Solid Plays For Busy Harness Agenda

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

April 30th, 2015

With the arrival of the Kentucky Derby comes the beginning of harness racing’s intense stakes season, streamed across North American tracks with Grand Circuit events that become the theaters for 2015’s star pacers and trotters. It’s a slow build up, with glamour boy and girl horses on both gaits drawing first blood as the freshman groups wait in the wings.

Kentucky Derby day is a great day all around for horseplayers, starting early and ending late. A lot of tracks are open with their own blends of live racing to complement simulcasting the big program at Churchill Downs.

We will cover some of the locals’ featured events, like another Meadows Maturity on a special Saturday program from Pittsburgh. There’s the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial from Pocono for older pacers (Pocono has a double-header with a card in the day and one at night).

Then, there’s a Grand Circuit Simpson Stakes at the Meadowlands for glamour-boy-and-girl pacers Friday and Saturday.

TwinSpires blog posts for the Hambletonian Trail, which follow great betting races that include eligible soph-colt-and-filly trotters as they fight their way to the trotting classics this August, is posted on its own here, beginning this week with the Dexter Final for boys and the Lady Suffolk for the girls from Freehold. Plus, we cover some Hambo-hunters at Pocono in the PA All Stars.

A slew of overnight action adorns the ovals and our exclusive horses-to-watch (H2W) list has again scanned for serious contenders that promise to profit your across-the-board/exotic. As well, TwinSpires teams with Hoosier Park again 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.


Soph-filly pacers meet in a Simpson Stake at the Meadowlands on May 1 and then colt pacers go in one on May 2.

The fillies line up in the $39,416l Simpson with a few debuting their soph seasons. Shipping in from Delaware is Totally Rusty, who has been sterling at two in Delaware and is three for three already at three. Ron Burke offers a pair and the better one, Happiness, leaves from post 8 in his debut after being three for six at two.

An improving gal is Chris Ryder’s Crescent City. Having been in the mix of the entire “Weiss” series at Pocono, she has the kind of style that may find a good opportunity to take advantage of this crew, since the best of them need a race over their qualifiers and could be short, especially if they are dueling for command at any quarter. Crescent City should offer a price worth backing in this early stage for the division.

Colts go on Saturday for $47,126. This is a platform for the highly touted Wiggle It Jiggleit, undefeated in five starts already this season and bound to be an overwhelming choice here. Right back after the big price we scored last week is Fast Movin Train. We feel he may be a strong presence in the division and will settle for a lot less than he paid last week, when we speculated he could be a second choice (he was 25-1). He was second to “Wiggle” in March and he should be better even if he doesn’t get the easy trip he got last week. If you want to try to beat Wiggle, go with Joe Holloway’s improving colt.
The Baron Boys

The Whata Baron Final ($54,200) is also on the Meadowlands’ program May 2. This is truly a tight affair, even though the wagering may not reflect it. We liked Ideal Cowboy in last week’s leg and he, like a few others in the leg won by rediscovery, had a long, hard trip. There is speed on the inside and it should be challenged early. There’s a great chance for a “Meadowlands shuffle” going into three-quarters and that could leave it wide open for Linda Toscano’s El Bloombito. He may be wide coming down the stretch but a clear path pacing down tired foes could get him there if he let’s the shuffle play out as he leaves from post 9. Ideal Cowboy could also be in that late charge, so consider him for exotics as well.

More Meadows Maturity

At the Meadows on May 2 there’s another round of the “Maturity,” this one for older males. Eight of them hit the oval for the best of $62,100. It’s a well-mixed bunch from various venues. Late-season soph-winner Gural Hanover, debuts his older campaign; Rose Run Parker is in from Hoosier territory (both of them are Burke-trained); Melady’s Monet is five for eight and the highest earner here; and Classicality has been extremely competitive.

But, fresh and bound to offer some cash is Tom Fanning’s Possessed Fashion. This well-bred guy has not been off the board this season in three races and could be a candidate for some fine across-the-board action, as well as exotics, which should inflate with his presence.

Van Rose Goes

The $50,000 Van Rose Memorial invited nine popular names, including the “Levy” winner Domethatagain, the flashy Modern Legend, Dancin Yankee and Beach Memories, Levy favorites that failed, now old-timer Bolt The Duer; four-year-old debut pacers All Bets Off and Luck Be Withyou and two lesser knowns.

Prices shouldn’t be so trusted here, since it is difficult to believe the public has a true sense of any horse’s ability in this field at this time. It’s a tough race to write a betting line, since even Dancin Yankee, who has not won in five starts this season, can coast on his favorite oval. As well, All Bets Off has no four-year-old credentials and the Levy winner needs a hot pace and the passing lane to cash a check. Or it could be as easy as Modern Legend commanding the pace from start to finish, putting a simpler but not outrageous scenario into play.

We will look for Luck Be Withyou to get a good early spot and shake loose to catch the burning speed at a price because after only one race it is possible he is raring to go and is, intrinsically, better than Domethatagain coming off of a pace.

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.


5/2/15, +Mr Nice Guy R7

5/2/15, +Terligua R4; +Ol Man River R12
Cal Expo
5/3/15, +Lexies Delight R7

5/2/15, American Passion R3; Sobia Hanover R5; Smilys Amira R6; Im A Wildcat R12

5/3/15, Lefty Malone R2; Captain Hazardous R3; War Chant R5; Upfront Cosmo R6; Burn The Floor R7; Kumu ae R9; Youre Away R10; Ideal Cash R12; Little Bit Faster R12

5/2/15, +Mommas Artist R6

5/1/15, American Ginger R11
5/2/15, +Maddysonofagun R4; +Skyway Billy R13; White Fish Flash R13

5/1/15, Dashing For Home R2; +Fox Valley Bobbijo R4; +TJs rocky R5; Powerful Pilot R8

5/1/15, +Someone Fameous R3; +Stirling Caprice ae R9
5/2/15, +Dance Life Well R1

4/30/15, St’s Frankie R6; Jds First Lady R9
5/1/15, Ohnoyoudidn’t R1 AE; Baby Kay R2; Upfront Miss Major R6; Yankee’s Lady R8; My Hare Lady R10; Tarport Belle R12
5/2/15, +Artist From Above R1; Cc Big Boy Sam R2; Regil Tiger R3; Conkers Conquest R3; Royal Outlook R4; Special Forces R4; Machinist R7

4/30/15, +Wakinyan R4; By A Noggin R9
4/30/15, +Igetagoodfeeling R3; R Journey Together R7; Jvz Dream R9; Desperate Crowds R13; Renata R14; Julias Song N R14; African Violet R15

4/30/15, +No Dialogue R6

4/30/15, Explodent R10
5/1/15, +Howaboutakiss ae R6
5/3/15, +Giant Slayer R5

4/30/15, Crocadile Canyon R2

5/2/15, Willy Mucha R5; +Jetta Dough R9;
5/3/15, +Best Glider R8; Prince Mayhem R9

5/2/15, Action Onelasttime R1; Ashleys Desire R4; Matts Delivery R5; Fearless Chip R10; Mcgreat R10
5/2/15, +Tricky Artist ae R7; +Starlets Toy R11
4/30/15, +All the Bettor R4
5/1/15, Sir Kensington R1
5/2/15, Bold Fresh ae R2; +Star Dancer R6

5/2/15, +Sweet Kix R3
5/2/15, Air-stewart R5; +Jk Panache R7; +Here Comes Thunder R9; Tarport Andy R12

5/1/15, +Flyhawk Rl Durado R2; Sody’s Moonshine R3; Dabunka R4; Delightful Dragon R5; +Palm Patrol R5; Be Pacific R9; Handsoffmycupcake R10; Canaco Star R11; Strings R11
5/2/15, Astor R2; The Lunch Pail R4; Dewycolorintheline R5; Bj’s Guy R6; +Polak A R7;  Moonliteonthebeach R8; Dream Out Loud N R10 

Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition.