Battle Of Sexes Ensues In Maple Leaf Trot At Mohawk; Messenger Stakes More Of A Contest Than Most Predict

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

August 30th, 2018

Here are the races for week three of the 2018 Breeders Crown Countdown, the exclusive blog that coordinates with our weekly harness blog at and the Hambletonian Society to find great wagering opportunities for "Crown" eligible horses (noted in all texts with an “e” next to their names) from all 12 divisions as they race their ways to the finals. For the divisions’ best of the week, check the BCC companion blog, BCC Top Five Lists, generated by current winners and losers most likely to make it to the elims at Pocono this season.

This week’s divisions in play are the aged pacers and the soph-colt pacers.


Grand Circuit action continues in Canada as Mohawk action ensues for multi-division Breeders Crown contenders. The older pacing set has a kink in it this year, as Down-Under champ Lazarus N is a late-season entry into the division. The thousands it costs his new connections appear to mean little, so the pacer’s plans to head the division are resolute.

Lazarus is prepared for the $600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby on Sept. 1 at Mohawk and will be prominent in the wagering among his nine rivals. Only he and Nirvana Seelster are not eligible for the “Crown,” but the entry fee should bother the later unless he is able to pace a miracle mile and win this race.

Bets will be negotiable on most of the entries. Sintra (e) defends his event title; McWicked has ruled the division thus far; Split The House (e) is a constant threat to challenged speed; Rockin Ron (e) is the speed to challenge; Filibuster Hanover (e) never fires blanks; All Bets Off (e) has a productive bankroll; Dr J Hanover (e) usually makes an impression against these types that sometimes topples them; and Western Fame (e) loves to pick up precious pieces to win at a great price when speed burns from duels.

The key is beating Lazarus N. Don’t let his Hoosier debut fool you; he may be beaten. This division is merciless. For bettors, the odds should make the decisions. Lazarus N’s presence will hike the odds for others, including McWicked, the division’s king until the Aussie arrived. Even as a second choice, McWicked’s odds may be worth it.

A speed duel situation works for the usual closer suspects (as mentioned above), though more likely to pump up exotics with McWicked at the top. Yes, we do insinuate that Lazarus N could be buried in the stretch because it is not without chance. He has not proven he can trounce this group more than once. So, bet against it.


The glamour-boy pacers line up at Yonkers on Sept. 1 for the classic Messenger Stakes. Apparently the second jewel to a pacing triple crown [sic] that defies meaning in the new millennium, Stay Hungry (e) is the only candidate for the vacuous honor since winning the Cane Pace. He did not win an elim but we guarantee he will be bet to the teeth in this final.

Jimmy Freight bought into the “Mess” and won an elim. He, too, will carry much of the win cash to the gate. The other elim winner, Babes Dig Me (e), may get some attention for that win but we still give up on him for a poor season, considering the Mess elim an anomaly.

This leaves us the colt we backed that finished second to Babes Dig Me by a hair—JK Wildfire (e). We warned last week that trainer Brett Pelling may be picking up where he left off before his hemisphere hiatus with this pacer. “Wildfire” is improving with every step and will offer some neat bucks to beat Jimmy Freight in the final. This is raw meat for Pelling; his stock is casual but no one is apt to make champs from chumps like the guy who spawned legends about his training during a few phenomenal years of super steeds. If Wildfire goes great guns and beats Jimmy Freight, his prices on the pari-mutuels market will shrink. But in the Mess, he could make thicker headlines winning than the fact that he wins a “tri-crown” event.


Follow major 2018 BC hopefuls on their journey to the Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs at this Breeders Crown Countdown blog and the TwinSpires harness blog weekly, along with further information on the Hambletonian Society web site.