Champagne Jane breaks maiden for Crown win
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Bob McClure, a top Canadian driver who has shown an ability to coax the most out of trotting females (Dream Together), worked his magic again in the first of Friday’s three $20,000 eliminations of the Breeders Crown for two-year-old trotting fillies, guiding Champagne Jane to her maiden victory in 1:55.4 with a strong stretch burst at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Special Honor and Andy Miller went to the lead late on the first turn, passing the quarter in :27.4 and then keeping Conway Kellyanne outside to and past the :56.2 half. Favored Whispering Oaks circled wide to challenge near the three-quarter pole, with McClure slipping outside with Champagne Jane. Special Honor looked like she was on her way to victory in midstretch, but Champagne Jane was closing with high speed and picked up the leader handily in deep stretch, with Whispering Oaks holding on for third and advancement to the Championship.
McClure, who was making his Breeders Crown debut, said that the filly had had health issues in the summer, but that trainer Luc Blais had brought her back to top form, sharpness that was evident in the lane as she closed with determination for the ownership group named Determination, from Quebec.