Freshman Frenzy Features Have Top Winners, Including Best Price In ‘Sheppard’ Elims And More

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

July 9th, 2017

Freshmen filled the agenda this weekend and we did very well with the winners and the winning prices. Our top horses-to-watch (H2W) list winner, Kadabra Queen was the top price at $20.00 in an Ontario Sires Stakes event for youngsters. And there were more in the features and the “Frolic” section (see devoted story below).

At Yonkers on July 8 the Lawrence Sheppard elims for frosh-colt pacers delivered a winner with Persist Blue Chip ($10.00, $5.50, $2.50). In the second elim we were fourth with Mr Profeta (20-1), beaten by the public choice, and in the third, our choice, Matinee Fashion, scratched.

Each of the other three features we covered were won by the race favorites. One of them we challenged lightly, suggesting mostly a pass on Huntsville in the single Meadowlands Pace elim at the Meadowlands on July 8. Our suggested upset, Mr Varsity (55-1), didn’t make the final (the elim foes needed to finish in the top seven, as three have byes), which we will cover in our weekly preview.

The Graduates finals at the Meadowlands, as mentioned, were also favorite victors. Our choice in the trot, Broadway Donna (9-1) made a gallant three-wide move and was closing hard but at least six wide and finished sixth. In the pace, Sintra, the most heavily bet, won and our choice, Roll Away Joe (81-1) was fifth.


Nine two-year-olds were the focus of this section, though other froshes were targeted on the H2W and, of course, in the Sheppard featured elims.

We scored wins with two. At Vernon it was Act Like A Diva ($15.20, $7.50, $2.40); at the Meadows it was Venier Hanover ($3.40, $2.40, $2.10).

We had two thirds with Happy Giggles ($8.30) at Vernon and Mr Jubilant ($2.20) at Northfield. We had three fourths with Just Bookem (6-1), Hoosier; Princess Dalia (46-1) at Vernon; and Showboat (34-1) at Northfield. JBs Enigma (9-1) finished fifth at Hawthorne and Sports Fashion Star scratched, while Manro (25-1) broke and finished seventh at Hoosier.

All freshman losing in their first mentions in the Frolic section appear one more time in an upcoming H2W list.


This week’s Hambletonian Trail featured a Reynolds stake at the Meadowlands on Saturday, July 8 and four divisions of the PA All Stars at Pocono on July 9. That quartet will be reported in our next update blog.

In the Reynolds, we lost to the huge favorite, Walner, but wound up best of the rest with Sunshine Delight ($6.00, $2.10), which completed an exacta with the 1-5 shot that paid a whopping $19.00.

On various Wednesday nights we tweet for TwinSpires Twitter members from @FrankCotolo –retweeted by @twinspires—and the raceway involved. Losers from each week will appear on the next week’s horses-to-watch (H2W) list unless they race before that blog is published, so watch for them returning to the races on days in between blogs. Watch for special tweets from raceways on various Wednesdays.


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 33 active horses (a 18-percent win hit rate and a 45-percent ATB [across-the-board] 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 is posted.


Kadabra Queen, $20.00, $5.50, $3.30, Mohawk
Homicide Hunter, $10.00, $5.40, $4.00, Yonkers
PH Powerplay, $10.00, $2.60, $2.60, Scarborough
Sports Agent, $8.60, $5.60, $4.60, Meadows
Motor Shark, $7.40, $3.80, $2.80, Buffalo
Four Star Louie, $6.20, $3.60, $3.00, Bangor


Im Shameless, $24.00, $11.80, Scioto
Sweet Thing, $5.00, $2.40 (Exacta $10.40), Meadowlands
Miss Valene, $3.60, n/s, Ocean
Miss Mimi, $3.50, $2.90 (Exacta $7.90), Mohawk
Dolce Seelster, $3.00, $2.30, Rideau-Carleton


Better Get Tipsy, $3.00, Scarborough
Lyons Levi Lewis, $2.80, Hawthorne
Atomic Art, $2.60, Hawthorne
Delightful Joe, $2.50, Saratoga

News & Notes

Keeping our eyes on driver streaks, we turn to July 6 at the Meadows when Aaron Merriman won six races, four straight, out of 11 drives. Merriman is a high-percentage-winning driver who drives the afternoons at the Meadows and the nights at Northfield. Even streaking, one would expect Aaron’s winning horses to be mostly low prices, favorites. On this program Aaron brought home four strong prices, the highest at $23.20 and $10.60, with only two public choices winning at $3.80. For $22 on the day, Aaron was a flat-bet profit, delivering $56.60 to his backers. He won at a 55-percent clip and profit was $34.60. The public never learns.

Batavia Downs’ 71st season of harness racing at America’s oldest lighted harness track features 71 dates, including seven matinee cards. The meet opens on July 26 and into late fall, going through Dec. 16. Racing programs are presented on Sunday afternoons at 1:15 p.m., Wednesday evenings at 5:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. Monday will replace Sunday in September and go at 5 p.m. Once again, the 2017 meet is highlighted by a claiming series where mid-level claimers accumulate points throughout the year to battle in a championship final.

The Meadowlands adds increases to its regular guaranteed pools in effect on Meadowlands Pace Night, July 15. The Pick 5 will have a guarantee of $30,000 while the Early Pick 4 will see an increase to $40,000. The largest guarantee increase will see the Late Pick 4 bumped to $75,000. The Pick 5 will cover Races 3-7. The Early Pick 4 begins on Race 5 and the Late Pick 4 will begin with Race 9. The 13-race program includes eight stakes races worth nearly $2.5 million. The “Pace” final will have a total purse of $738,550, making it the second richest stakes final in North America for glamour-boy pacers.

Extraordinary Extras

Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.

For Thom Pye cartoons, informative harness history and more, click here ~