M-Pace Elim; Hambletonian Trail Trots; PA All-Stars On Tap

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

July 8th, 2020

The stakes season is in full swing and the purses are stacked. All the horsemen and their horses for major events are covered below, along with our horses-to-watch list (H2W), delivering bettors plenty of horses to consider. Heed our suggested contenders for all shades of wagers you play and always peruse the H2W choices for top prices.


Two $57k New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) for soph-colt pacers are on the July 9 program at Vernon as Empire glamour boys begin their division’s quest for state honors.

Freedom Warrior is the only one of seven in the NYSS’s first split that you will find on the 2019 list of top earners ($148k), yet the crowd will punish him for his two soph losses and bet the Morning Line (ML) favorite, two-time winner JK Last Chance. They will, of course, also be betting the colt’s driver, Wally Hennessey. Freedom Warrior is the obvious class against these, however, even this early in the season and even with no wins.

Wyatt J takes on his second race of the season and needs to be considered in the exotics as he has not yet proved himself as a winner or a loser.

The second NYSS division offers three healthy earners at two, led by Groovy Joe (230k), followed by Cigars And Port ($192k) and American Rebel ($140k).

Groovy Joe is the eighth top earner at two; Cigar And Port is the 11th. Those two will leave from posts 6 and 7, far away from the ML choice, Blank Stare. That one has already won $25k at three. Groovy Joe should go off a decent price and Cigar And Port is already the 15-1 ML outsider. In this high-caliber stakes, we’ll go with the odds expected for the two best of 2019.


The Ohio Sires Stakes (OHSS) offers two $50k divisions on July 10 for soph-filly trotters. In the eight-filly field of the first split, there is one Hambletonian Oaks eligible—Thankful For You. This gives her an edge, as we like to measure, especially since the public will highly regard Ron Burke’s Petey Sarah, who has hit the board five of eight times at three, Thankful For You, trained by Anette Lorentzon, is one for three but carries more than money at stake with her nomination. Those two could easily top the others.

No “Oaks” edge is available in the second split, but the top money earner so far is close to one. Kikimora has been tough coming back at three and she is the best one of two in this event for Christopher Beaver. She should be an outsider for the public, though, considering the inside draws getting so much play on the Flying Turns and such favorites winning at a stellar (though not pricey) clip. Ohioan Virgil Morgan Jr’s Uncle Peters Love will have the rail and most of the win pool, so Kikimora may be a gift.



Six of nine in the first of three $30k PA All Stars events for glamour-boy trotters at Pocono on July 11 are Hambletonian eligible (e) with less than a month to the classic. All of them, however, seem far fetched, having tepid frosh seasons in the cash department.

Standing out for us in split one, though, is a Trond Smedshammer colt, Hillexotic (e), who will race only his second of the season. Trond will get the most out of this guy, who is obviously aimed at being a productive sophomore that could get into the classic this year by earning big as late as all of them have to earn. Best we take that chance because it will pay off now more than ever if Trond pulls it off with ‘em.

In round two, most of the universe’s top Hambo choice, Amigo Volo (e), will be pounded at the windows against eight others, three with August dreams—Swiss House Onfire (e), Rays The Limits (e) and S Class (e). A huge price is for any other but “Volo” to win this, but if anyone can do it it’s Ake Svanstedt’s Swiss House Onfire, since we have no idea how good this guy can race and he will be huge odds. Volo will be followed by Marcus Melander’s Hell Partol in the betting, though he has no way into the classic. If you don’t like those two against Volo, watch the timer.

The last split offers seven of nine able to get in on the 2020 Hambo. From that group, Julie Miller’s Big Oil (e) is her big bet to get to the classic. Husband Andy Miller is not listed as the driver, so maybe the crowd will ease up on the win bets? Chestnut Hill (e) won at the Meadowlands, something the public will find appetizing, especially if the track’s top driver, George Napolitano Jr chooses him among the trio he can guide.

Beware Svanstedt’s Steel Schooner (e) from the inside, especially if the money leans on others. This is only the colt’s second race and we can trust Svanstedt will be pushing all of his eligibles to the brink with less than a month left.


A single $50k Meadowlands Pace elim for soph-colt pacers is only part of the big July 11 program at the New Jersey oval, but a big part, since the track’s signature race continues to feature top horses in the division, though its purse has shrunk. Two colts—Allywag Hanover and Chief Mate—accepted byes, leaving a field of 10.

On May 1, during the U.S. lockdown, we posted our top five soph-colt pacers for the season. Two of them are in this race but neither are consensus predictions. In our order they are Capt Midnight (1) and Catch The Fire (4). Both are sons of Captaintreacherous and we feel both will make the “Pace” final from this elim (only two finishers in the elim will not qualify). Neither will be favored; that status goes to the obvious Papi Rob Hanover and Tall Dark Stranger.

Capt Midnight and Catch The Fire will be in betting range, that is, outside contenders (probably in that order). We are sticking to our choices without regard to the obvious pair of the public. P.S.—Our number two soph-colt pick is Groovy Joe, from NYSS action on July 9 at Vernon (see above).



The glamour-boy trotters are at it on July 11 at the Meadowlands in a few Grand Circuit events and we must continue to follow our division’s picks with less than a month to the August classic.

In the first split for colts, worth $44k, we stay with our ultimate choice, Beyond Kronos. A good price is expected, as is his improvement that we predict will help him peak by the Hambo elims.

The second $44k colts split features an eligible colt we supported last week—Coventry Hall. The Ake Svanstedt colt went off at 138-1, finishing third, paying $14.60 to show. We don’t expect odds like that here but we do think a win price will be worth it.

The $61,000 Reynolds is a stage for the glamour-girl trotters. In the frosh-filly Breeders Crown of 2019, we were among the few backing the winner of the divisional final—Ramona Hill. She certainly fits in this field of 10. The 9 post is moot, since she may not get a call until the second turn when she plows from behind and sweeps to win. Judge the odds on your own.


The pair of $250,000 Graduate finals the Meadowlands July 11 contains the two colts we wrote most about last season, the pair that lead our sophomore pacer and trotter list—Bettors Wish and Gimpanzee. They tower over their fellow four-year-olds in these Graduates, maybe so much as to leave these finals as spectator events.

If we keyed them for exactas (we would not go deeper into exotics than exactas), we would use Bettors Wish with Century Farroh for the pace final and Gimpanzee with Winnerup for the trot.

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.


7/11/20, Creating A Dream R6; +Burning Shore R9; MG Home Run R11

7/10/20, +Hi Hos Little Rev R2; +Little Bita Sass R5; Frontier Charley R6

7/10/20, Tyber Tyke R3; Mc Mach R5; Dancin Doug R7; Rock Steady Ron R11

7/10/20, +May I Cruise West R1

7/13/20, Rock On Line R1

7/10/20, Cocktail Time R3
7/11/20, Key Advisor R11

7/9/20, +Dynamic Edge R1
7/10/20, +Rogerthat Bluechip R7

7/13/20, Hannah Grant R8

Running Aces
7/10/20, Onedayinyourhouse R3; Nothinbutagoodtime R5; +Key Word R9; Casey N Grinegan R11

7/9/20, +Bolt Ruler R1; +Rollinwithambition R3; +Brads Buddy R3; +Wood Hunter R4; +

7/10/20, Hot Cakes R1; Carrie Ann R5; Avogado Hanover R6
Devisser R6; +Beatingtheodds R6; +Tuapeka Trick N R10

7/9/20, +Levi R4

7/10/20, +Lugar R1; +Lindas In Heaven R5; +Five Towns R8

7/9/20, IMC Hope R4; Greg R6; Mister Godro R7; Social Theories R10
7/10/20, Shez In Control R2; Miss Rockadali R5
7/11/20, Foot Soldier R5; Betterbuckleup R8; Fancourt R11

7/9/20, Caviart Scarlett R2; +Triple Seelster R8