Autumn is sucking all of the warmth out of the air in the northeast, except for what heat is emanating from isolated harness tracks bracing for winter. It’s Matron season as Dover Downs launches its meet and some state-bred events with strong purses are happening at the Meadowlands. 

As well, there are still Breeders Crown (BC) super horses not ready to call it a year and we are following them to sensationalize on their sensationalism. The BC key races you will see endorsed here as the most guaranteed contenders of the year.

Wait, there’s more. Of course we mean TwinSpires’ horses-to-watch (H2W) list. Check the H2W for promising contenders offering winners and on-the-board finishers helping to pump up exotics in crucial exotic-ticket spots.


MATRON MAURADERS

Dover hosts all four of the Matron finals for two-year-olds on Thursday, Nov. 7, but only three are on the wagering program. The filly trotters go for $147k as a non-betting race.

Then, the program opens with the $176k Matron for the filly pacers. Seven dropped in the box for one of the late-season national stakes and two of them are BC bet-backs.

Lyons Sentinel was the favorite in the BC frosh-filly pace and but for a neck he would have won. Reflect With Me, a horse we warned could help an exotic price greatly if Lyons Sentinel won, due to the high odds, beat him at 27-1. The son of Captaintreacherous leaves in the Matron from post 1 in a field sans “Reflect.”

Another filly from the BC final is in this cast, though, and won’t go off at 14-1 as she did in Canada. Looksgoodinaromper finished in fifth among the five fillies closing on Lyons Sentinel. The first three finishers were necks apart, one of them being Marloe Hanover, who won a Kindergarten Classic last Saturday at the Meadowlands.

Lyons Sentinel and Looksgoodinaromper may be the one-two kick at the wire, as obvious as that appears. To watch closely, though, is the possible upset from Hen Party. She was second to Marloe Hanover, teaming up to beat that Kindergarten’s race favorite. She left strongly there and made a second move to close the gap late and almost win. 

The $181k Matron for the colt trotters is next. BC-winner Amigo Volo has the 6 post in the field of six. He raced commandingly to win in the BC event in which we nabbed the 36-1 exacta partner, Rome Pays Off; both of them beat the favorite, the mighty-has-fallen Real Cool Sam.

There is another son of Father Patrick that could hold off Amigo Volo and offer a twist to such an ending. That colt is Saxon. He is trained by Jim Campbell, who campaigned Real Cool Sam to a string of wins that led him to favoritism in the BC. Saxon, leaving from post 1, has been on the board six of nine times, three of those wins, and could defeat Amigo Volo fairly (that is, with no gait mistakes, as Amigo Volo made in the BC elim).

The frosh-Matron stakes close with the $186k colt pace. More division drama looms boldly in this seven-colt field with the return of Papi Rob Hanover. The Brett Pelling-trained colt was peaking and perking in the BC final. He won it but was placed second for interference to Tall Dark Stranger, who was placed first. Tall Dark Stranger is not in this Matron field, so DQ or no DQ, Pelling’s “Papi” will be the dead-on favorite out for purse blood.

The warning note we make in this race is that Cattlewash, the colt finishing third-placed-second in the BC final, is in this event. He will most definitely be a huge price compared to Papi but stranger things have happened than one presenting an upset here. For the price that should be offered for Cattlewash we could happily ignore his distasteful name.

Even though another BC bet-back is in this field, that being Put To Right, she was 10th all around the track in the big stakes, going off at 116-1 while racing as if she were 516-1.  She could still be a bet-back if she races in lesser company before the years is out but she will not be bet back here.


FANTASTIC FIVE

The $30,000 Preferred Handicap at the Meadowlands on Friday, Nov. 8, brings only five older trotters to the gate but it is a fiery five, led by BC-champ Manchego. Her huge win in Canada makes her a dead-on bet-back against these four foes that did not participate in the classic final (the division did not hold an elim).

Considering Manchego’s assured low-offered win price as well as the short field and probably a ban of show betting, why should this race be featured at all? The answer is three words: Rich And Miserable.

”Rich” makes this race a prospect to bet against a bet-back for two reasons. The first is the fact that Rich’s most recent race was almost a month ago at Yonkers. Rich made a powerful attempt at beating a tough group in the Harry Harvey Memorial on International Trot day. In that 1 1/4 –miles feature, Rich (at 6-1, reasonable support in a $250k event loaded with talent) swept into fourth leaving from post 7 on the half-mile track and was hanged out to dry first over to three-quarters. The route cost Rich dearly; finishing 10th .

Back on the two-turn mile the winner of 11 in 17 starts may not feel so miserable, so to speak, by three-quarters, which brings us to the second reason to go against our own bet-back method: Manchego could very well be short, if even by a step or two, after the storm trooping BC win, and Rich, with an even trip, is the best qualified of the rest to win over the lead.


JERSEY-JOINTED

Saturday, Nov. 9, the Meadowlands hosts a $40,000 open event for two-year-old pacers called the Home Grown. Seven high-earning youngsters poised to become sophomores in less than two months, line up for the evening’s feature.

Last week in a Kindergarten Final for the division, BC bet-back Major Betts (in post 1 of this field) finished third to none of these. In fact, only Caviart Heather is coming off a Kindergarten final the one for fillies, and she finished far out of it at 115-1. The others here are strictly low-rent—and so much for class.

Major Betts, in this arena, cannot go off so low that he won’t be worth it, making him a pure bet-back, out-classing even Columbo, the highest earner in the field. Perhaps his credentials will help make Major Betts go off more than odds-on, which would be fabulous.


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
11/8/19, Majestic Kat R3; +Ticket To Seattle R8

Cal-Expo
11/9/19, Custards Dungeon R4; Call Me Bentley R7; June Morning R7; Outlawintriguedbyu R8; Usgeneral WA Mann R10

Dayton
11/7/19, First Class Horse R6; Moonshinecharleigh R9
11/8/19, +Southern Swagger R6

Dover
11/7/19, Time Watch R5; JJ Flynn R10

Hoosier
11/7/19, Backup A R4; The Blaker R7
11/8/19, +I’vegotagirlcrush R10

Meadowlands
11/8/19, Simone R5; JL Cruze R9

Meadows
11/8/19, Presto Change O R2
11/11/19, +IC Caviar R11

Monticello
11/7/19, +Artfully Dealt R3; Melanies Fran R5

Northfield
11/9/19, Shes In For Life R6; +Directing Traffic R8

Northville
11/9/19, +Maddison Ivy R6

Oak Grove
11/81/19, Banker Volo R3; Trinitysfancyfilly R4; Unimaginable R7

Philly
11/7/19, Boots N Chains R2

Plainridge
11/7/19, +Hi Ho Steverino R2; +BJ Rowdy R6

Pompano
11/10/19, Too Much Duncan R3; Histoire Eternelle R7

Saratoga
11/7/19, +Pretty Image R3
11/9/19, Pecorino R9

Scarborough
11/10/19, Sandy Barbielegacy R6

Yonkers
11/7/19, +Favorite Uncle R8
11/8/19, +Lazurus R2; +Showmeyourguns R2; +Do Over Hanover R4; 11/9/19, Jacks Legend N R6
11/11/19, +Ozone Blue Chip