by Ken Weingartner for Breeders Crown
Toronto -- If her past is any indication, Check Me Out is out to conquer the world.
Or, perhaps more precisely, world records.
The 4-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters, Check Me Out has set several world marks during her 30-race career. She has won 25 of those lifetime starts and finished worse than second only once.
Check Me Out is the fastest female trotter in history on a five-eighths-mile track thanks to her 1:51.3 win in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship on Sept. 1 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also holds the record for fastest 2-year-old on a five-eighths-mile oval, an honor she achieved by winning her Matron Stakes elimination in 1:53.2 in 2011 at Dover Downs.
This year, she also set the record for fastest 3-year-old filly trotter on a mile racetrack. She first established the mark with her 1:51.3 triumph in the Delvin Miller Memorial on July 14 at the Meadowlands. She equaled the record in winning the Zweig Filly Memorial on Aug. 26 at Vernon Downs. Then, she lowered the record to its current 1:51.2 in winning a Bluegrass Stakes division on Sept. 30 at The Red Mile.
In addition, her career earnings of $1.79 million are the most ever for a female trotter at ages 2 and 3 combined, breaking the previous record of $1.72 million set by Passionate Glide in 2005-06. (Passionate Glide won the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters in 2005.)
She enters Saturday trying to become the first filly trotter since Cameron Hall in 2001-02 to win Breeders Crown titles at ages 2 and 3. Her 1:54.4 victory in last season’s Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters, held at Woodbine, set the stakes record.
Check Me Out, who is ranked No. 2 in harness racing’s Top 10 poll, will start from post one for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Ray Schnittker, who owns the filly with Charlie Iannazzo.
“She looks real good; I expect her to race real well,” Schnittker said. “I haven’t done much with her lately, just jogged her. If they’re not tight now, they’ll never be tight. She drew an inside post, which is good. If she’s on her game, they won’t beat her.”
This year, Check Me Out has won the Elegantimage Stakes and Hudson Filly Trot in addition to the Miller, Zweig and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final.
She won her elim for the Hambletonian Oaks in 1:53.4, but disaster struck in the final, as she went off stride on the last turn, caught back trotting and finished third but ended up placed eighth for interfering with Maven.
On Sept. 14, Check Me Out defeated a field of older male rivals in the Open Trot at Tioga Downs. Her time of 1:54 over a surface labeled “good” set the track record.
“She’s the best horse I’ve ever been associated with,” Tetrick said. “She’ll go as fast as you’ll want to go with her.”
Iannazzo was one of the owners of one of Schnittker’s previous stars – 2008 Trotter of the Year and 2007 Breeders Crown 2-year-old colt trot champ Deweycheatumnhowe – and was interested initially in Check Me Out because both horses lost their mothers soon after being born.
Check Me Out’s second dam is millionaire No Nonsense Woman, who was a divisional champ at age 3 when she won the Breeders Crown, and her family also includes Napoletano (another millionaire and divisional champ) and, from the early 1900s, Hall of Fame trotter Peter Volo.
“I thought maybe somehow or another she’d turn out to be like Dewey,” Iannazzo said last year. “It was just a hunch. It was just a stroke of luck.”
-30-Check Me Out and caretaker Denelle Stratton - Vicki Wright Photo