Captaintreacherous, harness racing's top-rated pacer, will start from post No. 1 in Saturday's $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Post positions were drawn Wednesday for the Breeders Crown races for 3-year-old male pacers and trotters. Elimination winners drew from posts one through five with the remainder of the field in an open draw. All 12 Breeders Crown championships, with purses totaling $5.6 million, will be held Saturday at Pocono Downs. Post time is 5 p.m. for the first race.
Captaintreacherous, who won his elimination last Saturday in 1:49.2, was made the 5-2 morning line favorite for the final. He is the defending Pacer of the Year and has won 11 of 12 races this season. His $1.62 million in purses is the most of any Standardbred in North America.
Lucan Hanover, who won the other elimination for the 3-year-old male pacers in 1:48, drew post three. He is 4-1 on the morning line.
On the trotting side, elimination winners All Laid Out and Spider Blue Chip drew posts two and five, respectively, for their $500,000 final. Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life, who finished fourth in the elim won by Spider Blue Chip, got post one and was made the 5-2 morning line choice. All Laid Out is 3-1 and Spider Blue Chip is 5-1.
Captaintreacherous, trained by Tony Alagna and driven by Tim Tetrick for the Captaintreacherous Racing ownership group, finished third in last year's Breeders Crown.
In this year's elimination, Vegas Vacation and driver Brian Sears went to the front in a :26.1 opening quarter-mile while keeping Captaintreacherous to his outside. Captaintreacherous eventually settled into second place behind Vegas Vacation, but came out again and engaged Vegas Vacation in a nose-to-nose battle through three-quarters in 1:22.2.
Vegas Vacation held a narrow edge into the stretch, but Captaintreacherous got the lead and won by a half-length over Sunfire Blue Chip.
"His will to win is unbelievable,” Alanga said. "The trip wasn't the best – it's a speed track and Brian wanted to control the fractions and he was able to do that. Timmy had to come back and race him harder than he probably wanted to, but the horse gets the job done.
"It's always a concern when you have to leave hard, wrestle him back to the two hole, and come first over again. But as I've stated many times, I have so much faith in the horse and so much faith in Timmy that I know the horse is going to give 150 percent to try to get it done.”
Captaintreacherous is a nose from being undefeated this season. His 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.
Alagna thought Captaintreacherous would be able to bounce back from his elimination performance and be ready for the final.
"I don't think it's a concern because the horse had such great flesh coming into the race,” Alagna said. "I had three or four people come up to me in the paddock and say they can't believe how good he looks for as hard as he's raced. He has a great constitution. He eats well, he travels well; it's a great testament to this horse and the crew I have at home that takes care of him.”
Lucan Hanover, trained by Casie Coleman and driven by David Miller, has won eight of 15 races and $293,724 this season for owners West Wins Stable and Christine Calhoun. His time in his Breeders Crown elimination set the world record for a 3-year-old gelding pacer on a five-eighths-mile track and equaled the mark for the fastest by a gelding pacer of any age, previously shared by Foiled Again and Abelard Hanover.
"He doesn't give up, he's wicked fast and he's always showed me his talent from day one,” Coleman said. "He's just finally proving it on the racetrack. I think my owners might have thought I was crazy when I told them how nice a horse he was and now he's starting to prove it.”
Fool Me Once, who finished fifth in his elimination, was scratched prior to the draw. Urbanite Hanover drew into the race as the also eligible and got post nine.
All Laid Out won his elimination for 3-year-old male trotters by a neck over favorite Smilin Eli in 1:52.4. He is trained by Noel Daley and driven by David Miller. He has won four of 18 races and $300,218 this year for owner All Laid Out Stable.
In his previous start, All Laid Out finished second to Creatine in the $368,900 Kentucky Futurity final.
"It was nice to see him win one of these kinds of races,” Daley said. "Hopefully he can get a piece of it next week. He's been really good his last few starts.”
Spider Blue Chip won his elimination by a head over E L Rocket in 1:52.4. Spider Blue Chip led the entire way and held off a late burst down the stretch from E L Rocket. Kentucky Futurity winner Creatine was third and Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life was fourth.
The gelding, trained by Chuck Sylvester and driven by Ron Pierce, has won nine of 17 races this year and earned $762,593 for owners David McDuffee and Melvin Hartman.
In August, Spider Blue Chip won the $500,000 Colonial Trot at Pocono Downs. So far this season, Spider Blue Chip has won 5 of 7 starts on a five-eighths-mile racetrack. His only off-the-board finish on a five-eighths came when he made an interference break.
"This horse tries every week and he'll show up,” Sylvester said. "That's what's good.
"Anybody that gets a trip can win this race. Noel Daley's horse (All Laid Out) has really come around at this time and he's really good right now.”
$500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers
1. Captaintreacherous – Tim Tetrick – Tony Alagna – 5-2
2. Beach Memories – David Miller – Brian Brown – 10-1
3. Lucan Hanover David Miller – Casie Coleman – 4-1
4. Apprentice Hanover – Jody Jamieson – Ben Wallace – 15-1
5. Vegas Vacation – Brian Sears – Casie Coleman – 3-1
6. Captive Audience – Randy Waples – Colin Johnson – 12-1
7. Sunfire Blue Chip – Yannick Gingras – Jimmy Takter – 6-1
8. Sunshine Beach – John Campbell – Mark Steacy – 5-1
9. Urbanite Hanover – TBA – John Williamson – 20-1
$500,000 Breeders Crown 3-year-old male trot
1. Royalty For Life – Brian Sears – George Ducharme – 5-2
2. All Laid Out – David Miller – Noel Daley – 3-1
3. E L Rocket – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 12-1
4. Deadliest Catch – Corey Callahan – John Duer – 10-1
5. Spider Blue Chip – Ron Pierce – Chuck Sylvester – 5-1
6. Creatine – Mike Lachance – Bob Stewart – 6-1
7. Smilin Eli – Tim Tetrick – David Smith – 4-1
8. Dewycolorintheline – Ray Schnittker – Schnittker – 15-1
9. Aperfectyankee – Jim Oscarsson – Jim Oscarsson – 20-1