Adios Pace Showdown; Big Time Massachusetts Trots; Green Trotters Battle For Berths

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July 27th, 2017

Just when you thought this time of the harness stakes season couldn’t become more jazzed, along comes a new huge event to commingle with the attractions on tap. Of all places, Plainridge Racecourse hosts the first Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and some of the best older trotters get a whiff of summer in New England. We’ll cover that event along with the rest on the crowded-with-events weekend before our live coverage of the Hambletonian.  

Freshman Frolic picks continue, as well as some classic two-year-old events holding elims at the Meadowlands and glamour-boy pacers face the battle of Fear The Dragon and Huntsville in the Adios Final at the Meadows.

This week’s Hambletonian Trail, our TwinSpires-exclusive blog, handles the Hambletonian Oaks elims, as the glamour-girl trotters hold their elims with a week between them and the final (the Hambletonian goes in heats on the same day as the final). There are also Grand Circuit Arden Downs trots covered as some colts do more prepping before the decisions are made to drop into the Hambo box.

The weekly H2W (the horses-to-watch) list is posted as usual, to, so do your own handicapping and then consider our H2W selections when playing your bets. Of course, remember to be fully armed with a plentiful TwinSpires betting account.


Plainridge Racecourse has come a long way and celebrates on July 28 with its first huge event, The Spirit of Massachusetts Trot, which welcomes the season’s top free-for-all trotters with a $250,000 purse. Nine familiar competitors, with the monstrous Resolve, this season’s hot horse Crazy Wow and the best mare in her division, Hannelore Hanover among them, visit New England for the first time in their careers.

There are definitely two levels of the older set here. The aforementioned certainly define the top class level, while the rest, if judged by this season alone, follow in a second-class group. Trolley is the most productive of the second class this season. He has his work cut out for him from post 9 (the outside on this track). Obrigado has not shown much of what he delivered last season and may struggle again here. JL Cruze faded from his domination two seasons ago, though he seems to be coming around again. Wind Of The North has a fine win percentage this season but not against the top ilk. The others are lacking enough chances to even consider for upsets.

This appears to shape up to be Crazy Wow’s race and there may be wiggle room to find his price is worth it. Resolve and Hannelore Hanover are bound to split many dollars between them and that means if “Crazy” and the mare can hold off Resolve, there could be a decent win bet and exotic available. Looking for such a situation is certainly in the spirit of our playing.


As we draw closer to this year’s Hambletonian, two-year-old colt and filly trotters battle in elims to get winter-book status for the 2018 classic trots. Two Peter Haughton Memorial elims and two James Doherty Memorial elims (each worth $20,000) are prevalent at the Meadowlands on Friday, July 28.

In the “Peter” elims the trio of Jimmy Takter colts will get lots of attention in the first of the two miles. No need for handicapping there. But Ron Burke’s Rose Run Tyrone, though zero wins for three starts, deserves attention. He broke at Philly last week but the week before that he raced a terrific first half at the Meadows in a state-bred at 9-1. He was outside all the way, brushing to duel second until fading. His first start, at Pocono, saw him the favorite and he was just beaten after a dueling start.

The second Peter test offers another seven green trotters. Three Takters and a pair of Burkes takes care of all but two of the field. Let the crowd invest in their favorite trainers and ignore one just as good but not as popular—Julie Miller—who offers Met’s Hall. A good price may be immanent with the Cantab Hall colt leaving from post 7.

The first James gang of gals has a pair of Takters but we like the work of Trond Smedshammer with these fem youngsters and Phaetosive looks for her second win here at a price. It’s always a tough call to figure which inexperienced trotter will thrive this early in their careers but we get a slight edge with this gal from its trainer’s resume and from the fact that she is the only daughter of Explosive Matter in the field.

The second James gang has eight in the field and only one from the Takter trot factory. She will be bet heavily as she is yet to lose in a trio of efforts. She is up against a two-time winner, Mark Harder’s Lily Stride, also ready to take a scad of money. Erv Miller’s Supergirl Riley is also two for two. Where does this leave us for an upset? Linda Toscano’s Tiffany’s Flash is the only daughter of Cantab Hall in the lot and comes off a win at Pocono and a second before that in high-class action that gets our attention.


July 29 is the biggest Grand Circuit program of the Meadows’ season. Centered around the Adios Pace and co-starring the Adioo Volo (filly version), there are a number of Arden Downs events. We cover them in the H2W list and the Hambletonian Trail blog.

The $400,000 Adios Pace is the focus for the division’s top two soph-colt pacers, Fear The Dragon and Huntsville. There are seven others in the field but they are only for exotics, as the case may be. In the elims, Huntsville won his and “Dragon” won his. The former went faster, so we hope the public puts its money on Huntsville’s raw speed so we can get, though small, a fair price on Dragon.

Dragon is clearly better but that doesn’t always assure a win. But neither does a speed mark. On the three-turn mile at the Meadows this could be a finish within inches for the first two starters or Dragon could take it easily if Huntsville either has a bad day or is compromised with a duel. That could still keep Huntsville in the money, though it could disrupt an exacta. Act accordingly with Fear The Dragon as the key.

The $62,475 sister event to The Adios is the Adioo Volo. Nine glamour-gal pacers go in this year’s episode. This is not a list of the division’s top nine fillies, so it’s a tight fit. That being addressed, we are going with Brazuca, who may show a fine return against top earner Bettor’s Up. Brian Brown’s rail-starting Blazin Britches will get action with a six-for-seven win record. But for a soundly paying exacta, we’ll go with Bridge To Tomorrow, as we continue to put faith in Nifty Norman’s soph fillies, which are cashing some good checks.


Two-year-old races at the beginning of each season are the most difficult events for handicappers to forecast winners, no less value. Every season’s start for us means extra work on sire productivity, so we can make wise wagers in freshman races. If you handicap the races below, be sure to respect those listed as contenders.

July 27
Scioto, Oh My My My R3; Sesame R5
Philly, Cuts Like A Knife R3; Hickory Sassyfast R12
Hawthorne, Party’s Jet R5
July 28
Meadows, Msmillionheiress R2; Fish Is Fish R3; Crown Court R9

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.


7/28/17, BZ Glide R7; Chelseas Chance R8; +Lucky Style R11

7/29/17, +Day Longcard R9

7/28/17, +Don’t Forget R7; Allaboutme Hanover R11

7/27/17, +Skyway Royalty R5

7/28/17, +Call Me Queen Be R7

7/28/17, Cash Leebrook R14
7/29/17, Yupper R3; Reign On Me R5; Strong Coffee R6; +Honeemoon Suite R15

7/27/17, Tijuana Party R4; Maddysonofagun R7

7/27/17, Love To Glide R6
7/28/17, Dark Pool R10

7/28/17, Wings Of Royalty R8

7/29/17, Zooming R2; JJ Flynn R10
7/31/17, +Naturalle Muscle R4

Red Mile
7/28/17, Big Bad Cruisie R4; Go Big Blue R8; No Risk No Reward R10

7/27/17, Olivias Way R6; Cyclone Joe R8

7/28/17, +Dazzling Hall R2; +Blush R3
7/29/17, +Show Me Up R6; +Respectable Dream R8

7/27/17, Shams Big Guy R4
7/29/17, +Astreos Delight R10
7/30/17, +Roderick R6

7/28/17, +Smokinmombo R3
7/29/17, +Rock On Creek R2; Mr Jubilant R3; +Rockathon R11

7/29/17, +Roll Away Joe R7
7/30/17, +Celebrity Eventsy R5; +Triumphants Chip R7