Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Quantum of mediocrity

The 2013 Breeders Crown finals hosted a herd of horses that were arguably more talented than many casts of equine characters in the past decade, maybe longer. As well, the grand total of talent was headed by a quartet of horses that rose above the remarkable cache of competitors.

The Four Horses of the Apocalypse, so to speak, are Captaintreacherous, I Luv The Nitelife, Father Patrick and Bee A Magician. They ruled over exceptional fields in their divisions, putting them on a near-legendary plane. Indeed, if horses, like people, can be measured by the company they keep, these four particular heroes and heroines are superlative examples of the breed, no less their individual divisions.

All you need to do is spotlight the great horses that lost and not just in the four divisions represented by the “Four Horses.” Peruse your program again and imprint the names of these steeds into your brain for future support at the windows, as well as for what they may contribute to the bloodline.

Hail the fallen, too. In the two-thirds of divisions free of fighting the Four Horses, commemorate the many off-the-board finishers that came to the Pocono Mountains to fight and fought, though the mile journey was not paved with gold for them. I hasten to drop names here, for to isolate one or two would insult the others.

Suffice it to say that Uffizi Hanover won the frosh-filly pace against eight fillies that were neither green nor weak. It was the same with Shake It Cerry; she toppled eight frosh trotters that each may have beaten any number of others the division offered this season.

Market Share’s Open Trot win excelled, also, in face of his competition. Luck Be Withyou’s win was lifted by the talents of eight others, as were the miles of Maven (mare trot), Shelliscape (mare pace), Spider Blue Chip (soph-colt trot) and Foiled Again (Open pace).

This was not a ruck of horses, this was a preternatural, communal caldron of horses in top condition, undaunted in their efforts even as Mother Nature placed physically severe conditions their hoofs. Not a one of them suffered the ignominy of being forgotten; each will most assuredly be heard from again in their next campaign level. 
So, to all of the equine participants and their human connections, we loudly applaud from the grandstands and the apron’s tack.


Thank you for follow the Breeders Crown Countdown blog and the TwinSpires harness blog; archived reports on the season’s results appear at the Hambletonian Society web site and we thank the society for its appreciation of harness bettors everywhere. We hope to provide you another season of champions when the Breeders Crown returns, this time to the New Meadowlands, in 2014.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stalwart seniors tough it out in four finals

This Saturday at Pocono Downs the Breeders Crown the older sets co-star in the dozen finals for the 2013 championship program. The main TwinSpires harness blog brings you here for the analysis of this quartet. Here are the fields, along with comments for each horse, followed by our two suggested top contenders not necessarily in order of preference.

$250,000 Mares Open Trot
Post - Horse
1 – Maven – She is the obvious public choice and has done best in her division all year.
2 - Check Me Out – Last season Maven could not keep up with this gorgeous gal. This season things have reversed, except her elim was a sign of maturity she hasn’t shown while trying to make her four-year-old season a success.
3 - Bax Of Life – She just cannot beat these under the usual circumstances and probably won’t tonight, either.
4 – Unefoisdanmavie – Her elim was super. She was second over, made up plenty of ground and closed to beat two inside of her.
5 – Dorsay – Her breaking issues were gone in the elim but she was short and that is disturbing.
6 - Real Babe – A suck-a-long type that should not cause much trouble.
7 - Beatgoeson Hanover – This one needs a trip and a speed duel in front, neither likely to accommodate her here.
8 - Cedar Dove – Few scenarios offer evidence she will win.
9 - Cowgirl Hall – She had promise but her elim was flat.
AE1 - Win Missy B – She showed a ton of speed coming back from a layoff, needed that race and could be considered but she most likely will not get into the race.
AE2 - Mystical Starlight – It would be luck to get into the race and she would need a lot more to win it.

