Two Of Four Matron Hits With $17 Best W; $35 Winner At Cal-Expo Opener; 51 % In-The-Money Finishers

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November 18th, 2018

Dover finished off the Matron Stakes with sophomore finals and the Meadowlands had three elimination events for the Fall Final Four, which will be the main feature races in our Nov. 22.

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

Thursday, Nov. 15

A pair of surprises arose in the Matrons for sophomores, one which we forecasted.

In the filly trot we leaned on two outsiders, including the winner Custom Cantab ($17.80, $6.20, $3.20) Our other possibility, Impinktoo (19-1), broke, finishing seventh. The favorite finished third.

We suggested either a pass or a player’s personal value judgment in the colt trot due to the dominance of Six Pack ($3.00, $2.60, $2.10), mostly because we trust the players following our advice. The only odd element of the race was the fourth-place finish of Met’s Hall.

We could not beat the huge favorite in the filly pace, nor could our contender beat five others. Dance Blue (19-1) finished seventh.

The strangest of the Matrons was the glamour-boy pace. Everyone’s favorite, Lather Up (4-5), rolled on the outside in an attempt to catch second-choice Jimmy Freight, whose early foot gave him the lead, as the two sizzled to a :54.4 half. The result was a fade-out that found him last to the finish line. Ultimately, the top three choices tanked to a pair of longshots taking advantage of the blazing half.

Saturday, Nov. 16

At the Meadowlands we did our usual hunting for favorite-slaying freshmen in the three Fall Final Four elims. Were it not for the relentless galloping of Divine Spirit (40-1) in one of the two colt trots, we would have had a good chance to beat the favorite, who finished third to a 6-1 shot. Even after supporting the colt for three failed events, Divine Spirit could emerge a sharp sophomore for trainer Brett Pelling, who, if he remains the conditioner, will school the Father Patrick colt so he could get onto next year’s Hambletonian Trail with beau-coup chances of being a major participant.

A 10-1 shot upset the second colt-trot elim, racing as we thought our contender, Union Forces (26-1) may have raced.

Completing our disastrous streak, the sole Governor’s Cup elim was won by a horse we had a few races back in the H2W, Mangogh. Our hopes for Duddie’s Lor (34-1) improving enough to upset were never realized as the colt worked hard to gain some ground, which he did, but never left the position he started—10th.

TwinSpires Harness Blog:
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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 45 active horses (an 18-percent win hit rate and a 51-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


Capitol Hill, $35.00, $5.20, $3.80, Cal-Expo
American Fighter, $9.20, $3.60, $4.00 ok, Scarborough
Pure Country, $4.20, $2.60, $2.40, Meadowlands
Mac’s Secure, $4.00, $2.60, $2.20, Freehold
Dr J Hanover, $3.60, $2.20, $2.10, Yonkers
Guardian Angel AS, $3.40, $3.20, $2.20, Dover
Bad Girl Vegas, $2.80, $2.40, $2.10
Money Maven, $2.80, $2.20, $2.10, Freehold


Tyler, $4.00, $2.40 (Exacta $14.40), Batavia
Free Love, $2.20, $2.10, Pompano


Scwartz Bros Beaty, $15.00, Dayton
Perplexed, $6.00, Meadowlands
OK Galahad, $4.70, Batavia
K Ryan Bluechip, $4.20, Meadowlands
Call Me Queen Be, $4.00, Yonkers
Sports Charm, $4.00, Mohawk
Think Again, $3.70, Mohawk
Social House, $3.30, Western Fair
Tag Up And Go, $3.00, Plainridge
JJ Flynn, $2.40, Dover
Lord Of Miscue, $2.30, Yonkers
Endeavors Dot Com, $2.20, Freehold
NF Happenstance, $2.20, Dover
News & Notes

Our home base, Churchill Downs, Inc., along with Keeneland Association, Inc. on Friday were granted a racing license by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to conduct 12 live Standardbred race dates beginning in Oct. 2019. “These events will take place at a proposed racing venue proposed to be constructed in Oak Grove, Kentucky,” according to an official press release. The exceptional effort to bring more standardbred racing and a possible regular harness racing circuit to the Bluegrass State is now in progress.

As the Nov. 16 harness program at Cal Expo approached, officials were forced to cancel racing for Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17. The Sacramento track area has been under a smoke attack, the sky lousy with bitter clouds from one of California’s tragic fires—the northern blaze that decimated the community of Paradise. With the raging fires up the Western Coast still less than 50-percent contained at this writing, there were no make-up dates announced; nor were there indications of when racing would continue.

Racing is over for Courtly Choice. The sophomore buzz-saw pacer that came out of nowhere to dominate the division most of the season, will go to stud in Delaware. The earner of just under a million dollars will stand at Winbak Farm, getting right to work in the breeding season of 2019. At two, Courtly Choice was good but merely flirted with the talent he showed in his second racing campaign. At three, Courtly Choice won the Empire Breeders Classic, Little Brown Jug, Meadowlands Pace, North America Cup consolation and two New York Sire Stakes legs. He set the three-year-old colt track record at Tioga in the Empire Breeders Classic final.

As November winds down along with the stakes season, our features blog begins to go through its annual transformation—where we choose the weekly feature races from the host of winter overnight events throughout North America. In 2019 we will also continue with our popular Power Plays, covering multi-race and single-race exotic wagers to include horses that are outside contenders with the ability to raise the payoff prices.

Before the year ends, of course, we will announce the TwinSpires Harness Players’ Horse of the Year. The exclusive status is given to the biggest win mutual for a TwinSpires harness blog selection. The top candidate so far this season is Tommi Canu Hearme, who paid $81.50 winning a Champlain Stakes at Mohawk in August. There is still time, of course, for a winner with a higher mutuel to win the title, especially since the H2W is a never-ending element of our blog. Stay tuned.

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