Meadowlands Pace Elims Highlight Convoy Of Stakes Conflicts; Aged Battle Royally; Freshman Frays Go For Pricy Purses

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

July 5th, 2018

It’s another big weekend of harness wagering opportunity during the first sweeping heat wave of the season. A few divisions, including the sport’s newest opponents, are packing heat for big purses and, as usual, we have profits on our mind. Our betting week begins on Thursday, July 5 and runs through Monday, July 9.

Aside from features, we offer wins, places, shows and exotics’ participants in the 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.


At Yonkers on July 6, the most promising frosh state-bred fillies are offered $54,000 a split in three New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) miles.

In the first split we support Mrs Major Hill, the first-time starter for sire Art Major. She would be a choice in any frosh class, as her sire is currently very productive, enough so to challenge the other seven, all of which have started at least once. Trainer Brett Pelling will send this one out for nothing more than a win and if she is good she may offer her best win price of the season.

Eight more gals go in NYSS split two. If you care to defy the 8 hole at Yonkers, take a shot with Boogie Roll. She may, if nothing else, pump up an exotic price leaving from the outermost post. And, as a first-time starter, no less leaving from the dreaded Yonkers outback, she will offer far more than what this Roll For Joe filly is worth.

The last NYSS event on the program also presents eight fillies. There are two by Rock N Roll Heaven and one of them made her debut a winning one. The other, Eos N Rock, leaves from post 1 here and should present some odds that are much too high for her chances.


This year, the itinerant Nadia Lobell ($142,000) sends eight soph-filly pacers to post at Hoosier on July 6. The cast is not as true a representation of the division for this time of the season as it has been in its storied past but is a contest that should interest bettors.

With a six-digit purse we find major stables involved. Burke has three entered, Brian Brown sends a pair and Nifty Norman looks for his filly, Reign On Me, to get her first win at three. Midwest trainer Jeff Cullipher has the probable favorite with Wisdom Tree, the highest earner of the lot with six wins in eight starts,

Burke’s Double A Mint and Strong Opinion are lightly raced. The former has a pair of seconds in four starts, as many starts as has the latter, who sports one win. Brown’s McVenus has won three of six and will also get some traction in the win pool.

Sitting amid these is Cult Icon, local Trent Stohler’s filly. She has settled for second four times in six starts, winning once, and may not be embraced as a main contender. This brings a price to a filly that may be a strong force in the field and would be no surprise getting to the finish line first.


Saturday, July 7, in the daylight, more PASS events offer big bucks, this time at the Meadows. Frosh-filly pacers, represented by some major ex-racehorses, some from the first crop of them, line up. Look at this purse, the same for each of three divisions--$60,954.

Eight femmes go in round one; half of them making a debut. Crew Sock Hanover has won her first two races and that is it in the victory department. Two fillies by Captaintreacherous are here and the one on the rail could take some action away from “Crew.” Sweet Lou girls are first-timers and two of them are from the Ron Burke barn (he has another, a Somebeachsomewhere gal out of post 8).

Rockn Philly, from post 2, is a daughter of A Rocknroll Dance and deserves some attention in her maiden appearance. The sires of the others may turn off bettors to the sole product of “Dance,” offering a good price.

In the second split, the sire domination belongs to Sweet Lou with four of the eight going, three from Burke. Bestseller Hanover in post 7 represents veteran sire, the ill-fated Somebeachsomewhere. Post and lack of brand (Eric Andrews trains) could send this one off with fair odds.

The last PASS for Keystone-born gals also contains eight starters. Four more Sweet Lou daughters are in the field, two that have won. Five going are first-timers. Three more in the field are from Burke, two Sweet Lous and one Somebeachsomewhere—our choice, Sylph Hanover. The “…beach” crops will soon be gone, so now is the time to back the green ones who will not be overlooked for long once they display talent and remind everyone that the brilliant sire line is perking before it perishes. 


The Meadowlands Pace, once the top glamour-boy stakes of a season, still holds some punch in the division and presents two $50,000 elims on July 7 for the field in next week’s six-digit final. The missing element will be Lather Up, who is passing the event to recuperate from health issues that defined his first loss in the “Hempt” final last week.

In the first elim, seven bold familiar boys go a-pacin’. The remarkable but winless Nutcracker Sweet (we had him at huge odds in three-straight exactas, two against Lather Up) won’t be such a longshot in this field. His first win may be under the hazy Jersey sky on Saturday, putting him out of range for us. Also looking for his first win is Hayden Hanover, who has under-performed to our expectations. In fact, the colt with the most wins is the colt we know less about. Jimmy Takter’s Thingbig Dreambig (four wins of five starts) may actually wind up one of the favorites here. Also up for the public’s top three will be This Is The Plan, who has only been off the board once in six starts.

