by Moira Fanning, Hambletonian Society
CAMPBELLVILLE, ONTARIO – Ron Pierce flexed his muscles on Saturday night at Mohawk Raceway. Pierce took the power approach to the C$968,000 Breeders Crown Trot guiding Mr Muscleman to the fastest mile in the 43 year history of the track. After securing the front in a :26.3 opening quarter Mr Muscleman was put under pressure when Brian Sears sent Sand Vic towards the leader. Pierce never suggested he’d give up the lead and instead the two matched strides through intense fractions of :54.4 and 1:23. Under normal conditions those fractions would sap both dueling leaders, but in this case it was the other five trotters in the field who succumbed. Mr Muscleman was fresh and flawless jogging off in a :29 final quarter by some five and one half lengths. Sand Vic showed his endurance holding on to the place spot while Elegant Man rallied late for third.
Mr Muscleman won for the eleventh time in 13 starts this year for owner Adam Victor and Son Stable and proved that his fifth place finish in the Nat Ray at the Meadowlands was a fluke. Trained locally by Mike Vanderkemp, Mr Muscleman’s next test will come in the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk with eliminations if needed on Saturday, September 10.
Mr Muscleman, sent off as the 7-10 favorite paid $3.40.
A potential duel between Mr Muscleman and Peaceful Way became a real possibility following Peaceful Way’s first Breeders Crown victory in the C$302,500C Mare Trot. Driver Trevor Ritchie altered the mare’s closing pattern with a quick burst of speed past the half-mile pole. The four-year-old daughter of Angus Hall controlled the final half fractions scoring by a length and one quarter in a 1:53.1 mile. Peaceful Way is now perfect in seven starts this year and made amends for her breaks in her previous two Crown performances. Trained and co-owned by David Tingley along with Goin My Way Stable, Marv Katz, Al Libfeld, Sam Goldband, and Angie Stiller, Peaceful Way’s connections now must decide whether to face the boys in the Maple Leaf Trot.
Mystical Sunshine rallied from last to finish second behind Peaceful Way while early leader Housethatruthbuilt, recovered from a shuffle and rallied for the show spot.
Peaceful Way, a local favorite, was sent off as the 2-5 betting choice and returned $2.90 for a base win ticket.
Boulder Creek made it back-to-back Breeders Crown Open events with a flawless 1:49.1 victory for owners Cliff Siegel, Lee Wasserman and John Fodera. Driver Brian Sears, in the midst of his greatest season in the sulky, managed to work out a perfect second-over journey with Quality Western leading the outside attack. Early leaders Mypanmar and Town Champion exchanged the lead through bitter fractions of :25.2 and :54. Town Champion dueled with Quality Western and Boulder Creek enjoyed the trip. In the stretch the son of Pacific Rocket secured his third straight major aged event having previously captured the U.S. Pacing Championship and the Classic Series final.
Last year’s North America Cup winner Georgia Pacific knifed between horses for the place spot just a length off the winner. Mypanmar, a 22-1 outsider, had something left despite his opening quarter and rallied for third.
Boulder Creek, trained by Mark Silva, has career earnings approaching $2.5 million. He paid $3.80 as the 9-10 favorite in the field.
Burning Point, sent off as the 9-10 favorite in the C$401,115 Crown Mare Pace, was used hard twice before the half-way point and that softened up the previous Crown winner enough to allow Loyal Opposition the chance to close in off a third over trip. Driver George Brennan engineered the lone upset of the four Crown events behind the Erv Miller trained mare. Loyal Opposition, sent off as the 5-1 third choice, charged home strongly and overtook Burning Point in midstretch enroute to her first Crown victory.
Owned by Daniel Waxman, the five-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler won for the eighth time this year in just 14 trips to the post. Glowing Report may have deserved the Crown hardware after her solid placing after racing virtually the entire mile on the outside without cover. Glowing Report, with driver Dave Miller, edged past Burning Point late for the place spot. Burning Point held down the show spot after the difficult trip. Loyal Opposition returned $12 on the win ticket.
Carolina Sunshine cut the opening quarter in :26.1 with Burning Point making a second move to secure the front before the :54.1 first half clocking. The pace continued hot with Burning Point dueling with Glowing Report to three quarters in 1:22.3 setting up Loyal Opposition’s winning mile.
The Breeders Crown returned to Mohawk Racetrack after a five year absence. More than 9,300 people were in attendance at the Campbellville oval. Total wagering exceeded $3.1 million on the 13-race card.