Autumn In Kentucky—The Red Mile Hosts Grand Circuit With Fields Of Bluegrass, Waves Of Betting Opportunities

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September 27th, 2018

Autumn arrives on time, as do the top standardbreds in all divisions to Lexington, Kentucky, where the “Roarin’ Rollin’ Grand Circuit” meet settles for two full weeks. All the big name horsemen and horses stop here en route to the championships, this year in the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains. The Bluegrass Series adorns first-week action and some of the season’s last big stakes feature great opportunities for bettors that we hope to find and smash to bits for TwinSpires harness bettors.

Around the continent there are big stakes at Dayton for our older pacers and trotters before those divisions show up in Kentucky.

The Breeders Crown Countdown (BCC) handles some Simpson Stakes for youngsters that are being held in Philly as our week of action begins on Thursday.

More? Of course, we hand out strong wagering on our horses-to-watch list (H2W). Explore any and all horses we post for use in wagers of your discretion. Do your own handicapping and then consider any and all our H2W and frosh selections.


There are so many Bluegrass Stakes (BG) in the two weeks of The Red Mile Grand Circuit action that we will simply number them in our headlines and put the divisions in the context of each. “One” deals with the Bluegrass events for $86,000 each on Thursday, Sept. 27 with two-year-old colt trotters.

The first event of the program features eight at the gate. We have been in tune with this year’s crop from Manofmanymissions and in this split we have no problem supporting his sole representative, Wittyville. Six times finishing on the board, twice a winner, the Ron Burke-trained colt will not go unnoticed. However, the crowd could see him as second best. They may put all of their pennies on Jimmy Takter’s Don’t Let’em, and still offer some value for the Burke entry. .

Seven go in the day’s second BG. It’s not a tight contest if you consider the high-profile Green Manalishi S. He has raced with far better than these and has made a lot more money doing so. Here, Takter has a colt that could upset while offering a decent price. Super Schissel is a son of Uncle Peter from that sire’s first crop and he is in a fine spot to the immediate right of “Green” to roll into a perfect-trip win and if he improves he may win better than expected at all.

Eight more fill the field of the next BG split. Union Forces, who we nabbed at 33-1 two weeks back, is here among less talent than he faced in Canada but nonetheless greatly challenged by the likes of a few others by Cantab Hall. Forecast, for another, is the top Cantab Hall product in wins and earnings and should take the most in the win pool. Even maiden Nextroundsonme is in a good spot on the rail to embrace improvement and win.

Takter’s Hudson River has the richest blood, being the son of Father Patrick-Lantern Kronos, but he has not been as sharp as expected so far. As well, Chin Chin Hall (by Cash Hall) appears in only his second outing, not enough to line out his chances. This leaves us with an outside contender we like a lot. By Donato Hanover (and the only one here represented by that sire) we’ll go with Amico Mio Bi. Twice a winner and twice an exacta member, his connections won’t tempt the crowd but that is all right with us, we continue to evaluate the Donato Hanover frosh crop with more respect than the majority of bettors this season.

The BG One conclusion of the program also sends eight to post. Here we have to agree with a probable majority that Julie Miller’s Prospect Hill will succeed with ease. As we continue to recognize the power of the Miller stable this season, we are impressed enough to shun upset possibilities with most. Key this one for exotics if you surrender a win play.


BG Two has a lot of money for frosh-filly pacers and frosh-filly trotters on the Grand Circuit day of Sept. 28 at The Red Mile. Three fields for pacers and four with trotters go off in the $90,000s.

First, we judge the trotters. The field of nine has two maidens, both that will be dismissed by the public when measured against Southwind Storm and Fashion Rachel. That duo, though leaving from posts 8 and 9, should still get significant action, leaving a few open for overlay status.

On the rail leaves Mother Teresa, a Father Patrick filly with only four starts and one win and in the money two other times. She is fresher than the rest and has every right to improve with this field.

Another nine are at the gate for the trotters’ next BG field. Here goes Starita, who we have followed with profit since summer began. Joe Holloway’s filly (by Trixton) will be a decent price against The Ice Dutchess (who we caught at her best price on Hambo day but has offered pittance since) and she can beat her.

The penultimate nine trotters on the BG bill may offer a solid price for a Julie Miller student, Special Honor. As we continue to emphasize the Miller magic this season we continue to follow her stock (almost always guided by husband Andy) before the betting world realizes the terrific season she is having.

The last trotter BG split offers 10 fillies. From post 10 leaves the only undefeated of the field, Cloud Nine Fashion. Still, the win money may be spread about, what with a few others showing some class. Whispering Oaks, though only having won three of nine, has made the most here and under the care of Takter will be supported well. Other top earners, Windy Corner and Fate Smiled will also attract dollars.

We hit with Linda Toscano’s Sister’s Promise in a Peaceful Way elim and hope to get a good price on her here based on the nature of the competition. She is a classy Father Patrick daughter that may be on the improve though she failed in the Peaceful Way final and if she finds a way around the others she will gain deserved praise and pay deservedly to those backing her.

