Welcome back to the 2019 Breeders Crown Countdown (BCC), the exclusive blog that coordinates with our weekly preview harness blog at TwinSpires.com and the Hambletonian Society to find great wagering opportunities for “Crown”-eligible horses and their foes. All 12 divisions will rotate and share space in the BCC as they race to the finals, this year at Woodbine/Mohawk (WoMo) on Oct. 25 and Oct. 26. Eligible horses are followed by (e) with their names at first mention. This week begins early, specializing on soph fillies, pacers and trotters, that race for more glory than money at Delaware, Ohio, on the penultimate program before the Little Brown Jug. The historic and puerile-titled Jugette for the pacers and Buckette for the trotters, take place on the same program, Wednesday, Sept. 18 at the Delaware, Ohio Fairgrounds half-mile track. The $76,125 Buckette is a single-race event. The $155,760 Jugette is decided by a elim-heat format. There are two $51,920 elimination races to determine the final field. The second heat (the final) determined the Jugette champion. BUCKETTE This event holds more prestige than price for participants, and over the past decade it has lost more of both qualities, leaving small fields that get the stakes over with in a simple, single mile contest. This year there are only six in the field, and the sextet far from represents the best of the soph-filly trot division. Still, it is worth previewing for two reasons. First, it more resembles a higher-level overnight, where no one horse dominates the win pools, and second, because Breeders Crown (BC) eligibles participate and may provide a clue or two for BC wagering. Of the six, there are three in, three out, so to speak. French Café (e), Rush Lane (e) and Conway Kellyanne (e) look for more reasons to drop into the BC elim box. Keystone Abbey, Sophia Lia and Summit City Swan can only dream of two weeks in Ontario. You should know the BC trio from the Hambletonian Trail, though they lingered most of the way. Of the three, Julie Miller’s French Café raced the least but accomplished the most. Even though her sophomore season was less prolific than she raced at two, French Café comes into the Buckette as the main contender and draws its coveted post position—the rail. Miller must have sensed that any post would make French Café look good among a small, mixed-class field, but when she drew the rail, Julie probably smiled wider. The other two “Trail” girls may have raced with classier fillies than most of this field includes, but may not be any better than the new gals they face here. Speaking of those three, the betting crowd’s wide mix of amateurs will notice Christopher Beaver’s Keystone Abbey; not for her win time, for her earnings and her popular driver, Aaron Merriman. Along those lines, because drivers are bet-magnets, the same will go for Summit City Swan, guided by another Ohio sulky star, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. Those two fillies hold our hopes for value to appear in this race. If they can suck in enough dough to siphon good chances away from French Café, we could be looking at one of the season’s primo overlays. You be the judge, as we always suggest, but do not be turned off by low prices for French Café. The Miller filly should provide a berserk victory in speed and style. JUGETTE As we usually deal with elim-heat racing, the final rarely attracts our betting interest. Elim heats are usually bet-worthy affairs, surely available to profit on horses that may not become the champions in round two. The Jugette’s first elim heat offers six soph-filly pacers with large doses of class. Even so, there is a huge favorite from the Tony Alagna barn—Treacherous Reign (e). There are also strong second- and third-choice fillies. Bestseller Hanover (e) has the Ohio highway post 1 and a good resume at three; Sylph Hanover (e), though out there from post 6, has hit her best strides rarely but made a bag of money when she did so. Brian Brown’s Edge Of Eternity shows up to make noise. Brown feels she is prepared to battle the bigger gals of the division and shoot for what glory and earnings remain at three. Brown brings in Dave Palone, which in this case won’t draw a lot of bettors, but Brown must have thought him needed. She could be in the exotic mix and make the final, but we see no upset possibility. Using “Edge” for second and third with Treacherous Hanover for second and third and Bestseller Hanover to win may deliver the best price this elim could promise. There are seven in the second elim heat and a chance for an edge to produce a worthy return on investments. The dead-on choice of the public will be Warrawee Ubeaut (e) from post 1. She will share top money-grabbing status with post 7’s Stonebridge Soul (e). Those two sandwich five relatively unknowns that are also not so mentioned along with the BC. Carbon Capture (e), Under The Hood (e), Michelon’s Filly (e), Privacy Hanover (e) and Annie Hill (e) are all available for serious contention, if only in the elim, which interests those of us seeking price and purpose. Our hopes lay upon the two top public choices, led by Warrawee Ubeaut, cancel one another out through a duel, or that one of the others benefits from a trip that gets her a winning trip that offers us a terrific price that makes the Jugette a memorable experience for our betting bankrolls. Two gals fit our profile—Annie Hill (e) and Under The Hood (e). The latter, though, has a better chance to upset. Under The Hood has raced only seven times at three, winning four. She is in the care of highly successful trainer Nick Surick, who sends only his best to events like this one. Under The Hood comes into this with all good intentions, most looking ahead to level up in a BC division elim field. Under The Hood may be pressed to go faster than even Surick thought she could and show up as a strong BC contender this October, proving she was worth the nomination’s costly process, one that could be repaid here. That is none of our concern, though. We only look for the elim win because this is where Under The Hood pays us for recognition. Check out the “The Fives,” lists of the top five horses in each BC division as of this date by going to the Hambletonian Society’s web site: *************************************** Follow major 2019 BC hopefuls on their journey to the Breeders Crown at Woodbine/Mohawk at this Breeders Crown Countdown blog and the TwinSpires harness blog weekly, along with further information on the Hambletonian Society web site and @Hambletonian_ and @BreedersCrown .