Here are the races for week nine of the 2018 Breeders Crown Countdown (BCC), the exclusive blog that coordinates with our weekly harness blog at TwinSpires.com and the Hambletonian Society to find great wagering opportunities for “Crown” eligible horses (noted in all texts with an “e” next to their names) from all 12 divisions as they race their ways to the finals. For the divisions’ best of the week, check the BCC companion blog, BCC Top Five Lists, generated by current winners and losers most likely to make it to the elims at Pocono this season.
This week’s divisions in play are older trotters and pacers, racing on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Yonkers. On the program featuring the $1-million Yonkers International Trot (covered in our main blog) are two six-digit invitational events for aged pacers and trotters and an Open Trot with eligible horses with one last chance to justify going to Pocono.
The $250,000 Harry Harvey International Trot at Yonkers on Oct. 13 is a bonus for six trotters eligible to the Crown because the race was only recently added to the Internation Trot program. The six horses with Pocono promise can make a bundle of cash that helps get them there—or just become more rich and call it a season.
Last week’s “fastest-ever-mile-win-by-a-trotter-in-history” by Homicide Hunter (e) at The Red Mile was enough to justify a trip to the mountains but he is here, leaving from the second tier (post 10), perhaps just as a Pocono prep. That Kentucky mile should not give anyone pause in this situation; Chris Oakes trotter has some strong competition in all of the traffic.
From the top down, there’s Warrawee Roo (e), Luc Blais’ entry, and he is in a great spot to get the kind of trip that could beat this rowdy group on this track; plus he has everything to gain with a big paycheck.
Top Flight Angel (e) is here from the super Julie Miller barn and it is hard to eliminate any equine Julie puts on the track.
Guardian Angel AS (e) has been a ripper this season and could be deeply involved in the top four finishing.
In Secret (e) from Burke’s barn comes here from our H2W list. He collects checks like a Venus Fly Trap snatches insects.
Yes Mickey (e) earns well for Ake Svanstedt but may be overmatched here.
Also in the field are Gruden, NF Happenstance, Sortie and DW’s NY Yank.
The crowd will be all over Homicide Hunter and that will leave Warrawee Roo in a great spot to save some ground while most of the others scramble, shuffle and, driver Dan Dube could ride the rail and get away from it late enough to use his sharp closing move to get to the top—or perhaps he will never leave the top? Good play, good price, a good time to grab a lot of that Homicide Hunter win-pool cash.
THE BIG DUO
The $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational has only one Crown eligible—as of this writing. Casie Coleman’s McWicked (e), scourge of the aged pacing division, takes on six others, one of which may find this race the deciding factor to supplement a whole bunch of cash and challenge McWicked again in this year’s Breeders Crown.
As of this writing, Lazarus N, “The Australasian Annihilator” (we thought it was about time to give him a new nickname), will once again face his North American nemesis McWicked, “The Merciless McWicked” (we think he, too, needs a press-agent-generated title).
This is no match race, however, because both spotlighted pacers have to face some other mighty machismos, any of which may have connections that will be whipping out supplement money to join the fray at Pocono.
Bit Of A Legend, sharp from his recent Yonkers win (he is very productive on this track), will be working to beat both of the top two for a paycheck that could be reinvested in a Crown appearance.
Evenin Of Pleasure could be involved if the steppin’ gets fiery to the half.
Mach It So is a speedy sort, though post 7 will upset his style.
Endeavor has won 11 of 28 but is sure to need a lot of luck to perform a trip that wins him this one.
Nuclear Dragon gets the rail, which in our opinion is his only plus.
Always At My Place is strapped, leaving from Yonkers’ evil launching position.
The price worth playing may be Bit Of A Legend. Though McWicked should be in front of Lazarus N at the finish line, he may still not be first and certainly will be a low price, as will Lazarus. Consider “Bit” first, also, with exactas not including the dynamic duo. Those will be some delicious prices.
The $54,000 Open Trot that evening is a 10-horse field. Two of them could use the winner’s share of this pot to enter the Crown.
Dayson (e) has raced only eight times in a division that offers a double-dozen possible races in a season. Burke’s student has only won a single race and been second twice. From post 1 he may try to steal all four turns, especially since there are two leaving behind him in the second tier. Certainly driver George Brennan (if he chooses) or any other Yonkers driver, can pull off a wire job like that and do it at a good price.
From tier two, post 10, leaves Deep Impact (e), Svanstedt’s four-time winner in 16 starts this season. All around his departure from the gate, though, are some tough trotting trolls. Boffin has won more than half of his 13 miles; Sumatra is Tom Fanning’s great earner in older ranks; Weslynn Dancer is a tough Canadian-based ruffian; and Lord Cromwell, Kinetic King and Gold Medal Swan are available to muck up the configuration.
We’ll take Dayson.
Follow major 2018 Crown hopefuls on their journey to the Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs at this Breeders Crown Countdown blog and the TwinSpires harness blog weekly, along with further information on the Hambletonian Society web site.