Vernon Hosts Pricey ‘Zweig’ Colt, Filly Trots; Tioga Posts Empire Classic Finals On Big Sunday Program

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August 16th, 2018


The glamour-boy-and-girl trotters are back in the traditional Hambletonian follow-up “Zweigs.” We have the scoops for the Vernon-based stakes.

Freshman Frolics are still cooking at tracks across the continent and more freshman betting possibilities surface in this year’s Breeders Crown Countdown (B C C) blog, which debuts with some super outsiders for betting frosh races at The Red Mile and Meadows.

Sunday at Tioga will be covered in this blog, with our Weekend Update blog posted Sunday night (Eastern) instead of Saturday so all of the results are included.

More great wagering opportunities at North American tracks appear in the horses-to-watch (H2W) list and our exclusive two-year-old section, Freshman Frolics. Explore the possibilities we present for use in any wagers of your choice. Do your own handicapping and then consider any and all our H2W and frosh selections.


The heroine of the Hambletonian is not going to be at Vernon on Friday, Aug. 17 for the classic follow-ups to the open classic trot stakes. Atlanta will skip the Harry M. Zweig Memorials and relax until further notice. But the early Hambo favorite, Six Pack, will be in the open “Zweig” and still have to face a filly because Manchego will take on the boys in the $350,000 event.

Also from the Hambo is Patent Leather, Evaluate, Fashionwoodchopper, Alarm Detector, Classichap, Met’s Hall and You Know You Do. There is nothing uncommon about Hambo-field members—from elims and/or the final—showing up for the Zwieg; nor is it unusual to witness the best of their current form.

This doesn’t include what knocked Six Pack from the final. His recovery from an unusual break in stride upset the second elim heat of the Hambo in the late stages after it had produced steeplechase-style jumping from the moment Alarm Detector skipped leaving the gate.

Six Pack racing smoothly in the Zweig should prove that the first Saturday in August was an anomaly. His price, however, may be not worth our support. Manchego could make a duel out of this mile and that brings us back to the colt we supported from midway through the Hambletonian Trail—Met’s Hall.

He was second to Atlanta in the final and the third element to our triple in the first elim, as well as he got to the Hambo amid many dismissals by so-called experts of horseflesh. The Millers’ colt is prepared to pounce and may be the star of the later season. Six Pack and Manchego may pay too much attention to one another while Met’s Hall sweeps by them late. It only takes a whisker at the wire to win, after all. Met’s Hall should also be a price here, which only makes us like him more.


With Atlanta and Manchego gone from the $178,000 filly Zweig, eight make up the field, a few which do not come from the Hambo day program. Of those who battled the feisty femmes in their division on stakes day, Plunge Blue Chip should shine. It would be a sweep for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt if she wins and he comes back with Six Pack. However, Plunge Blue Chip may be the top public choice here.

Jimmy Takter’s Basquiat was very good on Hambo weekend but she steps up a bit here and may take more money than she deserves, mostly due to the Takter brand. Upset possibilities at their best belong to Supergirl Riley. She has been on the board 50-percent of her races, most of them against the division’s top grade. She should be in the mix with “Plunge” and Basquiat to make a nifty triple score.


The $80,000 Zweig consolation event also has returnees from Hambo day and others in the nine-horse field. Those in this field that fought hard from May until August but did not make the grade have a chance for a big paycheck.

The Takter element is here with Zephyr Kronos, who will obviously get strong support. Lindsey’s Pride, too, may become one of the public choices. We are looking for a good trip at a good price from Tom Fanning’s Mississippi Storm. His accomplishments are better than 50-pecent across the board, and this seems to be the level of talent where he could improve enough to win.


Last week, Split The House was ornery at Hoosier in the Dan Patch as he unexpectedly threatened Lazarus N in the stretch and right to the wire. A wide, two-move trip against the Aussie horsey [sic] debut racing in the USA also bested McWicked, who finished third. “House” was 19-1.

In a $30,000 division of the Great Northeast Series at Pocono on Aug. 18, House could do better than the two obviously popular pacers in the field, Highalator and Bettor’s Edge. Those two will have to deal with Chris Oakes’ lightly raced aged pacer and with another latecomer, More The Better. That one has been competitive in only three races this season and his most recent mile was impressive.


Only five older pacers entered the $143,000 Roll With Joe at Tioga on Aug. 19, so there is a lot of purse to go around. This should have been a huge field stuffed with the best of this rugged division; instead, it is a quintet of Second Responders [sic], so to speak.

Two from Burke, one from Takter and Alagna and Silva’s bull gets the rail. This is the kind of race with an unarguable personal odds line of 4-1 for each. If I were to be using that line, I would bet Dealt A Winner, who most likely would offer 6-1 or more. 


Soph-filly pacers face another huge purse—$270,425—in their Empire Breeders Classic Final at Tioga Aug. 19. Two from our “key race” group are here to keep us honest. Believe In Me raced her best in a long time finishing third coming off of the key Shady Daisy experience. I’m Trigger Happy is racing for the first time since the key race.

And the winner of the key, Youaremycandygirl, is here. She won right back after the key but this could be a good race to go against her and take I’m Trigger Happy to turn the tables with a key win and a great price.


The glamour-boy pacers’ Empire Breeders Classic Final follows. Here is another test for some Meadowlands Pace pacers, including the winner, Courtly Choice. He got started too late in the Cane Pace and gave the win to Stay Hungry (not in this one) but here he looks superb as he may pace down American History, who will try to steal the mile on top, though he may be thoroughly challenged. “Courtly” is a key horse here, so shoot for thick exotics with outsiders like Ghost Dance and Keystone Tenacious.


The $161,000 Artiscape Open Mares event gathers seven matronly pacers on the Aug. 19 Tioga program. Queen of the division, Shartin N, is here and will be heavily bet as she continues to dominate. Here’s a shot, though, that is in the realm of possibility. We went with Pure Country on Hambo day and she was bed down big time to our surprise. She raced well. Here she will be much higher odds and with some dueling that could slow Shartin N (there are foes here who may go after her), Pure Country may pull off the long-priced win we hope for on Hambo day.


Two-year-old races at the beginning of each season are the most difficult events for handicappers to forecast winners, no less where their bets will have value. Every season’s start for us means extra work on sire productivity, so we can make wise wagers in freshman races. If you handicap the races below, be sure to respect those listed as contenders.

Aug. 16
Cardale R1; Linden Art R3
Shanstotalpackage R1; Donovan Z Tam R6; Sunburst It is R13
Red Mile
Shake N Bake R4
Aug. 17
Quing Quing Bluechip R1; Heavens Challenge R2; Zero Tolerance R4

Aug. 18
Red Mile
Alii Nui R1; Louphoria R3; Egomania R4; Captain Cash R5

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.


8/17/18, Tampa Bay Escape R1; +Surfers Paradise R1

8/18,18, +Top It Up R2; +Centela Glory R5; Go Nine O R7; Jewels Dragon R8

8/20/18, +Cinder Block R9; +I’ll Call You Later R11

8/17/18, +He Gone Jack R9; Amora Beach R10

8/16/18, +Ollies Ztam R8; +Rockaboo Baby R11
8/17/18, Snitzledosomehting R10

8/20/18, +Wes Delight R9

8/16/18, +Stolen Art R7
8/17/18, +Veyron R2; +Jennas Delight R3; +Nasty Rumor R4
8/18,18, +Mr Mach Jimmy R8

8/16/18, +Draco R1; +Whos In The Mist R7

8/18/18, Full Of Delight R2; Medoland Pearl R3; The Lady Vanishes R5; Lucille Amarone R9

8/16/18, Slipin Skip R6; +Egosnattitudes R8

8/16/18, Gural Hanover R8

8/18,18, +Geez Joe R2; Drunken Terror R4; Si Semalu R7; +City Hall ae R11
8/19/18, +Candy Man R2; +Marseille R5
8/16/18, +Coauthor R1; Osprey Impack R5; French Moni R7; Denver Dolly R10

Red Mile
8/16/18, +Highway Into The Sky R1; +Signore Carlin R1

Running Aces
8/18,18, +Firedrake R6
8/19/18, +Imma Tank R4; +Comtemporary Legend R5

8/18,18, +Go West Lucky Cam R6
8/19/18, Pembroke Mystery R2; Tom And Stan R9

8/18,18, +Lather Up R7

8/19/18, +Ice Attraction R3; +Broadway Donna R5

8/18,18, +Killer Martini R6 
8/19/18, +Obrigado R11