10/14/2015 2:35PM

Woodbine Harness: Bowdens seek Breeders Crown with Pure Country

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Derick Giwner
Pure Country has yet to lose in eight career starts.

When Adam Bowden and his father Chris bought female pacer Western Montana in the formative days of their Diamond Creek Farm a decade ago, it was with an eye toward the future.

Today as Western Montana’s undefeated 2-year-old daughter Pure Country prepares for the upcoming Breeders Crown, it appears the future is now.

Western Montana was purchased for $50,000 as a yearling at the 2005 Standardbred Horse Sale and raced for the Bowdens the following two years, winning five of 16 starts and earning $175,010. She finished fourth in the 2006 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly pacers and her family includes a slew of stakes-winners such as Allamerican Ingot, Allamerican Inca, LCB, and Incredible Finale.

[DRF HARNESS LIVE: Real-time insights every Saturday night--Breeders Crown eliminations from Woodbine this Saturday--Starts at 7PM]

Her pedigree was one of the major attractions for the Bowdens, who were starting their own breeding farm. Western Montana produced winners with her first three foals, although none has earned more than $69,042. Then came the Somebeachsomewhere-sired Pure Country, who is 8-for-8 with multiple stakes triumphs and $379,968.

“Western Montana was actually the fourth horse we ever bought and from the beginning she was one that I thought we were going to keep all of her foals,” Adam Bowden said. “We thought the pedigree was good enough that she was supposed to have a good horse somewhere along the way. For whatever reasons, the first three had issues here and there. They all had talent, but none of them sort of realized it.

“(Pure Country) was sort of the perfect specimen. She was never sick, she was never injured, she went about her business. We had her older sister Hunger Games, who also is by Somebeachsomewhere, and Pure Country was just a little bit bigger, a little bit more correct, and a little bit smarter than her sister was. We ended up selling Hunger Games after her 3-year-old year. My father and I debated about whether we would keep her or sell her. I told him the next one we have I think is a better filly than Hunger Games. It’s worked out so far.”

On Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, the Jimmy Takter-trained Pure Country headlines the second of two eliminations for the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female pacers. She faces a group that includes New York Sire Stakes champion Dime A Dance plus stakes-winners Darlinonthebeach and Shezarealdeal.

Pure Country is the 1-2 morning line favorite.

The first elim includes New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Blue Moon Stride, and stakes-winners Call Me Queen Be, Soft Idea, and Yankee Moonshine. The top five finishers from each elimination return for the $600,000 final on Oct. 24 at Woodbine. Elimination winners will draw for posts 1-5 for the final.

Pure Country is trained by Jimmy Takter, the winningest trainer in Breeders Crown history with 21 trophies and more than $9 million in purses. Takter was impressed with the filly early on, commenting after she debuted with a 1:55 4/5 qualifier win in June, “She’s scary.”

As Bowden recalled, “Jimmy felt she had a world of talent and she was either going to be really good or blow up in our face. Fortunately it’s so far been the former rather than the latter.”

Pure Country’s wins include the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship at The Meadows in September and divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes at the recently-concluded Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile. She has been driven in every start by Brett Miller.

“I’m most impressed with her consistency and her ability to either race on the lead or follow,” Bowden said. “She’s been able to do both and she’s got an unbelievable kick coming home. Most of the races, she’s been 27-(seconds) flat or sub-27. That’s pretty impressive so far.”

The Bowdens have shared in ownership of one Breeders Crown winner, Father Patrick, but are looking for their first trophy with their own horse.

“I don’t know if there’s anything better than that,” Bowden said about the possibility of having a homebred champion. “That would be the ultimate.”

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com