Captain Crunch Devours Frosh Pacers With Delicious Price; Shartin N Soars In The Slop; McWicked With Ease

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November 25th, 2018


Stakes season ends but harness racing never ends. Here are the results and some brief notes on our successes and failures from the last stakes weekend of 2018.

Saturday, Nov. 24

The Meadowlands was a mushy mess for the special events featuring older trotters and pacers and the featured Fall Final Four (F3) affairs for this year’s freshman classes.

Let’s check the F3, since we were spot on with one of the greatest prices of the stakes season.

The colt-pacers’ Governor’s Cup was a gift. We strongly backed the winner, Captain Crunch ($5.80, $3.20, $2.40), and were rewarded with that super overlay price. At 9-5 the reward was far greater than his chances, which we put at the cheapest odds-on price available.

In the “Cup” we also grabbed third with Blood Money ($3.00) and our other exotic choice, Mangogh (8-1), finished fourth.

The colt trotters’ Valley Victory was diluted when our choice, Seven Hills (5-2) broke going for the lead was eliminated around the second turn as the other public choices strained in the muck, resulting in a 15-1 score from behind. Divine Spirit was, again, adrift in the field.

The filly pacing Three Diamonds went to a 9-2 shot while we were fourth with Beautyonthebeach (9-1) and fifth with Renaissance Lady K (105-1).

Lastly, Cant Touch It (17-1) got into the race late but could only grab fourth as the public’s second choice won the Goldssmith Maid for the filly trotters.

The aged features were mostly exhibitions for the division’s best pacers and trotters, according to the public, at least.

The Mares Trot was won by the favorite while we were fourth trying to beat her with Ice Attraction (5-2) and third with Celebrity Ruth (n/s).

The Mares Pace also offered a good price for the public’s and our big choice, Shartin N ($3.60, $3.00, $2.40).

The Open Trot went to the favorite, a sophomore over elders (Tactical Landing) while we lagged in the thick going with Marion Marauder (12-1), who certainly raced under par at a great price.

McWicked ($2.20, $2.10, $2.10 ok) would be the oldest pacer to win Horse of the Year and it looks like that honor and asterisk is poised to be awarded. He won the Open Pace without difficulty. Our second choice, Filibuster Hanover ($2.20), was the public’s second choice and Western Fame (36-1), our third choice, finished fourth. Trainer Casie Coleman says McWicked will be back next year to compete again. “It’s scary that he keeps getting better and better.” Indeed.

TwinSpires Harness Blog:
Severe Handicapping For Harness Bettors


The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas listed are included when a H2W horse finishes second with a race favorite or the first two finishers making up the exacta are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete a cold exacta). The note “ok” determines that prices published are correct even when a show price exceeds a place price or any or all of the prices are the same. This week, there were 36 active horses (an 14-percent win hit rate and a 42-percent ATB [in the money] hit rate).

Please note that some H2W results reflect win, place, show and exotic results occurring by press time but some horses race after the blog is posted (we list them the following week) It is up to you to follow horses that have not performed before this weekly review


Nassau County, $13.00, $4.50, $2.50, Batavia
Johnny Guy, $7.00, $3.20, $2.60, Cal-Expo
Chickie Love, $5.10, $2.30, $2.50 ok, Flamboro
Midnight Matt, $3.20, $2.40, $2.20, Mohawk
Endeavors Dot Com, $2.60, $2.20, $2.10, Freehold


Twin B Delightful, $22.60, $10.60, Cal-Expo
Vines To Heaven, $17.00, $8.90, Mohawk
Unicorns N Glitter, $6.00, $4.40, Northfield
Go Rrrilla, $4.90, $3.80, Western Fair
Nitro Seelster, $3.40, $2.80 (Exacta $17.60), Meadows
Bettor Memories, $3.10, $2.50, Yonkers


Follow The Wind N, $6.60, Meadowlands
Royal Reception, $5.60, Scarborough
Fashiononthebeach, $3.00, Mohawk
No Humble Jumble, $2.40, $2.10 (Exacta $5.80), Scarborough

News & Notes

TwinSpires harness blog followers are some of the first harness bettors to become acquainted with the name Obrigado. It was at this blog where Obrigado was touted first as a valuable win wager and he came through a few times at great prices before the public truly supported his talent. Last week it was announced that Obrigado has been retired. Trainer and co-owner Paul Kelley said the millionaire trotter wouldn’t race again. In 2018 Obrigado raced seven times, with a total of 13 starts over the past two campaigns. Last year, Obrigado had a major arthroscopy performed after going winless in six starts. This summer he had only three wins. Late this season he suffered another injury.

End of the year retirement announcements continue. Successful mare pacer Lady Shadow has been retired from racing. In 2019 she begins her new career as a broodmare . The seven-year-old daughter of Shadow Play leaves competition with a summary of 36 wins from 91 starts (17 places and eight shows) earning more than $2.28 million. She is the fastest and richest offspring of her sire.

Horseman Bill Gale, 70, has died. Gale was one of Canada’s leading drivers during one of harness racing’s popular periods, 1970s, and continued to drive through the ’80s and ’90s. Between 1982 and 1997, Gale had 16-consecutive $1 million-plus seasons. During a driving career that spanned over 30 years, he won 6,376 races and earned $41.7 million. In the fall of 1991 at Pompano he won a pair of Breeders Crown (BC) championships, driving King Conch to a world record in the frosh-colt trot and Three Wizzards to an upset win in the soph-colt BC.

In a related story—Some years back, Marvin Bachrad (granddaddy of modern-day harness journalism) and I had an argument during an editorial meeting at TIMES: in harness magazine. Marv, Senior Editor, swore that John Campbell drove trotter King Conch to a BC win. I, (Managing Editor) casually noted his mistake, telling him the driver was Bill Gale. Marv insisted I was wrong and we volleyed opinions back and forth for far too long. Marv looked up the race in question, became quiet and said a line that went down in our publication’s history: “Well howda ya like that.”

Here’s another driver-streak report. Mitchell Cushing made headlines last week when he drove five winners at Plainridge. Cushing’s winners were all among the races’ favorites, returning a total of $21.80. He drove in all 10 races on the program that day. It cost a player $20 to back him onhis five winners and five losers, resulting in a low-percentage profit of $1.80. Though a meager return, Cushing was a flat-bet profit.

Extraordinary Extras

Indulge in my monthly column, Alternative Actions, at Harness Racing Update