Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fiery speed on The Red Mile in Bluegrass Stakes

The Red Mile hosts another powerful Grand Circuit meeting in Lexington, Kentucky for two weeks and the first Friday program features eight divisions of the lucrative Bluegrass Stakes.

The Walnut Hall, LTD Bluegrass for two-year-old colt trot offers five races handling the 41 entries and freshman filly pacers split three ways in the Crawford Farms Bluegrass (BG).

The first colt-trot BG, worth $78,400, marks the return of Centurion Atm, the Peter Haughton Memorial winner and 2015 winter-book favorite for the Hambletonian. The colt appears to have it all over this group, though two others have won as many races. Watch for improvement from Whataworkout, who is one for one and may be packing heat yet to be displayed.

In round two ($78,400), undefeated Billy Flynn looks for his eighth-straight win while facing the four-for-nine Ray Schnittker colt Gabe The Bear Dean. Perhaps those two should fear Muscle Diamond, who has a clear shot at an upset? We like the Muscle Hill colt who has yet to pull the plugs on his speed.

For $79,400, nine colts go in the next BG event on the program. It is difficult to look beyond Habitat, who we backed in the “Wellwood” and whose performace was breathtaking, to say the least. He may have what it takes to go all the way in the late-season stakes. The RC Royalty colt, Wings Of Royalty, should also be in the mix prominently.

Next for the colts at $78,400, a pick of the public’s (and ours) in a New York Sires Stakes Final, Crazy Wow, looks to take on colts from other states in this BG. Jimmy Takter’s Uncle Lassie returns to find a better gait and both of these colts, joined by Guess Whos Back, will get plenty of betting action. That leaves us with an outside chance of an upset with Iron. The Frank Antonacci-trained colt from the productive Cantab Hall, tries his third pari-mutuel race and could be a lot better than the first two. His price will not be negotiable, which is great.

The last colt-trot, also for $78,400 with eight at the gate, has the Ron Burke-conditioned Piercewave Hanover ready to suck in all the win-pool dough. But Ake Svanstedt’s Smart As A Whip may be a lot faster than his five-eighths mile mark, his maiden win, and with a Burke and a Jimmy Takter in the field (The Bank), Ake’s steed should offer some bucks.

Seven frosh-filly pacers go for $95,200 in the first of the BGs for the green gals. Burke’s filly may rule the win pool here, too, as Well Hello There appears superior to all of her opponents but one—Bettor Be Steppin. Joe Holloway’s student has been sharp winning and these two may not allow any large figures to light up the tote board.

For $96,200, the next filly BG pits eight against one another, with Burke’s Sassa Hanover sporting six wins in eight starts and a hefty bankroll. The “Rocknroll” blood flows through five of the eight (including Burke’s probable favorite). Takter’s Zip Code Envy leaves from the far outside but if she is getting better, she may get better than the best here.

The remaining filly BG ($96,200) may develop into a fine wagering race if three of the obvious choices don’t divide the win pool. Ross Croghan has a good one with Shakai Hanover and she may lose support to the Burke gals. If you are looking for a boost in exotics, try using Deli Beach, who may split rivals if they go too fast to the half—it’s a long stretch and there’s a lot of room to catch up.

Friday’s 12-race program gets underway at 7:00 p.m.

Photo of Lexington during Autumn by Tom Tanner


Follow major BC hopefuls on their road to the November Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands 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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