Pocono Parades Stakes Elims With Leading Pacing And Trotting Stars In Combat Again

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

June 22nd, 2017

Another big stakes program is in the works, beginning on June 24 at Pocono Downs, as top sophs and older pacers and trotters line up for eliminations that decide the final fields of the James Lynch, Max Hempt and Ben Franklin stakes.

Among the elim miles included that night at Pocono are the eliminations for the Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial for soph trotters (featuring a top filly among the boys) storming down the Hambletonian Trail. Our TwinSpires-exclusive blog by the same title analyzes all of the races involving possible candidates for the August-classics, honing in on great wagering opportunities.

We continue, also with our Freshmen Frolic section, where we sensationalize on the early two-year-old races around the continent.

More hot contenders from overnights around North America appear in our weekly H2W (the horses-to-watch) list, a great tool 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.


The three $20,000 elimination events for the James Lynch at Pocono on June 24 are not easy races for estimating chances of the soph-filly pacers involved. The obvious well-known gals on the division’s stakes trail are going to be bet far more than they should, considering some of the entrants that have not been visible in top national events thus far this season are perky pacers and can make strong impressions in this event, as well as the final.

In the first elim the inside two posts harbor the obvious pair for the public—Tequila Monday and Idyllic Beach. It was hard to believe the latter was not the Fan Hanover favorite; that status went to the former. They will be at each other’s throats here, while another contender, Pittstop Danika, will take to the inside or outside for a stretch charge. Ron Burke’s rising performer won at 20-1 stepping up at the Meadows and deserves a shot here at a high price for a Burke entry.

In round two there is a tight field of six, opening up another upset possibility, as fillies from the Fan Hanover get top attention. Though she should be one of the top three choices, Misqued looks best over the favorites. We nabbed her winning a New Jersey Sires Stake (NJSS) Final where she was worth the near 4-1 mutuel. She should rule this group late on the inside, most likely.

The third “Lynch,” another tight six-filly field, is also up for grabs. Our sharp second with Agent Q in the Fan Hanover puts this gal, from post 1, into the favorite spot here, with the gal that beat her by a nose, Bettors Up, as the second choice. But Caviart Ally, who we got for third in the Lismore Final, looks like a sparkling choice here. As we continue to watch the Noel Daley barn for winners at good prices, Caviart Ally may come into that category, even if it is a low-double-digit return.

Glamour-boy pacers hit the fast five-eighths path in the Pocono mountains on June 24 at “The Downs” for elims in the Max Hempt Memorial. Missing from the elims is Huntville. In round one, the unbeaten Every Way Out, from a NJSS final and a recent winning qualifier, should be the choice at prohibitive prices. Blood Line, from post 1, should be the second choice. That leaves us with a price coup by supporting Air Strike. Joe Holloway’s gelding raced only twice at three so far but comes from a frosh season as tough as most here. He may make his statement best getting into the final with a great mile here.

Division two marks the return of Fear The Dragon, certainly our hero from the season’s start and here his only challenger may be Summer Side, the Ray Schnittker barn co-star to Huntsville. We warned everyone that he may be as good at three as Huntsville, then he woke up and now he faces “Fear” with the best-of-the-rest status.

The third split features Downbytheseaside favoritism among the sextet. They will have to be on his tail or challenge strongly and a few here will explore those routes and try to upset. Photobombr Hanover, Highalator and the N.A. Cup consolation winner Eddard Hanover could provide challenges for the lead early and offer a shuffle, all of which will give a slight edge to Heaven’s Gait, who may get second-choice status anyway. Left to pick up pieces, be there pieces to pick up is Jo Ann Looney-King’s Donttellmeagain. If he is buried inside early he may find the lightning lane in the stretch a pathway to a big price.


Older pacers qualify for the final of the Ben Franklin Free For All with a trio of $35,000 elims on June 24. The first elimination is a balanced field with a dangerously improving Shambala, who from post 7 should offer a good price. He has been racing with a bit better and from the outside may be able to capture the remaining seconds of this mile from Boston Red Rocks and Check Six, a pair that continually under-performs. Shambala is zero for four but his fourth-place finish in the Mohawk Gold Cup (MGC) was a red flare for value hunters.

The second elim brings out the fans of McWicked, who has successfully altered his front-pacing style at six to please his fans again after a win in the MGC. But this is also the return of Freaky Feet Pete, now six, and just about the lone speed of this crew, no less the most successful Midwestern-bred horse to pace well in national affairs. The crowd may dismiss his first race of the season but it looks like the rest of the field will be chasing him and that may give him an edge and the bettor an edge.

Ending the “Ben” elims is another seven-horse field with questionable measurements. Speed from the inside is Mel Mara (morning-line choice), with one challenger on paper for the engine, Luck Be Withyou from post 7, unless Rockin Ron decides to make an early pace of it. And what happened to Wakizashi Hanover in Canada that made him walk around the mile watching seven foes all the way as the dead-on choice? This could be a good race to once again back Sunfire Blue Chip, who has been doing well on half-miles in his last two stakes and could find the path to victory here at a good price. 


Two-year-old races at the beginning of each season are the most difficult events for handicappers to forecast winners, no less value. Every season’s start for us means extra work on sire productivity, so we can make wise wagers in freshman races. If you handicap the races below, be sure to respect those listed as contenders.

June 22
Hoosier, Igotallnet R11
Hoosier, Ajs Pearl, R4
Hawthorne, JBs Shooting Star R5
Saratoga, Bonamassa, R1
Saratoga, Ronnie Goldstein R5

June 23
Saratoga, Whosjoedaddy R2
Vernon, Ladydini R1

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.


6/23/17, Buckeye Badler R10

6/24/17, +Eachyahartout R6; +Maradona R10; Motor Shark R10
6/25/17. Cedar Dunes R4

6/24/17, Ashlynn Grace R4; Cardinal Rule R7

6/24/17, +Chinook Wins R1

6/23/17, Just Fred R6; +Pancetta R10
6/24/17, Arts-rockstar R5

6/22/17, +Rock Proof R9

6/24/17, +Dinner At The Met R2; +Musical Rhythm R3; +Mohawk Warrior R4; +Traceur Hanover R6; +Regal Son R11

6/24/17,Got It Good R2; Pistol Pearl R3; Diva Dejarmbro R7
6/26/17, Southwind Torque R11

6/22/17, Pei Pei R1

6/22/17, +Fusion Power R9; +Lightning Storm R9
6/23/17, +Reigningblackswan R8

6/22/17, Gambler Springs R6
6/23/17, Tumblin Dice R5; +Silvia Dante R8

6/24/17, +Great Vintage R8
6/25/17, Manhattan Beach R12

Running Aces
6/24/17, Eccentric R3; Greybeard R4; Tame The Dice R5

6/22/17, Delightful Joe R4

6/22/17, Better Get Tipsy R8
6/25/17; PH Powerplay R10

6/22/17, +Consolidator R11
6/23/17, +I’m Gorgeous R12

6/24/17, Rose Run Rudi R5; Sweet Thing R7

6/24/17, American Force R10

6/23/17, +Sweet Talkin Satin R1