The Wild, Wild Midwest Welcomes Powerful Pacers

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

August 13th, 2015

From the national focus in the east, where The Meadowlands pauses until November, harness racing shifts attention to the Midwest, in Indiana and Ohio.

Hoosier Park’s Dan Patch Invitational leads a parade of soph sires-stakes finals on Friday, Aug. 14 (froshes go on Saturday). Northfield presents soph-colt pacers, including Wiggle It Jiggleit, in the Carl Milstein Memorial on Friday.

See Dan Patch bonus at Hoosier from TwinSpires by clicking here.

Across North America, our harness racing horses to watch (H2W) pinpoints suggested contenders for across-the-board and –exotic wagering in overnight (and some local stakes, specifically two-year-olds) activity.

Specific attention will be given in the second half of the season to those horses racing their ways to glory and divisional championships. Starting next week an exclusive blog supplements our main presentation as we begin The Breeders Crown Countdown blog, in association with the classic event’s owners and operators, the Hambletonian Society. Stay tuned.
Carl Milstein Money

There is a $405,000 purse for glamour-boy pacers this year in Northfield Park’s Carl Milstein Memorial on Friday, Aug. 14. Desperately challenged Wiggle It Jiggleit steps onto Northfield’s four “Flying Turns” to regroup from losing the first jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, the Cane Pace. Three-quarters cooked “Wiggle” as driver Brian Sears on In The Arsenal pushed the division leader into a duel that cost both colts pay-off spots. Making this race interesting is the fact that a duel could again be in play and Wiggle may have his Achilles Heel kicked again.

North America Cup-winner Wakizashi Hanover, who defeated Wiggle off a strong ground saving trip, has the 8 hole in the “Milstein” and if he doesn’t leave sharply he will have to depend upon inside speed to tire Wiggle.

Available for dueling in the manner that “Arsenal” raced in the “Cane” are Go Daddy Go, Allbeef N Nobull and Rock N’ Roll World. The strategic pacer here is Lost For Words, who has been cashing checks in top events but is not known as a “giant killer.” Considering a prohibitive price on Wiggle and the possibility of dire challenges coupled with four turns, we like the chances of Lost For Words getting a super trip that steals the show, while “Wakizashi” must be considered an exotic element.

Of course, no duel, game off and Wiggle wins with ease.

Dan Patch Match

The $300,000 Dan Patch Invitational recycles a handful of pacers that competed in the US Pacing Championship on Hambletonian day a week ago, including Jk Endofanera, Foiled Again and Bettor’s Edge. The public’s choice of that triad will likely be Foiled Again after his strong on-the-front performance which resulted in a third-place finish. Overall, this race will likely play for a horse from off the pace, as Lyonssomewhere will likely try to win with his speed “shtick” and a sharp pacer like Jk Endofanera or Clear Vision could antagonize the definitive speed.

This scenario certainly makes Foiled Again appealing, as he prefers to race from off the pace. However, the best price of the closers will likely be “B-lister” Captive Audience, whose resume contains a sixth in the Ben Franklin Final and a third in the elimination. He has since been winning conditioned events at Pocono and, more recently, finished seventh against winners-of competition. He will need to be in the right place at the right time in order to execute a winning bid, but the payoff, in regards to the probability, would be worth it. 

Hoosier-Bred Battles

Indiana Sires Stakes (INSS) finals for sophomores are on the Dan Patch program, each with a $75,000 prize, on Friday, Aug. 14. These divisions are centered around some awesome dominating characters.

The fillies go first with 10 top state-breds leaving the gate. Nora Rockwell was flushed out in an elim last week at 3-1 after beating the best of the division on July 24. She may be the public choice here and deserve it, though it is hard to say how strongly she will turn up the top choice. Along the same lines, Can’t Touch Her could be a better price and has a good chance to be mistakenly ignored by the crowd. “Nora” beat her three back but “Touch” was still second, making a second move at Nora after breaking stride. Touch was 21-1 and should have been much lower considering her recent INSS performances.

