Ben Franklin Forecast Is Fiercely Fast At Pocono; Sophomores Co-Star; Northfield Trotting Trial On Tap
The July Fourth weekend in the U.S. offers great harness racing. America’s racehorse, the standardbred, is represented in stakes, features and overnights, all available for play on your TwinSpires platform.
On July 2, Pocono Downs’ big stakes night of finals presents star casts, fields of speed and power, along with prime-time wagering opportunities. Older pacers, glamour-boy and glamour-girl pacers and a Hambletonian preview adorn the program. In tune with the holiday, the Ben Franklin Final gathers the best representatives of qualifying rounds at Pocono, while the same program offers glamour-boy and-girl pacers and a major Hambletonian test for colts. Older trotters hit the multi-turns at Northfield.
The Hambletonian Trail blog will cover the Earl Beale, Jr. Final and Tompkins-Gears Stakes this week at Pocono and Tioga, respectively. It’s only a month until the classic races and the hopefuls are racing their hearts out. Every week, check the Hambletonian Trail blog, exclusively brought to you by TwinSpires and the Hambletonian Society, for the soph trotters and read as we cover the rest of the action, leading to our live coverage for TwinSpires’ harness bettors, on the first Saturday in August.
The hunt for profitable overnight wagers ensues with TwinSpires’ horses-to-watch list (H2W). Exclusive wagering opportunities include hot contenders; most you will not read about on any other handicapping sources in print or on line. The H2W can be used for bets to win, places show and in all exotics. Always consider H2W horses when constructing your wagers.
We begin with the older set of pacers.
BEN FRANKLIN FINAL
Three elims settled the field of the $500,000 Ben Franklin Final, with two of them knocking out World-Record miles and another going easily to the 2015 Horse of the Year, now only four. So, how will the public handle having all three of these powerful pacers in the same field?
Wiggle It Jiggleit has to deal with the two World-Record breakers, Freaky Feet Pete and Always B Miki. It is difficult at this point in the careers of the trio to define which is better than the other. At any given mile they go against one another, circumstance, not talent, decides. Betting values are up in the air, though it may be safe to say that “Miki” and “Pete” will come within pennies of “Wiggle,” who will be the choice.
Many bettors will take the three in a triple box, sit back and feel they will cash, though they must know the price will be miniscule without at least one of them off the board. We will advise that if Miki is the highest price of the three, he is the bet. Of the two chasing Wiggle, who will fire to the front and attempt his usual route from wire to wire, Miki is the most versatile and if he comes from mid-pack at Pocono he can pace down Wiggle, who we feel could be short in this mile.
Wiggle could be short, especially if All Bets Off fires to challenge the pacesetter early. In this stream of speed, Wiggle will not last a hard duel even if he puts “Bets” away. If Wiggle is short, certainly State Treasure will be around to pick up pieces and that would inflate the exotics. With Wiggle off the board, Shamballa could inherit a spot and really boost exotic prices. So, with Miki on top with the best price of the three best horses, followed by State Treasurer and Shamballa as the “opportunity duo,” cashing a pile of bucks is guaranteed.
For $75,000, nine of the co-stars of the three Ben Franklin elims go in a consolation mile. Without very much doubt, Burke’s Rockin Ron will get the bulk of the win money to be the favorite. He is the best of three Burke sends out.
Sitting in a fine spot for an upset is five-time winner Cooperstown. He is 11 for 19 in the money and could sit cold in post two as “Ron” takes the lead and perhaps must strain for it a bit with 1-post Luck Be Withyou. Limelight Beach may even leave from post 8 and join in the over-heated fractions that could follow. Such a configuration could make Cooperstown the last pacer standing with any muscle left in the sweeping stretch. At least that is a scenario to back as Ron digs in for a speed badge, which ultimately could be inherited by Cooperstown.
MAX HEMPT FINAL
A half-million dollar purse is also promised to the glamour-boy pacers as nine go to post in the Max Hempt Final. Two elims decided this field in a division that is showing signs of being very competitive this season.
The biggest earner in the group, North America Cup-winner Betting Line, is not present. Three Ron Burke sophs are here, led by JK Will Power. Steve Elliot has two, Boston Red Rocks being his mainstay. Tony Alagna has Racing Hill, an elim winner, and Brad Maxwell’s Control The Moment (the other elim winner) leaves from post 8.
It’s highly possible that the buzz on Boston Red Rocks has faded. This would be a good chance to take advantage of him, as he may go off at odds greater than his chances. His recent two races are no signs of his talent trailing off; he is potent and would be no surprise beating this group. Whether he takes advantage of room he finds on the inside path of the Pocono stretch or he has to fly wide, passing tiring speed, this is a good time to back him.
JAMES LYNCH FINAL
The pacing glamour gals have nine battling in this $300,000 affair. Again, the crowd should be hammering Pure Country, who has beaten Darlinonthebeach twice, and I Said Diamonds, a top-of-the-line division earner.
Those are truly the best of the lot and the best price of the trio should be Darlinonthebeach. We have been behind her from before she started her soph season and still believe she is better than Pure Country, who she has brought down a few notches since that one learned to lose a race (she was sans losing at two). Darlinonthebeach will probably be the best price of the three, since I Said Diamonds has been satisfying backers and Pure Country has found a way to string together a few wins over most of these. So we, as usual, say, “May the best bet win,” hoping Darlinonthebeach is that filly.
A $50,000 James Lynch Consolation allows seven fillies that didn’t make the final to wrestle for some left-over cash. Ross Croghan has two here, including lightly raced Shezarealdeal. The late-starting soph has only two races to her name this season, with one place, but she could be as good as Croghan’s other one here, the probable favorite, Call Me Queen Be. If they are coupled, Shezarealdeal will share the true favorite’s odds, in which case we have to go with an outside contender, Princess Fabulosa. Last week, in an elim, “Fabulosa” went off 113-1 and never took a single aggressive step. In this she has no excuse, she will compete and a good trip could bring home a decent win price and/or exotic price with the Croghan pair, coupled or not.
THE CLEVELAND SHOW
Before the Republican Party brings its wrecking crew to the famed Ohio city, Northfield Park hosts the $180,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic, sending some famous older trotters of the season around the track’s Flying Turns. Among the well known are Obrigado, Homicide Hunter, Shake It Cerry, Il Sogno Dream, Muscle Up The Goal and Maestro Blue Chip. The locals, Like Old Times and Boffin, make up the difference.
Homicide Hunter, though a Midwest champ, has defeated the likes of this class at the Meadows and should be the third public choice after Obrigado and Maestro Blue Chip. Shake It Cerry and Il Sogno Dream have not been sharp this season but “Cerry” has been made the morning-line favorite for some reason. For price and current form, Homicide Hunter is the bet here. If improvement is on the agenda, “Hunter” may turn out to be a major competitor in this division while offering shorter prices than in this mile.
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.
7/1/16, Pans Beau R1; Ladys Bag Man R8
7/1/16, +Mods Mystery R1; Sayitlikeyoumeanit R2; Officialconnection R6; Run And Tell R7; +Astrid The Axe R8; +Divas Dragonfly R10; Emmas Big Girl R11
7/2/16, Lone Rider R5; +Phoenician Gal R7; +Meadowlarkcalestia R8
6/30/16, Dustlanemissmolly R3; Twin B Macho R5; Astronomical Union R7; Windsun Rebel R9
6/30/16, High Card Wins R3; Magic Cam R8
6/30/16, +A Local Band R8
6/30/16, Fantasy Doc R7
7/1/16, +Icanwithmagic R2; +American Passport R11
7/1/16, +Docs Hollywood R7;
7/2/16, +Wildcat Magic R5; +Delightful Hill R5; Thunder Steeler R7
7/2/16, +Flight Seelster R7; +Mcnice ae R7
7/2/16, PCs Alleyway R1; Speaking Greek R2; Rocknroll Wildcats R5; Sailors Fortune R10
6/30/16, Cloudy Out R1; Speediup Hanover R3
7/1/16, +Hare Force One R7; Cams Blue Belle R5
6/30/16, Don Dorado R8
7/4/16, BBs Harley R1; +Silver Sierra R3
6/30/16, Italian Rebel R3
7/2/16, PL Haymaker ae R6
7/2/16, Eccentric R6
6/30/16, Here Comes Ally R2; Kinda Naughty R4
7/1/16, Better Said R6
7/3/16, Pollux Blue Chip R2; Full Grown Man R3
6/30/16, +Wolfs Milan; Pan Taylor R5
7/1/16, +City Sight R5; Wonder Willie Win R5
6/30/16, +Last Minute Cindy R4
7/1/16, +Well Shaded R1
7/2/16, +Devils Creek R1
7/4/16, Tarport Andy R5
7/1/16, Shadows Image R3; _Galactic Galleon N R5; Macho Chick R12
Ray Cotolo contributes to each blog