Key seeks another Breeders Crown winner
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"This is what you're shooting for," said the 84-year-old Key, who has won twice in the Breeders Crown series and sends three horses to this year's event at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. "The Breeders Crown, look at how great it is to win it. I've been lucky to win (two) of them now. And with all the horses I have, it shows how difficult it is.
"You're always looking for that champion. It's one of the great dreams to get one of those good ones."
Key won his first Breeders Crown in the inaugural year of the event, 1984, as a member of the ownership group of 2-year-old female pacer Amneris. In 2010, he captured his second Crown with homebred 3-year-old male trotter Break The Bank K.
This year, Key sends 2-year-old female trotter Looking For Zelda, 3-year-old female pacer Terrortina, and 4-year-old female trotter Flowers N Songs to the Breeders Crown. All three were bred by Key.
Looking For Zelda and Terrortina race in eliminations Friday. All eliminations for female trotters and pacers will be contested that night, with the eliminations for male trotters and pacers to follow on Saturday. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. both nights. Flowers N Songs will advance directly to the final of the Breeders Crown Mare Trot, the only class in which eliminations were not required.
"I'm not going in just to go in it," Key said. "With all these horses, I feel if it goes the right way we do have the possibility of winning. I'm not just going in there hoping I'm getting third or fourth. I'm hoping we can win it.
"I'm looking forward to it."
Looking For Zelda is a daughter of Key's Breeders Crown-winning Break The Bank K out of the mare My Winning Way K. She has won seven of nine races this year and finished second in the remaining two. She heads to her Breeders Crown elimination off a 1:54 win in a division of the International Stallion Stakes on Oct. 6.
"I'm really pleased with Looking For Zelda, no question about it," Key said about the filly, who has earned $221,675 this season while competing primarily on the Ohio Sire Stakes circuit. "She's one of the special fillies I've had. I've had some lucky ones and good ones, but right now you can't ask for much more.
"There are some very good horses in there. I think we're definitely in it. I think we have a good chance of doing well in it. They're 2-year-olds; you never know what's going to happen. You just hope they're going the right way."
Looking For Zelda is 5-1 on the morning line, with Tony Hall driving for trainer Norm Parker. Manchego, undefeated in 10 career races, is the 4-5 favorite. The top five finishers from each of the two eliminations for 2-year-old female trotters advance to the $600,000 final on Oct. 27. Basquiat is the 5-2 favorite in the other elim.
The 39-year-old Hall, who has won 5,326 races in his career, will be making his Breeders Crown debut.
"I know he wants to drive her; it's something special for him," Key said. "He really likes her and he's done a good job with her this year. We're going to stay with him.
Terrortina, a daughter of Western Terror out of the mare Alladorable, has won three of 24 races this year and earned $121,024. She has hit the board a total of 13 times and picked up checks in several stakes including the Jugette, Courageous Lady and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship.
The Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female pacers got a field of 11. The connections of New York Sire Stakes champion Obvious Blue Chip and Lismore Pace winner Tequila Monday accepted byes to the final and the remaining nine fillies will compete in a single elimination.
Terrortina is 20-1 on the morning line, with Hall driving for Parker. Blazin Britches is the 3-1 favorite, ahead of Caviart Ally at 7-2, Agent Q at 4-1 and Idyllic Beach at 5-1. The top eight finishers advance to the $500,000 final.
"Norm feels good about her and so does Tony Hall," said Key, whose top career wins also include the 1993 Hambletonian with homebred American Winner. "I thought it was worth going in there."--By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications