H-Trail Treasure Wins At $32, Ignites $101 Exacta, $151 Trifecta; Fear The Dragon Fires Again At Pocono; Frosh Score Is Big Across The Board

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July 3rd, 2017

Fear The Dragon ($3.00, $2.10, $2.10 ok), our early pick for soph-pacing champion, took the big-money event for his division, the Max Hempt Memorial Final as part of the Sun Stakes Saturday program at Pocono Downs. Though we lost with “Fear” in his only two race defeats this season (both seconds, including last week’s “Hempt” elim), we scored with him in stakes through the North America Cup.

The remainder of the evening found four of our other five choices finishing fourth in each stakes event. In the James Lynch consolation with Pittstop Danika (3-1) and in the final with Bettor’s Up (5-1) we took the fourth spots. In the Hempt consolation we were fourth with Highalator (13-1) and in the Ben Franklin consolation we took fourth with Dude’s The Man (34-1).

In Northfield’s Cleveland Trotting Classic we wound up with no wager, as Homicide Hunter was scratched. Crazy Wow (7-2) was the winner.


This week’s Hambletonian Trail featured the Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial Final and consolation at Pocono on July 1. The big open final featured the tough trotting filly Ariana G (6-5), who shared co-favoritism with Long Tom (4-5). Our blog suggested players consider another horse if he was not bet among the top three. It was the wise choice, as that horse, Devious Man ($32.00, $8.20, $4.80) stalked the couple and won. Long Tom was second and Ariana G was third, allowing for a $2 exacta worth $101.40 and a trifecta at $151.80.

In the consolation, both of our choices, Ei Ei O (11-1) and Andy M (27-1) broke stride before the first turn and were eliminated in a mile that was taken by a 45-1 shot.


Eleven two-year-olds were the focus in freshman events this week; one of them scratched. Our solo winner among the group was at Buffalo and returned unusual mutual pricess across the board due to both horses in a strongly favored entry finishing off the board. Our choice was Pittstop Emerald ($7.10, $20.40, $12.20). As you can see the place and show prices were deeply affected by the entry’s demise.

We were second (a dead heat) with Michelle’s Jazz ($2.10, $2.20) at the Meadowlands and second with Sassy Massy ($3.60, $2.80) at Buffalo. Our other choices at Buffalo, Philly, Scarborough, Hoosier and Saratoga included three fifths, Chasing The Storm (21-1), Mr. Blakely and Byway (105-1); two sixths, Red Reign (19-1) and Mr. Maryland (53-1); one seventh, AJ’s Pearl (161-1); and a ninth, Grand Dad Joe (18-1).

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

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 37 active horses (a 19-percent win hit rate and a 46-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.


Big Bad Arcster, $9.00, $3.80, $3.00, Scioto
JBs Shooting Star, $8.60, $3.60, $2.20, Hawthorne
Next Success, $7.20, $4.50, $4.80 ok, Yonkers
Skade, $6.10, $3.70, $2.80, Century
Ashlynn Grace, $5.50, $3.20, $2.60, Century
Boubon St Hanover, $4.00, $3.00, $2.40, Northfield
Pierce, $3.00, $2.60, $2.20, Meadowlands


Southwind Torque, $4.00, $3.40, Northfield
PH Powerplay, $3.60, $2.60 (Exacta $10.00), Scarborough
Atomic Art, $3.40, $2.60 (Exacta $14.80), Hawthorne
TKRs Metro Specs $3.00, $2.40, Monticello
HP Rubis Joyce, $2.90, $2.50 (Exacta $12.30), Charlottetown


Just Fred, $14.80, Hawthorne
Miss Explosion, $4.40, Northfield
Cedar Dunes, $3.90, Buffalo
Sandbetweenurtoes, $2.70, Mohawk
Manhattan Beach, $2.10, $2.10, Pocono

News & Notes

Vernon Downs, one of Jeff Gural’s racetracks, was granted enough tax relief by the state to stay open for harness racing and, in the long run, as a pari-mutuel raceway. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo helped support the legislation that allows Vernon to stay in business. Gural, who was instrumental some years back in getting expanded gambling legislation passed in the Empire State (a move that saved all pari-mutuel tracks from the bulldozers) and who saved the Meadowlands in New Jersey from extinction, officially thanked the governor and legislators, saying he is “commited to maintaining Vernon Downs” in all of its recreational services.

Yonkers Raceway’s Sunday matinees are back, starting with July 2’s 12:30 p.m. first post. The 12-race all-trot cards will continue with the New York oval’s French theme, as in overflow fields at 1 ¼ miles. The remaining July Sundays (July 16th, 23rd and 30th) all have popular matinee post times 

The $750,000 Meadowlands Pace Final is scheduled for Saturday, July 15. All horses for the “Pace,” including any supplements, will be declared for the Saturday, July 8 elimination card by the time listed on the condition sheet for that week. The Pace conditions include 1 percent of the final’s purse be paid to the sixth through last place finishers. The Graduate Series final for trotters and pacers will be raced as part of the July 8 card. Each final has an estimated purse of $250,000.

Like many racing jurisdictions in North America, Century Downs is facing a limited horse supply. “On the male side,” say Century officials, only “the supply of racing stock from the $10,000 claiming level and higher is pretty good. The filly and mare side is not quite as strong.” It’s thought to be ironic that the track is in shorter supply in the cheaper claiming ranks. “We’ve got lots of horsemen looking around to see what they can find and there’s just not a lot of horses available, even in other jurisdictions.”

Extraordinary Extras

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

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