Northfield, Saratoga In Stakes’ Focus; Grand Circuit To Canada, N.Y
It’s also Gold Cup & Saucer weekend, with a consolation on Friday and the final on Saturday at Charlottetown Driving Park (pictured left). Also in Canada, Mohawk hosts Nassagaweya stakes as the Grand Circuit (GC) dives into the season’s second half with a big Saturday card. On Sunday Tioga Downs hosts some traditional GC events, the Tompkins-Geers and you can find our choices for those along with other suggested contenders on our horses-to-watch list (H2W). These are valuable additions to your win, place and show bets and exotics through North America. See our weekly list of “lookouts” below.
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Carl Cash At Northfield
The $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park on Aug. 15 is a huge cash event for glamour-boy pacers and the purse is so large this year it has prompted the connections of Mcwicked to supplement their speedy colt. The first sign that was worth the investment was when Mcwicked drew the rail, which at the home of the Flying Turns is still a plus.
Casie Coleman’s Mcwicked has lost to a few of the foes here in the bigger races and has not dominated the division’s top events, so the representatives of the other top trainers of the season deliver a race with deep competitive promise.
Ron Burke’s All Bets Off has come around well and is six for nine coming to Ohio. Jimmy Takter’s pacer, Tellitlikeitis was the favorite in the first million-dollar race for the division and has been in the thick of all but one of his six races. Stevensville was the winner over Hes Watching when that one faltered in his soph debut; remember we gave you Stevensville at Yonkers that night for a big win? Ohio-champ-conditioner Virgil Morgan, Jr. conditions Boomboom Ballykeel (our choice and the upset winner of last year’s Metro). Though the colt has not been on fire at three, he is three for seven in the win column and Morgan knows this course. Chris Oakes aims Luck Be Withyou, an honest threat to Mcwicked this season, at the purse. Joe Seekman’s Let’s Drink On It has five wins in 11 starts, though they are against less-talented steeds. Only Dan Altmeyer’s Seventh Secret appears to be buried in the talent, leaving against this crew from post 8 with only hopes for a small piece of the pie should a lot go wrong to his left.
Mcwicked will launch hard out of the 1 hole and attempt to cut all the fractions, making this a typical Northfield-wire-to-wire attempt based solely on speed. That most likely scenario could be the downfall for Mcwicked, since it would seem impossible that he would get away with cutting the fractions for all four quarters in a race with this kind of pot; there will be challenges. Which horse finds itself in the best position could be the one left with the best kick.
All Bets Off will be right behind Mcwicked when that one guns out and charts to get the best trip to save ground. He did his best at Yonkers and could wind up with a record mile if he comes out late with a successful bid or he shoots up the passing lane. His price is negotiable but given the circumstances he may be worth it as a second or third choice, since Mcwicked ($34,000 to get into this event) will be showered with wins bets.
The $100,000 consolation of the Carl Milstein Memorial offers this year’s second-tier soph-pacing colts a means of redemption, with one specific pacer from the field in desperate need of one.
Sharp as a freshman, luck had abandoned Western Vintage upon his tangos with the top guys, with every mile an encounter with misfortune. Upon his elimination in the Max Hempt Memorial, trainer Nancy Johnasson gave her star colt a break. Returning on racing’s biggest stage, the Hambletonian under card, he was a game fourth in 1:50, albeit to a 90-1 Sweet Rock. Competing against other colts that are in need of a redeeming mile, Western Vintage, who’s only $2,000 off of qualifying for the final, should be raring to pace.
With him is a promising colt in the exotics, Three Of Clubs. The Mach Three speedster is winless in seven tries this year while competing mainly on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit. Regardless, his lone chance of receiving a check will be utilizing his speed to sit near the top and hope to pass rivals in the lane. With the weak speed honor going to Limelight Beach, it is more than possible that he can pass enough horses to pay a handsome exacta.
Joe Dough At Saratoga
Saratoga Raceway features top aged pacers in the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Memorial on Aug. 16. With the Foiled Again fan club ready to tune in, there’s a possibility we can get a price on the best horse in the field
Coming in off of a first-over journey in the Dan Patch Invitational (against Sweet Lou), Heston Blue Chip will start from the rail. The Linda Toscano trainee was parked through insane fractions of :52.4 and 1:20.1, causing him to falter to sixth. This group suits him perfectly, and from the rail, he will be tough to beat.
Nassagaweya Whiz Kids
Two-year-old colts get top-notch prizes for their best efforts in three Nassagaweya splits, each worth more than $89,000, on Aug. 16 at Mohawk. The crop has been dominated up north thus far by progeny from Sportswriter but we don’t know to what extent that will affect the wagering.
Round one could be a great score for a son of Somebeachsomewhere, as the Linda Toscano-trained Asap Hanover gets a good spot to shine. The solo Sportswriter kid comes out of post 8 here so Toscano’s colt gets a post edge, as well as Tim Tetrick in the bike.
