• Action Aplenty In The Lower Ranks

    POSTED Nov 21, 2012

    With about five weeks left in 2012, the stakes schedule is lean and awkward. It’s lean simply because there are a scant few races left that qualify as stakes. It’s awkward because all racehorses will have a birthday on Jan. 1, though technically there are horses performing that have already graduated into the next year.  

    Winter will display the newest older divisions as designated when the New Year launches and those groups will dominate through the cold months as the two- and three-year-olds develop for debuts in warmer weather.  

    Bettors should not dismay. The munificence of overnight racing easily takes over the spotlight and there is plenty of it on all sized raceways. As this year ends, then, we will do what we have done over the years. For one, we will be opening our personal books and publishing, in these blogs, our Horses to Watch list (H2W) and monitoring those horses as the deep freeze persists in the Midwest and East.  

    Autumn Stakes

    The Autumn Stakes at Woodbine have conditions but make the stakes grade based on their total purses. On Friday, Nov. 23, two elimination divisions ($25,000 each) are on tap for soph-filly pacers that must be Ontario-sired and have earned-money restrictions. The final is next week. 

    In the first chapter it’s difficult to separate the top choices in the small field but you could get a bargain from Drunk And Dramatic. Coming in from Rideau-Carleton, the filly could bring her form along and disregard what is a step up in class. Trainer Phil Doyle has brought her here with the best intentions and she may have what it takes to go well with this bunch and get a good spot in the final.  

    In the second elim, Bill Budd’s student, Aubsession, has an excuse for the Nov. 12 loss and was scratched the week after. The rest should put her in perfect shape to be slightly overlooked, while her class and form should stand up to this group. 

    On Saturday, Nov. 24, a pair of $25,000 Autumn Stakes elims for soph-colt pacers are the featured events at Woodbine. 

    In the first episode, Rick Zeron takes the mount on Machinist, who fits in this series like a glove. There is no telling where the public will stuff all the dough in the win pools here but this one may make a real race out of this elim. 

    True To Mach is in a great spot to show his inherited speed and may take the other seven around all the way. But for some trouble along the way this season, he winds up in this series and could be looking at a terrific four-year-old season, though starting now. 

    Matron Pace Boys

    On Nov. 25 Dover Downs features two Matron Stakes elims with glamour-boy pacers having had their shots at the Progress Pace last Sunday. 

    Two big favorites top the first elim, with only six horses going to post. There is only one chance to get any money out of this race and that would be for Major Bombay to take well to the five-eighths oval and either steal the race atop or find a tight place to travel as the two choices duel themselves to oblivion.  

    In the other elim, the late-season surge of Heston Blue Chip will again offer no decent payoff and he is the kind of colt you can always play against. We like Mel Mara at a decent price against the stark choice. Mel Mara also got started late this season and since his win at The Red Mile in October he has had decent excuses while always in the mix. He can be the legitimate upset choice here and deserves attention.  

    Watching Horses

    Our H2W list is now open to the public. We offer TwinSpires players some overnighters with the kind of potential we look to find, usually and hopefully accompanied by decent prices.  

    Let’s go over the specs again for those who were not here last season and whoever may have forgotten. 

    The H2W list offers horses you may play up to twice if they don’t win the week after appearing on our list and you may wish to play them only if they are a reasonable price; it’s your call on the value. Sometimes a pair of H2W entries will appear in the same race. In the past, this has produced a number of exactas and trifectas; these plays, too, are your call.  

    But the selections are potent, based on our experienced spotters’ evaluations of recent trips. We will report on all the results as each horse on the list races. The legend is simple. We list the track atop the horse’s name, the date it (or they) will be racing and the race where it is (or they are) entered.  

    11/24, JJ Shark R10; Lil Roy R12
    11/25, All Blues R6 

    11/23, Anastasia Willie R2; Right Back At You R3; Vintage Fenom R6
    11/24, Best Bet Yet R9 

    Cal Expo
    11/23, Cruisin Inmybeamer R9; Oompa Loompa R13; Delightful’s Shark R16 

    11/23, Clem’s Pride R2; Request To Win R4; Western Mandy R6; Machine R11; Jen Finn and Hatsoff For Gracie R12

    Ray Cotolo contributed to this edition.

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