Check Me Out; Unefoisdansmavie; Maven

$500,000 Open Pace
Post - Horse
1 - Clear Vision – He has gotten better as the season waned but won’t be the best in time to win this.
2 - Foiled Again – He won the elim strongly but his in-and-out form this season makes him vulnerable.
3 - Golden Receiver – He never regained the power he had at the beginning of the season and did not impress us in his elim but he has a history of surprising wake-up miles.
4 - Modern Legend – This guy could be peaking at the right time. He raced a tougher trip than the winner last week, passing three while closing to be best of the rest.
5 - Pet Rock – He is always in it and with the week off (from his bye) he could be the strongest when the smoke has cleared.
6 - Warrawee Needy – At best he was a contender all year and never a strong threat. One great race does not a season make, so to speak.
7 - Michaels Power – Why is he even in this race? He was never a first-notch contender.
8 - Bolt The Duer – He will strike when opportunity knocks and some other horse does all the work through the mile. That scenario will not present itself here.
9 - Sweet Lou – He fights and can win either way but it looks like he will be in traffic and that won’t do his talent any justice.
AE1 - Bettors Edge – There is little chance he will be in it and then he will have to rely on a speed duel to close.
AE2 - A Rocknroll Dance – What the hell happened to him last week? He may have emptied his tank of comeback fuel that got him back into the divisional picture late.

Modern Legend; Pet Rock; Golden Receiver

$300,000 Open Mares Pace
Post - Horse
1 – Rocklamation – We have been with her for all of her high-paying wins but we don’t feel this will be one of them.
2 – Anndrovette – She won off of a great trip and was one of the rare horses to close on the inside she but may not get such a journey this week.
3 - Economy Terror – She has been dull all season and was no bargain in the elim.
4 - Swinging Beauty – We liked her in the elim but she couldn’t get going in a great spot behind a duel so she seems no threat.
5 - Monkey On My Wheel – She was just nabbed by Anndrovette and deserves the call to be a few steps better than the others now. She was improving every week since coming back into action and may be looking at a strong winter campaign.
6 - Feeling You – She may be involved because she is good and you can toss out her elim but we don’t think she will win it.
7 – Shelliscape – There was never any real threat from her in this division.
8 – Camille – Her season appears over already, she makes no noise when the going is silent.
9 - Drop The Ball – She will get some action but may have to work too hard for her own good from this post.
AE1 - Krispy Apple – There is no worry she will upset if she gets in it.
AE2 - Ooh Bad Shark – This one has no bite, if you will excuse the pun.

Monkey On My Wheel; Rocklamation; Anndrovette

$600,000 Open Trot
Post - Horse
1 - Market Share – It looked early like the 2012 Hambo winner was going to dominate but it was a rash forecast. We don’t feel he is seasoned enough yet.
2 - Wishing Stone – This guy is always a threat and has beaten them all more than once.
3 - My MVP – There seems no argument that he would perform his best here and topple the likes of this group.
4 – Guccio – Perhaps next year he will be a dynamo but that scourge will probably not begin in this race.
5 – Intimidate – He appears ready to try another late-season stroll in the limelight but we think he is over his head.
6 - Mister Herbie – Can we ever toss out this monstrous guy who, though inconsistent as a winner, always finds a way to be in it.
7 - Arch Madness – The Red Mile rumbled from his performances and he has his favorite driver-trainer at the throttle. We expect a very big mile.
8 - Uncle Peter – The strength at the end of the mile will be with him and the 7 horse because they are simply in the best shape of the lot coming into this event.
9 – Sevruga – He may not care to be wide for two turns and once he puts in gear that is what he may have to tolerate to win.

Arch Madness; Uncle Peter; Mister Herbie

The Breeders Crown Countdown blog and the TwinSpires harness blog have presented this exclusive look at great betting races that included eligibles weekly. The archived reports on the results at the Hambletonian Society web site.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Young guns launch elim weekend at Pocono

This Friday, Oct. 11, at Pocono Downs the Breeders Crown elims for frosh filly trotters and frosh filly pacers each have a pair of divisions presented, as well as a single mile for the frosh colt trotters. In the multi-divisions the top four finishers return for the Oct. 19 finals, while the single heat offers the top seven a shot at the two byes.

