Breeders Crown 3 yo colt pace and trot draws
Lucky Chucky will start from post four and rival Muscle Massive from post seven in Saturday’s $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Post positions were drawn Tuesday during a press conference at Pocono Downs.
In the $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers, elimination winners One More Laugh and Rock N Roll Heaven will start from posts two and three, respectively. Thanks to their elim wins, their connections selected the starting spots. Rock N Roll Heaven’s connections had first pick. The rest of the field was drawn.
Eliminations were unnecessary for the trotting race because only nine horses entered the event. The race for the 3-year-old male trotters is carded as No. 4 and the race for the 3-year-old male pacers is No. 13.
Lucky Chucky is coming off a victory in the $970,000 Canadian Trotting Classic on September 18 at Mohawk Racetrack. He has won three consecutive starts – including a division of the Harry M. Zweig Memorial and the $500,000 Colonial – since finishing second by a half length to Muscle Massive in the $1.5 million Hambletonian.
Trained by Chuck Sylvester and driven by John Campbell, Lucky Chucky has won four of seven races this year and earned $1.25 million. He has won 13 of 19 career starts and banked $1.91 million.
“It’s become quite a rivalry, there’s no question about that,” Campbell said about facing Muscle Massive. “I’m certainly glad we drew inside of him. He might be a little bit quicker at the gate. My strategy is going to be to try to keep him out before we get to that first turn, but I’m not sure I can do that.
“They’re both great horses, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve stamped themselves as the best two in the division, but that doesn’t rule out the other seven horses in there by any stretch of the imagination.”
Muscle Massive has won five of 10 races this year and earned $1.14 million. He was third in the Canadian Trotting Classic after winning a division of the Simcoe Stakes two weeks earlier. His victories also include the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship.
The colt is trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by Ron Pierce.
Pilgrims Taj won last season’s Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male trotters, beating Lucky Chucky by a length at Woodbine Racetrack. The only horses to win the event at 2 and come back to capture the race as 3-year-olds are Muscle Hill (2009), Malabar Man (1997) and Mack Lobell (1987).
Race 4 – $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters
1. Pilgrims Taj, Mike Lachance, Monte Gelrod; 2. Take My Picture, Andy Miller, Nikolas Drennan; 3. Flex The Muscle, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker; 4. Lucky Chucky, John Campbell, Chuck Sylvester; 5. Break The Bank K, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer; 6. Hard Livin, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 7. Muscle Massive, Ron Pierce, Jimmy Takter; 8. Temple Of Doom, David Miller, Jonas Czernyson; 9. Wishing Stone, George Brennan, Dewayne Minor.
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Division leaders Rock N Roll Heaven and One More Laugh each won an elimination race last Saturday to advance to the $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Rock N Roll Heaven leads all 3-year-old pacers in earnings with $1.22 million this season while One More Laugh is second, with $1.09 million.
Rock N Roll Heaven, fresh off his world-record performance in the $604,100 Little Brown Jug, won his elim in 1:49.1. He has won 10 of 15 races this year for trainer Bruce Saunders and primary driver Daniel Dube. He is the No. 1-ranked horse in the sport’s most recent top 10 poll.
“He’s been on a terrific run,” Saunders said. “He came out of the Jug great. He’s really enthusiastic about racing. He makes our job very easy. He’s the full package.”
In addition to winning the Little Brown Jug with two 1:49.2 world-record-equaling heats, Rock N Roll Heaven won the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine in August at Harrah’s Chester and the $220,000 Berry’s Creek at the Meadowlands in May. He also won the $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship at the Meadowlands and was second to One More Laugh in the Meadowlands Pace.
One More Laugh, who won the $1 million Meadowlands Pace in July, won his elim in 1:50. One More Laugh went off stride in three previous races at Pocono Downs, but was flawless last weekend. Trained by Ray Schnittker and driven by Tim Tetrick, the gelding has won six of 13 races this season.
“I was a little nervous based on his past exploits here at Pocono,” said Gareth Dowse, assistant trainer for Ray Schnittker, after the elimination. “It was early last year when he seemed to make his breaks, but as the season progressed he started to come out of it, so-to-speak. I was confident, but a little on the weary side just knowing what happened here before.”
One More Laugh’s triumphs include the $300,000 Cane Pace on September 6 at Freehold Raceway and the $294,965 Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers Raceway in June.
Among those also advancing to the final were Oliver Wendell Holmes division winner Rockin Image, $500,000 New Jersey Classic winner BG’s Folly, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champ We Will See, $300,000 Max Hempt Memorial winner (at Pocono Downs) Fred And Ginger, and New York Sire Stakes champ He’s Gorgeous.
Race 13 – $500,000 Breeders Crown for colt and gelding pacers
1. Shoobee’s Place, David Miller, Richard “Nifty” Norman; 2. One More Laugh, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker; 3. Rock N Roll Heaven, Daniel Dube, Bruce Saunders; 4. He’s Gorgeous, Jim Morrill Jr., Linda Toscano; 5. We Will See, Brett Miller, Sam DePinto; 6. Art N Charm, John Campbell, Kathe Troy; 7. Fred And Ginger, Brian Sears, Ron Burke; 8. BG’s Folly, David Miller, Sam DePinto; 9. Rockin Image, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter.