• Mohawk’s stampede of stakes elims take the forefront

    POSTED Aug 20, 2014
    Although some other divisions hosting stakes this weekend, the focus for the industry will be upon two-year-olds battling for berths in the lucrative Metro Pace for pacing colts and She’s A Great Lady for pacing fillies at Mohawk, along with elims for soph-filly trotters with two Casual Breeze splits on Aug. 22, while on Saturday the program includes two Metro elims, three elims for the She’s A Great Lady stakes (a Metro for the glamour gals) and two elims for the older pacers’ Canadian Pacing Derby.

    Our exclusive blog, this year’s Breeders Crown Countdown, is 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.

    Ladies Of The Trot

    The $202,529 Casual Breeze, once contested in June to work as a prep for the now defunct Elegant Image trot, attracts the sport’s top soph-filly trotters in a two-split contest on the Friday, Aug. 22 card at Mohawk.

    One division of the total 18 fillies has a field with all the top fillies, while the other contains the second-tier competition. The opening division is the second-tier showdown, featuring the dead-heat winners of the Duenna, contested Hambletonian weekend, My Inspiration and Donatella Hanover. The Canadians also have a hometown favorite in White Becomes Her, making this an interesting wagering affair.

    White Becomes Her, because of her experience over this oval, is the horse to beat. She’s a front-trotting type but in her last two starts she has been caught by fillies who draft in the pocket. Seeing as that is her only visible weakness, the logical choice in this race would be a front-type who prefers to stalk the pace. Enter My Inspiration.

    The Trond Smedshammer filly has hit the board in six of her seven starts in her career, with every race having her positioned near the front. This Chocolatier filly has really improved into her sophomore year and should be sharpening with every mile. She’ll be in the right place to sweep by White Becomes Her and give us a nice price.

    Ever since trainer Jimmy Takter fit the shoes on Lifetime Pursuit, she has been unstoppable. A perfect trip in the Hambletonian Oaks made her an undeniable winner, then she follows her 1:50.4 world mark with another world record, this one of 1:51.3 at the Meadows, putting her in the same club as fillies Check Me Out and Designed To Be, who will compete for redemption against Lifetime Pursuit.

    All in all, there’s no point in trying to beat the best filly in the division. We certainly liked her at two, even though we never cashed on her. But she is currently at the peak of her form, which evidently is unstoppable.

    The ‘Metro’ Gang

    It’s time for two-year-old colt pacers to face the big-buck challenge as the Metro Pace elims decide the field for the biggest frosh event of the season. Next week at Mohawk The Metro Pace Final puts the pressure on the top frosh colt pacers, with the top three finishers carrying the weight of early favoritism for 2015 stakes for glamour boys. Two Metro elims, each worth $40,000, are on the program Aug. 23 at Mohawk.

    In round one, some of the top sires of the season present sons and the surprise Sportswriter colt, Sports Bettor, who debuted last week against the Grand Circuit types and won at 69-1, will get more action than that this time around. What he probably won’t get, though, is the trip that afforded him the path late to win that Nassagaweya split. Here, he has to contend with three colts that weren’t in that affair and a few that lost to him also look like trouble.

    First there’s To Daddy Go, the Bob McIntosh son of Ponder that won the “Waterloo” on Grand River’s smaller track and came right back on the big oval to lose by a smidgeon after a tough first panel. He may wallow through this mile and be worth a low price. Look out, however, for Asap Hanover, who may be offering a greater price than last week. He was the favorite when Sports Bettor exploded the tote board and he is out for revenge after an awful trip.

    Four wins in four starts with no challengers will make Artspeak the humungous choice in round two. There is little doubt that Artspeak will be winging out of the gate to take the top and attempt a total command of the mile. That attempt may give The Wayfaring Man two easy turns, sucking along in the catbird seat and raring to give Artspeak a late taste of losing. That is the best scenario for a price, assuming “Man” will offer a far-and-away decent price as the second or, hopefully, third choice.

    Great Ladies

    There are frosh-pacing fillies everywhere, demanding three eliminations for the She’s A Great Lady at Mohawk on Aug. 23. A total of 25 fillies have entered but only 10 will compete for the near-half-a-million dollar prize.

    An interesting detail to watch in these races is if the gals who competed in the Eternal Camnation last week have any sort of advantage. Seeing as 15 of the 25 entered for this race competed in the “Camnations,” it might make for a good betting angle.

