The 2012 Breeders Crown is in the books and there were several notable performances, none that came close to the SENSATIONAL mile trotted by the undisputed greatest active trotter in the world, Chapter Seven.
Left hung out to dry by European driver Cristophe Martens who left the gate on a mission with Commander Crowe, Chapter Seven gave both trainer Linda Toscano and driver Tim Tetrick some anxious moments. Parking the mile on any track is a near-impossible situation for a racehorse, but it’s even worse on Woodbine’s speed-favouring surface . Racing the entire route on the outside was a strategy that backfired on Europeans Commander Crowe and Rapide Lebel in the 2011 Crown Aged Trot as San Pail’s driver Randy Waples left them out by driving to the top on the first turn and keeping them out the mile worked to his advantage. The connections of Commander Crowe stated they learned from that experience and would head straight to the front this year. That they did, and it was obvious from the moment the wings of the gate swung open that they weren’t letting anyone else go. That meant a long journey for Chapter Seven, but his pilot, Tim Tetrick, who would blast a Grand Slam out of the park on this night taking four Crown dashes, didn’t panic. “He was going to go as fast as he could to park me and I wasn’t going to go on a suicide mission,” The Bionic Man recounted. Chapter Seven’s trainer and likely 2012 Trainer Of The Year Linda Toscano was clearly worried about the toll the parked-out journey might take on her star trotter. “At the half I was panicked,” she remarked. But Chapter Seven apparently had his sights set on a Horse Of The Year title and turning into the long Woodbine stretch it was obvious that the Windsong’s Legacy colt wasn’t going away - in fact he seemed to be getting stronger as the European champion he had been trying to chase down for 7/8ths of a mile began to tire slightly on the inside path which looked to be the least-preferred place to be in the stretch based on most of the results. As they headed for the wire and it was obvious that Chapter Seven had the Commander’s number, there was only one question left to answer: could he hold off a charging Mister Herbie, the local hero who had extricated himself from the pocket and a perfect trip, which was quite the opposite journey to Chapter Seven’s. At the wire, it wasn’t even close as Chapter Seven and Tetrick drove off with a win for the ages, one that is sure to be replayed many, many times. There was no doubt whatsoever at that moment who the best trotter in the world was, and barring a sensational performance by Hambletonian winner and stablemate Market Share later in the card, Horse Of The Year was his. The final question was answered a couple of hours later when Market Share finished a weakening third to a powerhouse sophomore trotter aptly-named Intimidate, who for the 2nd straight week scorched down the Woodbine lane seemingly in a different gear than the rest of the field, blowing by a brave but beaten Little Brown Fox and Market Share-another leader that tired on the rail late in his mile.
Intimidate won for the 13th time in sixteen 2012 starts and not only set off a wild celebration in the winners’ circle, but also stamped the Justice Hall gelding as a horse to be reckoned with in the aged ranks next year. The other main story of the night was the defeat of 2YO pacing colt sensation Captain Treacherous who at 1/5 got tired very late in the mile and was overhauled by Rockin Amadeus, a horse that had been conservatively-driven in the elim, but clearly had pace in the lane a week previous. Captain Treacherous suffered only his second defeat and the sensational Somebeachsomewhere colt surely will still be crowned 2YO colt pacing champ. Another Somebeachsomewhere offspring, Somewhereoverarainbow, trained by part-owner George Teague was an impressive first-up winner of the 2YO filly pace, but offered only 6-5 odds after a breakout performance at 11/1 in the elims last week. The personable Teague, in jeans and a baseball cap hung out in the grandstand and melded into the crowd, but when noticed had no problem whatsoever having a picture taken.
A true gentleman indeed. Other notable performances came from both Bettor Sweet (Aged Pace) and Androvette (Aged Mare Pace) who both won impressively and repeated as Breeders Crown champions at the same track in back-to-back years; no easy feat. 2YO Colt trotter Wheeling N Dealin kept his unblemished record perfect by holding off a game Royalty For Life and Tetrick late in the mile. 2YO trotting filly To Dream On destroyed her foes in a nifty 154.4 mile winning easily for driver Yannick Gingras, who notched a natural hat trick in race 5-7. In the 6th, he used a first-over assault with Glidemaster filly Maven to soundly defeat more-heralded rivals Win Missy B and Check Me Out. Heston Blue Chip employed a perfect second-over trip to take the 3YO colt pace for Tetrick and Toscano and American Ideal sophomore filly American Jewel, injured at Breeders Crown time last year, motored by her foes in the stretch off a brave first-over trip, one of three wins for Jim Takter on the night. In the opener, Tamla Celeber S, a Swedish star who the previous week was locked up tight on the rail with trot came flying down the center of the track late in the lane to take the Aged Mare Trot for catch-driver Brian Sears.
News And Notes: The Woodbine track crew did a SENSATIONAL job getting the surface ready despite steady rain most of the late part of the week. The “Drive On Bets” segment suffered another tough beat in the early pick 4, missing only the 3rd leg winner. It is officially shut down for the year having lost $2,000. Drive On Bets will return with a vengeance in the spring! On to Pocono and the 2013 Crown!