• The Future Is Now

    POSTED Nov 30, 2013

    Every year, I look forward to the first Kentucky Derby Future Wager and, this year, the fun started earlier than ever — on Wednesday, Nov. 27.

    That’s before the ball drop in New York, before Santa’s annual sleigh ride… heck, my Thanksgiving turkey hadn’t even been put in the oven, much less thawed, before I was breaking open the past performances in search of the next great sire.

    In fact, this is the first time in history that a (pari-mutuel) Kentucky Derby futures pool has been offered prior to February and it is open until post time of today’s Remsen or Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, whichever comes first.

    According to Darren Rogers, senior director of communications and media services for Churchill Downs, Inc., pool closures coinciding with the post time of an important prep race will be the new standard this year (in years past, the future pools closed on Sunday evenings).
    Before we take a closer look at the 2013 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #1, here is a list of all the pools, including when they open and when they close:

    Pool 1: Wednesday, Nov. 27-Saturday, Nov. 30
    Pool 2: Thursday, Feb. 6-Saturday, Feb. 8
    Pool 3: Thursday, Feb. 27-Saturday, March 1
    Pool 4: Thursday, March 27-Saturday, March 29

    Now, on to the fun stuff! First let’s take a look at the history of Pool #1 wagering.

    (Click on image to enlarge)

    As you can see, “All Others,” or the field, is a great betting option in the first futures pool. Although the $10.20 payoff resulting from Charismatic’s win in the initial pool back in 1999 probably won’t ever be seen again, the lower prices these days are more than offset by the higher winning percentage of non-listed horses since 2008.

    Betting “All Others”

    Number: 9        
    Wins: 3
    Rate: 33.3%
    Return: $23.40
    ROI: +30.00%


    Number: 6        
    Wins: 4
    Rate: 66.7%
    Return: $25.00
    ROI: +108.33%

    Overall (1999-2013)

    Number: 15      
    Wins: 7
    Rate: 46.7%
    Return: $48.40
    ROI: +61.33%

    Beyond playing the mutual field, however, there are three things that I think bettors need to consider before making a future wager on the Kentucky Derby:

    1) Is the horse one favors even likely to start in the Kentucky Derby? In the past two years, 22 of the 46 listed horses (47 percent) in Pool 1 have not made it to the starting gate on the first Saturday in May (at least at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Derby).

    2) Is the horse one prefers likely to go to post at odds significantly greater than its Future Pool odds? Given that half the horses won’t even make the trip to Louisville, I think asking for a 50-100 percent premium is not unreasonable.

    3) Will one’s future bet allow one to hedge down the road. To me, this is the most important consideration. The idea is to get as many of your future bets into the gate — at premium odds — as possible… and, then, don’t bet them all on Derby Day. Instead, use the future wagers as “savers” or as a means of consolidating your event-day tickets.

    (Click on image to enlarge)

    Click HERE to get your past performances, including my speed rations and Win Factor Report fair odds for all the listed horses in Pool 1 on the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
  • Season’s Superstars Storm Through Meadowlands, Dover

    POSTED Nov 27, 2013

    The new Meadowlands opened amid the season’s first wintry mix. For a few of the first races of the refurbished racetrack, pacers wallowed through snow and rain. As the track’s second weekend of the landmark meet approaches, a gargantuan storm travels up the East Coast but hopefully will have no affect on the Nov. 30 program. The snow, ice and rain may be history by the time Captaintreacherous and Bee A Magician attempt to make their own marks. The former takes on older pacers and the later goes for a perfect season of 17 wins.

    On Sunday, glamour-boy pacers are the highlight at Dover Downs in the Progress Pace, which wraps up the stakes season on the first day of the last month of the year.

    Generational Conflict

    The contest of which every harness bettor and fan dreamed will be a center point of the Meadowlands’ $3.4-million program Saturday night as Captaintreacherous, the champion soph-colt pacer, faces stalwart older horses in the three-year-old-and-up Free For All worth $512,000.

    Captaintreacherous will start from post 8 against nine of the best free-for-all pacers in the country, including Foiled Again and Pet Rock, who have set up their own rivalry all season.  The stakes are high for the 10 pacers, so aggressive driving with horses taking no mercy on one another is likely. That said, there are two scenarios possible, one where the youngster prevails and one where older wins.

