Racing Hill Impressive in Breeders Crown Pace
by Lou Monaco, for Hambletonian Society
East Rutherford, N.J. -- In an impressive and record fashion, the last Breeders Crown winner of the season is Racing Hill.
Racing Hill took the lead with an eighth of a mile to go and held off 60-1 Manhattan Beach to capture the $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings in a stakes record of 1:48 on Saturday (Oct. 29) at The Meadowlands.
The previous record of 1:48.3 was held by Somebeachsomewhere, which he took in 2008.
The 2-1 second choice, driven by Brett Miller and trained by Tony Alagna, paid $6.40, 5.40, and 2.80 to post his fourth win in his last six tries.
“I was loving every bit [of the battle on the front]. They were still pacing hard around the last turn, and this colt felt like his old self tonight. I had a big handful of horse into the last turn, and coming off of the last turn, I knew he was a winner,” said Miller. “This was special here. I have loved this colt all year, and I had so much confidence in him, and I knew Tony would get him back good again.”
The win was the second Breeders Crown title for both Miller and Alagna.
“To say [the last few months] have been easy would be a downright lie. We had bad luck in the [Little Brown] Jug; he got parked the whole mile. Last week, I was there when he got off the truck for the detention barn, and he was wringing wet with sweat, and I said ‘We just left our race on the truck tonight.’,” said Alagna. “He raced that way on Saturday, so I put the groom, who has done a tremendous job with the horse, on the truck, and we shipped him in a boxed stall by himself on a dull truck yesterday just so he wouldn’t get all worked up, and it did the trick. I knew he was a good horse, and he showed it tonight. We had some troubles getting his earplugs out in the last turn [in] the Meadowlands Pace. Not to take anything away from the winner, but this horse has just been a model of consistency all year.”
Split times were 26.3, 53.0, and 1:20.2, with a final time of 1:48.
Manhattan Beach, driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Ron Burke, paid a solid $23.40 and $12.40 for second.
“Not bad, but not what we wanted. We wanted to win this race; this is the race I thought we had the best chance to win tonight. You know what the thing is, sometimes you make the lead, you want the lead,” Burke said. “I give Yannick (Gingras) credit, he made everyone try to pace around him and the horse dug in and was game all the way to the wire. I think it might be Check Six’s best mile ever. My horses were ready tonight, I’m happy with them all, but things just didn’t work out.”
Check Six, the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion, finished third and paid $3.40
Fernando Hanover, driven by Tim Tetrick and also trained by Burke, finished fourth.
The Breeders Crown for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings was the last of the 12 championship races held over the two-day weekend at The Meadowlands.