Harness Racing: Both Gaits Galore for May 13-15
The 2021 stakes calendar is filling with Grand Circuit and local features. Your TwinSpires Harness blog is committed to covering the best betting propositions and handicapping opinions in the sport. As well, we offer our never-ending TwinSpires H2W (horses-to-watch list), with suggestions enhancing exotic combinations and fair-priced win, place and show finishes.
Friday, May 14
Hawthorne is now the home for some traditional Illinois standardbred annual features, each named after industry horsemen whose careers were made when the state was a robust circuit of harness racing. Honored with namesake events are drivers Walter Paisley, Bea Farber, and Daryl Busse. (Check official program for race order.)
The Walter Paisley Final is for three-year-old-and-up filly and mare pacers. It should not surprise anyone that Nora Tova is the dominant pacer in this division. Top trainer Britney Dillon had her winging in the elim for a resounding win, looking as if she could go another time around. Her main threat is Dirtylittlelies. She was not herself in the elim, finishing off the board, but expect a better performance here. The crowd will also be backing Wildcat Delight, who won the other elim. Dean Eckley’s stable came into the meet raring to go, and this one is fast.
The Bea Farber Final (named for the groundbreaking female driver) is for ICF (Illiinois conceived and foaled) three-and-up trotters. Both elims presented minor upsets, with the top speed going to Reign And Shine at 10-1. The first elim included a losing favorite and two breakers (the favorite was not affected by the breakers). The best trip went to Fox Valley Elicit, who stayed out of trouble and closed gallantly. That is one of our choices for the final. The favorite also busted in the second elim but the public’s second choice won. Storming home, Rockyroad Aldo will make a chase out of the final, though not at a big price.
The Daryl Busse Final is also a three-up trot. Favorites won both elims, all horses in the first replaced by the judges due to a pair of incidents. Placed second was Fox Valley Specter, who avoided but was affected by the chaos. Erv Miller’s trotter is bred among the state’s royalty from Walker Standardbreds (where the Fox Valley name originated). He may share top betting with RSVP, favorite winner of the second elim. We nailed RSVP in that but in the final another Miller trotter, The Papa Bear, will provide the challenge to “Specter” and those two should devour RSVP.
Saturday, May 15
Among the toughest divisions to measure, senior trotters rank on top. In the $141k Arthur Cutler Memorial Free For All, the handicapping challenge is as great as ever. Ten stalwart performers hit the track, two for the first time in 2021 (Manchego and Forbidden Trade). There are as many trainers as trotters, another cause for arguments, and all the drivers are as competent as one another.
Last week in the Charlie Hill at Scioto, we backed Guardian Angel AS in his first race of the season, though we warned about I’m Academic, the “now horse.” But the now horse is not here now, so we will go with Anette Lorentzon’s veteran here, suspecting a good price against the better-known trotting brands. Also, since the battling Bret Pelling stable is back in action with aplomb, we give Oney Hall a shot facing higher company - on paper.
TOP OF THE CLASS
Saturday, May 15
Another pair of $50k Graduate fields take flight with four-year-old pacers going in the series’ second leg. Nancy Takter has two of the nine going, and one may be crafting a skein. No Lou Zing, who we caught improving at three, came back and soared in his first 2021 race. He looked so good winning that it looked like he was not through winning. At four he may be a dynamo on a big win streak and much better than these.
The second Graduate division asks the question, what happened to Allywag Hanover last year? Whatever went wrong, it was not enough to keep him from returning to the track at four. Pelling may feel the same, with reason to believe a year older can make a great difference. Give him a shot in his second try this season. Still, we follow the productive Chief Mate, who has already proven he races better than last season.
Review our choices and confirm the wagers available at the prescribed track. H2W offers possible contenders researched from reviewing races. Horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track with the date of their race and the race number (R6) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name, it appears on the list for the second time (horses are listed twice only if, at first, they failed to win. An “ae” signals also-eligible. Types of wagers to make are based on your judgment. Some repeating horses may not appear due to our deadline to post.
5/15/21, +Big Bad George R5; +Fuzzylegsandall R6
5/14/21, +Sheeza Shark N R2
5/14/21, Primo Giovanni R1
5/15/21, OK Jewel R2
5/14/21, Piper Hanover R2; +Zenith Stride R3; Kaitlyn N R12
5/15/21, Rose Run Vantage R2
5/14/21, Thruway R13
5/15/21, In Range R9
5/13/21, +Redneck Fortune R4; +Our Regal Ideal N R6
5/13/21, Righthererightnow R6; +Est Belle R9
5/14/21, Skyway Toxic R2; Up Towns Legacy R3; +Fox Valley Scampi R6
5/14/21, +Disturbia R3
5/14/21, +Gertrude Hanover R2; +GW Show Faith R5
5/15/21, Bill Haley N R12
5/16/21, Allii Nui R2; +Shakespeare R6
5/13/21, +Cruisin Thru Time R3; +My Friend Mel R6; Margin Of Error R10
5/14/21, Susie D R9
5/15/21, Rose Run Ulysses R2
5/14/21, Max Milage R5; Kenie Hanover R5; Iwillmakeyousaywow R7; Natameri R7; Barn Hall R8
5/15/21, Saylor R1; +One After Nine R3