    Starting with the youngster scenario, the only way Captaintreacherous can win the race is with a pocket ride. Whether it is directly behind the leader or racing close early, a great amount of speed in the first quarters will surely benefit a winning journey.

    This speed scenario will likely be set by Golden Receiver, who always works for the front, Bolt The Duer, who takes no prisoners when gunning for the front, and Sweet Lou, who has recently found a forte racing on top. What makes this speed scenario more extreme is that “Bolt” drew post 10, where speed is necessary early to be put into the race. A lead-killing first quarter will set the fire for anyone in close proximity to the lead, which if Captaintreacherous wants to win, he’ll need to be placed.

    The other scenario too involves dying speed, but will not go to Foiled Again or Pet Rock. All year, Modern Legend has come close to winning, but with this being the final major race of the season, it will be all-things go for everyone. Since Modern Legend races off the pace, as well as draws well, a fast pace would just benefit his closing talent and give him the win he deserves against this group.

    In the $500,000 Free For All with the older trotters, Wishing Stone will look to repeat his outsider victory in the prep. But Market Share will be bet heavily again and will have more to say about which horse tries to steal the race on top. We liked how Arch Madness stayed close to the leader last week and finished second effortlessly. He may be a bit more aggressive late this time and be able to save ground for the big push, edging out Market Share at a price.

    Final Four For Froshes

    A quartet of stakes for two-year-olds of both sexes and both gaits, are also on the Meadowlands program. In no particular order, here is our analysis of each.

    Frosh-colt trotters, some of them next year’s Hambletonian hopefuls, line up for the $494,750 Valley Victory. The top hopeful, Father Patrick, has already tossed in his horseshoes for this season, which may be judged as charity considering how he dominated all of the members of this mile.
    Nuncio, who finally satisfied our status appointment as second best in the late season (we endorsed him in both Breeders Crown races with “Patrick” after supporting his talent most of the year), comes off a sweep of the division in Matrons and faces most of those he has already defeated. He will be the top choice—that bet is a lock. But can he be beaten here?

    Muscle Network may go undetected as a decent contender, hiking his odds to overlay status. He is back after a difficult “Crown,” breaking in the prep and going a rough trip in the final. But he was on his game before that for trainer Jonas Czernyson, a productive conditioner. With Southwind Spirit probably settling as the second choice, “Network” could be a high third or fourth choice, a worthy wager at those levels.

    The frosh-filly trotters untie for the $456,150 Goldsmith Maid. The short field may be hopelessly struggling for a way to defeat Shake It Cerry. Other than a major misstep by “Cerry,” the quintet against her needs divine intervention to win. Though the obvious exacta partner would be Scream And Shout, you could look for a better price with the chances of Sweetie Hearts, who comes with a good resume from a strong fall series in Canada.

    First-season filly pacers make up the $394,950 Three Diamonds. What is left of this scruffy division produces a competitive field. Act Now is the one that gets our attention. Her Crown efforts were strong, with a bad trip in the arguably tight final (finishing ninth) and a third in the elim. She won a Kentuckiana stake at Hoosier among stiff rivals, one of three she won in eight starts. She is fresh and probably will offer a decent price against the probable choice, Ali Blue

    The richest of the finals is the $534,500 Governor’s Cup, showcasing the sport’s top young boy pacers. The final has become an open betting affair, due to the scratch of Somestarsomewhere early this week, provoked when the Ron Burke trainee pulled a curb while training. Burke reported this injury as “minor” and that it will not affect his colt’s three-year-old season.

    With the public’s choice currently on the fence, the 2013 Governor’s Cup has become a true bettors’ event. Many freshmen are coming into it in top form, such as So Surreal, Jk Endofanera and Stevensville. The division’s favorite early this season, Arthur Blue Chip–we had him before he caught on, when he paid well (Metro elim), seeks redemption off of a bad trip in the Crown. We like his chances.

    Improving with two qualifiers at the Meadowlands, the speedy son of Shadow Play is making the first major appearance of his career, having scratched out of the Metro Final and not making the Crown final. Looking back to the Crown, he was parked the mile, setting fractions of :53.4 and 1:22.2 in a battle against Luck Be Withyou. The colt showed that he doesn’t need to race on the lead in his most recent qualifier, which will likely be a winning position with the tremendous amount of speed these guys offer.

    Soph Fillies On Fire

    Bad news came early this week as I Luv The Nitelife was scratched from another Nov. 30 feature, the $167,500 Nadia Lobell. Suffering an undisclosed injury that demands surgery and threatens to end her career, the super filly and domineering damsel of this division won’t be the main problem of the stake’s field. However, what was one big problem becomes, in its absence, a myriad of problems, as chances to win spread out among the cast.

    That opinion is not shared by many, as the three obvious choices, Charisma Hanover, Shebestingin and Somwhereovrarainbow will contest the favorite’s spot, according to all handicappers. But this is not a match race between those three. In fact, the presence of all three could conspire into the perfect storm for an upset. For instance, Jerseylicious has competed against the top of the line sophs all season but has not had a chance to pace late at a lot of speed. That speed should be present as the top three may shuffle the fractions before the final turn. That may give Jerseylicious the opportunity she needs. One thing is certain, she will be a high-priced fourth choice at best, an overlay no matter how you cut the mile or evaluate the field.

    Bee A Magician hopes to race similarly to all of her 16 starts this year and win as easily in the $253,000 Moni Maker for glamour-girl trotters. This, above all of those 16 races, however, could be the one that allows us to bet against the queen of ’13.

    Which scenario could manufacture the filly’s first loss of the season? The possibilities exclude a break; only a severe trip problem could make the difference of a nose at the finish line. That is the fun bet—not the heavy one—to make, which has some potential to turn a virtual exhibition race into a contest.

    Parking “Bee” is possible from four gals: Ma Chere Hall, Andie Sophia, Little Bitty Lies, Time To Kill and Mistery Woman. The only chances this quartet has center around major speed challenges or building a wall that forces Bee wide more than once in the mile. Time To Kill may fire for control, as will “Lies,” the cheapest of the lot, and Andie Sophia could try to take over or thicken the outer flow along with Mistery Woman by the half. If Bee is not in command by the half there may be hope for an upset from “Chere,” who could get the best ground-saving trip from the outside scenario.

    Progress Report

    Dover’s signature race, the $284,160 Progress Pace, is set for this Sunday, Dec. 1. Morning-line favorite Sunshine Beach will seek redemption in the sophomore final after losing to last year’s two-year-old colt pace Matron winner Twilight Bonfire in the elim.
    The other scenario also involves fading speed but may not go to Foiled Again or Pet Rock if they attack one another dearly. All year, Modern Legend has come close to winning but with this being the final major race of the season it will be all-things go for everyone. Since Modern Legend races off the pace, as well as draws well, a fast pace would just benefit his closing talent and give him the win he deserves against this group.
    Dedi’s Dragon’s main accomplishment this season was defeating Captaintreacherous, a near impossible feat by a colt with his record. In the Progress preview he got away 13 lengths off the lead, entered the two wide flow by being placed third over and closed to finish third through moderate fractions. He will start from the rail this week, which should allow him to be placed a bit closer to the lead. With faster fractions likely in the final, the race should set up for the Burke trainee. 

    H2W Legend

    Review our choices and follow the wagering at the prescribed track. These are possible contenders we have judged from reviewing races. The horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track after the date they will be racing. The race in which they are entered (R and race number) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name it means it is appearing on the list for the second (and last time) because it failed to win the first time it appeared. An “ae” signals the horse is entered but on the also-eligible list. Types of wagering on any of the H2W listed horses are based on your judgment. If you have any questions, email us at TwinSpires.


    Cal Expo
    11/29/13, +Skyway King R6; +Bette Davis Eyes R12  
    11/30/13, +Van Donk R7
    11/22/13, +Makemywishcometrue R10  
    11/23/13, +Bettorific R7

    11/29/13, +Speed Minister R2 

    11/29/13, Hot Mandy R1; +Sporty Callie R2; +Gee Up R2; +Carmelita’s Girl R3; +Power Everywhere R8; +REO Speeddragon R10; +Truffle Shuffle R11
    11/30/13, +Lost Photo R1; +Basilio Blue Chip R7; +Point Standing R13
    11/29/13, Carlena Hanover R10
    11/29/13, +Hi Edith R2; +Delightfuldanielle R4  
    11/30/13, +Racketeer R3; King Cat Anvil N R4; +Spencer B R13
    Cartoon by Thom Pye
    Ray Cotolo contributed to this edition.