The colt trotters will battle to meet Credit Fashion and Don Dorado in the final and Father Patrick, undeniable division leader, leads them. He makes his start from post 9 and may have only one serious contender in the returning-to-action Nuncio, who has chased him in major affairs over the summer. These two could explain the exacta, with a topple of “Patrick” if Nuncio has gotten a bit sharper and gets a step or two advantage here.

Next is a shot at another outsider, Demanding Sam. She is in from Canada and a Champlain winner there, coming from this circuit where she raced well against similar. She won’t win off the top but she will be close enough to shimmy up the open stretch if they get winded from fast early fractions, which looks the case.

The first filly pacer elim features a gal that may be headed for sophomore stardom. Ali Blue is a game youngster, making mature moves with an ability to quickly fix a mistake. She may be a good price here, getting post 7 and being on the outside of some others that will attract a few bucks.

The last of the filly double elim package should be an easy spin for Precocious Beauty. She gets the inside and has no reason not to win her eighth of nine starts. She has not been beaten since August.

There are no eliminations necessary for the $500,soph-filly pace or the  $600,000 Open Trot.

I Luv The Nitelife, the undisputed soph- filly pacing leader, will start from post 7 in her division’s final; Somwherovrarainbow leaves from post eight. Shebestingin, who on paced the fastest mile in history by a female pacer when she won a division of the Glen Garnsey Memorial in 1:47 at The Red Mile, drew post 5. 
The frosh filly trotters start off with a division that may spark a few opinions on which gal is best. We like the chances of Goddess, who won a Kindergarten Stakes easily from the outside three back and lost her next two with a few excuses. She will be the outside contender and worth the price we expect.
Follow the Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs here at the Breeders Crown Countdown blog and the TwinSpires harness blog weekly, with archived reports on the results at the Hambletonian Society web site.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Glamour groups ride again; contenders bracing for ‘Crown’ elims

(BC) = Breeders Crown eligible
Sunday, Oct. 6, many historic victories of the past at The Red Mile come to mind for harness racing buffs. The Kentucky Futurity has been a main event since its inception in 1893. It’s an open race for trotting sophomores, colts and fillies, supported by a sister event, the futurity solely for fillies and uses a heats-format. 
The champions (winning two heats) have been mostly favorites and record-book names (Peter The Great, Super Bowl, Peace Corps, Deweycheatumnhowe, Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill, etcetera) but the heats have produced some strong win prices, usually delivered by winners whose names are long forgotten. The 2014 edition looms boldly and the search for defeating the early choice—Royalty For Life (BC-RC Royalty)—ensues.

Fourteen colts have entered into the main event, all colts, with each heat of seven worth $79,050.

The first heat finds Royalty For Life facing far less than he defeated in the Hambletonian, though a major foe, Master Of Law, not eligible for the “Crown,” is here to try to beat him once more. It seems unlikely that Royalty For Life won’t handle this bunch and be ready to take on the second heat and win the title. He will make it to round two in any case so to get any dollars out of this heat you will have to key him with unlikely scenarios.

Those would include Master Of Law third or out of the money entirely. Certainly Punxsutawney (BC-Glidemaster) may race well enough to be second, as should Deadliest Catch (BC-Chocolatier), who is our personal favorite to be second (the crowd should dismiss him).

Spider Blue Chip (BC-Andover Hall) should get a great deal of the win pool under his number but we are still looking at the overlay possibilities of Lindy’s Tru Grit (BC-Cantab Hall). We liked him last week and the crowd hated him (29-1) and he finished second to Your So Vain (BC-Donato Hanover), who is in this field and will be bet heavily as well as Spider Blue Chip. This is a good upset possibility and worthy of a shot and worthy of inclusion in all exotics.

The final will play itself out and probably go to Royalty For Life but we remain more interested in the heats. 

Nine fillies will race twice (barring any scratches) and we like one of them winning both of the heats and taking the filly championship. Oddly enough, our choice, which we feel may offer a decent price at least in the first heat, is a non-eligible. Classic Martine. Her recent races are sterling examples of being in great shape to topple the likes of the obvious public choices. Any great price on her will be offered in heat one, so we will take our shot with her where she may promise the highest price.

