• A Hot Hiatus Before Heading For Ohio

    POSTED Sep 12, 2012
    This week the Grand Circuit pauses for a well-deserved hiatus, catching its breath before it rolls into Delaware, Ohio, testing all eight divisions in one form or another on the speedy half-mile track for a week ending with the Jugette and Little Brown Jug features. Watch this blog for information on “Jug”-week input coming all next week. 

    The betting menu, however, remains full, with special state-bred features in the Midwest to another million-dollar affair for glamour-boy trotters over the northern border. There is plenty of action to go around before the whirlwind programs set for national heroes in Ohio next week. 

    Along with the Hambletonian Society and TwinSpires, our exclusive theater covering all the major activity in stakesville [sic] that could affect the 2012 series of champion-making events ensues at the specific blog, the Breeders Crown Countdown. The big show is presented again this year on a single card at Woodbine. Check the blog often for updates on great betting opportunities that don’t appear in the regular TwinSpires blog.  

    Freehold Feature

    On Friday, Sept. 14 the glamour-boy trotters go at it again with another cast of characters from the division in the $80,000 Charles Smith Memorial at Freehold. This is the scene of our introduction to the colt that turned out to be this year’s Hambletonian champ, Market Share. Though he lost the first major stakes on the Hambletonian Trail, he went on to enjoy the big mile at the Meadowlands and trot a hell of a mile when it counted most. But Market Share is not around for the “Smith” (see below about Mohawk).

    This event puts a lot of money on the line for a second-string field in the division, none of which have won more than three races during their so-called premier season. Although the top money-earner (Muscolo) has faced the top tier in the division (though he has not won a race this season), it is Frank Antonacci’s World Cup that captures our fancy.

    With not a lot of opportunities left for this colt (he is not eligible to the Breeders Crown), Antonacci has got to have him revved up for this purse. The strategy, methinks, will be simple: Have driver George Brennan take World Cup to the front as easily as possible and lead the field around the four turns, remaining in first at the wire. He may be worth the price to win as well as he could ignite a decent exotic as the key.

    Millions At Stake

    Mohawk presents the glamour-boy trotters in the Canadian Trotting Classic (CTC), a $1-million mile, on the Sept. 15 program.

    There is no doubt that trainer Linda Toscano will have Tim Tetrick gunning for a good spot early and using everything Market Share has to offer in the stretch. But some factors make this million-buck mile rife for an upset, the territory we need to cover if we are going to wager this event at all.

    Little Brown Fox is Market Share’s nemesis and has been, even though the former never made it to the Hambletonian due to a costly break in his elim. “Fox” took care of his foe in the CTC elim and the two will try to square off sometime during the mile.

    What becomes intriguing here is last week’s performance by Gym Tan Laundry. We have had a lot of faith in this guy leading to the August classic but he never truly fired until recently. In his CTC elim he flew three wide to take the lead at the first quarter against Knows Nothing and lost by a nose for the effort (he gave Knows Nothing the cover he needed as the 4-5 choice after making a strenuous quarter move to the top early against Money On My Mind.

    “Gym” is peaking at the right time, if this is a late-blooming surge. To find any value in this field, we need to go with the scenario that Gym will be the ignored contender and the opportunist to upset. In exotics with a Gym key, consider Solvato, another possible late-blooming member of the division showing recent signs of strength.

    Another $462,000 is offered frosh-colt trotters in the William Wellwood Memorial Final the same night. Isn’t is amazing to think that some of these green trotters may never be involved in a race of this stature? For sure, Aperfectyankee, who is an also eligible here,is not one of those, even if he does not get into this fray. Should he make it, look for a neat price on him, since it will have taken a scratch to get him here (he is the Peter Haughton winner, who inherits the future-book choice to win next year’s Hambo).

    Julie Miller’s student, My Man Can, is a definite danger here, as he looks for only his second win. Having overcome a foot injury, My Man Can is primed by the people who brought you Manofmanymission, last year’s terror of a trotter when on gait. My Man Can is “a big horse,” says trainer Julie, “but he’s just great to be around on and off the track.”

    Also look for some value in Cool Victory, who has been showing more talent each time he shows up for a race. He could be a good price here and is looking like he could be peaking as the end of the season arrives.

    The big stakes trio is completed with frosh-filly trotters battling in the $435,000 Peaceful Way Final. All eyes and most of the money will be upon To Dream On, who is five for five in her first season, including the Merrie Annabelle on Hambo day at the Meadowlands.

    She walloped her elim foes last week for trainer Jimmy Takter and seems to be worth every bit of her $200,000 yearling price. If we go against her it will be due to a price, almost an overlay guarantee in fact, from Bee-A-Magician, the filly that won the second elim. We love Kadabra frosh fillies and this one can only get better as long as she stays fit. If Takter’s undefeated gal were not here, Bee-A-Magician would probably be a prohibitive favorite. Perhaps the upset exacta is simple: Bee-A-Magician to To Dream On.
    Super Night

    Eight high-pursed events line the Super Night program at Balmoral on Sept. 15. At press time, the races had not been drawn. But based on elimination action, here are some of the horses we suggest you use as contenders in the night’s active stakes schedule.

    Frosh-colt pacer = Collet Hotspur
    Frosh-filly pacer = Thank You Doc
    Soph-colt pacer = Zall Good
    Soph-filly pacer = Fox Valley Hermia, Financial Effort
    Soph-and-up pace = Sporty Gypsy

    Watch Twitter, @FrankCotolo for late updates and more on-the-spot pics this Saturday evening.

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