10/26/2011 11:31PM

Breeders Crown Analysis


In the Saturday edition of Harness Eye I penned a four page in-depth look at almost every horse racing on Saturday’s Breeders Crown card at Woodbine. For those of you on the go, 5,000 words might be a bit much for you. So, here is the slightly abridged rundown of each Crown event from my prospective.

Race 1 – Open Mares Trot
I hate to start off by leaving you out in the cold, but this race is about as wide open as they come. Any of these mares could cross the wire first and I wouldn’t be shocked.

If pressed for selections, JERSEY AS would get my top spot. Driver George Brennan has driven this mare very well in the past, including setting a lifetime mark with her on Hambletonian Day. I’ll also throw some props to YURSA HANOVER. The 5-year-old will be close to the action and could take advantage if a few others make mistakes.

Race 2 – 2-year-old Filly Trot
You only need to know CHECK ME OUT and WIN MISSY B in this race. Each of these talented fillies has defeated the other at least once and they are the clear standout performers. I would lean towards Check Me Out, but this is another race where I probably will not be stepping out with a big wager.

For the minor spots, MISS PARIS and FOR A DANCER have both shown enough to warrant consideration.

Race 3 – 2-year-old Filly Pace
Here it is my first bet of the night. ECONOMY TERROR is going to take all the money and really does look like a solid favorite, but I feel pretty sure that a few others could go with her on their best days. With that in mind, HANDSOFFMYCOOKIE gets my call for the upset. The daughter of Art Major was a killer on the New York Sire Stakes scene and only sports one career loss in nine starts. That head loss came in her one stakes attempt outside of New York. She was stuck uncovered, going a huge mile on the rim as the even money favorite in the $363,900 Sweetheart final at the Meadowlands. She is listed at 15-1 on the morning line, though I’d be happy with odds in the 8-1 range. I’m looking at her as a WIN/PLACE play.

Honorable mention goes to PIROUETTE HANOVER. The Ed Hart trainee has been right there at the wire in many of the big dances for young pacing ladies. If she offers close to her 10-1 early odds, I would be playing some savers with her, too.

Race 4 – 2-year-old Colt & Gelding Pace
Here is another race where I will roll the dice on a couple of longer prices. SING FOR ME GEORGE seems to be coming into his own at the right time for trainer Tony O’Sullivan. He posted a nice win two back at Lexington and was a game second despite getting looped away from the gate and stuck first on the rim last week. Check out his recent final times or speed figures (90 to 97 to 104). Each start he has improved. Another step forward and he will be taking his picture. Plus you will be cashing a double-digit win ticket.

The other interesting price play in my book is SPEED AGAIN. This gelding won a division of the Nassagaweya and Champlain stakes at Mohawk, and he was the favorite in the $1 million Metro. He did come up flat in his Crown elimination, but that was following a six week layoff. One would expect improvement in his second start back.

SWEET LOU and A ROCKNROLL DANCE are the clear favorites and must be used when wagering. HURRIKANE KINGCOLE is also making his second start off the bench and came home fast after facing   traffic troubles last week. He could be live at a big price.

Race 5 – 2-year-old Colt and Gelding Trot
There is no doubt that POSSESS THE WILL is the horse to beat. He has won three straight and that is a streak in my book. But at the projected 6-5 price tag that comes with Possess The Will, I’m looking at the others come post time.
MAGIC TONIGHT is one that peaks my interest. He was a good second in his elimination and won his two prior stakes engagements at Lexington. These Noel Daley-trained rookies tend to improve at the end of the season and this guy fits the bill.

Dan Daley (no relation to Noel) trains my other longshot play. ROYAL SHYSTER broke at the start last week and lost a good five lengths of position. At the wire he only came up 4 ¼ lengths shy of the winner. Daley doesn’t bring horses to the Breeders Crown for fun. When he comes, he usually has a horse.

Race 6 – Open Mares Pace
ANNDROVETTE will be odds-on come post time and she is a must use on every ticket. I will note that she finished second in her last two major stakes races. That leads me to dig for some upset contenders.

