Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Always B Miki poised to make the plunge to prove he may be best

This Friday, Oct. 31, Hoosier Park’s $275,000 stakes, The Monument Circle, offers 10 glamour-boy pacers another chance at a big paycheck before dropping into the box for the Breeders Crown elims.

But three of the field’s members are not eligible to the “Crown,” and one of them is possibly the best soph-colt pacer—Always B Miki.

Always B Miki first came to the attention of the public when he was second in The Meadowlands Pace. Leaving from post 9, he never saw the wood. He was six wide into the first turn and settled on the outside with cover but gapped that cover before putting on some speed after three-quarters. Then, he had to fan five wide and he closed strongly to soar home second. Hes Watching sat a perfect trip, going second over late, came out and rolled home following tired ones, as the tremendous fractions forced horses to walk the last hundred yards.

Always B Miki was better than Hes Watching in the “Pace” and is now superior to most in the Monument Circle field. Hes Watching is not in the field at Hoosier Friday. After a few terrible, though predictable losses following the Pace, Hes Watching may be done for the season.

When Hes Watching won the Pace, we still considered Jk Endofanera the division’s leader, a status greatly disagreed about among many insiders, all of whom embraced the Pace winner and practically anointed him with the divisional crown. No one saw the Pace win as opportunistic, except us, and we went on to beat Hes Watching while he burned bettors’ money.

But “Jk,” lost in the smoke of the Pace fractions, went on campaigning successfully after losing the Pace and is still kicking, coming off some wins as he faces the Monument Circle field.

Also in the Monument Circle is our Little Brown Jug winner, Limelight Beach and Windy City Pace winner Big Boy Dreams, who is another Crown ineligible but hardly makes the cut compared to “Miki” and Jk.

Six of the colts are from the Ron Burke barn but only Jk appears to be in the direct path of Miki for the lion’s share of this purse. Winning this race would put trainer Joe Holloway and the connections of Miki into serious conversations about supplementing Miki to the Crown.

Miki is 10 for 17, many at Hoosier where the Indiana-bred devours any competition in his state division, but Miki has beaten some of the best and comes into this affair with $641,482 earnings, second only to Jk, who is just short of a million.

There is no way for us to suspect that Jk and Miki cancel one another out, leaving room for an upset, we simply see what we have seen all along being the core of the race. Jk will drop into the Crown box whether he wins this or not but seeing Miki’s name there depends on a forceful win in the Monument Circle and that is something we feel will propel a win here, even if his connections decide not to dig into their pockets.

It’s hard to assign a fair price to Miki but he may be more than usual considering the star-studded lineup and the Burke barrage involved.

The other non-eligible is Bluehourpower, one of our Indiana Sires Stakes winners two weeks back. Also in the field are Crown hopefuls At Press Time, Forty Five Red, Let’s Drink On It, Somewhere in LA and Jet Airway.


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.

Cartoons by Thom Pye

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dayton offers derbies for elder eligibles

This Friday, Oct. 24, the newest harness track, Dayton Raceway in Ohio, lays out $282,000 worth of purses for older pacers and trotters in the wake of its first meet.

Breeders Crown hopefuls from the aged categories on both gaits add one more event to their agenda before the “Crown” elims in November with these two hefty pursed races and some of the best have come west for the chances to pump their payrolls.

The pacing field features seven that shoot for the best chunk of $122,000.

Two of Ron Burke’s best free-for-allers, Clear Vision and Foiled Again leave behind the consistent Midwesterner Night Pro. That one is 11 for 21 and as fast as them all.

Apprentice Hanover is always a challenger and from post 7 comes Dancin Yankee, who seems to scoot the best when not up against the big Burke boys on the stakes circuit.

Brian Brown brings two with Santa Fe Beachboy and Beach Memories. These two need some awesome trips to nail a win here.

In the scheme of things, Apprentice Hanover should go off at higher odds than his chances. Those chances are so good because he could get the kind of trip that gives him a big paycheck, that is, pacing off of the Burke boys. That pair will get some battle action from the Brown pair because they are not going to roll around the three turns without making a move.

