11/07/2014 10:30AM

Harness: Breeders Crown rapidly approaching

Derick Giwner
European sensation Commander Crowe will look to capture his first Crown.

There are winners and losers in every race, but heading into this year’s Breeders Crown (eliminations slated for November 14 & 15) victories will have a different meaning. That’s because many divisional races remain wide open and sure things in August now appear to be holding on by a thread.

The stakes are high especially for three-year-old pacing colts. One horse, Always B Miki, joins the fray after his owners announced they will pay the $62,500 supplemental fee to give the Indiana-bred a shot. Another, Colors A Virgin, could sew up a divisional title with an appearance. Her owners have yet to declare whether she’ll be a supplement or not, but clearly with 12 wins in 16 starts this year including a memorable effort in the Nadia Lobell at Hoosier Park recently, Colors A Virgin belongs in the Crown.

Indiana is also home to recent International Trot Preview winner Natural Herbie. The four-year-old won’t supplement to the Crown. Clearly the state has arrived on the North American map in production, ample reason for Hoosier Park to deserve a Breeders Crown night, albeit in 2017.

The spotlight will be on Always B Miki, the Joe Holloway-trained colt who has found his best stride after finishing second in the Meadowlands Pace in July to He’s Watching. After dominating competition in Indiana Sire Stakes events the colt proved himself at The Red Mile and then again in the Monument Circle. That race at Hoosier Park on Halloween night was most impressive in that Always B Miki was on the front end and maintained his advantage over a very talented bunch. Despite 18 starts this year Always B Miki appears even stronger now than earlier this year.

Should Colors A Virgin show for the Breeders Crown she brings an impressive resume including a Jugette two-heat score at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Trainer Brian Brown’s charge has won 12 of her last 13 races.

Always B Miki and Colors A Virgin have a lot to gain in the Crown, but no horse has more to lose than Father Patrick. At one time considered the favorite to capture Horse of the Year, Father Patrick has come back to the field in a big way late-season. The son of Cantab Hall hardly looks invincible these days with October’s Horse of the Month Nuncio, his stablemate, gaining more and more notoriety. Add to the equation his recent conqueror E L Titan, another Crown eligible and it’s easy to see that a loss by Father Patrick could cost him the division. While much fanfare was made this week when Father Patrick’s connections announced their intention to breed and race the horse in 2015, one has to wonder given the horse’s recent performance whether he can be successful at both.

The late-season defection of Artspeak opened the door nicely for In The Arsenal, a colt that beat him at The Red Mile and has been most impressive since for trainer Kelvin Harrison. While Artspeak did capture both the Metro and Governor’s Cup, passing the Breeders Crown could certainly cost him the title should In The Arsenal continue his winning momentum for the next few weeks.

There’s potential for supplements in the aged pacing ranks with Bigtown Hero, a late-developing son of American Ideal a possibility for trainer Rene Allard. The connections have until Monday morning to decide. Bigtown Hero beat a stellar field in the Ewart Invitational at Scioto Downs in September that included Sweet Lou and Foiled Again.

Speaking of Foiled Again, November has always been a great month for the ageless wonder. Last fall he ushered in the Meadowlands’ new facility with an impressive score in the TVG Final. The victory came after a thrilling win in the Breeders Crown at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Though the 10-year-old has just six wins this year, the lowest he’s had in any single year since his three-year-old campaign in 2007, he remains a fan favorite and a horse with a legitimate chance to steal the Crown.

The fact that Sebastian K won’t supplement to the Breeders Crown could leave the door ajar for Commander Crowe to capture his first Crown in his third attempt. The charismatic 11-year-old could be in for a duel with the rejuvenated 10-year-old Arch Madness in a race we can easily call “A Battle for the Ages.”

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