These are powerful races that often are dismissed by players, when in fact they can offer two important factors. First, they can offer good prices, overlays if you will, featuring horses that will make the final but are winning the elim off a good trip, a smart drive or any other fortunate situation. In other words, the best horses can go on to win the finals but may not win the elims.
Plus, if there is more than one elim, the really hot horse in the division can only race in one elim, leaving the other open for an outside contender, an overlooked entry reaching his or her peak. In fact, the more elims raced in each division, the better the wagers that surface.
Next, watching elims closely can reveal a surprise winner of a final. The trip handicappers are putting on their dear slayer hats and investigating every move in the elims. Horses getting stuck in traffic, making huge but losing brushes and other such common causes for bad performance lines in a race are the meat of the mighty bettor. In the past, this is how we have nailed some giant “Crown” final winners that few were willing to back.
And then there is Woodbine.
Of the two major Ontario-harness-circuit tracks, Woodbine is the least speed-biased, allowing for horses to make up good ground in the stretch. Good horses having troubled trips in the first half often make up for it with huge, late moves, sometimes uncharacteristically closing to get into the picture, if not win. Outsiders that have saved some ground use their one-brush punch for upsets.
As always is the case in harness racing, a single horse in a field takes most of the win money and second, third and fourth choices tend to offer high returns, many of them based on odds far higher than the horses’ chances. So we put into play our usual search for the outsider-contender, the horse that can win at better odds than its chances.
It takes courage in any race to buck a 4-5 shot (and that could be high for a harness favorite) but over and over again the best plays come against those horses. In the Crown, as well, the fields have a tendency to be more equal than the odds wagered upon the entrants deserve.
So when a strong field of horses goes to post—and how much stronger can you get than the top divisional members that roll with the Crown?—you need that bravery to make money. Get your betting accounts in order, then and be ready for the Crown elims wagering experience.
We are covering the events live those two nights, with special tweets and insider comments and info, through Twitter, as you watch and wager at TwinSpires. Thanks to the Hambletonian Society, we will have a direct communication with Woodbine sources for the best coverage available on the Internet.
Next week we will be engaged in offering handicapping advice when the elim fields are revealed.