Early-week Hambletonian Trail (HT) blogs started our week. Check out the HT section below. Other harness reports on our selected features are noted.
Thursday, June 20
The frosh-stakes season began best at Yonkers in four lucrative New York Sires Stakes divisions for colt pacers. Two of our choices won and the others were deeply involved.
The winners included Groovy Joe ($12.60, $9.20, $5.50) and Cigars And Port ($2.80, $2.20, $2.10). We finished second with Splash Brother ($2.10, $2.10 ok) and third with Hurrikanekingjames ($4.80). Only one of our suggested exotic contenders, Yer So Bad (25-1), ended his mile out of the money, finishing seventh.
Friday, June 21
The two trotting Graduates divisions at the Meadowlands found our contenders on the back of exactas. Atlanta could not be beaten in round one, as was suspected, but our attempt with Plunge Blue Chip ($5.20, $3.00) ignited a decent $13.80 exacta.
The crowd’s second choice, which we thought would be the favorite, won the second division while our choice, Six Pack ($2.80, $2.10) went off the public choice but finished in the place spot.
Saturday, June 22
Eliminations for finals in next week’s Sun Stakes at Pocono Downs lined the program. We have listed our coverage results of the elims per their stake, except for the Earl Beal elims, which are covered in the Hambletonian Trail section below.
The first Max Hempt elim for soph-colt pacers went to the favorite, followed by the co-favorite. Our outside contender, Latissimors Hanover (17-1) finished sixth.
Next, another favorite pleased fans while we wound up third with Lyons Night Hawk ($3.20).
The public went for our colt in the third elim but Hurrikane Emperor ($3.00, $2.60) could not catch Captain Victorious, a 4-1 shot (best win price of the stakes’ elims), also coming out of last week’s North America Cup.
The soph-filly pacers’ first James Lynch elim went to our choice, Tall Drink Hanover ($4.20, $2.10, $2.10), surprisingly the public’s first selection.
The second choice won the second elim. We got a great price on our outsider, Rose Run Uptowngirl (14-1) and she tried hard with an overland journey but finished fourth, still good enough to make the final.
In the last “Lynch” elim was an easy mile for the super favorite. Our outside contender gave us no hope for an upset, as Sylph Hanover (80-1) finished sixth.
Older pacers battled in two Ben Franklin elims and we tried to beat the huge choice Western Fame with Hitman Hill (40-1), expecting a strong performance. However, he tanked from the start, finishing seventh as Western Fame won easily.
In the other Ben Franklin, Lather Up (second favorite) beat our top selection McWicked ($2.10), the race favorite, whose outside grind cost him the place spot.
Thursday, June 20 reduced the chances of two Hambletonian-eligible colts from bad to dismal. In an Indiana Sires Stakes division at Hoosier, Don’t Sass Me and Lite Years Away did not impress the bettors before the race and confirmed the opinion after the race as they went off at 75-1 and 128-1, respectively, finishing ninth and seventh. There is little that can hoist the hopes of their connections for dropping them into the box for the eliminations.
Pocono’s Sun Star Stakes elims included two elims for the Earl Beal, Jr. Final. In the first, the debut of Green Manalishi S, as dangerous as we warned it could be, resulted in a victory. Our choice, Swandre The Giant ($2.10) made the final finishing third.
Greenshoe was a 1-9 trot-away winner in the second “Beal” elim with our challenger, Osterc ($2.60, $2.20), second and our third, Marseilles, completing a puny 50-cent trifecta that paid $2.10. The $2 exacta came back $4.40.
H2W LIST RESULTS
The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas listed are included when a H2W horse finishes second with a race favorite or the first two finishers making up the exacta are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete a cold exacta). The note “ok” determines that prices published are correct even when a show price exceeds a place price or any or all of the prices are the same. This week, there were 59 active horses (a 12-percent win hit rate and a 25-percent ATB [across-the-board] hit rate).
Please note that some H2W results reflect win, place, show and exotic results occurring by press time but some horses race after the blog is posted (we list them the following weeks) It is up to you to follow horses that have not performed before this weekly review.
Lodi Dorian Blues, $32.60, $7.30, $3.30, Grand River
Briar Creeks Angel, $17.00, $7.40, $4.20, Scarborough
Bunkerhill Jill, $10.40, $6.20, $3.40, Running Aces
Branquinho, $6.20, $2.40, $2.60, Pocono
Kissesfromheaven, $4.10, $2.70, $2.10, Saratoga
Broadway Mojo, $4.00, $3.00, $2.80, Meadows
Caviart Ally, $3.40, $2.20, $2.10, Meadowlands
The Gobye Girl, $10.40, $5.60, Running Aces
Electrofire, $9.50, $3.50 (Exacta $28.40), Vernon
Rocco, $6.40, $8.60 ok, Scarborough
Marvalous Town, $3.00, $3.80 ok, Meadows
Captains Play, $2.20, $2.10, Hoosier
Champagne Shower, $2.60, Northfield
Don Dream, $2.40, Philly
Money Earned, n/s, Tioga
News & Notes
Let’s monitor another big day for a driver. Jim Taggert, Jr. made industry headlines on June 20 when he won five races on the Monticello program. Jim raced in 10 of the 12 races that day. His winners paid a total of $20.60, hardly a healthy profit for a bettor’s $20 investment in Jim as the solo-handicapping element. However, it was a flat-bet profit, though minor, and not a loss, and mostly due to the overwhelming favorites he handled.
By contrast to Taggert, Lewayne Miller drove five winners on June 20 at Hoosier and gave his backers a far better result. Miller raced in 10 of 14 events, winning 50 percent of them. The $20 invested in Lewayne as the sole handicapping element made him a strong flat-bet profit. The total of his winners paid $33.80, serving a profit of $13.80 (70 percent). His highest win price was $10.40 and lowest $4.80.
There are many disagreements in the top-10 Hambletonian lists thus far, but after the North America Cup Final last week, all roads to the Meadowlands Pace are being led by Captain Crunch. Dave Little’s Meadowlands Pace list has “Crunch” on top, with Bettors Wish next, followed by Workin On A Mystery, Best In Show, Hurrikane Emperor, De Los Cielos Deo, Buddy Hill, Caviart Rockland and Reigning Deo. A quick TwinSpires harness-blog Meadowlands Trail list has only four major contenders in this order: Bettors Wish; Captain Crunch; Stag Party; Hurrikane Emperor.
A deep field of the sport’s best trotters are considering invitations to Northfield Park’s premier trotting event, the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic on June 29). Marion Marauder, winner of the 2018 event, is expected to defend his title for trainer Paula Wellwood. Marion Marauder, the trotting triple crown champion and winner of over $3.1 million, will likely face 2015 Hambletonian champion Pinkman. Two-time Breeders Crown champion Emoticon Hanover, Homicide Hunter, Plunge Blue Chip and Guardian Angel AS, Weslynn Dancer and Musical Rhythm are also considering an Ohio trip.
Indulge in our monthly columns, Alternative Actions and Bettors Banquet at Harness Racing Update