Macomber hopes to make Crown memories again
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Jamie Macomber has fond memories of the first time Harrah’s Hoosier Park hosted the Breeders Crown in 2017. Now, with the event back again at the Indiana oval the trainer calls her home track, she would enjoy creating more.
Macomber won a Breeders Crown trophy three years ago with 3-year-old male pacer Beckhams Z Tam, who stormed down the stretch and bested eventual Pacer of the Year Downbytheseaside by a quarter-length. This time, her hopes rest with a 3-year-old male trotter, Swan In Motion.
Swan In Motion races Saturday in the first of two eliminations for the 3-year-old colt-and-gelding trotters. He will start from post seven in a field of nine with Ricky Macomber Jr. in the sulky and is 12-1 on the morning line. Ready For Moni, the Zweig Memorial and Goodtimes Stakes winner, is the 3-1 favorite.
Hoosier hosts $25,000 eliminations for 3-year-old male pacers and trotters as well as older female pacers on Saturday. Eliminations for 2-year-olds and 3-year-old fillies are Friday. Elims were unnecessary for the Open Pace, Open Trot, and Mare Trot.
Swan In Motion has won six of 10 races this season and heads to his Breeders Crown elimination off a win in last week’s Indiana Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old male trotters. The colt began his campaign with five consecutive victories before being slowed by a few minor issues but appears back to top form. He kicked home in a race-best :27.2 last week and won in a career-best 1:53.1.
“I feel pretty confident,” Macomber said. “I think he’s going in the right direction leading up to it. If you asked me a month ago, I might not have been so confident. But I’m more confident now. I think he is back to normal.”
Macomber trains Swan In Motion for M & M Racing and Norbert Joseph Maza. The son of Swan For All-Keystone Sadie has won eight of 21 career races and $396,845.
“I think his best quality is his ability to trot home fast,” Macomber said about Swan In Motion, who three times this year trotted his last quarter in :26.3 or faster. “And he’s got heart. Hopefully, his heart and his speed can take us where we need to be.”
The top-five finishers from each of the two eliminations advance to the $500,000 final next week at Hoosier Park. Elimination winners draw for posts one through five.
When Macomber won the Breeders Crown in 2017, she was in her first full season with her own stable after spending 10 years running Ron Burke’s Indiana outpost. She shared the Hoosier Park training title that year and is tied for second this season.
“I have awesome memories of that Breeders Crown,” Macomber said. “Hopefully, we can make those same memories again.
“Could it happen two times? Let’s hope.”
Amigo Volo, a returning Breeders Crown champion and fresh off his win in the Kentucky Futurity, is the 8-5 favorite in the second elimination for 3-year-old male trotters. The gelding has won four of his last five starts, with only a second-place finish to Back Of The Neck keeping him from an unbeaten string. Back Of The Neck is the 5-2 second choice in the second elim.
The most recent male trotter to win Breeders Crown trophies at ages 2 and 3 was Gimpanzee, who did it last year.
There also are two eliminations Saturday for 3-year-old male pacers, with the top-five finishers from each advancing to the final. Stakes-winner Capt Midnight is the 5-2 favorite in the first, which also includes Adios winner Catch The Fire, world-record-equaling Cattlewash, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champ No Lou Zing.
In the second elimination, returning Breeders Crown champion Tall Dark Stranger is the 3-5 favorite. Tall Dark Stranger is the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing, with 10 wins in 11 races. His victories include the Meadowlands Pace, North America Cup, and Cane Pace. The elimination also includes Little Brown Jug winner Captain Barbossa and stakes-winner Warrawee Vital.
The most recent male pacer to win Breeders Crown titles at ages 2 and 3 was Artiscape in 1997-1998.
Only one elimination is necessary for the Mare Pace, where the top-eight finishers will join bye recipients Trillions Hanover and Rockin Nola in the final. Kissin In The Sand, on a four-race winning streak that includes the Milton, Dayton Distaff Derby, and Allerage Mare Pace, is the 8-5 favorite. Shartin N, last season’s Horse of the Year, is 9-5.
Caviart Ally, who won last year’s Breeders Crown Mare Pace, is 9-2. The most recent pacing mare to repeat as champ was Shelliscape in 2013-2014.
In addition, the elim includes Warrawee Ubeaut, who won Breeders Crown titles at ages 2 and 3. She is attempting to become the first 3-year-old female pacing champion to win at 4. If successful in winning a third Breeders Crown trophy, she would tie the record for a pacer, shared by Jenna’s Beach Boy, Eternal Camnation, and My Little Dragon. (Ken Weingartner/USTA)