Next, we scan the pacers. The first BG split for them has eight at the gate. Sire-wise, this is an odd bunch where the sire and his son share four in the field. Two from Captaintreacherous’s first crop meet two from a crop of his sire, the ill-fated Somebeachsomewhere. And Sweet Lou, who is doing all right with his first crop, has a trio involved.

All that being said, Yankee Cruiser, who was recently retired from stud, has the filly we like best, the only one he has in this field—High Reward. Perhaps the crowd will not bank on her bankroll, which is highest in the field, and let her go off with a decent price to offer—nothing huge, mind you, but close to two figures.

The middle BG for pacers will probably have the most wagers centered around Zero Tolerance. She has six wins for eight starts, is money-abundant and is trained by Holloway. We have backed Queen Of The Pride in her rise to the top of the division but here we are going with Edge Of Eternity. Brian Brown’s daughter of A Rocknroll Dance may be overlooked and underrated while still having a great chance to score.

The pacers end the BG stream with a field of nine. We are going to bet right back with St Somewhere. She was a favorite and our choice in a sires-stakes final at Yonkers last week but she jumped at the start and lost all chance of catching up. On a two-turn mile she may have had a better chance to be in the thick of it late. However, not breaking at all is the goal here, where she can get to the front and out-pace ‘em all.


Ohio’s harness venue outside of Northfield is Dayton and after only a week it presents signature races for older pacers and trotters on Sept. 28.

The $150,000 Dayton Trotting Derby has nine and two also-eligible entries. It is probably a spot where Ariana G gets the majority vote. She has been highly competitive and also has beaten better than this field. Her defiant foes include Will Take Charge and a recently empowered Guardian Angel AS, as well as a Midwest terror, Homicide Hunter.

This is a good race to take a shot on an outside contender. If Ariana G is as good as she looks in this field then she will beat better than Warrawee Roo, who may be the surprise we suggest. Luc Blais sends his charges with all-out intent intact and “Roo” has made a bundle in stakes without many photos in the winner’s circle. Expect a huge mile.

The $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby may not be another meeting of McWicked and Lazarus N if the latter does not draw into the race—he is an also-eligible entry. Like the trotting derby, there is a standout—McWicked has drawn into the race and he takes on a bunch he has been beating over and over in the second half of the season. What now? All you can do if you play is key him in exotics. If Lazarus happens to draw into the field, stay with McWicked for a better price.


Saturday, Sept. 29 continues the stream of BG stakes. We are dealing with frosh-colt pacers, each worth $70,000-plus, and a single mile for soph-filly pacers worth six digits.

Split one has eight colts, one of which we return to supporting. Lyons Night Hawk has been racing among far better than these and can seriously challenge the obvious favorite, Captain Trevor, and pay better.

Round two for colts will find Proof a major choice and rightfully so. We were with him before he attained such magnetism so we will back a more promising price on Captain Victorious. Why? His performances thus far, coupled with his home, the Millers’ stable.

The colts’ third chapter could be the spot for Actor Hanover to break his maiden. He comes from a classy affair at Hoosier and is up against a lot less talent here. For a Burke entry he could pay a good bit of coin.

More action for the colts in the next BG event of seven pits six against the undefeated Workin Ona Mystery. Blood Money will attempt to snap that one’s streak but the one that may do it is Major Deception. Tony Alagna’s colt is three for six and his penchant for winning only is impressive against these.

Yet another colts split, this with a field of eight, draws in an obvious favorite, Bicorne Hanover. The Burke product by Art Major has made a lot more than his foes with only two wins in nine starts and some place-and-show checks. Burke also sends the rail horse, World On Edge, one with a lesser chance. Love Me Some Lou should provoke a serious challenge, one we would back. 

Glamour-girl pacers close the program with a single mile worth $126,000. A dozen of them take on the red-clay surface with Kissin In The Sand headlining. We, however, will return to backing Sansovina Hanover. She failed us in the Jugette but aside from “Kissin” she is the class of this field, which includes some unknowns from the division that have been thoroughly beaten by Kissin and “Sansovina.”

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.


9/28/18, +Bugger Jerry R1; Gimme The Pacifics R1; Noble Legend R3
9/29/18, Barry Hanover R7

9/27/18, +Here Comes Moony R2

10/1/18, Jigtime Jones R3; Daiymir R6; +Doc Semalu R11

9/28/18, +Always A Varoom R6

9/29/18, Aldine Hanover R4

9/28/18, +Shambala R6; +Ella Christina R9
9/29/18, +LMC Picasso R2

9/27/18, +Winning R5

9/29/18, +Well Well Well R9

9/30/18, +Friendsforever R10

9/27/18, +Cherokee Hiflyzone R1; +Betterlatethnnever R4

9/29/18, Carmens Best R3; Mister Truth R7; Meant Tobe Shooter R9

9/28/18, +Loves Angel R11

9/28/18, In Secret R2; Feel The Need A R5; Regil Electra R8
10/1/18, +Aleppo Hanover R7; +Ghost Dance R10