10/16/2013 4:02PM

Keith Gisser: For the Older Pacing division, it all comes down to the Breeders Crown

Derick Giwner
Pet Rock could be the favorite for Older Pacing Horse of the Year with a Breeders Crown win.

Back in August, after Captaintreacherous lost a race, I wrote, “Captaintreacherous finished second in his first career start at two and then went undefeated the rest of the year. Until his last start, where he finished third in a little race called the Breeders Crown. You know what they say, ‘It all comes down to the Breeders Crown.’ But sometimes it doesn’t. Despite the loss, Captaintreacherous won divisional honors and also was named Pacer of the Year, beating out the other divisional winners. After all, it was just one loss.”

And it looks like I have been proven correct, possibly for the first time ever as a prognosticator. I see no way ‘The Captain’ loses a divisional title, even with a loss in the Breeders Crown Saturday. But for the Open Pacers and the Pacing Mares, it really does “all come down to the Breeders Crown” this year.

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Anndrovette won the Breeders Crown elimination and she seeks her third straight Breeders Crown title on Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also won the Milton and has only been worse than fourth once this season. She is receiving the most votes in the sport’s Top 10 poll for her division, but even with the win, she did not crack the Top 10 overall.

Feeling You has won 10-of-22 starts this season. Along with three second-place finishes, she has earned $374,613. Her big wins include a Golden Girls division at The Meadowlands in June in stakes record time and she also won three legs and the final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker at Yonkers Raceway early this year.

Drop The Ball is the fastest mare this year, with a 1:48 2/5 win at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.  She also won the Lady Liberty at The Meadowlands and the elimination for the Roses Are Red at Mohawk (she finished second in the $313,795 final).  She has five wins in 13 starts.

Any one of those three could lock up the divisional title with a win Saturday.

But wait, there’s more! An argument could be made for Rocklamation should she win the Breeders Crown. It would put her over $600,000 on the year and would be her sixth win. Can Shelliscape, who has been a different mare for her new connections, mount a late-season charge to the title?  It is clearly a wide open situation, but Saturday’s winner will likely be in the driver’s seat to a divisional title.

And the picture is even murkier for the boys. As Pet Rock’s trainer, Virgil Morgan Jr. told me, “Usually by this time it’s down to two or three contenders. But this year you can make a case for five or six.”

He’s right. Pet Rock is certainly in that mix. He has set two world records this year and accepted a bye into the Breeders Crown final. This year he has started 14 times, posting four wins, three seconds and a third, earning $644,070. He is coming off a subpar try at The Red Mile, but I would argue that his soft effort could be blamed on the monsoon-like conditions and any line from that race, good or bad, is a pitch. But with a win, he is right there.

How good was Foiled Again last Saturday night?  To be honest, that was a “hairs stand up on the arms” effort and I was watching a replay! He also won the Ben Franklin and picked up wins in several Levy legs, so he has danced every dance. He may be 9-years-old, but with a win, he goes over a million on the year. And even if he races well, but loses, he probably picks up a few sentimental votes.

Foiled’s stablemate, Clear Vision, accepted a bye into the Crown final.  Clear Vision won the elim and the $223,500 final of the Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway in Delaware and was second by just a nose in the $618,450 Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk in August. He record stands at four wins in 23 starts. But he also has seven seconds and two thirds, and $556,103 on his card.

Golden Receiver was the best of the bunch early in the season, winning two legs and the final of the Presidential series at The Meadowlands. Then he picked up multiple Free-for-All wins at Harrah’s Philadelphia Downs and The Meadowlands. He also took the $175,000 Allerage Farms at the Red Mile in the slop. Certainly with a Breeders Crown win he is a major year-end honors player.

While A Rocknroll Dance was in the mix for divisional honors, his failure to advance to the Breeders Crown final, where seven of nine move on, makes winning a division title an unlikely enterprise.

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But Bolt The Duer is still right there, with on the board finishes in two-thirds of his starts, including wins in the Dan Patch at Hoosier Park, the Gerrity at Saratoga (in a World Record-equaling 1:49) and a Ben Franklin Consolation.  I think he must win Saturday and then pick up a late season win, but he is still a serious contender.

All I know for sure is that these wide open affairs are great for the sport and that Saturday is going to be a great night of racing. It’s hard enough handicapping the Breeders Crown races, let alone year-end divisional honors. No go cash. See you next month.