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For Muscle Hill and Sportswriter, It All Comes Down to the Breeders Crown

Wednesday, October 21, 2009  By: Perry Lefko for Breeders Crown


In this year’s Breeders Crown, one magnificent horse will end his career, while another will end his first season of racing.


Both Muscle Hill and Sportswriter will be among the many story lines this Saturday in this year’s Crown at Woodbine Racetrack.


Fans may differ on which of the two horses is more appealing, but there’s no denying both are special.


Any time a horse goes through a season without losing a race, regardless of what age or gait, is truly a feat. Muscle Hill, a three-year-old colt trotter, has amassed a streak of 19 consecutive wins, including 11 this season in which he has set or tied various records and posted earnings in excess of $2 million. He is trying to cap his career with a win in the Crown, something which the great trotters Deweycheatumnhowe and Donato Hanover didn’t do in their respective races the last two years.


Realistically, Muscle Hill is in a class of his own for his particular age group and gait, but this is a chance to make a statement that he might be the best trotter of all time.


Sportswriter is in a different category. He represents hope for the future that he might become the best pacer of all time. He has been dazzling winning all seven of his starts, drawing comparisons to two-time horse of the year Somebeachsomewhere. He bettered Beach’s world-record time by a fifth of a second for a seven-eighths mile track in winning the Metro Stakes in a sizzling 1:49 2/5.


Somebeachsomewhere did not race in the Breeders Crown in his two-year-old season, in which he raced seven times to conserve him for his sophomore season. The plan is virtually the same for Sportswriter, albeit with one more race.


Sportswriter can make a statement for horse of the year honors by winning his race, in particular if he does so in record time. Depending on the weather and factoring in his connections may not to extend him if he is capable of winning in hand, expecting a record may be unreasonable.


“I can’t say he’s got much more to prove as far as the speed. He already set the world record at Mohawk,” says trainer Casie Coleman, who selected the yearling and owns an interest in him. “In my mind, I don’t care how fast they go. I just want to win.”


Muscle Hill appears to be the overwhelming favorite for horse of the year, but there is no denying Sportswriter deserves consideration. As the expression goes, it all comes down to the Breeders Crown.


However you view it, this year’s Crown is a chance to witness history in the making, one involving a great colt whose career is coming to an end, and another whose career is really just beginning.


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