by Frank Cotolo
Breeders Crown — Mare Pace
Shartin N proved she is the best in her division with a wire-to-wire win in the $270,000 Breeders Crown mares pace final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun on Oct. 27.
Tim Tetrick guided the 5-year-old mare to a defiant top spot early and kept her solidly on the engine to win in 1:52 on the “sloppy” surface. Tetrick has been Shartin N’s driver through the year.
Shartin N came into the race as a supplement, since she is a New Zealand import, the daughter of a Down Under sire, Tintin In America, out of the mare Bagdarin, by Live Or Die. Shartin N had already beaten most of these Breeders Crown eligible mares while winning 17 of 22 starts in her first North American season.
As the starting gate opened its wings, Tetrick urged Shartin N to take over. She shot to the top of the field, making it apparent to Twinkle, who left alertly, and the others, that all racing for the rest of the mile would be a matter of catching her.
Call Me Queen Be, who won an elim last week commanding all the fractions, had to settle for a spot in third on the inside. From the 9 post, Caviart Ally soared off the gate to get a good position early. She wound up lining up fourth and settled for the chase.
Shartin N clicked off the first quarter in :26.1 and the chase was firmly in progress.
As Shartin N clocked the half in :54.3, action from the back ensued. Lakeisha Hall turned on her best stride and made up some serious ground. The bid to challenge Shartin N was brief, however, because Lakeisha Hall began to hang.
Caviart Ally decided to make a move on the leader and had to brush three wide as Shartin N was timed in a 1:23 three-quarters with no visible signs of letting up.
Although Twinkle had nowhere to go behind Shartin N, she did not appear to be ready to take on Caviart Ally, who was inching into a major threat, nor could Twinkle handle a quick-closing Pure Country, who was convincingly closing to get into the mix late. Caviart Ally’s tough outside trip could not further engage Shartin N as Tetrick took his classy mare over across the wire in 1:52.
Pure Country closed enough to get third and Blue Moon Stride picked up the fourth spot.
Jim King, Jr. trains Shartin N, who is owned by Richard Pollucci and Jo Ann Looney.
Tetrick said the mare is “just tough and she loves to race. She’s a little quirky. She’s got a big motor and her lungs are pretty special. I haven’t messed her up yet.”
The driver said he had somewhat of a game plan going into the race. “I knew with Croghan’s two horses (Call Me Queen Be and Twinkle), the one and three posts, and there’s a few talented mares on the outside, that they’ve got to give my mare some clout, she’s been good all year. I told Jim (King) I don’t like leaving with her but tonight might be the night. He said, ‘Do what you’ve got to do’ and it worked out.”
It was Jim King, Jr.’s first Breeders Crown win. He said, “It is all it’s cracked up to be. It’s good.”
His wife, co-owner Jo Ann Looney, was aglow about the win and Tetrick. “I’ve got the best driver and I think most of the time I’ve got the best horse. Tim has done wonderful things with her. My husband has done great things with her and I’ve just stood on the sideline and told them what they are doing wrong all the time,” she said, laughing, “so we’ve got it all ironed out now.”
It was an incredible year for Shartin N. Looney said. “She started racing at Dover. In December (of ’17) we qualified and raced her and then she’s been going along the whole time, and tough. One night Tim said to me, ‘She’s a great mare, she just goes along with whatever.’ He’s right, she is a great mare.”
Looney said that Shartin N’s success means a lot to their family. “This was my father and mother’s dream. They never had good horses like this. It just means so much because I know they are here with me and you don’t know how much that means to me.”
Noel Daley, who trains Caviart Ally said, “I’m pretty happy. From the nine hole it was a pretty good result. We got a great trip. I couldn’t ask for a much better trip than that. I thought for a minute we were going to get her, but Shartin N was good.”
Shartin N will race another time this season, at least, says King, “then we’ll give her a break.”
Shartin N’s earnings this season are a record for a horse in her division — just a little over $1.03 million.