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York County horse to compete in Pacing's Triple Crown

KIM FRENCH
505-5403/@ydsports
  • Pure Country is listed at 4-1 odds for Saturday's Cane Pace.
  • The Cane Pace is the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown.
  • Pure Country was bred and raised at Diamond Creek Farm in Wellsville.

When his home-bred champion, Pure Country, crossed the finish line to notch her 11th lifetime triumph on May 7 in the $313,800 Miss Pennsylvania at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, owner Adam Bowden was grinning from ear to ear.

His expression was the result of pure joy because of the victory, but Bowden acknowledged it was also associated with a tremendous weight being lifted off his shoulders.

Pure Country has won 16 of her 20 career starts.

A week earlier, the 3-year-old Pure Country made her 2016 debut after a perfect 10-for-10 campaign at age 2. The York County horse finished third.

“When she won that race I breathed a huge sigh of relief,” Bowden said. “There is always some concern when you have an undefeated horse and they lose their first race coming back. You wonder if maybe they did not improve from last year or other horses may have improved, but she erased all those doubts that night.

“I thought it was a terrific race for her. She illustrated her quality and demonstrated she is prepared to pick up right where she left off last year.”

Pure Country will face the toughest test of her career Saturday at Meadowlands Racetrack when she tackles the boys, including Meadowlands Pace winner Control The Moment, in the $320,000 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown.

The race attracted 11 entries, so it will be contested at the extended distance of 1-1/8 miles. Pure Country was last year’s Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female pacer and has won 16 of 19 career races. She will start from post position 11 in the second tier and is 4-1 on the morning line.

Only one filly has ever captured the Cane Pace and that happened way back in 1960 when Countess Adios won the race at Yonkers Raceway. Additionally, only one filly pacer, See You At Peelers, has defeated male rivals in a race worth at least $100,000 in the last 25 years. See You At Peelers, who was trained by Jimmy Takter, won the Art Rooney Pace in 2011. Takter also trains Pure Country.

Pure Country was bred and is owned by Bowden and his father Chris’ Diamond Creek Farm in Wellsville. Among her 10 wins last year was the Breeders Crown.

The filly enters the Cane Pace on a five-race winning streak, including triumphs in the Fan Hanover Stakes and James Lynch Memorial in a new lifetime best of 1 minute, 49.2 seconds.

York County horse wins $600,000 race at Toronto track

“She is very special to us,” Bowden said. “We have won Breeders Crown races before but this was our first one with a home bred. Words cannot really explain how rewarding and satisfying that feels. It was something we always looked toward accomplishing and she did that for us.”

The Cane Pace is part of the Meadowlands’ Hambletonian Day card, with a first-race post time of noon. The $1 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-old trotters will be raced at 5:15 p.m. and air live on CBS Sports Network. Coverage begins at 4 p.m.

“I cannot say she’s going to go out and win the race,” Takter said. “The Meadowlands Pace winner is in it and some other good horses. But she is very, very good. She is the type of tough horse where she doesn’t get intimidated. Everybody knows how good she is.”

Information for this story was provided by the United States Trotting Association.