Breeders Crown Eliminations Adorn Pocono Program Friday, Saturday, With Best Of The Divisions Starring
It’s time to set up the fields for the 2018 Breeders Crown championship finals. That is done at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono (Downs) on Oct. 19 and Oct. 20, with elimination races in divisions where necessary. This blog covers the set-ups as terrific individual wagering propositions and, for those who care about takeout, Pocono will offer a 15-percent across-the-board rate on all available wagers—not only on the entire Breeders Crown Finals card, but also on two nights of eliminations.
The Breeders Crown Countdown (BCC) this week handles freshman-filly pacer-and trotter eliminations (Oct. 19), with the colt trotters and pacers’ elims for Friday covered in this blog, along with the other elims necessary taking place on Saturday, Oct. 20.
And be sure to follow @FrankCotolo and @TwinSpires on Twitter during the races.
Make note that three horses not eligible to the “Crown” have supplemented to race in their divisions. They are Shartin N, Lazarus N and Lather Up.
The co-star of this blog, as usual, includes great wagering choices selected in our horses-to-watch list (H2W). Explore any and all horses we post for use in wagers of your discretion. Do your own handicapping and then consider any and all our H2W and frosh selections.
Three $25,000 eliminations are included on Oct. 19, the two-year-old elim night at Pocono for colt pacers. The first elim is a tight fit for six in the division’s second tier of talent. One reason it is an open mile, also, is that all six are coming off of decent efforts that make each arguably contentious.
Among the top two are De Los Cielos Deo (DLCD) and Mangogh. DLCD broke as the favorite in Lexington and lost. He lost the Metro to the division’s top dog (Stag Party) but was aiming for his sixth win in nine starts in the two before that. Burke’s colt will get good support. Last week we nailed Mangogh at Lexington and he won, coming here hot on those tracks and set to be bet a bit.
Air Force Hanover broke at Lexington but regained momentum and finished second at Lexington. He had won a Bluegrass the week before. He has made the toteboard eight of 10 times and been low in profile. He is a Somebeachsomewhere that could excel in this field and be worth a price among the few.
Seven take off in round two for the green colt pacers. With Captain Ahab absent, Captain Crunch should take the bettors’ majority in the win pool. Aside from his loss in the Metro as a poorly supported entry against “Ahab,” the “Crunch” has four wins in only six starts for Nancy Johansson and may steal the race on the engine.
We favor a good shot from Burke’s Semi Tough. Though he has not won since August, when he broke his maiden, he has ripped up some exactas with six seconds and is in a great spot to pick up some tired pieces with a good trip—perhaps behind the Crunch all the way around until he can pull out and measure that one to the wire.
The third colt elim presents one of the biggest favorites of the evening, Cassie Coleman’s Stag Party. Though he lost to a pair of foes last week as the huge choice, there is little reason to imagine the same result against the six others he faces here.
Brian Brown’s Workin Ona Mystery has won five of five and may make the final but Stag Party is too good for him and he is the next best, followed by Takter’s Blood Money. That gives the others exotic-partner status. We recommend key plays with Stag Party and the longest shot or shots from the remaining four.
Next season’s Hambletonian champ could be among the fields of the two elims for two-year-old colt trotters, also on Oct. 19. All eyes are on Gimpanzee, who has not lost in seven starts. Those seven were all New York Sires Stakes where he dominated his state-bred crop—it is a caveat, as is his start from post 8. That will make a lot of bettors shy from the son of Chapter Seven, and it is a good reason to bet him if they’re really shy.
Gimpanzee has to also deal with Julie Miller’s Prospect Hill, who leaves to his left. He lost last week, one of only three he lost in 10 starts and you cannot dismiss any of the Millers’ entries, period. The weight of talent on the outside is strong enough not to start wandering around for upsets. Gimpanzee and Prospect Hill have only each other to beat and barring any gallops they will both make the final no matter which one finishes in front of which one.
The other colt trot elim offers seven, with another strong favorite—Cantab Fashion. He is five wins for six starts (the one loss was a miscue) and races for the sterling-bred Fashion Farms team led by Jim Campbell. Making the final is about as much of a lock as a sunrise the next morning. Winning this means not beating much more than he has beaten before. In fact, members of The Fives in the division are all here and should supply the exacta, trifecta and superfecta, though cheaply. In order: Cantab Fashion, Green Manalishi S, Super Schissel and Kings County.
