10/14/2012 12:20PM

Harness: Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old pacers shaping up as wide-open event


The 3-year-old  colt pacing division has been competitive  all season long. Following the results this weekend, the $550,000  Breeders Crown final for that division on Oct. 27 at Woodbine is going to be some kind of race.

On Friday, Mel Mara continued his late-season heroics by posting a mild upset in the $130,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold division at Flamboro Downs. Mel Mara scored out of the pocket in a 1:51 4/5 mile,  barely outkicking Michaels Power by a neck. Third in the field was Warrawee Needy, who took the brunt of an uncovered trip into a sub-55-second final half.

Mel Mara is likely headed for the Breeders Crown as is Warrawee Needy. The connections of Jug winner Michaels Power have confirmed that they will put up the $62,500 necessary to supplement the altered son of Camluck to this year’s Crown. Casie Coleman trains Michaels Power for breeder and owner Jeffrey Snyder.

On Saturday night a couple of other top players in the 3-year-old division went through their final tune-ups for the big dance. Pet Rock faced older foes in a $38,000 preferred event at Woodbine and scored in 1:50 flat for trainer Virgil Morgan and catch-driver Doug McNair. Pet Rock was away sharply from his rail position and eventually settled into a three-hole. In the homestretch,  Pet Rock never left the rail motoring up the inside to pass pacesetting Speedy Again (also Crown eligible) and hold off Bigtime Ball.

At Pocono Downs on Saturday,  it was Hurrikane  Kingcole returning to the winner’s circle in just his second start back from a brief rest. Hurrikane  Kingcole was reserved off the early pace by driver Dan Dube. Once the field turned into the homestretch Hurrikane Kingcole made a blistering move from sixth in the field to reach the lead by the half. The first two fractions were 26 3/5 and 54 1/5 with the 3-year-old  pacing a sub-27 second quarter into the wind. Once on the lead, Hurrikane Kingcole  cruised a third quarter in  26 3/5 and was able to finish his mile in 1:49 flat clear of his rivals.

The effort showcased some of the brilliance Hurrikane Kingcole has shown during his racing career. Trainer John McDermott’s pacer  has been responsible for cutting some of the faster miles this season without benefit of a major victory.

“He’s going to be coming from off the pace,” said McDermott in regard to how his colt will be handled the rest of the season. “If we draw post 10 then we’ll have a lot of good horses we’re going to need to pass.”

On Friday night at Woodbine,  a pair of sharp 2-year-old fillies from the Casie Coleman stable made their final tune-ups. L Dees Lioness, a homebred daughter of Somebeachsomewhere from the brilliant L Dees Val scored against older foes in 1:53 on the chilly night. Paul MacDonell drove the filly. Earlier in the card,  Miss Lauren tuned up with a solid closing effort.

The draw for the Breeders Crown events takes place Tuesday morning at Woodbine.