NA Cup Elims Ensue; Ramona Hill Vs Fillies Again In Doc Zweig

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

August 19th, 2020

Out of sync on the calendar, rescheduled Grand Circuit stakes bring USA contingents across the great barrier into Canada, where Woodbine/Mohawk (WoMo) hosts two sets of eliminations, including those for the North America Cup. USA glamour-soph trotters go in the “Zweigs” with characters from Hambletonian battles.

Our secondary list of contenders appears on our horses-to-watch list (H2W) for wins, places, shows and participating exotic-wagering elements.


A pair of $93k Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) hoists the afternoon program at Philly into classy territory with soph-filly pacers. There are only five in the first division, headed by undefeated Party Girl Hill. Of course her rival, Lyons Sentinel, may not under-perform but could be the public’s third choice considering the other major contender, Rocknificent. If Lyons Sentinel is pushed into third in the win pool, take her.

Five more fillies are in the second PASS chase in a more competitive field. JK First Lady looks for her elusive first win and considering how she has dipped into uncertain territory, Ideal Woman has the best resume to take this disappointing crew—and at a good price.


Six soph-colt trotters ramble for $31k in the fourth leg of the Indiana Sires Stakes (INSS) at Hoosier on Aug. 20. Top dog with the public should be Dude Included, who has not finished off the board this season. Equaling his wins, though, is Erv Miller’s Anchors Away. Nine of 10 this season, Anchors Away has a good chance to go to the final with a defeat of his main threat,

Seven are on tap for the other $31k INSS mile for the division. It looks like the division’s big boy, Swan In Motion, holds all of the angles, but a ground saving trip or marked improvement controlling the fractions could provide and upset from Bluebird Deacon. Jay Cross has done wonders with this colt to get him into contention for an INSS title.


The 2020 edition of the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial (Zweig) for soph-trotting colts and fillies, has drawn a single division for each on Aug. 21 Vernon. The filly division offers $160k and the colt goes for $330k.

Hambo-winner Ramona Hill will meet Oaks-winner Sorella in the filly field. Making it more of a pressure pot, Hypnotic AM is also on board. Two others will race but it is hard to get by the aforementioned three. “Ramona” has beaten colt and filly divisions, so she should be favored. The threesome is mighty and the math is obvious—Ramona over Sorella and  “Hypnotic.” No one could blame anyone for making this a spectator’s event.

The Zwieg colt affair is very much a bettor’s race mostly because Ramona is not here. Nine colts line up, featuring some Hambo vets and a few second-stringers from the division. Ake Svanstedt trains four in the field. The two Hambo finishers behind Ramona will attract the big money, making Back Of The Neck and Ready For Moni the favored duo. Others from the Hambo fields include Third Shift, Big Oil and Rome Pays Off.

There is a stray here that is worthy of backing as an upset. Trond Smedshammer’s Chaptiama is certainly Hambo-class material and gets our backing for outsider upset.


Two $35k eliminations for the Fan Hanover soph-filly pacers are on the WoMo program Aug. 22. Our eyes immediately spot Nectar in the first split. A beaten favorite last out, Stephen Carlton’s filly never had a chance last week, breaking and never recovering as the fan’s top choice. Bad prep or not, Cartlton’s got her in here, suggesting the filly was not affected in any way—she just affected her backers. In this field, Rocknificent is suspect, since she is, at the time of this posting, also entered in a PASS at Philly on Aug. 20. 

The second “Fan” elim should find the crowd all over Party Girl Hill, but we are sitting on Lady Lou. We backed her to get the Shady Daisy exacta on Hambo day and take her here as an upset, undaunted by her 8 post. She can leave and improving, she can beat “Party” on her best day—which may come here at another big price.


On Aug. 22 at WoMo, two $50k elim fields will create the field for the $1-million North America Cup next week. Fifteen glamour-boy pacers race in this rescheduled event’s elimination round.

The first elim will be a chase after Tall Dark Stranger, a dead-on favorite meeting far lesser than he has beaten before. Some scratch will cover Odds On Osiris, since he won the big stake at Northfield but it was a perfect trip and nowhere near the caliber of a “Stranger” win. Tattoo Artist will play a role in this mile but how big a role? It’ll take some courage to bet him as an upset but that’s what we’ll do, since he may be the best of the rest after Stranger and stranger upsets have been reported.

Another standout completes the seven-horse field in the second elim—Allywag Hanover. Brett Pelling has all the marbles on this one since Papi Rob Hanover left the scene with an injury. This guy can fly, so his outside post means little. Speaking of little, that will be the return on his win mutuel, even if there is unexpected attention to Captain Kirk from the inside. In fact, we’d leave Captain Kirk out of any exotics with “Ally” on top in search of a longer shot, which is not uncommon in the chaos behind a strong winner.

H2W Legend

Review our choices and confirm the wagers available at the prescribed track. H2W offers possible contenders researched from reviewing races. Horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track with the date of their race and the race number (R6 ) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name, it appears on the list for the second time (horses are listed twice only if, at first, they failed to win. An “ae” signals also-eligible. Types of wagers to make are based on your judgment.


8/22/20, Trisun R3

8/22/20, RSVP R12
8/23/20, Da Peoples Panther R4; Big Lou R15

8/20/20, Starlitsimple Rig R11; Brooklets Desire R14
8/21/20, Crook Boyzz R9

8/24/20, +Bueller R4; +Yankee Artillery R8

8/22/20, +Major Nemesis R12; Stay In Your Place R16

8/21/20, Miss Explosion R1; Peter Previte R5
8/22/20, Toretto R2; Dante Seelster R6; The Last Shark R6

8/20/20, Sweetcantab R2
8/21/20, Majestos R4

8/21/20, +Marveloustrix R7; +Lucky Arnold R10

8/22/20, +K Ryan Bluechip R5; +Silas Seelster R10

Running Aces
8/22/20, Gitchie Girl R3; Lincoln R7; +Marced Magic R9

8/21/20, Tiffany Rocks AS R9
8/22/20, +Excavator R9; Western Boots R14; McMoe R14; Dakota Ole R15
8/21/20, Sports Duchess R1

8/21/20, Titanium N R3; Zoeez Boy Henry R6
8/22/20, Tookadiveoffdipper R12
8/24/20, +Mach Time N R3