• August’s Curtain Falls With Crescendo On Labor Day Weekend

    POSTED Aug 27, 2014
    August harness racing is about to reach a peak in its finale as the three-day weekend, which unofficially ends the summer season, arrives. The Labor Day holiday does not include harness action around the continent, with Canadian and American stakes events swarming through the daylight and nighttime hours.

    No division is left un-raced, with an emphasis on the new candidates, as freshman colt pacers are featured in the Metro Pace and frosh fillies in the She’s A Great Lady finals at Mohawk. The divisions also contest lucrative Champlain and Simcoe stakes and “The Sweet Lou Show,” for the older pacers, is on the program, too—this week’s episode is titled the Canadian Pacing Derby Final.

    Glamour boys and gals on the trotting side are featured at Vernon in “Zweig” splits and on the pacing side there is Labor Day’s traditional Cane Pace and those aren’t even all of the features. On the same program, Sebastian K takes on his usual and some new challengers in the six-digit Crawford Farms mile.

    So load your TwinSpires account and charge your devices between meals, snacks and relaxation while picking and choosing your moves. Our suggestions follow here and on our exclusive blog, this year’s Breeders Crown Countdown, now on line. We link to it from this main blog for coverage of races through the rest of the season leading to the championship events in November, in cooperation with the Hambletonian Society and TwinSpires.

    Check out TwinSpires-Hoosier Park’s 10-percent bonus for hitting Pick 4s every night there is racing at the Indiana track. And, of course, our horses-to-watch list (H2W) offers live contenders for win, place, show and exotics from tracks across the continent.

    The Metro Pace Final

    The $667,000 Metro Pace Final for frosh-colt pacers has been upset territory over the years as well as some deserved public choices have taken the honors. We know this because our win record for this race over the last decade has included choosing both pay types.

    On Aug. 30, the obvious may rule in Artspeak, a first-season colt that races like a veteran. As well, the streaking local, Go Daddy Go, who won the other elim last week, is sharp, though his connections know he must improve here to make a major impression. The contender with the most improvement who could shake “Daddy” from an obvious place finish and, with the help of a speed duel, create an upset shockwave, is Lone Survivor.

    Trapped and shuffled and returning late with resilience, “Survivor” was as close to beating Daddy as Lyons Levi Lewis in the first elim. The two moves he made may have equaled a win if things went differently but in the final, chasing Artspeak will be the game and if the huge favorite is compromised at all on top, Survivor may indeed be the lone survivor of the field.  

    She’s A Great Lady

    The $480,000 She’s A Great Lady Final at Mohawk on “Metro” night will feature a sterling favorite and strong leader of this division in Jk Shesalady. Last week’s elim-topper was immaculate and far better than the other two elim winners’ efforts. She should romp again at odds that could eliminate show betting; she is that strong.

    Solar Sister is an interesting exacta addition and should up the payoff. At 37-1 she had a far more stressful trip against “Jk” than place-finisher Divine Caroline (public’s second choice). The other exactor and triactor companion should be Shakai Hanover, a beaten favorite in her elim.

    The Sweet Lou Show

    This week, Sweet Lou looks for his 11th-straight win against the toughest, albeit the same, group of older pacers that have followed him in his 10-race win skein as he leads the cast of the $634,000 Canadian Pacing Derby (CPD) on Aug. 30 at Mohawk. Missing this week is Captaintreacherous, whose connections scratched him from the CPD elim due to illness.

    ”Lou” has major foes in Bettors Edge and Foiled Again, both in this field, but only an unpredictable circumstance would find Lou behind them at the wire. All the others are rungs below Lou, including some of the local favorites that fans have been insisting can beat him. This, however, is not a hockey game, it’s the Sweet Lou Show and he is the best exotic key to come along in a long time. Stay with the program and use the two foes mentioned in criss-crosses for trifectas and in separate exactas, especially if the locals lean on any others.

    Grand Circuit events at Mohawk for Friday and Satruday, for two-and three-year-olds, the Champlains and Simcoes, are covered this week at the Breeders Crown Countdown blog.


    The colts for the $340,000 Zweig Memorial on Friday, Aug. 29 at Vernon Downs,  are familiar and talented and, for all due purposes, still led by the best—Father Patrick. Unless he scratches between our press time and Aug. 29 for health reasons that help explain his post-Hambletonian loss, there is still no one in this cast, including his stable mate Nuncio, that are better than him on their best day.

    If his two successive losses cause his win-price offerings to increase, then there is no question he is the key for exotics as well as a win bet (it has been a while since being able to play him straight at prohibitive win odds. A good addition in combo tickets is Martiniwithmuscle. When on gait, this one knows how to float and is getting better as he and the season become older.

    The $150,000 filly division of the Zweig is a bad race to give up on Shake It Cerry. Even if you feel Lifetime Pursuit has overcome her, that one is absent here and “Cerry” wins this by default. There may be some chances taken on members of this field by bettors but let’s face it, Cerry is tons better than these, including Heaven’s Door, who loomed more of a formidable foe last month than she does now. What we hope is that Broadway Socks, Avalicious and “Door” are the smokescreen that gives us another surprise price on the filly that continues to keep on giving to the bettor when it counts. You go girl.

    Oh ‘K’

    Friday, Aug. 29 at Vernon Downs on the night of the Zweigs, the $236,000 Crawford Farms Open, matches super Sebastian K against Bee A Magician, Market Share, Mister Herbie, Archangel and five others.

    The speedy Swedish Horse of the Year and top-rated horse in the sport this season, Sebastian K may actually offer a better, albeit low, price to win considering New York champ Archangel is here and loyalty is often measured in wagers. But Sebastian is all around better at racing, at least right now, and he has it all over the local and the mare, Bee A Magician. Hope for a price breaking $3 on Sebastian is slim but, as the saying goes, men have been killed for less/

    The Cane Pace

    With two colts coming into the race per $35,000 supplemental fees, there are eight entries in the 2014 Cane Pace field on Sept. 1 at Tioga. For years this was a special event, it being the first jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown (a series with more than three events when you add eliminations). Although there is still a “crown” for winning it, the Little Brown Jug and the Messenger Stakes, there is little for any bettor to be concerned about along the way. Sadly, even the press value of the series has died.

    However, alive and racing are some of the top soph-colt pacers of the season, including the industry’s anointed Hes Watching. The fast but opportunistic Hes Watching is one of three supplements. He meets major foe Jk Endofanera, the competitive Doo Wop Hanover, improving Lyonssomewhere (supplement), Stevensville (his first nemesis of the season), Luck Be Withyou (supplement), Bushwacker and Beat The Drum.

    This could very well wind up to be like the North America Cup in a few ways which give Jk Endofanera an edge. The early-speed factor weighs heavily in this mile and Hes Watching may be over-confident after his recent efforts and ready to play his speed card. That will be his Waterloo, since Lyonssomewhere has the natural ability to fire early (though he has the burden of being short late). In the first-quarter you may also see Stevensville hustling for a front spot, as well as Beat The Drum will have a fancy to be up there.

    The grinding colts with more than a few chances to take advantage of the speed scenario are Doo Wop Hanover and Jk Endofanera, the latter who did just that at 12-1 in the “Cup” with a similar configuration and some of the same horses. As well, “Jk” has once again fallen out of favor to Hes Watching and that is always good for his odds, making them far less than his chances. “Doo Wop” could be a perfect closing companion to complete a surprisingly healthy exacta.

    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.


    8/29/14, +Red Star Fiona R1
    8/30/14, +Pleasing Form R4; +Aberarder Smitty R6; Bruisers Sister R8

    8/30/14, Kings Legend R8

    8/28/14, +Toni’s Affection R12
    8/29/14, +Golden Big Stick R12

    8/28/14, Impersonal R1; +Online Learning ae R5

    8/29/14, +Upfront Billy Boy R5; Tuckered Out R7;

    8/28/14, Rockin Roxanne R4
    8/29/14, +Ge’s Alex R2; +Truly My Way R4; Money Paige R10

    8/29/14, Clearview Hanover R6; Lady Alice R13
    8/30/14, Smilin Eli R11

    8/28/14, Senor Grande ae R3
    8/31/14, +Bobs Girl R14

    8/28/14, +Curly’s Son R3; +Crazy Wow R9
    8/30/14, Good Win Earl R2; +Bo’s So Hot R11 
    8/22/14, Creditable Winner R2; Hobsons Choice R6

    8/28/14, Docs Zippy R6; Whowhohoosier R12
    8/29/14, Creatine R5
    8/30/14, Tempster Hanover R3;  +Lookingforadventure R11

    8/29/14, +Sweet Justice R8
    8/30/14, +Man He Can Scoot R2; +Bubble Boy R3; +Heston Blue Chip R6; Big Jer ae R10

    Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition.      

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