Harness Racing Blog Autumn Addendum: The Big Sunday
On Oct. 8 in Lexington, Kentucky, the last harness racing program of 2017 is presented at The Red Mile. We present this blog as a separate edition due to the draw for Sunday’s stakes races, which consist of the sport’s highest horse caliber. What follows is our analysis of those stakes events.
Soph-filly trotters are the co-stars on the card with the Kentucky Filly Futurity, a traditional trot still presented in heats. The top five finishers in each elim heat return for the final. We only advise on the heats, since the final is drawn from those races and usually offer the best prices.
The first elim is worth $36,000, with a field of six. The division’s heroine, Ariana G, towers over this field and should easily. This is a good time to bet against her. She need only get into the top five to get to the final, so she can win the event even if something goes wrong here. Sunshine Delight has been hot of late and may be Ariana G’s only threat here, certainly at a decent price for the small field and the fact that Ariana G will suck in almost every wagering dollar.
The second elim offers seven fillies in a much more evenly talented field. The sentimental entrant is Rod Allen’s Dream Baby Dream, while Jimmy Takter’s That’s All Moni should be the die-hard favorite. Noel Daley’s Cool Cates has been competitive and so has Luc Blais’ Dream Together. Watching the tote board is essential here but it’s a good shot to go for Allen’s Dream Baby Dream, who certainly could improve here and move to the final, which will be difficult to handicap beyond Ariana G.
Eleven glamour-girl pacers meet to battle for $234,000 in the Glen Garnsey. The top four are here, Agent Q is missing, and Blazin Britches is bound to take favorite status, with Caviart Ally close behind. This is a single-mile event and a few good prices should be offered for the other two top fillies—Idyllic Beach and Tequila Monday.
Perhaps left out of the top contenders’ list will be Jaye’s A Lady. We went with her in a Jugette elim but she broke—as the favorite—and left the scene. The talent runs deep beyond the top four and if she shows her manners and races her best it would not be much of a surprise to us if she won and we would certainly enjoy what we assume will be a good price for the effort.
THE BOYS OF AUTUMN
The Kentucky Futurity for glamour-boy colts is also a heat-to-final event and one of the oldest stakes in the sport’s history is jam-packed this year with two $90,000 elim fields and 17 raring to go down in history. The first five finishers in each elim return for the final. Again, we offer only contenders for the elims.
Nine in the first round include placed-Hambletonian champion Perfect Spirit. Even though he won on a DQ, he raced two great heats in the August classic. He could offer a very good price. The unknown is lightly raced King On The Hill from the Takter barn. Only six starts (a win and three places), the second part of the season finds him a contender in this class. Also expected to race well are Long Tom, International Moni and Bill’s Man. Perfect Spirit could be a better price than Long Tom, who could put in a career-best mile here, so watch the board for their offerings, though we see more value in Perfect Spirit.
The other elim heat sends eight to the post and it’s the 8 horse that could be a two-heat winner. That colt is, of couse, What The Hill. He is the horse that gave up his win in the Hambletonian to Perfect Spirit and the 8 hole should be a small problem. The problem in the elim is price. What The Hill won’t lose any supporters at the windows for his starting point, although he will surrender some bets to Yes Mickey, the late-season charge in the division. As well, Devious Man’s late moves are made for the landing-strip stretch at The Red Mile and he may take some dollars, too. But the 8 hole could be the reason we get a good price on What The Hill, who is arguably heading for the Breeders Crown with a glow.
PACE MAKES THE RACE
Two divisions of the Tattersalls Pace are in play (not heats, two single mile affairs) for glamour-boy pacers. The first edition has six going for $200,000.
Huntsville and Downbytheseaside will cross swords for sure here and that could be their downfall, since a fiery duel would give a bunch more chances to Miso Fast to ride through the dust of such a challenge and beat them both. One big sweep is how Miso Fast beat Fear The Dragon at Pocono and this race could set up that way if Downbytheseaside goes after Huntsville for the lead. Huntsville has always been a one-dimensional type but Downbytheseaside could do some stalking. Either way, in the short field, Miso Fast should be worth the upset price.
The $206,000 episode has seven and another great price may be offered for Fear The Dragon because Fillerbuster Hanover, the “Jug” winner (of the second heat only), defeated Fear The Dragon and came back to win again in a race without Fear The Dragon. So it goes that Fear The Dragon, who is still tons better than Fillerbuster Hanover, should be worth it again with a price that will be big for him, especially because “Fillerbuster” betting will allow for the discrepancy.