• ‘Simpsons’ Overture For Breeders Crown

    POSTED Oct 12, 2011
    This upcoming weekend, stakes-wise, Vernon Downs hosts the Simpsons Stakes, key events in the Grand Circuit, which points its engines north to Woodbine, where Breeders Crown-eligibles are poised to conquer their elimination miles to get into the final.  

    Check out our exclusive blog, Breeders Crown Countdown this week for some great wagering advice about playing the elims on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22. It’s all here at TwinSpires live with reports, tweets and more in exclusive cooperation with the event’s handlers, the Hambletonian Society. Check that website area for the Crown stories.  

    Elsewhere in harness action, the best of the standardbred divisions of Maine will battle at Scarborough Downs for the finals of the Maine Sire Stakes on Sunday afternoon Oct. 16, with post time at 12:05 p.m. Age, gait and gender divisions will each go for a purse of $85,000. That entire Scarborough Downs program offers 10X points for all TwinSpires players. 

    The Simpsons

    The John Simpson Memorial runs again this season at Vernon Downs, holding the distinction of being most of the last major stakes for freshmen before the “Crown” elims (Balmoral holds Hanover Stakes this weekend, also).  

    The action starts Friday, Oct. 14 with frosh-colt trotters. This is the first of two divisions for this group. Classic Conway has been disappointing for a few races but this field is far less threatening than he has seen in recent trials. Stephane Bouchard is listed to drive and he has very hot hands in this part of New York, so the odds are stacking in the favor of “Conway,” who preps for the Crown elims here. Archangel is his main foe. You can accept a low-valuable price on Conway here, maybe even 9-5?    

    We call for a pass on the second colt division, since Dan Daley’s Royal Shyster is impossible to bet or bet against. This is the softest field the nine-for-eleven winner has seen this season and Daley is poised to have a legitimate Crown contender on his hands.  

    Frosh-filly trotters race in two sets. Bouchard’s mount, Lady Crown, may go off a strong price against the obvious contenders in this field. She is Crown-bound, that is, if she shows some spunk here.   

    Daley’s Getinonthesecret could also be dropped into the box for a Crown elim if Dan has the one-for-a-dozen winner in good enough shape to score. The rail helps with obvious choice Maven on the outside. We think Daley will have his stock all out to push himself closer to multiple Crown entries.  

    Saturday night, a pair of frosh-colt pacing “Simpsons” and one frosh-filly pace, are the program’s features. 

    The contender most likely to be third choice or worse is Blueridge Dancer, making him our value choice in the first of the two colt Simpsons. The Tye Loy-trained colt has made a lot of money for only two wins out of nine and fits here better than his stats show. 

    Steelhead Hanover comes from post 1 in the second colt split. He won’t be ignored by the crowd but may wind up a terrific second choice. Pennsylvania-based trainer Joe Pavia, Jr., still a regular driver, has Jim Morrill, Jr. listed on his colt. However, the popular driver is also listed on two other horses and hopefully he will not drive “Steelhead” so the odds could be a tad better. 

    Mark Ford’s Blackjack Princess is having a good first year out and if she gets a little bit better tonight she can topple the two top money-earners, taking the only filly split at a decent price.    

    Cal Exotic

    Oct. 15’s no-takeout late Pick 4 at Cal Expo offers us another shot at taking the bulk of the pool with a small but strong ticket. However,  use the best-valued members of this ticket (3-1 and up, for instance) as win bets. 

    Leg 1
    Minettasuppence (7) was hung badly and beaten as the choice last week. And (10) The Future showed great early speed at 8-1 and finished fourth when caught. He could go all the way tonight, needing that race, and he could also save some for late and brush big in the stretch.  

    Leg 2
    (4) Mac’s Derrick T tossed in a real clunker after sending up a flare the race before. We will go with him again as a courageous single (since his odds should be very high). This is one of those upsets that makes a ticket priceless. We know because we have called similar before. 

    Leg 3
    (6) My Tryin Ryan broke last out in a similar field of trotters. He regained his gait well and came back to be fourth at 6-1. If he stays flat he could wire this field easily. 

    Leg 4
    (1) Tammy’s War Box closed in slowly on the top of the field to get third at 28-1. He is in a good spot to do the same more productively. (7) Exit Hanover suffered from broken equipment and roughed it out to finish decently. He was 5-1, well supported enough to give him a shot without the adversity. 

    The ticket: 7,10/4/6/1,7 

     (Ray Cotolo assisted in this edition.)
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