By JAY BERGMAN for Breeders Crown
She’s been dominant for years and this time around Buck I St Pat will be seeking to win back-to-back Breeders Crown Mare Trot Crowns as well as push her career bank account over the $2 million mark. Trained by Ron Burke, for owners Howard Taylor, Ed Gold, Abe Basen and Ron Fuller, the now seven-year-old has indeed gotten better with age.Defending Breeders Crown champ Buck I St Pat and Tim Tetrick
Although her win percentage in 2010 hasn’t been up to the level we’ve seen before that’s easy to explain.
The gifted trotting mare has crossed the line this year and competed at times against her male rivals. Such was the case back in July when she qualified and finished third in the Titan Cup beaten just a length and a half but Enough Talk and Lucky Jim.
In the Maxie Lee at Chester Downs late last month she crushed male opposition scoring in a 1:52.2 mile over the slick five-eighths mile track. But make no mistake Buck I St Pat has made major headlines in all of the top grade events for trotting mares. The $340,470 Armbro Flight at Mohawk was an outstanding 1:52 victory scoring over her nearest rival by open lengths.
Tim Tetrick has been on board throughout much of her campaign and was in the bike on Hambletonian Day when Buck I St Pat competed in the $100,000 Matchmaker Stakes. Sent off as the 3-5 favorite the Ohio-bred catapulted off cover to be a star-studded field in a career best 1:51 mile.
On Friday (September 17) Buck I St Pat finished a solid second to Lucky Jim in the $195,000 Credit Winner at Vernon Downs timed in a sharp 1:52.
Adept on all sized-tracks during her six-year racing career, Buck I St Pat has been equally successful racing from on or off the pace. With only 22 other mares eligible to the $250,000 Mare Trot at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs on October 9, it’s clear that her stature has clearly scared away many potential competitors.
Triple Crown winner Windsongs Legacy left the stallion world way too early, but you have to appreciate the group of standouts he sired in just a brief time at stud. Two of the top four-year-old mares eligible to the Crown are by the late stallion. Windsong Soprano and Yursa Hanover have both emerged in great shape as the summer has turned to fall and are expected to be among the favorites in the October 9 classic.
Yursa Hanover captured the $150,000 Conway Hall at Vernon Downs on September 10. With Dan Dube in the bike she wired a field that included Buck I St Pat in 1:54.2. Owned by Richard Berthiaume of Quebec, Yursa Hanover has a career bank account in excess of $820,000. Ben Baillargeon has trained her since late in her two-year-old campaign.Yursa Hanover and Dan Dube
Windsong Soprano has put together an impressive scenario for trainer Bob McIntosh and owner Lothlorien of Ontario. The four-year-old by Windsongs Legacy has finished in the second spot in her last five starts. Two of those came in the Matchmaker and the Armbro Flight. Windsong Soprano made her mark at three with two major victories on the half-mile tracks. She captured the $327,985 Hudson Filly Trot at Yonkers in 1:56.3 and then captured the Buckette at the Delaware County Fair.Windsong Soprano Strides Out for Ron Pierce
Dave and Misty Miller’s Autumn Escapade has emerged as a standout five-year-old for trainer Jonas Czernyson this season. The daughter of Victory Sam (Valley Victory) has finished in the money in 11 of 15 starts. After taking her Armbro Flight elimination heat in a career best 1:52.4 mile, Autumn Escapade made two solid speed moves in the rich final only to be corralled late by Buck I St Pat and Windsong Soprano. She showed blinding speed over Chester Downs’ five-eighths mile track winning back-to-back open class races in 1:53 and 1:53.2.Autumn Escapade and owner-driver David Miller
Autumn Escapade started her racing career as a two-year-old winning but one time in 14 trips to the post racing primarily on the Ohio Fair Circuit. She developed nicely as a three-year-old and won 14 of 25 starts. She left Ohio for good following the Delaware Grand Circuit joining the Miller stable with Misty doing the conditioning and Dave driving. Midway through her four-year-old campaign Czernyson took over the training. The mare went on to earn more than $200,000 in 2009. While division leader Buck I St Pat also began her illustrious career in Ohio, she is not the rags-to-riches story Autumn Escapade would become with a Breeders Crown victory.
After winning 11 of 18 starts as a three-year-old wins have been elusive for Elusive Desire this season. The Ontario-bred daughter of Angus Hall has just three wins in 10 starts this year and has yet to eclipse the $100,000 mark in seasonal earnings after making more than $1.1 million as a two and three-year-old combined. Trained by Mike Keeling of the Paula Wellwood Stable, this four-year-old did impress with her victory in a leg of the Miss Versatility at the Meadowlands. In that July 30 mile she sprinted a final quarter in :26.2 at the end of a 1:52.1 mile leaving most of the aforementioned Crown contenders in her wake.
Southwind Wasabi, a solid two and three-year-old for trainer Chuck Sylvester has not shown the consistency this year for trainer Ron Burke. But she did trot a 1:53 mile at Vernon Downs in a Miss Versatility division on September 2 and certainly deserves a shot at the Crown.
Trainer Anette Lorentzon could be quietly developing a sleeper for the Crown in Jersey As. A strong-closing third in Buck I St Pat’s 1:51 Matchmaker mile on Hambo Day, Jersey As has maintained her form racing in the upper classes at Mohawk.The Lorentzon-family homebred has exhibited great improvement in this just her second season of racing.
It’s safe to say that the Buckeye State will be invading Pocono on October 9, not quite Penn State vs. Ohio State in football but certainly a spectacle worth seeing first hand.