Friday harness preview

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

October 30th, 2014

While thoroughbred fans are eagerly looking forward to the two days of the Breeders Cup Championship races that get underway on Friday afternoon at Santa Anita, standardbred fans will be keeping a close eye on the stellar program at Hoosier Park on Friday evening as many of the best pacers and trotters of various ages convene for a handful of lucrative stakes.

In Friday's eighth race at Hoosier, the $200,000 Moni Maker Stakes for three-year-old filly trotters, onlookers will expect to see trainer Jimmy Takter in the winner's circle with one of his two talented trainees. Both Lifetime Pursuit (Yannick Gingras) and Shake It Cerry (Ron Pierce) have enjoyed superb campaigns are both are in the hunt for divisional honors. Lifetime Pursuit, winner of the Hambletonian Oaks this summer, owns an 8-3-2 slae and $700,000 bankroll from 15 starts this year, while Shake It Cerry has won 12 of 14 starts and earned over $800,000. This race, the Matron Stakes at Dover Downs next Thursday and the Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands, will help decide year-end honors.

One race later in the $175,000 Nadia Lobell for three-year-old filly pacers, any number of sophomore ladies could prevail. Color's A Virgin (Trace Tetrick) has won 11 of 15 starts and earned almost $400,000 this year, but she will get severely tested against the likes of Precocious Beauty, Callie Bythe Beach and Weeper. Precocious Beauty, last year's two-year-old pacing filly champ, is peaking at the right time while Weeper, who has won seven of 13 starts and earned over $315,000 this year, sports a wicked 1:49 mark as does Callie Bythebeach.

Then in the $230,000 Carl Erskine for three-year-old colt trotters, all of the attention will be on Father Patrick. Last year's two-year-old colt champ has won 11 of 14 starts and earned nearly $1.4 million this season for Takter, but he did not win either of the three Triple Crown events. In fact, two of his stablemates prevailed in those events. Trixton, who has since been retired, captured the Hambletonian, while Nuncio has since won both the Kentucky Futurity and the recent Yonkers Trot. Father Patrick will look to regain his status as the top sophomore trotter in the land on Friday, while Rose Run Parker, a winner 13 times in 15 starts this year, will seek the mild upset.

One race later in the 11th, the $200,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, trainer Ron Burke appears to holding all the cards and perhaps a trio of aces as he sends out Clear Vision, Sweet Lou, Foiled Again, Bettor's Edge and Easy Again. Sweet Lou was the dominant force in this division during the summer, but his form has tailed off dramatically in recent weeks and he will seek atonement in this event. Clear Vision and Foiled Again, the sport's all-time richest pacer, have both maintained their solid form all year and could once again complete the exacta. Thinking Out Loud (John Campbell) has upended the Burke brigade before and could do so again for trainer Robert McIntosh.

Then in the 12th, the $275,000 Monument Circle for three-year-old colt pacers, a trio of sophomores will garner much of the attention in another race that could have an impact on year-end honors. Jk Endofanera (Pierce) has won 10 of 15 starts and over $935,000 this year, while Always B Miki (David Miller) owns a 10-4-0 slate and $640,000 bankroll from 17 outings and Limelight Beach (Gingras) sports a 4-7-1 slate and $540,000 bankroll from 17 outings. All three have captured major stakes this year and each of them will be looking to add to their resume this evening and again next month in the Matron Stakes at Dover and the Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands.