‘Papi’ Pounces; ‘Fire’ Blazes; Adios Field Set

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

July 25th, 2020

Here is the complete weekly report on hits and misses as presented by the TwinSpires Harness Preview Blog.

Thursday, July 23

Indiana Sires Stakes (INSS) for frosh-colt pacers at Hoosier gathered four divisions, three won by the public choices and one by the public’s second choice.

We were second in two INSS splits with Virgo ($2.60, $2.40—exacta $8.20) and Skyway Victor ($6.20, $3.20).

In the other two we finished third-placed sixth with Whiskey Wizzard (9-5), ninth with Velocity Gator (14-1); then fifth with Rockin On Venus (22-1) and seventh with Im The Candyman (25-1).

Saturday, July 24

Favorites and more favorites; the public mobbed the Pennsylvania pools at Pocono and the Meadows, where three Adios elims were soaked in speed.

The big story was Papi Rob Hanover ($2.10, $2.10, $2.10 ok) winning in the fastest mile the track has ever produced—1:47.1. The Brett Pelling-trained colt did it on his own, too, never sitting pretty with cover and not closing off of others dueling in scorching fractions.

In another elim, we were disappointed to see Capt Midnight ($2.80, $2.40) go off the favorite but content to see Catch The Fire ($8.20, $3.60, $2.60) beat him at a price. Those two have been in our sights for the last two weeks of stakes action.

A complete failure by us opened the elim triptych, as Roll With Jr (16-1) finished fifth in a sorrowful effort and Sandbetweenmytoes (3-1) broke while charging off the third turn and finished seventh. A favorite, The Greek Freak (where has he been on the national scene?) won.

At Pocono, soph-filly trotting PA All Stars raced in four divisions and the favorite won three and the second favorite won one. We won none. The closest we came was a second with Queso Fresco ($3.20, $3.00) in a $7.40 exacta.

The other splits, in order of our choices’ finishes, were a fourth for Never Content (15-1) and Impressive Fashion (24-1) and a seventh for Coconut Kate (38-1).

Grand Circuit events at the Meadowlands caught us with our bets down, so to speak. All was lost, including any chance that Real Cool Sam (3-1) will enter the Hambletonian. There’s no word at press time but no doubt trainer Jim Campbell will disclose what is wrong with the one-time super colt. Last week he broke in a “Dancer” split and hardly finished. This week he had no physical excuse, trailing a field of six every step of the mile. Rome Pays Off, Marcus Melander’s colt which at two paid off for us handsomely, went off at 10-1 to win.

Then, sticking with another Melander entry, Hall Of AM S (38-1), the colt broke going into the first turn, galloping home last, beaten by a 30-1 shot.

Finally, Sister Sledge did not lose two in a row. As the favorite, she won the third split. Our hopeless attempt at an upset, Creature Of Habit (12-1), finished seventh


The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Exactas listed include a H2W horse finishing second to a race-favorite or if the first two finishers are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses are listed—a cold exacta). The note “ok” determines that prices are correct (even when a show price exceeds a place price or all prices are the same).

Please note that some results reflect horses racing after the blog posts (they appear the following week).

This week, there were 34 active horses (a 18-percent win hit rate and a 50-percent ATB [across-the-board] hit rate).


Con Air Hall, $18.80, $10.60, $5.20, Pocono
Johnny Chip, $12.20, $5.60, $4.40, Meadowlands
MVP Luke, $5.60, $3.00, $2.20, Scioto
Continualou, $5.20, $2.60, $3.80 ok, Pocono
Lyons Johnny, $5.00, $3.40, $2.90, Vernon
Vines To Heaven, $4.20, $3.30, $2.60, Georgian


Jamaican Cowboy, $21.00, $13.20, Vernon
Darby Hanover, $5.60, $3.00, Pocono
Rock Diamonds N, $5.00, $2.40, Plainridge
Neverdie, $4.80, $2.40, Plainridge
Sugaronthebeach, $2.90, $4.00 ok (Exacta $24.20), Vernon
Bettorbuckleup, $2.60, $2.20, Mohawk


Ideal In Miracles, $13.00, Pocono
Burning Shore, $6.40, Scioto
Somebeach Baron, $6.40, Northfield
Salutation, $2.70, Vernon
Smalltownthrowdown, $2.60, Northfield


The general reviews of the Meadowlands Pace program have been extraordinary. Twitter was aflame with accolades, including many videos of the main event and applause for the landmark $5-million handle. The 2020 handle is huge, considering the current value of the dollar. It is most fascinating, though, that the handle for the first Meadowlands Pace in 1977 was $3,151,943 (according to a July 13, 1977 New York Times report). The 43-year difference is astounding when you consider the initial figure was an on-track handle.

A peculiarity in the history of the Meadowlands Pace exists in the pages of Wikipedia, where not once does the name Joe DeFrank appear. Joe was the racing secretary at the Meadowlands when the track began and in 1986 also served at that capacity for Garden State Park’s harness meets. Joe was always credited for creating the “Pace,” designing it to become the sport’s first million-dollar contest. Along with the Woodrow Wilson Pace, both events accomplished the goal.

The Adios Pace has always been more akin to the Little Brown Jug than to, say, the Meadowlands Pace or North America Cup. As far as sophomore-colt paces goes, the Adios traditionally attracts many lesser-accomplished members of the division than most Grand Circuit events. Some of these horses won the event and were never heard from again at the level of the race. In the 2000s alone, such winners included Dudes The Man, Alsace Hanover, Miles McCool, May June Character, Cactus Creek, Armbro Animate and Legacy Of Power. Remember any of them?

Speaking of glamour-boy pacers, Tall Dark Stranger, arguably the top in his division since his sterling Meadowlands Pace win, further exemplifies the oddity the Adios has become in the stream of the division’s big seasonal events. Tall Dark Stranger is nowhere to be found in the 21 Adios colts’ battle for a berth in the final. It has become the norm not to see the division’s major star(s) racing in the Adios and, as well, September’s Little Brown Jug.

Extraordinary Extras

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