The two-year-olds pacers are stampeding as the second part of the season presents frosh stakes. The focus is on eliminations for more big finals tests as September rolls around.
At Yonkers, the historic Yonkers Trot for glamour-boy trotters has two eliminations on Aug. 29 and the finals of the Lady Maud and Hudson Filly Trot keep the program classy. The Messenger does not need elims, so next week glamour-boy pacing colts do it in a sole mile.
Then, across the border, Mohawk’s Saturday card is strewn with elims for the Metro Pace, Canadian Pacing Derby and She’s A Great Lady, three lucrative second-half-season events to launch month nine.
This week, the Breeders Crown Countdown (BCC ) blog coordinates with this, our main harness blog, at TwinSpires.com and the Hambletonian Society with coverage of Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and the Casual Breeze eliminations looking to find great wagering opportunities for “Crown” eligibles as they race their ways to the finals. This year the finals take place at Woodbine on Saturday, Oct. 24, with elims the week before.
Across The Hudson
The Hudson Filly Trot at Yonkers on Saturday, Aug. 29, probably won’t be won by one of last week’s elimination champs. Murderers Row took full advantage of the two top choices—Lady Winona and Marion Millionair—to make the final at 11-1. But she, along with those two, may have met their matches in the other elim winner, Bright Baby Eyes. She was not penalized for going on the attack, racing on the outside at three-quarters, because she is that good. She was in third when she charged, closing 3 lengths to get second and then gaining more than another length to win. She should own this final and hopefully we will get a decent price as the public hits on the three from elim two.
At the New York half-miler Yonkers on Saturday, two eliminations for the historic Yonkers Trot Final highlight the program. The stars are out for both elims, worth $40,000 each.
Pinkman returns off of his galloping gallivant in the Colonial that cost him the race. If he’s flat (and that race was the first sign of a bad gait in his soph season) he jogs in this against only four others. Crazy Wow took advantage of his break at Pocono and won but if Pinkman is in the race—and there is no reason he won’t be smmoth and powerful—“Crazy” has to look for a smaller check. If you key Pinkman, don’t expect a big exacta (show betting is bound to be banned) and if you are looking for the biggest, Wings Of Royalty could muster up a place.
The other elim features six sophs, all of which you could make a decent case for winning, even Billy Flynn, who is yet to win this season and has not been as sharp as predicted. Ake Svanstedt’s duo, Southwind Mozart and Centurion ATM protect the inside lanes and will try to take off early. Jimmy Takter’s French Laundry may start a second tier and hope to power through.
But Habitat, though he did not shine in the classic, has done some of his best work on half-miles and he doesn’t have Pinkman to contend with. The bettors may even go soft on him, leaving a great trotter in a great spot with a great price. Using Billy Flynn in the second spot could provide a surprisingly high payoff in an exacta. Even though “Billy” may have already proven he doesn’t belong with the first string of the division, he could trot through trouble or put in a great half-mile trip and pump up the price.
The $116,430 Lady Maud Final for soph-filly pacers is not packed with top talent, no less offering only a sextet of gals. This could make it a better betting race, especially since the top earner is the unknown Purrfect Bags. Her soph resume reveals she wins or is off the board (as in nine starts, winning seven). We know she has been racing in lesser company than this so we can look around her. The crowd will notice Ron Burke’s Bettor N Better and see Burke has teamed with top area driver George Brennan, which will bring in a lot of win money.
But this may be a perfect spot for Strut My Stuf. Ross Croghan’s student is only one for 13 but has picked up some big checks while battling the miles with four seconds and two thirds. He’s in a good Yonkers’ spot to start, getting post 3, and certainly fits among these rag-tag gals who face what may be the biggest purse for them all year.
The big two-year-old stakes prize is next week’s Metro Pace for frosh-colt pacers. No other frosh stakes has a higher profile before the Breeders Crown championships. The top three finishers in the trio of Metro elims at Mohawk on Saturday, Aug. 29, return for the $685,000 final next week.
Voracity prepped with a win and Tony Alagna’s colt will get a lot of support in this first elim, with eight at the gate. Alagna also has American Passport in here, leaving to the left of Jimmy Takter’s youngster, Cruise Patrol. In the middle of the pack is Burke’s Check Six, bound to get some action with popular Yannick Gingras aboard.
