It is the time of the season for TwinSpires harness blog to select its own features. As December slips into winter we are hard at work to find the best possible races in North America to wager upon. This means more specialty features, like Power Plays (PoP) and special overnight events. 

It also means the never-ending TwinSpires horses-to-watch (H2W) list, where we offer the best possible outsiders for any type of wager you address. Always check out our H2W list before building any major exotic tickets, too.


POWER PLAYS

Philly / R3—5
Thursday, Dec. 5

The single-race exotics vary as we start with the third race launching a Pick 3.

Race 3
The two obvious choices are Anurka and Spin Sumthin, as the morning line (ML) predicts. Since this is just a three-race exotic, price will rule our strategy to keep a ticket inexpensive to play for valuable pay. So it is your judgment to use those two to start, while we endeavor the outsider route.

Always B Hanny faces a group that she has a slight edge over. She has been competitive enough, including two wins, to consider her classier than most here to date. Hopefully the crowd does not pick up on this strongly enough to make her odds plunge. In the exacta and trifecta it could benefit greatly adding Beaver Creek Misty, who does not have to win to make the addition worthy.

Race 4
An exacta, trifecta and a superfecta go along with leg two of the Pick 3 in Race 4. Audacious stepping up will give pause to some punters, as well as his jumping will not impress them but  the overall picture is positive. Two of nine starts he was first and once he was second. He only raced 11 times, starting at three, so he gets points for improvement, which he has shown in his last two.

Blutos Diamond has excuses since stepping up, racing well against types like these and should be in the mix. Storm Party has only to make the trip from post 8 carefully to take it all but may be best as an exotic partner. Either way, she should earn some here.

Race 5
These conditioned-type races are prominent at year’s end. Remember all horses are just about a year older before their official Jan. 1 birthdays. This exacta/trifecta is also a Jackpot Hi-5.

Aside from the two ML favorites Machiavelli and Dragon Strikes (Hi-5 material), going deep into the others brings up some juicy possibilities. Volley Ball Beach has had awful trips while well-supported at Yonkers and has shown good foot on this oval. Drinka Beer has also raced long miles [sic] at Yonkers, while for a fifth, Trump That may steal another check.

POWER PLAYS

Meadows / R2—6
Friday, Dec. 6

The 50-cent Pick 5 includes legs with exactas, trifectas, superfectas and a Pick 3 (Races 4, 5 and 6). Choose your bets wisely; below are out comments for each race, featuring those horses we feel will pump up prices.

Race 2
Let’s go all out to beat the ML favorite to knock out a score of Pick-5 tickets. Posses The Stone was second to that favorite last out, where he deservedly stepped up and disproved his 14-1 status.

Equally as potent but predicted at higher odds is Pond Jumper. Usually under supported by the crowd, this one has only a couple of steps to add to become a favorite in his next outing. It would be great to catch him before that in any wager.

Race 3
Gunslinger Hill has some back class but has scratched twice. He has dropped his claiming tag and still won, then scratched after the win. There’s no way of telling what is going on there but for sure it increases his value for bettors—just look at how the fans disposed of him when Dave Palone stopped driving (from 6-5 to 15-1). Let’s not gamble on what we do not know and go with what we do know—he has been competitive lately and will now be ignored.

In another sense, Major Plans is a reclaim by trainer Gerald Lee, Jr., who lost him at this level and took him firth back. That kind of loyalty by a trainer indicates Lee knows he can make money with this one and we would like to, also (his ML is 20-1).

Race 4
You must make some additions to wagers using the 8 horse here. Humboldt is in the care of a new trainer that sent him out after a great qualifier to finish fifth at 5-2. Give him a good shot to do better for trainer Paul Corey here.

Avalanche Hanover is a Meadows mainstay, a good earner and is dropping from trainer Tim Twaddle, who truly knows at what levels his horses race best.

Race 5
Burning Midnight has every right to step up into this race and get decent support (though not what would make him the favorite) after winning off a claim from Jason Robinson at 2-1. He may like the Meadows more than Pocono, too, giving him a good chance to keep a winning streak going here.

Better Scoot N returns to his best level after a decent attempt in the track’s Open pace. He is a great exotic partner, almost always getting a piece of the purse pie.

Race 6
Sometimesawinner passed on a probable start at the Meadowlands after a win here and returns looking strong enough to win again. It does not matter if he wins near his 5-2 ML because if we are alive in the Pick 5 or Pick 3 from others mentioned above, there is going to be a bunch of money to collect.

An outsider apt to get a piece of a single-race exotic is RN Nate. He has some back class that could count in backfield chaos and has been collecting checks around this level.


FEATURES FEATURES FEATURES

Meadowlands / Race 4
Saturday, Dec. 7

There are a few single-race exotics involved with this race, all of which would benefit the bettor by using Its Just Too Much. Dropping into this condition is not the only plus for the Allie Reynolds-trained gelding; he is coming off of three strenuous trips, two at Freehold, after winning a step down from this at the Meadowlands. He lost last week at 23-1 but gained ground after a big brush and a late surge.

The pair of Mark Ford-trained entries obviously merit consideration but with Its Just Too Much as a key, they should pay far more than choices leading the exacta, trifecta and superfecta.

FEATURES FEATURES FEATURES

Meadowlands / Race 4
Saturday, Dec. 7

Decoy comes back to a condition that suits him fine, naturally fitting after trying to make a larger hike in class last week. He could have been here after his Nov. 23 win, where he could have won as he should tonight.

At four, Decoy has settled into a strong earner for trainer Gary Candell. Decoy was a pacing factor for Jimmy Takter once and though a second-tier performer in the division he made his bones. He will surely play a role in the exotics and will be a fine price to settle on across the board.


FEATURES FEATURES FEATURES

Yonkers / Race 6
Saturday, Dec. 7

Yonkers’ $42,000 Open Handicap sends seven rich, older trotters to post. This division rarely takes a hiatus as the calendar year changes, but it is a rare starting point for a good horse that has been on hiatus.

That’s why Obrigado’s appearance is a surprise. The award winning, millionaire trotter was retired to stud in 2018 after an injury. He returned to training, raced again and went back into retirement. Our readers know him for a slew of great win prices when we supported him early in his best year. Now he returns.

His only trainer, Paul Kelley, sends him against a few major trotters from this season, including Will Take Charge, Winning Shadow and Swansea. Obrigado gets the coveted Yonkers rail in pursuit of his first earned check of 2019.

Not being around for a spell, we look for the public to feel “he needs a race” after all the time off but we want to get him to win as we always did with him—when the public did not support him. Swansea, even from the outside, will most like share favoritism with Will Take Charge and sprinkled support for others should give Obrigado a better shot at winning than most may assess.

H2W LIST

Batavia
12/6/19, +Traverse Seelster R5; Praying Fay R10

Cal-Expo
12/6/19, Part Time R6; Mystic Ruler R9; Panchantedtikiroom R10
12/7/19,

Dayton
12/5/19, Think No Evil R4; Ram N Desire R6
12/6/19, Up Front Corbin R2

Dover
12/5/19, Shadys Shark Bait R7

Freehold
12/6/19, Harmony Oaks Quike R4; Caviar Star R7

Meadowlands
12/5/19, Campus Queen R4; Shivered R6
12/7/19, Hudsonandbernard R10

Monticello
12/5/19, Mrs Krabappel R3; Addie Rose R5; Drink Whiskey R7

Northfield
12/7/19, Maybelle R1; Northern Fiesta R7; Cocktail Time R12

Northville
12/6/19, Kill The Lights R1; Delaney R R5; Man Of Fire R11
12/7/19, Bound To Score R11

Philly
12/5/19, +Muscle Defined R7

Pompano
12/5/19, Ideal Gemini R1; Send A Note R3

Saratoga
12/5/19, +Myeyesadoreya N R4

Yonkers
12/5/19, +Feel Invincible A R3; +Jag Out R8; Quebec Blue Chip R10
12/9/19, +Ideal One A R1