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Sandbetweenmytoes shocks in Breeders Crown, upsets Tall Dark Stranger

October 31, 2020
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Despite Tall Dark Stranger's most valiant effort, his absolute reign among 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings came to an end in Saturday night's (Oct. 31) $500,000 Breeders Crown, as 200-1 shot Sandbetweenmytoes lifted down the grandstand side to narrowly record a 1:48.3 win over the divisional leader.

Sandbetweenmytoes got away ninth in the field of 10 while Cattlewash (David Miller) and Warrawee Vital (Tim Tetrick) threw down through a :25.3 first quarter. Upon reaching the backstretch, Yannick Gingras moved Tall Dark Stranger out from third to brush for the lead, and they cleared after being strung out by Cattlewash through a punishing :52.3 half mile.

Tall Dark Stranger controlled an uncontested lead through the far turn, but after reaching three-quarters in 1:20.3 and turning for home, the odds-on favorite looked vulnerable as the outer tier had finally caught up to him. The first-over No Lou Zing (Dexter Dunn) worked to within striking range at the eighth pole, Cattlewash launched for the open stretch, and Captain Barbossa (Joe Bongiorno) took a solid shot off cover as well — but as he had done on numerous occasions this season, Tall Dark Stranger dug deep to find more while under siege.

Game as Tall Dark Stranger was, though, one of the unlikeliest of rivals had his number. Scott Zeron fanned Sandbetweenmytoes — who was towed into contention from fourth-over — to the five-path in upper stretch, and they found their best gear in the final sixteenth. The gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere lifted to collar Tall Dark Stranger by a neck, with Cattlewash finishing third and Save Me A Dance fourth.

The $409.80 win mutuel yielded by Sandbetweenmytoes was the highest ever in the 37-year history of the Breeders Crown.

Trainer Jim Campbell felt the race set up perfectly for his gelding, and that he had the potential to contend:

"He had a good week, and before the race, Scotty and I talked it over," he said. "Where we were at, we had to hope for a hot pace up front. We got it, and Sandbetweenmytoes took advantage of it."

Despite the faith he had in Sandbetweenmytoes, Campbell was just as surprised by the end result as anyone:

"I wasn't confident [in the result] until they flashed his number up, because I watched one angle and thought we had a shot," he said. "Watching the race live, I couldn't tell ... it was tight; he just happened to go the right way at the wire to get his nose up."

The Fashion Farms homebred has now won seven of 15 races and $487,135 in purses this season.  James Witherite, for the Breeders Crown
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