Kiwi mare makes history

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New Zealand bred mare Shartin made history at Pocono Downs on Sunday when she became the first Kiwi bred horse to win a North American Breeders Crown final.

She has now also thrown herself into a prime position to contend for the title of US Horse of the Year alongside fellow stars McWicked and Hambletonian winning filly, Atlanta.

Bred by Grant Crabbe of Christchurch, the daughter of Tintin In America was emphatic in winning the $US270,000 final for regular driver Tim Tetrick, and trainer Jim King jr.

The victory has made her the richest ever pacing mare ever in a single season, with earnings this year alone of $US968,361.

The US Trotting Association statistics confirm that she surpasses previous leading money earners Dreamfair Eternal - $925,575 in 2010 and Eternal Camnation $908,346 in 2003.

This also places her as the sixth richest horse (pacer or trotter) overall this year in the United States with 18 wins from 23 starts and one second. Her best mile time this year so far is 1.48.2.

Following her win in the elimination last weekend Shartin drew post two in Sunday’s final and was faced with the task of working hard for the lead in the first quarter on a sloppy track cutting her first quarter in a slick 26 whilst challenging for the front.

With a lap to go at Pocono Downs Tetrick was able to give the five-year-old mare a slight breather before the pressure came wide from Caviart Ally and former Dan Patch winner, Pure Country.

The writing was on the wall at the half as Shartin pricked her ears in front and settled down to dig deep, fending off the late charges of her rivals to become the first New Zealand Standardbred to win a Crown Final, finishing in 1.52 in testing conditions.

The win repaid the faith invested in the mare by her connections to pay the late $30,000 supplement fee to be in the Crown. It also showed the resilience and toughness she possesses given she has been racing since February and has been able to maintain her best form for that time.

Shartin’s Co-owner Joann Looney-King told HRNZ the next aim is to break the million dollar mark for the year with Shartin.

“Shartin seemed good today and was content to lounge around her stall all day. Tomorrow morning (Tuesday NZ time) she’ll spend the morning in her paddock and have a few laid back days from the track,” said Looney-King.

“We are shooting for the TVG at the Meadowlands and hope to break the million dollar mark that night. It would be nice to rewrite history again with her, she’s a tough one.”

Looney-King also paid tribute to the relationship driver Tim Tetrick has with the horse.

“She can’t hear the horses coming at her in her races as her ears are plugged and she has a hood with heavy rubber cups. So she has to see her competition coming to react and relies on Tim to let her know they are on the way. You noticed it last night when Twinkle got beside Shartin and she just pushed onward. Same when she saw Caviart Ally.”

“Our family is enjoying the ride of our lives with this great mare. She’s the star, we’re just standing in the shade.”

Grant Crabbe, breeder of Shartin, was extremely proud watching the race live from his home in Christchurch.

“I was proud as punch, and screaming at the television when she won but I was even more happy for Bruce Francis. He was instrumental in me obtaining her dam Bagdarin from a stable down south,” Crabbe said.

“I won four workouts with her and then she won her first start for me. She comes from such a great family and they are really tough which is where Shartin gets it I am sure.”

It had been an emotional week for Crabbe after his father passed away last Friday, and then Bagdarin foaled a half-brother to Shartin by A Rocknroll Dance on Saturday.

“He’s a real stand out type,” Crabbe said. “The way he holds himself he knows he is from a special family and it was so neat he was born just the day before Shartin’s Crown win.”

Crabbe also has Shartin’s full brother at home, who is due to be gelded and turned out to develop further.

“I’m just so thrilled Shartin went to good owners up in North America. I’m also so happy that so many people have been able to follow her journey with me,” said Crabbe.  

And the highlights haven’t stopped yet. Along with a pending million dollar mark, come the end of 2018 he could be potentially be the breeder of the USA’s next Horse of the Year.

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