Huntsville ($3.60) used a bold middle move to secure command in a fast pace before heading off two challengers—including rival Downbytheseaside—to capture the $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings in 1:49.1, missing the stakes record by a fifth of a second.
Tim Tetrick settled the son of Somebeachsomewhere and Wild West Show into midfield early on, remaining in the two-path before accelerating to clear Downbytheseaside (David Miller) with nine-sixteenths to go. Unfazed by a strenuous :54.1 first half mile, Huntsville would be pressed through a :27.4 third quarter by the first-over Filibuster Hanover (Brett Miller), turning him aside before facing a late challenge from Downbytheseaside, who found room to vacate the pegs and make a late bid upon cornering for home.
Despite Downbytheseaside's ability to push to within half a length in mid-stretch, Huntsville responded at first asking to repel that foe, edging away to prevail by two lengths. Downbytheseaside held second, and Miso Fast (Matt Kakaley) rallied from third-over to take third.
Trainer Ray Schnittker, who shares ownership with Ted Gewertz, Charles Iannazzo, and Steven Arnold, was worried by the fast pace, but his 7-time winner quelled any concerns in the last yards.
"I got a little concerned at the :54.1 half, and around the last turn," he said, "I said ‘Well, let's separate the men from the boys,' and he was the man."
Huntsville has one more dance for his freshman campaign before coming back at three.
"He's got the Governor's Cup up in Canada, and that will be it [for the season]," concluded Schnittker.
Trainer Brian Brown obviously wanted to win this contest, but was pleased with how Downbytheseaside came home.
"I feel pretty good," he said."I'm disappointed we didn't win, but my horse raced great, Ray's was just better. Everything was perfect, we were right where we wanted to be, we just couldn't catch him. I thought my horse sat well tonight, he's been a little tough to handle at times, and the fractions were right. At the top of the stretch I thought we were pulling up to him and I thought we were in good shape, but Ray's horse paced away from us." (Breeders Crown)