• Stakes, Chicago-Style

    POSTED Nov 16, 2011
    Friday in Chicago and Sunday at Dover present sophomores’ swan songs for the season, with some racing for the final time before stud duty (see news in blog on Monday). Maywood is alive with big money for pacers and trotters, while the remaining Matrons go in Delaware on Nov. 20.    

    Our winter campaign continues for the Cal Expo no-takeout Pick 4. The Saturday event is analyzed below. Remember to consider some of our longer shots (3-1 and up) on the ticket for win bets, also. 

    Maywood Milieu


    It’s a rare Friday filled with pumped purses at Maywood. The Galt Stake, for soph-colt trotters, has two divisions worth $50,500 each. These miles are sprinkled with local heroes and national co-stars of the division.  

    In the first split, we like Fox Valley Iliad. Homer Hochstetler’s colt has been very good in high-class events at Maywood and on the Balmoral mile. He has what it takes to beat the favored entry and a tired Live Jazz from the outside. 

    In the second Galt there should be two big favorites, Evil Urges and Mr Web Page. The outside contender is Ooga Booga. Excuses in his last two are noted; he was on the rise before that and may get the trip he needs to spark a big price. 

    Two-year-olds co-star on the bill with the Abe Lincoln Trot Final, worth $127,800. We have supported Dick Mctracy for three races, all of which he was burdened by post and overpowering foes. Here, from the rail, he could do damage and may offer a price. 

    The $175,000 Windy City Pace, though a shadow of its former self, offers little this year as seven less-than-glamorous boy pacers try to outwit the hottest colt in the division over the past few weeks. Betterthancheddar is 3-5 on the morning line, so imagine the money that will be bet on him in all pools involving the Breeders Crown champion. He is looking for his fifth win in a row and a clinch of the division title in a crop that has been evenly matched through the season. 

    So, why shouldn’t this race be a simple pass? First, this event is a breeding ground for upsets—big ones. Second, there is a colt in here that has won a stake as fast as at least one of Betterthancheddar’s victories. We are not speed buffs but at Maywood, given a good trip, Onhishonor Hanover could overthrow the humongous favorite. His 1:50.3 win on this oval is cause for alarm and his odds are cause for a wager against the “machine.”  

    The “Windy” companion stake for fillies is the $70,000 Cinderella. Erv Miller’s Mystical MJ looks to pick up her feet at the right time and steer clear of trouble, which would be the ideal behavior for an upset. Her jumping and travels on the outside have cost her a lot of money but with smart Maywood maneuvering, Marcus Miller could steer her home at a price. 

    In the minor stakes event of the evening, the $35,000 Lester McKeever, we like a horse we gave the locals a few weeks back at 23-1, when he pulled off a 10-hole shocker in a $120,000 event on Balmoral’s Supernight. Big Daddy Woo Woo is back after a clunker and could lay waste this field. You judge the price available if you feel we got this one right.   

    Matron Leftover


    The glamour-boy pacers available for the Matron Stakes meet in two elims on Sunday at Dover. These miles are rife for upset. In elim one, for instance, Mr Tommy Fra is shaping up late, while his main foes, Powerful Mist and Hugadragon, are about ready to call it a season. A good price awaits should we be right. 

    Another good price should accompany an upset in the second chapter, as the crowd devours the win, place and show pools for Westwardho Hanover and Up The Credit, most likely in that order. Our suggested contender—at a price—is Samander. Placed well early, he may save enough ground to beat “Westward” while “Credit” has to deal with coming off the pace and might do it uncovered but tire badly. 

    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
    (1) Thouartthegreatest scored for us with a $63 win two back. Last week he was the favorite, won, but was disqualified and placed second. From the rail, without a bothersome trip, he should own this mile. 

    Leg 2
    (7) Matty Rose was racing like mad last week and closed at 10-1 to be second. Repeating that behavior could win this. (1) Elegant Emma N likes this track and could be in a great spot to push her season forward. 

    Leg 3
    (2) TJ Beach Poker was gaining ground and showing off at 13-1 last week, finishing a formidable second. He is the outside contender that can bring this ticket to a higher reward spot.  

    Leg 4
    (2) Pureform Misskiss was beaten, as the choice, by a neck in a close one and should not be dismissed. (4) Bahama Bay Be is another Luke Plano special and disappointed last week, though the effort warrants a spot in our ticket. 

    The ticket: 1/1,7/2/2,4 = $2 for $8 

     (Ray Cotolo assisted in this edition.)
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