Stay Hungry, another under-performer in the division so far, has his best shot for a strong mile in this race. What’s better is that he may be a value bet if we are predicting the crowd’s investments accurately. As a fourth or worse public choice, Stay Hungry is worth it.

Eight leave the gate in the second elim, with the season’s earliest first choice, Dorsoduro Hanover, leaving from post 8 for Burke. The recent two efforts at Pocono by Courtly Choice will attract lots of win bets here, shared, most likely, with American History, who comes off a storming victory. Making the grade after racing with older, Jimmy Freight (five wins for seven starts) keeps his Canadian contacts and his regular driver, Louis Roy for the elim test.

It’s a competitive group, including four we did not mention, and a difficult task to assign odds before the betting begins. However, considering the comments coincide with wagering reality we feel Courtly Choice may be the value wager. He looked too good at Pocono to bounce here and if he is getting better he may have gotten to be best of all and will reward backers a good price. As well, exotic players should beware of Jimmy Freight, who should make the final and should be in the mix here.


Two finals for Graduate Series foes are also on the July 7 program at the Meadowlands. The trot and pace finals are each worth $250,000 to the older stalwarts of the sport’s founding gait.

There are 10 stalwarts from the star annals of the past few seasons ready to rumble in the trot first final. A packed field and a competitive one assures this is no easy mile. The top money dog is the Jamiesons’ Dunbar Hall (with 10 races under his belt, the most in the field), followed by Chris Beaver’s Moonshiner Hanover (four wins for six starts). The rest are all within similar bankroll boundaries.

The mare Ariana G looks for win two in this division and should not be dismissed for a few reasons, the best being price. From post 8 against more experienced horses, the mare may opt to force herself to the lead, which will be challenged by a horse outside of her, Ake Svanstedt’s Yes Mickey. Ake is big on leaving and from post 10 he most surely will be as aggressive as usual.

Bill’s Man may be sent off with higher odds than his chances. He’s a sharp competitor and shows signs in his five races with aged competition of maturity. Also, the speed battles projected could allow for a strong off-the-pace performer.

Ten older pacers go in the other Graduate Final. This is also a mixed bag of talent that could produce a winner off the favorites’ grid. Filibuster Hanover gets post 8 again, as he did in last week’s Ben Franklin Final when he led most of the way but came up very short as the field closed on him.

One of the closers in the finish that finished off “Filibuster” was Donttellmeagain (fourth), who has been strong in his most recent battles and is sitting on a win. We chose him as an alternative to McWicked last week (with the usual warning about that one) and he shows up here where it appears another big, fair price on him will be available.

Here, again, speed may be the big problem for the few who care to set some fractions, including Filibuster, Miso Fast, Blood Line and Western Joe. It could be a delicious setup for Donttellmeagain.


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.

July 5
Uncle Wagon R1; Gazing Star R7; Melanie’s Tedy R9 ;Skyway Raider R10 ; Quick Aracache R12

July 6
Shabang R4; It’s Like This R6; Shaylo R7; Apostle Of Pep R13
Lucky Again R1; Fight Like Mike R4

July 7
Rocky Meadow R8

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.


7/6/18, Royal Flush R1; Lifeontherange R6
7/7/18, Way To Go Fabieo R3; Sunset Sid R10

Grand River
7/6/18, +Apple Tart Hanover R5

7/6/18, +Riley The Mooss ae R1
7/7/18, +Along Came Jane R3; +Crackerjack Bill R6

7/5/18, +Elite Desire R13
7/6/18, +Jail King R9

7/6/18, +Sneaky Girl ae R8; +Icommandmyspirit R10

7/5/18, +Driving Miss Sadie R4
7/9/18, +That’s Right Jack R9

7/7/18, +Major Hill R2; +Red John R3; Levis Day R11

7/5/18, Big Bambu R2; Electrofire R7

7/7/18, BB Liberty R1; Pinkpolosocks R13

7/6/18, Little Miss Mouse R2

7/5/18, Putonahappyface R2; +Ragazzo Dolce R5; +Action Brad R10
7/8/18, +Maurice R4

7/5/18, Lioness Hanover R7
7/5/18, +All Night Credit R3
7/6/18, Silvio Dante R7

7/7/18, Blow A Cloud N R4
7/8/18, +Tito R13
7/9/18, +Hey Livvy R7

7/6/18, +Cash Now R3

7/7/18, +Three Day Forecast R4; Justice Department R6

7/5/18, World Apart R10
7/7/18, K Ryan Bluechip R7

7/7/18, Gifted Way R8; Cashahallic R9

7/7/18, Simple Saver N R4; +Deaks Sweetie Pie R5

7/6/18, +Heck Of A Band R1