  • Simon Says Racing Podcast

    TwinSpires' Derek Simon discusses all the latest happenings in the Sport of Kings with Ed DeRosa of Brisnet.com, including a look at Ed’s latest column about the exploits of social-worker-and-auditor-turned-“self-employed statistical analyst” Ron Cooper.

    In the U. of Bet segment, Dave “The Horse Handicapping Authority” Schwartz opines on database handicapping and answers the age-old question: Why would anyone who (supposedly) wins at the races sell stuff?

    Lastly, in the Handicapping segment, Ryan Patterson of GradedStakes.com defends Orb’s virtue as a promising young sire.

  • Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Nov 24, 2013

    We weren’t left with much in the features department when the Meadowlands could not present elims for the frosh Fall Finals. That quartet will be covered in our Thursday blog, the fields already set for the single-dash contests. The new Meadowlands opened, however, and the feature on the program No. 23, were FFA preps for next week’s super events, which are for three-year-olds and up. That condition, of course, is emphasized for one simple reason: Captaintreacherous.

    In the News And Notes section below, you can read about the top-soph-pacing colt’s debut on the new Meadowlands surface. As we go to press we await the word from his connections if he will take on the older set in the FFA Pace.

    In our attempt to find some value in the two preps on opening night we were far less concerned than most about how the new track would play. The only work done to the oval was some smoothening of banks on the turns but drivers and trainers had questions that may or may not have affected their performance. Certainly the horses were all right with it; there were no reported issues that confirmed any of the human’s concerns and little seemed to be any different when reviewing the races.

    The mathematics of pari-mutuels kicked in without a stitch. In 13 races the choices faired well: four first choices won; two second choices won; two co-second choices won; one third choice won; one co-fourth choice won. There were three longshots, with one of those races presenting the first and second choice having breaks and being eliminated. Those results are nothing more than normal.

    Our search for value in the two major Meadowlands events and the single Dover event on Nov. 24, resulted in three fifth-place finishers.

    Again, on a slow features weekend and being off the board in the trio of events we addressed, we were saved by the horses-to-watch list (H2W), which below reports on the successes we had at most of the tracks we promoted.


    The H2W results list across-the-board prices.


    Petraeus, $27.80, $8.70, $3.20, Saratoga
    Shine N Shimmer, $15.60, $5, $3.20, Meadows
    Allamerican Dora, $10.80, $5.80, $2.60, Northfield
    Irish Elitist, $7.90, $3.50, $2.30, Saratoga
    All Powerful, $7.20, $3.30, $2.40, Saratoga
    Vegas Strip Three, $5.80, $4.40, $3.40, Northfield
    Matts Wolfey, $5.50, $2.70, $2.10, Saratoga
    Mr Web Page, $4.80, $5, $5.60 (ok)


    Power Everywhere, $5.80, $5, Northfield
    Boy Stuff, $5.40, $4.60, Meadows
    Basilio Blue Chip, $4.60, $3.60, Northfield
    Bettorific, $4.20, $2.80, Freehold
    REO Speeddragon, $3.80, $3.20, Northfield
    Smoken Cambest, $3.80, $2.80, Maywood
    Bette Davis Eyes, $3.60, $3.20, Cal Expo
    B Blissfull, $3.40, $2.80, Saratoga
    Subliminal Hanover, $2.70, $2.30, Saratoga


    Delightfuldannielle, $7.30, Saratoga
    Ramblin Rick, $5.50, Batavia
    Miss Chip, $4, Meadows
    Mynah Hanover, $3.60, Meadows
    Sea Cruise Hanoer, $3.60, Pocono
    Sunny New Day, $3.20, Northfield
    Fine Fine Fine, $2.80, Pompano
    Point Standing, $2.60, Northfield

    News And Notes

    Captaintreacherous, Pet Rock and I Luv The Nitelife, qualified at the Meadowlands and a few of the season’s fastest frosh-pacing colts went q-miles for next Saturday’s $534,500 Governor’s Cup final.

    A pair of Ron Burke trainees hit the wire together with Somestarsomewhere winning a short nose over JK Endofanera. The winner is a son of Somebeachsomewhere; he set the frosh record of 1:49.2 at The Red Mile this fall and won his Breeders Crown elim in a world-record 1:49.4 at Pocono.

    Soph-pacing fillies prepped for the Nadia Lobell, including I Luv The Nitelife going against Somewherovrarainbow, making her first start out of the Joe Holloway barn. “Nitelife” won for trainer Chris Ryder.

    Soph-pacing sensation Captaintreacherous will face older horses in the $500,000 FFA Final on Nov. 30, a feat that hasn’t been attempted in decades. His qualifier win was in 1:49.3 for trainer Tony Alagna and his team. 

    Pet Rock won his q-mile in 1:50.4. Trainer Virgil Morgan sends Pet Rock into the FFA final against Captaintreacherous and other aged pacers next week.It will be Pet Rock’s last start of his career before he heads to Ohio to embark on his new career.

    Ohio’s Lebanon Raceway has had its 2014 harness dates approved by the state racing commission. The track is moving and will be known as Miami Valley Gaming and Racing. It was awarded 66 live dates beginning in February. Northfield Park received 213 harness programs, beginning Jan. 1. Raceway Park, being replaced by Hollywood Gaming at Dayton, is also set to begin a 56-date meet in October.

    Balmoral Park in Illinois received a year-round schedule again, sharing the week with downstate Maywood. Balmoral goes from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 again next year with 275 dates. Maywood received 90 programs.

    Market Share has been invited to take a trip to Sweden and go against Europe’s best trotters in the classic Elitlopp. Trainer Linda Toscano said if the Hambletonian champ begins a five-year-old campaign with promise, connections may send him overseas for the major event and other European Grand Circuit miles.

     Extraordinary Extras

    Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.

    Ray Cotolo contributed to this blog.
    Cartoons by Thom Pye
  • Will Orb Be a Successful Sire? Don't Bet On It.

    POSTED Nov 21, 2013
    I was not a fan of Orb, the race horse.

    On the first Saturday in May, when the bay son of Malibu Moon came barreling down the stretch to catch Golden Soul and Revolutionary — two horses I did like — and win the 2013 Kentucky Derby, my opinion cost me.

    Yet, just a few weeks later, after racing fans and pundits alike had anointed Orb “the chosen one”— the three-year-old superstar destined to break the Triple Crown drought and “save” racing (sometimes I think racing has been saved more than “sugar bear” from that old Elton John song) — I was vindicated.

    Orb finished a non-threatening fourth in the Preakness Stakes and followed that up with a distant third in the Belmont Stakes. After a brief freshening, he returned with an encouraging third-place showing behind eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Will Take Charge in the Travers and, then, got crushed by 22 ¼ lengths in Jockey Club Gold Cup against older foes.

    It was shortly after the Gold Cup debacle that owners Stuart Janney and Phipps Stable decided to call it a career for Orb. As usual, it was economics — Adam Smith’s detestable “invisible hand” — that played the largest part in the decision.

    “From an economic point of view, the risk/reward is not what you’d like,” Janney told turf writer Joe Clancy. “I was pretty optimistic that he would have had a really good four-year-old year, but at the end of the day it was going to be tough to bring him back. If everything went right, we were looking at a 10-percent upside if he had a good year and a 40-percent downside if he didn’t.”

    “You might as well take advantage of the value that’s out there at the time,” echoed Claude “Shug” McGaughey, Orb’s trainer. “If something were to happen next year, and he got hurt or didn’t have a good year, then we didn’t make the right decision for him or for anybody.”

    I wonder.

    I mean, look, I get it: There is value in winning America’s greatest horse race, the Kentucky Derby. And that value extends beyond the purse or the prestige of the race. But given that racing is a business and that retiring Orb was, by the owner’s own admission, a business decision, I’ve got to question the “business” assumption that winning the Kentucky Derby makes one… well, uh, a better lover.

    Frankly, when I factor in the way in which he won the Derby — reserved early in a race that featured a torrid pace — I become almost convinced that Orb is going to be a dud at stud.

    However, before I present my case, I thought I would consult with some experts in the field. Although I’m sure many assume just by looking at my driver's license picture that I am “in the know” when it comes to the mating habits of horses, the truth is I know very little about the subject.