The Pocono Publicity Department released news on some eligibles that have prepped at the track with qualifiers on Oct. 3. 
Free-for-all pacing millionaires Warrawee Needy (BC-E Dee’s Cam) and Razzle Dazzle (BC-Real Desire) put on a dazzling show around the five-eighths mile track hosting the Breeders Crown elims on Oct. 11 and Oct. 12 and the finals on Oct. 19. Warrawee Needy got to Razzle Dazzle in a battle to the finish, a 1:50 mile. 
Warrawee Needy has been in Pennsylvania for two weeks and qualified last week in 1:52 last Thursday.  Razzle Dazzle has been absent from the racetrack for over two months. Warrawee Needy is now trained by Mark Ford. 
The magnificent soph-filly pacer, I Luv The Nitelife (BC-Rocknroll Hanover), who skipped racing at Lexington, defeated her qualifying field by 4 lengths for trainer Chris Ryder in 1:52.2. She is no stranger to Pocono, having won the James Lynch Final and the Valley Forge in 2013. 
Witnesses agreed that perhaps the most impressive mile of the day, when measured to divisional standards, was the 1:55.1 victory of the freshman trotting gelding Don Dorado (BC-Donato Hanover) for trainer Robert Baggitt, Jr. Don Dorado recently won the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes’ division.
Smilin Eli (BC-Muscles Yankee), still a strong contender amont the sophomore trotting colts, took the shortest way home to win his qualifier in 1:53.3 for trainer David M. Smith. And two-year-old pacing filly Rockincam Park (BC-Rocknroll Hanover) was untroubled on the lead in a 1:54 win for trainer Ron Coyne, Jr. 
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.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Eligibles among New York champs’ battles

(BC) = Breeders Crown eligible

This Saturday, Sept. 28, Yonkers Racetrack holds the 24th edition of the New York Night of Champions. The $1.8-million program offers eight, $225,000 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) finals for two-and three-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. In the mix are some Breeders Crown eligibles with a fine showing from a final the weight in the balance of going to the big show at Pocono in a few weeks.

In the two-year-old colt trot, Credit Fashion (BC-Credit Winner) is the lone eligible and a probable favorite. He has to battle multiple NYSS winner Flyhawk El Durado, who was in a dead heat for the win a week ag. We think the eligible will take it at a low payoff.

In the two-year-old filly trot final, a pair of Cash Hall products, Flyhawk Falina and Market Rally are the eligibles of eight going to post. But Maud Blue Chip could be the best here and rates the call, though another short price is guaranteed.
In the two-year-old filly pace there are six among the eight with tickets to Pocono. Sweetnsinful and  Supplemental Income, however, could take most of the win pool, so we can support Ali Blue (BC-American Idol), hopefully at a price better than the aforementioned pair.  

After losing her first nine starts this season, Bouncing Bax (BC-Credit Winner) has come back to win four straight, while Royal Malinda (BC-RC Royalty) comes off a winning effort at Batavia to be our top two choices in reverse order.  

The glamour-boy-trot final features a few familiar names. Four are eligible and we like Modest Prince (RC Royalty). He upset early this season and is more in his class among these state-breds. Non-eligible Tirade Hanover, a monster frosh that lost in a close final last year, comes here with four consecutive victories and could be part of the exotics.

The two-year-old colt pace features a definite favorite in the seven-for-seven sensation He’s Watching, who is coupled with Major Trick (BC-Art Major). Four other eligibles try to handle the Dave Menary-trained He’s Watching, now a world record-holder. No one connected to him expected the bargain-basement $3,000 yearling to turn into a pacing prince with 2013 earnings of $179,222 to date. Keying him to longshot eligible Twin B Speedo (BC-Art Major) could support a decent exacta but beware with the entry, the prices should be very low all around.

The soph-filly pace final offers defending champ Summertime Lea a chance to repeat, again at a short price. Social Scene (BC-American Ideal), the only eligible here,  set a track record for her division at Yonkers in mid-July and is our choice.

