Our feature races going into the USA holiday weekend are stakes, starring many of the season’s recognizable, champ trotters and pacers going at it. Big purses ensue, along with bread-and-butter events with entries in the horses-to-watch list (H2W). Consider our strong possibilities for all shades of wagers. Always peruse the H2W and consider its outsider angles for top prices.

EMPIRE FILLIES

The New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) offers soph-filly pacers in three divisions at Yonkers on July 2. Some debut glamour girls take to the track in the lucrative state-bred series.

Seven make up the first split, worth $51,300. Three winners in five starters hint at a favorite. Jennifer Bongiorno’s So Rude has been on the board twice and earned the most money. A Toby Lynch Jr’s American Dreamgirl has won her only start but her lack of speed will turn off bettors. The speed badge here goes to David Dewhurst’s Racine Bell (a $140k winner at two). Certainly, Ron Burke’s Merga Hanover, a $173k winner at two, will pick up support.

Still, we lean toward Chris Ryder’s Turnthefrownaround, getting into her first 2020 fray. She is fresh and Ryder will have her winging from the rail.

The middle NYSS division is worth $52,200 for eight across the gate. Three start their soph season here, including another Ryder student, Dragon Roll. Perhaps the public will embrace Dale Gilmour’s Rock Star Melinda best, she having won her first two in 2020, and The Fun Marshall, a $179k winner at two.

Speedy gal Hen Party, a $172k winner at two from Tony Alagna’s barn, will have a major say in this affair. She has been out once and finished third once but she is on the improve and will most likely offer the best price of the group.

Division three, worth $51,300 for seven involved, has no top 2019 earners. It does have the most experienced of the three divisions, Andrew Harris’ Acrobatta, who has raced five times and been on the board in all. Nancy Takter’s JK Fineandandy should get a lot of attention in her second start.

Our suggested contender for price and purpose is Noel Daley’s Stephanie Deo. She won her first soph race and seems ready to take on the group and improve a notch or two.

INDIANA COLTS

The Indiana Sires Stakes (INSS) for soph-colt pacers sends three divisions to post on July 3 at Hoosier. Let’s find some money with a brief but spot-on analysis.

The first split ($23k) is a field of eight. The INSS is where local trainers get to shine. Here, we should get a price on Thornbush Hanover, a student of Dylan Davis. With a Ron Burke pacer in here, Davis’s well-bred INSS entry should be a decent price.

In round two, nine battle for $24k. Last week we had the favorite, Island Of The Sea and Shane Bowermaster’s sharp colt won for fun, paying nothing. He could pay better this time, against Burke’s The Candyman Can, also a winner last week, participating, and the big earner at two, Odds On Osiris, starting his season for Melanie Wrenn.

The last split, worth $24k, is another nine-colt fiend. We’ll take Nassau Desire, who we had in exotics last week, where he failed for the second time last week for Burke. A price is guaranteed here if he wins, as well as it would be a big price on a Burke horse. 


HAMBLETONIAN TRAIL
CURRIER & IVES


Two editions for the fillies and one for the colts are on tap in this delayed presentation of the classic Currier & Ives (C&I) trots at the Meadows on July 4.

The glamour-boy colts go first on the program, racing for a purse of $102k. Only three in the field of 10 are eligible (e) to the Hambletonian. This event, as it turns out, is a test for Ake Svanstedt colts, since he trains the trio. He also trains Harley K.

Steel Schooner (e) and Coventry Hall (e) will begin their seasons, while Easter King (e) goes in his second route. Which colt the public will support best is tough to forecast, especially since top drivers Aaron Merriman and Dave Palone—two of the fans’ favorites—are listed on each. We don’t care, for our money, which one gets to drive which (whoever wins the arm wrestle?), we want the colt not driven by Merriman or Palone, as he will most likely offer the best odds. If for some reason one of those guys is driving the colt with the best odds (we doubt it) take that one. Wager as close to post as possible.

In the first split of the C&I for glamour-girls there are four Hambletonian Oaks eligibles (e) [all fillies are also eligible to race with the colts]. Ron Burke has three entries, two—Dune Hill (e), Crucial (e)—allowed in the classics. Oddly enough, his ineligible filly, Sentebale, is the field’s top earner.

Impulse Buy (e) is the other aiming for August. Trained by Dirk Simpson, she won’t be so well supported considering the weight of Burke and his main driver Yannick Gingras. In her third mile of 2020, Impulse Buy is the value here; she should go off at odds above her chances.

The other filly C&I features the spotlighted, Sister Sledge (e). She is one of two Burkes, the other being Sans Defaut (e). Sister Sledge was the highest earning filly trotter at two; not just of this field, of all frosh trotters, even top colt Amigo Volo (e).

