Shartin looks to make history
New Zealand bred pacing mare, Shartin, is poised on the edge making history this weekend.
The daughter of Tintin In America is the hot favourite to win her $US270,000 North American Breeders Crown Final at Pocono Downs this Sunday afternoon New Zealand time, after effortlessly winning her elimination last Sunday.
Should she win the final she will take another step towards becoming the first pacing mare in North America to ever earn over one million dollars in a single season.
It would also be the first time a Kiwi bred has ever won a North American Breeders Crown Final, and another win could come a few hours later when Lazarus lines up in his event.
The New Zealand fillies have competed with distinction in the series in the past with Under Cover Lover third as a three-year-old in her final 1999, and Tupelo Rose third in the three-year-old final in 2002.
Driven by regular driver Tim Tetrick last Sunday in her elimination, Shartin drew the outside barrier of eight and floated away from the gate before being driven assertively to find the front in the early stages. She rallied home under minimal urgings to collect her 17th win from 22 starts this year.
Her trainer Jim King Jr and owners JoAnn Looney King and Richard Poillucci took a large leap of faith when paying up the $30,000 supplementary fee to get Shartin into the series and are looking to be rewarded for their faith in the mare following what has already been a gigantic year.
Alongside her Breeders Crown elimination win, Shartin has also tasted success on North America’s biggest stages. Including the Lady Liberty at The Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day in August.
On that day she defeated class acts such as second place getter, Pure Country – a Dan Patch filly of the year at ages two and three.
Her best attribute is her attitude and determination, according to co-owner Looney-King
“She is absolutely perfect to take care of and a real people friendly horse. And, when it comes to racing, she just does not know when the end of a mile is,” she said.
“She has incredible talent and it's matched by an eagerness to do her best.”
The joy Shartin has brought to her North American connections has been immeasurable.
“We've won races that we've never won before. She has gotten us in the winner circle for the Roses Are Red, Betsy Ross and The Matchmaker. She's a thrill and being a part of her journey is hard to put into words except to say how grateful we are,” stated owner Looney-King.
Shartin was bred by Grant Crabbe of Christchurch and left New Zealand in 2016 as a three-year-old to race in Australia.
There she was successful in the 2017 Queensland Oaks, Tasmanian Oaks and also second in the Queensland Derby before being sold to North America.
Crabbe continues to breed from Shartin’s dam, Bagdarin and currently owns her two-year-old full brother.
Shartin will race at 1pm New Zealand time on Sunday at Pocono and has drawn post two for her final.
Lazarus has also drawn post two in his Breeders Crown Open final, but did not have to start in an elimination due to a lack of entries.
He will race at 3.45pm and his owner Duncan Taylor of Taylor Made Stallions has reported to HRNZ that Lazarus’s racing future is ‘still to be determined’ beyond this weekend.