Meadowlands Pace Night Hosts Stars From Multi-Divisions; ‘Sheppard’ Stakes Heads More Frosh Post Parades

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

July 14th, 2016

It’s Meadowlands Pace night on Saturday, July 16, and along with the classic event parades a quartet of huge events for old and young and the top equine celebrities of the season thus far. We also continue with two-year-old racing, stakes and overnight, with the featuring of Saturday’s Lawrence B. Sheppard Stakes at Yonkers.

As well, you can join in on a Saturday Hi-5 Players Pool from the Meadowlands –

Prepare for a lot of content to follow.

The Hambletonian Trail blog will cover important stakes for trotters serious about dropping into the box for the classics on the first weekend in August. Colts battle in the Stanley Dancer and fillies in the Del Miller—they could be sharp forecasters for what is to come on the big weekend ahead. The Hambletonian Trail blog, exclusively brought to you by TwinSpires and the Hambletonian Society, leads up to our live coverage for TwinSpires’ harness bettors, on the first Saturday in August at the Meadowlands.
Reaching a remarkable 52-percent in-the-money average with year-to-date winners averaging over $20.00, TwinSpires’ horses-to-watch list (H2W) presents exclusive wagering opportunities in overnights with contenders you will not read about on any other handicapping sources in print or on line. The H2W can be used for bets to win, places show and in all exotics. Always consider H2W horses when constructing your wagers.


Some lost hope earlier in the season when Control The Moment did not immediately fly into top gear and blow the division away to start. Indeed, he lost to Betting Line in the North America Cup, finishing third, and then chased Racing Hill in the Max Hempt Final after winning an elim of the event with ease. Betting Line is not here for the Meadowlands Pace but Racing Hill, given a bye from the single elim last week, will face “Control” again in the $732,050 final on July 16 at the event’s namesake track.

Due to Racing Hill, Control will be, at best, the second choice of the public but that should still be worth it, since Control is just getting started this season to remind everyone that he is exactly what he was expected to be when he debuted at three. Last week’s elimination win was empirical. Control made the field struggle and then slaughtered it with all the battling savvy of a move that could have been designed by Sun Tzu.

It is never difficult to support an extra-special horse, insisting that lower odds are value, but this is one special colt and nose-to-nose better than Racing Hill, who may not be able to keep up with Control as the division heads into deep Grand Circuit territory. In fact, to make an exacta juicier, use Lyons Snyder for second, and toss in Boston Red Rocks for third.


A purse of $157,400 is available for a sextet of glamour-gal pacers. We have no idea why this prestigious race attracted so few pacers this season, especially when division-leader Pure Country is absent and her greatest threat, Darlingonthebeach, is recuperating from a health problem. Five of the six in this field come from the “Lynch” races at Pocono and one ships down from Ontario.

In the Lynch final, Blue Moon Stride made a bold go at winning, only to give up the big purse prize to a fast closing Pure County (Darlingonthebeach faded in that race due to a heart problem). Blue Moon Stride raced far better than her odds due to the public’s miscalculation of her recent talent, including six races where she finished first or second against stakes company. She won’t be overlooked in this field, being the top money-earner of the season among her rivals and a strong Meadowlands state-bred competitor.

Perhaps set to be overlooked (as much as one could in a short field) is Shezarealdeal. She is yet to win in only three starts but has excuses in her two Lynches. You can use her as an upset wager and in exotics with Blue Moon Stride, et al.


Because there are a dozen older pacers entered in the $471,800 William Haughton Memorial Free For All, the race has been extended to 1 1/8 miles. The second tier will be utilized for posts 11 and 12.

This, at first, looks like an exhibition race featuring the finest four-year-old-and-up pacing males but look closer and you may find some good prices for that very reason. Most of these stalwarts could go off huge favorites individually under different conditions but in the same arena overlays are expected. And why not? The traffic could be a major factor and the extra eighth of a mile allows for special trips to become rewarding.

Your big-three four-year-olds should divide the win pool into thirds. Wiggle It Jiggleit, Freaky Feet Pete and Always B Miki. Either you work on the scenario that keeps these three from hogging the toteboard after the race or you sit back with a beverage and watch. We’ll take the former, using a speed scenario that does not benefit the top three and, instead, leaves a path for a sharp close by Americanprimetime.

This massive upset projection is based upon Americanprimetime’s Graduate Final at the Meadowlands, where, from post 9, he charged early, could not get a guarded post spot and stayed outside within 3 lengths of the leader at the half—which was a scorching :53.1. He only lost ¼ length to the 1:20.4 three-quarters! Given a soft trip and the extra real estate, along with graveyard fractions, he could soar home at huge odds when it counts. We think this is better than watching.


This four-year-old open also goes at 1 1/8 miles with 11 former Hambletonian-eligible trotters on the gate, battling for $471,200. Hannelore Hanover is the prize trotter so far this season. He has cracked a speed badge and won eight of nine against the best of the division. His sire is producing hot freshmen and Ron Burke brings “Hannelore” back to the U.S. to take on this scruffy group, headed by Musical Rhythm.

Looking around Hannelore we stop dead at Wings Of Royalty, whose Graduate Final at 10-1 was superb, even though he just made the purse grid by finishing fifth. He stormed to the lead in that mile, won by “Rhythm,” and remained first over until the ground-savers caught him. He is the courageous bet, for sure, and will carry the odds that will be larger than his chances. The extra real estate could help but it is not necessary for “Wings” to enjoy a featured win.


A dozen older pacing mares stretch this to a 1 1/8 miles event. Big names are here and the usual one-can-beat-another-on-a-given-day atmosphere for this division prevails. It’s a $223,150 contest and the herd will be aggressive during each split. Certainly the crowd will wager strongly upon Lady Shadow for her recent performances and the Anndrovette fans will back their idol but we see a possible bargain in Divine Caroline. Joe Holloway’s mare has not rebounded at four to her stature as a champion sophomore but she has some excuses in nine soph affairs, as well as she can be given some slack for meeting stronger competition as an older mare. She is, however, certainly of this ilk and can win this with her best effort. If she does, indeed, find her stride at four, this is a good time to get a terrific price on her.


One of the first six-digit frosh stakes is the L.B. Sheppard at Yonkers. This Saturday it attracts eight for the $100,000 purse. Considering the talent and volume in the New York State breeding crop, not to mention other states with eligible colts, it is strange that this octet is nationally represented by sires currently not in the top 15 of a list of average moneymakers.

You have to go to number 16 (as of this writing), where Roll With Joe is a notch above Art Major. “Joe” has two in this race and “Major” has one. Both of Joe’s progeny are first-time starters but Major’s single representative, Chip Walther, has won one of two.

The other one-of-two winner is by Western Terror; Hurrikane Kingkong, however, is stuck with Yonkers’ dreaded 8 hole. And Well Said, a respected sire all around if not yet on the average-earnings list, sends out Summer Side. That one has two races and one place finish and should be expected to improve, as well as have some decent odds available.


Two-year-old races at the beginning of each season are the most difficult events for handicappers to forecast winners, no less 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.

Meadows, July 15: Race 1, Affair Of Honor; Race 2, Drawing Dragons; Race 8, Thisguysonfire; Race 10, Arctic Clipper; Race

Vernon, July 15: Race 3, Manssive

Hoosier, July 15: Race 2, Speed For All; Race 9, Bust The Lane; Race 11, Carols Z Tam; Race 14, Ballerina Rosa

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.


7/15/16, Simon Said R1; Southwest Bliss R3; Ashton Seelster R8

7/15/16, +Makes Her Mark R10

7/15/16, Zapped R1; +Must Be Paige R3; Take On Da Boys R3; Soul Diva R4; +Sayitlikeyoumeanit R6; Outlaw Goodnready R6; Showmesomeemotion R7
7/16/16, Golden Echo R2; Clintons Memory R3; Keep On Burning R4; Jay Flight R8; Shark Festival R9

7/14/16, +Double Stitched R3

7/16/16, +Hold The Gold R2; Boys Round Here R8

7/15/16, Our Jerry Lee R9; Margarita M R10; Roadway R12; Kitti Place R14
7/16/16, +Bettor B Steppin R12

7/15/16, Nomatterwhen R1; Brittle R4; +D Gs Pesquero R5; +Our Hot Majorette R10; Show Some Leg R11
7/16/16, Duc Dorleans R5

7/14/16, Tree Wood R6; Tricks Of Terror R8

7/16/16, +Awestreos R2

7/14/16, +Speeditup Hanover R2
7/15/16, +Nah Jack R5; +Bougie Queen R10

7/15/16, TSM Titust R3; Delle Donne R6
7/17/16, The Onlyest One R12

7/14/16, A List R1; Winbak Magic R3; Iron Train R4; Mickey Blu R6; Pembroke Baroness R7

7/16/16, +BBs Harley R9
7/17/16, +Oakmont R2

Running Aces
7/16/16, +Eccentric R1; +Al-mar Reba Babe R1; +Flashy Lady R9; La Diva De Rosa R10

7/15/16, +Letherriptaterchip R4; +Sherry My Sherry R4
7/17/16, +Full Grown Man R4

7/14/16, I’m Saving Myself R4; +Pan Taylor R7
7/16/16, +Jasmine K R3
7/17/16, +Race Me Fantasy R2

7/14/16, +Urban Renewal R3
7/15/16, Candys A Virgin R13
7/16/16, +K Ryan Blue Chip R1; +Ardyne Ace R5

7/15/16, +Please Okay ae R4; Keystone Sapphire R9

7/15/16, +Tarport Andy R7; Two Beers Away R11
7/16/16, +Sweet Ashley T R1; +Hailstorm Grace R6

7/14/16, Unix Hanover R9; +Macho Chick R12
7/16/16, +PH Supercam R16

Ray Cotolo contributes to this blog