Harness Racing: Features Aplenty for June 17-19

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June 17th, 2021

Summer is on the horizon and the harness-racing stakes are cooking. TwinSpires Harness Blog is in tune with the season as more star trotters and pacers hit the track. Also on tap is never-ending TwinSpires H2W (horses-to-watch list), with suggestions enhancing exotic combinations and fair-priced win, place and show finishes.


Thursday, June 17

State-bred soph-colt trotters line up in two $48k divisions of the Indiana Sires S. The obvious favorite will be Illini Earl, one of the four sons of Jailhouse Jesse in the six-horse field and the richest so far in 2021.

We look to Brookview Bolt, by Swan For All. at In 2020, Swan For All, another Indiana sire, was the eighth money-winning sire in North America, while Jailhouse Jesse is on no list including outside of the state sires. Ron Burke is aware of the sire element; he trains “Bolt,” whom we back for a mild upset in the small field.

Another six take flight in the second division. Sire-wise, this is a battle between four Swan For Alls and two Guccios. Melanie Wrenn’s Swingforthefences, a Swan For All, should dominate the win pool. As an alternative we lean into Bluebird Maverick, a Swan For All product on the improve, capable of a score and most likely offering a better price for the win.


Friday, June 18

The Empire Breeders Classics are the highlight of the season at Vernon and this season they offer two $102k divisions for soph filly trotters and one $205k mile for the colts.

Race 6

The first filly split features six. At this crucial time of the season, less than two months from the Hambletonians, we have to respect trotters from the Marcus Melander barn as he aims them for the biggest stakes to come. Iteration is 1-for-1 coming into this affair and has not peaked yet. She will be bet heavily but may still be worth a win ticket while we pair her with Julie Miller’s Aela Jamieson in exotics. The Millers have strong intentions of winning big against the Melanders. Their stock is always fit to earn.

Race 8

The second filly engagement has potential to pay off well using D.R. Ackerman’s underrated What A Dame. With little brand to his name, D.R. (son of the late Doug Ackerman) works with strong-bred trotters almost exclusively and is never backed by the crowds with the respect his stock deserves. His competition includes Darlene Hanover, looking to add a soph season as rich as her frosh campaign. Her first race in this division was merely a warning of how good she may be at three.

Race 9

Seven colts will be all out to get the biggest share of this purse and head for August. All but one is bred by Chapter Seven, the Empire State’s top sire; Ake Svanstedt trains two of them—Incommunicado and Ambassador Hanover; they are both dangerous but “Ambassador” has everything to gain picking up his second win in three starts here as Ake makes a charge to the Hambletonian he wants to win without the judges' help. (A few years back he won with a horse on a disqualification, which was our choice to win the classic—lucky him, lucky us.)

The favorite is most likely Tony Alagna’s Ahundreddollarbill, who is 2-for-2 and perfect to defy with Ake’s outside-leaving trotter, that post being good for those of us looking for a win with a better than public-choice price.


Saturday, June 19

Four-year-old pacers and trotters are on the track again for another pair of Graduate Series divisions. Seven make up the trot mile ($50k) and 12 pacers crowd the surface in the second ($75k).

Race 5

Aside from measuring truly fair odds on Moon Bridge winning a race, the difficulty of this race is Zen-like, as in solving the koan of one hand clapping. All right, so everyone throws out Moon Bridge and then the arguments begin—and continue. So let’s make it simple. Hypnotic AM is ready to roar at four, having won at last with the promise of encouraging that as a trend. Chances are that It’s Academic may waste some speed and/or be compromised with a duel leaving from post 7, and Hypnotic AM will sit pretty until all trot out gas. That is the best scenario we see for playing this race at all.

Race 9

When Brett Pelling came back from Down Under, we assessed he would wind up his current stock and after a few races they would “kick in.” This has happened and Pelling horses are all in play as summer looms boldly. Allywag Hanover has had all of his sophomore problems solved by Pelling and after a few “exercise miles” has improved tenfold. From the second tier here, Allywag Hanover may go off a very good price because there are more decent performers in this field than there are good Seth Rogan movies.


Saturday, June 19

The $50k Kissin In The Sand Final presents eight pacing mares and a truly sharp betting field are they. We’ve handled some of these gals in this series and earlier in the season in the Matchmaker on the half-mile. Each one is tough and seems always to be in the kind of shape it takes to beat the others.

Machnhope is the obvious leader in class, earnings, and consistency but considering her fine record this season and a strong-finish fifth last week in “Kissin” leg 2, we estimate that Keep Rockin A will go off at odds that defy her best chances to win the Kissin final.

R.N. Norman’s mare watched the other six in the field in front of her at the start and crafted a sinister gain to come within a pair of lengths at 4-1 against a 9-2 winner. It was the best trip of the race and deserves support, especially since if you think she was a fair price then at 4-1, you should see bargains floating in the whites of your eyes with the odds we expect here.

H2W Legend

Review our choices and confirm the wagers available at the prescribed track. H2W offers possible contenders researched from reviewing races. Horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track with the date of their race and the race number (R6) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name, it appears on the list for the second time (horses are listed twice only if, at first, they failed to win. An “AE” signals also-eligible. Types of wagers to make are based on your judgment. Some repeating horses may not appear due to our deadline to post.


6/19/21, +Rosey Time R7

6/19/21, Buckeye Emery R1; Missy Trix R4

6/17/21, Native Liberty R3; +Knight Lauxmont R6
6/18/21, The Way You Are R2; Yummy Candy R4; Rebecca R13

6/17/21, +Burning Desire R4; +Carracci Hanover R5

6/18/21, Cheeky Cherry R13
6/19/21, High Fashion Mel R1; Smiley Dragon R14

6/19/21, +Nytro J R1; +Times Are Tight R6; +Tuition Money R8

6/17/21, +Shes A Fireball R4; +Hired Luck R7
6/18/21, +Goorilla R9

6/17/21, +Hill Side R6
6/19/21, +Quality Closer R11; +Needham Hanover R12; Cant Beach That R14

6/18/21, Mr French R11
6/19/21, Battenberg R3; Southwind Falcon R8

6/17/21, +Siesta Beach R7
6/18/21, Lindseys Pride R11; Strateontilmorning R12