Matrons Star At Dover; Balmoral Hosts American-National Finals; Overnights Aplenty

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

November 5th, 2015

A lot more stakes racing is on tap after the Breeders Crown and we are covering it here, beginning earlier than usual. Thursday, Nov. 5 recently opened Dover Downs is top-heavy with Matron Stakes, this week with two-year-olds. Then, the ill-fated Balmoral Park hosts American-National Stakes for the final time, since the home of the longest stretch in harness racing is going the way of Maywood Park, the first casualty of Illinois’ sad state of standardbred racing.

It’s late in the season for stakes but the overnights are percolating at raceways across North America and the exclusive H2W (horses-to-watch list) is adorned with across-the-board and exotic contenders that continue to surprise the public handicappers with prices for profit.

Matrons Of November

The famous late-season Matron Stakes have come a long way since they headlined the season in Florida some years back. Now in the chilly Delaware November, Dover Downs hosts a few weeks of six-digit miles for two- and three-year-olds. Sans eliminations, the big bucks are on the line for final miles. On Nov. 5, it’s all freshmen.

The first engagement is the $216,300 Matron for frosh-colt trotters. Posts 1 and 2 will suck in the most win money, as Dog Gone Lucky and Milligan’s Island continue their productive campaigns. Not to be outdone, Love Matters will be well supported from post 4. Price-wise, a contender that may be overlooked is Kent County. The Deweycheatumnhowe colt should be a challenge for the aforementioned and will definitely offer a strong return as an exotic partner or an upset.

The $185,400 frosh-filly trot includes the colt we backed at 21-1 in last week’s Kindergarten at Vernon—Radiant Beam. He raced well and lost only due to a tough duel with a 64-1 shot, as the favorite entry jumped. The winner turned up at 91-1 but Radiant Beam gets the call for us over the probable favorites, Kathy Parker and Womans Will.

The $183,400 Matron for filly pacers includes some speedy marks that will impress bettors. However, we are sticking with our failed Breeders Crown upset, Skinny Dipper. This field appears to have avoided the kind of class Skinny Dipper has engaged and may look better than they perform.

The $201,400 colt pace features three Ron Burke entries that should make the crowd excited. However, from the rail comes Beach Ogre, a Ray Schnittker colt we have been closely following. From post 1 the Somebeachsomewhere colt (one of three in the field) could use the rail to control the fractions, making the favorites work too hard for the big prize.

There are Matron consolations on the program as well. In the $20,000 filly trot, we like Lindy Lohan, a Crazed filly just getting into shape as she is poised to turn three. The frosh colt pace consolation (also $20,000) offers a rare entry trained by Jimmy Takter that is lightly raced but obviously being primed for major sophomore action in 2016. Badstormanyport is our suggested contender.


Things have already changed at Balmoral Park. The set of stakes it has hosted for years is not so plentiful in entries or purse. The first American-National (AmNat) of the evening on Nov. 7 is not a betting race. The $101,350 AmNat Open trot attracted only four trotters and it is a quartet of meager strength.

The first betting AmNat is a frosh-filly pace with only six entered. We know a few and the others are Illinois-breds that have not played on the national scene. Of the sextet, we will go with Rocknroll Hoochcoo. The green filly is well bred and has a lot of reason to improve. It would be an impressive upset over the obvious, including Ron Burke’s Roll Of Dreams, who should attract a lot of dollars.

The frosh colt pace is next, worth $74,000 and also with only six to battle. Mystical Rock’s earnings, six digits worth, and his post-1 position will impress the crowd, especially since all the others have only broken their maidens and he has three wins and the fastest mark. We noticed that a Robert Mcintosh colt, New Talent, is here and facing far less talent than he has trying to get win number two. He could offer a price worth taking in this small contest.

The glamour-boy pace is far from glamorous with only seven scraping division members at $120,000 for the prize. Burke’s zero-for-16 Southwind Roulette gets post 1 and will attempt to use his experience racing against the stars to win his first of the season. Center-field, however, Rockin Good has a chance to steal this race and may do it wire to wire.

Six glamour-girl trotters go the two turns for $125,000 with no sign of the division’s stars. We do see last week’s Crossroads of America star from Hoosier here and she will probably be the choice. This is, however, a good spot to take E L Love. She has had a bit of rest and comes up against talent of equal stature as trainer/driver Riina Rekila goes for a great paycheck to end the season.

The $150,000 AmNat soph-colt pace presents Breeders Crown champ Freaky Feet Pete as the prohibitive favorite. The other six include two from Burke—My Hero Ron and Allbeef N Nobull. Lost For Words, however, could look to be the spoiler if he takes the lead or refuses to let “Pete” pass. The Cane Pace scenario that defeated Wiggle It Jiggleit was also on a two-turn track and should it present itself, Roland N Rock may benefit with an easy closing upset. He may also partner a high-priced exacta if Pete survives a duel and wins.

Glamour-boy trotters go for $204,000 as Breeders Crown-surprise The Bank looks to take command without having to deal with Pinkman. He will have to deal with Indiana’s Homicide Hunter but they both will have to deal with Habitat. The sharp trotter broke on the move in the race The Bank won, else he would have been a main factor. We may be offered some very good money on him considering the aforementioned two. By and large, Habitat is miles better than both of them.

The last of the AmNats is the $136,500 Open pace. Five aged barrels of equine flesh will be the victims of Always B Miki, who proved in his Breeders Crown win that he was every bit the best at four. Lightly raced this year, he towers over these. As for exotics, it’s a matter of chaos behind him, so don’t try to handicap it; hope for two of the longer shots to get it their ways for the exacta and triple.

And shortly after the last AmNat feature, it’s goodnight, Balmoral. The sport will miss the joint.

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.


11/6/15, +Double Down Yankee R2; +Ms Neutralize R4; +DWs Abby R6; +Realist R7

11/7/15, +Winners Streak R2; FB Seelster R7; Reachinforthestars R10

Cal Expo
11/7/15, Miri R7; +Red Star Wild One R12; +Meritage Hanover R13

11/7/15, Iwontdothatagain R7

11/7/15, Julep Hanover R5; Osprey Impact R7

11/5/15, +Come Along Sadie R1
11/6/15, Lexington Avenue ae R12
11/7/15, +Wattafind R4

11/5/15, Hail To The Master R1; +Seboonock Dreamer R12
11/9/15, Chestnut Chic R1; Moore OK R2

11/6/15, +Son Of Anarchy R2; Hey Carrie Ann R5

11/5/15, +Certainly R2
11/6/15, Kanaris R10
11/7/15, Always Wearable R9

11/8/15, Noah’s Shark R14

11/6/15, +Norma Rei R3

11/9/15, +Rock That Look R13

11/6/15, +Knocking Around R3
11/8/15, +Beckett Hanover R3

11/5/15, Fuzzylegsandall R3; Banging The Drum R4; +Dontmesswiththebest R4; Cool Runnings R7; Ideal Vintage R8

11/8/15, Mixed Media R2; Mr Rightnow R4; Abreathofreshart R7; Thebestofjoel R11

11/7/15, +Niyama R1; Lil Miss Bourbon R10

11/6/15, +Blueridge Jezebel R6

11/6/15, +Logan Runn R2

11/6/15, +Pegasus Point R7

11/7/15, +Mach It So R7

Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition