The Hambletonian-winning filly is resting up for a return to the races in 2019 at age four.
by Dave Briggs
Atlanta, the first filly to win the Hambletonian in 22 years, will race no more in 2018. That’s the word from her trainer and part-owner Rick Zeron.
“It was my intention to shut her down after the Breeders Crown. That was enough races for her. She proved everything that she needed to do,” Zeron said. “She let the public, the fans and my partners, especially, know how good she is, so I didn’t want to race her after the Breeders Crown. That’s why we shut her down. My partners… all agreed with me to shut her down and give her some well-deserved time off. We’ll look forward to 2019 and see if we can beat the 1:50 barrier next year with her.”
Atlanta, a daughter of Chapter Seven out of Hemi Blue Chip, is also owned by Crawford Farms, Holland Racing Stable, Howard Taylor and Brad Grant. The trotter finished second by a head last Saturday to Lily Stride in the $500,000 Breeders Crown for three-year-old trotting fillies. For the year, Atlanta posted a record of 8-5-1 in 14 starts and earned $1,017,278. She not only won the Hambletonian against the boys in two heats, she also won the two-heat Kentucky Filly Futurity.
Zeron’s son, Scott, was Atlanta’s driver.
“Winning the Hambletonian with a trotting filly is one thing, but to have your son in the bike is the best,” Rick said. “I just can’t say enough about Team Zeron getting this filly raced and letting the fans and the public see just how good Atlanta is. I’m extremely pleased the way my son drove her all year… He analyzes everything and he got the most out of that filly all year long. He preserved her, made her strong so that she would be strong enough at the end of the year for the Breeders Crown. We did get beat, but I’m very proud of her and the way my son managed and drove her.”
Atlanta is already resting up for her 4-year-old campaign at Chris Coyle’s Olive Branch Farm in North Carolina, but there is still some unfinished business concerning Atlanta and 2018.
“I know I’m biased, but this filly won the Hambletonian, she won the (Filly) Futurity. She came up a head short in the Breeders Crown and she did everything known to man, to race against the boys and beat them. I think she deserves to be Horse of the Year.”