Lather Up Leads Sophs In Stakes; Pocono Presents Top Divisions In Combat; Freshman Report Returns

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June 28th, 2018


We go back to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania to end June with the lucrative Sun Stakes Saturday. All eyes are beginning to focus upon Lather Up, the proven king of the glamour-boy pacers. He will highlight the four big stakes. One of the events will be covered on our sister blog, The Hambletonian Trail. Betting opportunities have been fluent in races leading into the first Saturday of August and we have been guiding bettors to more than a few strong winners in the competitive pair of divisions.

To the west, Northfield Park offers its Cleveland Trotting Classic, hosting the division that is not present in the Sun Stakes schedule.

And, we begin our Freshman Frolic section as the green pacers and trotters hit the tracks in careers undetermined yet but defined early by our tried-and-true statistics through the seasons.

Still pumping out winners and hot exotic contenders, he TwinSpires exclusive horses-to-watch (H2W) list starts on Thursday and goes through the following Monday. Explore these possibilities for use in any wagers of your choice. Do your own handicapping and then consider our H2W selections.


When it comes to the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial Final at Pocono on June 30, there is little doubt that two elim-winners, Dorsoduro Hanover and Hitman Hill, are, despite their strong victories, any match for the other elim-winner Lather Up.

In the North America Cup, Clyde Francis’ sophomore colt appeared to have extraordinary ability, making two moves and still drawing away from the field in the stretch. The following week he virtually repeated the unassailable performance with one less turn at Pocono to win his “Hempt” elim.

Granted, from the start, this year’s soph-colt-pacing crop presented many mediocre colts, most of them forecast to be tops sophs from the successes of their frosh campaigns. Still, watching Lather Up race, so far unbeaten in ’18, leaves our eyes opened to the probability he could have domain over much better—that’s how good he portrays his talents.

There are not two nor three nor four ways about it—in the Hempt final there is not a way to wager against Lather Up. We should expect a win that could earn the son of I’m Gorgeous another speed badge. Until Lather Up displays an Achilles Heel, he is a key horse for exotics as an easily predicted winner of any race in which he starts.

Of course, in order to get a stronger price on an exotic, Lather Up has to be keyed to crowd choices past their fourth, at least. There may be value in using Shnitzledosomethin, who raced better than expected in an elim, and/or Nutcracker Sweet, who was second to Lather Up (our cold but cool $13 exacta pick) in an elim and definitely using This Is The Plan. Watch the betting.


A $75,000 Hempt consolation for glamour-boy pacers that did not make the final is offered on the Pocono program before the final. Courtly Choice is the morning-line (ML) choice in a field that could very well produce an upset. With a ML like 10-1, any price near that would be a bargain for Sometimesawinner.


The glamour-girl pacers have nine at the gate for the $300,000 James Lynch Final. This is a far more competitive division so far than is the colts. Youaremycandygirl won an elim in her early comeback as the pundits’ best pacer (yes, they voted her atop all colts, too). Alexa’s Power has been on target, as is Serene Stride and Kissin In The Sand.

Our choice last week, I’m Trigger Happy, got into the final by finishing third in one of the two elims. The Ross Croghan filly may be worth the 6-1 ML here but should go off much more than that, considering the spread of wagering that should take place between those mentioned above. This is worth a bet against the obvious crowd choices.


The $500,000 Ben Franklin Final, a free-for-all for older pacers, may go off unevenly in the betting pools, as McWicked should be expected to take a bundle of the win money and become the favorite. If the betting gets out of hand, there will be far too much support for McWicked, who has always been vulnerable in deeply competitive races.

The competition in this event certainly goes deep. From the outside, Filibuster Hanover is a threat to the other eight and even from his right comes trouble for all in the name of Western Fame.

Rockin Ron and Sintra leave to the right of elim-winner All Bets Off, the highest priced winner of all the elims last week at only 3-1. Not to be dismissed, either, is Heaven Rocks A, who was a hearty winner for Croghan in another elim. As well, Donttellmeagain turned on some magnificent steam in an elim last week and must be respected.

It’s strange to us that All Bets Off received the second-lowest ML but that just puts some others we mentioned into play for us. One specifically could offer a huge price and be far better than the crowd expects. Donttellmeagain’s sharp performance last week was a flair. Though she carries the cheapest bankroll so far, she is one of three horses here that have only race four times so far in ’18. Of that quartet, she is as good as them all going into this race. If the speed chokes and she has the power she showed last week, this could be the bomb-price win of the evening.


A $75,000 Ben Franklin Consolation offers eight betting entities that failed making the final. ML favorite Mach It So has the rail and will be wailing early but there will be challenges and that could do him in. He may very well lose this, also, to a cool-sitting perfect trip, which could be delivered by Dealt A Winner. Even though he has lost all three of his starts so far, he may be in the perfect spot and carry the perfect price for an upset. Surely, Check Six, Split The House and Missile J will challenge Mach It So and if that turns into a stressfully quick quarter or two, Dealt A Winner could pave a path passed them.


The $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic (June 30, Northfield) presents a challenge for bettors of this affair featuring veteran trotters and others that are also cause for concern. Marion Marauder is in and raring to continue successfully in the aged division. On the outside, hot Midwesterner Homicide Hunter, off a blazing performance and now three wins for four starts, will be a major challenge. Even to that one’s right, the buzz horse of the division, Will Take Charge, is a mistake to dismiss. Dia Monde goes in his second race of another season with Burke’s Crazy Wow to his right. Burke also sends In Secret, with his bulging bankroll, from post 1. Filling out the field are Another Breath and I Know My Chip, who are willing to turn all tables.

If the crowd punishes Will Take Charge for his 8 post, as well as for thinking he is no match for “Marion” or “Hunter,” then he could be a great overlay. Surely the most money will fall into support for Marion and Hunter and the rest will be spread among the others.


Two-year-old races at the beginning of each season are the most difficult events for handicappers to forecast winners, no less where their bets will have value. Every season’s start for us means extra work on sire productivity, so we can make wise wagers in freshman races. If you handicap the races below, be sure to respect those listed as contenders.

June 28
Hoosier, Mister JB R9; Elite Desire R11
Philly, Capt Chaps Hanover R11
Hawthorne, Crackerjack Bill R1; EL Game On R2

June 29
Hawthorne, Meyer On Fire R2; Riley The Mooss R4

H2W Legend

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.


6/29/18, +Fiesty Baran R5
6/29/18, +Pleasing Form R5
6/30/18. +AFF Bigdaddy R4; Brunello N R6; +Steuben Patriot R7

Grand River
6/29/18, Apple Tart Hanover R3; Trumps Rally R6

6/28/18, Ivory Connection R7; Skyway Jade R9
6/29/18, +Lets Be Honest R7

6/28/18, Skywaybrenlinsfib R8; Jail King R12
6/29/18, +Voom Or Bang R14

6/29/18, That’s Right Jack R1; Driving Miss Sadie R9

6/28/18, +Spectre R4; Stolen Art R5; Shesonehotwriter R7
6/30/18, Charmbro Orbit R2; Red John R3; Levis Day R7; Major Hill R10

6/28/18, +Roy E Lizbin R7; +Queens Lonely Earl R8
7/2/18, Sheldon R9

6/30/18, California Love R6; Yankee Osborne R8; Monarch Baur R9

6/29/18, +Smart Flight R4; +Abida Hanover R5; +Faith Prevails R9

6/28/18, Action Brad R5; Maurice R7; Ragazzo Dolce R10
7/1/18, +KJ Charlie R1

6/28/18, Icommandmyspirit R6
7/1/18, +World Class Duke R2

6/28/18, All Night Credit R5; Vodcancaviar R7
6/29/18, +Fuzzy Sweater R8

Running Aces
6/30/18, Opticrombie R3; +Al-mar Reba Babe R6; Fly Away R7; Delaney R8
7/1/18, +Frenchkissmebaby R4

6/29/18, Cash Now R6; Misplaced Rock R10

6/30/18. +Thunders Toy R4; Three Day Forecast R8

6/30/18, +Shell I Be Bad R6

6/28/18, +In The Huddle R11
6/29/18, +Lovineveryminute R7