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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Palone Flying High in Consecutive Crowns


Dave Palone had some live mounts entering Saturday’s 12-race Breeders Crown program but good fortune put him in the bike on a few more than expected and he made good on the opportunity. First Sweet Lou, the favorite in the $650,000 two-year-old colt pace put Palone on the board in a big way. The strapping son of Yankee Cruiser made a big move down the backstretch to secure the lead and never looked back posting a 1:49 world record mile while cruising away from runner-up A Rocknroll Dance across the wire. When asked to compare Sweet Lou to some of the other greats Palone has driven he deferred momentarily. “I’ve driven horses like Artsplace and The Panderosa. It’s a little early to start comparing him to them but the truth is they were all very intelligent horses.”

Sweet Lou pushed his record to 10 wins in 12 starts on the season with both losses in narrow photos with the colt cutting the pace. “You know I just think he’s a much better horse coming from off a helmet. In those two races I honestly don’t think he was tired at the wire.”

Palone found himself named to drive Uncle Peter in the very next Crown event, for juvenile colt trotters. With little time to study the program or for that matter get driving instructions Palone showed his natural flair putting the Cantab Hall-sired colt on the front before yielding the lead to race favorite Possess The Will before the half. Palone was poised off the hot fractions and when he turned the Jimmy Takter-trained colt loose he quickly disposed of the favorite and proved a very handy winner. The 1:55 mile was a few ticks shy of the colt’s speed mark.

“I’d never sat behind him before but he drove real nice. I let Possess The Will go and when I pulled at the head of the stretch he just took off,” said an elated Palone. While Dave had never driven the colt before he knew that trainer Takter was very high on the colt’s potential. “Jimmy told me he was very good early but then got sick and was just coming back to himself,” said Palone.

A consecutive hat trick eluded Palone when longshot Chancey Lady rallied from out of the clouds to complete a one-two Mark Kesmodel-trained finish in the $300,000 Breeders Crown mare pace. Anndrovette blew the field out on the front end scoring in 1:49.2, but Chancey Lady was absolutely flying in the stretch closing from eighth to second through the stretch.

For Palone who has started 61 times prior to this year in the Breeders Crown, the back-to-back victories were just his second and third Crown victories. His lone score prior to this year’s championships came in 2008 when In Focus scored the upset also for trainer Jimmy Takter.