Grand Circuit Weekend Sends Top Casts Of Divisions To Post; Yonkers Trot, PASS Champs And Freshmen Fire For Big Cash

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

August 30th, 2018


This Labor Day Weekend in the USA, our two blogs are very busy in Canada as well as in the holiday country below it. So much so, that we have put some “picks” that would have been included in features on a slower week, on the horses-to-watch (H2W). Still, we are left with a coterie of harness events, which we address with our usual aggression for outsiders.

Scroll down and read carefully for some of the season’s vigorous events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Adding Sunday means the Weekly Update blog will be posted Sunday night/Monday morning to cover the surplus of wagering possibilities.

The focus of the Breeders Crown Countdown (BBC) blog is merely an addendum to the main blog, though it handles its content more intensely than if it were among our crowded material.

As if that isn’t the most anyone may read anywhere on the Internet or in print about a weekend of harness racing betting opportunities, consider there is more with our H2W list. Explore any and all of the possibilities we present for use in wagers of your discretion. Do your own handicapping and then consider any and all our H2W and frosh selections.


The Champlain Stakes for frosh-filly trotters begin the big Grand Circuit weekend at Mohawk on Aug. 30. Three splits for this division are worth $66,000-plus each. Sure, young trotters may break but they also may win and pay very well, so don’t shy for fear of the girls galloping.

In the first Champlain there is a single filly by Cantab Hall, one of the best of the trotting sires year in and year out, and two by Holiday Road. The latter, a disappointment on the track but an unproven failure as a sire, deserves some measuring in the breeding stats. In order, then, Cometpedia should be our first choice, with Club Belvedere and Champagne Jane for exotic supports. The public, however, will eye Susy.

In round two, Fraulein Blucher, another single Cantab Hall filly, is in a smart spot for trainer Nancy Johansson. We have no reason to abandon this bloodline here, especially since the public will pound Nancy’s father’s filly, Beautiful Sin. Jimmy Takter’s girl went a while before being beaten (we beat her with a sharp contender) but she still has a firm spot in the BCC Top Fives and daddy gets much more name recognition than Nancy.

The last Champlain of the evening offers 10 fillies, most likely led in the betting by The Ice Dutchess. She was our beastly bet on Hambo day in an upset but we have to go against her here for price and purpose. The one filly by Royalty For Life is Tomi Canu Hearme. Along with the sole progeny of Cantab Hall, one Grimmie Hanover, you may have a monster exactor and including “Ice,” a hefty triactor.


Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) $30,000 legs for sophs presents a few familiar faces in various divisions. Since these few stand prominently in their divisions, we offer those KYSS events in which they are featured.

The Aug. 30 program at The Red Mile begins with two star soph-colt trotters, Wolfgang and Tactical Landing. The latter surprised most by doing better in the Hambletonian than the former. Both come from the Takter barn and once again, Jimmy will drive Tactical Landing. Wolfgang should come up a favorite in this rebound race to join his stable mate as a favorite. We’ll pass the Takter duo and look to cash with Haveitalltogether from productive-trainer Julie Miller. She makes her trotters work and often enough they are paid for their accomplishments and it rubs off on their supporters with strong prices.

One of nine going to post in the KYSS soph-filly trot is Nixie Volo. She is the only filly in this field to have faced the top division gals in the Hambletonian Oaks. Burdened with post 10, which was the least of her problems against that group. At 99-1 she was 10 wide in the first turn and raced last until making a brief inside move to finish with the last four. Here, however, she is the class and has no reason not to pummel her foes. She may not even be the favorite; good for us.

The KYSS soph-colt pace could offer a strong overlay as 11 go to post weth the public hitting two horses very hard—American History and Thinkbig Dreambig. However, our focus is the 11 horse, Grand Teton. The Takter pacer has struggled in full fields of stars to put up some big numbers as an exotic participant. Here, a good trip could pay off with a double-digit win price if driver Jimmy Takter can get the best out of him against two of the division’s minor players. 


Mohawk Grand Circuit material continues on Friday, Aug. 31 with Champlain frosh-colt trots and a solo Simcoe for soph-filly trotters. Each of these splits is worth $69,000-plus.

The first Champlain calls for a bet on math. The high-percentage win trainer, Luc Blais, sends the son of the high-percentage frosh sire, Kadabra, to the gate. Thus, Forbidden Trade, the only Kadabra son in the field, is the one to support.

Another solo sire product will be our main contender in the second Champlain. Union Forces, by Cantab Hall, should follow in the hoof beats of his sire’s deep record of producing winners.

The final Champlain of the program also draws our attention to a colt whose sire, Royalty For Life, is represented only by him—Royal Rob.

The soph fillies in the $153,996 Simcoe Stakes trot are second-stringers in the division. That being true, one of them comes out of the Hambletonian Oaks and therefore gets a huge edge in class. Blonde Magic faces nothing here that resembles the likes of the Oaks elim or the Oaks final. She towers over these.


The Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) championships begin in the afternoon, at the Meadows on Sept. 1. Two-year-olds are featured in $253,000 finals each. Here is an abbreviated look at the finals and our suggested contenders that may be worth betting.

In the filly trot, Sonnet Grace may go unnoticed for post and horseman, two mistakes that could cost a bettor. Rod Allen is devoted and from a family that has bred champions.

In the filly pace, a slew of the division’s top earners go for a crown. A great performance at a price here could be in the hands of Chris Ryder’s Stonebridge Soul.

In the colt trot, Fashion Possessed could topple the Takter favorite and two from the Millers prolific stable.

In the colt pace, Proof, the lone son of A Rocknroll Dance in the field of nine, will be a good bet against the usual trainer suspects.


The Yonkers Trot has not stood as strongly as its namesake. The glamour-boy trotter’s classic is a shadow of itself. For instance, take the 2018 edition on Sept. 1. The $500,000 purse is intact and so is the final’s field—without earning spots from elims. So, nine go into the box and get into the race.

Ave Svanstedt hopes this one will be easy. He has Six Pack, the sad sack of the Hambletonian and yet clearly the class of the race. He will go off the overwhelming favorite and chances are he will zoom to the lead and enjoy leading the pack through four quarters. In obvious fashion, from the rail, Helpisontheway could draft behind Six Pack and suck up into second without a sweat. The third spot will be the product of whatever chaos takes place. It seems that academic and that dull.

If an upset may be imagined, the culprit may be Lindy’s Big Bang. Early in the Hambletonian Trail season he liked half-mile racing and picked up a few big checks along with a good win average.

The $129, 014 Hudson Filly Trot, also on Sept. 1, for sophs is puny, with only six at the gate. Svanstedt should make this another snooze of a mile with Plunge Blue Chip from the rail. Following her will be our filly “Zweig” winner, Supergirl Riley. Svanstedt has another filly in the sextet, Lucky Ava. She could find a way to pass both the others but if her price is worth it remains to be seen at post time.


Soph-filly pacer Alexis Faith should dominate the field of the $112,904 Laudy Maud Final at Yonkers on Sept. 1. Trainer Casie Coleman, who will watch from Mohawk that night where she has more invested, may be surprised if her filly doesn’t take command and romp because there are a few in this field that demand some respect.

Ron Burke’s Jewels Forreal has made a lot of money with only two wins and could try to steal the top out of the gate. An early challenge is a problem for Alexis Faith because a second-tier attack could be powerful coming from Solitary and Majorette Angie. As well, Painted Lady and Pass Line Bluechip are not going to stand for Casie’s filly trying to command fractions.

For a price, Pass Line Bluechip could be flying at the end if there is speed negotiating in one or two quarters and that will mean a good price, we think.


The $651,000 Maple Leaf Trot (MLT) at Mohawk on Sept. 1 follows a warning not heeded in one of last week’s elims—Don’t count out Ariana G. No one predicted the crossover mare would ever go off at 10-1, as she did last week when she won over the boys. It took only one anomaly for bettors to abandon Ariana G; a bad performance that was out of her norm.

So, against the best boys in the MLT final, Ariana G will not offer the value she presented in her elim. The bets will lay thickly over a few of her rivals, including Marion Marauder, Will Take Charge, Emoticon Hanover and Hannelore Hanover. What about “Hannelore”? She has not been her champion self but that may not be indicative of a slump. After all, she has beaten the boys many times already.

How the odds develop is certainly the key to betting this amalgamation of tough trotting stuff. If those numbers look good for Will Take Charge, he could be the reason not to pass the race. Considering the battalion of battlers from the first half of this season present in this field, Will Take Charge comes off as fresh and ready to show the others he is also among the best.


Sunday, Sept. 2, the PASS sophomore finals highlight the program in the Pocono Mountains at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Each final is worth $252,000.

In the filly trot there seems no other choice. But for a few steps, Phaetosive would have been the Oaks champ. It may not nearly be that close in this PASS test. She is the division’s champ.

In the filly pace we don’t mind at all backing an upset. Sansovina Hanover has a shot to undermine the three obvious national names and deliver a rare big price for a Burke-trained entry.

The colt trot will send a ton of money into the win pool for Crystal Fashion but we are looking at better odds than chances for Donatover, who is raring to put in a giant mile for big money to make up for not being “Crown” eligible. A win here could motivate a supplement payment.

The colt pace pits Dorsoduro Hanover against Wes Delight again. However, a good investment could be Macadoodledoo, who is eyeing the Little Brown Jug. Winning here would assure a strong status in Ohio for the lightly raced and late-awakening colt.

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.


8/31/18, Are You In R4; Bakken R6
9/1/18, +Mr Euroman R7

8/31/18, +Notagain R2; The Bruiser R4

9/1/18, +Shelly On My Mind R5

8/30/18, +Always A Vavoom R9; +Remember Then R10; +Townline ATM R13

9/1/18, Louphoria R2; Captain Malicious R4; +Stritch R14

8/30/18, +Johnny Bravo R1; Delilah Seelster R2
9/1/18, +Gerardo R4; Mets Hall R5

8/30/18, Drink Whiskey R4; Lady’s Bag Man R6

8/30/18, +Ms Seton R11

8/30/18, Honor And Serve R7; Glenferrie Dreamer R11

9/2/18, Hey Blondie R3; Fashionwoodchopper R5
8/30/18, Fire N Diamonds R1; Texaco Man R2; Latent Print R6; Madison Muscle R8

Red Mile
8/30/18, +Eowyn R10

Running Aces
9/1/18, +Master Royal R1; +Fire Dance R3; Greekona R4

8/31/18, Metro Glide R5
9/1/18, +Maggie O R8

8/30/18, Chapter Fashion R6; Jake G’s Champion R7; Xcuseme R9
9/3/18, +Buddy Hill R6

8/30/18, Lots Of Lovin R4; Dream Of Luck R8
8/31/18, Call Me Queen Be R8; +Lone Raider R9
9/1/18, +Run Oneoveror R11