So Cozy and Leah Almahurst are the early-line favorites in the $573,912 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old pacing fillies at Freestate Raceway in Laurel tonight.
Fifteen fillies entered the race, forcing two elimination divisions that will be run as the fifth and sixth races. The top four finishers in each division return later in the night for the ninth race final to determine the Breeders Crown winner. Each elimination is worth $71,739; the final is worth $430,434.
Track handicapper Robin Burns has made Leah Almahurst, driven by William Fahy, the 2-to-5 favorite in the first elimination.
"It seems as though she's rounding into form at the right time," said Burns, pointing out Leah Almahurst's four-race winning streak in the Midwest.
Same Set, driven by Doug Brown, is Burns' second choice. Same Set easily won at Mohawk Raceway, near Toronto, last week, pacing the mile in 1:59.
In the second elimination, So Cozy is the choice. "So Cozy is the class in this race, she figures to be short-priced," said Burns, who put her as the 8-to-5 choice based on her 10 wins in 15 starts and $637,260 in earnings.
But it won't be a walkover for So Cozy, who will be driven by John Campbell. Burns' second choice is Huna Buna, who finished second to So Cozy in a division of the Lady Baltimore at Freestate in August.
Tonight is also the closing night of Freestate's 1987 meet. Rosecroft Raceway reopens Wednesday.