Saturday, Oct. 20, there is a pair of eliminations for three-year-old colt trotters. The glamour-boys present seven in the first mile, led by Takter’s Tactical Landing and Miller’s Met’s Hall. These two deserve top billing here and will most likely share closely in favoritism. Of the two, readers of this blog know how we stand—Met’s Hall all the way. He couldn’t win in Lexington but no one taking on Six Pack could win. Tactical Landing broke in the “Futurity,” where the top three in this division landed safely; Met’s Hall was the third of the three. Met’s Hall is inherently better than Tactical Landing and our hopes are that everyone betting disagrees with that so we could get some kind of price worthy of a bet on Met’s Hall.
The second soph-colt trot elim has only six aboard and Six Pack on top of it all. Aside from the kerfuffle he caused in the Hambletonian, he is monumental in the division. Consider that Crystal Fashion (also in this elim) is best of the rest (lining up behind Met’s Hall) and that Six Pack has him measured. Where does that leave the bettor? Six Pack is a strong key in this short field and to get any price you have to toss out “Fashion” and choose from the rest to somehow hit the place spot. That colt could be Run Director, who is so likely to be ignored.
There are also two elims for the mare pacing division on Saturday. Eight are on the gate in round one and all but one of them is coming from a major stakes event. That one is Pure Country, who was screaming good in the Allerage at Lexington. She has raced in classy company recently while the others have had to dip into lower levels to do well. Newborn Sassy has a shot at an upset but may fit better as an exacta partner. Her Yonkers form of late is excellent and the Open bunch there is top notch.
Eight more go in the second chapter and the single question here is: Can Shartin N overcome an outside post to win? She lost an Open at Pocono from post 8 three back but that type of history is not dependable to repeat itself. A bigger problem is that she will probably still be the deadeye favorite. Caviart Ally will suck in bucks, maybe a few more than Shartin N. But if any outside contender is worth a shot it’s Twinkle. Her Milton loss is excusable after she stepped up in the elim and raced very well at 21-1.
Another pair of elims is for the mare trotter. Seven take off in the first elim, led by Ariana G. Coming off the long, hard extra-mile against worldly trotters at Yonkers, Ariana shines among these. It is difficult to see her doing anything but dominating this mile. Ice Attraction will have to weave to the top to challenge and even make the final. The best exotic partner, then, may be Emoticon Hanover; she can suck along on the rail and save a ton of ground, saving enough to get the place spot.
In part two for the mares, the great awakening of Dream Together may show no signs of drowsing from the rail unless Broadway Donna has something to say about it. “Donna” broke in Lexington, which is not a surprise because she has been off and on over the season. Still, these two rank atop the rest here—but both can be beat if Caprice Hill can take that extra step needed for her first win of the season. She has nine places and shows combined and almost $100,000 earned from them. She is good but had not made a mark. She is worth a shot here for price and purpose. Remember, she may be naught for 13 but she may always become one for 14.
The glamour-girl trotters fill two elims on Saturday, with the first split hosting seven. Plunge Blue Chip, Ave Svanstedt’s power-doll, jumped in the Futurity and finished last. She was coming off of a record-speed mile in the first heat but she has only one trial on Saturday night. In this field, only Im Pink Too is not coming from the Futurity. She is streaking with four-straight wins for Burke, who has raced the daughter of Manofmanymissions mostly in Ohio.
Second in the Futurity final after a good first heat is Seviyorum, a solid danger. It has taken Julie Miller’s filly a while to get as close to top fillies in her division as she did in Lexington—it’s a noted sign of improvement that tips our favor to her. Along with the Miller streak for wins, her improvement makes for a contender that may offer great value.
In the other soph-filly trot elim, Futurity-winner Atlanta dares her division to take her on again, including Manchego and Phaetosive, her two most threatening foes. There are just six in this contest but those three are enough to scare the hoofs off of most trotting fillies. A good move would be to hope this is a replay of the Elegantimage, where Phaetosive picked up strong cover and dimmed the lights of those two. Of the trio, Trond Smedshammer’s filly could offer the best return.
The only division on Oct. 20 with a single elim is the three-year-old filly pacers. A cast of nine goes pacing for berths in the final. They are the usual suspects, led by Youaremycandygirl. She was never a hundred percent, so to speak, and remains vulnerable even if they bet their teeth on her in this race. With only one elim, eight others will be on edge against her. Three of them are also Burke fillies and one of them is Percy Bluechip. Her recent two wins as a top choice against Ontario-breds were sharp enough for Burke to drop her in the box with three others. She could beat her stable-mate firmly off of that form.
