Tell All, whose wins this year include the Little Brown Jug and North America Cup, and Always A Virgin, whose victories include the Cane Pace and Messenger, won their respective Breeders Crown elimination races on Nov. 17 at the Meadowlands Racetrack, setting up a showdown from posts two and three in Saturday’s $555,000 final for 3-year-old male pacers.
Driven by Jody Jamieson for trainer Blair Burgess, Tell All beat Watta Hotshot by a head in 1:50.4 in his elim. Always A Virgin, driven by Brian Sears for trainer Joe Holloway, claimed his split by three-quarters of a length over Southwind Lynx in 1:51.1.
Tell All, ranked No. 2 in the most recent harness racing poll behind 3-year-old colt trotter Donato Hanover, has won 12 of 21 races and earned $1.5 million this year. He has won six of his past seven starts, with his only loss coming against older horses. In addition to his wins, he was second to Southwind Lynx in the Meadowlands Pace.
“He’s as sharp as he’s ever been, as sound as he’s ever been,” Jamieson said.
“Any trouble we have with him is because he just likes messing around out there,” added Jamieson, referring to the colt’s occasional bad habit of racing on a line and failing to travel straight. “I think it’s just all a joke to him. I think if he ever matured and got to race he’d be a killer. I think you’d see a great horse as a 4- and 5-year-old if they decided to bring him back.
“We’ve got next week for the Breeders Crown, and I’m sure Blair’s going to have him as straight as he can possibly be. He was worse than he ever was (Saturday) as far as being on the line and messing around. I don’t know if that’s because he hasn’t matured, or if it’s just become a habit to him now. He’s a great horse and can overcome stuff like that.”
Always A Virgin, who is number 3 in the harness racing poll, has won 13 of 19 races and earned $1 million. He has won four of five starts since finishing a fast-closing third in the Little Brown Jug. He was second in the stretch of the Meadowlands Pace, but went off stride after being accidentally struck between the legs with the whip.
In his elim, Sears moved Always A Virgin to the lead by the quarter-mile point, although he would have preferred a different trip.
“He feels super,” Sears said. “That horse is sound, straight, relaxed. I’m happy with him. I don’t think the front end was a great spot to be (Saturday), but he raced well and had a good horse on his back. You’d love to have him coming off someone’s back racing home, but you’ve got to put him in the spots where you’ve got to put him. We’re trying to pick our post, and now we’re able to pick our post. It stinks to draw the 10 hole. You definitely increase your chances being able to pick your post.” (Harness Racing Communications)