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Mister Big-shot in Crown

October 25, 2006

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Given the benefit of selecting their post position, the connections of Mister Big came up with a plan they hope will lead to their horse being known by another name: Breeders Crown champion. Jody Jamieson, who will drive Mister Big in Saturday’s $610,000 Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Colt Pace, on Tuesday selected post three for the final, which will start him one spot outside favorite Dave Panlone.

The connections of Dave Panlone got to choose first, and took post two. Elim winners were rewarded with the option of choosing their starting position.

“Dave Panlone went a huge trip first up last week,” Jamieson said. “If I can follow him second or third-over, with another :25.4 (second) kicker hopefully for this Saturday, too, we’ve got a good shot.”

Mister Big, sent off at 42-1 odds in his Breeders Crown elim Oct. 21, rallied from seventh place at the top of the stretch to win in 1:49.2.

“He didn’t really get that great a trip last week, he just beat some tired horses down the lane,” Jamieson said. “He felt great and I was kicking myself for not having him in the race better; he was caught in and got the shuffle. Obviously, it didn’t matter because he overcame all that. He may just be the freshest horse coming in. If I get him in the right spot, he might just kick home again and beat them all.”

Dave Panlone won his second consecutive race with a first-over move. He raced the final half mile of elimination on the outside on his way to a 1:50.3 triumph. On Oct. 7, he won the Tattersalls in similar fashion.

“I thought he would go a long way first-up,” driver Brian Sears said. “I didn’t know if he’d actually be able to hold on or get there, but I know he does seem to like that trip. He just seems like the type of horse that you get the bit up in his mouth and let him gauge himself on the outside and he knows what to do from there.”

Mister Big raced primarily on the Ontario Sire Stakes circuit this year, winning two of 14 starts heading into the Breeders Crown elims.

“He’s a colt that hasn’t been beating the Ontario horses all year; to jump up and beat the best horses in the country, of course it’s going to be long odds,” said Jamieson, who drove Mister Big for the first time in the elims. “He’ll get a little more respect this week from post three, but there are a lot of good horses in the race. I still think that with the right trip, he can beat them.”

Jamieson, 29, won two of North America’s top stakes races for two-year-old pacers on September 2 at Mohawk Racetrack, claiming the Metro Pace with Yankee Skyscaper and the She’s A Great Lady with Appleoosa Hanover, and has been the regular driver of fan favorite Doonbeg. He is making only his second start in a Breeders Crown final.

“To win a Breeders Crown would be a pinnacle,” Jamieson said. “It’s a classic, and everyone at the end of the year is going for a Breeders Crown. It would mean a lot, no question about it. I need to get there first, though, then I’ll reflect on it afterward.”

Last season’s top 2 year old, Jereme’s Jet, drew post nine while Meadowlands Pace winner – and supplemental entrant – Artistic Fella got post 10. That, also, might be a benefit to Jamieson and Mister Big.

“I think they’re going to be forced to leave out of there,” Jamieson said. “I think that helps me because it sets up a good pace for the race. If they go big fractions, it’s going to set up even better.”

Total Truth, who won the North America Cup at Woodbine in June, drew post four for the Breeders Crown final and was made 4-1 in the morning line. (BC)

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