McNair Doesn't Sweat Outside Posts

Published: October 18, 2013 10:26 am EDT

Doug McNair readily admits the Breeders Crown hasn't provided him or his father Gregg any special memories but he's hoping that the third time will be the charm after Saturday's championship finals.

With the best shot he's had since his first Breeders Crown drives in 2011, the 23-year-old Guelph, Ont. resident has his sights set on a Breeders Crown championship with the possibility of more hardware on the horizon.

McNair has four drives on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with his two best chances for a win coming two horses from his father Gregg's stable -- two-year-old pacing filly Precocious Beauty (also leading this week's SC web poll) and two-year-old pacing colt Three Of Clubs. Precocious Beauty finished second in her Breeders Crown elim, just by a head and in a world record setting 1:50.1 mile to boot.

Precocious Beauty is seven-for-ten in 2013 and has never finished worse than second. A win in Saturday's Breeders Crown would all but solidify year-end honours both North and South of the border for the Jim Avritt-owned homebred, but she and McNair will have to do so from Post 8. Originally, she drew Post 9 in Race 4 but moved in a spot when Gallie By The Beach -- who drew Post 2 -- scratched sick.

"I still don't think she was tired the other day," McNair told Trot Insider, noting that he felt his filly actually came back on once she saw Allstar Rating up the passing lane. "If she's on the front end, she waits on them."

Precocious Beauty's versatility will be put to the test on Saturday night. While she cut the fractions with McNair last week, she came first up in both her world record mile at The Red Mile and her She's A Great Lady win at Mohawk.

"I still think, even with the bad post, I have the best filly in the race," stated McNair confidently.

Pacing colt Three Of Clubs also provides team McNair with a solid chance as a Breeders Crown title. The son of Mach Three won the Battle Of Waterloo earlier this year and finished a solid second in his Breeders Crown elim but also facing a tough assignment with Post 8 in Race 8.

"Last week I thought I had a real big chance. I raced him on the front a lot because I thought he was the best and I still think he was the best two-year-old Ontario-bred colt this year," blaming himself for the colt's loss in this year's Super Final. "He wore himself out in the Breeders Crown elimination, he was real hot from being put on the front all the time. He was pacing out of his skin, even with a half in :53 he was fighting me the whole way, and then in the last turn he just let go of me."

McNair notes that there will be some equipment changes to relax Three Of Clubs for Saturday's $500,000 Breeders Crown final and that both Precocious Beauty and Three Of Clubs are ready for battle come Saturday.

"I talked to [Gregg] for a few minutes today...everything seems good except for the post positions," laughed McNair.

Another filly McNair is very familiar with is three-year-old pacer Love Canal, who drew Post 9. The Badlands Hanover filly hasn't finished worse than fourth for McNair this year, assembling a record of four wins, two seconds and a third in nine starts.

"I talked to the owner, Eric Cherry, a bit this week and he was telling me all about her. He said he's as good as she's ever been."

She'll need to summon every ounce of talent to tackle the likes of divisional standout I Luv The Nitelife and world champion Shebestingin. Her last start was on Sept. 28 in the OSS Super Final, finishing second after another Post 9 start and subsequent overland journey.

McNair's final Post 9 of the night could be the most challenging. After just missing the cut for the three-year-old colt pace final, John Williamson trainee Urbanite Hanover drew into the race when fellow fifth-place finisher Fool Me Once scratched sick.

"He only got beat a couple lengths against Captaintreacherous last week," noted McNair. "I like that colt a lot, John's got a nice horse there but it's tough going against Captaintreacherous and Vegas Vacation. They're all really tough horses."

A win on Saturday could not only place Precocious Beauty into untouchable territory for year-end awards voting but could also give a boost to Doug & Gregg McNair come O'Brien time. Gregg is already in the midst of a career year and Doug's numbers are certainly headed that way.

"To win [Saturday] would be unbelievable, it's tough enough to get cheques in it and the best chance I've had is this year."

Post time for Saturday's Breeders Crown card at Mohegan Sun Pocono is 5:00 p.m.