Wheeling N Dealin remained perfect in eight career starts in Friday night's single elimination for the Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Colt Trot at Woodbine Racetrack, but it wasn't easy for the favorite. The top eight finishers in the elim will join Dontyouforgetit and Major Athens in the $600,000 final on Oct. 27.
The field was reduced by one starter at the start when Fashion Blizzard made a break and was well behind the fair-start pole, which resulted in the stewards declaring him a non-starter and refunding all wagers. Wheeling N Dealin left fast from post eight for driver Sylvain Filion but Mario Baillargeon played hardball from post one with Murmur Hanover and forced the chalk to tuck into the two hole.
After an opening quarter of :28 set by Murmur Hanover, Filion tipped Wheeling N Dealin to the outside and up to the front as Baillargeon now willingly yielded control. Wheeling N Dealin led to a :58 half and 1:27.3 three-quarters, where a first-over Royalty For Life and Tim Tetrick came calling.
Turning for home Murmur Hanover went offstride and at that point the top twosome drew clear from the field. Wheeling N Dealin remained strong on the inside but Royalty For Life was just as stubborn and the pair raced down the stretch together. Under the wire in 1:55.1, Wheeling N Dealin had a half-length on his rival.
Your So Vain took third money, followed by Caveat Emptor, Pine Credit, Show Ticket, Its Payday Friday and Majestized, who all advance to the final.
A son of Cantab Hall, Wheeling N Dealin had not raced in 34 days since capturing the William Wellwood Memorial Sept. 15 at Mohawk. Trainer Dustin Jones said afterward he had contemplated sending Wheeling N Dealin to Kentucky to race during the recent Grand Circuit stand at The Red Mile but he feared the freshman might get sick, so he decided to keep his stable star at home.
Ecurie Synergie of Montreal, Que., owns Wheeling N Dealin, who increased his earnings to nearly $400,000 with the elim victory.
Jones selected post three for Wheeling N Dealin for the final. Ironically, the horse will line up behind the gate between the two horses who received byes. Here is the field:
1. Pine Credit
3. Wheeling N Dealin
4. Major Athens
5. Your So Vain
7. Caveat Emptor
8. Its Payday Friday
9. Royalty For Life
10. Show Ticket