    The opening split features one winner of a Camnation, Shakai Hanover, and other Camnation-gals including The Show Returns, Bedroomconfessions, Strut My Stuff and Palette Tina. The public will likely piggy-back Bedroomconfessions, even though she was second, off her strong performance in the opening Camnation split. We’ll take our chances with another Camnation-ist, one who was certainly fast, but was disqualified off an odd pylon violation.

    Palette Tina appeared green out of the gate in her division, sprinting to the quarter in :27.3 to then sit a pocket and gamely slide up the inside to finish second. Unfortunately, she was also green when veering to the inside lane, as she had a wheel inside two pylons, forcing her disqualification. We see her improving with maturity, as she has always been a weird filly, especially in her second start, when she kicked home in :25.4.

    First, the Johansson stable produced a talented youngster named Western Vintage, who went on to win his Metro elim but failed to hold off Boomboom Ballykeel in the final. Johansson returns with a filly that put in a phenomenal performance in the second division of the Camnation, Jk Shesalady.

    On a night where speed was dominant, she came from 9 lengths off the lead and entered another gear to begin sprinting her way towards the lead. She cleared command at the top of the stretch and continued to draw away, winning in 1:53.4. Here is a special filly, and likely the one to dominate this division. There’s no beating her, at least in this elimination.

    The final elim features Happy Becky, winner of the Whenuwishuponastar Series and the favorite in her Camnation split last week. She sprinted to try and catch Bedroomconfessions and Shakai Hanover but had too much ground to cover. While the majority will be flying back to support her, we’ll join the minority in a nice filly that was caught behind Jk Shesalady in her Camnation elim: Bin N Heaven.

    Firstly, Bin N Heaven was fourth to Jk Shesalady, Cowgirl Tough and Cashaway, none of which are here. Secondly, she sat the pocket to Wicked Little Minx, who went from first to eighth by 29 lengths within a quarter-of-a-mile. Having to navigate around her, it’s ridiculous to think she could catch Jk Shesalady, so her fourth-place effort is positive. She’ll likely be put towards the front again, except on this occasion, she could claim victory. 

    Sweet Lou Time

    It’s Sweet Lou time again, this episode being the first of two $40,000 elims of the Canadian Pacing Derby, also on the Mohawk card Aug. 23. Really, how can we create a scenario to wager against him? He seems tireless and makes all of his foes look powerless. Maybe if we found out trainer Ron Burke made “Lou” walk to Canada from the states we could take a deeper look at the same old joes he has been beating throughout the season.

    The second elim gives six who have been in the line of Lou’s fire different chances to get into the winner’s circle. The closest to Lou recently has been Bettors Edge, who comes from post 2 here and may try to lead the charge from start to finish. But we have to look again at a bargain—Captaintreacherous.

    The local fans will be shouting for State Treasurer, who got a good spot to be second to Lou two back. But he isn’t the horse Captaintreacherous is in any capacity, no less the kind of horse Captaintreacherous is becoming as he knocks around the neighborhood of stalwart elders. There is a contingent of anti-Captaintreacherous folk here and they will be backing “State” and Thinking Out Loud while singing “Oh Canada.” This should make for a juicy win pool for Captaintreacherous, even with only six going here. A strong cover trip or a seat behind Bettors Edge if that one leaves could get the “Captain” home on top.

    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.


    8/22/14, Red Star Fiona R1; Canbec Jewell Sun R1; +Scorpius R11; Pleasing Form R11
    8/23/14, +Blown Away ae R2; Sbm Innocentoutlaw R4; Aberarder Smitty R11

    8/21/14, Earls Little Dude R10; Bridges Beauty R14

    8/21/14, Breanna Official ae R2; Just A Minute ae R2; +Wilfully Scootereva R7; Online Learning R8

    8/22/14, Tuckered Out ae R5; Bluenose Gal R12; Upfront Billy Boy R12

    8/21/14, +Whitesville Ted R2
    8/22/14, Rules Little Man R3

    8/22/14, Annuity R4; +Spirit Of Desire R8; Art For Arts Sake R13

    Running Aces
    8/23/14, Windsun T Bird R7; +Co-op Hanover R8

    8/23/14, +Duel In The Sun R11; Bo’s So Hot R12; Titan De Vie R12
    8/22/14, Creditable Winner R2; Hobsons Choice R6

    8/21/14, Whowhohoosier R2
    8/22/14, Lookingforadventure R4; +Chip Of Art R12

    8/23/14, +Professorsdapapers R4

    8/21/14, +Natural Habitat R4
    8/22/14, +Insane In Spain R9
    8/23/14, Man He Can Scoot R2, Bubble Boy R3

    Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition.      

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