The glamour boy pacers finalize the program’s NYSS finals. This contest should come down to the sole pair of eligibles, Fool Me Once and defending champ Doctor Butch, both sons of Art Major. Fool Me Once is nine for 13 this season and “Butch” won the Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers in early June. With the most to gain, these two should wind up with top shares of the six-digit purse and make their ways to drop in the elims box at Pocono soon.

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.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mature mares on the march

(BC) = Breeders Crown eligible

This Saturday, Sept. 21, Mohawk Racetrack gathers the top pacing mares for the $284,000 Milton Final. Eight of the 10 involved have “Crown” credentials and one of them is looking to put the bulk of this purse in her bankroll.

Monkey On My Wheel (BC-Mach Three) is once again peaking late in the season. She surprised the bunch of them in last week’s single elim, getting a beautiful pocket trip behind Voelz Hanover. And at 21-1, Krispy Apple (BC-Western Ideal) supplied the trifecta with a huge third element.

Rocklamation (BC-Rocknroll Hanover) had the strongest trip, coming from far behind, most of the time wide, from a post-8 launch, to be a few steps behind Krispy Apple (who was sucked along without any muscle moves) at the finish.

Rocklamation gets post 9 for the final but that puts her in a common spot, that is, in a position where she can close strongly at long odds, as she has done in the past, and win it. At the probable price and with the proven ability to close hard to win at high odds and off of her strenuous but productive elim, she becomes our choice.

Certainly the public will be on the side of Monkey On My Wheel and Voelz Hanover as Randy Waples will again make an attempt to steal the show from the top. Perhaps Anndrovette (BC-Riverboat King) will be a bit more aggressive and challenge with her speed, as well as Drop The Ball (BC-Western Terror) will be zooming (she comes straight to the final, adding an ingredient to the speed factor that was absent last week).

Krispy Apple may make for some traffic up front, trying to save ground and if she gets into the fiery fractions contest, three-quarters could produce the kind of smoke that Rocklamation could cut through even with a lot of real estate to make up late.

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.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sophomore division heats up with trot classic

This Saturday, Sept. 14, the glamour boy trotters converge in their first major tango of the fall racing season, the $686,000 Canadian Trotting Classic (CTC)  at Mohawk Racetrack.  

Headlining the race into the eliminations was Hambletonian-winner Royalty For Life, who had triumphed over his fellow sophomore trotters in the past few stakes events after the August classic. The competition within the glamour boy division became enticing once Your So Vain trotted his way by Royalty For Life in an effortless 7-length recovery in a CTC elim.  

To add onto the competitive nature in the CTC, a new glamour boy arrived to the trail. With an impressive first over bid to victory, Master Of Law was stamped as a favorite. The colt from the Frank Antonacci stable appeared onto the sophomore-trotting scene by winning the final of the Kentucky Sires Stakes at The Red Mile. Due to the impressive nature of his victory, driver Scott Zeron chose him over other elimination winner Your So Vain.  

The CTC has two potential value contenders, both coming from the same elimination. Punxsutawney and Wheeling N Dealin have been rounding themselves back to their champion form in recent weeks. 

Punxsutawney has gotten his stride together, with a foot issue as the culprit for his breaking. Since his score in the Colonial Consolation, he has been consistently hitting the board and showing a love for competition. His furious bid in his elimination can define his competitiveness, flying out of the pocket once he had room to just get nosed by Master Of Law at the wire. Punxsutawney draws well heading into the final and will be a major player towards the final quarter.

Wheeling N Dealin has not lived up to his standards he set as a freshman. He was expected to continue to be the champion he was at two but instead took some time to get himself together. It was with the addition of Lasix last week in the elimination that he showed one of his best efforts this year, tracking the cover of Master Of Law from the half-mile and coming into the stretch appearing slightly live. Wheeling N Dealin would be a better play in the exotics versus his value counterpart, who will be up for the top honors.

