• Meadowlands Pace Leads Stakes Parade

    POSTED Jul 9, 2014
    Since its inception as the first $1-million harness racing event (created by the late, great Joe DeFrank), the Meadowlands Pace has been a defining event for the pacing glamour-boy division. By mid-July, one colt is usually in charge of the major miles, one colt is considered a threat to the rest. This year is no different. Denied by many until a 12-1 win in the $1-million North America Cup, JK Endofanera is the one to beat. He won his “Pace” elim and has room in his earnings bag for the greater percentage of the cash from this purse ($700,000-plus). In this blog we explore what we can do to use him or abuse him for wagers.

    As well, the Meadowlands hosts a giant July 12 program, including stakes for older pacers, older mare trotters and pacers, frosh fillies and colts, soph-filly pacers and filly-and-colt trotters on the Hambletonian Trail. We cover, as usual, the Del Miller and Stanley Dancer events for the soph trotters marching toward August in our sister blog. Get over there after you peruse this scroll of betting wisdom.

    Two Maple Leaf Trot elims are the center of Friday, July 11’s Mohawk program, where the older trotting ranks battle for the berths of the top stakes final next week.

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    The $776,000 Meadowlands Pace brings together a now familiar group of glamour-boy pacers, including the leader of this pack, JK Endofanera. Undeniably the favorite here, the stylized and dual-tactic colt will have to really screw up to lose this. In fact, the main scenario looks very much like the North America Cup, with hearty speed in the first half that leaves an outside path for “JK” to swoop through and win.

    Improving from last week, when JK took the lead easily around the half and wasted a bit of real estate doing so, was Lyonssomewhere. The Takter-conditioned pacer has gotten better since the “Cup,” where he led the speed brigade that set up the JK close. In his elim last week he was chasing JK and wound up third due to a great performance by Always B Miki on the outside, closing strongly late. “Miki” gets the 9 hole here and will have to contend with the 8, Sometimes Said, and the 10, Doo Wop Hanover—both negotiating a spot early to be in it.
    Hes Watching, who won the second elim with a pocket trip, may gun it early this time, laying on his speed in an attempt to steal it, but he will have Tellitlikeitis and Luck Be Withyou on his tail, no doubt willing to challenge (a lot of movement is expected in a race of this magnitude).

    Although we would love to call an upset, this race so sets up for JK that it is difficult not to recommend him as a key and look for outstanding odds in the second and third spots for exotics. “Lyons” continues to improve and will offer decent odds enough to couple with JK and if Miki is sent off anywhere near the 9-1 he went off last week he will offer a role in the final three. Those may be the two needed to pull off the trifecta, repeating the results, give or take a place and show, of the JK elim win.

    Eliminating the others mentioned appears sound considering their styles and recent battles and the Cup-like scenario is a good one to support; JK is as good a key horse as you may find in this division and that role may be written in stone after a win here. We’re all sorry JK won’t give us the 12-1 he gave us for the Cup but now that all eyes are open to him, we just have to live with it.

    ’Mistletoe’ Misses

    The $212,150 Mistletoe Shalee sends 10 of the division’s top soph-filly pacers to post on “Pace” night. This is the filly equivalent of the colt charge. It has been a perfect season for Sandbetweenurtoes so far and she will, no doubt, be the crowd’s top choice, followed by Uffizi Hanover and Precocious Beauty. “Uffizi” as a second or third choice may be a wonderful bargain.

    Her “Lynch” final trip at Pocono must be respected as difficult; she needed room after being shuffled; her Lynch elim was hampered by a wide, fast start. If she topples “Sand” she will do so with spades. As well, Gallie Bythe Beach may be granted a better trip if “Beauty” assists in burning Sand in a deeply fast duel.

    The Stalwart Stompers

    The W.R. Haughton reunites the big guys, those hoof-pounding pacers of age and muscle, with a purse of $463,300 on the Pace program. It’s another theater for Sweet Lou to perform as the favorite and another chance for Captaintreacherous to be played with a price on his head.