Ten trotting fillies fill the next final’s field. Undefeated Churita will take all the win money trying for her ninth-straight sophomore victory. It seems dumb to bet on her or against her, except that Hermosa may be peaking at last this season and have a fighting chance here to end Churita’s skein. She won an elim three back, was buried at 37-1 in the final—won by Churita—and last week she was a dynamo from post 9, fooling no one in the crowd as she went off at 3-1. She should be higher than 3-1 here, which could pay off if she uses Churita as her cover.

Colt trotters also face an undefeated foe in Homicide Hunter. He has won all nine of his starts and will command the win pool. The question of an upset may lay in the steps of Tockn Stien. Though “Homicide” beat him three back, “Stien” came off of that and swept a consolation for fun. Then he got into this final in an impressive 10-hole mile that proved his versatility. If any of these can either improve enough or be the recipient of luck in an unpredictable situation to defeat Homicide, Stien can do it.

The colt-pacing final is outrageous. Consider that Freaky Feet Pete is six for seven and in his race last week the second choice was over 100-1 and his foes’ odds went up from there. The Big Year may challenge “Pete” but has not proved he can keep up with him in a duel. Perhaps he can suck along behind Pete and challenge him late but unless Pete’s feet become unfreaked [sic] it is hard to imagine a defeat for those feet. Could be worth a shot, though.

Saturday, Aug. 15, a quartet of frosh INSS finals hit the card at $75,000 eachwe begin our look at the four with the frosh colt trotters, 10 of them by some of the state’s top sires and many of them already top earners.

Jihah Bluegrass has been involved in all but two of his six starts and he is in a good spot to get a fine trip behind grinders on the outside and two maidens on the inside. He may sit behind Ron Burke’s Victor’s Hall and get the perfect trip; he should be the perfect price.

The filly trotters could feature an improving Naughty III. The daughter of Here Comes Herbie, a productive sire, has won half of her starts and been in the trio of finishers for the other pair. She should not be the public’s choice.

Filly pacers demand the attention to Shirleys Dream, a daughter of Dali having a great season and perhaps in this going on to win with a decent price against obvious top choice Ginger Shark.

Finally, the colt pacers’ field may be the most competitive, with good cases to make for any that have already broken their maiden. Although strapped with post 10, Dali Undaunted has a good deal of experience this season and displays a speed badge that fans will take too seriously. Look out for this one at a big price.

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.


8/14/15, Meet Me Tonight R1; +Outlaw Falcon R7
8/15/15, Lust R6; +Too Ideal R10

8/13/15, +Shock The Rock R11; Gramercy Hanover R12
8/14/15, +St Lads Coach R6; Oakrock Almighty R7

8/13/15, +Body Talk R1; Hey Dali R7
8/14/15, Next Thing Smoke N;  +Dilly Dali R13

8/13/15, +Sugar Scootin Babe R2

8/14/15, Promisemethis R6; Miss Liv R11

8/13/15, +Talkin Foolish R1

8/14/15, +Schmatie R6; +Delta Dawn Hanover R6

8/13/15, +Helaines Firebird R9
8/14/15, Niyama R8; Only In American R11

8/13/15, Hey Buddy Mac R2; All Day Ray R9

8/14/15, +Radar Contact R10
8/15/15, Deli Beach R8; +Moma Got A Gun R8; Bandolito R9; Fashion Creditor R13

Red Mile
8/13/15, Boogies Dream R1; +Sandys Candy R5;
8/15/15, Daggy R11; +Don’t Dali Around R12

8/15/15, Lews Maverick R4
8/16/15, +Gals Romeo R3

8/14/15, Shakin Friskie R1; Proud Yankee R2; Diamond Amber R3; Atlas Peak R8; Lady Julie R11

8/14/15, Winkys Gal R1; Steel Wheels R2; Dizzy Broad R7; Dame Edna R13

8/13/15, Lady Winona R6; Frou Frou R7
8/14/15, JC Kingdom R5
8/15/15, +Deweycolorintheline R8

Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition.