky will look to earn a spot in the final. Heart Major has won four of her seven starts for trainer Joe Pavia, Jr., but gets the acid test here.

Then one race later in the seventh, the second $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination for three-year-old filly pacers, any trio of sophomore ladies could prevail here and then again next week and make a case for divisional honors. Color's A Virgin (Trace Tetrick) has won 12 of 15 starts for trainer Brian Brown, including the Jugette and the Nadia Lobell final at Hoosier. Precocious Beauty (Doug McNair) was last year's freshman filly champ, while Maryland-bred Weeper (Ron Pierce) has won eight of 14 starts and nearly $425,000 including a sharp, 1:51 upset score in the Matron Stakes last Thursday.

Then several races later in the 12th, the second $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination for freshman filly trotters, certainly all eyes will be on railbound Wild Honey (Gingras) who has won nine of 10 starts and earned over $425,000 for trainer Jim Takter. Wild Honey overcame post seven and the off going last week at Dover to win the $200,000 Matron in 1:55.2 to solidify her status as one of the best freshman filly trotters in the land. Most onlookers will be eagerly looking forward to her showdown next week with Mission Brief in this final, which should decide divisional honors.
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