38 Crown facts for its 38th year

by Bob Heyden

In honor of the 38th year for the Breeders Crown, let’s take a look at 38 Crown facts, with emphasis on last year’s event.

1. Always B Miki had three freshmen division winners in his first two crops — Perfect Sting, Monte Miki and Niki Hill.

2. Jujubee supplemented in the 3YOCT and won the richest ever Crown purse for that division ($650,000).

3. Eight of 12 Breeders Crown races were decided by a neck or less. This marked the first time that eight photos were required in the Crown finals in any year.

4. From 2014-2019 in the Breeders Crown, 72 races were held and just seven (9 per cent) were decided by a photo.

5. Only Tim Tetrick hit the board in 2021 in the Breeders Crown with a better than 100-1 shot. In Range was third at 117.60-1.

6. Photo King? Brian Brown was on the shorter end of the famous 2015 Jug nose with Lost For Words to Wiggle It Jiggleit. Last year, he got beat another nose in the Crown to Monte Miki with Gulf Shores in the 2YOCP.

7. Art Major, the only sire in the 21st century with two Horse of the Year credits (2014 and 2021), himself won the Breeders Crown twice (2002-2003). His daughter, and last year’s 3YOFP Crown champ Test Of Faith, will look to win this year’s older mare pace.

8. This year marks 12 years since the all-in-one-night format was first tried at Pocono.

9. “Hall” sires. Nineteen trotting Breeders Crowns have been won by a “Hall” horse sired by either Cantab Hall (8), Andover Hall (4), Angus Hall (3), Conway Hall (2) or Broadway Hall (2).

10. Canada has played host to 159 Breeders Crown races. New Jersey alone has had 127, with 104 at the Meadowlands 104. Thirty-one tracks have played host at least one.

11. If you are wagering on the 3YOCT division, consider that five of the last six winners had a sire who also won this same division. Father Patrick with Amigo Volo in 2020, Chapter Seven in 2019 with Gimpanzee, and Muscle Hill three times in the last half dozen years with Tactical Landing (2018), What The Hill (2017) and Bar Hopping (2017).

12. There have been 442 Breeders Crown races and 501 Triple Crown races in history. In the year 2033 they will catch up and be even.

13. Moving Pictures came into focus only at the top of the stretch in 2007 in the older pacing mare division for Casie Coleman and Mark MacDonald. It was a rare last-to-first sweep in a Breeders Crown event. When will we see it again?

14. Atlanta had a Breeders Crown breakthrough in 2022. Winning it again would be a great way to go out.

15. John Campbell’s 31-year first-to-last Breeders Crown reign (1984-2015) won’t be challenged for some time. He’s got a decade on the runner-up David Miller (2000-2021).

16. This is the 20th anniversary of Fools Goal’s win in the richest Crown race ever held ($1,075,000).

17. Arch Madness and Fools Goal are the only two at $800G and a tick more in Breeders Crown earnings in series history.

18. The 1984 to present Trotter of the Year has won the Breeders Crown the same year 22 of 38 times. The number is 23 for 38 on the pacing side.

19. In the 2021 3YOFP Breeders Crown final, the top four across the wire had the outside four posts: Test Of Faith-Scarlett Hanover-Free Start Hanover and Blue Diamond Eyes. Posts 8, 10, 9 and 7, respectively.

20. Scott Zeron missed 70 days this year due to injury, but is back. Last year, he had a 68-1 shot finish second in the older trot with Back Of The Neck. The year before, he had a $409 Breeders Crown winner at Hoosier Park — the al;-time highest win price.

21. Bill Weaver’s name will appear on the 2YOCT Trophy from now on. His Valley Victory at age 2 won the Breeders Crown in 1988 and completely changed the trotting breed.

22. Charlie Keller has added $10,000 to the mare trot Crown winners take as of this year. The man whose farm bred Fresh Yankee, the 1970 HOY and first North American bred to surpass $1 million lifetime.

23. Too bad we never saw these in the Breeders Crown past the age of 2: Broadway Hall, Dream Of Joy, Western Shooter, Valley Victory, Walner and Monte Miki.

24. Not all stars shine in the Crown as sires. Presidential Ball was 15 0-4-0, Real Artist 20 0-5-2, American Winner 13 0-2-1, Donerail 28 0-5-3 and S Js Caviar 17 0-2-0.

25. Fifty-eight horses have won multiple Breeders Crowns.

26. Joe O’Brien died the week before the Breeders Crown debuted in the fall of 1984.

27. No family squabble here. In 1991, Rose Guida was 2-for-2 in the Crown. Her husband Lou Guida was 3-for-3 in 1993.

28. The 1985 Mohawk debut of the Breeders Crown had a handle of $1,424,255, attendance of 10,054, on Oct. 25.

29. The fastest fractions in the Breeders Crown have not been lowered in 18 years — mainly because of the summertime weather when Crown events were often held at the Meadowlands: :25.1 Mini Me 2003 third, :52.1 Royal Mattjesty DH2 2004 and 1:19.3 Royal Mattjesty again in 2004 DH2.

30. On the trotting side, the record fractions are: :26 H P Paque sixth 2003, :54.3 Intimidate eighth 2013 and Silver Springs the same half 2004 seventh and 1:22.1 Intimidate eighth 2013.

31. Nine of 12 favorites in the 2021 Breeders Crown were odds on, less than even money. Five won.

32. This is the 20th anniversary year of Linda Toscano’s Molly Can Do It’s win the mare pace in 2002. It was Toscano’s seventh try in the Breeders Crown and her prior best finish was second in 1995 with Giant Mermaid.

33. Stienam in 1985 was Buddy Gilmour’s lone Breeders Crown win. In 1992, Winkys Goal won the 2YOFT and that was Cat Manzi’s lone Breeders Crown win.

34. Popcorn Penny, who did not race at 2, was a supplement to the 2000 3YOFP for Team Anderson. Twenty-year-old Ryan Anderson remains the youngest to win a Breeders Crown race, edging Musical Dreamer on the wire.

35. Sunset Warrior was the first ever Breeders Crown 35. for Bob McIntosh in 1986 at Garden State Park. He defeated heavily favored Redskin for Bill Gale.

36. Trottin’ Trevor Ritchie won his first three Breeders Crowns in 2000 and was rewarded with zero Crown drives in 2001.

37. Real Desire overcame post 10 in the 2002 Breeders Crown winning in 1:48.3 and solidifying his HOY argument.

38. The longest current streaks for a trainer and a driver winning a race in consecutive Breeders Crowns is four for Brian Sears and Marcus Melander. Marcus did it at ages 26, 27, 28 and 29 and is the only trainer to ever take Breeders Crowns at that age consecutively. The all-time record for drivers is 15 for John Campbell (1984-1998). For trainers, the record is nine for Jimmy Takter (2010-2018).