All four sophomore divisions put a lid on their season with the Matron Stakes at Dover on Nov. 15. Not all of the season’s heroes made it to Delaware but most in the fields are recognizable.

The curtain falls for the frosh season with next week’s Fall Final Four at the Meadowlands. On Nov. 17 there are a few eliminations worth a look below.

The horses-to-watch and the list (H2W) starts to expand as we head into December. As many solid contenders as we can find will adorn the H2W through the coming months that are sans stakes. Our great wagering choices from North American tracks will be at your disposal through the short days and long nights. Explore any and all horses we post for use in wagers of your discretion. Do your own handicapping and then consider any and all our H2W and frosh selections.


THE SOPH MATRONS

FILLY TROTTERS

The eight three-year-old filly trotter Matron goes for $183,900 at Dover on Nov. 15. The morning line (ML) favors Lily Stride, our longshot winner of the Breeders Crown (BC) final. That may not hold, considering as good as Lily Stride raced that night, her win was supported by perfect conditions against stronger horses—like Ake Svanstedt’s Plunge Blue Chip, who leaves from the rail in the Matron.

Atlanta and Manchego are missing (the latter has retired) but “Lily” must still deal with Seviyorum, Supergirl Riley and Custom Cantab, a formidable trio along with Svanstedt’s scourge of the division. Among the group mentioned, Custom Cantab may offer a very good price (ML is 6-1) if the bulk of the money goes to Plunge Blue Chip and Lily Stride; so may Impinktoo, Ron Burke’s addition, who we will support as the main upset.

FILLY PACERS

Eight pacing gals are up for $159,350 on Nov. 15 at Dover. First to note is that Alexis Faith is an H2W addition, coming from recently closed Hoosier. That won’t matter to the majority of bettors because they will pound Youaremycandygirl who, on her best day, would bury all of these with a wire-to-wire win to end her season. Her main nemesis is the filly that has challenged her all season, mostly without success, Alexa’s Power. Missing, of course, is the best from the division, Kissin In The Sand.

For a late-season surprise, Dance Blue (ML 6-1) could make her bones here. With “Sand” out, Nancy Johansson’s second-string filly brings a good deal of strength to this affair and a price to match. Since “…candygirl” has shown much volatility through the season, there is no doubt that a late-blooming filly who could be much better as a mare, can take her down.

COLT TROTTERS

Next year’s Hambletonian Trail is bound to see the two best this division has to offer in a $210,150 final. Met’s Hall and Six Pack should overwhelm the other five in a relative trouncing. Which will get there first, however, is uncertain.

Six Pack is not the top earner here but is the top colt. He has had his share of stakes events end in comedy but on his best day he is fast and deliberate in a winning mile. He is the ML favorite.

Met’s Hall has battled more gamely than many in the division to earn his six digits for Julie Miller. Still, he will be the second choice to Svanstedt’s colt. It is tough to go past this duo and call for an upset. That will be your choice though you have another choice—pass this race.

COLT PACERS

More of the season’s stars are gone from this soph Matron final worth $193,750. Courtley Choice is through, at least, for the year, Stay Hungry has retired, American History has called it a year, as has Grand Teton. But Lather Up is raring to go again and without his jumping antics he should win and deliver a good price for two reasons.

One reason is Dorsoduro Hanover, who always gets play and usually finds a way into the mix. His Breeders Crown win was stupendous but Lather Up’s recent race was better. At Hoosier, Lather Up won the Monument Circle but lost it to a disqualification because mid-race, Lather Up did it again—he started to gallop. But he still won and raced better than second-placed-third Dorsoduro Hanover.

The morning line goes to Jimmy Freight, the renegade of the division who did not get all of his best dough from racing against the best, no less the two mentioned above. Indeed, Lather Up may be the second choice at a fair price or may be the first choice at a fair price. Brave bettors will not let his steeplechase-like performances stop them from betting Lather Up in this one in any event.


