Another rare evening in the Midwest comes to harness fans this week as Maywood Park offers a quartet of major stakes on Friday, Nov. 16. The it’s north for Open pacing mares with the Forest City Pace Final at Western Fair. The weekend goes through Sunday again this week with Matrons and the Progress Pace at Dover.
The Chicago Four
The half-mile Chicago oval hosts for stakes on Friday’s program, three for sophomores and one for freshmen. As always, the half-mile presents some challenges for a few that have become comfortable on the two- and three-turn miles. Here are those races—not in the order of their appearance on the card—with our comments.
More work is in store for a few of the regular glamour-boy pacers as eight take on the four turns in the $215,000 Windy City Pace. Repeating last week’s competition on Yonkers’ half mile, the top four from the inside out will be, no doubt, going early to find a good position, if not a chance to wire the rest.
Hurrikane Kingcole disappointed again last week. He may just be trouble trying to lead these around. Pet Rock let Bolt The Duer get the best of him when that one stalked and saved ground. A Rocknroll Dance has not yet proven he has recovered entirely from throat surgery. And in the best position for our money is Dynamic Youth.
He failed as the choice last week in the Am-Nat and may be overlooked a bit because of it. As well, the crowd will be betting Tim Tetrick, who is, at press time, named on Lucky Jet and Mcerlean, and whichever he takes will take money that could help Dynamic Youth’s odds.
Glamour-boy trotters set the scene of the $108,000 Galt Stakes. Only a mistake, break or speed-dueling hang can prevent Market Share from another victory (he easily won the Am-Nat last week at Balmoral). But we would not fault anyone who took shots with Appomattox or Frost Bites K against him here, only because of the four turns and some possible traffic problems. In any configuration, we imagine those are the triple horses.
Daniel Day-Lewis may not be in the winner’s circle to present the honors of the $110,000 Abe Lincoln but frosh-colt pacers will represent the 16th President’s namesake trying to get into the spotlight (Day-Lewis stars in the recently acclaimed movie, “Lincoln.”).
Our super longshot special is one of six in this field. That’s correct, last week we gave you Our Dragon King and he won, paying $46.80. His chore is far less strenuous this week and he will be far less than 22-1 on the toteboard as the field leaves. But he should win this easily.
Soph-filly pacers adorn the field in the $83,000 Cinderella Stake.
Last week this division’s Am-Nat race was marred by jumpers that scattered the field. In the thick of that malaise was our choice, Blackjack Princes at 66-1. At the finish she was 8 lengths behind the winner, American Jewel, who was not in the tangle, but still second.
Her morning line is 9-2 and considering the crowd will go for Big McDeal and Eighthundrdolarbill from Philly, you may expect more than 9-2, though that would be a fair price and one we would gladly support.
Dover Downs features Matron Stakes and the Progress Pace on Sunday, Nov. 18. This is the penultimate round of big events for the season with two- and three-year-olds clawing their way to top-purse events before their birthdays.
Five go in the $159,675 Matron for frosh-colt trotters. Giant-priced Sand Royal Blu will not be worth the bet this week and with only a quintet of colts, the value will be in the single digits. All Laid Out may have a better shot than the crowd will give him here, certainly since players of drivers won’t embrace James Rattray.
Frosh-filly trotters go for $124,125 in their Matron Final. Again, only five take to the gate. Going against Royal Assets may be the move here with support for Ma Chere Hall. Trainer Jonas Czernyson’s stock still doesn’t get the total praise it deserves and a good price could be expected from his gal here in this compact field.
Frosh-filly pacers are next in the $160,650 Matron, with seven on board. Big money will cover the win pool for Somwheroverarainbow and it is difficult to bet for or against her in this group. You judge the value of this mega-favorite in a play-or-pass situation.
There’s $149,400 for the soph-filly trotters’ Matron, with eight at the gate. We will take a shot with Jimmy Takter’s filly, Superstar Hanover, in a late surge against the big favorite, Win Missy B. Takter’s gal should be tightened, as she is being primed for a strong four-year-old career, only a month or so away.
Two-year-old colt pacers rumble for $165,975 in their Matron Final. This event is rife for an upset if the morning line predicts Twilight Bonfire correctly as the choice. Indeed, Sir Richard Z Tam could go off a third choice and that would be generous.
With Market Share at Maywood the night before, glamour-boy trotters are spared the division leader’s wrath again and left to interpretation by handicappers. Guccio finally put in a good one last week and paid well, while Little Brown Fox seemed sluggish after an early battle for the lead, while favorite Googoo Gaagaa gave into the 9 hole. This week, “Googoo” will attempt to put them all in pace, as the pacing-bred trotter was apt to do earlier, when the competition was tougher.
The $270,000 Progress Pace will offer Heston Blue Chip a spot as the choice in his late-season surge against his division’s foes. However, this is Sweet Lou’s race to lose. Back on a five-eighths mile oval where he was best driven by companion Dave Palone, from post 1 he should be raring to make “Heston” work too hard to win. You may even get one of the best prices the world-champion colt has offered yet.
Finally, the soph-filly pace Matron, worth $123,939, may offer us a big overlay in Handsoffmycookie. She almost won the Lady Maude at Yonkers last week and with a twist of luck and her fine pacing ability may be able to turn the tables on the obvious public choice, Darena Hanover. As well, watch for a sweeping close from Shelliscape to be a part of the exotics.
Forest City Pace
Eightt older pacing mares (with two also-eligibles in the wings if a scratch or two comes to pass) face one more huge purse with the $200,000 Forest City Pace Final at Western Fair on Saturday, Nov. 17. Ron Burke has three in there and we can make a case for either Rocklamation, Ginger And Fred or Camille.
The mare of the moment, however, could be Tea Party Princess. Her elimination trip found her battling a long way on the outside after a 7-length brush which brought her within 2 lengths of winner Rocklamation (who had it easy on top all the way). She is the contender most likely to be overlooked, worthy of backing in a group that can be thwarted on this wicked half-mile.
Ray Cotolocontributed to this edition.