Vernon Winner Pays $115; Hambo Boys Trot To Form; Gimpanzee Great

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July 12th, 2020

The week was highlighted by our top H2W (horses to watch) $115.00 winner (see NEWS & NOTES below). Here is the complete weekly report on hits and misses as presented by the TwinSpires Harness Preview Blog.

Thursday, July 9

In one of two divisions of the New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) for soph-colt pacers at Vernon, we won with Groovy Joe ($8.60, $3.00, $2.20). That was a terrific price for our second choice colt in the top five for the division this season. Our exotic partner, Cigars And Port (25-1) finished sixth.

In the other NYSS split, our top choice, Freedom Warrior, scratched. Our second choice, Wyatt J (14-1), finished sixth.

Friday, July 10

Ohio Sires Stakes (OHSS) presented soph-filly trotters at Northfield in two episodes. The favorite (and the rest of the field) beat our contender in division one, because Thankful For You (7-1), the only Hambletonian eligible in the field, galloped badly into the first quarter and finished seventh. Our other contender, Petey Sarah (8-1), wound up fourth,

Saturday, July 11

The afternoon at Pocono presented PA All Stars (PAAS) for glamour-boy trotters. Our choice in the first of three, Hillexotic ($4.80) finished third. Though he turned out the favorite, he was beaten by the public’s second choice. He assisted in a trifecta worth $185.40 and a superfecta paying $161.17. A 30-1 place horse elevated those prices.

In PAAS two, the heavy favorite won, followed by our two choices, Swiss House Onfire ($4.80, $3.00) and Hell Patrol ($2.60). The exacta came in $11.20; the trifecta paid $4.80; the superfecta was worth $2.99.

We won the third PAAS division with Big Oil ($3.80, $2.20, $2.10). Our second choice, Steel Schooner ($6.20) assisted in the $16.85 trifecta and the $23.28 superfecta.

At the Meadowlands, the two Reynolds for soph-colt trotters went to an 8-1 shot, with our Hambo-hopeful Beyond Kronos (13-1) getting fourth ($115.11 superfecta). In the second for the colts, the favorite won and our choice, Coventry Hall, broke and was eliminated.

One Reynolds for the glamour-girl trotters went to the favorite and we took third with Ramona Hall ($3.80) as a part of the $139.20 trifecta and $46.52 superfecta.

The Meadowlands Pace Elim was nothing special. Aside from disappointing for our Capt Midnight (12-1), who finished ninth and did not make the final (our second contender, Catch The Fire [63-1] made the final, finishing seventh), the dead-on favorite Tall Dark Stranger went wire to wire at odds on. The tougher trip went to the obvious second choice, Papi Rob Hanover, who finished third. Complete coverage of the final comes in our July 16 Preview Blog.

The pacing Graduate Final featured a menagerie of horses uncertain of their paths. Favorite (and our choice) Bettors Wish (3-2) lost his way leaving from post 10 and our second choice, Century Farroah (7-1) made two useless moves. The smoothest trip went to the winner Hurrikane Emperor at 7-1.

The Graduate Final for trotters was easy for our contender, the favorite, Gimpanzee ($2.40, $2.10, $2.10), while our second choice, Winnerup (54-1) finished fifth.


The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Exactas listed include a H2W horse finishing second to a race-favorite or if the first two finishers are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses are listed—a cold exacta). The note “ok” determines that prices are correct (even when a show price exceeds a place price or all prices are the same).

Please note that some results reflect horses racing after the blog posts (they appear the following week).

This week, there were 47 active horses (a 17-percent win hit rate and a 40-percent ATB [across-the-board] hit rate).


Lugar, $115.00, $35.20, $12.60, Vernon
Casey N Grinegan, $29.40, $17.60, $9.80, Running Aces
Frontier Charley, $22.40, $9.00, $4.20, Hawthorne
In For The Chase, $17.60, $6.40, $5.00, Running Aces
Miss Rockadali, $10.10, $4.70, $3.10, Mohawk
Five Towns, $9.40, $5.70, $3.90, Vernon
Hot Cakes, $4.20, $2.60, $2.40, Scarborough
Tuapeka Trick N, $3.50, $2.60, $2.20, Saratoga


Key Word, $5.60, $2.60, Running Aces
Bolt Ruler, $2.60, $2.60 ok, Saratoga


Hypnotic Dan, $16.20, Hoosier
Greg, $7.90, Mohawk
Forget It Im Crazy, $4.40, Scioto
Mister Godro, $4.20, Mohawk
Nothingbutagoodtime, $3.00, Running Aces
Rollinwithambition, $2.90, Saratoga
Dangin Doug, $2.60, Hoosier
Cocktail Time, $2.40, Northfield
Key Advisor, $2.20, Northfield


When H2W trotter Lugar won at Vernon on July 10, he became the top contender for the 2020 TwinSpires Harness Players’ Horse of the Year (TSHOY), Lugar won at 56-1, paying $115.00. Up to this point, the leading TSHOY horse was Elysium Seelster, who paid $82.80 at Miami Valley in January. The only horse with a win price close to that was Blue On Black ($79.00) from a win at Buffalo in February. Lugar is a 12-year-old gelding trained by Ashley Eldred. At $115.00 he holds a commanding lead with five months left to the season.

I gladly endorse (without recompense) the release of a great book on betting practices which is available for the first time in a digital format. “Money Secrets at the Racetrack,” by Barry Meadow, was released in the 1980s. It is a comprehensive guide to using a betting bankroll to the utmost effect. A personal friend of mine, Barry was a full-time gambler of harness and thoroughbred pari-mutuel racing and an influence to many of us during the handicapping/betting renaissance period in California. The e-book is available at the usual online joints where e-books are sold.

Plainridge Park kicks off its 2020 harness racing season on July 13 with a 4 p.m. post. The meet that was supposed to start in April consists of 68 dates on Monday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. Post time will change to 2 p.m. on Sept. 4 and then once again to 1 p.m. on Nov. 2. Racing will be held on July 26 at 2 p.m. for the track’s main events, the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and Clara Barton Distaff Pace and on Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. in place of Thanksgiving. The track’s Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta is back, joined by a new wager, The Bay State Pick-6 with a 10-cent minimum wager that begins in Race 3.

The 70th season at Scarborough Downs was suspended following the July 10 program due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, which currently do not allow the track to host patrons. Scarborough was prohibited from racing its customary April and May dates due to the state of emergency declared in Maine. Working with others in the industry, however, Scarborough received special permission from the Maine Department of Economic Development to launch its season on June 3 under strict protocols, which included racing without spectators at its live cards.

Sierra Kosmos, winner of $558,710 as one of the fastest trotters of the 1990s, passed away at the Pennsylvania farm of Rick and Gina Beinhauer, who have owned him since he was a yearling. Sierra Kosmos was 31. Sierra Kosmos took his 1:53.4 mark at the Red Mile in 1992 after setting a 1:56.3 world record in the Old Oaken Bucket. The son of Nearly Perfect went to stud at Hanover Shoe Farms and sired Breeders Crown-winner No Nonsense Woman. He was pensioned after breeding mares in 2014.

Extraordinary Extras

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