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Homeracing

Fall Final Four Concludes At Meadowlands; Older Divisions Dig In For Dough; Attacking Exotics On The West Coast

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

November 23rd, 2017

Harness racing may be short on some features as the season winds down but in the U.S.A. there is still much to be thankful for as a one-day hiatus takes us into one of the final weekends of 2017 action. All is dark south of the border in North America on Thanksgiving Day but Canada’s Thanksgiving is over and we find action there for our usual deadline.

Then, we endeavor with another Partners-For-Picks (PFP) set of additions for your multi-exotic-betting pleasures, which keep you busy through the anticipation of Saturday’s big Meadowlands meet, where the young and the elderly hold court with eight miles of stakes.

Meanwhile and elsewhere around the continent, our full plate of contenders in the H2W (the horses-to-watch) list lets you in on some great wagering opportunities through Black Friday and through the weekend. Do your own handicapping and then consider our H2W selections when playing your bets. Of course, remember to be fully armed with a plentiful TwinSpires betting account. Check it out along with all of the North America harness action covered below.

PARTNERS FOR PICKS

Here’s our off-season feature for early 2018 season. The PFP suggests some outside contenders, as we foresee them, to use in a multi-race exotic (consider them for other bets, too). This week we are at Cal-Expo on Friday, Nov. 24 and though the focus is its Pick 5 (Races 1-5), the exotic includes the Daily Double (Races 1,2), and a pair of Pick 3s (Races 2-4; Races 3-5). Choose your weapons.

Leg 1, Race 1: Danger looms on both ends of the field, with Gene Vallandingham’s Itsgoodtobeking from the rail and Gerald Longo’s Mucho Macho Man. Both have won on this oval but the later is fresher and takes his trainer for a guide, a positive sign.

Leg 2, Race 2: Aside from the obvious Free Radical, you may want to add A Tributeto Kate. Quentin Schneider has already pulled off some wins with good prices and this one is the better of the duo he has going in this short field. Also, Skyway Jade scratched last week and would’ve been on the H2W for the second time, making him dangerous.

Leg 3; Race 3: Silverlode made a late start this season and looks very competitive against the properties of some other sharp trainers. The crowd should be fancying Nick Roland’s Leave Your Mark and Robin Clements’ Franky Provolone, so a decent price is suspected.

Leg 4; Race 4: Difficult ahead of time to forecast a favorite in this short field but both of Richard Remillard’s entries should attract more money than Cenalta Eclipse, who returns from a gallant defeat and could still be worth adding to a ticket.

Leg 5; Race 5: Though Lil Orphan Elmer is on the verge of a win for champ-trainer Kathleen Plested, Longo’s Deweydiddonegood will be soaring and must be considered a serious contender. This race could produce only a mild upset and Longo’s return to California for this meet means his stock will be in the  thick of it and catching them early will bring the best prices.

FALL FINAL FOUR

THREE DIAMONDS

The frosh-filly pacers gave in late this season to Kissin In The Sand. She was the elim favorite and will be a huge choice in the $381,200 final. It was practically humorous watching how pitiful the rest of the field performed against her. However, our choice to beat her, Reign On Me raced a huge mile at 7-1, those odds based a lot on a start from the 10 hole. Our super-longshot possibility, Python Blue Chip, also raced well but her 43-1 odds had little to do with leaving from post 8. She has not gotten her stride yet but the elim was a better-than-expected event for her.

The public’s second choice in the sole elim was Strong Opinion and she should easily fit into that role again in the final. She steadily chased “Kissin” to finish second and may not have more in her tank to do better, especially since Alexa’s Power was very impressive, finishing third at 23-1. Mild interference included, Alexa’s Power gained on Kissin enough to be a hair behind Strong Opinion and needs respect here.

If we take Strong Opinion out of the picture and count on better miles from the other three mentions above, we are looking at a few good exotic combinations. Even Kissin as a key would result in a nifty score with that trio behind her. For an upset win alone, however, Alexa’s Power gets the vote.

GOLDSMITH MAID

There’s no way to truly determine how the wet track affected the field of last week’s Goldsmith Maid elim or if it benefited the winner, Plunge Blue Chip, who took the lead at the first quarter and timed out fractions that saw the frosh-filly trotter draw away to win by 5 lengths. There is, though, reason to applaud Smoke And Mirrors, our choice in the elim, who finished fourth at 21-1. She sucked along well behind “Plunge,” Seviyorum (the actual favorite) and Dab Hanover and was truly the best of the rest. The Kadabra filly must be given another shot and certainly will go off at loose odds in the $420,750 final, becoming our choice in the $420,750 final. 

VALLEY VICTORY

If we accomplished anything near a coup in the Valley Victory elim it was with our main contender, Kinda Lucky Lindy. His 66-1 place finish exploded the exacta pool, even with the 3-2 choice atop. Met’s Hall’s break didn’t help so much because “Lindy” scooped up the perfect trip behind Fourth Dimension and probably had more left. Fourth Dimension’s Breeders Crown effort bombed but he was bright in the wet weather for his “Crown” elim. That isn’t enough evidence to predict he won’t go well on a dry Meadowlands surface but inconsistency could count.

Wolfgang and Fashionwoodchopper under performed, though the started slowly and made up ground well enough, but Tito put in the best possible mile with a strong brush midway that left him on the outside with a lot of gumption left. Tito went off 7-1 in a tight third-public-choice trio and could be overlooked more in the $464,650 final.

GOVERNOR’S CUP

At 10-1, Closing Statement was a strong overlay and how he could not hold on to his lead is as much a mystery as why the public made American History the elim favorite. This division is unsettled and the elim didn’t clear things up much. Lost In Time didn’t race well from post 10 and Nutcracker Sweet, who finished second had little excuse not to win. The winner, Springsteen, took advantage of a swell cover trip; not enough to convince us he is the top dog.

Lost In Time could wind up with less support than he should get, especially if the crowd again decides that American History is a major contender. With a better trip on a freezing surface, Lost In Time could put away his stable mate Nutcracker Sweet and another attempt to wire the field by Closing Statement. In fact, therein could be a delicious trifecta.

GOLD FOR OLD

The older mares and horses on both gaits also hold big-money events at the Meadowlands on Nov. 25. What follows are our suggested contenders.

In the $15,000 trot for mares there are only four and three of them remain in awe of the fourth, Hannelore Hanover. She has beaten the hombres and those in her own division have been dominated by her, so this is a pass for us, even in the exotics.

The $175,000 mare pace offers twice the field as the trot. The eight behind the gate were last seen battling in the Breeders Crown. A change, however, as Lady Shadow was sold to new connections and they will be looking to regain some of their investment with hopes that she races better than she had the few months before she was sold.

But it’s a tight and talented bunch that has beaten one another along the hard path of the 2017 stakes season. It’s a field where odds should be spread out generously. Nike Franco N has been the late-season scourge but Pure Country is always up for a late charging win and Bedroomconfessions has made most of these work for a good finish here and there. Darlinonthebeach was super again recently and Blue Moon Stride has a tendency to pick up checks and pay backers well for place and show. We have backed Medusa but she and Windsun Glory have not come through. Let’s take Pure Country here because she may once again offer odds higher than her chances and because this could set up for her as it has in the past with such foes.

Six complete the horse trot event, worth $350,000. Here is a great chance for What The Hill to redeem his “Erskine” debacle at Hoosier. That awful race for him could send bettors over to Crazy Wow and even Mambo Lindy. This will give What The Hill a decent price to support for such a small field. An exacta with Pinkman would shake the tote for sure.

The stalwart older pacing males amount to the usual suspects in their $350,000 affair. Some big dogs are missing with only seven going here but it seems this group is right for one another. Only Lyons Snyder, who has not caught on sharply in the older division, is out of tune here, needed specific circumstances to beat any of these. The public will most likely go for the bookend pacers, Dealt A Winner on the inside and McWicked from the outside. We will hope Ron Burke’s All Bets Off will save some ground and thunder down the stretch as at least the third betting choice and that the public likes Burke’s Check Six more, leaving some price power for All Bets Off.


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.


H2W LIST

Batavia
11/24/17, +Halton Hurricane R2

Cal-Expo
11/24/17, Hairway To Heaven R7; Gene Eugene R10
11/25/17, Chilma R1; Don Lindy R5; Surprisingly Sweet R9

Charlottetown
11/25/17, +Badlands Giovanna R5; +rojans White Jet R5

Dayton
11/24/17, Jerseylicious R6

Dover
11/27/17, +So Sublime R1

Freehold
11/24/17, +Blue Monster R10

Monticello
11/27, 17, +So Raven R4

Northfield
11/25/17, +Annakate R2; Bye Bye Felicia R5; +Esteemed Members R11
11/26/17, +Ibanez R11

Northlands
11/24/17, Western Olympian R9
11/25/17, Captain Terminator R2; Alpha Bagel Hanover R6; Hes So Foxy R7; +Gray Zee R9
 
Northville
11/24/17, +Vegas Secret R2; Red Dress Baby R7; Noha R9; Haberdashery R10
11/25/17, PC Shockwave R8

Plainridge
11/24/17, +Itsabouttime R2

Pompano
11/26/17, Starcasm R3; +Pointsman R8
11/27/17, +Carlos Mittana R4; +Prince Jubilee R6

Rideau-Carleton
11/24/17, Perfect Mass R3; Captain Dragon R10

Rosecroft
11/24/17, +Nuclear Ease R1
11/25/17, +Breezinintheshade R3

Saratoga
11/25/17, Best Shot N R12

Scarborough
11/25/17, +Conkers Conquest R9

Woodbine
11/24/17, +Bernadette R7

Yonkers
11/26/17, +Manwithamission R4

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