A hard charging Luck Be Withyou and driver Ron Pierce came charging late to win the $500,000 Breeders Crown for 2–year-old pacing colts on Saturday evening at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The winning time was 1:52 on a sloppy track.
Luck Be Withyou passed Sometimes Said (John Campbell) by a neck in the final strides. Somestarsomewhere (Yannick Gingras) was third.
Luck Be Withyou is owned by John Craig of North York, Ontario and trained by Chris Oakes in the U.S. for his Canadian-based trainer, Bill Cass.
Right at the start, Sometimes Said and John Campbell blasted off the gate from post nine to get the lead for the first time, but Somestarsomewhere (Yannick Gingras) took over the lead from him past the :27 quarter. He kept that lead to the :55.1 half and the 1:22.4 three-quarters, with Luck Be Withyou at his back the whole way.
When the field turned for home, So Surreal (Tim Tetrick), on the move from seventh at the half, was bidding for the lead, but made a break as the field straightened for home and lost all chance. In the deep stretch, John Campbell, who'd been just off the leaders, dropped Sometimes Said into the passing lane to advance on Somestarsomewhere.
Luck Be Withyou was the strongest of the trio to the wire for the win, his third in the last four starts. Sometimes Said was second and Somestarsomewhere third.
"The horse is a really good horse,” said Chris Oakes. "It wasn't too much on my end, really, most of the credit goes right here (pointing to Bill Cass).
"I really liked the way it developed, a lot of early action. We ended up getting a great two hole trip behind the other elimination winner and the horse got the job done. I was very happy with the end result.”
Cass was elated in the winner's circle.
"I feel great,” he said. "We bought a great horse and he ended up being what we thought he was. I was pretty confident. I was a little worried with the weather, but it turned out OK. Weather doesn't bother this horse. He's been a great horse since we broke him.”
"My colt gave forth a great effort,” said John Campbell, the driver of runner-up Sometimes Said. "He always tries hard and has been super all year long. The other horse just beat us, and my horse was as game as they come.”
Uffizi Hanover turned a second-over trip into a three-quarter-length victory in the $500,000 Breeders Crown final for 2-year-old filly pacers in 1:52.1.
Driven by David Miller, the daughter of Well Said-Up Front Dragonfly sat fourth as driver Doug McNair was intent on taking command with Precocious Beauty and Allstar Rating, at the pylons, forced her to work for it, with the first quarter clocked in :25.3. After Precocious Beauty took the lead in the homestretch for the first time, Miller tipped Uffizi Hanover, flushing Act Now from third to the half in :55. Act Now stalked the leader with Uffizi Hanover on her helmet through three-quarters in 1:23.
When Precocious Beauty began to tire at the top of the stretch, Allstar Rating shot up the rail, but Uffizi Hanover was in the midst of a successful three-wide sweep to get the win, followed by Beach Body and Southwind Silence from off the pace.
Trainer Jimmy Takter picked up his second consecutive Breeders Crown final after winning the 2-Year-Old Colt Trot final with Father Patrick. The $100,000 yearling purchase was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms and is co-owned by Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband, who also co-own Father Patrick.
"I'm flying high, said Goldband. "We had high hopes for Father Patrick. We had good hopes for this filly and she just came through. She had a perfect trip and we are just absolutely delighted.”
Miller is being inducted into the Harness Racing Living Hall of Fame in July 2014, most likely by giving trips like these on the biggest stages. "It was a second-over trip and she had cover right there coming off the last turn and she fired home,” he said. "I liked her chances a lot. She was good last week, but she was a little bit rough. Jimmy took care of that and it was all systems go.”
Owner Katz gave a special thanks to Takter's son in the winner's circle after the race. "I want to say special thanks to J.J., Jimmy's son, who drove her all summer for us,” he said. "He did the dirty work and helped her develop. He really deserves a lot of the credit.”
Uffizi Hanover, who now has two wins and five seconds in 11 lifetime starts, good for $361,390 in purse earnings, paid $10.20 to win as the third wagering choice.--(Harness Racing Communications/Breeders Crown)