• Stars Sprinkle Indiana Stakes

    POSTED Oct 31, 2012
    Believe it or not, the stakes season has not ended in the world of harness racing. Some more big events are on the horizon as 2012 sheds its final layer of skin. This week, the focus is on the Midwest. 

    Indiana harness racing rebounds from the big Breeders Crown weekend with a Nov. 3 program worth nearly a million dollars and featuring some of last week’s big names, as well as a few from the divisions that have shone elsewhere this season.

    We’ll focus on that program in this blog, as harness racing steps back a bit while the focus of horse racing takes the shape of the Breeders’ Cup, two days of thoroughbred racing championships at Santa Anita.

    ‘Derby’ Day

    The $200,000 Indiana Pacing Derby finds seven ornery older pacers on the bill, three of them back from the Breeders Crown Open Pace, won by Bettor Sweet. That trio is Foiled Again, Razzle Dazzle and Foreclosure N. They came from posts 8, 9 and 10, respectively.

    It’s difficult to imagine Foiled Again being upset here after a strong, overland journey in the “Crown,” where Golden Receiver, who had an easy trip, still worked to nose Foiled Again for second.

    Razzle Dazzle had absolutely nothing in that race. Foreclosure N made an outside bid late from live cover and may be the co-star in exotics, though he cannot be tossed out as an upset possibility.

    Iam Bonasera has made a good living in Indiana and will be bet by locals but the value will lay with the team of Foiled Again and Foreclosure N.

    Trottin’ Colt Stars

    The $260,000 Oliver Trotting Classic offers some glamour-boy trotters of national note another shot at a big purse. Hambletonian-favorite Uncle Peter is here, with trainer Jimmy Takter taking the reins. Critics have applauded Takter for being the best guide for the colt, who has been a finicky player all season, according to the trainer-driver. He recently qualified in 1:53 at Pocono to sharpen for this event. 

    Frost Bites K has been a favorite of ours from the moment the Hambletonian Trail brigade set sail in early May. He never made it to the big dance but has been competitive with a steady gait, amassing over $230,000 on the year. That may sound like nothing compared to Market Share’s million but “Frost” has earned it against some tough critters, including the Hambo winner. 

    Big Chocolate has also helped us cash a valuable ticket or two through the stakes battles and is showing some maturity as he nears four.  

    Kentucky Futurity runner-up Appomattox is part of a four-horse entry from Jimmy Takter and Frank Antonacci. Appomattox was seventh in the Crown final. Kentucky Sires Stakes final winner Fusion Man takes on the big boys; Bucket-winner Prayer Session shows up and Upfront Billy, who won at Indiana Downs on Oct. 27 claims home-field advantage.  

    Though this is Uncle Peter’s race to lose, Big Chocolate will offer price and deliver a strong race, we feel, and he gets our support. 

    There is a $50,000 Oliver Trot Consolation earlier in the program. World Cup is finally in a spot where he can use his class in league with his post and win one easily. It has been a disappointing season for the Frank Antonacci colt that showed far more promise than productivity. He may be headed for a big four-year-old season and start it here with a huge victory (you judge the value for his win offerings against six lesser-talented entries).

    The Circle Game

    The Monument Circle is worth $250,000. Look who’s also back from Canada; a few tough glamour-boy pacers who were in the path of a two-race reign by Heston Blue Chip, who won his elim and the final for soph-colt pacers in the “Crown” at Woodbine. Also, here comes A Rocknroll Dance, who did not qualify for the Crown final for his division.

    “Dance” went to the Crown elims after throat surgery, which is the only excuse for his poor performance and an excuse for a few races prior to the procedure that were less than characteristic. Trainer Jim Mulinix sends out Dance as part of a two-horse entry with Cane Pace champion Dynamic Youth. 

    Sweet Lou enters the contest off a smart but unproductive finish in the Crown final for trainer Ron Burke, who will also send Breakin The Law into the fray. Linda Toscano brings Bettor’s Edge, who finished third to “Heston” in Canada and Dapper Dude, who keeps battling this group with vague success, is also on hand.

    Then there is the mystery colt, Hurrikane Kingcole. Over and over he is heralded for his speed and he consistently burns it early or retains it completely in miles where so many have supported a winning effort from him. He never made the Crown final. What he will do with this group cannot be forecast. However, we should expect another fiery try, one that could result in making Dance and “Lou” work harder to dowse it.

    “Hurricane” deserves one more shot at using his speed for victory. You can make a case for Lou, Dance and even Bettor’s Edge but Hurricane may be the value of the bunch if he is ready to pace that mile we have all waited to see.

    Circles Of Fillies

    Eleven soph-filly pacers meet for the $67,400 Circle City mile. It’s a well-mixed group but one stands out for us: Blackjack Princess. She comes off some tough half-mile trips against tougher competition than she meets in this event. She could win on class alone with a strong, clear trip. Her win in the Shady Daisy at Tioga in September was no fluke, except she offered 21-1. We had been watching her and supporting her so we were not surprised. We won’t be surprised this time, either.  

    The Circle City for soph-filly trotters splits into two divisions worth $40,000 and $40,300. In division one we are looking at Northern Miss Hall for a minor upset. We think Canadian Justice will take the majority’s cash, leaving some odds for us to make supporting “Hall” as an overlay. 

    In round two we will let the public have Aunt Mel, an obvious favorite, hoping she will be over-played. This will leave a clear overlay status for Lindmeyourvictory. Her last two races show her fine pedigree and with good placement and a strong finish she could be the major upset of the stakes program.

    Ray Cotolo contributed to this edition.

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