Breeders’ Crown Countdown

Welcome to the 2019 Breeders Crown Countdown (BCC), the exclusive blog that coordinates with our weekly preview harness blog at TwinSpires.com and the Hambletonian Society to find great wagering opportunities for “Crown”-eligible horses and their foes. All 12 divisions will rotate and share space in the BCC as they race to the finals, this year at Woodbine/Mohawk on Oct. 25 and Oct. 26. The three-year-old colt trotting division for 2019 is, midseason, still a steadfast crop (top five in each division listed below stories). In this year’s Yonkers Trot, at the stakes’ namesake track on Aug. 31, two outstanding members of the division dominate the event. Hometown giant Gimpanzee meets Hambletonian-winner, Canadian Forbidden Trade. The most recent time they met, of course, was in the highly analyzed Hambletonian Final, where 15-1 Forbidden Trade took one of so better steps than super-favorite Greenshoe and won. In that race, as we have documented on these HTM pages, Gimpanzee finished third in one of the most impressive closing moves(up the controversial “dreaded” inside post (according to some handicappers). The unconventional end to the classic’s mile created camps of analysis, much of it supported a typical Canadian bias. Forbidden Trade raced well, of course, and deservedly won because of it, but there is a strong split in opinions of which colt is truly the best. We further split those camps, counted in the minority that Gimpanzee is the best. Although he is yet to beat either his stablemate (Marcus Melander trains Greenshoe and elim-winner Green Manalishi S) or Greenshoe, our long-run outlook includes better performances this season and into the next seasons. In the Yonkers Trot, Gimpanzee is king of the sophomore trotters, undefeated and undisputed champion of the division in state-bred action. In his prep for the “Trot,” he was so admired that no other colt in the field went off at less than 100-1. A split in the opinions could mean a split in the wagering, which could make Gimpanzee a bet worth making. The presence of Forbidden Trade will cause a thunderous wave of wagering from across the Canadian/American border, all of it the product of loyalty. You see, although Forbidden Trade won in Canada after the Hambletonian, his season peaked on the first Saturday in August, in our opinion, and the rest of the season belongs to the Melanderers [sic] three, led by Gimpanzee. Our wagering advice for the Trot is to key Gimpanzee in exotics, no less bet him to win as the Canadians swarm their favorite son. In the exactas, leave Forbidden Trade out of the second spot, demanding a price. You can get our prediction of the best price sans “Trade” with Osterc, Soul Strong and Livinonthedash. Osterc, pushed hard in the Hambo, was impressive nonetheless; Soul Strong is Svanstedt’s workhorse earner, and Livinonthedash is highly improved over early-season racing. Also at Yonkers on Aug. 31, Bettor’s Wish represents the glamour-boy pacing division and the state, where he rules as strongly as his trotting cohort. Oddly enough, leaving to his right is Branquinho, who was best of the rest in the Art Rooney Final at Yonkers, where Bettor’s Wish started his rule of the division. Branquinho is not a Breeders Crown eligible, but he has excelled in top events, including an Adios elim, where he was a handsome second in an elim and failed in a tough trip in the final, which is excusable. Aflame Hanover is the only other non-eligible in the field. The exotic spots are up for grabs, though we lean toward Branquinho and Reigning Deo. The latter was also prolific in an Adios elim and will be a big price here.

TOP FIVES – 8/30/19

3yo colt pacer Bettors Wish; Captain Crunch; Shake That House; Best In Show; Workin Ona Mystery 3yo filly pacer Stonebridge Soul; Zero Tolerance; Warrawee Ubeat; Treacherous Reign; Tall Drink Hanover 3yo colt trotter Greenshoe; Gimpanzee; Forbidden Trade; Green Manalishi S; Marseille 3yo filly trotter Millies Possesion; Evident Beauty; Quincy Blue Chip; When Dovescry; Winndevie *************************************** Follow major 2019 BC hopefuls on their journey to the Breeders Crown at Woodbine/Mohawk at this Breeders Crown Countdown blog and the TwinSpires harness blog weekly, along with further information on the Hambletonian Society web site and @Hambletonian_ and @BreedersCrown.