But one move by either will only be enough to discourage the steps needed for Foiled Again to win and Clear Vision may be tangled in those moves, too. Night Pro probably won’t try to strike until late and could be second in a large exacta with “Apprentice,” who could fly while relaxing in stride as the battles commence around him.

The trotting derby is worth $160,000 and with the Yonkers International Trot Preview taking some of the star power out of this event there are still nine stalwart trotters, including the “now” horse, Creatine.

Some names not bantered about line the field’s list and make this a fine betting race. For instance, Opening Night, who shone a bit in a Hambletonian final a few seasons back; Dw’s Ny Yank, a Burke earner that has cashed some big checks; Wishing Stone, the internationally experienced bloke who has been working hard for team Burke; and Daylon Magician, who carries trainer/driver Jack Moiseyev around (it has been a bit since Jack left the Ontario circuit).

While Creatine collects the most bets in the win pool and Market Share takes his fans’ support, we would like to see Dw’s Ny Yank dismissed, his odds bulging from post 2. He should get one hell of a trip in the catbird seat while his stable mate, Wishing Stone, guns for a good position early. “Daylon” may be a part of the first-half speed that could collapse. Certainly Market Share hopes it will, as he will probably be first up and firing late.

All of this could give Dw’s Ny Yank the few extra steps he needs to tap dance over the finish line and beat Creatine for a strong-paying win. 


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.

Cartoons by Thom Pye

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yonkers Trot elims on tap

This Saturday, Oct. 18, the glamour-boy trotters get another shot at big money, as two $40,000 Yonkers Trot elimination divisions set the boys up for the final’s field on Oct. 25.

The final is worth $500,000, as the Yonkers Trot remains a major stake for the division, as well as a traditional staple in the stakes season.

Although Jimmy Takter trotters have a presence, the top dog in the division, his Father Patrick, is not in the elim mix.

Nuncio, however, is here, and will be leading the win-pool totals off of his $1-million-plus earnings, his eight-for-13 win record, the Takter name and driver John Campbell. Before the Kentucky Futurity, Nuncio played second fiddle to his stable mate Father Patrick. Nuncio won the Kentucky Futurity (a single heat this year) and arrives at this stakes elim with more than he has ever offered.

Once again, an Ake Svanstedt property may have a good chance of making Nuncio work for a win, if not be beaten. Dd’s Hitman has raced only nine times and has earned $56,803 for the efforts. He is getting better and if he brings his talent up a notch here, he could deliver a fine win price.

Exotic-wise, you may want to ignore the 8 hole for Trond Smedshammer’s Skates N Plates and use him as an element as Trond hands the reins over to George Brennan and will send “Skates” out hard looking for a berth in the final.

The second elimination has a few of the division’s second-string success stories in Gural Hanover, Hillustrious, Datsyuk (one of only two horses to beat Father Patrick this season if you don’t count the Hambletonian debacle), and especially Flyhawk El Durado. Though EL Titan is listed, the colt is also listed in the Maywood Galt Stakes on Oct. 17 (see TwinSpires harness blog). It is more than likely the colt will go in Chicago since drawing post 8 here.

Ron Burke handles Gural Hanover and Hillustrious, coming from the 1 and 2 post, respectively, so expect plenty of action on them. Datsyuk is bound to be among the top three public choices. But Flyhawk El Durado—a colt well acquainted with Yonkers—may not take as much support as he has in the past against New York-breds. Pound for pound, “Flyhawk” is probably a better horse than both of Burke’s and if he is third choice or worse there is no exception for us about who gets the win wager.  

Soph-pacing fillies negotiate for the Lady Maud Final’s field with two $20,000 elims on the same program. There are only five in round one and we like Fancy Desire in a romp. She may get to be second choice if Burke’s A La Notte Hanover picks up driver Brennan, who is listed on both fillies. It would be good to give Burke Brennan, it would boost our odds in this small field.

Six go in round two and it seems to belong to the obvious Act Now. This could be a great night for Brennan, who gets Act Now in this elim. As a key horse, Act Now may work well to pay decently in an exacta with Do Your Job.


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.

Cartoons by Thom Pye

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Historics at Harrah’s

The Historic Series has come to America’s historic city, led by Breeders Crown eligibles.

