Million-Dollar North America Cup Leads Mohawk Menu Of Stakes; More Maturity Trotters On The Move

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

June 16th, 2016

June 18 is the $1-million North America Cup for glamour-boy pacers at Mohawk. Last week the two eliminations to decide the field were filled with form, assuring the top colts from the division thus far will be soaring for the big bucks.

The “Cup” program at Mohawk will also serve the filly glamour gals a huge purse in the Fan Hanover Final. The older mare pacers battle in the Roses Are Red Final and the lady trotters stomp in the Armbro Flight Final. Older pacers meet again in the Mohawk Gold Cup, too.

The Hambletonian Trail blog will cover the Goodtimes Final, also at Mohawk on Cup night. These are Hambo-bound colts and one of them may be the champ on the first Saturday in August, favored or not. Also, the blog covers sires stakes for fillies and the lucrative Empire Breeders Championship finals for trotters at Vernon on June 19. Every week, check the Hambletonian Trail blog, exclusively brought to you by TwinSpires and the Hambletonian Society, for the soph trotters and read on as we cover the rest of the action.
TwinSpires harness blog’s popular feature, the horses-to-watch list (H2W), is here for you again, with top wagering opportunities at tracks across the continent. We always have hot contenders, most you will not read about on any other handicapping sources in print or on line The H2W delivers many wins, places, shows and exotics. Always consider H2W horses when constructing your wagers.

Here are our comments on contenders for the June 18 Mohawk program, in no partiular order.


Now the eyes of the sport focus dearly on the glamour-boy pacers with $1 million on the line. There is no precedent for winning or losing this race, the first mega-stakes for the division. It has presented great horses and opportunistic horses. Let’s look at each entry objectively in post position order.

1) Big Top Hanover
He has been chasing the best of the rest for Ron Burke and will need some circumstances that are beyond his control to upset. The “fear” is that he is a professional racehorse, bringing home the purse bacon, but not a “winner” in the sense his most difficult rivals display.

2) Lyons Synder
His owner, Jeffrey Snyder, has four Cup trophies, one of them from Well Said, the sire of this colt. But Jeffrey is not the Snyder that will be up against the toughest of this group. It will be “Lyons” trying to roar on the track and he will have to race a bit better than his four wins this season. Just for fun, can you name the other three Cup winners owned by Jeffrey?

3) Betting Line
Casie Coleman’s hope for the Cup and other stakes this year seems to be in the speed and stamina of this guy. He may become one of the top tiered colts in the division if he can prove he has some guts. He does not yet show a certain muscle that he may develop as the season ensues. He has three wins in four starts this year but he appears to need more racing to become the kind of beast that has taken this race in the past.

4) Boston Red Rocks
Trying to live up to his graduation after a frosh season that was far from spectacular but still won him the season’s frosh honors, this awfully named colt is the son of the great Rocknroll Hanover, who won a Cup but was already worlds better than this offspring. He may have to be pushed if he is not as good as most think and that could be his downfall here.

5) Michaels Victory
Snyder’s other colt here is also a “Rocknroll” son and is coming around. He may be far from peaking, as well as he may be better than Lyons Snyder in the long run. This could be a perfect time for him to excel and looms dangerously among the outside contenders.

6) Racing Hill
In his elim last week, Racing Hill was soaring on the inside, looking like a major upset at over 30-1 but he began to gallop, giving in to two public favorites. It is impossible to judge him by that skipping but not at all presumptuous to see he was full of pace and with a smooth gait could have beaten the best the division could toss at him. Tony Alagna—the trainer of Captaintreacherous—brings Racing Hill to what could be a peaking event for all connections.

7) Beast Mode
He just made it into this group and is overmatched to the hilt. Major flaws from most with ability here would have to be reasons for a victory.

8) Manhattan Beach
Burke’s other Cup hope has not been burning up the track in his sophomore season and he will have to make a major mid-mile or late move that we have not seen him able to make yet in order to pull off an upset.

9) Control The Moment
Last year’s Metro Pace winner and the early choice to take the Cup has not shown the kind of dominance at three that he did at two and from post 9 he will have to weave a clever trip off of a fiery pace or be strong enough to take the lead and control the moments that make up the fractions to ward off his foes. For sure, he will be a price that no one expected, which in itself could be tempting, since he has nowhere near shown us he is not going to take a strong part in the division’s main events. 

10) Magnum J
If this son of Big Jim (not the best sire represented here) is anywhere near as competitive as the other nine in this field he will still have to put in a monumental mile that would open the eyes of most every handicapper.

CONCLUSION ~ Prices could be the best yet on the sophomore Control The Moment and he could fly to the finish first as JK Endofanera did last year against speed wasted to three quarters. And, if Racing Hill’s mishap in the stretch last week was a warning sign of a monster awakening, without galloping he could win at a large price.


