Little Brown Jug; Hoosier Stakes Expo; Mohawk Million Roadshow

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

September 23rd, 2020

The week fires stakes action from the beginning as the Grand Circuit (GC) moves to Ohio for the Little Brown Jug. The stream continues through Saturday, Sept. 26 at Woodbine/Mohawk (WoMo) and Hoosier. As always, the TwinSpires harness blog’s exclusive horses-to-watch list (H2W), shouts of opportunities for bettors in win, place, show and exotic-pools.


This season, only five glamour boy trotters care to take part in the $83k Old Oaken Bucket on “Jug” day, Sept 24 at the Delaware, Ohio fairgrounds. Even so, the crowd should follow the ML and favor Hobbs, but we see a Burke entry that could pay well in a quintet field—Sans Defaut. The colt’s Keystone Classic win at the Meadows lived up to his grand support and even though Hobbs won the state-bred championship at Yonkers, it could be a matter of a few steps that give Sans Defaut a victory.


Each year for a few decades and on many public platforms, digital and analog, we have been convinced that in major racing events holding elimination heats on the same program as its final (like the Little Brown Jug [L B J]), the bettor’s chances of making money rest in the eliminations (heats). That plausible stand is how we approach the race, since the best priced winners come from eliminations compared to the number of public choices that win the finals.

This year, there are two elimination races ($111k each) with seven-horse fields; neither race includes the sophomore-colt-pacing division’s top performers.


Each of the two heats poses a decent chance for an upset, if only based upon the lack of prowess of the proposed favorites and the fact that the public is likely to rally to a single entry.

In heat one, Genius Man should not suffer from post 6, especially when a speed duel could compromise those battling for the front. In a New York Sires Stakes final, Genius Man finished third at 45-1 to better horses than this field.

Genius Man need only haunt the speed and save enough ground to brush at the crucial moment he can pave a wide path in the stretch to get the advantage at the wire. Yes, that is an ideal scenario, but the speed in this race is not Precious Bunny speed or Wiggle It Jiggleit speed or even Nicks Fantasy speed; by comparison, this group is moderate to ordinary fast.


In the second heat, a similar scenario would benefit Moneyman Hill. He finished third at 9-1 to Warrawee Vital (a likely public choice in this heat) in a Somebeachsomewhere split. Speed around him will be ferocious, enough to support a mid-field close that stuns the others and even opens up what is left in the final stretch for Cattlewash.

Clearly, either or both of these colts could upset in each heat and return for the final (the first four finishers in each heat return) and lose in a wire-to-wire mile by one of the heats’ favorites, but the final should be of no concern if the score of one or both heats delivers a strong double-digit win price.

Hoosier Park’s program features guaranteed superfecta pools. Our projected superfecta tickets follow each of the stakes below.


There’s $105k on the line for six soph-filly trotters in Hoosier’s Sept. 25 Moni Maker stakes. This is the chance for Sister Sledge, a Hambletonian final member, to be one of the last to win again after losing in the classic’s field. Her competition includes another Burke-trained filly, Crucial, and Rock Swan, a local.


Another $100k is offered at Hoosier on Sept. 25 in the Jenna’s Beach Boy, named after the only Breeders Crown pacer to win at two, three and older. Glamour-boy pacers are on board. We have to give the best chance and expect a good price from Brett Pelling’s Allywag Hanover. Though disappointing in his last few races, the literally little pacer is sitting on a big race win and that could be against this field, which he appears to out-class.


Frosh-colt pacers go in The Elevation ($120k) also on Sept. 25 at Hoosier. Two colts are represented by some of the season’s hottest sires—JK Endofanera’s What’s Your Beef and Always B Miki’s Southwind Gendry. What will we do?

There’s a lot of promising talent in this field and perhaps Dylan Davis’ Virgo could upset the biggest money making duo with only a bit of improvement. His sire is no slouch (Indiana’s own Always A Virgin), and he should be a fair price to win.


It’s still Derby season in all of horseracing, so the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby (140k) is present on Sept. 25 in the stream of stakes. The usual suspects have shown up and go at it again in baffling glory. It’s as tough as any of this division’s high-powered events and no one could be blamed for sitting back with a drink and watching without a bet.

If, however, you would like to make a bet with that drink, consider our decision to back Backstreet Shadow. One of Burke’s four entries, he is an aggressive monster; he likes to win more than hit the board any other way. He destroyed a lower-class field at the Meadows after tanking in a few big races in his division—but they were tried and true attempts, no excuses allowed, and he is every bit as strong as he was ever.


Also on Sept. 25 come the stalwart older trotters for the $150k Caesars Trotting Classic. Due to a few losses, the Gimpanee betting market may offer slightly higher odds as the great trotter takes on horses he has already beaten and other horses he can beat in this event.

Maybe this will turn into a match race against Atlanta, who has been inconsistent this season but since winning again will take money. Local Fiftydallarbill will take fans’ bucks and Custom Cantab is revving up again and bound to be supported, so all that comes down to one word—Gimpanzee.


WoMo’s inaugural event, a $1-million race for two-year-old trotters is on the Sept. 26 program. A field of 10 line up. The Mohawk Million follows a buy-in formula with nine slots in the race sold earlier this year for $110,000 (USD) each. The 10th and final slot was awarded to On A Streak, the winner of the “Wellwood.”

First to address is Donna Soprano, the first of two fillies in the field. The Luc Blais-trained filly has proven her dominance over her division, now it’s time to take on the boys. Is Donna Soprano the stuff made of Ramona Hill? Blais is at home at WoMo and “Donna” joins his opportunistic Wellwood winner, On A Streak.

Donna won the Peaceful Way as a prohibited favorite with a monster mile, taking command at the half with a 7-length brush and drawing off against her nine foes to win by 4 lengths. She will be formidable here, moreso that the other filly, Nancy Takter’s Insta Glam. The winner of a recent filly-Kindergarten event at the Meadowlands, “Insta” is impossible to compare to Donna at this point in the season. She may hardly handle the colts, no less The Donna [sic].

About the boys …  Julie Miller’s Venerate won at the Red Mile (RM) breezing and Bravado Fashion won there in a cheaper mile to further sire Bar Hopping’s first-crop successes.


The $720k Metro Pace Final (Sept 26) at WoMo for frosh pacers offers 10, with Abuckabett Hanover drawing best of the top contenders and taking best of the bettors’ win money. Our two other top contenders will negotiate the mile from post 9—Bettor Sun—and post 10—Control Heaven. They are the two biggest threats for “Abuckabett” and should offer bigger prices. Fear not the outside posts for prices.


The mare pacers hunting for the best shares of $215k go on Sept. 26 in the Milton Final at WoMo. We liked how our decision last week to back Treacherous Reign worked her into the final and will like her chances and prices in the final against Takter’s Kissin In The Sand. This is a great spot for an upset, as Caviart Ally has to spend some energy working from a post-10 start that could give “Reign” a better trip.

Frosh-filly pacers eye $455k in the race with the namesake title, She’s A Great Lady, also on the Sept, 26 WoMo program.

Here’s a spot where may agree with our decision to back an outsider with a chance better than her odds. In an elim, Twin B Sunkissed was powerful at 10-1, almost catching a swift winner, Caviart Audrey, Takter’s entry in the final who is bound for favoritism. Exotic-wise, though, we want the bigger prize, which calls for “Sunkissed” atop Scarlett Hanover and/or Spellcheck Hanover.

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.


9/26/20, Rearview Blue Chip R6; Under Paid R9
9/26/20, +Classy Hill R5; Colition R8; +American Music R13

9/25/20, +Duck N Roll R1; Ledges R9

9/24/20, +Time To Imagine R1; +Rockin Era R8
9/25/20, Test Of Faith R6; +Pub Crawl R9

9/26/20, Covered Bridge R10

9/25/20, Kolt Power R5

9/26/20, Sugar Crisp R9; Lakeisha Hall R10; Dixie Lullaby R11; Crazy Bad K R12
9/27/20, Absolut Rocks R11

9/25/20, On The Tab R2; +Mystic Flower R7; Impressive Chief R8

9/24/20, Skyway Kon Mon R3; Hell Patrol R9

9/25/20, Pure Sunshine R7
9/27/20, Han Solo R6

9/24/20, +Heavens Gait R10
9/27/20, +Tito Rocks R11

Running Aces
9/26/20, +Fox Valley B Gump R1; Marced Magic R3

9/26/20, +Majestic Sunset R5; +Ideal Rowan R6
9/24/20, HP Titiana Runner R9

9/24/20, +Girls Got Rhythm R3; Milliondollargem R5; +Kaitlyn N R5
9/25/20, +American Boy N R3