    Laura Ross, on the other hand, knows her studs… although she would probably prefer that I express my confidence in her abilities as a bloodlines expert some other way. According to Ross, “Orb has the pedigree to do extremely well at stud.”

    “His female family is pure class,” she wrote me. “His dam was an allowance-class winner; second dam was a stakes winner; and his third through fifth dams are blue hens.

    “Orb likely carries the X-Factor gene through his dam,” Ross continued. “If so, he will pass it along to his fillies, who could become amazing runners. His offspring will be mid- to late-season two-year-olds (July onwards) and most will prefer going a mile and farther. He has the pedigree to sire a classic winner.”

    Stop. You had me at X-Factor, Laura. (Does this mean that Simon Cowell might be able to “save” racing as well?)


    Ryan Patterson of GradedStakes.com agrees with Ross — but not because of Orb’s X-Factor. Instead, Patterson is impressed by Orb’s package (again, Ryan would probably prefer different wording).

    “[Orb] is what everyone should be looking for in a stallion,” he notes. “Precocious, athletic, well bodied, well-bred and a Grade 1 classic winner on the track … Orb is the complete package.”

    Sid Fernando, former bloodstock editor of The Daily Racing Form, had this to say: “It's the only Phipps Derby winner, and Phipps-bred sires are terrific prospects. So many have done well, including many lesser-raced than Orb. Claiborne is hot right now with War Front, and that helps to draw mares. Plus, Orb is by the AP-line, and Claiborne lost their good son of AP, Pulpit.”

    OK, now here’s why I think that these fine folks — who have probably forgotten more about pedigree research than I know — are wrong about Orb.

    He doesn’t have any speed.

    And past Derby winners who lacked early foot simply haven’t fared that well in the breeding shed. The chart below lists the Derby winners with highest (slowest) early speed rations in modern (post-1920’s) Kentucky Derby history:

    (Click on image to enlarge)
    While the Sire Production Index (SPI), which relates the earnings of a sire’s progeny to the national average, is slightly higher than normal (1.00), the adjusted SPI, which factors in the quality of the dam, is lower than normal.

    Of course, I understand that these numbers are difficult to gauge in a vacuum, so I’ve also produced stats on Derby winners that recorded the lowest (fastest) ESRs since 1930. This list is headed by a horse that many consider to be one of the most influential sires of the past 20-40 years — the late, great Seattle Slew:

    (Click on image to enlarge)
    * Won the Triple Crown.

    Notice that the “early speed” Derby winners were better sires in nearly every category — more crops, more foals, more foals and starters to win, more lifetime starts, more lifetime wins and a higher SPI and adjusted SPI.

    Ironically (given that we’re told breeders focus on speed rather than stamina these days), 12 of the 13 horses on the latter list raced prior to 2000, whereas five (of 14) on the former list met that criterion. 

    What do you think? 

    How will Orb perform as a sire?

    Courtesy of Pollcode.com free polls 
  • Winter Stakes Waning On Dawn Of New Meadowlands

    POSTED Nov 20, 2013

    There was trouble in paradise when the grand opening of the new Meadowlands was threatened by a shortage of horses in the draw for the first program on Nov. 23. Access to the entry box was allowed an extra day and the picture reportedly looked “less grim” in an effort to line the program with 13 races.

    Adding to the malaise was a lack of freshman pacers and trotters to support elims for the final four stakes of the season. So, the Governor’s Cup, the Three Diamonds, the Goldsmith Maid and the Valley Victory events will be presented on Nov. 30 sans eliminations.

    With late support from horsemen, the shipping plans were set and the Meadowlands will open on Nov. 23 with a 13-race program. Featured on the car are $50,000 Free For Alls for three-year-old-and-up pacers and trotters prepping for next week’s huge six-digit events, historic in that they may have sophomores facing the best older horses.

    Also prepping with a single elim are glamour-boy pacers at Dover Downs. And, the H2W (horses to watch) list pours out more contenders for your win, place, show and exotic pleasure.

    Progress Pace Preps

    There is a single Progress Pace elim, which is more like a prep as only one soph-colt pacer will not make it into the Dec. 1 final. This is Dover Downs’ premier event and the $35,000 prelude only drew nine. Some glamour-boy pacers not involved are done for the season and Captaintreacherous’s management is still pondering if the champ will race against older at the new Meadowlands.

