Memorable Breeders Crown moments and numbers

by Bob Heyden

In 2003, the Breeders Crown ended Kikikatie’s win streak at 14 (when Pan Culottes won). The 2-year-old filly won the year-end hardware, but her greatest feat was yet to come. She had four sons — all effective stallions.

Rockin Amadeus defeated Captaintreacherous in the 2012 Breeders Crown, Tellitlikeitis has sired Tellmeaboutit, second in this year’s Dan Patch, Rockin Image sired the outstanding Rockin Nola and Time To Roll had a great run in Indiana in their program.

Rockin Nola is the first mare ever to win her first nine of the year in sub-1:50 — every win in 2021. Joe Putnam trains and Joey Putnam drives the daughter of Rockin Image who was sixth beaten just two lengths a year back in the Breeders Crown.

Smashing Debut

Dan Dube had a smashing debut in 1999 winning with Shore By Five and returning a healthy $108.20 at the Meadowlands. Bob McIntosh trained. That same year also saw 1-9 shot Self Possessed defeated in the 3YOCT. It was also the year that saw John Campbell’s 15-year streak of at least one Breeders Crown victory each year come to an end (he had three seconds).

It was 23 years ago…

This year marks 23 years since Brian Sears debuted in the Breeders Crown, finishing third with Midori Hanover in 1998 at Colonial Downs in the 2YOFT at 6-1. Dave Smith trained.

The Hanover seven

In 2000, Hanover Shoe Farms had seven Hanovers hit the board: Royalflush, Spellbound, Ramilette, Eracer, Soulful, Klingon and Echo.

Takter’s year

Last year was a huge year for Trainer of the Year Nancy Takter. Not only did she win three Breeders Crowns and Horse of the Year (Tall Dark Stranger), her 2014 HOY J K She’salady was named Broodmare of the Year.

It doesn’t come down to the Crown?

For the first time, the HOY has been defeated in the Breeders Crown back to back years — Shartin N in 2019 and Tall Dark Stranger last year. In another first-, the top six in the HOY balloting all went down in their final start in 2019 in the Breeders Crown.

Holloway’s success and longevity

Joe Holloway (65) trained Tuff Choice in the inaugural open male pace in 1985 and finished fifth. He was not yet 30, which means that Holloway and John Campbell are the only two to have competed in the Breeders Crown finals in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. Campbell won in each decade.

No repeat in sight

How long can we go without a repeat Horse of the Year? It’s now 22 years and counting. The prior longest was 10 (Moni Maker 1998-1999).

Longshot overload

In 1990, Bays Fella won and returned $140.60 — a record at the time. There were two other 100-1 shots that year that hit the board in the Breeders Crown — 106-1 Somatic (third in the 2YOCT) and 101-1 Stormin Jess (in the 2YOCP).

On the same night in the 1990 Breeders Crown, two winners were one-fifth-of-a-second away from being 10 seconds apart — Artsplace 1:51.1 and Crystas Best 2:01.

Command performance

C R Commando’s win in 1998 at Colonial in the freshman trot for the boys is historic in several ways:

  • Carl Allen at 69 became the oldest to win a Crown.
  • The 1:53.2 mile was a world record for freshmen trotters.
  • Think he beat a so-so field? Think again. The 1-2-3 finishers in the 1999 Hambletonian were 3-4-5 here: Angus Hall finished third (and was second in the Hambletonian), Self Possessed was fourth (winner of the Hambletonian in record time 1:51.3) and Enjoy Lavec was fifth.

Big M trail-blazers

Meadowlands history-makers as the first to win at the Meadowlands twice in a Breeders Crown are Burning Point on the mare side (2003, 2006) and Red Bow Tie for the males (1998, 1999).

Longshot to superstar

Triple Crown winner No Pan Intended was 77-1 in 2002 in the Breeders Crown — the longest shot in the field. He would win the Triple Crown and the Breeders Crown in 2003 and is still the only horse to accomplish this.

Molly and Linda

Molly Can Do It got the ball rolling in 2002 for Linda Toscano capturing the Breeders Crown ($5.80 second choice) and the floodgates opened up for female trainers in the Crown series.

Returning the favor

Peaky Sneaky won the 3YOFP Breeders Crown with Party Girl Hill third. But PGH won the division 135-1.

Century Farroh won the Breeders Crown over Bettors Wish but the division went to Bettors Wish 133-2.

Double digit winner bonanza

The year 2004 produced the most double-digit Breeders Crown winners in any one season — eight.

H P Paque — $10

Boulder Creek — $43.60

Armbro Affair — $29.20

Western Terror — $12.40

Always Cam — $43.00

Restive Hanover — $17.80

Yankee Slide — $81.20

Village Jolt — $15.80 (Note: he won the Crown and the division when Rocknroll Hanover was scratched out of the Crown at age 2)

Down go the favorites

In 1991, odds-on favorites had a rough time in the Breeders Crown. Only Miss Easy won:

Cayster, 90 cents was third.

Royal Strength, 80 cents was second

Almost An Angel, 90 cents was sixth

Cookout, 90 cents was third

Direct Flight, 50 cents was seventh

The three-horse entry of Aerostar One, UConn Don and Mr Chin, 70 cents finished ninth, seventh and sixth, respectively.


Three times in a five-year span the Yonkers Trot winner anted up the $35,000 and won the Breeders Crown — 1988 Southern Newton, 1991 Crowns Invitation and 1992 the dead-heat winner Magic Lobell.

Red Bow Tie became the first to ever win twice in the Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands and did it via the supplemental route.