Pocono Sun Stakes Saturday In The Spotlight

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July 2nd, 2015

This holiday weekend we begin on Friday, July 3 with our features, on the East Coast at the Meadowlands and in the Midwest at Northfield.

Pocono Downs’ annual Sun Stakes Saturday sparks the Fourth of July with explosive finals and top-class affairs for sophomores and older pacers and trotters. Qualifying horses from last week’s eliminations line the track for the big purse awards.

The Hambletonian Trail blog at TwinSpires covers the glamour-boy trotting colts at Pocono on Sun Stakes Saturday. The exclusive blog covers all events for Hambo hopefuls (soph-colt-and-filly trotters). There are great betting races for these classic divisions as they fight to make it to the second weekend in August to race in the classics. This week we debut our own Top 10 Hambletonian contenders. It’s all exclusive, extended coverage from TwinSpires and the Hambletonian Society.

Live contenders, many at great prices, can be found, as usual, in our horses-to-watch (H2W) list. Hot across-the-board/exotic action deserves your attention when you look through the list. Don’t miss out on exclusive probabilities from our personal files.

TwinSpires also continues to team with Hoosier Park for another season of player perks. Click here to check it out. A spring special offers free harness past performances through June. Click here to take advantage of the deal.

Graduate Nighthawks

In this $250,000 Graduate Final at the Meadowlands, the Friday, July 3 feature, nine raging four-year-old pacers, some more familiar than others, face the biggest purse of 2015 thus far.

Steve Elliot trains the two horses to beat here, who start from posts 1 and 2 respectively: Rockeyed Optimist and Doo Wop Hanover. The latter is looking for a series sweep off a world-record performance at 1 1/8 miles, while Rockeyed Optimist is aiming to defeat his stable mate. The two will be heavy public choices.

Meanwhile, All Bets Off deserves a second chance. He hanged in his stretch rally going 1 1/8 miles after coming from the back of the field but he finished third. After that performance, he shipped to Yonkers, where he was fifth in an Open Handicap from post 7. He should get a better trip here and have more left in the stretch due to this event going the standard mile distance.

Classic Trotters

The new Cleveland Trotting Classic goes off Friday, July 3 at Northfield Park with a purse of $170,000. Twenty-two veteran trotters bought into the event, which offers eight of them.

Off of the Graduate win we gave you last week, Obrigado is the morning-line choice. DW’s NY Yank could benefit in price from that and may take control of this mile. The four-turn Yonkers mile was always good to him and certainly trainer Ron Burke knows he could be a whip here. Trotters from the 5 post out are going to have to hope for some unfortunate, no less unpredictable circumstances to win. Only Burke’s other horse, Count Me In, from the rail, has a chance to save ground and move late but even then only for a whisker win.

Max Hempt Final

Here we go again as the glamour-boy pacing colts chase Wiggle It Jiggleit and how they hold up, save ground and tackle traffic decides the winner of the $55555555 Max Hempt Final. After last week’s elim win, “Wiggle” will get the top-public spot in the betting, making this look a lot like the North America Cup. But wait, there are a few other things to consider.

Wiggle must contend with two major threats and both should be generous offerings. Of course, Artspeak will be a bigger danger than he was in the “Cup.” His elim win was filled with attitude. But in the mix here is Lost For Words, whose second-place finish against Cup-winner-and-now-horse Wakizashi Hanover, was nothing less than sterling.

“Wakizashi” and Artspeak will take a few bucks from Wiggle’s action but Lost For Words (LFW) will not get the attention he deserves. In his elim last week, LFW soared from fifth with a 5-length brush to first by the half and was leading on the outside of Wakizashi until he cleared and gave that one the cover that has won him most miles. He is the big danger and probably the colt offering the best price for his chances. We’ll take him with Artspeak for the top two finishers with prices in mind.

In the $75,000 consolation, we are going with Allbeef N Nobull, who we had last week in one elim. Buried on the inside and shut out of any room to close late, we can toss that race out and give him a shot at being in the mix based on the seven starts before that mile.

Fillies Pace For Profit

The soph fillies take flight in the James Lynch Final. This is a group that has become ultra-competitive since Jk Shesalady’s tough debut at three. With her out of the picture, this $300,000 affair could make a veteran bettor drool like a novice holding his first double-digit ticket. This is why we are enamored with Deli Beach.

