Hoosier Stakes Redux; Kindergarten Kids For Big M, Dover

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

November 4th, 2020

The 2020 Breeders Crown finals are history, but it is not the end of stakes for the season. The traditional Matrons begin at Dover, frosh-fields have Kindergarten finals at the Meadowlands and Hoosier deals more from its exclusive set of high-graded divisional events. The complement is our never-ending TwinSpires’ horses-to-watch (H2W) list, where we reflect opportunities in harness satellite events around North America.

For two decades of Breeders Crown events, we found that elims (and preps) for the final fields sometimes reveal potential value in the championship miles. Trips count greatly, especially when public choices do not easily win their elims. What follows are suggested contenders in various finals that could upset for a win and/or strong prices adding dollars to winning exotics.


Dover Downs is open and the Breeders Crown is over. It means here come the Matron Stakes, the last national stakes series of every season. The freshman trotters and pacers roll on Nov. 5. These may not be the strongest events to wager upon, but Thursdays are slow and, now and then, surprises are in tune with frosh events.

Only five colt trotters will share the $167k purse. Ake Svanstedt’s Incommunicado is certainly the brightest of this quintet, having won four of eight and never been off the board for his big bankroll. Still, Per Engblom’s Ethan T Hanover should not be penalized for a single win in 10 starts. He has been on the board 50 percent of the time, has raked the second-highest bankbook and is a son of thriving sire Bar Hopping. And, of course, he will have a fewer fans and a smaller field to take over. 

The filly trot ($198k), presents eight, with some “Crown” gals rebounding. We pushed a bit for Pub Crawl in the elims but she didn’t respond as planned. Here, however, Julie Miller’s daughter of Bar Hopping has the best resume and bankroll, no less coming from top company. She may be a soft favorite, if not one of three with bettors’ promise.

The filly pace is next at $170k. Two Crown gals, one we backed in a final, are here. The 92-1 elim winner, Continalou, though, must give way to supporting Paulas Bet Hanover, even though the latter did not impress any of the final’s field. If she races as she did to get into the final, she has a far better chance of looking like a surprise winner. Fans will not be on her here.

The colt pace ($190k) finds Crown favorite and final failure Southwind Gendry leaving from post 8 and contending with inside foe Exploit, who can get to him good. Of course he may be the second choice for the public, but that may be a good price for his chances are very good for trainer Tony Alagna. 


Leading up to the Nov. 21 closing, Hoosier Park, on Nov. 6, has plenty of post-Breeders-Crown racing events. A week after the championships there are four six-digit purses attached to top local races.

The Carl Erskine
Soph colt trotters are on the bill in this $140k event that features some of last week’s best from the division. One of them is Play Trix On Me, who finished second at 27-1 to Amigo Volo. We backed “Trix,” who lost by a breath in the photo. His odds may still be up there, considering his foes. Ready For Moni is always bet and burned lots of money since his last win but will again get enough backing to put him into the top three choices. Local Emma Town Bud should have fans at Hoosier. Trix was getting better, as we thought before the “Crown” and could take this group wire to wire.

The USS Indianapolis Memorial
Ten soph-filly pacers star in another version of the Crown’s division final and the star of that affair, Peaky Sneaky, returns to the sequel. Nancy Takter also sends JK First Lady and that duo will shines here for public consumption. We have been watching Marloe Hanover, who could make a distinct impression in this race and certainly has the ability, given the right trip, to upset.

The Crossroads of America
Soph-filly trotters mix it up for $100k in this mile, which brings together some “also trotted” from the Crown. It’s a tight fit, with arguments for a few. Again, Takter has two and Ron Burke has a pair that will take some money. Of those, Takter’s Sweet Shirley Mae comes off of a smart mile in the filly Pegasus. Though finishing seventh, she left from post 9, lost some ground and then gained, puttin in a noticeable brush on the outside to be second, in front of Shishito, who won. The race was messy with our Old Oaken Bucket winner, Sans Defaut, getting second at 78-1. This race could set up for Sweet Shirley Mae, who leaves from post 2.

The Monument Circle
Glamour-boy pacers are sans the 200-1 victor of the Crown and their usual dominator, to get some of the division’s scraps in this $160k feature sending 10 to post. Cattlewash is here, along with Catch The Fire, and name recognition will attract supporters. However, Tatoo Artist is the top earner and may have found a field he can handle better with the missing elements. Though he has not rifled through fields to win named events, the accomplishments of the rest are not so sterling and will attract more support than they are worth.


Four Kindergarten Stakes for two-year-olds go to their $150--$200k-plus finals at the Meadowlands on Nov. 7. Some Crown participants return and they are our focus, coming from the sport’s best races last week at Hoosier.

First are the filly trotters, 10 of them, but just one from the Crown field. Mazarati was a longshot winner of his elim, which took him to the final, where he did not hit the board. Still, Lucas Wallin’s filly has to be a strong consideration. The obvious choices outside of the key-race theory are Insta Glam and Anoka Hanover. We will stick with Mazzarati and add to exotic action Dutiful, from last week’s H2W list.

It’s tough to go against a Crown winner, so choose your weapon against Fire Start Hanover in the filly pace. Our weapon is Dresden. In last week’s Kindergarten leg, Dresden (6-1) made a three-wide brush and gained ground, finishing fourth against Three Way Split, who is in this field. Dresden was best of the rest, the only entry to finish near the top two, who were both 9-1. Dresden was on our H2W list last week.

The colt trot sees the return of Zenith Stride. He won a Crown elim as a big outsider and scratched from the final. Before the Crown we were hot on Jack Fire (no pun intended) and we give him a good shot here. However, we will lean into Marcus Melander’s Sonofamistery for price and purpose. At 5-1 last week in a leg, Sonofamistery lost all stride at three-quarters as he mounted his attack. Jack Fire was second in that race, a beaten favorite to the public’s second choice. He had an easy trip but was far back from the winner.

The colt pace winds up the kids quartet. Summa Cum Laude (21-1) finished in a dead heat with Perfect Sting, putting an asterisk on that one’s perfect record by sharing the victory. Here, “Summa,” though leaving from post 10, should be the choice. No other Crown froshes are here. In fact, only Simon Says Hanover equals Summa in wins this season and the bet goes to whomsoever gets the least public support. Watch the betting.

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.


11/7/20, +Chumlee A R4

11/5/20, +Bigrisk Cruiser R4; +Youlookhot R13

11/5/20, Late Mail N R10; Proper One R11

11/6/20, +Sprout R1
11/7/20, Lets Get Real R11

11/6/20, +Fox Valley Gemini R7; +Eddard Hanover R13

11/6/20, French Moni R5; Alexa Skye R6

11/6/20, Explosive Legs R2; My Alpha Rock N R4; Carolina Beach R8
11/9/20, Fomor R6

11/5/20, Skyway Leda R3; Ladys Big Stormont R4; +Nippy R5
11/6/20, +Miss Quality R4

11/7/20, +The Way You Are R9
11/8/20, +Madman Hall R10

11/6/20, +Bearly Behavin R5; +Impressive Chief R8

11/5/20, +Father Figure R6

11/5/20, Salt Life R5; Simply Susational R7

11/7/20, +Macheasy A R12

11/8/20, +Here Comes William R5

11/7/20, +American Mercury R2; Benhope Rulz N R3; +Betterlatethnnever R6