‘Battle’ On At Northfield; Sophs And Grads Cross Swords For Super Cash

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

May 19th, 2016

Older pacers and trotters are at it again, this time in Ohio for Northfield’s Battle of Lake Erie and in New Jersey for the Meadowlands opening of the Graduate series (four-year-olds). We have sophs, too, at the Big M—filly pacers in the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS).

Across the river, glamour-boy pacing action resumes with a solo Art Rooney elim (fillies for the Lismore skip elims) aiming contenders at the rich final next week. More soph colt pacers go for lucrative Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) purses

On The Hambletonian Trail this week, sires stakes and Grand Circuit events feature soph trotters of both sexes. Check the separate blog, exclusively brought to you by TwinSpires and the Hambletonian Society.
The TwinSpires horses-to-watch list (H2W) continues to generate great percentages across the board with its unique selections of outside contenders. No other handicapping sources in print or on line deliver as much promising profit from the horses on the H2W list. Prepare to hammer the win, place, show and exotic pools. Always consider H2W horses when constructing your wagers.


Northfield Park’s lucrative feature, the Battle of Lake Erie, is a $200,000 event that lured Wiggle It Jiggleit. Fresh off his valiant effort in the Confederation Cup, where he took the place spot though strapped with a second-tier 9 post on the four-turned Flamboro oval, “Wiggle” picks up the rail—cherished post for traversing the “Flying Turns” of this Ohio half-mile.

Wiggle will have a major betting foe in Freaky Feet Pete, the scourge of Indiana and soph-division champ nationally. The four-year-old is versatile and fast but can he maneuver four turns from post 5? All Bets Off is weighed down by the 8 hole and that could be an advantage to “Pete” if “Bets” fires early from the outside and hooks into a brawl with Wiggle.

Two in this field wind up on the H2W list but don’t figure well to win as much as they could play roles in the exotics. Roland N Rock and Santa Fe Beachboy need a lot of bad performances from the aforementioned to win here. As well does Foiled Again, Luck Be Withyou and Ideal Cowboy, those five from the “Levy” battles.

Wiggle may present his best price ever due to Pete and Bets, which will make him irresistible as the bet. We think that if the front starts to burn early, Wiggle will get a good spot to chase and defeat Pete and Bets. Or, if Wiggle commands the pace with an early lead, he could hold off rapidly closing foes that will not have enough stretch to catch him.


The Meadowlands launches the Graduate Series for four-year-olds in both gait divisions on Saturday, May 21. There is $50,000 on the line for six in the Graduate trot field, featuring last year’s hot soph, Canepa Hanover, from the Jimmy Takter barn. “Canepa” broke and ran at Philly last week in his second soph mile but you cannot cross him off the contender list for that poor performance.

Shipping in for the series is Homicide Hunter, though he, too, has not started the season as expected. Wings Of Royalty, however, is two for two at four [sic] but Honor And Serve could make his first start at four a winner for Ake Svanstedt, who has his stock ready at first crack. Along with a probable good price for a six-horse field, we will take Honor And Serve here.

In round two, this also for trotters, Takter presents Pinkman, the rip-roaring Hambletonian-plus winner in 2015 who lost his first outing this season. He faces nine-straight winners Musical Rhythm and Maestro Blue Chip, practically veterans of older-trot races already this season. As well, Svanstedt has another first-cracking season starter in Centurion ATM, along with his one-for-one winner Crescent Fashion. To make matters more complex, Crazy Wow is now in the Ron Burke barn and goes for the second time after a losing debut.

This group can easily confuse the most adept handicapper, no less bargain-bet hunter. However, a good price on Pinkman could arise considering the competition. Since Pinkman is yet to prove himself at four, the money could be spread about the field. Judge that Pinkman offering for yourself but remember that this giant of a sophomore raced last year better than he was bet most of the time. Centurion ATM, for our money, should be the other best price.

The single Graduate for pacers is worth $75,000 to a field of nine. There should be strong support for last week’s Confederation Cup winner, Rockin Ron (10 for 10 so far) one of three going from the Burke barn.

Canadian Split The House will have his northern fans pushing dollars through the windows and In The Arsenal will sit atop many handicapper’s win list, even though he lost his first race this season.

We are willing to become engaged in the chances-better-than-odds Americanprimetime. Rick Dane Jr.’s four-year-old has matured and looks ready to cash some big checks against brand-name sophs-turned-four horses and is worth a bet to deliver Rockin Ron his first loss.


NJSS soph femmes begin their state championship challenges on May 21 at the Meadowlands. A pair of $25,000 first-leg divisions is on tap.

Nine pretty pacers go in round one, a contest with many opinions worth a listen. JK Fannie, two for two, will get a tepid backing against Watch N Be Watched, and Rollatown may be played too heavily for being only two wins for 10 starts.

But Rocknroll Fan looks to be in a perfect field with a perfect post to cash the biggest check. After four finishes of six on the board, Rocknfoll Fan could score her first win of the season at a more-than-fair price.

The second NJSS filly split will have seven at the gate, four of which begin their soph season. The public will back one of the season-starters, a top frosh, Boston Red Rocks. Off of last year’s campaign, the betting majority will assume she is just as good if not better now. We need proof.

The public will also back the record-obvious Don’tcallmefrancis, now three wins for six starts and being guided by the fan-favorite driver David Miller.

However, this is a race where you can confidently bet against the top pair. Miller is also listed on Jim Campbell’s Katies Rocker, one of the debut fillies with a great shot at starting the season with a victory based on connections and breeding. We hope Miller goes with the obvious to pump up the price on Katies Rocker.


Soph-colt glamour boys have a single elimination to get into next week’s Art Rooney Memorial at Yonkers. The $40,000 mile goes on May 21, early on the program, with nine checking in to race for final berths.

Missile J and Yankee Artillery may share the public-choice position closely, having great soph-campaign starts. Rodeo Rock and Tap Into Power enter their soph seasons with this race, which is a tough task to victory, both of them in need of a mile, perhaps against less stature?

A rare Trond Smedshammer pacer, Artmagic, who showed a lot of potential at two, is taking on his second race of the new division and should offer a good price, unless his driver, George Brennan—a hugely popular Yonkers reinsman, is the reason for heavy win play.


Glamour-boy pacers bred in the Keystone State offer three $54,000-plus PASS splits at Pocono Downs on Sunday, May 22.

Seven go in episode one and last week’s PA All-Star favorite, JJ Flynn, tries again after his fourth in that event. He will pick up some value from that and the fact that Takter’s Western Fame will take some money. Though he has not won at three yet, Burke’s Big Top Hanover will help spread win-pool money around, as will Burke’s other entry, Fernando Hanover. We will go with JJ Flynn again.

The second PASS split is very evenly matched, with any one of the seven poised to rise in the division from a good race. Burke has a pair here, too, with JK Will Power and More Dragon, both from the outer posts. “JK,” topping the earnings, could edge the others to be the choice. We are keeping an eye on Lyons Snyder, who may be ignored before racing a hole in the wind as he gets better with every race against the so-far class of this division.

Finally, six go in split three, with Burke’s three-for-three Check Six bound to be the choice. As well, The Catamount Kid should be the popular second choice for a very cheap exacta. A lot needs to go wrong for that combo not to finish one-two but there is one relative unknown here—Sapient Hanover. One third from two races is not enough to dismiss this guy. So, it’s time to play the faith card for a big price in a small field because if he turns out to be a great horse, everyone will know it, bet it and there goes any value.

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.


5/21/16, Clintons Memory R1

5/19/16, Tyne Valley R2; Bignprecious R5; Thunderaway R6; Useful Hanover R8; Female Finesse R10

5/21/16, Acefortyfour Alex R8
5/22/16, +Canadian Writer R5

5/20/16, SS Derby Girl R4
5/21/16, Sams Honeybee R4

5/19/16, Parklane Indy R4
5/21/16, +Master Of Desire R11

5/18/16, +Abida hanover R14
5/19/16, Churita R13
5/20/16, jumpinthejailhouse R14

5/21/16, Amped Up R12

5/21/16, Mr Erv R3; Miley Hanover R6; Fall Toy R7; Buddha Blue Chip R12; Tempster Hanover R13

5/20/16, +Nomatterwhen R5; Gerries Sport R7; +Rubis Prescott R8; +Twin B Sweetheart R9; +Justabit Mean R11
5/21/16, +Duc Dorleans R5

5/19/16, Gizmo Hanover R5; Always Right R9; Easter Bay R10

5/21/16, +Gamblers Anonymous R6; +Roland N Rock R11; +Santa Fe Beachboy R11
5/23/16, Woodmere Speedball R5

5/21/16, Hoorei For Flash R2; Landsdown Road R6; Times Are Tight R9

5/19/16,  +Wind Of The North R6; +Limelight Beach R6; +Don Dorado R14
5/20/16, Quick Aint Fair R10
5/21/16, Machine Team R11

5/19/16, +Beluga Ridge R3; +Hallanet R6; +Lindyaholic R7; Flaming Yankee R7; Garlandsandpearls R8

5/23/16, +Beach Ogre R4; +Ameritime R12

5/22/16, +GPS Legacy R2

Running Aces
5/21/16, Silver Spir R6; +Art Genta R8

5/19/16, +New Miracle R6; Riverofroyalty R9
5/20/16, +Fox Valley Truth R2
5/21/16, +Really Living R2; Mr Bo Diddly R2; Chizzled In Stone R10
5/22/16, Bryans Angel R2

5/19/16, +Pepstepn Penelope R3
5/20/16, +Naked By Nine R2

5/20/16, +Tidquist R8
5/20/16, Kiona R1; Kick A Lot R11

Western Fair
5/20/16, +Birdie R7

5/21/16, +Texas Terror N R5; Moonlightonthebeach R7; +Keystone Honor R8; Verdad R12
5/23/16, Blood Brother R11

Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition