Breeders Crown championship night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs produced two incredible battles and finishes thanks to Captaintreacherous and Sunshine Beach and Foiled Again and Pet Rock. Captaintreacherous dug in and edged Sunshine Beach in the $500,000 Three-Year-Old Colt Pace while Foiled Again, the sport's richest pacer, earned his first Crown when he nosed out Pet Rock in the $500,000 Open Pace.
In addition, Crown night generated total handle of more than $3 million, with $2.8 million wagered in North America and another $220,000 in Australia. Ron Pierce, Yannick Gingras, and Tim Tetrick were the winningest drivers, with each snagging three wins. Pierce scored with Shake It Cerry, Luck Be Withyou and Spider Blue Chip, Gingras drove Father Patrick, Maven and Foiled Again to wins, while Tetrick's winners were I Luv The Nitelife, Market Share and Captaintreacherous.
Captaintreacherous and Tetrick won for the sixth consecutive time, holding off Sunshine Beach in the stretch by a neck in 1:49.2 over a sloppy track. The colt has won by a neck five times this season.
"Every time I race the horse I think it's his finest moment and then he gives me another one,” trainer Tony Alagna said. "I think the horse just continues to impress.
"I thought once he got to the front he'd be very tough to beat. People want to talk about the ‘what ifs' and I like to talk about the what's happened. Every time it looks like they're going to get to him, they say if I just had one more step, but they never get by him.”
Captaintreacherous left from post one and took the early lead before briefly yielding the top spot to Sunfire Blue Chip as the field hit the opening quarter in :26.1. Tetrick reclaimed the lead quickly and led the pacers to a :55.2 half and 1:22.1 three-quarters.
Sunshine Beach, the only horse to defeat Captaintreacherous this year, made a first-over challenge and closed in on Captaintreacherous as they neared the wire, but he could never get past.
Captaintreacherous, who was the 2012 Pacer of the Year, finished third in last season's Breeders Crown.
"This definitely makes up for it,” said Myron Bell, who is one of the horse's owners and manages the Captaintreacherous Racing ownership group. "This is a tremendous victory. I thank Tony and Timmy and all my partners.
"The Breeders Crown is the culmination of the year; this is a championship race. All the great 3-year-olds were here and he defeated them. Naturally it's a highlight.”
Captaintreacherous is a nose from being undefeated this season. His other wins include the $980,000 North America Cup, $635,750 Meadowlands Pace, $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial, $360,211 Cane Pace and a $215,500 division of the Tattersalls Pace.
Sunshine Beach handed a first-over Captaintreacherous his only loss by a nose in the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine in a world-record-equaling 1:47.4 mile.
Captaintreacherous has won 12 of 13 races this year, with earnings of $1,874,273.
Tetrick expected another battle in the Breeders Crown.
"It's a horse race,” Tetrick said. "I knew it was going to be a sprint. Sunshine is a great horse. I knew it was going to be a race all the way to the wire, but my horse likes to win. I wanted to make sure I was in control and everybody knew it. I had to let one go and then remove and control my own destiny from there.”
Captaintreacherous, 3-year-old filly trotter Bee A Magician, and 3-year-old filly pacer I Luv The Nitelife all won Breeders Crown titles Saturday night. The three are the top three horses in the sport's Top 10 poll and the prime contenders for Horse of the Year.
"I'm going to let my horse speak for himself,” Alagna said. "I think it's very tough as a voter to be able to decide who is a better horse as far as Horse of the Year.
"I know we're going to get criticized, I know we're going to lose votes because we didn't go to the (Little Brown) Jug. I'll never apologize for not taking this horse to the Jug. I think the run he's gone on since then speaks for itself. I let my horse do the talking for me. He doesn't lose anything to me if he isn't Horse of the Year. He's Horse of the Year to me.”
Foiled Again had to endure a battle as epic as the Captain's as his rival Pet Rock used the passing lane to battle for the victory. Making his 194th career start, Foiled Again fought to the wire and won by a very slim nose in 1:49.2. He had taken the lead from Pet Rock just before the :53.4 halfway mark.
"He was used really, really hard tonight. That's the way the race played out," noted Gingras.
When asked if Foiled Again could see Pet Rock coming up the inside, Gingras said he did, "He definitely fought him off.
"I really, really love this horse," Gingras added. "He definitely is one of the greatest. If people don't rate him as one of the greatest in history, I don't know what he needs to do."
Ron Burke trains Foiled Again, a 9-year-old gelding, and Burke Racing Stable shares ownership of the horse with Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables. Foiled Again's victory put him over $1 million in earnings this year.