On Friday, Oct. 10, Harrah’s Philadelphia presents a trio of Historic Series Debutante events. Then on Sunday, Oct. 12, the Historic Harriman and Historic Goshen highlight the harness program.

Ideal Nuggets, Deli Beach and Happiness are eligibles that account for half of the first Debutante field. Happiness is two for two and the lightly raced filly has everything to gain headed for the “Crown.” She may be a decent price, too, considering a few non-eligibles with good records.

Another sextet of Debutantes features four eligibles, one a strong favorite. That’s My Little Delight. The Noel Daley
student has only a maiden win but has racked up the most earnings in the field and the second fastest mark. Our contender is Rock Me Gently, a firm competitor in 10 tries. Be aware she may become an underlay if the fans begin wagering on her due to driver Yannick Gingras. He is on a popular streak and many bettors like to bet on drivers over horses. We like the driver, of course, but we support the horse no matter who guides him.

The last of the trio also offers a field of six, with three eligibles: Seeking Nirvana, Southwind Roulette and Bossers Joy. Southwind Roulette will take all the money but that will just make Bossers Joy odds better than her chances. The Kevin McDermott filly has raced with some top talent, though only breaking her maiden in the win column.

Sunday, Oct. 12, the features are a pair of E.H. Harriman frosh-colt trots and a trio of Goshen Cup miles for the frosh-colt pacers.

In the Harriman’s first trot, five of the seven entered are maidens. Judge the value of the overwhelming favorite for youself but Don’t Mind Me towers over the crew in money and experience. He is a key for the win in exotics, at least.

The other Harriman, non-eligible Ralph R will get a lot of support and it may take some money from eligible Explosive Drama, who from the rail should be best. Beware of Jimmy Takter’s Ferragamo on the outside. He is not an eligible but could be a big spoiler or an exacta property.

The first Goshen Cup features Ron Burke’s eight-for-eight colt Yankee Bounty. Under the radar here, though, may come the ineligible Takter colt, Bet You. With money also going to In The Arsenal, whose two Lexington wins were opportunity-ignited, Takter’s good earner will offer good money along with good chances.

The next Goshen Cup split won’t offer the price on Hall Of Terror that we got last week but a few guys in here may spread the win money thin. Asap Hanover may turn out the top choice due to his speed badge but Wild Again has been knocking on the win door and will get attention. Still, we like Lone Survivor, because he has been racing with foes less green and has made money doing it at odds we like.

Finally, the remaining Goshen Cup, six more colts, is a good spot for My Hero Ron, who may be greatly overlooked due to Takter’s Soto from the inside.


Cartoon by Thom Pye

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.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Takter's top duo rule futurities

For the first time, the historic Kentucky Futurity will make more history, as the soph-colt trot will be held in a single mile--a first for the event.

Only nine colt trotters have been entered for the $435,000 event on Sunday, Oct. 5, at The Red Mile.

The Filly Futurity will also be on the program.

The main event for the glamour-boy trotters leaves little room for handicapping or betting, as Father Patrick takes on the other eight:

Dasyuk, Dee Dee's Hitman, Hillustrious, Il Sogno Dream, Lightning Force, Martiniwithmuscle, Mr Lindy and Nuncio.

Barring another strange Hambletonian-like incident--the odds of that are long--Father Patrick has no worries about beating this group, even Dasyuk, who beat him by a hair once this year.

The fillies may not offer more action, either.

Their futurity, also a single mile, features:

Chivaree Hanover, Heaven's Door, Highest Peak, Scream And Shout, Shake It Cerry, Vanity Matters and Yoga.

Yoga is a late-developing gal that shares the Jimmy Takter tag with Shake It Cerry.

Heaven's Door has been competitive with "Cerry" and others in the division.

Mr Lindy will go a good mile against Cerry but she is hard to back as an upset.

Scream And Shout has awoken a bit and may be second best here if she puts her all into it.

So we are left, again, with the two Takter giants, Father Patrick and Shake It Cerry. Post position won't matter and neither will drivers (Cerry's driver Ron Pierce is always saying after she wins that he just goes along for the ride).

The futurities may break speed records for either of the top two but the stakes won't make history for public opinion: the top two are the tops.