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.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Senior Trot Theater

Vernon Downs hosts a pair of exceptional $200,000-plus stakes fields on Friday, Sept. 6 with the Muscle Hill Trot for mares and the Credit Winner for males.

This is two group of hopefuls that have experience and resilience.

The Credit Winner cast is tough from inside post to outside post, presenting a myriad of scenarios, including a front-bias that would give any early foot a distinct advantage (and there is plenty of it here).

Post, horse (BC-eligible sire)

1. Arch Madness (Balanced Image)
2. My MVP (Cantab Hall)
3. Market Share (Revenue S)
4. Sevruga (SJ’s Caviar)
5. Wishing Stone (Conway Hall)
6. Guccio (Yankee Glide)
7. Intimidate (Justice Hall)
8. Mister Herbie (Here Comes Herbie)

A big bargain here could be Mister Herbie, whose post and unpopularity will combine to bring his odds to overlay status. The Market Share fan club has been disappointed and Wishing Stone has once again shown his revenge to disloyal backers and Arch Madness shows signs like he is on the wane, with his best days behind him.

But Mister Herbie has still to peak as an elder statesman of this precociously global division. It would not surprise us if the crowd made him a fourth or fifth choice; in fact, it would thrill us.

The Muscle Hill is adorned with speedy matures:

Post, horse, (BC-eligible sire)

1. Beatgoeson Hanover (Andover Hall)
2. Intense America (Taurus Dream)
3. Pembroke Heat Wave (Like A Prayer)
4. Cedar Dove (Andover Hall)
5. Real Babe (Donato Hanover)
6. Maven (Glidemaster)
7. Personal Style (Yankee Glide)
8. Bax Of Life (Windsong’s Legacy)
9. D’orsay (Yankee Glide)
10. Check Me Out (Donato Hanover)

Bound to attract a lot of money is Beatgoeson Hanoer, last year’s event winner and coming into this after a world-record win at Pocono (1:51.4). But that recent speed trip was a cover trip and it cannot be trusted as a raw number.

The entry of Maven and D’orsay is the serious threat here, though our particular focus goes on the latter. Coupled or not, this is the perfect place for D’orsey to storm to the top and take the field chasing her all the way. The 9 hole would have once again raised her odds to the height we caught her floating on Hambo day. As well, Maven may try to steal it from the top, so getting both of them with one wager is quite a bargain.

The others can all be considered one way or another. Check Me Out is here and so is Personal Style, both capable of taking advantage of a speed duel, as well as becoming involved in one. Making it tougher is Bax Of Life, always a longshot threat, Cedar Dove and Pembroke Heat Wave.

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.


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.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

‘Zweig’ miles bring back top soph trotters and new additions

Here they are again, unconvinced just which one will rule this season. The soph-colt trotters battle again, this time at Vernon on Aug. 25 in the $360,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial.

Hambo-champ Royalty For Life is on the outside again, after dueling himself out of contention on the three turns of Pocono last week. It is better to suspect the same kind of duel, with Smilin Eli, will not develop here. Instead, perhaps we may count on some shuffling, all of which could give the best last strides to Aperfectyankee.

Corky will be on fire early and Pine Credit will look to become involved, along with Royalty For Life and Smilin Eli seeking position and perhaps taking and re-taking leads.

Last week, as Spider Blue Chip took advantage of the duel and shook loose late to win the Colonial, Aperfectyankee was flying but could only get fourth. Aperfectyankee, every bit as good as the classiest of this division, needs this kind of activity while in a good spot to fire. Post 2 may be the place. He certainly will be an overlay, as he continues to be among his ilk.

The $150,000 Zweig for the fillies is missing the best of the lot, Bee A Magician, so a tight battle may ensue. With Frau Blucher returning after some rest but getting the 9 hole and To Dream On also on the outside, this looks like another good chance for Mistery Woman to take flight. Look also for an aggressive Shared Past to become involved, she is  a danger to upset.

A $75,000 consolation for the colts features some unfamiliar names among the stakes group of this division. Perhaps another shocker is in the works with Hamdalla, from upset specialist trainer Riina Rekila. She exploded at Pocono last year with a relatively unknown and she drove. Here, she uses John Campbell and as the mystery factor may be worth a shot at a big price.

The $40,000 consolation for the fillies may be a simple romp for Miss Steele, who has been racing well against better and may fool the crowd into a big price considering her poor win record. The Millers will have her raring to go here, in a field that boasts few wins and bows to Miss Steele’s earnings this season.

Read the result stories at Hambletonian Society's Breeders Crown archive and get your account to bet at TwinSpires.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Autumn’s amazing cast of ‘Crown’ characters in full battle regalia for a month

Once again we launch The Breeders Crown Countdown, the official Hambletonian Society and TwinSpires bettors’ blog for stakes leading to the sport’s biggest nights of racing, the Breeders Crown elims and finals. This year marks the return of the series to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
All 12 event finals will be to be raced Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Eliminations for three-year-old-and-up events, as well as the two-year-old colt pace, if necessary will be raced Saturday, Oct.12, 2013. Eliminations for all other two-year-old events, if necessary go on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013. 

The estimated purses this years are:
Open Trot: $600,000
Mare Trot: $250,000
Open Pace: $500,000
Mare Pace: $300,000
2-year-olds: $600,000
3-year-olds: $500,000
This blog will offer valuable suggestions for wagering on all Breeders Crown (BC) eligibles competing in major events around North America (and sometimes Europe) leading to the elimination weekend. Other races involving possible participants (supplements, etcetera) are covered in the weekly TwinSpires harness blog. 
Keep up with the top horses in the divisions racing to the big nights at the Breeders Crown Countdown and read archived result stories at Hambletonian Society and get an account at TwinSpires to keep up with all the great harness bets. 
Top dogs 
Every horse from this season that has a spot in the top-10 earning list so far is a BC eligible. However, only six of the 12 divisions are represented on that list. The stakes with top earners—even beyond the top-10 list—will be a focus of this blog and the total of events concerning eligibles will be shared with the TwinSpires harness blog. 
The top-10 list, in order of earnings as of this post: 
Clearly one of the greatest pacers of all time, we have endorsed him to the benefit of bettors since the beginning of his super sophomore season. 
Bee A Magician
We found this great filly trotter at two, when she paid the most and began her domination of the frosh division. She has come on at three to beat everything that moves. 
Royalty For Life
The Hambletonian winner was one of our top picks in the April issue of Hoof Beats. Though he has not paid well enough to formally endorse at three, he is a major factor in his division. 
I Luv The Nitelife
We continually try to beat this beautiful soph filly and have been less than successful. Once we began to key her in exotics we saw profits. She is a wickedly fast filly that can already be called her division’s top choice in the big series.
Foiled Again
A stalwart older pacer who became the biggest earner of all time, he continues to challenge veterans and new-to-the-division four-year-olds with tenacity. He is always a threat. 
One of Jimmy Takter’s stream of trotters that shows enough talent to make this list without having won uber-major [sic] events. He has a lot to do to beat the likes of Royalty For Life and even Smilin Eli (who shows up as the 13th highest earner this year) but he may improve greatly as the temperatures tighten. 
Pet Rock
We nabbed him at three, seeing a whole lot of talent and then he exploded at four and has been a patch of wildfire in every older pacing event. 
Vegas Vacation
He made a lot of money so far but on the tail of Captaintreacherous. He is fast but not fast enough, he is aggressive but does not seem to overcome adversity like his main foe. 
We caught his older pacing gal every time the public backed off on her and cashed well. She still seeks the proper respect she should have for racing with force and ferocity.
Sunfire Blue Chip
Like the other glamour-boys pacers, this mid-season star has managed to do his best when Captaintreacherous is resting from one of his trounces of horses even better than this one. We don’t have a lot of confidence he will stay on this list for long.  

Other big earners, like Sevruga (older trotter), Feeling You (mare pacer) and some already deserving freshmen, will be covered weekly on the partnering blogs.