    Last week “Captain” was fifth and still raced in 1:47.3, only 2 lengths off of “Lou.” He seems to be adjusting to racing against all of the ages in this division, as he remains of better blood than some of the veterans here. Lou will have a bigger challenge from Captain this time around and we are going to take the Cap’s side on this one, since the public is leaning away from him more and more and we want to be with him when he shows his major stuff at a major price (for him).

    Golden Girls

    Leader of the mare pacers, Anndrovette, will look to add the Golden Girls to her resume, as in her six-year-career, she is yet to claim the prize. Last year, Feeling You handed her defeat after sitting the pocket in the six-horse field. In 2012, she missed the board and in 2011 was runner-up to Dreamfair Eternal. This has been a race in recent years where it’s worth it to take an outside horse, one that has the ability to compete in this group as well as pay a price.

    The mare worth considering this year is Mattie Terror Girl, who has spent the winter and summer racing exclusively at the Meadowlands. In the early part of the 2014 season she was already showing promise racing against the top mares in the “A” ranks. Yet, opting to race in the Petticoat series during the “Levy” mayhem at Yonkers, she came out with a second-place-parked-effort from post 8. Heading into this race she has hit the board in every start, with her most recent being extremely impressive. Her first time in a while against A-level mares, she was game in holding off Shebestingin to finish second in 1:50.3. Her home-field advantage, as well as stalking style of racing, will play well for her.

    Versatile Vamps

    We all have to admit that Bee A Magician raced well in the Maturity but we also have to admit her late surge was accomplished by passing some tired male trotters. In this $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility she will be back among her brood, the elder female trotters, and even at only a mile she will have her work cut out for her.

    Perfect Alliance is back and rested, as is the gal that beat her and “Bee,” Classic Martine. That one already took a leg of this series but in this mile and she has beaten all of them here, including Maven, who has to deal with the 8 hole. “Martine” is hard to dismiss in her current form and only a circumstantial trip will deny her another win.

    But that circumstance may generate an upset. Three back we gave you D’orsay at better than 50-1 and she beat them all with a perfect trip—the kind she may get again here from post 2. So let’s go with D’orsay at another huge price, we suspect. 

    Freshman Trotters

    A quartet of finals for the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) will have the state’s finest freshmen competing on the Paceundercard.

    The first division has 10 colt trotters fighting for a piece of the $100,000 prize. Highlighting the field are French Laundry and Canepa Hanover, Takter trainees that have dazzled since their baby races. Gradually becoming a powerhouse in the American trotting world, fellow Sweden-native Ake Svanstedt enters with a colt that caught eyes in his debut, parking out Canepa Hanover to maintain control. Now making his second start and possessing speed to put him in contention from post 10, Stonebridge Force will be one to reckon.

    The Daily Double completes with the filly trotting competition, comprised of seven. Maintaining her stride for the whole mile, Mission Brief was victorious in 1:55.1, though she came close to breaking many times during the mile. She seems to have speed but is as green as the greenest, making her a vulnerable favorite. Yet, not many in this field have shown to be anywhere close in competition except Saturday Mornings, who was second to Mission Brief in her fast mile. Already having a win in this series, Saturday Mornings is the logical choice against the Ron Burke trainee.

    The duo of pacing divisions will cap the Pace card, with the colts being the penultimate mile. Kicking home effortlessly in his debut, Artspeak has a large amount of room for improvement. A similar effort to last week’s :26.3 sprint to the wire could easily win him this race. If he’s the right price (not the favorite), he could be the bet.

    Yet, if Artspeak is not the value wanted, Sid Rock is a logical contender. In his second start, he sat closer to the pace and came 3 lengths shy of the leader in a 1:54.2 effort. He could be positioned similarly to Artspeak in this race, but the question is whether he’ll have enough in the tank to storm home.

    The nightcap features nine filly pacers highlighted by Stacia Hanover, who is looking for a series sweep. Svanstedt returns with another impressive gal, Wicked Little Minx. Qualifying in 1:57.1, she debuted by taking the lead, losing it, taking back to the outside and coming a length off of victor Stacia Hanover in 1:54.2. She makes her second start this week, meaning she could receive redemption.

