Shelliscape ground out a 1:50 win in the $300,000 Breeders Crown final for older mare pacers Saturday night (Oct. 19) at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Maven took the $300,000 Mare Trot, and while Shelliscape rallied in the homestretch to win, Maven marched to the front going to the halfway mark and was never threatened.
As for the Mare Pace, Feeling You was first away from the gate, but yielded to Anndrovette at the quarter in :26.3. As the field swung into the clubhouse turn toward the half-mile marker, Shelliscape and driver David Miller were out and moving, looking for cover from seventh.
They found live cover in Rocklamation, whom driver Yannick Gingras announced on Twitter that he was going to "get her attention tonight. He must have succeeded, because after the half in :54.1, Rocklamation cleared over Anndrovette, who was shooting for an unprecedented third consecutive Breeders Crown win.
"I took back and then came early and came hard and got Yannick out, which was perfect, said Miller after the race. "When he cleared I was a little nervous, but my mare was still going forward. She's just all guts.
When she cleared, that left Shelliscape without cover, but the 4-year-old Artiscape-Shell I Scoot mare didn't mind, as she continued to gain steady ground on the leader, winning by a neck. Rocklamation was second with Anndrovette third.
It was the second Breeders Crown win on the night for Miller, who also scored with Uffizi Hanover in the 2-year-old filly pace final. He was high on this mare, to say the least.
"She raced awesome last week and came back with a very big mile tonight, said Miller. "All I can do is praise her.
P.J. Fraley trains Shelliscape for Bamond Racing LLC, who also co-owns Anndrovette. Midland Acres Inc. of Ohio bred the mare. Shelliscape ($10.20) has won four of 16 starts this year with earnings of $274,308.
"I'd have liked to have seen Anndrovette win just to get her third one, but Shelliscape was so good last week that I almost felt like she earned it last week, said Jeffery Bamond, Jr. "Last week's trip kind of earned this one for her tonight.
"There was a lot of action. Drop The Ball broke and she's always so tough, and on a five-eighths she's scary fast. It was a good trip, although we kind of got left first-over, but she just kept grinding it out.
Maven and driver Yannick Gingras made a first-over march at the halfway point and powered past Cedar Dove in the stretch to win the $250,000 Breeders Crown Mare Trot by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:52.3.(Harness Racing Communications)
The time equaled the stakes record on a five-eighths-mile track. Maven, the 1-5 favorite, had won her Breeders Crown elimination last weekend in a world-record 1:51.4.
Cedar Dove got the early lead from post eight, followed by D'Orsay, Unefoisdansmavie and Maven. The group remained in that order until Maven made her move as the field reached the half-mile point in :56.4. Maven was second to Cedar Dove when they hit three-quarters in 1:24.1.
Maven was a length back at the top of the stretch, but took control from there to win a Breeders Crown for the second consecutive year. Cedar Dove finished second and D'Orsay was third.
"It was early to come first up, but I'm confident in my mare, Gingras said. "I thought the only horse that could beat me was Check Me Out, and when she ran (on the backstretch) I thought we could coast first up.
"(Cedar Dove) gave me a good battle, but the minute I got alongside of her I knew I had her beat. It was just a matter of taking my time getting around the last turn and not doing anything stupid and let her trot in the stretch.
The 4-year-old Maven is trained by Jonas Czernyson for owner Bill Donovan. A daughter of Glidemaster-M Stewart bred by All La Nuova Sbarra, she has won 10 of 13 races this season and earned $465,220. She has won 25 of 39 career starts and earned more than $1.37 million.
"She did it the hard way, but she's a tough little filly, Czernyson said. "She's been digging it out and slugging it out this year and racing very hard. She got a little stronger this year and is a very nice horse to have in the barn.
"I've got two Breeders Crowns now; it's incredible. I don't know what else to say.
Driver Ron Pierce was pleased with the performance of Cedar Dove, who was gallant in defeat.
"I timed the gate perfectly and got out of there in good shape and got away with some easy fractions. She just couldn't go fast enough far enough and Maven just caught us at the end. No shame in that.