Glamour-girl pacers have been warned and now they are shivering but not to the filly they all thought could threaten their every move. Nope, Pure Country has been less than brilliant and Darlinonthebeach has been under-rated (not by us) and is showing her stuff, looking much like she sports the speed of her sire, the king of this night some years back, Somebeachsomewhere. Pure Country made the final but she needs the kind of debilitating duel “Darlin” got back at Pocono to take advantage of her but that is too much to ask, especially if Pure Country is truly much less than she was at two, when no one could defeat her.

Darlin is the perfect key if you don’t like the low win price (though even money would be an overlay). Try to keep Pure Country out of the picture for a price, using LA Delight and/or Mayhem Seelster.


The $370.000 Roses Are Red Final has 10 mare pacers, including well-known veterans of the division. Last week’s three elim winners should attract the most money. They include the defending champ, Lady Shadow. Anndrovette likes this race. She has won it three times and last week she awoke from an early season lull to make her presence known again. Solar Sister is the latest rage.

With these three sucking in the bucks, the mare with the best trip last week could find a way to shake the toteboard. Sandbetweenurtoes took over the lead at three-quarters while in the second tier and flew 5 lengths away from the field, looking like a solid winner until Anndrovette snuck up and got “toes” by a nose. In this field, Sandbetweenurtoes may find better cover and a chance to pace down the public choices at a price. Also, keep Waasmula in mind for exotics. She comes into this as a beaten favorite in her elim and will offer more money this time.


With Bee A Magician gone from the roster this year, the $999999 Armbro Flight is open for discussion. Hannelore Hanover, from the Burke barn, will get heavy support for all the obvious reasons. We supported the gal she beat last week in her elim, Rockin With Dewey, who was 24-1, beating Shake It Cerry. That one is not looking as well as we thought she would with another campaign in the older ranks. She faded badly with little excuse, just getting third and into this affair.

From the second elim, beaten favorite Elegant Serenity, slow to start and not quick enough to finish first, gave the win to Rules Of The Road. “Serenity” should be in the picture late this time, though not the favorite. “Dewey” for the upset is all right with us, though Serenity could topple her but it would still be a fine exotic.


The $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup features the older pacing gents and once again we are going to support P H Supercam. Although he has not totally lived up to our expectations early on, he has shown no signs of laziness and has the breadth of maturity on his side that could beat Always B Miki, who leaves to his right. “Supercam” always gives his best and since he has not won in a bit he will be tossed aside in the win pool, making his strike all the more sweet. 


At the Meadows on June 18, another Meadows Maturity field, this one for older trotting horses and stallions, goes for a hefty purse of $54,000. Eight meet at the gate and each have good arguments for winning. Il Sogno Dream, a tough campaigner since he was two, returns for his third race this season and will draw attention for his back class. Muscle Up The Goal has not beaten the likes of “Sogno” but is going to try here ad with solid support from the locals. Three drivers have put in requests to guide Wind Of The North due to his back class and whomsoever gets that assignment could get into the winners’ circle. But all three mentioned may not be good reasons to invest in this mile. The best reason may be Homicide Hunter, who leaves the deep Midwest for the outskirts near Pittsburgh. A good price may be waiting for his backers because this is a good time to catch him if he lives up to his national promise.

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.


6/17/16, +Moon Landing R2; Pembroke Prayer R4; Just Breathe R8

6/17/16, Bold And Lazy R6; +Serious George R8

6/17/16, +Four Feathers R5
6/18/16, +Cassea R1; +Mystery Affair R7; You Name It R8

6/16/16, Hopedale Dora R2; Bumpsandbruises R3; Zip The Lip R4; Gangnam Style R5

6/17/16, Mr Blue Jay R2
6/18/16, Special Finalhope R1; The Onlyest One R9

6/16/16, Victorious Money R2; +Jessica La Bar R7; Georgeousbuncle R12

6/17/16, +JK Fannie R8

6/18/16, +Celtic Prince R13

6/17/16, +Hot Chica Boomba R8, Call Me Maybe R11
6/18/16, Southwind Geisha R6

6/17/16, Sweetmrcantab R4; +Axle R6

6/16/16, +Real Passing Lady R3; +Mr Bigglesworth R10
6/17/16, Pilgrims Edsel R8
6/19/16, +Moonshine Malone R3

6/16/16, Datsyuk R10
6/19/16, +First Of Itskind R12

6/16/16, +Jailhouse Lawyer R4; +Shooter Ontheloose R6
6/17/16, +Pembroke Lil R2; +Extreme Justice R7

6/18/16, Oakmont R2; +Glammit R6; +National Debt R9

Running Aces
6/18/16, Buzz Light R1; Someislandsomewhere R8

6/16/16, +Red Cash R1

6/16/16, +Big Bad Baylee R8
6/17/16, +Jitterbug Hanover R2; Ms Graywalls R2
6/18/16, +Charlot Semalu R2; +Ianthe Hanover R3; +Rafferty Hanover R6

6/17/16, Lucky Luna R5; Blueridge Empire R7; Keystone Christa R8

6/17/16, Al Raza R5

Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition