by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager
Hightstown, NJ — If Carol’s Z Tam’s performance at Dayton three weeks ago was something of an audition, her appearance in Saturday’s (Oct. 20) Breeders Crown eliminations for older female pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono could be considered her callback. Now she will look to land a spot in the big show.
Carol’s Z Tam, trained by Jamie Macomber for owner Bill Matz’s Z Tam Stables, competes in the first of two $25,000 Breeders Crown eliminations for the pacing mares at Pocono. Brian Sears, who leads all active drivers in Breeders Crown wins with 27, will be in the sulky.
Sears also was in the bike on Sept. 28 when Carol’s Z Tam won the open handicap for fillies and mares at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. Dayton, like Pocono, is a five-eighths-mile track. It was only the second time Carol’s Z Tam raced on a track smaller than seven-eighths in her 58-race career.
“I took her to Dayton and she seemed to like it; she had some confidence over there and Brian got along with her over there,” Macomber said. “She’s been training sharp the last month. I think this is her favorite time of year because this is when she got sharp last year too. That also helped make the decision (to enter the Breeders Crown).”
Four-year-old Carol’s Z Tam, by Always A Virgin out of Electric Sparkle, has won 15 races in her career and earned $362,994. She was an Indiana Sire Stakes champion last year and also competed in the Breeders Crown, which was held at Macomber’s home track, Hoosier Park. Carol’s Z Tam, whose family includes Breeders Crown champ Lis Mara, finished fourth in her elimination and fifth in the final.
Five-year-old Pure Country is the defending Breeders Crown Mare Pace champion and will try to become the first repeat winner since Shelliscape in 2013 and 2014. She also would join Jenna’s Beach Boy, Eternal Camnation, and My Little Dragon as the only pacers to ever win three Crowns. Pure Country’s other previous trophy came at age 2.
Pure Country is also in the first elimination, as is the event’s other previous Breeders Crown champion, 5-year-old Call Me Queen Be. She won her title in 2016 at the age of 3.
Carol’s Z Tam’s best win time this year, 1:49 at Hoosier Park, is among the fastest of the season among pacing mares. Only Shartin N and Caviart Ally, who are both in the second Breeders Crown elimination, have been faster.
“Hopefully we’re going to get a good trip and have some pace on the end of it, which is what my mare likes to do,” Macomber said. “She likes to come home that last sixteenth of a mile, eighth of a mile.”
Shartin N, a 5-year-old who is the richest female pacer this season, has won 16 of 21 races this year and earned $820,861. She was a $31,250 supplemental entry.
The top-four finishers from each elimination plus the fifth-place finisher with highest seasonal earnings return Saturday (Oct. 27) for the $250,000 final. Elimination winners, in an order determined by lot, draw for posts one through five.
Macomber, who shared the training title at Hoosier Park last year with Jeff Cullipher and trails Cullipher by three victories this season, won a Breeders Crown last year with pacer Beckhams Z Tam. The now 4-year-old stallion won this year’s Prix d’Ete, which is restricted to 4-year-olds, but will sit out this year’s Breeders Crown.
“That’s such a huge jump from (age) 3 to 4,” Macomber said. “It’s difficult going up against McWicked (the year’s richest Standardbred with $1.17 million) and all those top older horses. We’re looking for him to come back bigger and better as a 5-year-old.”
Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Pocono and features a card made up entirely of Breeders Crown eliminations for 3-year-olds and older horses. For the night’s complete entries, click here.
- Breeders Crown 2-year-old eliminations drawn (Monday, October 15, 2018)
Warrawee Ubeaut, a filly who earlier this month became the fastest 2-year-old pacer in harness racing history, and divisional money-leaders Stag Party, The Ice Dutchess, Green Manalishi S, and Tall Drink Hanover were among the 71 freshmen entered Monday for the Breeders Crown at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
- Eleven former Breeders Crown champions in Saturday eliminations (Tuesday, October 16, 2018)
Been there, done that. It could be the slogan for Saturday’s (Oct. 20) Breeders Crown eliminations for 3-year-olds and older horses at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Eleven former Breeders Crown champions will be in action Saturday, led by two-time winners Hannelore Hanover, Ariana G, and Pure Country.
- Breeders Crown eliminations lead busy Grand Circuit schedule (Wednesday, October 17, 2018)
The Grand Circuit heads to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this Friday (Oct. 19) and Saturday (Oct. 20) for Breeders Crown eliminations in 11 divisions. Eliminations will not be required for the open pace.
- Deters’ first Crown trip is ‘Ideal’ (Wednesday, October 17, 2018)
As trainer Mike Deters prepares for his first start in the Breeders Crown, he’s got a good feeling about Ideal Feeling. Deters sends out Ideal Feeling in Saturday’s first of three $25,000 eliminations for 3-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The colt is out of the family of Hall of Famer Rainbow Blue and a three-quarter brother to stakes-winner Zero Tolerance, who races Friday in an elimination of the Breeders Crown 2-year-old filly pace.
- Yoder makes Crown debut with speedy ‘Charm’ (Wednesday, October 17, 2018)
Verlin Yoder has sat behind his share of good trotters, such as millionaire Natural Herbie and a number of Indiana state-bred champions, but none impressed him as quickly as undefeated world-record-setting filly Woodside Charm. On Friday, Woodside Charm will go to the Breeders Crown eliminations for 2-year-old filly trotters at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. She is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the second of three eliminations.
- Saunders returns to Breeders Crown at Pocono with Mangogh (Thursday, October 18, 2018)
When trainer Bruce Saunders last sent a horse postward in the Breeders Crown, he took home a crystal trophy with 3-year-old pacing colt Rock N Roll Heaven. That was back in 2010 when the Crown races were first held at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. This year he returns to Pocono and the Breeders Crown with 2-year-old pacing colt Mangogh, a $63,000 yearling purchase (under the name Critical Artist) for M And L of Delaware and New York City-based M & M Harness Racing.
- Trainers hope for Crown success for owner Key (Thursday, October 18, 2018)
Not surprisingly, Bob Key is once again a presence at this year’s Breeders Crown, and his trainers want to win for the 85-year-old owner/breeder as much as they would like to win for themselves. Norm Parker conditions Renaissance Lady K (above), a 2-year-old filly pacer who enters her Breeders Crown elimination Friday with three wins and two seconds in eight races to earn $53,929. Charlie Norris trains Mass Fortune K, a 2-year-old male trotter who has earned $108,001 as he enters his Crown elim, also Friday.
- Miss You Kelly is ‘just a real sweet horse’ (Thursday, October 18, 2018)
Michael Barnard liked Sapphire Deo from the time he saw her as a yearling at Deo Volente Farms. After purchasing the filly trotter for $62,000 at the 2017 Lexington Selected Sale and changing her name to Miss You Kelly, he discovered even more reasons to like her. Miss You Kelly races Friday in the second of three Breeders Crown eliminations for 2-year-old trotting fillies at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Miss You Kelly has won two of six races this year. She is trained by Bruce Lauer.
- ‘She’s definitely all that’ (Monday, October 22, 2018)
A pacing mare has never won a million dollars in a single season, but that could change in the coming weeks thanks to Shartin N. The 5-year-old Shartin N has won 17 of 22 races this season and earned $833,361. She races Saturday (Oct. 27) in the $270,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and could surpass Dreamfair Eternal’s seasonal earnings record for a pacing mare of $925,575 set in 2010 as well as move nearer the million-dollar mark.