by Bob Heyden
Breeders Crown stars of the weekend: Ake Svanstedt with three wins, Walner with three from his very first crop where the oldest is now 3, Dexter Dunn with four victories and Bulldog Hanover.
Dunn is the only driver with multiple Crowns in each of his first four years in the Crown. From 2019 through 2022 he won two, four, two and four Crowns, respectively. However, he is not the quickest ever to a dozen Crowns. It took him 43 drives to win his 12th. Brian Sears reached 12 in his 39th Crown drive in 2006.
This is the third straight year Dunn led in Crown money. The record is six, set by John Campbell first from 1988-1993 and then equaled by Brian Sears in 2004-2009
David Miller, the 2015 record-setting in Canada with five Crown wins and the 2016 money leader, was the only U.S.-born driver to win a Crown all weekend.
Scott Zeron scored for the sixth time in Crown history
Louis-Philippe Roy won his first
Bob McClure his second
Doug McNair his second
Ake Svanstedt his third
Mark Macdonald his fourth
Dexter Now his 12th. He moved from 16th to 11th all-time in earnings in the Crown series.
Dave Miller won his 30th
Todd McCarthy won his first
Joe Holloway won his 10th Breeders Crown in just his 45th try. That’s right behind Bob McIntosh who needed 43 starts to hit double digits.
Nancy Takter won her eighth Crown
Noel Daley his fifth
Ray Schnittker his fourth
Jack Darling his first
Virgil Morgan, Jr. his second
Richard Moreau his first
Shawn Steacy his first
Nifty Norman his eighth
Ake Svanstedt his third, fourth and fifth
For the first time in Breeders Crown history only one of the top 14 trainers and one driver all-time in Breeders Crown history won a Crown. David Miller is #2 all-time in Crown earnings and Joe Holloway is #8.
Bulldog Hanover gave Hanover Shoe Farms its third of the weekend and 30th overall to now have the all-time lead among breeders with 30. In 26 of the 39 Breeders Crown seasons, Hanover Shoe Farms had the most starters. Brittany Farms had one credit and improved to 29 trophies.
WHITE BIRCH HAD TWO
White Birch Farm had a big weekend with two winners: Grace Hill and Treacherous Dragon.
Treacherous Dragon’s sire, Captaintreacherous, won one Crown and her dam, My Little Dragon, won three.
Always B Miki now has become the quickest stallion to record six Breeders Crown credits. Grace Hill, 4, gave him the half-dozen. Miki had two Crown credits on the weekend.
The other Crown-winning sires were:
Infinitif — sire of back-to-back winner Ecurie D.
Bar Hopping — sire of back-to-back winner Bella Bellini.
Shadow Play — gave Bulldog Hanover and trainer Jack Darling their first Crowns. Previously, Shadow Play’s Percy Blue Chip was a $100 plus mutuel in 2018 in the 3YOFP.
Cantab Hall — won a 2YO Crown showing there’s some gas still in the tank. It was #9 all-time for Cantab.
Captaintreacherous — won his 4th Crown
Downbytheseaside — got on the board with his first
Sweet Lou — finished 1-2 in the 2YOCP with the 52-1 shot over the odds-on choice.
Walner — went 1-2 in two Crowns (2YOFT and 3YOFT) and led with three winners this year.
CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR
That photo from this year wasn’t quite as close as last year’s, but both times trainer Brian Brown was the runner-up in the freshman pacing colt Crown. Last year, Gulf Shores was just a nose back to eventual division winner Monte Miki. This year, Brown’s Confederate was a half-length back of Ammo.
36 YEARS BETWEEN CROWNS
Marty Granoff and Val D’Or now have 36 years between their first Breeders Crown in 1986 with Masquerade and this year’s win with Ammo.
SIX STRAIGHT FOR ATLANTA
Atlanta is yet to win a Crown, but she did earn six straight Crown checks.
In year one of the Breeders Crown in 1984, 176 stallions were nominated to the series in January. Remember, nobody had any idea how the series would go at that point. Meadow Skipper had died in January, 1982, but was still on the list and did win in year one with Naughty But Nice in the 3YOFP. But, one of the 176 was born in the 1940s and died also in 1982 — Tar Heel. The son of record-setting Billy Direct won the Jug and sired two Jug winners. He was bred and owned throughout his 3YO season by tobacco magnate W N Reynolds. At the suggestion of Del Miller, he was given the state’s nickname Tar Heel. He was sold to Lawrence Sheppard of Hanover Shoe Farms for a record price of $125,000 in 1951 and entered stud duty after his 4-year-old season in 1952. He was the sport’s leading sire three straight years in 1969-1971, becoming the first ever stallion to top $2 million in 1969. He bred his last group of mares in 1980.