11/21/2014 10:40AM

Bergman: Two Breeders Crown spot plays to consider


When shopping for value this Breeders Crown season, your first stop would have to be on Friday night in the $593,750 event for three-year-old filly pacers at the Meadowlands. While last week’s two divisions yielded an upset and a favorite, the two were contested in markedly different ways and suggest that the final may not be exactly a walkover for the streaking Color’s A Virgin.

Notably when analyzing eliminations that lead to a final, I tend to favor races where the pace was more hotly contested. In the first elimination that saw Gallie Bythe Beach upset for driver Tim Tetrick, there was constant movement in the early stages that led to an off the pace upset.

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While Color’s a Virgin also won from off the pace, her victory came after Weeper had reached three quarters of a mile in a rated 1:24, setting up a sprint that has turned into Color’s A Virgin’s bread and butter this year and resulted in a confident 1:51 victory.

I’ve been impressed by Major Dancer’s last few starts. Trainer Casie Coleman has been able to get the Art Major filly to remain sharp while showing plenty of heart racing without cover. Last week it was Major Dancer’s cover that Gallie Bythe Beach used to springboard to victory.

Brian Sears is likely to seek a horse to follow from his rail position with Major Dancer and look for a cover trip in the final. What should give that trip a distinct possibility is the unique amount of speed coming from the outside draw. Supplement Sayitall BB (Gingras) and Precocious Beauty landed the outside two posts and are likely to need to leave.

With Color’s A Virgin landing post five, driver Trace Tetrick may also want to improve his position without getting involved in a heated first quarter. One of those three, most likely the favorite, should be given a comfortable spot to land in front of Major Dancer and hopefully provide the cover that one will need.

Sears could cap off the weekend nicely with a victory behind In The Arsenal. While many may be jumping ship after the streaking colt was derailed in last week’s elimination, this handicapper is not on the list. Critical in my mind to his defeat was In The Arsenal and Sears’ overaggressive move in the opening quarter of last week’s event. Generally Sears is patient with a favorite no matter what post he draws, but in this case he threw caution to the wind and elected to go three and four wide through a wicked :26 3/5 opening quarter. No matter what the rest of the fractions were that first quarter definitely helped to take some of the edge off the Kelvin Harrison-trained colt.

On Saturday in the $500,000 final, In The Arsenal drew 10 again and that will likely lead to a bit more value on a horse that is every bit as good, if not better than the other two-year-olds in the field.

What gives me more confidence is the fact that Lost For Words, a game second in last week’s trial, landed post nine. No doubt driver Dave Miller will know he needs to be forwardly placed and leave enough to allow Sears to follow his cover, hopefully towards the front. With even fractions, no matter how fast they are, In The Arsenal should be much tougher to hold off and the price will certainly be more than fair.