Nine go in the second round and look who has a frosh pacer in the mix—Ake Svanstedt. He hands the reins of Badix Hanover over to Jody Jamieson. Ake’s stock continues to show power and profit and this Western Ideal colt is one of the youngest in his barn with improvement written all over his racelines. Go Daddy Go, the sole son of Ponder (fourth on the sires average earning list for frosh pacers) in this field, could force the issue, as Bob MacIntosh is gunning this recent winner of the Battle of Waterloo and teams up with John Campbell to try for another score, though he may not offer the lovely 7-1 he paid last out.
In the nightcap, Artspeak gets the outside but will have support for his first-season successes, which stick out. The Sportswriter son here is Sporting The Look for the Jamiesons and he may have an edge if only by a few steps gained from a better trip. This is a chance to support the Sportswriter crop with national competition, as the sire’s success has been strongly local. If they are that good there may be some prices attached to them which won’t be available for long.
The fairer frosh pacing set goes for scads of cash in three $76,000-plus Eternal Camnation splits, also on Aug. 16.
Round one gives us a chance at the sole Somebeachsomewhere in the field, Queensland Beach. She’s a local but her sire is shining on the national scene with frosh progeny and that average alone is worth backing.
In the second split, a rare trainer/driver solo from Jack Moiseyev brings out the Ponder gal Cowgirl Tough. We also find two from Rock N Roll Heaven’s first crop, all of which are yet to show significance in stakes. Oddly enough, there is a Rocknroll Hanover filly here too, so sire and sire’s sire have blood flowing here, but we’ll stick with the Ponder gal on top.
Finally, more first-crop fillies hit the scene in the nightcap. Those of you who have read this department through the years know of our successes with If I Can Dream. His filly, Yes You Can is another Jamieson-barn property and if he will shine as a sire early he will have an upset win here. The Sportswriter gal is on the outside and the Somebeachsomewhere gal looms boldly but Yes You Can may complement the early data of her sire at a price.
The $20,000 consolation for the Gold Cup & Saucer (renamed the James Roach MacGregor Memorial) is set to end the evening card at Charlottetown of Friday, Aug. 15. Due to the field size in the trials, only four failed to qualify for the “Saucer” final in this six-horse grouping. Based off their performances, it’s a wide-open affair.
Residing at the rail is Mach Wheel, who tracked cover and couldn’t chase Mickey Hanover in his 1:50.4 journey around the P.E.I. oval. Exempting that effort, he was a talented pacer at the Ontario B-tracks in their Preferred levels. The inside draw will likely put him in a position towards the front, which will make taking control late in the mile an easier task.
Duke Did It can also make this wagering affair interesting. Sitting the pocket to Mickey Hanover in his trial, he severely faltered to finish sixth by 26 lengths. He fits well into this group and will likely be forwardly placed.
While the $60,000 Gold Cup & Saucer will not see 12 horses go for the gold, an octet of speedy aged pacers will blaze around the half-mile track. Given the circumstances of the post draw (Aracache Hanover drawing post 2 and Mickey Hanover post 8), it might be safe to say this will be a take-no-prisoners event. The ultimate speed of this field is Mickey Hanover, who will have to gun in order to get his comfortable spot on the front. That is, if he can get on the front.
In his second start off a sick scratch, Scott Rocks made his debut at Charlottetown. Getting away last in his trial, he managed to pick up cover and, upon three-quarters, was left alone two wide while Mickey Hanover was preparing to lift flight. Scott Rocks managed to finish third in his trial. Drawing post 4 in the final, in the event of a fast pace, he’ll likely be poised for an upset.
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.
8/15/14, Scorpius R4; Blown Away R6
8/15/14, Cons Legacy R5
8/15/14, Allstar Shark R4; Bluenose Gal R7
8/15/14, +Bee Full Of Steinum R4; I Luv The Nitelife R10
8/14/14, Not Tonight R3
8/15/14, Ge’s Alex R2; Whitesville Ted R3; Truly My Way R4; South Dakota R4; Rhapsody Rose R6; Ny Ice R7; Winmando R9; Arrested Dreams R10
8/17/14, Osceda Gold R6
8/15/14, +Real Leggy R4; +Jerseylicious R6
8/15/14, Spirit Of Desire R7
8/16/14, +Lyonssomewhere R3; Word Power R10; Mistery Woman R14
8/16/14, Co-op Hanover R6
8/14/14, Dontmakemelaugh R11
8/15/14, +Lauderdale R8
8/15/14, +Jitterbug Hanover R3; +Trotting Trice R7
8/16/14, Mystical Brothers R2; +Head Of The Barn R3; Chip Of Art R11
8/1514, Pan Luis Obispo R7
8/17/14, Crazy Wow R3; Josies Joy R4; Uffizi Hanover R5; +Jk Endofanera R7; +Jolene Jolene R8; +Father Patick R9
8/15/14, +Nf Happenstance R8; Back To The West R9
8/16/14, Duel In The Sun R5
Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition.