Leon Harris’s Prime Hall Caviar, 6-for-6 in a promising young career, may face his biggest challenge yet as he headlines in Sunday’s (November 6) $90,600 2-Year-Old Virginia Breeder’s Colt Trot. The race is one of eight Breeder’s Championship divisional clashes for 2- and 3-year-olds scheduled in the event’s 25th edition.
The son of Armbro Dangerously sparkled in his Breeder’s elimination race last Sunday, winning by nine lengths after completing a coast-to-coast effort in 1:59 4/5. Chuck Perry, who will be in the sulky Sunday, has driven the trotter in all six races and has led at 23 of 24 points of call throughout the streak. He will depart from outside post eight in the final however. Only four horses all meet have prevailed from that spot.
Perry was impressed with Prime Hall Caviar, who was bred in a Virginia Amish community, even before that first race. “Leon brought the trotter to my farm right before the Shenandoah County Fair in August and I trained him and told him I thought he had a great horse,” said Perry. “You could just feel the power and the speed and the strength for a very average bred trotter. He had a bit of funky ankle from pulling an Amish buggy. It looks he clipped it a couple times and had a bit of a scar.”
Prime Hall Caviar competed twice during that short County Fair meet and won by four lengths each time in 2:07.0 and 2:06.0. At the current Shenandoah Downs campaign, he has four straight triumphs, two of which came from the seven hole. In the second of those, he was parked the entire mile and still won by a length in 2:02 2/5. He broke the two minute barrier for the first time in his elimination.
“It’s going to be hard to really tell how fast he can go until he gets in with some really fast horses,” said Perry. “He has a tendency on the front end to think about what he’s doing, almost like he needs to turn around and rejoin the horses behind him. When he crosses the wire, you feel like he is just starting the race. You won’t see his capabilities until next year though. This man (Harris) has an extremely fast horse.”
Harris, 68, ships the horse to Woodstock each weekend from his home in Saluda, Virginia where he works as a school bus driver. He has had 2,067 starts as a trainer with 174 wins, 223 seconds, 296 third place finishes and $796,420 in purse earnings. His immediate future with Prime Hall Caviar could be one of his career highlights.
“He turned out to be a surprise,” said Harris. “I bought him over the summer and he appeared sore when I first started training him. He didn’t want to go forward all the time and didn’t want to be bothered with people. I didn’t realize his speed at first.”
Harris’s unique find will try to remain undefeated in Sunday’s fourth race, which will go off shortly after 2:00 PM.
“He seems as talented as trotters that bring in big money as yearlings,” added Perry. “Who knows, we might write a book about him when all is said and done.”
Other 2-year-old elimination winners from last week will look to prevail again with robust purse monies on the line. Hillbillypacinhill and Base Stealer each won a Colt Pacing leg last week and chase a $91,100 purse Sunday . Miss Norissa won the Filly Trot prep and goes for $87,325 in the final. Lloyd’s Loves and Hillbillyclassygirl captured Filly Pacing legs and compete in a $89,475 final. And Royal Mistake, another Colt Trot division winner, will face Prime Hall Caviar, and six others, in a $90,600 final.
Last year’s 2-year-old category champs all won eliminations two weeks ago and are early favorites in their respective finals. She’s All Woman brings a $218,044 bankroll into her $84,200 Filly Trot while Big Daddy D carries a $118,259 bankroll into his $87,200 Colt Trot final. Jas Bluestone, runner up in the freshman male trot, also won a prep division two weeks ago. Anthonys All In, with $224,116 earnings, headlines the $84,000 Colt Pace while Caviart Camel, fresh off a 2-3/4 length victory in her prep, leaves from post five in the $85,400 final.
In all, $699,300 in purse monies will be distributed between 2- and 3-year-old pacing and trotting title bouts Sunday. A pair of $20,000 Virgina Breeders aged races will be contested as well.
The final two Shenandoah Downs closing weekend card, scheduled Saturday and Sunday at 1 PM, can we wagered online via TVG, Xpressbet, Twinspires and NYRABets.