Progress Pace Plus Delaware Stakes; Pick-3-4-5 Frenzy And Power Plays Presented

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November 30th, 2017

This is it. Entering December with the Progress Pace and some Delaware-sired finals at Dover Downs, the 2017 season is done—stakes-wise. TwinSpires harness fans know that the action continues throughout North America, defying any inclement conditions and our blogs will be up and posted regularly, continually on the hunt for the best values in overnight races. From Dec. 1 until the big pacers start their winter-stakes series in 2018, we focus on features of our own devise—plenty of action ensues.

Partners For Picks returns for a run at three layers of “Pick” wagers over five races at Saratoga on Friday. And the return of Power Plays hovers over Northfield with one-to-three single-race exotics for your choosing.

The weekly H2W (the horses-to-watch) list will intensify with suggestions, so do your own handicapping and then consider our H2W selections when playing any types of bets. Of course, be fully armed with a plentiful TwinSpires betting account.


The $308,060 Progress Pace final, on Nov. 30 at Dover, comes down to two horses, both conditioned by Brian Brown. In last week’s single elim, Downbytheseaside won easily as the choice over his stable mate Fear The Dragon. “Fear” was returning from a late-season illness which reared its ugly head at a crucial time of the season—the Breeders Crown—and tainted a sterling season.

Fear was sent off the clear second choice at 3-1 and finished 3 lengths behind “Down.” Sans the interruption in the colt’s sharp campaign so far, the elim would’ve been seen as a normal performance for Fear, considering his early brush and slight journey on the outside for the lead as a strong move that gave Down an advantage in the second half. However, considering the recent sickness and Brown’s decision not to call it a season after the “Crown,” the elim for Fear was a stupendous race that afforded Down the cover and the fractions to win so easily.

This is why we are again backing Fear The Dragon in the final. He will, no doubt, offer the thickest odds since we caught him first out as a soph in sires-stakes action at 4-1 early this season (3-1 last week was marvelous enough but it could be more in this race).

What’s more, we are going to back the laws of contradiction and keep Downbytheseaside out of what could become a terrific exacta. Take into consideration a good trip last week and a better one to come in this event from Western Joe. While the Brown duo sailed home one-two in the stretch, Western Joe made up ground when the other pacers seemed to have retreated. Here, Western Joe may suck along and be in the sweeping two that command the finish line, closing to nip Down just behind Fear as he wins.


The Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) finals present a quartet of $100,000 affairs for the state-sired freshman divisions. Here are our suggestions for those races on the same program as the Progress Pace, Nov. 30, at Dover.

Two-year-old filly trotters

Believe it or not, six of the finalists here are still maidens. This makes Vandalous, from the Callahan brothers Corey and Nicholas, a standout for the crowd. She is four for seven in the win column and the obvious choice of the masses. She will be challenged in the betting, though, from Star Sapphire and Deja Vu Blue, the field’s other top two earners. We have a contender in the maiden ranks—Alpine Chic. She has not won in eight starts but four of those starts included a pair of seconds and a pair of thirds. Shoe could be closing her frosh campaign with promise, breaking her maiden as she ages. Her sire, CR Commando, deserves attention among the dads of this field. 

Two-year-old colt trotters

Five maidens battle three winners in the DBSF colt version. Three of those five are products of CR Commando. The obvious top supported here will be Bosston Cruiser, who has won four of six. Close behind or tied will be Super Fly. Coming from post 8 is a chance for a contender that the crowd may overlook due to post and if they weigh speed badges. Brother Kenny has raced seven times, much of it on Harrington’s half-mile. He has been on the board five times with a single win and is the second-highest earner from the efforts. He could win without his best effort and pay well to boot.

Two-year-old filly pacers

Pedal Power and Gracefullyforgiven are the two obvious choices here. They leave the gate with top earnings from the most wins in the group. However, Go Sandy Go has won once and been second once in only two starts for trainer Josh Green and she may be tons better than the aforementioned now and through the coming sophomore season. The crowd will weigh heavily on the speed marks of the obvious duo but even on that factor alone we see Go Sandy Go is not short on speed and with only a few starts she may be a lot faster than she has shown in a mere two starts. 

Two-year-old colt pacers

The soon-to-be-glamour-boy pacers cap the DSBF features with eight on the gate. The huge choice should be Slick Tony, who has been at the wire 10 of 10 times, eight of them in first. A threat that may be overlooked by the investors comes from post 8. Transitioning Joy, from the Clyde Francis-George Teague, Jr. barn, has proven to be a prosperous earner among the DSBF troops. His seven races have produced three wins, two second, a third and only one off the board. His 8-hole start here will be judged too harshly, in our opinion, so count this one in and to pay well with a win.


