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.