When Fashion Delight won the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs in May, the colt appeared poised for a big season. After all, he was coming off a 2-year-old campaign that saw him win five of 11 races, including the Woodrow Wilson, and earn $510,555.
But a quarter crack and subsequent complications from dead tissue in the foot limited Fashion Delight to only one start from the Empire Breeders Classic to October. Now, the Jim Campbell trainee is looking to make up for lost time in Saturday’s $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers at Woodbine Racetrack. Fashion Delight will start from post No. 8 with driver Tim Tetrick and is 20-1 on the morning line. He finished fifth in his elimination race last weekend, suffering from trip trouble when Wink N Atcha went off stride as the field approached the three-quarters mark.
“I thought maybe he should have had a little more pace, but Timmy said he had to grab into him pretty good when that horse made a break and I think he kind of lost his momentum,” Campbell said. “Going that speed, if you lose your momentum once it’s pretty tough for them to get it back again.”
The most important factor for Campbell is that Fashion Delight is healthy and getting enough races under his belt to be a factor. Campbell credited veterinarian Scott Morrison, from Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky, for putting Fashion Delight’s season back on solid footing.
In his first start since his layoff, Fashion Delight was third behind Alsace Hanover and Westwardho Hanover in a division of the Tattersalls Pace on Oct. 9 at The Red Mile. He then beat older horses in a non-stakes race at Harrah’s Chester before heading to Toronto for the Breeders Crown.
“There’s no replacement for racing,” Campbell said. “If he gets the trip Saturday, I think he’s got enough races into him that he can be in shape, but he’s got to have things go his way. The winner of that division is going to be whoever gets a good trip.”
Fashion Delight is a son of Bettor’s Delight-BJ’s Sunshine owned by Fashion Farms. He was purchased as a yearling (under the name Vidor Blue Chip) for $35,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. Jules Siegel and his wife Arlene, who passed away in December 2010, founded Fashion Farms. The Siegels rank No. 3 in the Breeders Crown for earnings among owners, with $2.91 million. They have won four championships, most recently with Broadway Schooner in the 3-year-old filly trot in 2009 at Woodbine.
Campbell ranks No. 10 in earnings among all trainers in the Breeders Crown series, with $2.71 million. He has won three Breeders Crown trophies, all with the Siegels. A victory with Fashion Delight would ease the disappointment of a frustrating season for the colt.
“It would be nice for him because he’s a real good horse,” Campbell said. “It was just unfortunate bad luck. It was very frustrating all year long. We thought we had him (ready) a couple different times and then the foot started bothering him again. He’s done great to get back to where he’s at right now.”
Campbell and Fashion Farms will have two other chances to take home Breeders Crown hardware. The will send out 2-1 morning line favorite Possess The Will in the $600,000 2-year-old colt trot and Dial Or Nodial, who is 5-1 on the morning line, in the $500,000 Open Pace.
Possess The Will, a son of Donato Hanover-Aurora Hall, has won three races in a row since finishing fifth in his elimination for the William Wellwood Memorial on Sept. 9 at Mohawk. He has won five of nine races overall, including divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes and his Breeders Crown elimination, and earned $185,789.
“The way he’s raced since he was sick up here in the Wellwood, he’s won every time he’s gone out there, so I guess you could say he’s peaking,” Campbell said. “Like any final, there are going to be horses in there that might step up a little bit. It all depends how the race shapes up. I know my horse can race from behind, up front, first over; he’s raced and won all different ways.”
Dial Or Nodial, a 5-year-old son of Western Ideal-Smart Dialing, has won six of 19 races this year and has three victories, two seconds and a third in his last six starts. He is coming off a neck win over Bettor Sweet on Oct. 15 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
“He’s feeling good,” Campbell said. “He’s really been on top of his game his last six starts. He’s just a really good horse. He’s probably one of the best horses I’ve ever trained because he has such a great attitude and he wants to go out there and win. It makes it a lot easier.”