Saratoga’s Pick 5 begins with Race 6 on Friday, Dec. 1. It is the subject of this week’s Partners For Picks (PFP) We suggest some outside contenders, as we foresee them, to use in a multi-race exotic (consider them for other bets, too). The inner workings of this Pick 5 include a Pick 4 that begins with Race 7 and a Pick 3 that begins with Race 8.

Leg 1; Race 6: Dream Ball has a tendency to try hard to be with the early few in the front but has struggled with others that have similar styles. His recent trio of events at this level is good, though they fall into that category. It is not out of the question, however, that here he gets the lead or a good spot in the top three, as he did on Nov. 24 (he was jammed on the inside) but this time shakes loose. That kind of performance opens the layered exotic stream with a strongly priced winner.
Leg 2; Race 7 (Pick 4): Dw’sblissfulthinkn returns to Saratoga from two near-impossible attempts in a higher level at the Meadowlands. Her Nov. 3 race pumped up an exacta when he finished second by a neck at 11-1 in this company and she has every right to race as well or better and upset this field. Also, though Norma Rei steps up, she seems insistent about taking a field wire to wire and deserves attention at the price.

Leg 3; Race 8 (Pick 3): Scratched at Yonkers on Nov. 20 after a strong second there at 84-1, Twin B Onaroll returns to Saratoga with some rest and a best-of-the-rest effort against the morning-line (ML) choice here (Gussy’s Dragon). She is a tough soph daughter of Roll With Joe that looks like she will be abandoned by the public.

Leg 4; Race 9: Carrickmannon N is most definitely the biggest threat here to the ML favorites. She may wind up better than her 4-1 prediction or could go the other way, depending upon how the betting public weighs her racing in Delaware. She was a dead-on choice when she lost here last week but the class factor of the ML favorites could let her go off a strong third choice, which would merit her value as a member of the exotic winners in this stream.

Leg 5; Race 10: With a ML of 20-1, West Liberty seems far underrated. She stepped up last time but given that and the 8 hole she could not compete. Before that she won at a lower level from the 8 hole and has won around this level against her own sex. She is an outside contender that could contribute much to any of the exotics in this three-multi-race-wager configuration. 


Northfield/ Race 11
Saturday, Dec. 2

It’s time to bring back another winter feature—Power Plays, for common wagers (win, place, show) and single-race exotics. We leave you to pursue which wagering types to make based on our four major contenders (four because the main exotic is a superfecta). At Northfield, the 11th race offers an exacta, trifecta and a 20-cent superfecta. Our contenders are listed in post-position order.

Becks Wood Place steps up from a pair of wins and may not be over her head moving into an Open II affair. She’s in the perfect spot to dart to the lead and control the fractions and should be among the top four even if she winds up short.

Nashville Nasty is too obvious to leave out of any exotic. As well, she has been earning her class hikes and will be gunning against the other speed-leavers with great intentions.

Giving boost to exotic prices, Sand Sonya should race far better than she did in a straight Open on Nov. 18, coming back to a comfortable group that is more like those she defeated on Nov. 11. She almost won the race before that, holding on for dear life to get second after a tough overland journey for three calls.

Another outsider bound to make a strong financial impression upon any one of the three exotics is Audrey Anna. Post 8 will turn off most bettors, even those who closely regard some of her recent lines. We won’t be fooled because coming from a conditioned affair around this Open II level, Audrey Anna has a style that will defy her 25-1 ML and the adversity attached to leaving from the outside on the Flying Turns.

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.


12/1/17, +Chilma R1; +Itsgoodtobeking R3; Mucho Macho Man R3; +Silverlode R6; +Don Lindy R7
12/2/17, +Deweydiddonegood R2; +Gene Eugene R3; +Surprisingly Sweet R5; +Hairway To Heaven R7

12/2/17, Sarandon Seelster R2; Zip The Lip R3; Outrageous Spirit R8

12/1/17, Erikas Luann R4; Aileron R9; Char N Marg R11

12/2/17, C’mon Buzz Off R1; Kiwi Ideal N R9; Gamblers Tale R10; Top Gear R12

12/1/17, +Lothario R1; +Iron Dome R1; Teasin N Pleasin R2; City Pie R6; Twist Of Fate R9
12/2/17, Mr Bailando R2

11/30/17, +VRs Honneysuckle ae R6

12/2/17, Bye Bye Felicia R10; +Raiders Lastchance R6

12/1/17, +Captain Terminator R1
12/2/17, +Hez So Foxy R9
12/1/17, +Red Dress Baby R4; +Haberdashery R6
12/2/17, PC Shockwave R7

22/30/17, NF Happenstance R10

11/30/17, +Perfect Mass R2

12/2/17, Makn Money Fast R4; +Gossip R10

12/2/17, +Shesa Writes Right R10
12/3/17, +Tylers Rendevous R11

11/30/17, Fool With Joe R9; Dance With Joe R1-
12/1/17, +Franschode R1

12/4/17, +Ocean Colony R6