by Frank Carulli
October 22, 2018
Atlanta dazzled harness racing fans with speed when she defeated the boys in the Hambletonian in August. She didn’t win in her next four starts, only to recapture that winning feeling in last weekend’s Breeders Crown eliminations at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. She was hustled to the lead by driver Scott Zeron and never looked back in a 1:51.3 victory, a good sign heading into this Saturday’s $500,000 final against 3-year-old female trotters.
“I wanted to command the lead early,” said Zeron. “It took her a bit to get back after the two heats in the Hambletonian and she was coming off two heats at the Red Mile, so tonight was good.”
Atlanta isn’t the only elimination winner deemed ‘good’ to go for the $6 million, 12-race card that will begin at 5:30 p.m. EST.
The sophomore trotting division is stacked with talent, so while Atlanta takes on fillies, world-record holder Six Pack and Tactical Landing clash in the $500,000 final for colts after elimination scores in 1:53.3 and 1:52.2, respectively.
A pair of undefeated runners highlight the 2-year-old trotting division. New York sire stakes champion Gympanzee is perfect in eight starts, while filly Woodside Charm looms as the odds-on favorite after a smashing 1:53 prelim score to go 6-for-6.
North America’s leading trainer, Ron Burke, will be well represented in the sophomore pacing division after Dorsoduro Hanover and This Is The Plan won prelims for the colts and defending champ Youaremycandygirl lived up to favoritism against the fillies.
Guardian Angel As ($11.80) and Top Flight Angel ($20.60) will try to duplicate their mild upsets in the open trot prelims when they square off in the $500,000 Breeders Crown final.
Emoticon Hanover will be looking for her second Breeders Crown victory in the $250,000 Mare Trot after a pocket-sitting prelim win in 1:52.4. NF Happenstance ran a fifth of a second faster in her elimination and won by 3-1/4 lengths at 9-1 odds after favorite Dream Together ranged up and went off stride.
Call Me Queen Be, a champion at age 3 two years ago, appears back on her game after a 18-1 upset in the Mare Pace.
No Mas Amor (1:50.3) and filly Tall Drink Hanover (1:51.3) recorded the fastest times in the freshman pacing division heading into the $600,000 finals.