A Midwest flavor seeps into the harness racing features as what was usually the unofficial beginning of the second half of the season lingers as still the first half in the pandemic atmosphere. From the volume of races available at TwinSpires, you might have no problem looking for valuable plays. We hope to assist.
Our secondary list of contenders appears on our horses-to-watch list (H2W) for wins, places, shows and participating exotic-wagering elements.

TWOS BY TWO

Woodbine/Mohawk (affectionately WoMo) sends frosh trotters to series’ finals on Aug. 13. The colts conclude their journey in the Millard Farms Final ($79k) and the fillies in the Pure Ivory Final ($84k).

On A Streak, the Luc Blais son of Cantab Hall, just made it into the final and picks up the 8 spot with two leaving to his right in this 10-horse field. Blais has another in the field, a Muscle Mass colt, but the Cantab Hall guy is the better bred. Last week he left alertly but was challenged early, losing that duel and settling in for another move into the stretch that was thwarted by three others. He finished fourth in the trio closest to the winner. All in all, the favorite had no solid excuse to finish third; Logan Park (7-1) was simply better than the rest (32-1 Warrawee Whisper finished second, also ahead of the favorite, Black Tie Bash. On A Streak raced far better than the 18-1 he was assigned by bettors and gets a good shot at being the final’s champ at a worthy price.

The fillies finish their series in the Pure Ivory (84K). Ten also take on the big purse. Last week’s confusion resulted in our mis-casting Keystone Cecilia in a leg’s division. She did not win but she made the final, as did a daughter of Cantab Hall, Meg Crone’s Anna Bolena. These two freshman gals are not so much royally bred as they are statistically solid considering the success of their sires. Kadabra’s strength is with frosh fillies, while Cantab Hall has spawned a ton of money-makers in every division.

Anna Bolena leaves from post 3, while Keystone Cecilia sprouts from the 8 hole. These two deserve strong consideration and may turn out to be the numbers in a hot-blooded exacta

DAN PATCH STAKES


Hoosier’s signature race, named after the historic-pacing-hero-of-harness-racings-heyday Dan Patch, stars some mighty older pacers visiting for financial purposes—a $225k purse. Of the 10 male mavens lining up on Aug. 14, five are from the Ron Burke barn, though for our money, the quintet has not one that can defy, no less beat, Chris Ryder’s only entry, Bettor’s Wish.

Last week at the Meadowlands, Bettor’s Wish (on Lasix for the first time after bleeding and losing his previous race) Bettor’s Wish spearheaded the field of the Sam McKee Memorial with a race line that refused to show a call other than 1, no matter the details. The four-year-old (already beating older in FFAs), was wide to the quarter, took the top, challenged in a duel at three quarters, drew away by 3 lengths and held on for dear life’s sake to win by a nose to Backstreet Shadow’s easy trip. Favorite Dancin Lou had the worse of the mile, burning out from an overland journey but he is not here and Bettor’s Wish is better, anyway.

One by one, you can cross out most of the field’s chances. Even Backstreet Shadow. The only dangers should be Century Farroh (who made up a ton of ground in the “McKee” to finish third at a generous 22-1) and Our Majordan A (who was the favorite and finished third in the McKee Consolation). In fact, there’s the exacta and triple we endorse.

MARYLAND GLAMOUR

Maryland Sires Stakes (MDSS) finals a for glamour-boy and-girl trotters and pacers are featured at Ocean Downs on Aug. 14. At $45k each, a quartet of fields goes to the gate.

Soph-colt trot
Richard Hans’ Yall Beneath Me is the most successful of the MDSS in this field and certainly will pick up grand suppot. Along with Justrestingmyeyes, the pair should account for the majority of the win pool. Not so obvious and leaving from the unpopular 8 hole, though, the dangerously fast Goorilla deserves more chances than his odds will display.

Ed Gannon, Jr has let this sire-stamped son of Googoo Gaagaa loose and got him to stay on gait. “Googoo” was a trotter whose sire was a pacer and now and again he “forgot” which gait to use. However, on the trot, Googoo was good good, recording speed records and then siring many a fast square-steppers. Gannon Jr  bought Goorilla with a partner just before the colt’s best MDSS win.

