from the Breeders Crown
Wilkes-Barre, PA — New York Sire Stakes champion Gimpanzee ($4.00) remained undefeated in eight career starts, overcoming a four-week absence and the tough tuck-then-first-over trip to post a 1:54.4 victory in one of two $25,000 Breeders Crown eliminations for 2-year-old trotting males Friday (Oct. 19) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
The son of Chapter Seven, who also sired the earlier filly winner Woodside Charm, out of the mare Steamy Windows left from post eight outside a host of horses and tucked fifth, with Union Forces emerging from the early scramble with the lead before the :27.3 quarter. He got a :57.3 breather to the half, but driver Brian Sears had Gimpanzee grinding forward down the backstretch, to the 1:26.1 three-quarters, and around the turn to emerge with the lead headstretch.
Despite the arduous trip, Gimpanzee was able to draw away in the lane by 1-1/2 lengths, with Chin Chin Hall, Hudson River, and Prospect Hill next in line at the wire and advancing to the championship.
Trainer Marcus Melander thought early in the season that this horse was of Grand Circuit caliber, and wasn’t especially concerned about either the layoff or the tough trip. Melander thinks the horse will acquit himself well next week, into which he will bring earnings of $291,358.
Before the Breeders Crown eliminations at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono started Friday night, Ontario driver Bob McClure had never participated in the prestigious championship series.
Now he’s won two Crown races — Champagne Jane in the filly trot and then the Muscle Hill–Smarty Pants colt Smart As Hill in the colt trot. Both horses rallied from far back, and both horses were lightly-regarded, with Smart As Hill returning $36.80.
McClure kept the winner of $105,491 along the inside behind fractions of :27.1, :56.1, and 1:24.2 set by Green Manalishi S, then swung wide at headstretch and generated tremendous speed in the last sixteenth, getting past the pacesetter in the last 100 feet to take a new mark of 1:53.4.
Green Manalishi S, Super Schissel, and Trix And Stones were next in line behind the three-time winner, who is trained by Paula Wellwood of Marion Marauder fame and owned by Dreamville Stable and Steve Organ.
Here is the draw for the $600,000 Breeders Crown 2-year-old trotting colt and gelding final, to be held next Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono (*-elimination winner), followed by trainer and the driver in the elimination:
1 – Hudson River – Jimmy Takter – Yannick Gingras
2 – Chin Chin Hall – Melanie Wrenn – Peter Wrenn
3 – Prospect Hill – Julie Miller – Andy Miller
4 – *Smart As Hill – Paula Wellwood – Bob McClure
5 – *Gimpanzee – Marcus Melander – Brian Sears
6 – Super Schissel – Jimmy Takter – Yannick Gingras
7 – Trix And Stones – Carl Jamieson – Scott Zeron
8 – Green Manilishi S – Marcus Melander – Tim Tetrick
9 – Kings County – Domenico Cecere – Brian Sears
- Smart As Hill a pleasant surprise for Wellwood (Wednesday, October 24, 2018)
Trainer Paula Wellwood doesn’t mind Smart As Hill’s playful streak. His speed more than makes up for it. That speed has gotten Smart As Hill into Saturday’s $600,000 Breeders Crown final for 2-year-old male trotters, where he drew post No. 4 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Curtis Salonick photo.