FINAL FOUR FIRSTS

Though there are a quartet of Fall Final Four stakes next week, there are only three elims on the Saturday, Nov. 17 Meadowlands program. The events—each work $20,000—include a pair of elims for the frosh-colt trotters’ Valley Victory and a single elim for the frosh-colt pacing Governor’s Cup.

The first of the two Valley Victory elims offers seven colts and looks much like the Kindergarten Classic final. Certainly, Julie Miller’s Prospect Hill should take the first betting position for the public. Even through a couple of tough miles, he is still the top money-earner and getting the rail position here will attract bettors.

Jimmy Takter’s Hudson River, leaving from the farthermost post as Prospect Hill, should get some decent money as the second top earner and his brand (which in this race includes driver Brian Sears, a crowd favorite).

We have been backing Brett Pelling’s Divine Spirit despite the colt’s gait problem because when he races he races big. We are going to continue support in this event for the sake of price and purpose. Should Divine Spirit stay on gait, he could and should beat these and pay well, penalized by the crowd for recent losses.

The second Valley Victory elim has eight colts battling for a berth in the final. Takter takes dough in this for Super Schissel and Luc Blais’s Kadabra colt, Forbidden Trade, will surely match odds for favoritism. And Reign Of Honor will attract bettors for his earnings, since he has only won a single race.

Earlier this season we scored big when we backed Union Forces in Canada and this is the kind of race he may be able to upset against the other three mentioned. With any shuffling or dueling between the favorites, Union Forces may get an easy, covered trip and be able to fire late in the mile as he does so well.

Ten frosh colts prep for the Governor’s Cup Final, with Breeders Crown winning Captain Crunch the obvious favorite. His top nemesis could be another Pelling freshman, Reigning Deo. Barring any major improvements, these two main contenders appear to be much better than the other eight.

We wish to defy the two for price and purpose and support Noel Daley’s Duddie’s Lor. Post 10 and the power of the obvious two mentioned will present a favorable price for courageous bettors. This is a son of Somebeachsomewhere with four starts, two wins and a third. He is not a proven loser yet and because he is so lightly raced he is the most likely to improve. We’ll take him to win and to be in the mix with the others to pump up exotics.


H2W Legend

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.

H2W LIST

Batavia
11/16/18, +OK Galahad R4; Electric Chapel N R11
11/17/18, Tyler R4; Nassau Country R8

Cal-Expo
11/16/18, +Johnny Gun R3; +Centela Dragster R4
11/17/18, +A Bay Bay R6

Dayton
11/15/18, Northern River R4; Scwartz Bros Beaty R7

Dover
11/15/18, +Alexis Faith R10; +JJ Flynn R11

Freehold
11/16/18, Mac’s Secure R4; Money Maven R7; Endeavors Dot Com R9

Meadows
11/17/18, Mystery Island R10

Meadowlands
11/16/18, Lauderdale R5; Perplexed R7; +Pure Country R8
11/17/18, K Ryan Bluechip R6

Mohawk
11/15/18, +Sports Charm R4
11/17/18, Vines To Heaven R8

Northfield
11/17/18, +Bad Girls Vegas

Philly
11/14/18, +Bunkndrunk R4
11/15/18, Big N Bad R6
11/16,18, Ella Christina R10
11/18/18, +Adrian Hanover R8

Plainridge
11/15/18, +Tag Up And Go R5; +Annie OK R8; +Atlantic Crest R5

Pocono
11/17/18, +Limelight Beach R14

Pompano
11/15/18, Free Love R7; Moon Doggie R8

Saratoga
11/15/18, +My Mother Theresa R3

Scarborough
11/15/18, +Philanthropist R2; +American Fighter R6
11/18/18, Iloveroses R2

Western Fair
11/16/18, Mittany Nicole R2; Go Rrrilla R3; Dali Cat R5; Social House R7

Yonkers
11/16/18, +Call Me Queen Be R6
11/17/18, Dr J Hanover R9