WESTERN SILK is a fresh face to the rigors of the older mare division. She is a 4-year-old that has been given time to develop against lesser foes after a $1 million season in 2010. After beating up on the best ladies at Yonkers she came up for the Crown eliminations and had no shot after chasing a rather slow pace. Tonight she is well drawn and should find the pace setup to be more kind.

CHANCEY LADY has made over $1.7 million in her career and sticks out as the fastest mare of the bunch with a 1:48.4 mark set last year. She was also stuck in the lackluster outer flow last week and figures to be closer to the action this time around.

Race 7 – Open Trot
Three horses warrant your attention in this abbreviated field. SAN PAIL has dominated every horse he has faced this year in North America. The big question is whether he has faced tough competition. By the time he started to travel outside of Canada, his main rival Arch Madness was starting to tail off, and there are really no other top notch trotters right now with Lucky Jim having an off year and Enough Talk seemingly past his prime.

With that in mind I will play both COMMANDER CROWE and RAPIDE LEBEL. I know nothing about these foreign imports other than they took a trip across the Atlantic from Sweden and France respectively. These European shippers rarely come in for a big stakes event and lay an egg.

Race 8 – 3-year-old Filly Pace
DROP THE BALL is best in here. Unless she reverts back to her problems of months ago or is the victim of a brutal trip, she will win. For second I’m using KRISPY APPLE and MONKEY ON MY WHEEL.

Race 9 – 3-year-old Colt and Gelding Trot
There looks to be three contenders in here. Well, two top contenders (MANOFMANYMISSIONS and CHAPTER SEVEN) and a close third in DAYLON MAGICIAN. After watching Chapter Seven’s last two races I was sure that he would be my top selection. I’ve never been a big fan of Manofmanymissions, so I was sure Chapter Seven would get my call; so much for that. I’m going with Manofmanymissions because he looked as good as I’ve seen him all year in winning his elimination. It was a truly professional effort. I’m on board.

Race 10 – 3-year-old Filly Trot
I see at least five that I would consider playing on top.

I’m going out on a limb with the longest of those prices. CRYS DREAM was the toast of the town four months ago, before drug allegations and subsequent legal obligations took their toll. Since then her form only looks so-so, but she did have a bad trip in her elimination and she is 3 for 4 over this track. Maybe we’ll see speed from her on Saturday? Either way, she seems worth a shot.

CEDAR DOVE is currently the fastest of this group. A word of caution for those that want to empty their wallets: She is a bit of a handful and could make a break at any time.

IRON LADY looked like a champion winner her Hambo Oaks elimination back in August, but since that moment the good times have been few and far between. That said, she has scored in consecutive races and could be ready to pick up her game once again.

HEY MISTER has one good move and is best suited to be the last to the front. If Brian Sears can time it right, she can win.

JEZZY is another who was highly regarded back in June but fell on hard times. After facing some weaker competition in the New York Sire Stakes she is back in form. Is she ready for this level? I guess we will find out.

Race 11 – 3-year-old Colt and Gelding Pace
This race is as tough as they come. BETTERTHANCHEDDAR, ALSACE HANOVER, ROLL WITH JOE and BIG BAD JOHN are all top notch sophomores. Just one step down the rung are sharp Ron Burke trainees WESTWARDHO HANOVER and HUGADRAGON. For the record my top choice is Roll With Joe, but I can’t see wagering too much unless his price drifts to the 3-1 range.

Race 12 – Open Pace
WE WILL SEE has a nose for the wire that has helped him accumulate over $1.1 million in earnings this year. He doesn’t impressive you with open length victories (his last three wins were by one length combined). He just gets the job done and should do so again tonight.

FOILED AGAIN keeps rolling along at the ripe young age of seven. The three time millionaire was awesome in his elimination last week. No knocks here.

BETTOR SWEET and DIAL OR NODIAL are clear exacta players if either of the top ones have an off night.

Good luck on Saturday!