Two-time defending Breeders Crown Open Mare Trot champion Buck I St. Pat has been ruled ineligible to start in this year’s upcoming Crown by the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC).
Although trainer Ron Burke entered the 8-year-old mare, because she had made breaks in her last two charted lines she was deemed ineligible to compete. Burke told harnessracing.com Tuesday afternoon that he has appealed the decision and that a hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning. One of Buck I St. Pat’s owners, Howard Taylor, is an attorney who will argue the case on behalf of the connections.
The ORC rules state that a horse must have a clean charted line in the last three lines, whether a pari-mutuel race or qualifier, and within 45 days of entry into a pari-mutuel race. Buck I St. Pat had made breaks in two September starts and then had a winning qualifier Sept. 28 at The Meadows. She then broke and finished eighth in the Allerage Oct. 2 at The Red Mile, and then again went offstride at the start of an Oct. 13 qualifier at Harrah’s Chester, recovering to finish third.
Woodbine race secretary Scott McKelvie told harnessracing.com Tuesday afternoon that the two consecutive breaks led to Buck I St. Pat being ruled ineligible for entry by the ORC.
If Buck I St. Pat’s entry is ruled acceptable, there will be 12 older trotting mares entered. The two richest would be given byes directly to the Oct. 29 final, while the other 10 would go postward in an elimination to eliminate two. With just 11 entered (taking out Buck I St. Pat), all move forward directly into the final.
Here are the Open Mare Trot entries, in alphabetical order: Action Broadway; Autumn Escapade; Emmylou Who; Frenchfrysnvinegar (supplemental entry); Friendly Amigo; Jersey AS; Kandor Hanover; Lavec Dream; Miss Dangles; Pembroke Heat Wave; and Yursa Hanover,