EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Deweycheatumnhowe and Somebeachsomewhere, the two biggest stars in harness racing, each got a free pass into their respective Breeders Crown finals.
Most other contenders will have to qualify this weekend. At stake: berths in the $4.9 million divisional championships at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Nov. 29.
The eliminations for the four 2-year-old finals take place Friday night; the 3-year-old eliminations are Saturday.
Only 10 were entered to challenge Hambletonian winner Deweycheatumnhowe in the 3-year-old Colt Trot. No elimination was required for the final that accommodates 11 starters.
Deweycheatumnhowe will attempt to join Mack Lobell (1987) and Malabar Man (1997) as the only trotting colts to win Breeders Crowns at 2 and 3.
Somebeachsomewhere, a winner of 19 of 20 races, tops the 3-year-old Colt Pace, a race that drew 12 entrants with the field limited to 10.
The owners of Somebeachsomewhere and Dali both accepted byes into the finals. The remaining 10 will compete Saturday to eliminate two horses.
However, the connections of the elimination winner will select the post in the finals. Somebeachsomewhere will be placed in a blind draw for the remaining nine spots, facing the risk of getting the dreaded post No. 10.
"I weighed that in my decision," said Brent McGrath, the trainer of Somebeachsomewhere. "The two weeks off give me a fresher horse, so even the 10 hole won't hurt him, if he's on his game."
Tug River Princess and Native Bride were supplemented to the 3-year-old Filly Pace for $62,500. Their added money raises the purse of that final to $610,000 from $500,000.