Aside from the fact that we have been watching her improve through the early season, Deli Beach performed the best of all three elims last week when she ate up real estate from post 6 to finish third at 9-1. Brett Bittle’s filly was strong from start to finish and is peaking at the right time—when the big money is on the line.

The probable favorites each won with easy trips and may be too arrogant with their speed, which will only serve Deli Beach, who is bound to get an inside spot early and still have the benefit of the inside passing lane late if needed.

In the $50,000 consolation, Ideal Nuggets will be blasting from the gate in an attempt to steal the fractions but Southwind Roulette will be taking advantage right behind her and should roll late for her first win of the season, priced better, of course, than the obvious.

Ben Franklin(s)

Pocono’s Saturday card also features free for all pacers in the $500,000 Ben Franklin Final and its $75,000 consolation.

The consolation will bring together seven pacers, all of which will be attempting to beat the likely public choice Dancin Yankee. This pacer has proven his talent time and time again but that he is also beatable. We will hopefully take advantage of the public burning money with another top-notch pacer starting from post 1: Dapper Dude. He showed pace late in the elimination last week but was overtaken by a stampede of pacers and just missed making the final. He will not be an extravagant price but he will, likely, be value.

With an impressive off-the-pace rally in his elimination, State Treasurer became the early choice in the “Franklin” finale. He has been among the more consistent aged pacers this season and will definitely be tough to beat. However, Dynamic Youth showed a ton of promise in his elim, finishing second after venturing around the final turn first over. He powered to the lead in late stretch but was overtaken by State Treasurer in the final strides. If this gelding can sit a covered trip, he’ll likely have plenty left in the tank, especially since this race sets up to be fairly fast due to Luck Be Withyou drawing post 9.

Sun Stakes

A special $75,000 Invitational, the Sun, is in the middle of the Pocono program. The Open event for older trotters marks the return of Sebastian K, who broke the all-time world mark for trotters in last year’s Sun Stakes program. The international champion was on a tear early last season and then trotted out of gas, coming up short again and again before exiting the scene.

In his first start of 2015 he takes on Hot Shot Blue Chip, who returns for the second time after attempts at stud, as well as Daylon Miracle (not off the board in 14 starts). The ultra-hot JL Cruze, 13 wins for 15 starts this season, including two dismissals of Father Patrick (who is not here), is among the seven on board. Gural Hanover and the mare Classic Martine join My Love Bi to make up the field.

It’s safe to forecast a favorite with JL Cruze and it is not safe to either go with or dismiss Sebastian K. “Hot Shot” makes all estimations more difficult because he can set fire to an oval. Perhaps that’s the key? Too much speed actually gives the mare a better shot at a big upset. If the speed scenario holds up, JL Cruze can still win but Classic Martine, close ahead or behind him, would make for a sharp exotic either way.

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.


7/4/15, Kimmie Can R3; +Lifeontherange R4

7/4/15, Cobble Beach R1; +China Dream R4
7/3/15, +Final Say R5; +Too Ideal R8; +Meet Me Tonight R8
7/4/15, +Promise We Can R1; +Karate King R5; +Double L Fab R6; +My Boss R8

7/2/15, Union Dues R5
7/4/15, Smiley Bayama R7

7/2/15, +Indy Rocker Girl R4; +Rever Ever R12; +Hoponit R14
7/4/15, +Chip Again ae R10

7/3/15, +Iron R8
7/4/15, Hanover Belle R6

7/3/15, +Massive Winner R2; +Posey Tina R3; +Tune In R5

7/3/15, Riverofroyalty R10

7/2/15, Milano Grande R11
7/3/15, Emotional Blast R14

7/2/15, +Sailors Fortune ae R5

7/3/15, +Red Feather R10

7/2/15, Its Chocolate Time R6
7/2/15, +Briefly R9

7/3/15, Cedar Dunes R4; No Gin R9

7/2/15, Count DeMonet R1
7/3/15, +Mysticole Maggie R1; +Crystal Sphere R2

7/3/15, Ginobili R2; Trottin Trice R4; Fox Valley Spencer R8


7/3/15, +Perfectly Royal R4; +Your Beautiful R7
7/4/15, Keystone Real Deal R4; +Doc’s Bonanza R9; +Bettor’s Choice R9; Suncapade R16

7/4/15, +I Saw Red R5

7/2/15, Freetime R9; Just That R10
7/3/15, +Giamocotti R3

Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition.