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Atlanta stands tall in Crown Mare Trot elim

Saturday, October 23, 2021

World champion Atlanta, in search of her first career Breeders Crown victory, secured an inside position for next Saturday's (Oct. 30) $300,000 Mare Trot final with a powerful 1:52.1 victory in the lone $25,000 divisional elimination, held Saturday afternoon (Oct. 23) at The Meadowlands.

Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian champion, won for the 31st time in her storied career, holding her ground amid a bevy of late challengers by a determined three-quarter-length margin.

Leaving from the pole position, regular pilot Yannick Gingras had Atlanta away smoothly, yielding just to the speedy early sprint of Felicityshagwell S into the first turn. After Felicityshagwell S and Åke Svanstedt led the way through the opening quarter of :27.3, Gingras moved Atlanta on the backstretch ahead of When Dovescry to get the front end. Atlanta waltzed to the half in :56.4 as When Dovescry and her driver, David Miller, accepted the first-over grind through the final half mile.

Atlanta cruised to three-quarters in 1:24.3 with When Dovescry on her flank and Felicityshagwell S positioned behind her in the pocket. She then hit high gear in the homestretch, leaving those two battling for minor spoils. A :27.3 final quarter secured victory for the 6-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven, whom Ron Burke trains.

Atlanta, sent off as the 2-5 choice in the field of 10, returned $2.80 to win. When Dovescry held bravely for second, with Refined closing sharply late for third. Following the top three into next week's final were Felicityshagwell S, Ramona Hill, Sorella, Next Level Stuff and Thankful NO. Hypnotic AM and Weslynn Quest, whose respective connections accepted byes on their behalf, will complete the 10-mare field.

Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Bradley Grant and Howard Taylor, Atlanta will look to surpass $3 million in career earnings in the Breeders Crown final.

“She wasn’t nearly on her game today,” said Gingras following the victory. “But she’s a champion.”

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