• Last Stakes Standing

    POSTED Nov 9, 2011
    It’s time to settle the divisional battles with this weekend’s finals at Chester, Dover and Yonkers. The Fall Final Four—The Valley Victory (colt trotters), The Goldsmith Maid (filly trotters), The Three Diamonds (filly pacers) and The Governors Cup (colt pacers) take place at Chester on Nov. 13 (10X points on all wagers). The Matrons finalize this series on Saturday and Sunday, with glamour-boy pacers going in the Progress Pace. Other soph-colt pacers are available in The Messenger at Yonkers on Saturday and American-Nationals are in the works at Balmoral on Sunday

    Once again we go after the Cal Expo no-takeout Pick 4. The Saturday event landed us two big winners last week and this week we try again to string four together and take most or all of the pool. 


    At Dover, four Matrons for the two-year-olds will be held on Saturday, Nov. 12 and three for the three-year-olds on Sunday, Nov. 13. In addition to the soph Matrons is the $330,000 Progress Pace for three-year-old colt pacers. In all, $1,322,030 will be given away in purses.  

    In the two-year-old filly trot Matron Stakes, Check Me Out is unbeatable. She will not be a bet filled with any value, so spare your wagers.  

    In the Matron two-year-old filly pace, Destiny’s Chance is the likely betting interest after her victory in the Matron Preview. To the inside of her is a horse less likely to be bet. Although that’s so, she may also be the most enduring horse in the field. This is Southwind Johanne. She traveled a first-over mile at 30-1 and finished fourth in the preview. Her post is not a big deal, but will let her leave the gate.  

    In the two-year-old colt pace Matron, the top two finishers in the Matron Preview, Heston Blue Chip and Hurrikane Kingcole, are the likely favorites. Although they paced a leisurely mile, Steelhead Hanover showed what talent he had when he traveled a first-over trip and was able to hold on for third. He will need to a better to win but could get it.  

    In the two-year-old colt Matron trot, Gym Tan Laundry is the morning-line favorite. The second choice, Delano, is the horse to watch. But here’s the catch: If he does not bring any value with his price, pass the race (we like him at 2-1). 

    In the three-year-old filly pace Matron, Drop The Ball is the one to beat. If you find value in her, play her, if not pass.  

    On Saturday, in the three-year-old filly Matron trot, Cedar Dove will be a heavy favorite. But Jezzy is looking very sharp right now. She draws the rail and will be uncoupled, raising her odds. In the elim, she sat second over and could not progress at the end, finishing fifth by 3 lengths. Also watch Hey Mister. She traveled a first-over mile in the elim and finished sixth. She is likely to get a better trip this week.  

    In the three-year-old colt trot Matron, Chapter Seven is the likely betting interest after his victory in the elim and Breeders Crown. Broad Bahn was the runner-up and is coming into this race fresh. He was not used hard in the elim and should trot well in the final. Also watch Big Rigs. He raced very well in the elim and looks good coming here.  

    In the Progress Pace, Alsace Hanover is the likely favorite. The other elim winner, Fashion Delight, will be the second choice. Samander will be the horse to watch. He can close hard if there is a lot of speed up front. If anybody turns the race into a speed race, Samander will most likely be closing for a win. Also watch Westwardho Hanover. He was first over at the quarter in the elim and took the lead, still finishing third by a head.  


    Roll With Joe (pictured left), the richest harness horse in North America this season, drew post  3 Yonkers Raceway’s Messenger Stakes on Saturday. The one-dash-for-the-cash event is worth $401,000.   

    Roll With Joe made the bulk of his $1,449,225 bankroll this season winning the $1- million Meadowlands Pace. “Joe” has five wins, four seconds a pair of thirds in 13 starts this season, also winning Chester’s $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine but losing the $252,864 final of the Little Brown Jug. 

    Trained by Ed Hart and driven by Ron Pierce, he meets barely no competition, five other colts: Sea Venture, Mojo Terror, Sir Ziggy's Tam, Keystone Velocity, and Rollwithitharry. 

    Mojo Terror is a New York Sire Stakes champ, with a dozen wins this season. He is trained by Chris Oakes and picks up Brian Sears for the challenge, certainly a tough one but not impossible.

    Fall Final Four

    Chester’s contribution to the 2011 stakes season ends with the Fall Final Four—The Valley Victory (colt trotters), The Goldsmith Maid (filly trotters), The Three Diamonds (filly pacers) and The Governors Cup (colt pacers) on Sunday, Nov. 13. TwinSpires awards 10X points on all wagers at Chester on this program.  

    The $410,000 “Victory” final has only five participants. It could have had eight but Little Brown Fox, Quit Smoking Now and Power Play are not being allowed in the final since they broke in their elims. Chester officials note that the trio has broken twice in a row in their last races.  

    Vic Smith and Possess The Will provide the sparring if neither breaks stride. The latter has been the more consistent but “Vic” can make an issue of the mile if he stays flat. So much is contingent upon how fickle they will be that no one can predict anything except that low prices both will offer; it’s a good pass. 

    The $365,000 “Maid” offers twice the field of the Victory and should deliver some decent betting propositions.  

    Trainer Nifty Norman’s Pittypat Hanover is ready to add some speed to her gait with this group. Four of eight times she was either first or second and here she may add to that with an upset over the obvious choices. 

    In the $380,000 “Diamonds” we have to once again go with Pirouette Hanover. She was bold in the Breeders Crown and meets some of the same foes here. Her 5-1 morning line, we believe, is a fair price but we think she will offer far more than that, as the hot horses get the big dollars. 

    As for the $510,000 “Cup,” beware of Mybrothergeorge. He has shown lethal moves late against these in other stakes and could close in on the top choices late and nip them. He should be a great overlay.   


    Six Am-Nats are features at Balmoral on Nov. 12. Some familiar freshmen come to the Midwest in two of the quartet. In the filly pace use Podges Lady; in the colt pace, take a stab at Dick Mctracy.  

    In the sophomore duet, Swinging Beauty is our soph-filly pace choice; we like Hugadragon to upset the Breeders Crown-winning Betterthancheddar.  

    For the older pacers, Foiled Again causes a pass and Lucky Jim could also be too short a price for a chance; take him, though, at 5-1 up.   

    Cal Exotic

    The no-takeout late Pick 4 at Cal Expo for Nov. 12 begins with Race 9. Remember to use the best-valued members of this ticket (3-1 and up, for instance) as win bets. 

    Leg 1
    (4) Red Star Gilda managed to get the place spot while gaining ground late at 21-1. (6) Cinnamon could win right back after a strong victory that ignored the fact she dueled early to get the lead. 

    Leg 2
    (1) Muzhik Hanover returns after losing as the top choice and from the rail seems a perfect single to make amends. 

    Leg 3
    (5) Cherry Tree Kate disappointed backers but appears tons the best in this poor field.  

    Leg 4
    (3) Misty Waters should not bounce off of a turbo-win effort last out. (8)Red Star Penny could get a better position early and use the brush wasted last week in an early duel. 

    The ticket: 4,6/1/5/3,8 = $2 for $8

     (Ray Cotolo assisted in this edition.)
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