Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Another ‘Derby’ for the stalwart sons of speed

The Canadian Pacing Derby is the end-of-summer stage for the hard-nosed older pacers. It debuted in 1936 and this year features last season’s 14-1 shock, Foiled Again and so many of the foes that continue to pound the North American harness track surface for the largest purses available to the division. The 2013 group is iron-clad speed and stamina, the four-year-olds as swift as their elders, and all of them aim for the October classic in Pennsylvania. The battle ensues Saturday, Aug. 31 at Mohawk Raceway.

Each field of these senior warriors must be analyzed from every angle, considering they are so evenly matched that only their peaking properties can give them an edge in any event.

This week, the edge the wagering public will support is the one earned last weekend at Mohawk by A Rocknroll Dance. In a stakes elim, he earned a speed badge with a stunning wire-to-wire 1:47.3 win. That is a record in both North America countries. Recency is so powerful to harness handicappers that one speedy performance will attract many players to A Rocknroll Dance this week but they are players that don’t  subscribe to the “bounce theory.”

Certainly, A Rocknroll Dance has improved off a slow start at four, which followed a slow second half of his soph season. But regardless of last week’s mile, he is facing the same tough group he has fallen to any number of times. As well, fans of Bolt The Duer finally got a great race out of him last week, though his unusual wire-to-wire mile brought up some track-bias concerns—few horses were able to close on fast front-pacing horses last Saturday. Bolt The Duer has been know to, when racing with his division last season and this, be at his best when he can come off a good cover trip while a leader fires all of the fractions.

So those two may have scorched the track last week but cases can be made for any of their foes in this $651,000 event filled with Breeders Crown hopefuls.

Sweet Lou has shown much more power at four than he did when mistakenly annointed champ status at three. He has been super with this group and can never be tossed out (he won for us at $19 this season, a reward we recognized due to his improvement).

Clear Vision raced super in his elim; he got second after an energy-draining start.

Foiled Again won last year at a shocking 14-1. He likes this track under any surface circumstances. There is a reason he is the richest standardbred ever and you can bet last week’s mile by A Rocknroll Dance doesn’t daunt him in the least.

Aracache Hanover takes good care of himself when a smooth trip comes his way. He also has speed and being a dual-trick pony helps him earn at this level.

Heston Blue Chip was the champ soph last season and he has faired well against the elders, though lately he seems intimidated. But he is strong and sound and has not yet completed his contribution to the division.

Pet Rock has proven himself royally this season. We thought he was better than the aforementioned soph champ last season but it was a tight crop of contenders and he needed to grow a bit. He has matured with finesse and cannot be ruled out.

Atochia is a veteran that goes far back with us, as we cashed in early on his elder career when he was startlingly supple at Yonkers. He has shocked some fields and is usually overlooked when among this ilk.

Dapper Dude may be the weakest in a strong field but has what it takes to belong among them. He is apt to come from behind like Bolt The Duer and pick up pieces when his cohorts get too snappy sharing the fractions.

Also eligible is Michael’s Power, who this season has shown little and is yet to take a true stance against this herd.

How you wager should be based on a subjective value odds line but be warned that such opinions could lead you to overlays that most likely will not include last week’s elim winners. This could be a good thing because Sweet Lou, Pet Rock and Foiled Again may meet your value standards and you will have a better chance than you think to take down last week’s so-called speedsters. 

Follow major BC hopefuls on their road to the October Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs at the Breeders Crown Countdown blog and the TwinSpires harness blog weekly, with archived reports on the results at the Hambletonian Society web site.


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