Soph-filly trot
Trainer Arlene Cameron has a herd of horses in these events and one looking dominant is the filly Goodygoodytwoshoes. She has won three of four with a single third finish and earned the most of the field, including two others Cameron trains.

Soph-filly pace
This division is tighter than the others, offering arguments for five of eight. Shaun Callahan’s I’d Be Rich leads the group in wins and money but Brian Callahan’s Hillybilly Kisses is a threat along with Bill Fletcher’s Breeze Away B. The latter has recorded the fastest of wins if you do speed figures, but the sleeper here is Arlene Cameron’s Fire Me Up. This one has come close and hit the board too many times against MDSS fillies to dismiss and she should offer odds over and above her chances.

Soph-colt pace
Another Arlene trio looks for the lion’s share of winnings and one of them looks best of the bunch. Nvrfearlloydishere has to find a way to lose this race. A tough duel with most-likely second choice Fantastic Voyage could hurt the pair and then it’s anyone’s game, “lloyd” takes the field wire to wire sans worry.

FILLY BET-BACKS

On the afternoon of Aug. 15 at the Meadows, a couple of soph-filly trotters that failed to win on Hambletonian day in New Jersey, show up for the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes, each in a $93k split.

In round one, Sister Sledge, the other filly in the Hambo, may be the big favorite here but a good play for price and purpose is Dip Me Hanover. She tried too hard too early to control the field of the Continentalvictory but when she settled she held on to finish third (though placed second due to Sweet Shirley Mae’s break).

In the second split, let’s bet back Next Level Stuff, who makes the big drop down from the “Oaks” Jim Campbell’s filly took the overland route and followed the best three in the field home and that makes her the classiest in this smaller field of state-breds.

CARL MILSTEIN PACERS

Northfield’s $250,000 Carl Milstein Memorial invites classy older pacers from around the USA in a mile event on the half-mile track’s Flying Turns on Aug. 15. It is rarely a meeting of the division’s best hard-pounding pacers and the 2020 version is no exception. The blend of successful locals with national stakes participants makes for some challenging handicapping and sometimes a good betting race, especially since such a huge purse is up for grabs on a half-mile track.

Certainly, Catch The Fire (CTF) will become popular to the betting public again, after his Adios win, which was a second-tier stakes for the division, but it is notable that Chief Mate, the colt finishing second to CTF in the Adios, went on to meet the division’s best in The Cane Pace while CTF sat it out. In the shellacking Tall Dark Stranger made of the Cane, Chief Mate held up well. He raced better than Manticore, who comes to the “Millstein. The crowd, however, will most likely dismiss Chief Mate in the Millstein, loyally betting on their Midwest entries, and that will make Chief Mate a good price to target.

Along with Elver Hanover, who has been lightly raced at three but in the money more than not and of the class of Chief Mate, the duo have a chance to show off their true class from having battled top members of the division, led by CTF. 

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

Batavia
8/15/20, +Do Over Hanover R4; +Beckarama R12; One Step Up R13

Harrington
8/17/20, +Last Gunfighter R4

Hawthorne
8/15/20, +Canthelpbutwin R13

Hoosier
8/13/20, Elegant Virgin R 4; Rockin Fire R6; Random Task A R7; DI’s Big Elvis R12

Kawartha
8/15/20, +LMC Hope R6

Meadows
8/15/20, Bueller R11; Misty Lane R13
8/17/20, Yankee Artillery R10; Lindythefourteenth R12

Northfield
8/15/20, Ellegator R 3; Ubanji R4; Major Nemesis R9

Philly
8/16/20, Silas Seelster R9

Plainridge
8/14/20, Lucky Arnold R6; Marveloustrix R9

Running Aces
8/15/20, +Trouble Times Two ae R3; Panchantedtikiroom R6; Marced Magic R7

Scioto
8/15/20, Excavator R11

Vernon
8/14/20, +Some Reality R6

Woodbine/Mohawk
8/13/20, +Social Theories R8