Trotting mare Fancy Crown, 1984 horse of the year, will be making her first start of the season at Rosecroft Sunday night in a $40,000 invitational trot.
Why is Fancy Crown making her first start at Rosecroft? "I quess for two reasons. One, she's ready to race, and two, (Rosecroft president) Bill Miller stayed on us to get her to race at Rosecroft before their meet was over," said co-owner Max Hempt.
Hempt, head of a leading standardbred breeding farm and a member of harness racing's Hall of Fame, said that Fancy Crown is continuing to race as a 4-year-old because, "We owed something to the sport. I'm a breeder and would have liked to bred her, but we decided to race her after they voted her horse of the year."
Fancy Crown had two qualifying races at Pompano Park as a tune-up for her seasonal debut, but Hempt admits that the mare is not sharp yet.
In October, Fancy Crown easily won the $365,000 Breeder's Crown at Rosecroft in a track record 1:59 2/5. One of the top trotters in the history of harness racing, Fancy Crown last year equaled the fastest trotting mile ever recorded, 1:53 4/5. She also holds track records on mile, five-eighths mile and half-mile ovals.
Bill O'Donnell, who earned more than $9 million in purses last year, will drive Fancy Crown.
Also entered will be Selena Lobell, who finished third in the Breeder's Crown and who earlier this year set a world's record at Pompano Park; Quick Trip, last year's aged mare trotter of the year; Fettah Sam; Wholly Arnie; and Regal Roscoe, a local trotter.