11/18/2014 11:57AM

Breeders Crown: Shake It Cerry the best 3YO in training?

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Derick Giwner
Shake It Cerry would eclipse $2 million in career earnings with a Breeders Crown win.

Her record is nearly flawless and one could certainly argue that she is the best 3-year-old in training. Despite all that, Shake It Cerry has taken somewhat of a backseat behind her more heralded male stablemates Nuncio, Father Patrick, and Trixton. On Friday in the $500,000 Breeders Crown final for trotting fillies at the Meadowlands, the stage is all hers to shine.

To say Shake It Cerry is in career form coming into the Breeders Crown would at the same time be correct and impossible to comprehend. Yes, she has won each of her last eight starts, each seemingly more impressively than her previous effort. Yet the Jimmy Takter-trained filly has made a career out of winning, with 14 wins in 16 starts in 2014 and an amazing 22 tallies in 27 career races.

“Ronnie (Pierce) said that every one of the last five or six starts that he’s just been sitting on her,” said Takter about Shake It Cerry’s current form. “She’s by far the best filly I’ve ever developed,” he continued. That is high praise from a trainer who has conditioned a slew of great distaffers. Moni Maker, Passionate Glide, To Dream On, and even Lifetime Pursuit, who defeated Shake It Cerry in the Hambletonian Oaks this year, have all learned from Takter.

[DRF HARNESS: LIVE coverage and handicapping insight during the Breeders Crown on DRF LIVE!]

The only real blip on Shake It Cerry’s current-year résumé is her fourth-place finish in the Hambletonian. It was not her best moment, but every day and night since then has been about the daughter of Donato Hanover.

“She had a bad week around Hambletonian time; I don’t know why. Otherwise, she could have gone totally flawless for the whole season,” said Takter, who sort of realizes that unless she faces and beats the boys as a 4-year-old, Friday is the most important race remaining in her career. “The program for mares is really not that great. The earning potential is really limited. The plan is right now that she will race next year.

“Personally, I don’t think the aged horses have been all that impressive this year. The group of 5-year-olds raced really hard as 4-year-olds last year, like Market Share and Uncle Peter. They really didn’t have much left in them this year. That’s why I think Sebastian K has dominated the early part of the year. Creatine came in later on in the year and raced very well because he wasn’t in the fight early on.”

Before any plans for 2015, Shake It Cerry must first try to put her 15th win on the board versus a quality group, albeit many of the same foes she has routinely disposed of all year long. Regular pilot Ron Pierce will be in the bike from post three behind Shake It Cerry when she hooks up with stablemate Lifetime Pursuit for the fourth straight time. Leaving from post two with Yannick Gingras, Lifetime Pursuit will try to turn the tables on Shake It Cerry after a trio of second-place finishes behind the leading filly trotter in North America.

Cee Bee Yes, currently the fastest in the division this year with a 1:50 2/5 winning mile at the Red Mile, has been unable to muster better than third against “Cerry” and “Pursuit” in their last three meetings. She will hardly be helped by drawing furthest to the outside in the field of nine.

Friday night at the Meadowlands is truly ladies night. The 3-year-old filly trot final is complimented on the card by the $593,750 3-year-old filly pacing Crown, $500,000 Crown for rookie trotting fillies, and the $250,000 Open Mare Trot. The four Crowns form a $50,000 guaranteed pick four as races 7 to 10 on the 13-race program.

With eight more Breeders Crown races scheduled for Saturday and the unknown as to how leading Horse of the Year contenders JK She’salady, Nuncio, and Sebastian K will perform to close out the season, Shake It Cerry could be racing for the top honor in the sport.

“She should definitely be on the ballot for Horse of the Year,” concluded Takter.

The Solveig’s Racing Partners-owned young lady will be on the ballot, and if things work out, she may just become the first filly or mare to win the honor since Rainbow Blue in 2004.

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