N.A. Cup Elims Highlight Pricy Mohawk Card For Final Fields; Sires Stakes Stars Sizzlin’; Tough Trotters Troll Ohio
Here is June in bloom with the weekend overture to Mohawk’s lucrative stakes program for three-year-olds and up. The June . Sophs on both gaits will be covered in events on this main blog and our spinoff Hambletonian Trail blog.
In this menagerie is the focus on glamour-boy pacers as they battle for berths in next week’s million-dollar North America Cup. The elims take place on June 10, as do tests for soph-filly pacers and more at Mohawk. Also on Saturday night, stalwart trotters hit Scioto for a six-digit contest.
Still, check out hot contenders in the lesser events with our weekly H2W (the horses-to-watch) list is also here for solo wagers, single-race and multi-race exotics. Choose wisely, do your own handicapping, and then compare and consider our H2W selections when playing your bets. Of course, remember to be fully armed with a plentiful TwinSpires betting account.
MARES IN FLIGHT
Two eliminations ($35,000 each) for the mare trotters’ Armbro Flight stakes are on the docket for June 9 at Mohawk. The first split requests a pass or a play to upset, as Hannelore Hanover leaves from post 1 and does so with near all of the win-pool cash. Given a good suck-a-long trip, possible with a sharp leave and a spot inside to relax, Kestrel is our possible upset trotter. We had her at Miami Valley, where she was well bet and won, before finishing fifth there in the distaff trot at 9-1, where “Hannelore” was defeated. Chris Beaver’s charge could be the opportunistic winner, offering a great price.
In the second elim the gloves will be off as Broadway Donna and Caprice Hill fly from the first two posts respectively and may battle right off the gate. A shuffle or a strong duel may not ensue, as “Donna” likes to pick up the pieces late for a win but a duel between “Caprice” and at least three others in this field of seven, is highly likely. It could be dangerous for Caprice, since the object is to make the final and a duel could put her out of it. However, Donna will have to contend with another late-action mare, Charmed Life, who beat Hannelore at Miami. Charmed Life will have some cash to give away should she make the right move late and deliver.
New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) for filly pacers contain three fields at Vernon on June 9 with purses of $39,000-plus on the line.
Seven go in round one, late in the program. Three are yet to win this season and one is yet to lose. That gal is our winner from last week’s NYSS at Saratoga, Artrageous. She should not be as generous as the 9-5 she delivered last week, so our choice is the contender that will be far less popular, Studio One. With only four starts and being on the outside for this, Studio one has finished on the pay grid twice and is clearly going to offer the bese of the competitors’ prices.
A field of eight goes in the second division, where the favorites may spread over a few. Last week we went for Robin J, who gets post 1 and her third chance in the division this season. She was 19-1 last week, too much for a youngster under the care of Linda Toscano. Robin J could be the big upset here, at least she deserves that shot and since she is bound not to get it, we will close in with our support once more.
Finally, the third split, also with eight aboard, features two we backed last week (in different splits), one that won—Playing Favorites—and the other that was second—Marquesta Seelster. The former will get a lot of play and so will Magic Forces, which will once again let Marquesta Seelster go off a good price for her chances, which we will back.
LADY SOPHS OF PA
Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) soph-filly divisions at the Meadows on the afternoon of June 10 are good stock, even if they did not keep up with the stars for the Fan Hanover elims later in the day at Mohawk. Three divisions are full of state-breds with fine credentials nonetheless.
Round one sees the return of Risky Romance, one more promising pacer from the Noel Daley barn. She won’t be among the top three, we think, as the competition appears stiff among brand-name trainers Ron Burke, Tony Alagna, Jim Campbell and Chris Ryder. Also, “Romance” has only one win in five starts. But Romance could easily woo this group, as Daley’s ladies get better with each start.
In the second PASS mile, with eight in the fray, Daley’s V String, off of a conditioned win, returns to the series and again must face some stiff competition. Unbeaten Inverse Hanover, equally rich Watch What You Say are the two toughest and Big City Betty has already pulled off a stakes upset worthy of making her dangerous. From post 1 comes Casie Coleman’s Ideal Plan, who is two wins for four starts, posing a significant threat with a probable strong price. She and V String will offer a great exacta.
The PASS nightcap also offers eight fillies again, with a strong favorite tough to pinpoint. Another Daley student takes off here—Caviart Cherie. Naught for four, she still ranks as the fourth top earner here and cannot be dismissed. We are sticking with Daley fillies as they figure to improve and will offer top prices when they pop.
A trio of elims for the Roses Are Red mares pacing final is on the stakes-laden Mohawk program June 10. Round one brings seven swift femmes together for a strong field that may find Pure Country a favorite, along with her tough foe from 2016, Darlinonthebeach. Burke puts Lakeisha Hall to the test against Blue Moon Stride and recently awoken Frost Damage Blues. At her best as a soph, Darlinonthebeach was a tad better than Pure Country but the prices won’t be appealing. Blue Moon Stride was good at three and has every right to come into her own as a major force at four—and she will offer a good price in an attempt to take her elim and be prominent in the final.
It will be difficult to try to beat Call Me Queen Be here because she looks like a powerhouse in the mares’ pacing division already. The crowd will be with her. For the elim, however, Sandbetweenurtoes, who has been super in Canada over the past year, could look to dominate and could be a surprisingly good price.
The last “Red” elim finds Lady Shadow prepared to eat up the win pool as she towers over the other seven mares. If you care to defy her, look for a price on Wrangler Magic, who should be in the mix for exotics and could get a lucky nose at the wire with a good cover trip and fast fractions tampered with by a duel.
Two Fan Hanover elims will decide the final field in the Cup-elim program June 10. The first elim’s starring role will go to Idyllic Beach, Takter’s famous frosh-turned-three entry. She appears to be up against a soft group but for our lack of knowledge about which fresh soph is getting better. That upset may be the work of Tony O’Sullivan’s Soiree Seelster. Tony is sending out top performers and it would be no surprise to see one of his students excel for the big money.
The bookend mile sees 10 behind the gate, led, most likely, by Tequila Monday and Agent Q as the public choices. If the pair appears too obvious, there is always Shes Watching, the “buzz” horse that may be more talk than talent. From post 9, Someomensomewhere can be a mighty threat, racing as she does at an inflated price again.
NORTH AMERICA CUP COUNTDOWN
Three $50,000 North America Cup elimination miles are set for June 10 at Mohawk as the glamour-boy pacers begin their work for the thickest purses of this season.
In the first elim there is no doubt that Downbytheseaside will take the most win money among the eight participants, especially since this group doesn’t include another of the division’s top boxers. Burke and Alagna’s entries, Eddard Hanover and Western Hill respectively, have not gained name recognition beyond their teachers’ names and Stealth Bomber, arguably the only decent threat to Downbytheseaside on paper, is strapped with post 8, an immediate handicapping-dowsing element. That being said, we will back Stealth Bomber, who needs to win this more than Downbytheseaside, who will make the final unless he gallops, anyway.
The second Cup elim features another top soph, Huntsville. Ray Schnittker’s speedy soph has fallen this season only to Fear The Dragon (in elim three) but that loss was not opportunistic to “Fear” because he earned it with an adverse trip. Can Huntsville fall to another? Who is better than Fear is yet to show its long face on the track but our tendency to find the outside contender is stronger here than usual, since Huntsville is a one-dimensional wonder that remains vulnerable. The crowd will not support Beyond Delight here, yet Tony O’Sullivan’s pacer deserves respect as a possible in the hunt for Huntsville. Though Burke’s Miso Fast should make the final, Beyond Delight is our choice to make it at a prime price to meet the big three in the Cup final.
Fear The Dragon is arguably the best of the soph class as of now but our hit last week on Hurricane Beach in a Somebeachsomewhere division impressed us more than we expected. To his left is Macs Jackpot, who nosed Stealth Bomber in a Somebeachsomewhere mile at a huge price. We are more confident about Fear than any other soph colt since Captaintreacherous and we hope that Fear loses the attention of the betting audience due to the aforementioned recent winners and give us a small but valuable price that will be complemented by exotics that could include longshot partners like, say, Ocean Colony, a Takter colt pacing under the radar.
CHARLIE HILL CLIMBERS
At Scioto on June 10, the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial Trot gathers 10 older square-steppers for another big bucket of money. A bastion of talent emerges in Ohio for this affair and each will be all out to boost their season’s bankrolls.
Returning to the horse trots with another year at his back, Obrigado gets the rail and must be respected. Some will say he may need a race but launching a season with a six-digit stakes race takes precedent over such a need.
Crazy Wow comes from a big win but still has to prove himself among this crowd. Some Midwest-oriented bullies are here, including Natural Herbie, Hemi Seester and the venerable Homicide Hunter. Also included is Muscle Diamond, who has made a few early season headlines and JL Cruze, who looks to be in better shape than last season.
Our interests focus upon Musical Rhythm, who gets a strong starting point with post 3 in this bulge of a field. The Benoit Baillargeon conditioned trotter should make some real noise in the division this season and to catch him now at a decent price is less risky than any of the odds may predict come post time.
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.
6/10/17, +Sacherforte R8
6/10/17, +If You Want Fire R3; +Show Stopping R6; +Thunderbolt Jaxon R9
6/8/17, +We Rob Banks R10
6/9/17, Pancetta R3
6/10/17, Kabam R10; +Shymaster R11
6/8/17, +Shakeitformegear as R14
6/10/17, +Jacksareluckytoo R4
6/10/17, +Hot Cycle R14; RE’s Miss Amy R15
6/10/17, +Prime Time Poppa R10
6/11/17, Whitesville Liz R3; Rockin Romeo R6; Yanklet Hanover R8
6/9/17, Smart Zone R6
6/10/17, +Go Daddy Go R9
6/8/17, L Dees Yoyo Ma R3; Gambler Springs R7; +Storyofmylife R8
6/9/17, +Mister Moni R10
6/8/17, +Hellas Angel R5; +Good Luck Kathy R6
6/10/17, +Franks Best R4; Mucho Macho Man R5; +Al Mar Foxyeclipse ae R8
6/8/17, Whitemountainmoxie R5; +Anja ae R7; +Themailwomen R11
6/9/17, +Keene Olivia R8
6/10/17, +Do Over Hanover R11
6/10/17, Vernillion Bird R2; +Grand Galop Semalu R4; Sign Of A Diamond R8
6/9/17, +Endeavors Ladyluck R13
6/9/17, Iaquinta R10
6/10/17, +American JJ R7; Super Credit R12