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. Brian Sears, who leads all active drivers in Breeders Crown wins with 27, will be in the sulky.
Sears also was in the bike on Sept. 28 when Carol’s Z Tam won the open handicap for fillies and mares at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. Dayton, like Pocono, is a five-eighths-mile track. It was only the second time Carol’s Z Tam raced on a track smaller than seven-eighths in her 58-race career.
“I took her to Dayton and she seemed to like it; she had some confidence over there and Brian got along with her over there,” Macomber said. “She’s been training sharp the last month. I think this is her favorite time of year because this is when she got sharp last year too. That also helped make the decision (to enter the Breeders Crown).”
Four-year-old Carol’s Z Tam, by Always A Virgin out of Electric Sparkle, has won 15 races in her career and earned $362,994. She was an Indiana Sire Stakes champion last year and also competed in the Breeders Crown, which was held at Macomber’s home track, Hoosier Park. Carol’s Z Tam, whose family includes Breeders Crown champ Lis Mara, finished fourth in her elimination and fifth in the final.
Five-year-old Pure Country is the defending Breeders Crown Mare Pace champion and will try to become the first repeat winner since Shelliscape in 2013 and 2014. She also would join Jenna’s Beach Boy, Eternal Camnation, and My Little Dragon as the only pacers to ever win three Crowns. Pure Country’s other previous trophy came at age 2.
Pure Country is also in the first elimination, as is the event’s other previous Breeders Crown champion, 5-year-old Call Me Queen Be. She won her title in 2016 at the age of 3.
Carol's Z Tam’s best win time this year, 1:49 at Hoosier Park, is among the fastest of the season among pacing mares. Only Shartin N and Caviart Ally, who are both in the second Breeders Crown elimination, have been faster.
“Hopefully we’re going to get a good trip and have some pace on the end of it, which is what my mare likes to do,” Macomber said. “She likes to come home that last sixteenth of a mile, eighth of a mile.”
Shartin N, a 5-year-old who is the richest female pacer this season, has won 16 of 21 races this year and earned $820,861. She was a $31,250 supplemental entry.
The top-four finishers from each elimination plus the fifth-place finisher with highest seasonal earnings return Saturday (Oct. 27) for the $250,000 final. Elimination winners, in an order determined by lot, draw for posts one through five.
Macomber, who shared the training title at Hoosier Park last year with Jeff Cullipher and trails Cullipher by three victories this season, won a Breeders Crown last year with pacer Beckhams Z Tam. The now 4-year-old stallion won this year’s Prix d’Ete, which is restricted to 4-year-olds, but will sit out this year’s Breeders Crown.
“That’s such a huge jump from (age) 3 to 4,” Macomber said. “It’s difficult going up against McWicked (the year’s richest Standardbred with $1.17 million) and all those top older horses. We’re looking for him to come back bigger and better as a 5-year-old.”
Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Pocono and features a card made up entirely of Breeders Crown eliminations for 3-year-olds and older horses. For the night’s complete entries, click here.