Three divisions of three-year-old pacing colts present the best of a wonderful crop. The first seven offer arguable cases for each, though Dorsoduro Hanover should become the public choice. The good news is that Thinkbig Dreambig will get plenty of action, too, and the speed could set up the kind of race that Springsteen won when Lather Up dismantled on Pocono grounds (the “Hempt” final). Ideal Feeling is speed and so is Hitman Hill. That leaves Springsteen, Cinnamack and Nutcracker Sweet, the latter yet to win all season. Tit’s a tough call but we will go with Brian Brown’s Cinnamack for a major upset.
In round two we will not accept any colt but Courtly Choice. His loss at Lexington will be misread. He finished fifth while gaining ground after an overland trip and the swarm at the wire gave the race to American History—who we hope will get to be a favorite so Courtly Choice can, once again, prove his superiority among these who have had to have circumstance on their sides if they finished in front of him.
In the remaining elim, supplemented entry Lather Up returns to the scene of his biggest defeat but here he has only a field of six to out-pace and should do so. Stay Hungry will get some support but let’s face it, he was never essentially as good at Clyde Francis’ speedball. Perhaps a lot of the bettors will think otherwise and Lather Up can go off a reasonably good price in a field of six—or should we say two?
AGED TROTTING MALES
The big-boy trotters have a set of elims and most of the stalwart heroes of the year are here. In round one Marion Marauder meets his International nemesis again as Cruzado Dela Noche appears right after the $1-million-race win. That was a very opportunistic win for the representative of Sweden, as Ringostarr Treb, the favorite, broke on the first turn and dabbled with getting on gait the rest of the way. “Marauder” went too fast too early in the 1 ¼-miles event on the half-mile track, a trip he won’t make here. In fact, he could conquer the mile at the half and draw away. Judge his win value for yourself.
And then there is the evening’s last elim, round two for the aged with another six. We nailed Warrawee Roo last week and he earned the win but right behind him, coming in second, was Top Flight Angel at 13-1. With Homicide Hunter stacking the win pool after an inexcusable loss (to “Roo”), Hannelore Hanover so very off her own grid and Will Take Charge looking as tired as if his season is already over, Top Flight Angel could be another Miller money-maker, peaking at just the right moment for them and bettors.
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.
10/19/18, +Blacktree R3; +Big Bang Hanover R5
10/19/18, Lake Shark R3; Lucky Guess R6
10/20/18, +Pick Six R3; +Kings Treasure R5
10/18/18, +Missile J R6
10/19/18, Kays Work Of Art R5
10/18/18, Misty Mono R4; Chickie Love R7; Majestic Kat R8
10/19/18, Apollo’s Creed R3; Samis Rolin Stone R6
10/20/18, +Glenferrie Dreamer R8
10/22/18, +Aintthebeercold R1
10/18/18, Cinnamon Beach R14
10/19/18, Hey Blonde R2; Alexis Faith R3; Scirocco Rob R4; Rockinbeach R5; Freaky Feet Pete R6; Nixie Volo R7; Piranha Fury R8; Rockapello R9; +Voom Or Bang R12
10/20/18, Fantasy Rocket R2; Capital Account R7; +Brooklyn Flight R13
10/19/18, +Darn Tootin Hanover R4; +Reve Toujours R7; +A Beach Cowgirl R9
10/20/18, Clear Idea R3; Glass Prince R6; Samis Triple Crown R7
10/18/18, Thumper R5
10/19/18, Winning Lyric R5; Windsongmanufique R7; Fork R8
10/20/18, Mission Three R1
10/18/18, Shake It Silly R4; Late Night Flight R10
10/20/18, Stars An Stones R4
10/21/18, Emeritus Maximus R2; King Harvest R3; Casual Cool R12
10/18/18, +Buckeye N R5
10/21/18, Evening Play R2; Sharknado R4; Dakota Jack R5
10/20/18, Pantheon Hanover R2
10/20/18, JS McFlash R9
10/21/18, +Cab Bearnaise R2; +OK Icon R6
10/20/18, +Upto A Dream R4
10/18/18, Bellatricks R3; Lord Of Misrule R8
10/19/18, Artragsous R6; +Regil Elektra R10