North America Cup Special Edition, Including Pick-4s Analysis

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

June 19th, 2015

In April of 2015, the Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book (CSB) listed its evaluation of eligible horses to the $1-million “Cup.” Based on their freshman resumes, only four of the top 10 has made it to the final. The spring-book odds explain a few things as the final looms boldly.

Artspeak (3-1); Reverend Hanover (5-1); In The Arsenal (6-1); Wiggle It Jiggleit (12-1); Go Daddy Go (14-1); Traceur Hanover (16-1); Yankee Bounty (18-1); Lynos Levi Lewis (20-1); Pierce Hanover (22-1); Lyons Again (23-1).

Also starting in the final (spring-book odds): Wakizashi Hanover (28-1); Betting Exchange (35-1); Arque Hanover (42-1); Penji Hanover (55-1); Hurricane Ali (60-1).

Most eyes focus on “Wiggle” at 12-1, as he enters the final as the 8-5  favorite. It could be more like 1-12 when the wagering smoke clears.

”I don't like to brag,” trainer Clyde Francis said at the race’s draw ceremony, “[but] I don't think they can beat [Wiggle].” He repeated, “Seriously, I don't think they can beat him.”

So what about Wiggle It Jiggleit? Is he the stuff of which champions are made?

The son of Mr Wiggles is a gelding, so racing is his only reason to live and he is enjoying it, winning all of his 14 races as a three-year-old. Wiggles’ bloodline is soaked with speed. His grandsire is Badlands Hanover, a racehorse that defined the new paradigm of speed in the pacer. His 1:50 win at two on the world’s only one-turn mile track (the ill-fated Colonial Downs) made him the fastest two-year-old. He retired at two and that speed has been the legacy of many foals, producing a quartet of millionaires in two continents, including Mr Wiggles. In 2015 his racing progeny has already earned over $6 million.

The sire line got faster as the generations ensued. Badlands Hanover was by Western Hanover, who was by No Nukes. On the dam side, Wiggle Hanover (Mr Wiggles’ dam) was by Life Sign, who was by Abercrombie. So it is entirely possible that Wiggle It Jiggleit has even more in his tank than his “Cup” elim displayed. He won by 6 lengths, finishing in 1:49.2. The only knock on that time is that “Wiggle” slowed the second quarter down to a :30.1 crawl, making him able to catapult in the stretch. So, he still has not been directly challenged in a dozen races. His natural speed is one thing but his tenacity is another.

All things being equal—though they rarely measure as such—Artspeak is an all-around better horse than Wiggle It Jiggleit. He is faster, for one thing, which raw numbers prove. He is a colt, for another thing, and the strength and longevity of his bloodline is superior to any of the Cup final’s foes.

This is good news for bettors because the 3-1 spring-book choice was handed a morning line of 5-1 in the final and may go off even higher due to his 10-post launch. But 5-1 is a gift, as was the 3-1 spring-book offering. Artspeak is being punished, as the fickle public is apt to do, for his place finish in the elim, where Wakizashi Hanover swept by him. That was a trip win. Artspeak is better than Wiggle It Jiggleit, who is intrinsically better than Wakizashi Hanover.

To toss out Artspeak due to his post is a dangerous mistake. The colt has tactical speed and will be gunning with all six cylinders at the exact times he should as no less than three others in the field challenge Wiggle It Jiggleit at last, including In The Arsenal. Though it is your judgment as to where the value surfaces, we will be going with the best horse, the colt, Artspeak, to win.

Fill Your Cup With Cash

On the Cup program at Mohawk, the Early Pick 4 and the All-Stakes Pick 4 offer millions of TSC Elite Points. Check out the details on the link below and read on as we offer two expert opinions of contenders for both multi-race exotics.

Early Pick 4

Race 4
(2) REVENGE SHARK just missed being in the Cup final and has a big shot here after top sires-stakes races at the Meadowlands where he raced far better than his odds. (9) GO DADDY GO was short after a fast engine trip in his Cup elim, a race we will toss out. He will get far less action than he deserves from post 9 but should rebound off of the tiring mile that brought him to the consolation.

Race 5
(3) SHAKE IT CERRY is rolling into top shape at four and may be ready to get the perfect mile to beat obvious public choice (5) BEE A MAGICIAN. Both of these gals will be in everyone’s ticket but you add (4) ROCKIN WITH DEWEY to blow the ticket wide open because if the first two duel hard, this one could take advantage of a ground-saving trip and sneak a nose in late.

Race 6
(3) HES A SENSATION has two toss-out races before his good third at 24-1 and is ready to prove this class works for him with a strong reward in price. (8) PUSH BACK drops and will go off under the radar as he returns to a class where he was successful after some experience with better. These two look better than the morning-line favorites for chances and prices.

Race 7

(5) RESISTANCE FUTILE failed at a higher level when at Mohawk but is strong elsewhere on the circuit. Not so long ago, however, he was tough with these types and is in a good spot to wind up in front at the end. (7) SOUTHWIND AMAZON has been sharp stepping up and has every right to be considered one of the top three contenders but won’t get the first spot, leaving us a good price.

All-Stakes Pick 4

Race 9
(2) COLORS A VIRGIN was an impressive winner, despite being placed first through disqualification. She may be stronger than the rest of them. (3) LADY SHADOW could very well take the lead and bottom out the field with her speed. Yet, that is only a possibility. (5) YAGONNAKISSMEORNOT is one of two mares that have shown they can capitalize if the pace collapses. (6) SANDBETWEENURTOES is the other filly that should be involved if the speed fails.

Race 10:
(2) GREAT VINTAGE needed his start last week at Philadelphia, finishing third. Winner of the Jerry Taylor from off the pace, expect him to be coming in the late stages of the mile. (4) SHAMBALLA has dominated the local circuit with a talent for claiming victory off of stalking trips. He’s another that will be involved late. (10) DOCTOR BUTCH has a ton of speed and should be able to secure positioning from his outside post.

Race 11:
(3) SASSA HANOVER was the benefactor of JK SHESALADY’s cover. She could be better than JK SHESALADY at this point in the season but may also remain second best. (5) JK SHESALADY can have her last start dismissed, as she likely needed the effort and was put into an uncomfortable spot first over, regardless of her racing style. She may try a closing approach this week.

Race 12:
(3) WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT is the horse to beat here. Handicapping this race is much like the conundrum of Schrodinger’s Cat: a fast horse that has yet to be tested is put into a race where he will be tested, with the two possible futures being he prevails or he fails. (10) ARTSPEAK is the best colt in this division until proven otherwise. He put in a sharp performance, even though he was second, in his elimination. The bad draw is a blessing, since he’ll likely be the highest price in regards to all season, and will be sitting off of a hot pace.

See our regular weekly blog for specifics on all the stakes and other harness racing action this weekend. (Ray Cotolo contributed to this blog)