Features explode on Saturday at the Meadowlands as familiar stakes settle into the July we though might never come in harness racing. Be betting-account solvent for the whole weekend of features and live contenders in our horses-to-watch list (H2W). They are available for all shades of wagers; always peruse the H2W choices for top prices.
INSS COLT CREW
Leg two of the Indiana Sires Stakes (INSS) for colt trotters comes to the July 16 program in a single, $60k event. Ten state-born sophs continue their 2020 campaign among their peers.
Swan In Motion is bound to get the most attention via his sire and his earnings from two wins and a place so far in 2020. After All Paul won two of four, so obviously he will have fans. Emma Town Bud, the top money-earner here, is three for three. Certainly bettors will rank him in the top three, but his outside post 9 could allow him go off higher than he would with an inside draw.
An outside contender is Flagman. With only one start so far—finishing second—Rick Plano’s colt is a candidate for improvement and it is not a huge leap of faith to back him where he may go off as an outsider.
The opening acts for nighttime action with glamour-boy pacers are three $64k Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) and one $42k Arden Downs affair at the Meadows on July 18 afternoon.
First on the PASS episodes …
The first of the PASS duo takes us back to supporting Rogerthat Bluechip. We had him at Hoosier in the Star Destroyer. Andrew Harris’s colt was a longshot that finished second to the best soph pacer in Indiana.
The second PASS draws us to Tito Rocks. There’s no getting away from him as favorite but that price may be higher than forecast since a few others are bound to be supported considering the brand trainers.
Finally, PASS three holds some value, perhaps, backing Captain Glory. Ray Schnittker has a few sired by Captaintreacherous and this one has shown much of the potent speed his sire possessed—the kind that did not collapse from challenges. A good price should accompany it, too.
The $42k Arden Downs for the division presents a glamour-boy trot. Of the nine at the gate, only one is Hambletonian-eligible—Patriarch Hanover. Simply, ignore the post and go with the one colt in the bunch that has all to lose by not winning the best of this purse. Besides, it could be a good price on a Ron Burke entry.
MEADOWLANDS PACE 2020
Ten soph-pacing colts from the asterisk season of 2020 head for the post on July 18 in the $631k Meadowlands Pace. Taking byes in the solo elim, Allywag Hanover and Chief Mate would have made 10, but a late decision from the connections of Chief Mate scratched him. Chief Mate drew the 7 hole but with the scratch the colt finishing ninth in the solo “Pace” elim gott the post. That colt is Capt Midnight. This puts our Pace-elim choice (and leader of our top five in the division) into the final fray, along with Catch The Fire, also in our quintet.
Capt Midnight had no choice in the elim but to power forward when he was left to hang first over as the field settled around the first turn. As pacesetter and eventual winner Tall Dark Stranger soared through steaming fractions atop the field, Capt Midnight’s challenge deflated by the third quarter. He finished ninth, the first of the two disqualifying finishing positions. His unexpected inheritance of a spot in the final is another chance for the upset we supported—and it could be bigger than just the winner.
We liked the elim performance of Catch The Fire, our second choice in what was an ordinary mile dominated by Tall Dark Stranger, the favorite, in his wire-to-wire performance. Shuffled to last by the half, “Fire” put in a flaming last quarter to finish seventh.
We also liked Brian Pelling’s Papi Rob Hanover in the elim. “Allywag” finished third leaving from post 10 with a good 4-1 offering. Pelling trains Allywag, drawing post 4, while “Papi” is stuck again on the outside (post 9). We like “Allywag” as much as we like Papi. Pelling has this one primed but good.
The Pace final won’t be the roaring drag that was the elim. Some ambitious battling will ensue, adding drama to each quarter. “Stranger” will be the favorite again, though Allywag will get more action than Papi. That forecast could be incorrect by any measure but two things are for sure—Capt Midnight and Catch The Fire will go off a huge prices.
There are the four we recommend for exotic action; in any configuration they make for a value-packed payoff, especially by leaving Stranger out and doubling up with the Pellings [sic].
DEL MILLER FILLIES
A single route for the glamour-girl fillies will bring to the forefront a Hambletonian Oaks favorite and sometimes a filly that takes on the main event. The $253k mile has a field of 11, the favorite most likely being Sorella, Nancy Takter’s soph that has won three in as many starts. Next, two-for-two Hypnotic AM, Marcus Melander’s striking filly, will get a good share of backers.
We want to continue backing Ramona Hill for price and purpose. She will have her work cut out for her but her undaunted closing style should make her 10-post start moot.
The colts battle in a pair of Stanley Dancer Memorials ($142k each), reflecting how many colts are serious about the main event. Leading the betting in the first edition is Amigo Volo, the pundits’ Hambo choice. It won’t be that simple for him. There’s strong competition from Big Oil, Play Trix On Me, Back Of The Neck and Third Shift, none of which fall into our winner column. We will back the soph debut of Real Cool Sam, Jim Campbell’s champ frosh product. Considering the field, a fair price on a great colt should be offered.
Unheard of in punters’ circles is a stakes sweep from the Campbell barn, but we dig it. Once again we back our top choice for the division, Beyond Kronos. During the lockdown, when we chose Campbell’s other colt (we posted a blog), we knew he would race tamely to this point, considering the obvious colts. It turns out well for us that he has not made his presence known yet for two reasons. First, when he wins, he will pay an extraordinary price, and if he gets into the main event, he will be, if nothing else, peaking. So far, none of his three races has been productive; however, neither have they shown specific reasons to dismiss him. At this point in as strange a time for horse racing as for human culture, the math looks good enough to trust in a longshot.
Eleven soph-filly pacers make up the $194k Mistletoe Shalee. Again, Nancy Takter sends out top stock ready to be hammered at the windows. She has a trio in this field. It may be very competitive, though, so we will go with two fillies we liked at two who we feel could be better at three.
First, there’s Linda Toscano’s Baby Your the Best. This youngster raced with far better in stakes at two but her potential was obvous. She has already been on the board twice in three shots. Nifty Norman’s Marloe Hanover is the other. She was one of the better ones “Baby” took on and she made an impression upon the division. She has hit the board three of four times as a soph.
BILL HAUGHTON BULLS
The $391k Free For All brings together stalwart pacers with one disappointment: Bettors Wish dropped out after bleeding in last week’s Graduate Final and finishing well off the board. Bettors may be catching on to Century Farroh but there is still enough familiar horseflesh here to spread the money around. Driving late and nine wide after being shuffled to last, Century Farroh stormed into the top five.
The aggressive early moves made the winner, Hurrikane Emporer, appear to race much better than he did but his 1:47 mile and clear path in the stretch from a great cover trip was a gift. It was kind of a curse for Century Farroh, but a sterling mile to have performed coming into this contest.
It’s a four-year-old Open featuring former Hambletonian eligibles and offering $464k at 1 1/8 miles. The 2019 Hambo champ, Forbidden Trade, will get a bundle of bets, calculated and loyalty based, but this event belongs to the trotter that we backed all last season and has come back at four with muscles intact—Gimpanzee. A solid favorite, he is a key for exotics, which may only be worth it if the unlikely followers follow him across the finish line. Watch the board for the longest shots or watch the race for another sterling performance by Melander’s New York-bred.
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.
7/18/20, Youcaniknow R1; A Bettor Hat R9; Classic American N R9; +Creating A Dream R11; +MG Home Run R13
7/17/20, +Share The Moment R3
7/18/20, Howmac Sabrina R6
7/17/20, Always A Fiji R7; +Hi Hos Little Rev R13
7/18/20, Meetmeatthefinish R2; Franksnativewestrn R5
7/17/20, +Mcmach R4; +Tyber Tyke R5; +Dancin Doug R7
7/18/20, Meadowbrook Raider R15
7/17/20, The Mighty Marner R8
7/18/20, +Plunge Blue Chip R2; Shartin N R10; Geez Joe R11
7/18/20, Meadowwbrook Raider R15; Latest Desire, R15; Venier Hanover R16
7/18/20, All Access R4; Special Luke R6; Somebeach Baron R9; Wind Of The North R11; Ballerat Boomerang R12; +Key Advisor R14; Bait A Hook R16
7/16/20, Holiday Harlot R3; Hey Dali R6; Mr PM R8
7/16/20, +Dynamic Edge R12
7/17/20, Here Comes Teddy R12
7/16/20, Shes A Fireball R1; Bettors Fire N R5
7/17/20, Neverdie R5; +Ugly Stik R10
7/18/20, Somesizesomestyle R2; Catch My Shadow R4; Herehecomesarockin R8; Wild Bill R9
7/18/20, +Nothingbutagoodtime R2; +Sin Machqueen R7; Queenace Blue Chip R10
7/16/20, MVP Luke R3; Verge Of Insanity R10; Up Front Flor Ida R11
7/18/20, Dakota Ole R13
7/16/20, Salutation R2
7/17/20, +Up And Trending R1; +Kendall Seelster R9
7/18/20, Fan Court R5; +Ucanttouchthis R6; +Easy Lover Hanover R9
7/16/20, Sweet Heart AS R3; Shecouldbegood R6; Cash Hit R7
7/17/20, +Caviart Skyler R3; +Mr Profeta R6