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Sportswriter ready to make Crown headlines

October 20, 2009

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Mark MacDonald says Sportswriter is the best 2 year old he has ever driven. He might be even more than that. MacDonald and Sportswriter enter Saturday’s $700,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old colt pacers with a perfect seven-for-seven record and world-record performance in the $1 million Metro Pace to their credit. Sportswriter, trained and co-owned by Casie Coleman, will start from post two in a field of 11 in the Breeders Crown.
“He’s the best 2 year old I’ve ever driven, for sure. He might be the best horse I’ve ever driven,” MacDonald said. “He’s very easy on himself and he’s got good stamina; he can carry his speed all day. He might let (other horses) get to him a little bit, get to his saddle pad, but then he’ll dig in. He’s tough. He likes to race.
“I don’t know how fast he can go. He just never really seems to get tired. I’m pretty excited and looking forward to Saturday.”
On Sunday, Sportswriter prepped for the Breeders Crown with a half-length victory over Malicious and World Of Rocknroll in 1:53.2. He covered the final quarter mile in 26.4 seconds. In his previous start, Sportswriter won a division of the Champlain by three lengths over Rock Me Please in 1:51.2 on Sept. 12 at Mohawk.
He was really good,” MacDonald said. “Basically we just turned it into a sprint on the end. The track is actually pretty tiring, but he came a quarter in 26 seconds, so he was really good on the end. I was really happy with him. He’s been off a month, so it’s really nice to get a nice mile into him.”
On Sept. 5, Sportswriter won the Metro Pace by two lengths over Rock N Roll Heaven in world-record 1:49.2 at Mohawk. It was MacDonald’s first victory in a million-dollar race; he was second with long shot Laughing Art in the 2006 Metro.
"That was really big for me,” MacDonald said. “It’s tough to win a million-dollar race. It’s tough to get in a million-dollar race, let alone have a good one to drive. I was really excited.
“I was especially happy to do it for the owners, Steve Calhoun and Casie. Steve is a great owner. He’s here all the time and he’s always positive. He’s just a fun guy to drive for.”
MacDonald has one Breeders Crown win, which came with Calhoun’s pacing mare Moving Pictures in 2007 at Mohawk. Coleman trained the horse.
Now, the group looks for another trophy while extending Sportswriter’s unbeaten streak.
“You’re the favorite and there’s all the media and press, so it’s a lot of fun driving a horse like that, but I just try to take it race by race,” MacDonald said. “You go on the track and try to know the horses that you’re in with and hope for some racing luck. My job is to just go out there and race the one I’m in. It’s great when it’s all said and done, but I try not to think about (pressure) too much.” (Breeders Crown)
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