    Consoling Pacemasters

    For colts who either couldn’t make the Pace final or felt the task too daunting, a wonderful restricted event in the early stages of the program offers some nice betting opportunities. The three-year-old race is comprised of 10, with four entering off of off-the-board finishes in the Pace elims. One gelding in this field is intriguing for the fact that he competed well with this group in the Max Hempt Memorial and because of a miscue, was eliminated in the final. Bushwacker, who easily began his sophomore career two-for-two, finished second to speedster Mcwicked in a “Hempt” elim. In the final he was a little too feisty leaving, causing him to break. He’ll likely be value due to Let’s Drink On It, whose fan base will likely make this his redeeming race.

    Brioni is another value contender in the field. Unraced at two, he has proven to be a consistent soph competitor. While he has dabbled in conditioned events, his stakes performances reside in the second tier of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) and PA Stallion Series. He competed against PASS-caliber horses in the Pennsylvania All Stars last out, where he was second to At Press Time, who was second to Mcwicked in the Hempt final. Hopefully, the public will ignore his gradual improvement.

    Maple Leaf Elims

    Friday, at Mohawk, the big ole square-steppers unite for two six-horse miles in search of the Maple Leaf Trot crown next week. And look who is here …Sebastian K.

    Sebastian K is the world’s fastest trotter, making that mark on a five-eighths track (he broke the 1:50 barrier by a full second at Pocono). He brings a remarkable momentum to Canada in the first elim of the Maple Leaf Trot ($40,000). It is impossible to go against him here, so we will key him with Creatine, who comes from a tough trip in the “Maturity” last week. For a triactor, also use Wheeling N Dealin for a return that may be worthy if the latter pair have any odds worth pumping up the price (Wishing Stone should be the second choice).

    In round two there is room for a bargain or two. Local favorite Intimidate will take some money and so will Mister Herbie as his career ensues as an elder. But Modern Family may not be worth passing up, since chasing Sebastian K and beating a lot of others equal to these, including Market Share, has been a hot game for him. He could go off a decent price in the small field and bury the others in the stretch.

    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 on the also-eligible list. If a horse is listed twice, refer to the entries on the night of the race since a horse may enter in more than one race. Types of wagering on any of the H2W listed horses are based on your judgment. If you have any questions, email us at TwinSpires.


    7/11/14, FB Seelster R2; Studio City R8
    7/12/14, Nifty Prescott R3; +Zipintheruthehall R7

    7/11/14, Astarisontheway R3; +Captain John Henry R7

    7/11/14, Bambino Glide R11; +The X Horse R13

    7/11/14, Too Shy R13
    7/12/14, +Marlee B R8; +Rub N Tug R8

    7/11/14, Twentysix-fiftytwo R1; OK Amelia R4; Talbot Redneck R7

    7/11/14, +Chrome Cruiser R2
    7/12/14, Milliondollartouch R4; Sky Desperado R12

    Running Aces
    7/12/14, The Wizard Of Odz R5; Emmasphere R7; Morwyn Hanover R10

    7/12/14, Bullseye R2; Cheryl Leigh R9

    7/10/14, +Bongo R4; Hi Ho Disguise R9; Touch And Go R9
    7/12/14, Spudcam R3; +Winchester R11

    7/11/14, Northern Obsession R5; Kaliska R6; Bobs Girl R9
    7/12/14, McKelie R1; +Heidi Falls R12

    7/10/14, Chocouture R3
    7/11/14, +Choke Hold R7
    7/12/14, Midas Blue Chip R1; Take The Edge Off R5; I Do Hanover R7; +Caidens Colt R8

    7/11/14, +Summertime Lea R6

    Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition.      
  • 1 comment:

    Terri said...

    Mr. Cotolo...I'd just like to inform you that whilst my Dad was certainly Harness Hall of Famer "great", he is every bit as certainly not "late". He will be 82 this coming summer. (2015) My name is Terri DeFrank, and I am his youngest child, although I'm not all that young any more. ;)

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