Stakes High In Canada; Dueling For Division Dominance Plays For Profit

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June 2nd, 2016

June already sizzles, as forecasters promises one of the hottest summers in a long time. Pacers and trotters of all ages and of both sexes are not concerned. The stakes season is starting to sizzle all its own.

Aside from a stream of sires stakes for three-year-olds, trotters on the Hambletonian Trail and pacers facing another top event for their division, the older set moves north for more Graduate divisions. Check the Hambletonian Trail blog, exclusively brought to you by TwinSpires and the Hambletonian Society, for the soph trotters and read on as we cover the rest of the action.
On the menu as well as features, the TwinSpires harness blog’s most popular features, the horses-to-watch list (H2W) aims to deliver more prices and exotic partners across the board. Ask anyone following harness racing for top wagering opportunities and you will hear that no other handicapping sources in print or on line deliver as many wins, places, shows and exotics as the  H2W list. Always consider H2W horses when constructing your wagers.


Friday, June 3, three-year-old fillies bred in the Empire State (NYSS) are split into three divisions of $58,000-plus miles at Saratoga Harness.

The first split has only five glamour girls and a favorite forecast for Mother Of Art from post 1. Ron Burke sends that one and Encore Deo. Value in this short field could be eluding handicappers due to Burke’s duo but this is a good place for a non-winner of one this season to pop. Such is Ideal Fantasy, who has twice been in the top three in four starts and is easy to gauge as the best here.

Six go in the second NYSS mile, with a huge public choice on tap—Soft Idea. Burke has two others in here, attracting more win money. But Wishy Washy Girl looks every bit as good as the obvious attractions and will offer far more for the task of winning.

Episode three also features a sextet of femmes and another obvious top choice, also from the Burke barn, Dime A Dance. Again, as in split one, and also from the Steve Elliott contingent (as is our choice in the second NYSS above), an outsider should be considered a contender while offering a good price. This is Major Millie, who is only in her second battle this season, which may not at all be representative of her talent. Go for her.


High-profile soph-colt pacers glamorize the afternoon program at the Meadows on June 4 with lucrative Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) stints. With over $80,000 on the line in each PASS, the talent is deep and improvement for any would be no surprise.

Round one presents eight big entries, three from the Burke barn and five ready to take his trio on with good reason. Burke’s best here is Check Six, winner of his first four starts as a sophomore. But four-straight at this time of the season is not truly enough to make this guy a huge favorite. Jimmy Takter’s Western Fame has been at the wire four of five times (two of them wins) and should be bent on beating the Burke boys. As well, I’m Some Graduate sped defiantly to his season’s start with a win and may be showing the kind of talent this month that brings down his price next month. Here, we will take I’m Some Graduate, as his price should exceed what Takter’s colt offers.

Round two has eight with similar credentials to each other and another trio from Burke. Of the trio, Fernando Hanover, tagged with the 8 hole, could be the best and the value play (at press time we don’t know if Burke’s trio is coupled).

The Meadows’ most popular driver, Dave Palone, is listed driving two but if his decision is Adrian Hanover, he will be the reason fans deliver heavy support. Although the colt deserves to be a contender, Palone’s participation may bring the price too low for play. Watch for Palone’s choice, it will have some affect on the odds.

All things being equal, a bargain in the bunch may become Western Dynasty, a speedball whose qualifying mark is faster than any win mark in the field. Even with a Burke entry of three, this Chris Ryder-trained blueblood should be the best bet and may be the murderer of the mile for the rest.


The hugely popular soph colt stake named after the champion pacer and sire Somebeachsomewhere, attracted 19 colts and had to be split into a pair of $75,000 fields, which will be on Saturday, June 4’s program at Mohawk. These miles, formerly known as the Burlingtons on the Grand Circuit, are preps to create the North America Cup elims on June 11. Only two are not eligible to qualify for the $1-million race’s elims.

In the first episode, we hope the crowd will lean into Betting Line for local Casie Coleman. Betting Line opened his soph season in conditioners to pave his way to the “Cup,” and was second and first in the two he has raced. Last year he won an Ontario-bred Super Final and was fourth in the Breeders Crown—enough to satisfy the public.

Tony Alagna’s duo—Voracity and American Passport—should both go well and should be contenders all the way to the “Cup” final. We liked Voracity at two and like him over his stable mate here. He certainly showed enough to rank as an even better earner as a sophomore. This race could prove he is on his way to a productive stakes season in the division.

The second episode features the Cup winter-favorite (last year’s Metro Pace winner), Control The Moment. He was monstrous at two, having to be burdened along a trip for any other frosh to get near him. He makes his debut in this stakes, which is a confident move for his connections. With expectations so high, we can only look for a giant-killer entry, hoping “Moment” will need a race to understand his new division.

There are candidates to beat Moment. Alagna’s Highlandbeachycove is looking for his third-straight soph win and from post 9 will have to save some mighty ground if Moment is prepared to pace big. From a speedy win in his division at Pocono, Lyons Snyder may try to steal this and if he and Moment get into a face off, Alagna’s colt could be super off the pace. That’s what we like, for the price and the pace probabilities are strong. So we take Alagna colts in both divisions. 


The pacer-and-trotter series for four-year-olds moves north to Mohawk, adding to the stakes-filled program June 4 with two races, each worth $98,250.

First on the bill is the trotting field of 11. After his first loss in 11 races, Musical Rhythm returns home (the first Graduate leg was at the Meadowlands). Canadians are loyal sports fans, so expect this one not to be penalized in the pools for losing in New Jersey. Speaking of losing, Canepa Hanover has been restless at four so far but Jimmy Takter still has expectations for him. So do we, especially here, where his true class could show. We’d hook him up with Honor And Serve, who was third as our choice when 7-1 at the Big M.

The seven Graduate Series pacers include Freaky Feet Pete, who suffered a long trip on the half-mile at Northfield to lose two positions as Wiggle It Jiggleit set an event mark. But here, he should be no surprise to dominate. Certainly, if a second choice comes down to Dudes The Man, who “Pete” towers over, the exotics could salvage a play with a good exacta with Pete as the key. We would partner Rockin In Heaven for the place spot, staying away from Burke’s entries and “Dudes.”


Four $100,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) finals for sophomores are on the Meadowlands’ program June 4. The trotters are covered in our Hambletonian Trail blog, while here we will analyze the fields for the pacing colts and the fillies.

There are six sharp soph colts in the battle to share the six digits and two of them will beshowered with bets. Don’tcallmefrancis and Boston Red Rocks are the wealthiest, respectively, and the latter is getting all the ink (he won the frosh-colt award in ’15). In both legs we had Katies Rocker, who did better than expected to get to the final. He can certainly improve more and be in the picture. However, Ideal Rocky could be on fire in this event, only his second of the new soph season. As an outside contender, he could be an enormous overlay and put a surprise number on the toteboard if he pushes all of his buttons and paces with aplomb.

The fillies go next, with seven arguably matched evenly at this juncture of the season and certainly within the boundaries of the fading New Jersey-bred. It takes no talent to choose to back Blue Moon Stride and if you do you will be rewarded lightly for a win. One of the outside contenders is a filly we backed last week, who was fifth at 43-1. Mymegarichmothrnilo never deserved such a dismissal and here will race better than her odds. Also raring to upset, though she will be backed well, is JK Fannie, who has not been off the board yet in her four starts and is sitting on another win. Eliminating the top two and going with this pair will produce a magnificent return in odds order and/or reversed. It’s a bold but promising decision. 

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.


6/3/16, American Terror R3
6/4/16, +Electric Mayhem R8

6/3/16, +Flashy Trick R3

6/3/16, Kim Chee R2; Four Feathers R5; Outlaw Goodnready R8
6/4/16, +Cassea R3; +Phoenician Gal R4; +Chillinlikeavillin R5; Mystery Affair R10

6/2/16, +Thunderaway R6
6/4/16, Female Finesse R6

6/2/16, +Parklane Indy R10

6/2/16, Stickem Buck R8
6/4/16, +Bombs For All R4

6/3/16, +Granite State R2; +Alaric R4; Arabella J R5
6/4/16, Galactic Galleon N R7; +Mel Mara R11

6/4/16, +Buddha Blue Chip R4; +JJ Flynn R11; +Yankee Artillery R12

6/3/16, Barockey R5; Caulfield R6; Irish Scotch R8; Business As Usual R9; Hot Chica Boomba R11
6/4/16, +Divas Image R3; Nvestment Bluechip R6; Wazzup Wazzup R10; Mach Pride R11; His Boy Elroy R11

6/2/16, +Always Rights R2; Circle M Director R4
6/6/16, Beaches De Vie R2; +Artmagic R8

6/4/16, +Auf Wiedersehen R14

6/3/16, Tormented Princess R7
6/5/16, +National Seelster R6; First Ofitskind R13

6/2/16, +Medoland J R3; +Extreme Justice R5; Magic Spice R9

6/4/16, +Windsong Jack R4; +Verdad R4; Arsenal R7; One Bad Night R8

6/5/16, Powerful Madison R7; Real Passing Lady R11

Running Aces
6/4/16, Sounion R2; SB On My Honor R3; Midnight Destroyer R10

6/2/16, Red Cash R10
6/3/16, Glow Boat R9

6/5/16, Giddylicious R2; Ianthe Hanover R2; +Body Guard R9

6/4/16, +Tempster Hanover R2

6/4/16, Gold Star Spike R2; One Way To Win R4; Shawnee Magic R10
6/5/16, +Hunchie R5; +An Officers Duty R6; Energy Shakes R12

6/2/16, Cantaba R3
6/3/16, +Sweet Ashley T R2

Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition