10/15/2013 10:59PM

Breeders Crown: Fraley sends out dynamic duo in $300k Mares Pace

Lisa Photo
Anndrovette is looking for her third straight Breeders Crown victory.

Trainer P.J. Fraley likes where he’s sitting heading into Saturday’s $300,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace. The conditioner of the two-time defending champion Anndrovette, has a pretty nice back up plan in the recently acquired Shelliscape while going for the gold at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

“I like my chances,” said Fraley, bluntly.

“Anndrovette is coming into this race very sharp. I think you will see her on the front end,” said Fraley.

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“Shelliscape has been great since we got her. I wasn’t going down to Lexington (The Red Mile) for the meet so I sent her to Nifty (Norman) and she went a super mile in the Allerage. Last week she was incredible. Dave (Miller) really likes her chances in the final,” said Fraley.

For Fraley, who actually entered three in the elimination but couldn’t find a spot for Krispy Apple in the final, things couldn’t set up any better than to be racing at Pocono, especially with a horse that flies off the gate as quickly as Anndrovette does. She drew post two in the field of nine and has been tabbed as the 5-2 morning line favorite with regular pilot Tim Tetrick in the bike.

Anndrovette secured an inside draw by capturing last week’s single elimination heat.

“She was super racing out of the pocket,” said Fraley, “That’s a great trip for her.”

Fraley is wary about the quality and composition of this year’s pacing mare class. “It’s been a very tough group this year and there’s been a lot of races where multiple horses went after Anndrovette. It’s not easy to win that often under those circumstances,” said Fraley.

It’s easy to see what Fraley is talking about. You need only go back to the Milton stakes on September 21 at Mohawk to see what happens when there is constant pressure put on the pacesetter. With Scott Zeron in the bike, Anndrovette was forced to race under pressure through wicked fractions of 26, 53 2/5 and 1:20 2/5 before weakening and finishing third in the race won by Rocklamation.

There were similar fractions in the July 20 Roses Are Red at Mohawk, but on that occasion Tetrick was able to work out a pocket trip behind speedster Drop The Ball and converted it to a 1:48 victory, the fastest of Anndrovette’s 35 career victories.

Now 6, Anndrovette seeks her third consecutive Breeders Crown for this division.

As much as he likes Anndrovette, Fraley is rather enthusiastic about the chances of Shelliscape against this formidable field.

“She’s a big mare with a high turn of speed,” said Fraley. “We bought her after her last race in Canada (September 21) and I qualified her at Freehold just to get her on Lasix. We really bought her looking forward to next year and her five-year-old season.”

For owner Jeff Bamond, Christmas has indeed come early. Not only has Shelliscape won a major stakes at the Red Mile, but she may have gone the best mile of any mare in last Saturday’s elimination. She raced parked the entire mile, mostly without cover, and missed just a neck on the wire behind Anndrovette and a stubborn Monkey On My Wheel. That’s an awful lot of air to take in a 1:49 1/5 mile and live to tell. The Artiscape-sired four-year-old mare drew post seven on Saturday.

While Fraley has two ladies in the Mares Crown Pace finale, trainer Ron Burke will have three mares in the field. Rocklamation, the Milton winner, drew post one, Swinging Beauty starts from post four and Camille, a winner of the Artiscape at Tioga Downs earlier this year, landed post eight.

After taking a bye last week, Drop The Ball went into the open draw and came away with post nine in the field. Also earning a spot in the final without racing is this year’s Blue Chip Farms-Matchmaker winner Feeling You.  Tyler Buter guides Feeling You from post six.

Monkey On My Wheel, a solid second in the eliminations, will be looking for her second Breeders Crown title. The five-year-old by Mach Three captured the three-year-old filly division in 2011 under the care of Travis Umphrey. Brian Sears has the driving assignment from post five for trainer Casie Coleman.

The $300,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace is listed as race 10 on the 14-race program with a special first post of 5:00 p.m.