by Ken Weingartner and Keith Gisser, for the Breeders Crown
Cranbury, NJ — 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.
“Taylor Gower broke her and I was jogging her, not too long after he broke her, and she got startled by something in the grass and she took off on the trot,” said Barnard, who owns Miss You Kelly as part of his Stormi And Bruiser Stable. “She did it so easy and then just came right back to me.
“I knew she was special there, just to be able to do that. She did everything perfect from day one, just a great attitude. She’s a beautiful horse to be around. Deo Volente turns out beautiful yearlings and Fidencio (operations manager Fidencio Cervantez) does a great job over there. She’s just a real sweet horse.”
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 the rail in that race, the fourth on the card, which is scheduled for 7:54 p.m. (EDT). Racing begins at 7 p.m. and features a total of 10 Breeders Crown eliminations for 2-year-olds.
Barnard is making his second trip to the Breeders Crown as an owner. His first was with Fresh Winner Pearl, who finished eighth in the 2002 event for 3-year-old male trotters at Woodbine. He also bred Creamy Mimi, who won the 2008 Hambletonian Oaks and finished fifth in the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters.
Among Barnard’s other breeding credits is stakes-winner Brooklyn, who is the dam of another of this season’s 2-year-old Breeders Crown hopefuls, trotting colt Kings County, who is owned by Lindy Farms.
Miss You Kelly, by Trixton out of Blue Yonder, was renamed in honor of Barnard’s rescue dog, who was a fixture around the horses and passed away last year.
“She was my best friend,” Barnard said. “She was just the sweetest, kindest thing I ever had in my life.”
Miss You Kelly has won two of six races this year. She is trained by Bruce Lauer.
“Bruce has done a great job with her,” Barnard said. “She’s about as good as she could be right now. He’s done a great job getting her ready for this race. We just have to hope she gets a good trip and it works out for her.”
Lauer is a veteran of the racing wars, but is making his Breeders Crown debut with Miss You Kelly.
“I’ve worked for, and with, some really good people over the years,” Lauer said. “Blair Burgess, Mark and Frank O’Mara, Ron Waples — just to name a few — so I have been here, but never on my own. I just never had the deep-pockets owners.
“The first horses I trained on my own were a $4,000 claimer and a green 3-year-old filly. I started when I was at the University of Toledo. A bunch of us went over to Raceway Park and before I knew it, I was on the backside.”
Lauer said Miss You Kelly had a minor setback in June before beginning her career in an elimination of the Jim Doherty Memorial, where she finished eighth. After winning a maiden race at Harrah’s Philadelphia, the filly went to Canada and finished fourth in a division of the Champlain Stakes and sixth in her elimination of the Peaceful Way.
She rebounded with a 1:57.1 victory at Pocono and heads to the Breeders Crown off a sixth-place finish against older horses at Pocono.
“We’ve always liked her,” Lauer said. “She had a minor setback in June and we had to back off with her and with her first start being in the Doherty she might have been over her head that early in her career. But she won a maiden with (Tim) Tetrick driving and he said he really liked her, so that was encouraging.
“She raced OK in Canada. I probably should have shipped her up there sooner. She didn’t really have her legs under her. That’s on me.”
Lauer pointed the filly to the Breeders Crown by giving her the two races at the host track.
“We wanted to get her a couple starts at Pocono to see if she could go enough,” he said. “Matt Kakaley drove her and she won pretty handily. Matt eased her up and said she left a couple of seconds on the track. The next week, the only race we could get her in was against the boys and 3- and 4-year-olds, but she still trotted in (1):54 and a piece, which is as much as a lot of these others have gone.
“We figured it was time to give her a chance.”
The top-three finishers from each elimination for the 2-year-old filly trotters return Saturday (Oct. 27) for the $600,000 final. The draw is scheduled to take place live after the 10th race on Friday. Elimination winners, in an order determined by lot, draw for post one through five.
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.
- Macomber hopes Carol’s Z Tam makes big show (Friday, October 19, 2018)
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.