    Other recent headliners in the division are missing. Word Power, who won the Windy City Pace (we gave him to you) and the huge favorite he toppled, Lucan Hanover, are not here. Messenger-winner Ronny Bugatti, Matron-“Jug”-winner Vegas Vacation, Sunshine Beach and the still winless Wake Up Peter will do battle. A few newcomers to this level of the division are included in the nine.

    The big two, of course, are Vegas Vacation and Sunshine Beach, but they will eat a lot of bets, leaving some room for possible upsets. Among those scenarios are Tony Alagna’s duo, Emeritus Maximus and Wake Up Peter. The problem with the latter is he refuses to wake up enough to win. Seventeen starts, most in the top tier of the division, and he cannot get into the winner’s circle.

    Emeritus Maximus has five wins and is showing some late-season spunk, enough to win with the right trip or while taking advantage of the top two’s rigorous schedule through the Breeders Crown. He should be a strong third choice at the least. No doubt Alagna would love to see “Peter” win over either of the top two, considering the verbal beating his Captaintreacherous has taken even when defeating them.

    Meadowlands Anew

    The first program at the New Jersey plant that starts and ends where the backstretch used to be features two $50,000 Free For Alls.

    There are six trotters in the first affair, all of them familiar names to this year’s campaign, led by top male Market Share. In the small field, the Linda Toscano-trained Market Share has gone on a winning streak after having some issues with the same bunch of horses mid-season. Don’t expect a price here but take a look at the prices for Uncle Peter, who could turn the tables.

    The pacing FFA has eight elders, each with his own story of victory on the oval when it went the other way. The bulk of the win money will once again tip the scales for Foiled Again but all things being equal, this division has been tough on one another all year. Prices may be offered in fairness to Golden Receiver and Fred And Ginger, since the wagering could be too much in favor of Foiled Again.

    H2W Legend

    Review our choices and follow the wagering at the prescribed track. These are possible contenders we have judged from reviewing races. The horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track after the date they will be racing. The race in which they are entered (R and race number) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name it means it is appearing on the list for the second (and last time) because it failed to win the first time it appeared. An “ae” signals the horse is entered but on the also-eligible list. Types of wagering on any of the H2W listed horses are based on your judgment. If you have any questions, email us at TwinSpires.


    11/22/13, Ramblin Rick R3

    Cal Expo
    11/22/13, +Bette Davis Eyes R1; Portfolio R7; Skyway King R9; Curvacious R14
    11/22/13, +Makemywishcometrue R10  
    11/23/13, +Bettorific R7

    11/22/13, +Smoken Cambest R1; Cinnamon Spider R13 

    11/22/13, Jedi Hanover R3; Boy Stuff R3; Woodside Warrior R4; Florida Vortex R6; Fantasy’s Chipchip R7; Rio Sweet R10; +Do Me Honor R11; Shine N Shimmer R11; Sweetheart Dance R11; Miss Chip K R12; Dream Of Winning R13; Mynah Hanover R14; +Eradikate R15.

    11/22/13, Hot Mandy ae R1; Icanfeelyoubreath R2; Townline Kriss R2; Scratch R3; Carmelita’s Girl R6; Campside Angel ae R7; Power Everywhere R10; R E O Speeddragon R11; Truffle Shuffle R12; Vegas Strip Three R14; I Love My Yankee R14
    11/23/13, Carolina Nan R1; Allamerican Dora R2; Lost Photo R3; Sunny New Day R8; Basilio Blue Chip R10; Point Standing R12; Sporty Callie R13; Gee Up R13

    11/22/13, +Jerjens Dragon R5; +Magnum Kosmos R6; Sea Cruise Hanover R14
    11/23/13, Lauderdale R2; +Hold Your Hat R5

    11/23/13, Fine Fine Fine R10

    11/22/13, Delightfuldanielle R1; +Petraeus R5; Mr Web Page R9
    11/23/13, +B Blissful R1; +Upfront Ellijay Ed ae R3; King Cat Anvil N R3; +All Powerful R4; Matt’s Wolfey R5; +Irish Elitist R7; +Red Star Tomahawk R7; Subliminal Hanover R7; +Spencer B ae R13

    Ray Cotolo contributed to this edition.