Diamond Nina (e), Dazzling Diva (e) and Miss Kendra D (e) also hope for August berths, but the one to beat is Sister Sledge—she just is not worthy of a bet so low as she will go off. It’s a good pass, as well as a good leap-of-faith wager. For the latter scenario, consider Dazzling Diva, a Norm Parker-trained filly that has won her only race at three and who will be handled by highly underrated driver Dan Rawlings.

GRADUATE RECOMMIT

Back at the four-year-old stomping grounds on July 4 at the Meadowlands comes another leg of the Graduate Series, three divisions at $50k each for the pacers.

The first episode, eight up, have to beat Escapetothebeach. One challenge will come from Hurrikane Emperor, who has won his two miles already and the mare, Warrawee Ubeaut, gets a second chance to beat the boys. We like US Captain, just as we did last season, when the Tony Alagna colt was improving as the season grew late. He should be a price here.

In the second episode Dr Ian Moore’s Century Farroh may not get a lot of play against the “now horse,” Dancin Lou, and that is all the more reason to give him a big shot. As well, Prince Of Tides is a threat among his age group; we nailed him at his best prices when few thought much of the Ross Croghan colt.

Completing the triptych is a field of eight and an outside contender we support—Wild Wild Western. We picked up on his potential at three and the Norm Parker colt is looking better in the new season. If he pops early, like here, he will pay well—better than he will pay if he continues to improve as we predict. The obvious entries do not appear to offer enough for us to care if they beat us.

CUTLER’S ROW

Older trotters abound for the Meadowlands’ exclusive stakes, the $170k Arthur Cutler Memorial. This is a calliope, as are many older-trot events. The fans see it as Atlanta versus Manchego, but we see it as a chance to cash on an underrated horse that beats Atlanta, Manchego and the trailing public choices,

The only debut in the 11-horse field is Ake Svanstedt’s Plunge Blue Chip. This is one hell of an outsider to play because his talent for racing well enough to upset at a price is a strong one. We have had him at great prices and not always because he was the best horse but because tossing out a Svanstedt trotter is far more dangerous to the dollar than playing it. The scenario to win is good: “Plunge” will wait for the bulky field members to rattle one another with shuffles and short duels and fiery fractions and then Plunge will plunge with enough left to slice through them. He does not have to trot a life mark or an event record, nor does he have to win by great lengths; he has to do what Ake does so well—plunge at the right moment.


H2W Legend

Review our choices and confirm the wagers available at the prescribed track. H2W offers possible contenders researched from reviewing races. Horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track with the date of their race and the race number (R6 ) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name, it appears on the list for the second time (horses are listed twice only if, at first, they failed to win. An “ae” signals also eligible. Types of wagers to make are based on your judgment.

H2W LIST


Buffalo
7/4/20, Burning Shore R1; Sir Richie N R9; +Machlicious R10; +Barry Hanover R12

Grand River
7/3/20, Howmac Sabrina R1

Hawthorne
7/3/20, Litte Bita Sass R1; Hi Hos Little Rey R3; Fox Valley Gemini R7
7/4/20, +OK Jewel R4
7/5/20, +Queens N Tens R12

Hoosier
7/3/20, Gold Star Major R3
7/4/20, +Seventimesacharm R10; Massive Storm R14

Meadowlands
7/3/20, +Limerence R7

Meadows
7/4/20, +Bicorne Hanover R1; +Cindys Party Boy R5

Philly
7/3/20, +Becky Kronos R1; +Bastion R4

Pocono
7/4/20, +Yacht Week R3

Running Aces
7/3/20, +Roman Treasure R1; +Ahead By A Century R2; Key Word R5; Velocity Layla R7
7/5/20, +In For The Chase R7

Saratoga
7/2/20, +Presleysbeachshack R4; +Beatingtheodds R6; +Fargo Hanover R8

Scioto
7/2/20, +Forget It Im Crazy R8; Levi R14
7/4/20, +The Wall R5; +Boundless Dragon R9; Artful Dancer R9; Ellagator R9; +Royhill R11

Vernon
7/2/20, Five Towns R2; +Peacham R3; Lugar R10
7/4/20, +Arianno Grandeo R7

Woodbine/Mohawk
7/2/20, Full View R4; Cinnamack R5; LMC Bumble Bee R9
7/3/20, Ucantouchthis R2; Share The Moment R4; Edgewater R6; Dietrich Seelster R8; Vines To Heaven R11

Yonkers
7/2/20, Joes Sign R1; Sugaronthebeach R2; Discoforadollar R3
7/6/20, Con Air Hall R7