Wilkes-Barre, PA -- Spider Blue Chip was a measured winner in the $500,000 Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old colt trotters, winning in 1:53.3 Saturday night (Oct. 19) at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Driven by Ron Pierce, who picked up his third Breeders Crown win on the night, Spider Blue Chip sat third as Creatine took the lead off the gate. Smilin Eli was the first to challenge, taking the lead at the quarter in :27.2.
Pierce tipped Spider Blue Chip from third just past the three-eighths, and had the lead at the :56.3 half.
“He got to the front fairly easy, then got a bit of a breather there,” said Pierce. “I let him trot a little bit down the back.”
All Laid Out came first-over, but never got much past Spider Blue Chip’s wheel. Smilin Eli in the pocket and Creatine in third were Spider Blue Chip’s greatest threats, according to Pierce.
“I was a little concerned with Smilin Eli and Creatine on my back,” he said. “I knew (Creatine) would be coming; I was just hoping that my horse would trot fast enough to hold him off and he did.”
Spider Blue Chip reached the three-quarters in 1:24.3 and trotted on with both Smilin Eli and Creatine moving on the inside. Spider Blue Chip held on to win by a neck over Creatine with Smilin Eli further inside in third.
Spider Blue Chip, by Andover Hall-Southwind Catlin, is trained by Chuck Sylvester and co-owned by David McDuffee and Melvin Hartman. Hartman had a dream Breeders Crown night, posting two wins and a second-place finish with his charges.
“I’m pretty high right now,” said Hartman. “To have two wins and a second on Breeders Crown night is more than a dream come true. To have a filly like Bee A Magician, and ‘Spider,’ I knew if he got on top he would be tough to beat. And Struck By Lindy I knew would get a check because she is an honest filly.”
Spider Blue Chip did win his Breeders Crown elimination last week, along with such major wins as the Colonial Trot on Aug. 17 and a Hambletonian elimination, but his road to the winner’s circle was not an easy one.
“Patience paid off,” said Hartman. “You heard David [McDuffee] yelling at Chuck, ‘Thanks for gelding him!’ I really believe that if we didn’t geld him he wouldn’t have done as well this year. He was pretty cantankerous and you can see in the post parade we have an outrider to try to calm him down. He has really come on and I think he will do even better next year.”
Sylvester, who picked up his 13th career Breeders Crown win, was as measured in his comments as his horse was in his victory.
“He makes his own way,” he said. “He’s gotten a couple of trips (this year), but he roughed it and cut it out and won. He just is so consistent every week. I’m really proud of him. He seems more steady; he wants to win and he won’t let horses go by. I’m sure he’s going to bring him back, so we’ll probably be here next year. He’s a gelding, you know.”
His owners certainly know that he is a gelding, so they are looking forward to his future on the racetrack.
“In this business right now, it’s not bad to have a gelding that can go like he can go,” said McDuffee. “It looks like he’s got a good career ahead of him for a number of years, knock on wood. He’s a good, sound horse. They don’t want them to go to stud anymore (after) 3, so we will take what we can get and enjoy every minute of it.”
Spider Blue Chip, who paid $4.60 to win as the favorite, now has 10 wins in 18 starts this year, and has annual earnings of $1,012,593. He was bred by McLain Ward of New York.
By T.J. Burkett, for the Breeders Crown