Third time a charm for Mister Big in Breeders Crown
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Mister Big, twice the runner-up in Breeders’ Crown races, got his first title by winning Saturday’s $532,150 Open Pace by 3 1/2 lengths over defending champion Artistic Fella in 1:50.
Kenneth J was third followed by Palone Ranger.
Artistic Fella overtook early pacesetter Tigerama after a :26 opening quarter mile. The half was reached in :54, at which point Mister Big got underway on the outside from the fourth spot.
Mister Big, driven by Brian Sears, overtook Artistic Fella midway down the stretch and pulled away. It was his 25th career victory, from 63 starts, and pushed his earnings to more than $2.8 million. He is owned by Joe Muscara and trained by Virgil Morgan Jr., who notched his first Breeders Crown title.
“My dad has owned over 300 horses in his life and he says this is the one that has the whole package,” Joe Muscara Jr. said. “He has everything – he’s fast, he’s tough, he’s smart and you can race him any way you want.
“We put a huge base of training under him this winter and this is only his ninth race [this year] so he’s as sharp as he’s ever been. You think maybe he will throw a bad race in and he never does. As long as he’s happy and healthy we will keep racing him, and bring him back next year; my dad’s 84 and likes to watch him race.”
Mister Big won the Canadian Pacing Derby, U.S. Pacing Championship and William Haughton Memorial earlier this year. He is the first pacer in history to win a million dollars at ages 4 and 5.
Artistic Fella was coming off a sixth-place finish in the Canadian Pacing Derby, his only off-the-board finish in 14 races this season.
“This horse has been ultra-consistent all year and I really had to race him very tough tonight just to be second,” driver Tim Tetrick said about Artistic Fella. “Mister Big is super right now and the track has been favoring closing horses all night long so it’s no surprise that he caught us. I tried to get out ahead of all of them as fast as I could, but Mister Big was just too tough.” (WEG)