Canadians Greet Grand Circuit Events At Mohawk; The Messenger Pace Draws Enough For Elims Sans Most Stars

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August 23rd, 2018


Our search of great betting opportunities is never ending and when it succeeds it’s as good as pari-mutuels success gets. This week we hit the North American harness tracks as we make our way to the end of this season, which is usually earmarked by the Breeders Crown championship series.

The focus of the Breeders Crown Countdown (BBC) blog includes two divisions—soph-filly trotters in the Casual Breeze and older trotters in elims for the Maple Leaf Trot, all emanating from Canada on Friday, Aug. 24.

We pick up that Grand Circuit action on Saturday at Mohawk with pricey frosh splits in the Eternal Camnation and Nassagawaya features. Also Saturday, Yonkers hosts the Messenger Pace elims for next week’s classic final.
More great wagering opportunities at North American tracks appear in the horses-to-watch (H2W) list and our exclusive two-year-old section, Freshman Frolics. Explore the possibilities we present for use in any wagers of your choice. Do your own handicapping and then consider any and all our H2W and frosh selections.


Grand Circuit Canada-style returns to Mohawk on Aug. 25 with huge frosh events split into two divisions each. For filly pacers, the Eternal Camnation (EC) presents a pair of $83,000-plus purses, while the colts go in a $92,000-plus trio in the Nassagaweya.

In the first of the two EC splits, we find one of the gals on our Freshman Frolics list two weeks back. Queen Of The Pride gets the rail in this mile after finishing sixth at Scioto. She is the only McArdle product in this field, going against progeny from more popular names (Betterthancheddar has four daughters in this eight-horse field). Queen Of The Pride was prepped well in her last, regardless of her finish and will be a good price.

The second EC sends seven to the gate represented by a combined six sires. Bettors may strongly support Izzy Hanover, one of two Captaintreacherous fillies, along with local sire Sportswriter’s Quebec Blue Chip. The sole filly by Sweet Lou, Odds On St Lucie, gets the rail for trainer Tony Alegna and should be ready for a strong mile as these green gals develop. .

The first Nassagaweya split for the presents seven inexperienced colts from a host of sires. Johansson’s brand may bring bettors to Captain Crunch, the sole Captaintreacherous colt in the field, as well as there may be much interest in Canadian-sire Mach Three’s Machdavid or Casie Coleman;s pair of boys by Bettors Delight. There is nothing simple about making a sound decision among such novice colts so with some hesitation we take a shot on Prestige Seelster by Sunshine Beach, a sire whose crop is yet to fail. Certainly, a good price will be offered.

The second colt split is also filled with unknowns in the young division. A Sweet Lou colt, Lyons Night Hawk, looks good and comes from a highly prosperous sire of frosh stock so far. The crowd may look to familiar trainers with such a lack of information to base bets upon, so this one may be dismissed for the sake of Coleman, Alagna, Baillargeon and O’Sullivan, per se. There are no other Sweet Lous in this bunch.

In the last of the frosh colts’ action, we may have to go along with the crowd if they hit on Coleman’s Stay Party. Post 8 may not disturb bettors from this $86,000-plus winner in the division. Up for challenges in the win pool may be Rick Zeron’s Heisman Player, a Sportswriter product, and Macs Power by the ill-fated Somebeachsomewhere. The latter also has a very familiar mare, Michelles Jackpot, which some sharp players may use as support for his chances.


The second leg of the exaggerated pacing triple crown is still the Messenger Stakes and this year, settled as it has come to be at Yonkers, the only colt able to go for the “crown” will go in one of two $40,000 elims on Aug. 25. That horse is Stay Hungry, winner of the first cloudy jewel, the Cane Pace, at the Meadowlands. Stay Hungry will be the big favorite in the second elim and even if he doesn’t win, of course, he should make the final and could remain the only 2018 contestant for the crown.

We won’t address the final until next week but in the second elim we are going to back Decoy. Jimmy Takter’s sophomore may become the late-season buzz horse. He also won on Hambo weekend, though not in the “Cane,” and he is on target to challenge the division’s top ones in the Breeders Crown. There is no indication that Takter has given up on him and certainly keeping in the Messenger is a green light for Decoy’s remaining soph months. As well, in the small field Decoy could still be dismissed.

The first elim is one horse shorter than the second. The five colts here are among the division’s most deeply disappointing. Takter’s Nutcracker Sweet may be the most recognizable and the most unreliable—to win, at least. He may have used himself up by now with his surprise prices in a few races he should have won. Babes Dig Me has been miserable and bettors shouldn’t dig him.

Of the unknowns, Brett Pelling’s JK Wildfire may be the bet. Pelling has returned to the sport quietly with only a few horses and having a pacer with reasonable talent in a major stakes is a good bet against the two aforementioned dullards. In fact, a scenario finding Pelling back in a major event’s winner’s circle with “JK” going all the way in the Messenger would be a fitting launch for a successful Pelling comeback.

Two-year-old races at the beginning of each season are the most difficult events for handicappers to forecast winners, no less where their bets will have value. Every season’s start for us means extra work on sire productivity, so we can make wise wagers in freshman races. If you handicap the races below, be sure to respect those listed as contenders.

Aug. 23
Devilish Diana R2
Red Mile
Eowyn R1
Always A Vavoom R3; Outloud R12
Darn Tootin Hanover R3; Skater Chick R11
Docs Darlin R1; Presto Change O R3

Aug. 24
Queenance Blue Chip R2; Buddy Hill R4; Baby Maker Hanover R14
JK Ready To Roll R3
July R5

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.


8/24/18, +Tampa Bay Escape R6
8/25/18, Mr Euroman N R5; Eachyahartout R8

8/25/18, +Go Nine O R7

8/24/18, Notagain R4

8/27/18, +Slipin Skip R8

8/25/18, Shelly On My Mind R3; +Amora Beach R8

8/23/18, +Sunburst Itis R11
8/24/18, +Donovan Z Tam R6; +Shnitzledosomething R11

8/24/18, Stritch R12

8/23/18, Dark As A Pocket R6; Johnny Bravo R9
8/24/18, Gerardo R5; Hetties Commander R9

8/23/18, +May Day R5; Someboysomewhere R7

8/25/18, +The Lady Vanishes R1; +Medoland Pearl R3; Annies Rocketman R7
8/27/18, +Smackitwithahammer R9

8/24/18, +Sassy Miracle R1
8/25/18, +Premier Rodestar R2

8/23/18, +Busy Doing Nothing R6; Ms Seton R10
8/26/18, +Reformed Rengade R5

8/26/18, +Si Semalu R7

8/26/18, Silvermass Volo R5; Kaityn N R9
8/27/18, +Capital T Hill R5
8/23/18, +Stingy R1; Texaco Man R2; Delco Dusty R4

Red Mile
8/25/18, +Expedition R1

Running Aces
8/25/18, Master Royal R5; Fire Dance R7; Goody Two Shoes R8
8/26/18, Nine Ways R4

8/25/18, +Tom And Stan R8

8/23/18, +Cardale R3; +Linden Art R5

8/24/18, She’s Uncorked R5; Maggie O R7
8/26/18, +Zack To The Max R4

8/23/18, +Whisper Of Gilina R2; +Thanks For Leaving R4

8/24/18, Medusa R8; Lone Raider R9
8/25/18, +Oh Jonny B Good N R3; +Bit Of A Legend N R7
8/26/18, Celebrity Ruth R2