Big Stakes Menus at Maywood, Woodbine And Yonkers

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October 16th, 2014

The first stop this weekend takes place on Friday, Oct. 17, at Maywood in Illinois, where the track’s signature stakes events, led by the Windy City Pace, feature many of the Grand Circuit stars on both gaits, adorn the program.

On Friday, also, Woodbine’s fresh harness meet presents two of the events’ elims for the Fall Four Finals, the penultimate stakes for freshmen before the Breeders Crown.

Saturday there are two more Fall Four Finals events with elims at Woodbine and Yonkers offers a few stakes of its own, including the Messenger Stakes for glamour-boy pacers.

This week we cover the elims for the Yonkers Trot and Lady Maude at the New York oval in the Breeders Crown Countdown. The “Crown” contenders look to stack up more money for the November events and there are great betting opportunities, so check out the blog. We link to the “Countdown” blog from this TwinSpires address for coverage of races through the rest of the season leading to the championship events in November, in cooperation with the Hambletonian Society and TwinSpires.

HARNESS OCTOBER – During the month of October, TwinSpires is offering harness bettors some great deals when you wager on standardbreds at any racetrack we carry.
Check out the details by clicking here.

The Maywood Agenda

Four national events traditionally taking place in Chicago as the Grand Circuit rolls closer to the Breeders Crown, are on the program Friday, Oct. 17 at Maywood Park. Here is our analysis for each in the order they appear on the program.

Abe Lincoln Stake

Only valued at $57,100 this year, the “Lincoln” sends out seven frosh-colt pacers in an unevenly matched mile, given the factors favoring Earndawg. Not only is the colt a son of top Illinois sire Sportsmaster, he has earned twice the money racing of the next highest earner in the field, claims a win rate of 38 percent and has only been off the board three times in 13 starts.

Three others here are progeny of Sportsmaster, one also trained by Earndawg’s conditioner, Roger Welch. So all you have here to beat Earndawg are two maidens that could improve more quickly than their few performances indicate. Angelo J Fra has raced only twice, with a second and a third, while Shadow’s Image has a place and two shows in five starts. With a proverbial gun to our heads to find an upset, we go with Angelo J Fra, the unproven loser in only two starts where he was competitive and the one that deserves the right here to greatly improve.

The Galt Stake

Soph-colt trotters go for $92,300 in this year’s Galt Staks, without the presence of a single star in the glamour-boy trotters’ division. The predator here is EL Titan, who has been stalking far better foes than the other eight while having raced fewer than any of them. He is hard to dismiss, though he will get more than his share of combat from Madewell Hanover on the wood. The Chris Ryder student may be a soft third choice but worth it due to how the win pool will be spread among him, EL Titan, Fox Valley Veto and Rompaway Galaxy, the latter being the top earner in the group.

The Cinderella Stake

The soph-filly pacing stake had so many entries it was split into a pair of $37,600 divisions. In the first split, Ron Burke’s Savitall Bb will get lots of action for all of the obvious reasons. We are leaning toward a counter bet on Ron Gurfein’s Lucy’s Pearl, who has won a third of her starts and is a fast gal who could wire this field even carelessly burning some quarters.

In split two, Kayla Grace sports a remarkable 17 wins in 23 starts but has not beaten the best of the ilk while succeeding. If she can take money from Casie Coleman’s Major Dancer, stuck in post 7 and a bankroll of nearly $230Gs, then look for Casie’s filly to be a great wager. Also taking from Casie’s pot will be Lady Shadow, top earner here, who has beaten some good ones along the path in 2014.

The Windy City Pace

The $180,000 Windy City Pace for soph-colt pacers does not include some of the division’s giants. Only two from the top 20 of the season take on six others and that pair has post 1 with Let’s Drink On It and post 2 with Somewhere In LA. “Drink” won a “Jug” elim for us and followed Limelight Beach home, while “LA” has been chasing the same caliber over the course of the stakes season and earning his keep. The win pool will lean heavily in favor of Drink and in order to go against him one must look beyond LA for a price.

This could be a race where the lightly raced Burke horse gets only soft support from the local crowd. Big Boy Dreams has raced only nine times but he has been in the mix all but once. As well, On Golden Ponder is three wins for seven starts, with a big bankroll. The locals, all on the outside, have racked up some earnings and show speed badges that will impress many and they will serve as strong competition. So the field weighs in more evenly with a second look, giving upset chances as good as they always have been in this event.

So it is that our suggested outside contender is Neat. Erv Miller’s colt is 11 for 17 in the money and has a startling half-mile mark that could be improved upon with right trip here and certainly pay the right price.

The Messenger

Yonkers offers a single elimination of nine for next week’s $500,000 Messenger Stakes. This mile, eliminating only a single soph-colt pacer from the final field, is worth $40,000.

This is a speedy pack; look at those half-mile badges. Burke has three in here, including the penultimate earner of the group, All Bets Off. For sure, Mcwicked fans will be deep into their pockets. No one could make a decision using speed here; this will be a trip mile for one of the speedsters and the price of the lot may force support for Luck Be Withyou. Under these circumstances he may offer a better price than his other efforts and certainly he could be the horse with the best trip, considering the flash of side-stepping expected out of the gate.

Fall Four Friday

At Woodbine, the first pair of Fall Four Finals (FFF) for freshman pacers and trotters presents elims. All FFF elims are worth $25,000 each. Although it looks like some of the most chalk-filled miles of the season, we can offer some alternatives.

The Three Diamonds for frosh-filly pacers has six in each division. Jk She’salady, the dynamic performer that allows the remaining five in the field to offer large odds, will dominate episode one. It is impossible to go against her in this, where all that could beat her is a bad break that turns into a gallop around the oval (in other words, she can win if she breaks nicely).

In the second round there is more “give” for choosing a contender that may pay better than her chances. We think that is Ideal Nuggets. She is always in the mix and is fit to fry Band Of Angels, the probable favorite even though she has dipped in her performances recently.

Two elims for frosh-filly trotters setting up the final of the Goldsmith Maid are also on the menu. Our once ignored friend, Jolene Jolene, no longer offers the prices she gave us before autumn arrived, so our best-priced contender here will be Juanitas Fury. She faltered in her Super Final last week, a race we can toss out and actually assists in raising her odds.

Next, Mission Brief hails the dominating figure in the second division. At her best she will win at the length of a football field. Behind her or in front, however you wish to invest, could be Stubborn Belle. She won this year’s Peaceful Way stakes and can be counted upon for some challenge, if not an upset through a break or not.

Fall Four Saturday

The frosh colts go at it with elims on the Oct. 18 program, beginning with the Valley Victory elims for the colts. In round one of this, Billy Flynn, though he comes here off of his first loss, is bound to be the favorite. Beware the Takter factor, however, as Uncle Lasse, Pinkman and The Bank aim to cause trouble. Pinkman has upset heavy chalk before, so why not here, too?

Round two makes it tough to go against Habitat. He has been so good and unrelenting about being in front of all the other horses he races when the finish line arrives that he may be the best key horse favorite of the FFFs. Jetpedia could be a good exotic partner.

The colt pacers steer clear of one another in the Governor’s Cup elims. The first half of the set is billed as a match race between Lost For Words and Lyons Levi Lewis. Here we see an opportunity to clear the air of chalk with a bold move against the two, hoping they cancel one another’s chances. We embrace the odds and chances of the 10 horse, Go Daddy Go. There is no indication his recent form has wilted, so ignore the outside post and consider him the bet, the outside contender, and watch what happens.

Speaking of outside posts, the second chapter of the colt pacers’ elims finds the brilliant Artspeak leaving from post 9. It’s chalk time again, we suppose, as the eight colts leaving in front of him are not much to talk about. Penji Hanover and Lyons Geoffjnr could assist in decent exotics but Artspeak must remain the key.

Indiana Toppers

Super Finals for the Indiana Sires Stakes (INSS), worth $200,000 each for the two- and three-year old divisions on each gait and sex, are the features on the Oct. 18 program at Hoosier Park. We have followed the INSS series through all the legs and have written about these guys and gals until we are blue in the face (including some black ink in the ledger, too), so we offer our INSS Super Final choices without notes, in the order of the final’s appearance.

Two-year-old filly trot: Churita; Golden Big Stick
Three-year-old filly trot: Baby Steps; Hudson Jesse
Two-year-old colt trot: Homicide Hunter; Airman Batten
Two-year-old filly pace: Image Of Felicia; Freeonthedashboard
Three-year-old colt trot: Double A Cash Hall; Gloire Dream
Three-year-old filly pace: Color’s A Virgin; Candy’s A Virgin
Two-year-old colt pace: Camturo Rock; Toni’s Affection
Three-year-old colt pace: Always B Miki;

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.


10/18/14, Ideal Rowan R12

Cal Expo
10/18/14, +Im Fasterthan U R1; +Bettors Promise R5; Fork In The Road R10; +Rascal Shark R12; +Pow Chicka Pow Pow R15

10/16/14, Vertigo Hanover R7

10/16/14, +Xtra Perfect R3

10/16/14, Kaufman Hanover R2; +Ny Ice R6
10/17/14, +Fitness Craze R7; Wandering Heart R8
10/18/11, +Superbo Hanover R5

10/16/14, Earls Little Dude R8
10/18/14, Sweet Talkin Satin R14

10/16/14, Fortissimo R10
10/17/14, +Allstar Shark R11

10/18/14, +New York Kitty R1; +Shady Mountain Ga R5

10/17/14, +Camille R10
10/18/14, +Rage N Ryan R13

10/18/14, +Docdor Laughing R6; Erichs Best R6

10/18/14+Rice Crisp Breeze R10; Dvc Kolor Me Krazy R12 

10/17/14, Cheyenne Louie R4
10/18/14, +Grandpa Don R2; +Major Way R5; +Battle Call R9   

10/17/14, Secret Journey R2; The Midnight Owl N R3; +Fox Valley Shannon R4

10/17/14, +Boots N Chains R2; Winbak Glory R3; +Cococabana R6; Ma Cherie Hall R8; +Southwind Cartier R10
10/18/14, Who Dat Love R2

Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition.