Breeders Crown firsts in 2023

by Bob Heyden

Here’s a list of what came down at the Breeders Crown for the first time in 2023.

1. Dexter Dunn got to 15 Breeders Crown wins in just his fifth season. Brian Sears did it in season no. 6 (2008).

2. Muscle Hill took over the all-time No. 1 spot among trotting stallions. He won with Southwind Tyrion to surge ahead of Speedy Crown ($7,048,690) who had been the trotting king since race 1 in 1984 when Workaholic won the initial race.

3. Scott Zeron won a Breeders Crown with a favorite, Tactical Approach, paying $6.00. It was only the second time he had even driven a Crown favorite in 88 drives. In 2018, favorite Atlanta finished second to Lily Stride in the 3YOFT.

His previous wins were:

2016 — Call Me Queen Be ($27.80)

2018 — Captain Crunch ($11.20)

2020 — Sandbetweenmytoes ($409.80)

2021 — Gulf Shores ($9.40)

2021 — Rocknificent ($7.40)

2022 — Treacherous Dragon ($9.50)

(His average heading into 2023 was $79.50).

4. Andy Miller won a pacing Breeders Crown event. His wife/ trainer Julie did too with Max Contract in the Mare Pace.

5. Always B Miki became the first stallion to win with each of his first four crops and with different horses in each. He now has seven credits in his first four years. He’s the fastest to seven also. Baltic Speed won a Crown in his first five crops (1988-92) but four of five were Peace Corps (1988, 1989, 1990 and 1992) and one with Valley Victory in 1988, as well as Twelve Speed in 1991.

6. Three driver/trainer wins one year, one driver, a year after he won his third career Breeders Crown doing double-duty in the Breeders Crown. Ake Svanstedt won three this year. Now he has six, three times more than anyone else who did both in Breeders Crown history.

7. Walner with five siring credits in two years. His oldest is now only 4. Remember, he did not race past his own 2-year-old Breeders Crown year (2016) in the series. Warrawee Michelle and Jiggy Jog S added to his three-pack in 2022. Special Way (second this year) and King Of The North last year, in addition to Jiggy Jog S going back-to-back. Most for a trotting sire for years 2 and 3.

8. Chris Ryder won a Breeders Crown with a male, Gem Quality who paid $48.60.

9. For the first and only time in Breeders Crown history, the same driver had both the lowest and the highest priced winners. Dexter Dunn had Jiggy Jog S ($2.20) and Gem Quality ($48.60).

10. When Tactical Approach crossed the wire first, the following facts all kicked in:

Nancy Takter became the fastest trainer to double digit wins.

It was the first second tier winner from a Hoosier Park Breeders Crown

It was the first time in 22 years that the same sire won both the 2YOCT and 3YOCT. In 2001, Balanced Image won both races with Duke Of York and Liberty Balance. In 2023, Tactical Landing won with Karl and Tactical Approach.

11. Homebred HOY favorite Confederate romped. Homebreds who were voted HOY in the past who also won a Breeders Crown the same year were: San Pail (2011), Malabar Man (1997), CR Kay Suzie (1995) and Artsplace (1992).

12. Julie Miller with one and Nancy Takter with two, hiked the female trainers Crown total to 32, all since 2002.

13. For the first time ever, no new driver or trainer won a Crown. There were no first-time Crowners in 2023.

14. Five of the top 20 earning trainers of all time won at least one Crown: Burke (No. 1) two, Brett Pelling (No. 9) one, Julie Miller (No. 15) one, Chris Ryder (No. 18) one and Ake Svanstedt (No. 20) four.

15. Hanover Shoe Farms became the first breeder to 31 wins, breaking a tie with Brittany.

16. Two trainers — Ake Svanstedt and Ron Burke — went over $1.5 million in the Crown this year. Never have two trainers each hit a million before in the Crown in the same year let alone $1.5.