Sunset On Stakes Season; Hit And Miss At Dover Matrons; $13 Win Topper; 38 Percent Hit The Board

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

November 11th, 2018


Post-Breeders Crown territory is wide and cold. In deep November the season’s stakes program shrinks to only a few six-digit events. More two-year-olds were featured in the Matron finals, the traditional follow-ups to the Breeders Crown. Dover Downs is the host track for three-year-old divisions next. The Meadowlands has the Fall Final Four to bring in December (see weekly preview blogs) and get ready for the annual stats on winners and TwinSpires’ Players Horse of the Year.

Here are the results and some brief notes on our successes and failures from the weekend past.

Thursday, Nov. 8

Three of the four freshman Matron finals at Dover were betting races.

We nailed one of them, the colt pace, with Blood Money ($8.00, $4.20, $3.80. There was another pace for the fillies. In that wefinished third with Renaissance Lady K ($6.60) as the favorite failed and two 5-1 shots completed the exacta.

The single trot, for fillies, was won by the favorite, a Breeders Crown alumni, while we were a poor sixth with Starita (21-1), who also failed in the “Crown.”

Saturday, Nov. 10

At the Meadowlands there were two Garden State events for frosh trotters. In the filly event ($55,000) the crowd went along with us to make our choice the favorite. However, Evident Beauty ($2.60, $2.40) was beaten by a 4-1 shot.

Our hopes for Divine Spirit (15-1) were high, as were his odds, as the field lined up for the colt trot but there was never a hope as the gate opened and the colt jumped. He never recovered and finished sixth. The favorite also failed and the race was won by a 7-1 shot.

TwinSpires Harness Blog:
Severe Handicapping For Harness Bettors


The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas listed are included when a H2W horse finishes second with a race favorite or the first two finishers making up the exacta are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete a cold exacta). The note “ok” determines that prices published are correct even when a show price exceeds a place price or any or all of the prices are the same. This week, there were 48 active horses (a 17-percent win hit rate and a 38-percent ATB [in the money] hit rate).

Please note that some H2W results reflect win, place, show and exotic results occurring by press time but some horses race after the blog is posted (we list them the following week) It is up to you to follow horses that have not performed before this weekly review


Piece Of The Rock, $13.60, $5.00, $3.80, Freehold
Magnum Mike, $6.40, $5.00, $3.00, Meadowlands
Take A Wish, $5.80, $3.40, $2.80, Meadowlands
Always The Sun, $4.80, $3.40, $2.40, Dover
Ideal Rocky, $4.00, $2.80, $2.10, Pocono
Clear Idea, $3.60, $2.20, $2.50 ok, Saratoga
Gwally, $2.90, $2.50, $2.10, Batavia
Don’t Think Twice, $2.70, $2.20, $2.10, Yonkers


Brooklyn Flight, $6.80, $4.20, Meadows
Tag Up And Go, $5.20, $3.60, Plainridge
Voom Or Bang, $3.60, $2.80, Hoosier
Hard Cold Cash, $3.40, $2.80, Dayton
Bonamassa, $3.30, $2.80, Saratoga
Limelight Beach, $3.20, $2.80 (Exacta $18.80), Pocono
Call Me Queen Be, $2.40, $2.10 (Exacta $12.40), Yonkers

Commentary, $4.00, Pompano
Annie OK, $3.20, Plainridge
Thecrowdiswatching, $2.10, Flamboro

News & Notes

As you may have made note from the H2W on Nov. 6, harness racing is going again at Cal Expo in Sacramento, Cal.  The opener was a 12-race program featuring two $7,000 Open paces, which are good purses for the only West Coast harness racing venue. The first post for racing is 6:10 p.m. (Pacific) and beginning next week there is racing on Friday and Saturday evenings. New at this meeting will be the Single 6, a 10-cent wager with a unique serial number jackpot winner. There will be 50 percent going to the consolation pool and 50 percent to the jackpot.

The Meadows announced changes for its daily Pick-4 and -5 wagers that began Saturday, Nov. 10. The Meadows no longer will offer pool guarantees for each Pick-4 and -5 wager. Instead, the track, in association with the United States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering Program, will offer a $5,000 total-pool Pick-4 guarantee on Mondays and Tuesdays. While there will be no scheduled Pick-5 guarantees, the Meadows may add “instant” Pick-4 and -5 guarantees when pools are carried over. Each program at the Meadows features a Pick-4 (races four-seven), a Pick-5 (final five races) and a Super Hi-5 (final race).

Stay Hungry, winner of the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes among his achievements at three, is leaving competition. He is scheduled to stand at stud for the 2019 breeding season. Hanover Shoe Farms officials said the 2017 frosh Colt of the Year will breed at their Pennsylvania farm in 2019. The son of Somebeachsomewhere, Stay Hungry won the Breeders Crown at two in an award-winning freshman campaign that predicted he would be the top soph of 2018. However, that forecast was thwarted by a strong soph crop with colts that hammered Stay Hungry, including Courtly Choice, Dorsoduro Hanover and Lather Up. Still, Stay Hungry earned over $1.3 million from his two seasons of competition for trainer Tony Alagra.

The proposed “Red Mile Million,” (RMM) a race for frosh trotters with a $100,000 buy-in and a $1-million purse, won’t be presented in 2019 as hoped due to a conflict in scheduling.The owners of the Red Mile, the Hambletonian Society and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission wanted the new race as a centrepiece of the richest day in Kentucky harness racing, highlighted in league with a breeding, racing and sales upswing in the Bluegrass State. The RMM is seen as a natural accompaniment to the $2-million Kentucky Sire Stake (KYSS) finals in late September—Grand Circuit week. The track opted to race KYSS finals on Sept. 15 to avoid conflict with Grand Circuit stakes races. John Campbell, president of the Hambletonian Society, said planning for the RMM aims for “the best date and scenario for all the stakeholders involved.”

From our “We-Told-You-So” department, all battles between McWicked and Aussie-import Lazarus N are over because McWicked was always a better and more sound older pacer. We get bragging rights not just because McWicked trounced his rival in the Breeders Crown but because of the announcement that Lazarus N will stand stud in 2019. Retirement should be a relief for the transplanted Aussie “Wonder” whose USA campaign went asunder by facing McWicked. Still, Lazarus N—the richest pacing stallion in Australasian history, retires with a lifetime summary of 37-8-4 from 51 starts and more than $3.1 million in earnings.

Extraordinary Extras

Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.

And check my monthly column, Alternative Actions, at Harness Racing Update