Harness Holiday Events Swarm Weekend; Sophs Stampede; Older Stars Duel On Sunday
High-profile older pacers kick off the Memorial Day weekend with Friday, May 27’s Molson Pace at Western Fair and along with older trotters they complete the holiday weekend on Sunday, May 29 at Harrah’s Philadelphia with the Maxie Lee for trotters and the Betsy Rose and Dorothy Mullin for mare pacers. In between those lucrative events there are sophomores aplenty in top-dollar miles for state-breds in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The three-year-old name-brand events are the Art Rooney Memorial and Lismore finals at Yonkers.
On The Hambletonian Trail this week, more August hopefuls challenge each other in sires stakes. Check the separate blog, exclusively brought to you by TwinSpires and the Hambletonian Society.
Of course, one of TwinSpires harness blog’s most popular features, the horses-to-watch list (H2W) releases hot contenders across the board, unique selections of horses on the brink of paying off. No other handicapping sources in print or on line deliver as much promising profit from the horses on the H2W list. Prepare to hammer the win, place, show and exotic pools. Always consider H2W horses when constructing your wagers.
MOLSON PACE PREVIEW
This year’s $150,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair on May 27 offers three-time defending champion State Treasurer in his quest for an historic fourth consecutive title. His draw of post 1 certainly allows for great chances to extend the crown. But this season he is yet to win a race so far in three starts.
Last year’s place finisher, All Bets Off, drew post 8 for the second week in a row racing in a main event. Last week he left from the 8 hole in the Battle Of Lake Erie at Northfield Park and he grinded a brushing trip to finish second at 30-1 behind Wiggle It Jiggle It. Western Fair’s half-mile, however, is not known for “flying turns,” as is Northfield, so All Best Off may not be able to manufacture such a trip again.
To the left of All Bets Off is our pacing pal PH Supercam, who at this point we may be able to thank for losing the “Levy” final so his odds here will far exceed his chances. Because aside from State Treasurer there is McWicked, another Canadian favorite bound to suck in a lot of wagers. The misappropriation of win betting will leave us no choice but to take PH Supercam. He is in a perfect spot to negotiate a winning trip, since we expect scorching fractions to the half that will simmer considerably by three-quarters and allow for a post-7 PH Supercam upset.
Don’t count All Bets Off out of this; he could be right there with “PH” to compelte the exacta, which could pay so well that the other exotic wagers offered in the main event should be dismissed.
GLAMOUR GALS PACE
The Meadows, on May 27, offers two divisions of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes with huge purses for soph-filly pacers. Eight go in the first division, worth $80,680. Two in this field have already made some noise. Call Me Queen Be and I Said Diamonds will no doubt get the nods. Also doubtful, is a lot of support for Some Fancy Filly. From post 8, Nancy Johansson’s fresh and talented pacer should be the bargain of this bunch.
The second split is worth $81,080, featuring nine gals, one of which is Pure Country. She is still everyone’s choice to be at the top of the division this year but another Johansson filly we are watching is going to be her nemesis and should be worth the backing here. That gal, of course, is Darlinonthebeach. Her wicked dueling ruined her second win over Pure Country two back and she won on our H2W list last week at Pocono. She can beat her father’s filly (Jimmy Takter trains Pure Country) again. Also up for a surprise challenge appearance will be two-time winner Shesasmokinlady, a good one for exotics.
ART ROONEY REBELS
It’s an early test for glamour boys to attend and offers more money than most of them may compete to get as the season continues but the $300,000 Art Rooney Memorial will go as planned on May 28 at Yonkers.
Last week’s winner in the sole elimination, Missile J, gets the dreaded Yonkers 8 hole and our selection, Artmagic, third-place finisher (in an entry with the winner) gets the coveted rail. The only winners this season aside from Missile J are No Shame Blue Chip and Yankee Artillery, the latter a possible colt to share some favoritism. Missile J still deserves respect in this lop-sided group of sophs but “Artillery” may be in the perfect spot to win.
There’s no way to tell if the public gives Missile J the go-ahead as top choice but if we bank on it, we can get a good price on Artillery as second or third choice (if better, then better for us). That odds situation is contingent upon Artmagic and Missile J being coupled (not known at press time).
Soph-filly pacers go in the six-horse field of the Lismore Final at Yonkers on the “Rooney” program, with Kryptos in a commanding position to be the top choice. She has won seven of eight already this season, which is six better than any of the others, including Cut And Paste, who is zip for two, Rock Me Baby, a Burke colt in a season’s debut.
Also in play is Apple Bottom Jeans, who has been second three times while winning once in five tries. As second top earner in the bunch, she cannot be dismissed as a contender and may not pick up strong support, which makes us more interested. From post 3 she may get the advantageous journey and win at odds far better than her chances.
New Jersey Sires Stakes soph femmes are featured in leg two of their series at the Meadowlands on May 28. The first of a pair of $25,000 divisions features six, all sired by Rocknroll Hanover and all from the same first-leg division. Division one brings Boston Red Rocks to the forefront again where she will suck in most of the win money. Last week we went with Katies Rocker and this week we will do the same. No one should be convinced that “Boston” will dominate the division by her first few efforts at three.
A full field of eight compete in the second split. Once again, each is a daughter of Rocknroll Hanover. Blue Moon Stride beat all but one in last week’s division and that one is worthy of great interest. Mymegarishmothrnlo, the name a space-friendly version of My Mega Rick Mother-In-Law, put in a sparkling performance in her second race (she was not raced at two) by going wire to wire at Philadelphia. The week before that form reversal she finished sixth by 17 ½ lengths trying to break her maiden, also at Philadelphia.
Mymegarishmothrnlo may be much better than even the race she won and this is a good time to back her, as she surely will not get the kind of support given to “Blue” or JK Fannie, Watch N Be Watched and Rock My Girl. This is another great early-season choice that is sometimes less a gamble than most bettors are willing to take.
SUNDAY STAKES SUPREME
At Philadelphia Sunday, May 29, the stars and stripes are waving for the older pacer and trotter divisions. Two for the pacers and one for the trotters, the trio of stakes are each worth $200,000.
The Betsy Ross gathers a string of talent and more than a few scenarios on which of eight will get to the finish line first. Yagonnakissmeornot is having a great season and gets the rail and a chance to steal this from start to finish. From the outside, Sell A Bit N should loom boldly down the stretch along with Color’s A Virgin. Then there are Katie Said, three for three this year and ready to take on better company, Sassa Hanover and Venus Delight, both looking for their first win in eight tries this year.
Jimmy Takter’s Katie Said could be a surprise here, having developed a penchant for winning in three starts and having a stakes ability that may only be proven with this bunch if she shows her muscle. With Sell A Bit N and Color’s A Virgin working from the outside but still getting good support at the windows, Katie Said may be the best price chance.
The Maxie Lee Memorial sends eight stalwart older trotters into a mile where a lot of shuffling may be the key to the last male trotting. Getting his 10th win in as many starts last week while rocking the toteboard and the likes of Pinkman, Maestro Blue Chip gets the far outside, just to the right of Bee A Magician and both of them leaning outside of JL Cruze in post 4.
Eight handicappers might see this 10 different ways or they may all give the advantage to JL Cruze. Watching the betting is the key to any investment here. Assuredly, Obrigado and Wind Of The North will offer some prices but so may Il Sogno Dream, starting his ’16 campaign for big money. Watch for Gural Hanover to be overlooked. He could be best with an easy trip and may be best even under a late challenge. A decent price should make the call to back this one.
The Dorothy Mullin is the stake for older pacers that will change names each year to honor Pennsylvania harness industry people and Dorothy’s episode will be hard to top when it changes names. Wiggle It Jiggleit is here and will be winging early from post 2, while Rockin Ron, to his right, will probably settle behind him and prepare to pounce when the going gets good and fast.
Hopefully, the crowd will look away from the 8 horse, Bit Of A Legend N. At Yonkers, his ability to close on speedsters paid off and here he has no choice but to lay back and hope the fractions create sparks enough to let him roll late. There is enough speed to muck up the first half, which would benefit “Legend” and JK Endofanera, if he is not behind a wall of fading bulks. Legend, however, is best fit for our scenario and the price we want.
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.
5/27/16, Cracker Stoney R6
5/28/16, Bruener R2
5/27/16, +Shes All That R4; +Clintons Memory R8
5/28/16, Phoenician Gal R5; +Joyful Sound R7; +Outlawblueporsche R8; Wilson Frost R8; Chillinlikeavillin R10
5/28/16, +Useful Hanover R4; +Bignprecious R5
5/29/16, Domedomedome R5
5/30/16, Double Miles R9; Rockin Cougar R10
5/27/16, +Mystical MJ R12
5/27/16, +Jumpinthejailhouse R10
5/28/16, Hunchie R4; +Amped Up R5; +Americanprimetime R7
5/27/16, +Fall toy R2; +Mr Erv R7
5/26/16, Moonbeam Hall R6
5/28/16, Hubby Number One R2; Thankyoukessel R7; Divas Image R8
5/28/16, Auf Wiedersehen R9; McNice R10; +Sand Tilly Lace R12
5/28/16, +Hoorei For Flash R3; +Landsdown Road R11
5/29/16, Hostess Lisa R8
5/30/16, +Machine Team R14
5/26/16, Extreme Justice R5; +Garlandsandpearls R8
5/27/16, Medoland JT R1; Northern Breakout R3
5/28/16, National Debt R9; Windsong Jack R10
5/28/16, +Majorley R6; +Silver Spir R7; Lets Go Places R8; Linkjack Hanover R10
5/27/16, Zuzu R2; Fancys Destiny R4
5/29/16, +Flaming Yankee R9
5/28/16, +Mr Bo Diddley R6; +Chizzled In Stone R6; +Bryans Angel R10
5/26/16, +Game Of Dreamers R12
5/27/16, +Simmy R3
5/28/16, +Every Play Counts R8
5/29/16, An Officers Duty R1; +MA Smash On R8
5/28/16, +Riverofroyalty R10
5/30/16, Cantabra ae R3
5/27/16, The Big Muscle R1; Sly Baran R2; Shes All Muscle R3; Always Covers R4; Worthy Art R8
Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition