Little Brown Jug, New York Champs, Hoosier Harness Hoedown, Hawthorne Supernight; Mohawk Metro And More
Beginning our coverage with Thursday, Sept. 20 is The Little Brown Jug, as well as “Jug” day stakes. The following days of coverage are loaded with more feature events than usual as many super races converge on a few days. Sparing space, just scroll through the blog and peruse the races you care to wager upon. The sheer volume of features is exciting. Our Breeders Crown Countdown (BBC) blog this week is not even included, for it covered Jug-week events on Wednesday, Sept. 19.
Of course, even more wagering possibilities appear on our horses-to-watch list (H2W). Explore any and all horses we post for use in wagers of your discretion. Do your own handicapping and then consider any and all our H2W and frosh selections.
THE LITTLE BROWN JUG
Each year for almost three decades in print and on line, we have handled the Jug heats as the major betting events, mostly because the format for winning did not create much wagering value. This year we take the fight to the final, as the elim heats appear to be the less appetizing wagering elements of America’s Great Pace. There are two $102, 720 elimination heats and the best of those miles meet in the final, in which the winner is the champ. We will briefly analyze the two elims and then thoroughly go through the final.
The first elim is the softer of the two and it sets up entirely for Lather Up. Leaving from the coveted post at the Ohio half-mile is not the only plus for the speedy sophomore because the six colts he faces are, for all due purposes, proven losers in major events. The two best of those leave from the two outside posts, which will make them offer high odds but not high enough to make them worth catching Lather Up, Though he has had a few problems in big races and can, as we say, only beat himself, Lather Up on gait and healthy could beat this field in a vacuum.
The second elim offers only six and they are some of the division’s top pacers. Here, too, the fair track’s desired spot, post 1, goes to the best of the best. That’s Courtly Choice, who has beaten the rest in almost every start. His lone foe was Stay Hungry, who beat him once.
Stay Hungry will be the focus of the industry more than any bettor because if he makes the final (and why wouldn’t he?) a win would award him the nebulous pacing triple crown [sic]. There is no need for editorial content here about the achievement but the hype could give Courtly Choice a tick or two of value on the board, which is what we want. After all, the likes of Dorsoduro Hanover, Hitman Hill, Hayden Hanover and even Decoy, may have an affect on “Courtly” as well as “Hungry.” We see value for Courtly available, though it won’t be any toteboard-shaking amount.
The final could produce a sterling soph-colt field, though no more sparkling than the division’s top events of 2018 to date. The best scenario, however, would be if the most unlikely entries finished in both elims. Then the battle would be Courtly verses “Lather” and much could happen to develop into an upset that, odds-wise, could be Courtly. Lather is a hometown favorite, after all (he has won the Ohio Sires Stakes championship in the division as a product of state-sire I’m Gorgeous) and the Buckeye bucks will flow fluently in his favor. And with Stay Hungry in the final, there will be fanatic bets for a triple-crown win. Courtly could go off as high as 2-1. That’s a price that cannot be passed because it reduces the others to being under-lays. The only situation better would be 2-1 on Courtly in the elim and the final. That would be rare, but rare would be great and great things happen amid great circumstances such as this year’s Little Brown Jug. (Check out the TwinSpires Little Brown Jug Bet Back Offer.)
OLD OAKEN BUCKET
Only six partake in the soph-trotting version of the Jug, the $111,075 Old Oaken Bucket, on Sept. 20 and it is a second-string sextet from the division. None of the top glamour-boy trotters came to Ohio for this very good purse. The characters, however unknown, could make for a good betting race for a short field.
Here are the Millers again and they cannot be dismissed with Im Your Captain. He looks far more competent against these than he has in a few months. Takter has a pair here, the morning-line favorite being Hill Street. He will get significant play, though nothing from us. It’s Takter’s other colt, Maxus that we hope lives up to his morning line of 8-1.
Maxus lost last out at Yonkers to Six Pack, which is not a blemish. His soph season has been brief, winning one of only three starts. His class, though, was definitive at two, when he won three of 11 against far better than this and was seven for 11 in the money. He’s in a spot here that could make his soph season a late success and we’ll take that chance along with him.
Hoosier contributed to the mega-stakes weekend with four major stakes on Friday, Sept. 21. It begins with a frosh-colt pace, the $120,000 Elevation. We’ve had success with two of the colts in this field already and those two (Proof and Always A Vavoom) should go off the public choices. An outsider, oddly enough, is a Captaintreacherous colt, Actor Hanover, trained by Burke. This could be the best spot yet for the colt’s first win.
The $155,000 Jenna’s Beach Boy for soph-colt pacers finds a pair that passed on the Jug. Jimmy Freight’s connections opted not to pay the price to supplement and Macadoodledoo, who was eligible, apparently has connections that saw no value in battling the division’s top colts. “Freight” should become the big favorite, followed by local Always A Prince. Their speed may hurt them, leaving a perfect trip for Macadoodledoo at a good price.
The $172,000 Moni Maker for soph-filly trotters does not gather the usual suspects but for its top performer—Manchego. When has she met such an easy field? A few were on the Hambo Trail but her earnings are more than twice that of the best earner here and post 10 is not enough to stop her from beating them. She is a good key for exotics if you can find partners with high enough odds to make the payoff worth it.
Lazarus N returns to his debut win in the U.S. in the $177,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby and the crowd will lean on him heavily. Good for them because we don’t see Lazarus N living up to his hype against the likes of North America’s aged pacers. McWicked can beat him again and do it here and when Filibuster Hanover works out a few kinks he will be able to have Lazarus N for a snack. It will begin to show that the “Thunder from Down Under” cannot make that kind of noise on this continent. McWicked and “Filibuster” will combine in an exacta to beat him here, say us.
The $200,000 Caesars Trotting Classic is 10 strong with top free-for-all members. It’s a tough race to measure in odds accurate enough to beat the crowd, since one look at the field and there is little telling where the most money will fall. When push comes to shove, this could develop into a good bet using Marion Marauder. He could be overlooked a bit considering the hometown favorites and the fresh elders on the inside.
THE EMPIRE STATE CHAMPS
New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) finals for two- and three-year-old divisions, line the Yonkers program on Sept. 22. For the sake of space on this stakes-heavy blog, here are our suggested contenders with a brief comment.
NYSS frosh-filly trot
Safe Word should be forgiven for her recent effort finishing off the board and considered a major contender here.
NYSS frosh-colt trot
Beating Gimpanzee will be next to impossible but a swing at the fence should include Chapter Fashion.
NYSS frosh-colt pace
Hickfromfrenchlick may still be the best but a price may not be appealing, in which case, Reigning Deo should be a good price to attempt to catch.
NYSS frosh-filly pace
St Somewhere could be overlooked by the public, in which case she deserves backing.
NYSS soph-filly trot
How do you look past Plunge Blue Chip? Try looking at Lucky Ava.
NYSS soph-filly pace
Wisdom Tree is the outstanding performer of the division but for price and purpose, Jewels Forreal could shut her down, as well as shake up Alexis Faith.
NYSS soph-colt trot
Count on the Millers when the prize is this weighty—Don may do it gracefully.
NYSS soph-colt pace
Ghost Dance is the reasonable outsider with better chances than odds presented.
Two stakes for freshman pacers and one for the ole gals are the focus of the Sept. 22 Mohawk program. The $890,000 Metro Pace Final for frosh-colts comes down to Captain Ahab versus Stag Party. The key colt, were you to take on some exotics is “Ahab.” The unbeaten son of Captaintreacherous can make few mistakes against the division he has ruled all season. You will have to eliminate Stag Party and find a large price to partner with Ahab in exotics. De Los Cielos Deo deserves attention as one, since he may go off higher than expected from post 10.
The $590,000 Shes A Great Lady for the frosh fillies is much more competitive than the Metro. Queen Of The Pride, an early favorite for this event and a top division’s earner, lost her elim last week but surrendered no talent to take on the best of the two elims and wipe this field clean for the best of the purse.
The $255,000 Milton Final for mare pacers has many scenarios and a lot of arguments for most involved. Here’s a scenario that would pay off considerably. Ella Christina could be a shocker, as she has before, if a strong and fiery pace rolls around to three-quarters. She has done it once and may do it again and pay as well.
There are still some huge purses in the city where harness refuses to die and on Sept. 22 Hawthorne presents them. The evening of Illinois championships adorns the program. Again, for space, here are brief comments on the main events.
The $136,142 Incredible Finale (frosh-colt pace) may be a theater for The Bucket but for a price, Maximus is the bet.
The $132,874 Incredible Tillie (frosh-filly pace) may belong to Brienne The Beauty.
The $119,470 Kadabra (frosh-colt trot) should offer a big price on Trixie’s Turbo.
The $122,504 Fox Valley Flan (frosh-filly trot) may find an upset with Encantado.
The $99,000 Beulah Dygert (soph-filly trot) draws us to Maui Mama.
The $160,080 Robert Carey, Jr (soph-colt pace) features our best of Illinois predictions, Fox Valley Gemini, not eight wins for 10 starts. Big favorite but the best no less.
The $125,140 Plum Peachy (soph-filly pace), where JB’s Shooting Star gets our support.
The $83,696 Erwin Dygert (soph-colt trot) may offer good dough on Illinimight.
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.
9/22/18, Odysseus R1; Bugger Jerry R3
9/22/18, Ursis Des Caillons R7
9/21/18, +Nine Ways R5; Optimist Blue Chip R7; Iced Out R11
9/22/18, +JK Onaroll R11
9/24/18, +Doc Semalu ae R8
9/20/18, +Guccios Big Star R10
9/22/18, Aleppo Hanover R1; Venier Hanover R3
9/24/18, Keystone Apache R8
9/20/18, LMC Picasso R7; Aumydarlin R8
9/22/18, Shambala R8
9/20/18, Winning R1
9/21/18, +SS Tys Aflyin R2; +Precious Twilight R8
9/20/18, +Cool Cates ae R2
9/20/18, +Beachchip Hanover R5; Rock The Heavens R6; Ramblin Art R8; Rap It Up Art R9; Cherokee Hiflyzone R12
9/21/18, +Qing Quong Bluechip R4; +Charlie The Tuna R7; +Bazaar Bazaar R7; Loves Angel R10
9/21/18, +Superman Hanover R3
9/22/18, +Yes Mickey R11