Monte Miki a gallant Breeders Crown winner

To watch a race replay of Monte Miki‘s Breeders Crown victory, click here.

East Rutherford, NJ — After being subjected to sustained pressure from Beach Glass on the far turn, Monte Miki ($9.40) fought gallantly in the lane to narrowly parry Gulf Shores in Friday’s (Oct. 29) $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings, at The Meadowlands.

Monte Miki (foreground) stood steadfast in a stretch-long battle with Gulf Shores to prevail in the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Lisa photo.

Monte Miki secured the pocket behind early leaver Gulf Shores on the first turn, but when Beach Glass swept forward in the three-path through the first turn, Scott Zeron pulled Monte Miki from the pocket to overtake Gulf Shores through a :27.4 quarter and also forced Beach Glass to tuck into the three-hole — a position Zeron was hoping to avoid.

“I didn’t want to get in a bad spot,” Zeron said. “I had a lot of options leaving the gate. When I got away that close, I wanted to make my way to the front and protect my spot on the first turn.”

Once in control, the Always B Miki-Montenegro colt splashed through a :29 second sectional before facing intensifying pressure on the far turn — again in the form of Beach Glass, whom Pebble Beach flushed into the running line with seven-sixteenths to go.

Beach Glass advanced to within a neck of Monte Miki nearing three-quarters in 1:26.1, but the Metro Pace winner dug in to shrug off that rival in mid-stretch.

Just as Monte Miki turned aside Beach Glass, though, Yannick Gingras found a lane up the pegs with Gulf Shores to take one final shot. Nonetheless, Monte Miki found enough to reach the winning post a long nose in front, staving off Gulf Shores just enough to seal a 1:53.2 win over sloppy going. Pebble Beach lifted belatedly off second-over cover and protected third over the late-rallying Hammering Hank.

“This horse fights like crazy,” Zeron continued. “Once he sees another horse, he’s really game.”

Mark Evers trains Monte Miki, a Velocity Standardbreds homebred with six wins and $665,276 to his credit in seven career starts.

“We’re just really impressed with him,” Evers said. “Everything he does surprises us every week.”

A LITTLE MORE: Wagering topped the $3 million mark for the first time since Hambletonian Day as a total of $3,251,099 was pushed through the windows on the 13-race card. Betting on the Breeders Crown events was especially vigorous, as a total of $1,396,843 was put in play on the four races, an average of $349,210 per dash.

The all-Breeders Crown 50-cent Pick-4 saw big action, with a total of $150,550 put in the hat.

Dexter Dunn and Tim Tetrick led the driver’s colony with three winners apiece.

Racing resumes Saturday at noon with eight Breeders Crown finals carded as races four through 11. For those who can’t make it to the track, Fox Sports 2 (FS2) will have a live telecast from 12:30-4 p.m. while SportsNet New York (SNY) will also have a live presentation, from 3-5:30 p.m.

— Dave Little

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