Welcome back 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 (WoMo) on Oct. 25 and Oct. 26. Eligible horses are followed by (e) with their names at first mention.
This week we return to the sophomore trotting divisions as they blast in two major Grand Circuit stakes at WoMo on Saturday, Sept. 14.
The colts meet in the $605,000 Canadian Trotting Classic. Nine of them are on board. All except Knight Angel are eligible to the Breeders Crown.
One look at the names in the lineup and anyone paying attention to the Hambletonian divisions to date will tell you that the focus will be on Forbidden Trade (e) versus Green Manalishi S (e).
Some may argue that Swandre The Giant (e) should be included in the struggle, but we do not see him, who did not make the Hambletonian Final and who recently lost on home ground, as a threat to the top duo.
Arguments for the other six appear moot.
Pilot Discretion (e) would top that sextet, leaving behind five colts that need special developments during the mile that would eliminate the top two. For the record, that quintet is (in post position order, Knight Angel, Smart As Hill (e), Gerry (e), Don’t Let’em (e) and Only For Justice (e).
Forbidden Trade, recently demolished by Gimpanzee (e) in the Yonkers Trot, brought our original opinion home to roost. He made the Hambo final but was taken easily in the Greenshoe (e) elim victory. His defeat of Greenshoe in the final was strong but barely official as Greenshoe was nowhere near done racing when they hit the wire.
Still, Greenshoe is not here and Forbidden Trade is at his home track, where he will be certain to get strong betting support from his loyal Canadian fans. Green Manalishi S, though, is in no way intimidated by the loyalty factor. Neither are smart bettors who will enjoy his win price going to post as a second choice.
Granted, if Forbidden Trade was going to be the price he went off at the Hambletonian, I would support him in this race, too.
In defense of Green Manalishi S’s loss in the Hambletonian set, he won an elim and was off the board in the final after being dueled to submission. He should be fit and firing in the “Classic,” perhaps even setting some kind of record, because the Marcus Melander trio is not done scooping all of the division’s purses quite yet.
The female counterpart is the $376,000 Elegant Image, on the same WoMo program.
Ten soph-filly trotters are going after Hambletonian Oaks-winner When Dovescry (e), three of them not eligible to the Breeders Crown—HP Titania Runner, Teddys Littleangel and Bright Eyes M.
A decisive “Oaks” victory and an easy score last week at WoMo (her home track), it is her race to lose. Canadian fans won’t hear of that, though, and hammer her at the windows.
If price and chances are on the side of a filly to upset, we measure that combination goes to Sisters Promise (e). Her 9-1 Simcoe victory last week was unusually aggressive, especially holding off The Ice Dutchess (e), a huge favorite soaring in the stretch.
Linda Toscano’s filly has been in our scopes all along. We backed her as she improved along the Hambletonian Trail. She is peaking now and we are ready to get another good price from her.
3yo colt trotter
Green Manalishi S
3yo filly trotter
Quincy Blue Chip
3yo colt pacer
Best In Show
Shake That House
3yo filly pacer
Tall Drink Hanover
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 .