Heston Blue Chip, American Jewel, Bettor Sweet, To Dream On and Anndrovette
By Bill Heller for the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund
Ken Jacobs never stopped believing that New York-breds, especially his three-year-old pacing
colt Heston Blue Chip, could win at the highest level of open company. On Saturday night at Woodbine, Heston Blue Chip and four other New York-breds laid that issue to rest by capturing five of the 12 Breeders Crown Finals.
“It was probably one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had, for myself and for my horse,” Jacobs
Brittany Farms World Record-setting three-year-old pacing filly American Jewel; John and Tom
Cancelliere’s seven-year-old pacing gelding Bettor Sweet; Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld’s sensational two-year-old trotting filly To Dream On, and Bamond Racing LLC’s five-year-old pacing mare Anndrovette also reached the winner’s circle on harness racing’s championship night.
Four other New York-breds finished second: three-year-old pacing filly Shelliscape, two-year-old
trotting colt Royalty For Life, three-year-old pacing gelding Bettor’s Edge and seven-year-old pacing gelding Golden Receiver.
“I don’t want to hear about New York-breds not being good enough,” Jacobs said. “These Sire
Stakes races are the toughest you can have, going on a half-mile track from the seven and eight post. It serves the horse. Instead of going in 1:50 all the time, we go in 1:52.”
Jacobs made a key decision with his three-year-old son of American Ideal trained by Linda
Toscano. After finishing third to Major Bombay in a driving rainstorm in the $225,000 New York Sire Stake Final at Yonkers Raceway on the Night of Champions, Sept. 22, Heston Blue Chip got a freshening. Instead of racing in one of the stakes at The Red Mile in Lexington, Heston Blue Chip was entered in a qualifier there with Lasix added. He won his qualifier by 55 lengths in 1:49.1, thanks to a sensational final half in :53.
“Freshening him up was my decision,” Jacobs said. “You can’t keep going those tough miles
every week. I always freshen my horses. Give them a couple weeks off, then you’re ready for the bigger races.” Jacobs said adding Lasix was driver Tim Tetrick’s suggestion. “We scope him after every race,” Jacobs said. “He wasn’t bleeding, but we just took that issue off the table.”
In his first pari-mutuel race with Lasix, Heston Blue Chip won his Breeders Crown elimination by
a half-length in 1:50.2 despite drawing the outside post in a star-studded field of seven.
On Saturday night, Heston Blue Chip proved it wasn’t a fluke. Sent off the 9-5 favorite in the
field of 10, Heston Blue Chip got away fourth in an extremely-fast pace, a quarter in :26 and a half in
:53.4 on a track which had been labeled “good.” Tetrick pulled Heston Blue Chip out before the three-quarters and masterly flushed out the horse in third, Sweet Lou, for cover through three-quarters in 1:21.3. Sweet Lou made the lead and Tetrick asked Heston Blue Chip for more, and Jacobs’ colt surged to the lead, defeating Sweet Lou by three-quarters of a length in 1:49. Bettors Edge got up for third.
“It was pretty exciting, it’s the first Breeders Crown I’ve ever won,” Jacobs said. “It’s special, very
The victory was Heston Blue Chip’s 11th in 14 starts this year. He is now 21 of 26 lifetime with
two seconds and a third. He will race twice more this year in a bid to win the Dan Patch Three-Year-Old Champion Pacing Colt Award. Either way, he will race next year.
Jacobs summed up his colt succinctly: “He’s a gem.”
The Breeders Crown’s first New York-bred winner Saturday night was American Jewel, who
defeated three other New York-breds including Shelliscape, who was second, and American Jewel’s stable-mate, New York Sire Stakes Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer Romantic Moment. Both American Jewel and Romantic Moment are daughters of American Ideal trained by Jimmy Takter.
“She’s the best horse in that group,” said Takter, who won the Breeders Crown Most Valuable
Trainer Award thanks to three Finals victories. “She deserved to win the Breeders Crown. She deserved to be a champion.”
The victory was American Jewel’s eighth in 15 starts this year with four seconds and a pair of
Takter scored again in the very next race with To Dream On, whose only loss in nine starts was
by a neck. The daughter of Credit Winner did not make an appearance in the New York Sire Stakes. “She never raced in New York,” Takter said. “I didn’t want to race on half-mile tracks.”
Takter thinks the sky’s the limit with To Dream On: “She’s almost flawless,” he said. “He
probably is one of the top five two-year-old filly trotters ever.
Anndrovette, a daughter of Riverboat King trained by Paul Fraley, had finished sixth in the Filly
and Mare Open at Woodbine in her last start. She went off at 6-1 and scored her seventh victory in 23 starts this year, giving Tetrick his fourth and final winner on the night.
Bettor Sweet, a son of Bettor’s Delight, lost his first 14 starts this year before winning a stakes
race at Lexington in 1:48.1 and his Breeders Crown elimination at Woodbine in 1:49.2. He won his Final powerfully in 1:49.1 with Dave Miller driving.
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