Championship showdown looms in Breeders Crown 3FT final

Gordon Waterstone

Lexington, KY — Trainer Jim Campbell has won the Breeders Crown 3-year-old filly trot three times in his career, the first coming in 2009 with Broadway Schooner. In a quest for a fourth championship trophy in this division, Campbell will be sending out two in this year’s renewal, including Fashion Schooner, a daughter of Walner out of Broadway Schooner.

This year’s $675,000 contest on Saturday night (Oct. 29) at Woodbine Mohawk Park arguably has divisional honors on the line as it features a first-ever match-up between Hambletonian Oaks champ Fashion Schooner, Kentucky Filly Futurity winner Jiggy Jog S, and Joviality S, who bested her male peers in the MGM Yonkers Trot.

Fashion Schooner overcame post 10 and coasted to victory in the 97th Hambletonian Oaks. Lisa photo.

“It’s a very tough group,” acknowledged Campbell, who also won the Crown 3-year-old filly trot in 2016 with Broadway Donna — also out of Broadway Schooner — and in 2020 with Next Level Stuff, who posted a stakes-record 1:52 effort.

“The three of them have never been in together yet this year and I’m happy about that. I’m glad they went into the Hambletonian (Joviality S finished second and Jiggy Jog S fourth to the Campbell-trained Cool Papa Bell). It’s a strong group.”

Fashion Schooner finished second in her Crown elimination last Saturday night (Oct. 22) to Jiggy Jog S, who established a new track and Canadian record with her 1:51.2 effort. Joviality S captured the second Crown elimination in 1:52.1.

Still, the oddsmaker gave Joviality S respect in the morning line, making her the 6-5 favorite from post four with driver Brian Sears. Starting from post two with driver Dexter Dunn, Jiggy Jog S is close behind at 7-5, with Fashion Schooner, who will leave from post six with driver Tim Tetrick, the third choice at 6-1.

Joviality S made up a lot of ground through the stretch to win her Breeders Crown elimination. New Image Media photo.

Favorite Joviality S has 11 wins in 14 starts this year with $1,003,796 in earnings for owner Courant Inc. The Marcus Melander-trained daughter of Chapter Seven‘s other victories include the New York Sires Stakes championship, Empire Breeders Classic and Delmonica Hanover.

After starting from post nine in her Crown elimination, Joviality S rallied wide for Sears in the final turn to come charging from seventh to the 1-1/2 length victory over the Campbell-trained Misswalner Fashion.

“In the last turn, I thought it was going to be tough,” admitted Melander. “I thought she was going to make the final, but it’s so important to win because you draw (posts) one through five. She’s had such bad luck in these races drawing bad, even (in her elimination) she had the nine hole and she overcame it. She is a great horse.”

Jiggy Jog S also rallied from behind to win her elimination, rushing past the tempo-setting Fashion Schooner to score by 1-3/4 lengths. It was the Ake Svanstedt-trained daughter of Walner‘s seventh win of the year in 12 starts, bringing her seasonal earnings to $586,638 for owner Jorgen Sparredal Inc.

Jiggy Jog S closed with a :26.2 final quarter to win her Breeders Crown elimination impressively. New Image Media photo.

“Mentally, she has been so tough the last two months,” said Svanstedt. “I like that very much. It looks like she is at the top of her game. Last year she needed a trip to fight. Now she can do it by herself. She is good.”

Dunn admits he has his work cut out for him in the Crown final.

“It’s a great bunch,” said Dunn, the reigning three-time U.S. Driver of the Year who won last year’s Crown 3-year-old filly trot final with Bella Bellini. “Obviously, Joviality is an amazing filly and her run (in her elimination) was awesome. It will be a good race for sure.

“My filly, she won from the front in Lexington (in the Kentucky Filly Futurity) and she’s come from behind (in the Crown elimination). She’s very versatile now at this time of the season and she knows what she’s doing.”

Campbell was satisfied with Fashion Schooner’s runner-up effort to Jiggy Jog S, considering she hadn’t raced in a full month. The filly had followed up her early-August Oaks victory with three straight wins, including the New Jersey Classic at The Meadowlands and the Moni Maker at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. Campbell said Kentucky regulations that preclude Lasix from being used in stakes races played a role in his strategy in not racing her during the two weeks of Grand Circuit racing at The Red Mile.

“I was very happy with her race as she hadn’t raced since Sept. 23 (the Moni Maker), which was by design,” said Campbell about his filly that has earned $678,096 this year as a homebred of Fashion Farms. “I didn’t want to race her off Lasix in Lexington. I knew that going into (the Crown elims) that she was going to have 30 days between races. I like the way we’re coming into the final. We got a good draw with her and the (elimination) should help set her up for the final.”

Fourth choice at 8-1 on the morning line is Canadian-based star Warrawee Xenia, whose late-closing 7-1 upset Hambletonian Oaks elimination win was so impressive that she was sent off the wagering favorite in the final, where she made a break at the start to take her out of contention. Trained by Shawn Steacy, Warrawee Xenia will start from post seven with driver Bob McClure after finishing a late-closing fourth in her elim to Joviality S.

“She can close like a freight train,” said Steacy. “Everybody knows how fast she is. I think we have a small chance. What I liked (about her elimination) is she didn’t gap out anywhere. She left good off the gate and she was tight on a helmet the whole way.

“The biggest adjustment we made equipment wise was adding the trotting hobbles (the last two starts). They’re not on very tight, they’re there just for that light amount of support. She’s the best she’s been in two months now, since that start in the Hambletonian elim. I think she is setting up really good for the final.”

The field also includes Venerable, who bested male rivals in last year’s Mohawk Million for 2-year-old trotters. Trained by Nifty Norman and driven by David Miller, Venerable will start from the outside post 10 in Saturday’s rich final after closing from seventh to finish fifth in her elimination to Jiggy Jog S.

“She was fair, just OK (in the elim),” said Norman about his filly who is listed as a 20-1 outsider on the morning line. “She didn’t have a lot of trot. I thought she would have more. But it’s hard from back there, you’re last on the rail and they’re going (1):51 up front.”

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