Harness Racing: Dan Patch Pace Prize at Hoosier Park
There is no rest for the standardbred after the cast of the Hambletonian-day program ships out. Most star pacers and trotters may get a week or two off, but the bulk of the divisions’ best get going, back to training, back to racing, back to business. The Midwest pumps up some stakes this weekend, led by Hoosier Park’s Dan Patch Pace, and the supporting cast of overnights ensues at harness tracks from sea to sea.
Always eclectic and to the point is our never-ending TwinSpires H2W (horses-to-watch list). With ceaseless arrogance it continues suggesting how to enhance your exotic combinations and fair-priced win, place, and show finishes.
Friday, Aug. 13
Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) for frosh-colt trotters face a pair of $78k dashes on the program. Hambletonian-winning trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt takes all chores in hand with Nice Guy Eddie in a field of six with less than five starts for each. Favorite status here is debatable considering Ron Burke’s Fiftyfour K is the only winner in the sextet. Ake’s charge is a son of Bar Hopping, whose performance as a stud this year was predicted during lockdown on TwinSpires harness blogs.
The second PASS split is an easy call for us. Global Pandemic has been in our sights since starting six races ago. The Cantab Hall colt, trained by Burke, is eating up checks from those events and will only get better.
Likewise coming from the H2W list is Donzel Hanover, who will surely offer higher odds than “Global” because half of his races have resulted in places. That can change quickly when he adjusts to better competition on better racetracks.
Friday, Aug. 13
New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) continue the post-Hambletonian harness season with two soph-colt pacing episodes worth $75k each.
Ray Schnittker is having an exceptional season with his barn and his relationship with driver Mark MacDonald. As well, his retired-to-stud Huntsville has found a steadier job breeding than he had when racing. In this first NYSS event, Schnittker sends out Stop Staring, the most experienced of the six going to post. His sire, So Surreal, is not a giant yet but he is a strong investment in Empire State stock. This event is just his size.
Another six colts head to the post with five of them sons of American Ideal. One of them, I’ll Drink To That, has met the best of the division so far this season and made the most money doing it. He was thought to be better at two with the resume of his dam, Margarita Monday, turning up the accolade volume but he seems to be coming of age and doing better at three. He is apt to slaughter this field, even with the tough competition expected from Town Gossip from the hot Bongiorno barn.
DAN PATCH PATRONS
Friday, Aug. 13
Ten older pacers haunt Hoosier Park for its signature event, the Dan Patch S. The race dedicated to the Midwest’s celebrity pacer whose name is arguably the next most mentioned in the sport’s history after Hambletonian, attracted 10 free-for-allers from the depths of that division’s 2021 stars.
As is the case with these stalwart troupers, one week is an eternity between races, making it no oddity that among the field are five of last week’s Sam McKee Memorial contestants.
Catch The Fire caught a great trip to beat Nicholas Beach after the two dueled at the top, both giving way to Backstreet Shadow, who finished third behind them. “Nicholas” did not show up for this, but Cattlewash did. However, that one, in the second of the McKee divisions, was awful, backing up in the stretch to finish a washed-up eighth (don’t pardon the pun). Penultimate-bound This Is The Plan is here, making the “Patch” sloppier unless he somehow works a commanding lead into the scenario (not likely, we think). Also in for the haul is Nancy Takter’s No Lou Zing, who has not shone among these types.
Local entries include Brassy Hanover, who has won most of his large bank account not finishing first for Jeff Cullipher (fresh off his meet-winning trainer status at The Meadowlands); Little Rocket Man, 9-for-14 from Hoosier-savvy trainer Melissa Essig; and Tellmeaboutit, a strong Indiana-bred fighter.
One Canadian visitor, Sintra, drops in for what must be a serious notion. David Menary’s horse is just the kind of upset property this cast of characters could deliver. From post 1 he may excel mid-race to take advantage of duels and shuffles (his usual driver, Jody Jamieson crosses the border for the ride), a scenario we could easily back at odds unfitting for his chances. Plus, don’t count out a last fifth-of-a-second opportunity push by No Lou Zing to form a huge exotic payout.
Saturday, Aug. 14
For $300k, nine soph-colt pacers appear by invitation for the Carl Milstein Memorial. The field is heavy from the outside, led by Charlie May, the Meadowlands Pace inherited winner leaving from post 7. That alone does not weigh the colt down because some local yokels and one courageous shipper leaving the inside are to be taken seriously.
Water Sports Teen, a Messenger elim winner and top earner in this field, will get a chunk of the win money since sparkling from going to the Jennifer Bongiorno barn. Rockin On Venus has turned into one of the best from this year’s Rockin Image crop, earning six digits in the Midwest, but Alilthundadownunda, the Minnesota-bred rage of Running Aces, takes on stronger than he has faced while winning 10 of 15 starts.
”Water” may get the most chances to win in a 100% tie if the crowd holds Charlie May’s post against him, but the disqualified winner outclasses the post as a deficit. In fact, Steve Carter’s hot colt is still steaming since the cartoon events of the “Pace.” In a $60k feature at Scioto after the incident, he defiled seven others from start to finish, and it took nothing from him. His closest rival was Heart Of Chewbacca, who leaves to his right in the Milstein and could be the surprise exacta partner, which would bring back a bunch if Water finishes third or off the board. In fact, we like to play Charlie May atop “Chewbacca” and Alilthundadownunda for price and purpose.
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