Green Trotters Tackle Lucrative New York Sires Stakes Splits Over Half-Milers Saratoga And Yonkers; Milton Mares Engage At Mohawk

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

September 13th, 2018


Here are the races for week five of the 2018 Breeders Crown Countdown (BCC), the exclusive blog that coordinates with our weekly harness blog at and the Hambletonian Society to find great wagering opportunities for "Crown" eligible horses (noted in all texts with an “e” next to their names) from all 12 divisions as they race their ways to the finals. For the divisions’ best of the week, check the BCC companion blog, BCC Top Five Lists, generated by current winners and losers most likely to make it to the elims at Pocono this season.

This week’s divisions in play are frosh-filly trotters, frosh-colt trotters and mare pacers, the latter two firsts for these divisions in our BCC blog..


On Thursday, Sept. 13, Saratoga hosts a lucrative pair of frosh-filly trotters in New York Sires Stakes (NYSS), each split worth $81,000-plus.

In the first split, Woodside Charm (e) goes for her fourth-straight win or tastes defeat for the first time. Winndevie (e) is in the same boat with five-straight wins. Only a dead-heat keeps them from losses.

A smart move would be to support the lone product of sire Muscle Mass here. She is not “Crown”-eligible (no two-year-olds may supplement, either) but if both of the gung-ho gals do each other in, Sensibility could lose her maiden status with a win and one that pays well. She has been second three of six times, so it’s not like she isn’t racing well. All in all, Sensibility is one of two fillies unable to race in the Crown.

Five fillies are eligible in the second NYSS round. The favorite is apt to be one of the Crown vagrants, Lifetime Credit. She has five wins in eight starts, which is two more than three of the eligible fillies in the field. But the eligible fillies have earned more, from competing in more expensive division events. Among them, Amal Hall (e) has made just a bit more than Quincy Blue Chip (e), followed by Conway Kellyanne (e), whose earning figure may be an “alternative fact” [sic].

All jokes aside, another eligible, Safe Word (e) may be sent off with better odds than her chances. She has wins and places and only one off-the-board finish in five starts for trainer/driver Jeff Gregory and seems every bit as good as the others that may receive far more support.


At Yonkers on Friday, Sept. 14, rookie colt trotters aim for big bucks in a pair of NYSS events worth $77,000-plus each.

The simple field of six Empire-State-bred youngsters includes three eligible for Crown performances, one of which is already a six-digit winner. That is Thunder (e), who has a name you would think had been taken recently or not been retired long enough), from the John Butenschoen barn.

Oddly enough, the other two eligible boys have not broken their maiden yet. Brady Bunch (e) has come close four times with place finishes and Kredit Karma (e) has done the same twice, but Thunder has three wins for seven starts and was second twice.

It may be a good play to bet that Brady Bunch will win one, pushing as hard as he may for trainer Erv Miller to put him in the neighborhood of Crown competition in dollars and in faith.

Seven colts go in the second NYSS split, led by Gimpanzee (e), a five-time winner for five starts who one bettor wrote is “the best freshman trotter this year” in a tweet to me. With no experience losing and six digits earned, Gimpanzee has already proven he will be a Crown entry for trainer Marcus Melander, and this is one easy field for him to sprinkle more confidence in his connections.

However, let’s look at Chapter Fashion (e) the only other eligible in the field. He could be a mild second choice, leaving him a good bet against Gimpanzee, making him well worth the hopes for an upset. Coming from the Jim Campbell barn, Chapter Fashion could get an edge in the four-turn mile that would show his main foe what losing is like. Both of these colts are by Chapter Seven and that just makes the one who is not the favorite all the more tempting to back.


Friday, Sept. 14 at Mohawk,13 mare pacers divide into two $35,000 eliminations in order to decide the field of the Milton Final next week. Only three of the horses dropped into the block are not eligible (though they could supplement).

The first of the pair should attract the public to Pure Country (e), getting the lowest odds she has in a while. However, the “now” horse is Twinkle (e) and no doubt she has fans ready to support her on home ground. The other local gal is Exhilarated but she may be dealing with a group out of her class.

We see some value developing for Tequila Monday (e). She has lost some spark this season, true, but she may be able to steal this race with an early lead and give Pure Country some uncovered ground that will be difficult to make up late.

The second Milton elim has six mares, two with no eligibility. This is a tightly competitive group, which could give some value to mares more capable than bet upon. Agent Q (e) and L A Delight (e) will probably get strong support and Nancy Johansson’s Ella Christina (e), who has been productive late in the season before, will be in the first three most liked. Of the pair that would have to put up cold cash to go onto the Crown, Kendall Seelster could offer the best win price and will get our vote at the windows.


Follow major 2018 BC hopefuls on their journey to the Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs at this Breeders Crown Countdown blog and the TwinSpires harness blog weekly, along with further information on the Hambletonian Society web site.