10/25/2012 12:58PM

Breeders Crown: Experts weigh in with their top selections


We asked some of the top public handicappers in the business to give us their two best plays on the 12-race Breeders Crown card at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday, October 27.

Jay Bergman
Race 5 - 2yo Filly Trot

HANDOVER BELLE is my longshot selection for the evening. This daughter of Andover Hall made a break late in the stretch in her last outing at The Red Mile but was really trotting strongly into a wicked mile. When it comes to saving ground and finding room with trotters Michel Lachance still has no equal in the sport. This is a race filled with speed that provides a great amount of uncertainty in the late stages.

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Race 9 - 3yo Colt Pace

MEL MARA didn’t get any help in the post draw but the feeling is with Ron Pierce in the bike he finds a fearless driver more than willing to take chances. Woodbine’s long run into the first turn will give Mel Mara a chance to get around a few in the field not known for keeping up (Dapper Dude, Post 6). No matter how fast this field hits the three quarters Mel Mara should be in striking distance. I think Sweet Lou will be much more assertive this week and that makes him incredibly dangerous, but Mel Mara has beaten him in two of their last three meetings and should do so again.

Dave Brower
Race 2 - 2yo Filly Pace

In the two-year-old pacing filly final, we see a solid collection of speedy young ladies. In fact, they are so fast early, that I think they are all susceptible to the lass that will finish the strongest, and that is LOVE CANAL! She’s been brought along very carefully by Ross Croghan and his crew, and that patience will be rewarded, if not tonight, then next year at three. I loved her late kick in last week’s elimination behind Somwhereovrarainbow and I envision a completely different scenario in this week’s final. Jody J has been her regular pilot and he knows exactly where to put her to maximize that explosive late burst.

Race 11 - 3yo Colt Trot

The evening’s other solid value play is in the featured three-year-old colt trot. If you weren’t intimidated by INTIMIDATE’s elimination performance, then you better re-watch it and think again! After a long, long stakes season, which has seen most of these colts go at it, time and time again, this is the fresh face that will pull the upset. I applaud his connections for the guts to supplement for $62,500, and they are sitting on a monster, and a massive payday. Even better, the gelding by Justice Hall gets Ron Pierce and we’ve all seen this story before, where Ron gets the call... and then gets the win! Intimidate (pp3) will follow Prestidigitator (pp2) and then explode past Little Brown Fox.

Keith Gisser
Race 4 - 3yo Filly Pace

ROMANTIC MOMENT has quietly snuck up on her division and should be the best from post three. Although she is a 5-2 morning line favorite, I think the money will be pretty equally divided among her, Economy Terror and  stablemate American Jewel. Economy Terror may sting Gingras and Romantic Moment around one turn, but I don’t see this turning in to a brutal speed duel that takes both fillies out of the race. Romantic Moment won’t be a huge value, but we should get 2-1 or close to it.

Race 7 - 2yo Colt Pace

The only way we get 2-1 on CAPTAIN TREACHEROUS is if we cold punch an exacta. He is 2-5 on the morning line from post three and that price would be a gift. The Tony Alagna-trainee overcame interference in his Breeders Crown elim to post a dominating 3¾ length win in a mile that was six lengths faster than the other elim. The exacta pairs Captain Treacherous with Vegas Vacation, who was second to the Captain in their elim. He gets the call over another Alagna-trainee, Wake Up Peter, on the basis of Scott Zeron driving him. Zeron drove both Vegas Vacation and Wake Up Peter in the elims. I have no idea how good a handicapper Scott is, but I will trust his judgement.

Bob Pandolfo
RACE 11 - 3yo Colt Trot

INTIMIDATE erased any thoughts that he may not have the class to go with the best when he roared home off of dull cover to beat a good field in last week’s elimination. I think he stream rolls them in the stretch. Little Brown Fox is a fast colt but he can’t finish like the top pick. MARKET SHARE always gives a big effort and he made a sharp uncovered move to take the lead last week. But Intimidate blew right by him.

RACE 12 - Open Pace

FORECLOSURE N left and tucked, paced a vicious middle-half to take the lead and drew off powerfully in his first start over this track, and his second second in the Burke stable. I’m not going to over think this one. Off his last start Foreclosure N shows a 9 point advantage over Foiled Again on my Diamond Ratings, which is a computer rating system I developed, and 9 points is a big advantage. When a horse has an edge like that the odds are usually low, but this horse is 20-1 on the morning line as he steps up in class, and draws the worst post. I’m still going with Foreclosure N, that last race was awesome. Bettor Sweet left, tucked, then wore down Foiled Again late. Bettor Sweet has now beaten Foiled Again two straight.

Matt Rose
Race 9 - 3yo Colt Pace

PANTHER HANOVER hasn’t really been a household name in this year’s three-year-old crop, but he’s quietly earned over $300,000, with his feature win coming in the NJ classic at The Meadowlands, where he stalked the favorite and powered by late in a sizzling 1:47 2/5. The Canadian-based colt fell on some hard times after that effort, but he bounced back nicely to take a division of the Simcoe. In last week’s  Breeders Crown elimination he was stellar in defeat, just getting nipped late after cutting a solid clip, and keep in mind he had missed over five weeks before that effort. If anything, he should be tighter off that race, and this midpack post ensures that Sylvain Filion can be forwardly placed off the gate.

RACE 11 - 3yo Colt Trot

MARKET SHARE has had a dream season for conditioner Linda Toscano. After his big effort winning the Hambletonian, he had a license to bounce, but he’s stayed on strong, with wins in the Zweig and the Canadian Trotting Derby, and a narrow tough-luck loss in the Colonial. Even though he was defeated in last week’s elimination, I suspect he’ll bounce back strong for the final. I have no doubt that Tim Tetrick will give him a perfect steer and have dead aim turning home. For an exotic play, consider Little Brown Fox, who is the speed of the speed and he can be stubborn on the front end a long way.

Darin Zoccali
Race 2 - 2yo Filly Pace

LOVE CANAL found herself shuffled back to last while buried on the pylons.  Turning for home she was still trailing while guided to the extreme outside.  In the meantime, Somwhereovrarainbow benefited from a perfect trip, sitting third and finding clear sailing while tracking L Dees Lioness.  She struck the lead while having a six length jump on Love Canal.  Both fillies finished with similar acceleration and if Love Canal can find a live outer flow, she will be dangerous at a nice price.

Race 9 - 3yo Colt Pace

He was awesome winning the Simcoe over ARocknroll Dance, but then had six weeks off until the Breeders Crown Elimination.  PANTHER HANOVER cut the mile in the elimination and finished a dead game second, despite the 42 day layoff.  That was an excellent speed tightener and he should be only fitter from an ideal post position.  While many of the  other three year olds have taken turns beating each other up all year, Panther Hanover is fresh and looks to be sitting on a big race.