Takter’s Cruise Patrol has been gearing up for this and could surprise the obvious choices. All the brand names will be bet heavily but Takter’s could get away with some odds higher than are realistic. He was 4-1 last week finishing fifth and could be worth more in this, where he should race better.
In the second elim, Racing Hill returns from a good stakes prep, where he was third, and he will be all out to get into the final. That may take a bit out of him for next week or it may just wind him up to win both. This week, however, he will be worth more in the pools if he wins.
In the last elim, Burke’s Pretty Boy Hill deserves attention. Coming from the Meadows, he would have been on the H2W list had he not entered here. He is raring for a good mile and this could be the one. With the crowd bound to adore The Catamount Kid and be loyal to Coleman with Betting Line, Pretty Boy Hill will be a good bet.
Frosh-pacing fillies race in two elims on Aug. 29, also at Mohawk. Two of last week’s Eternal Camnation stakes winners will be the favorites in this pair.
Alagna’s Thatsoveryverynice has won three of four and that is enough to keep the public betting to win in the first elim. Takter and daughter Nancy Johansson are after the win with Albany Girl and JK Fannie, respectively. We’ll give JK Fannie a shot here, as Johansson’s youngsters always get to the gait fit and are unreasonably ignored by the crowd.
LA Delight is Bob McIntosh’s key to getting into this division for the Crowns and she is bound to be the choice in elim two as she looks for her seventh-straight win. Johansson is also cooking in this elim with Darlinonthebeach, who was worked hard last week but has a great deal of reasons to improve on her road to the final.
The Canadian Pacing Derby elims are also on the Mohawk program Aug. 22 and these stalwart older pacers continue to pound the limestone through the second half of the season. Right now, State Treasurer is everyone’s choice in the division and being on his home turf will bring out the fans and their win bets for elim one. Fourth and impressive in the Dan Patch, Captive Audience is a definite contender but won’t draw much attention to the win pool. We’ll opt what they give us and go for the upset.
The second “Derby” episode has a familiar cast, each recognizable entry used to a place in the winner’s circle. As we said a few weeks ago, Takter’s hold on JK Endofanera is a winning grasp and the four-year-old is on fire. He will be played heavily. Burke’s trio may all work too hard by the half to make a final impact, leaving a possible perfect trip for Mach It So. “JK” is to be as feared as his odds will present but Mach It So is in this and will be worth more if he wins.
Review our choices and follow the wagering at the prescribed track. These are possible contenders we have judged from reviewing races. The horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track after the date they will be racing. The race in which they are entered (R and race number) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name it means it is appearing on the list for the second (and last) time because it failed to win the first time it appeared. An “ae” signals the horse is entered on the also-eligible list. If a horse is listed twice, refer to the entries on the night of the race since a horse may enter in more than one race. Types of wagering on any of the H2W listed horses are based on your judgment. If you have any questions, email us at TwinSpires.
8/28/15, Mr Bricks R5; Robin Would R11
8/27/15, +Gramercy Hanover R7
8/27/15, +Hey Dali R4; +Dali Treasure R9
8/29/15, +AM Magic Man R14
8/27/15, Simply Burbon R3; Flukys Girl ae R7
8/28/15, Badiou Hanover R6
8/27/15, Flirtin Duezy R4
8/28/15, A Dandy Bryer R10
8/28/15, Ballyhoo R5; Pacific Wine R10
8/28/15, +Cedar Hall Dream R9
8/27/15, Sumatra R6
8/28/15, +Sandbetweenurtoes R11
8/30/15, Joes Fire R11
8/26/15, +Bettor Angel R3
8/27/15, +Lindyholic R9
8/29/15, +Fashion Creditor R4
8/27/15, Dreamers Can Fly R2; Beachy Dreamer R8
8/29/15, +Deo Gloria R1; Forest Raider R7
8/27/15, Cold Escape R6
8/27/15, Kacys Coop R3
8/29/15, McWilliam R9
8/28/15, Striking Electra R5; Alritzia Hanover R9
8/27/15, JC Kingdom R9
8/28/15, +BJs Guy R5
8/31/15, +Divine Caroline R7; +Meirs Hanover R9
Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition