The biggest challenge when handicaping a card of big stakes money is trying to anticipate how the race will be run. Will there be drivers looking to force the issue in an all or nothing effort to win the race or will it be a case of drivers racing conservatively, racing to secure a portion of the purse instead of taking a chance and possibly ending up with nothing. Handicapers face this issue every race from a maiden race to the Breeders Crown; it is just magnified when you are on the main stage.
For those who are unable to make it to Pocono Downs and your ADW doesn't broadcast Pocono, the USTA will be showing the Breeders Crown races live on their website.
For those not familiar with Pocono Downs, here is the wagering menu for Breeders Crown night:
- Win, Place, and Show - All races
- Exactas, Trifectas, and Superfectas - All races
- Daily Doubles - Races 1-2 and 13-14.
- Pick-4 Races 3-6 ($10,000 added to the pool - 15% takeout)
- Pick-6 Races 8-13 ($20,000 added to the pool - 15% takeout)
1st Trot - $250,000; Breeders Crown - 3 Year Old and Older Mares Post 5:00pm
1 - Windsong Soprano (Pierce, 7-2) - Knows how to finish second. Lands share.
2 - Elusive Desire (Campbell, 8-1) - Has not been able to get close of late. Don't see it changing today.
3 - Yursa Hanover (Dube, 9-2) - Parked on the Dela oval. Returns to the big track. A threat.
4 - Southwind Wasabi (Gingras, 6-1) - Making third start of layoff and second off a scratched-sick. May need another race.
5 - Autumn Escapade (D Miller, 3-1) - Won Ms Versatility at Delaware. Needs cover to nail the win. Will she get it?
6 - Jersey As (Brennan, 12-1) - A step below these. Pass.
7 - Buck I St Pat (Tetrick, 5-2) - Not the horse she has been in the past. May win but I can't play. Your guess.
2nd Trot - $600,000; Breeders Crown - 3 Year Old and Older Open Post 5:28pm
1 - Hot Shot Blue Chip (D Miller, 4-1) - Hard to keep flat. My guess is today he jumps.
2 - Slave Dream (Campbell, 5-1) - Finished second to San Pail at the Hawk. Could take it all.
3 - Neighsay Hanover (Tetrick, 8-1) - Been saddled with the outside at Yonkers. Inside will help but still seems to be a tough spot.
4 - Define The World (Brennan, 15-1) - Does not seem to be the same horse who raced in Europe. Pass.
5 - Enough Talk (Pierce, 6-1) - Not off recent efforts.
6 - Lucky Jim (A Miller, 5-2) - 2009 Champ looks for a repeat. The horse to beat.
7 - Triumphant Caviar (Ouellette, 7-2) - Lands share with a trip.
8 - All Cantab (Ritchie, 12-1) - Doesn't seem to have the speed necessary.
9 - Lanson (Lachance, 20-1) - A win here would be a shocker. Pass.
3rd Trot -$600,000; Breeders Crown - 2 Year Old Fillies Post 5:56pm
1 - Sweet Love (D Miller, 3-1) - Peaking at the right time. Legitimate shot.
2 - Lady Rainbow (Zeron, 4-1) - Put it together at the right time. Consider.
3 - Fitness Girl (Tetrick, 7-2) - Able to take advantage of slow pace. Faster pace should hamper filly.
4 - Seducedbychocolate (Campbell, 9-2) - Tried to wire and failed. Hasn't shown the ability to come off the pace.
5 - Hey Mister (Sears, 6-1) - Expect a more aggressive drive this week. Possibility.
6 - Medusa Blue Chip (Brennan, 10-1) - Probably saw her A game last week. Pass.
7 - Celebrity Katie (B Miller, 15-1) - Lands share with a trip.
8 - Martiniontherocks (Pierce, 20-1) - Expect a quicker clip which will benefit her. Consider.
9 - Angelette Hanover (Morril, 8-1) - No excuse in last. Minor spoils at best.
4th Trot - $500,000; Breeders Crown - 3 Year Old Colts and Geldings Post 6:24pm
1 - Pilgrims Taj (Lachance, 12-1) - Connections hope he may be straightened out. We'll see.
2 - Take My Picture (A Miller, 15-1) - Jumped in last. Can spice up exotics if he stays flat.
3 - Flex The Muscle (T Tetrick, 5-1) - Has been a monster over the half mile ovals. Can't ignore on this streak.
4 - Lucky Chucky (Campbell, 5-2) - Adds lasix off a win in the Canadian Trotting Classic Won CTC, The one to beat.
5 - Break The Bank K (Sears, 4-1) - Improved of late. Picks up big portion with a trip.
6 - Hard Livin (Gingras, 20-1) -Nothing to recommend. Pass.
7 - Muscle Massive (Pierce, 3-1) - Expect better if rated. Can win it all.
8 - Temple Of Doom (D Miller, 10-1) - Never in it last start. May be tailing off.
9 - Wishing Stone (Brennan, 6-1) - Lands share at best.
5th Pace - $600,000; Breeders Crown - 2 Year Old Fillies Post 6:52pm
1 - See You At Peelers (Morrill, 5-2) - Looking to run the table here. The one to beat.
2 - Idyllic (Macdonald, 3-1) - Another undefeated filly. Her streak against open company. Two horse race down the stretch.
3 - Show And Tell (Sears, 12-1) - Interfered with in elim. May land share.
4 - Cold Mist (B Miller, 6-1) - Best has come against state breds. Pass.
5 - Honky Tonk Woman (D Miller, 10-1) - Won the Sweetheart in a shocker. Upset possibility?
6 - Myluvmylife (Brennan, 4-1) - Wins have come against state breds. Share with best.
7 - Rocklamation (Tetrick, 20-1) - Don't see. Pass.
8 - Strike An Attitude (Palone, 5-1) - Brutal trip in last. If top choices hook up she will be flying late. Upset pick.
9 - Ms Malicious (Pierce, 15-1) - Wasn't able to challenge last week. Will have to come from far back tonight.
6th Trot - $600,000; Breeders Crown - 2 Year Old Colts and Geldings Post 7:20pm
1 - Orlando (Tetrick, 6-1) - Tough to see him here. Pass.
2 - Big Rigs (Campbell, 4-1) - Upset the favorite in last. Doubt he repeats..
3 - Dejarmbro (Gregory, 5-2) - Took it to his elimination. NYSS champ looks to add a crown.
4 - Leader Of The Gang (Pierce, 5-1) - Lacks the killer instinct when it counts. Share at best.
5 - Pastor Stephen (Gingras, 7-2) - Expect more aggressive drive this week. May upend #3.
6 - Just In (Palone, 20-1) - Lucky to grab share.
7 - Neal (Sears, 15-1) - Couldn't capitalize with the rail. Why this week?
8 - Swan In A Million (D Miller, 8-1) - Shows he belongs. Must get involved earlier.
9 - Manofmanymissions (A Miller, 12-1) - AE moves in an draws a luck post. Exotics a possibility if he minds his manners.
7th Trot - $50,000; The Vivid Photo - 3 Year Old Invitational PA Sired Post 7:48pm
1 - Kirty Dream (Palone, 5-2) - Keystone Classic winner draws rail again. Main contender.
2 - Hoboken Sonny (J Parker, 6-1) - Has had no success with these.
3 - Freedom Ridge (D Miller, 3-1) - Lands in exotics.
4 - Plan B In Hd (Campbell, 10-1) - Still searching for first win of the year. Has responded positively to Campbell before.
5 - Fortunes Dream (Gingras, 7-2) - Filly has beaten the boys before Can score the minor upset if Cassis doesn't clear.
6 - Cassis (Schnittker, 2-1) - If he clears before the first quarter it is all over. Likely odds-on.
8th Pace - $600,000; Breeders Crown - 2 Year Old Colts and Geldings Post 8:16pm
1 - Westwardho Hanover (B Miller, 5-1) - Great Recovery. Threat if flat.
2 - Fashion Delight (D Miller, 5-2) - Careful planning pays off here. The one to beat.
3 - Foreclosure N (Tetrick, 3-1) - Elimination winner will look to ride the rail.
4 - Shadyshark Hanover (Morrill, 4-1) - Scored the minor upset in last. Not out of it.
5 - Hugadragon (Palone, 20-1) - Credible effort in last. Possible share.
6 - Line Officer (Brennan, 15-1) - Talented colt has not been able to take that final step. Share at best.
7 - Big Jim (Hudon, 6-1) - Quit late in last off wicked fractions. Won't be the same here. Expect rebound.
8 - Great Vintage (Campbell, 10-1) - Will need to get involved early to be a factor.
9 - Lookinforadventure (Dube, 12-1) - AE lucky to move in. That's where the luck ends. Pass.
9th Trot - $500,000; Breeders Crown - 3 Year Old Fillies Post 8:44pm
1 - Behindclosedoors (Palone, 3-1) - Filly looks to go down the road. Lands share.
2 - Ultimate Cameron (Brennan, 5-2) - Has returned to Meadowlands form. The one to beat.
3 - Fashion Feline (Morrill, 4-1) - Won her division but comes up against some quality fillies.
4 - Spicy Wings (Campbell, 5-1) - Filly has not raced well against this caliber of stock.
5 - Impressive Kemp (Pierce, 6-1l) - Finally minding her manners but don't think she matches up against the division elite. Pass.
6 - Bramalea Hanover (D Miller, 10-1) - May not win but must include in exotics.
7 - Merger Blue Chip (Ouellette, 20-1) - Recovered to finish third. Share at best if she minds manners.
8 - Up Front Juansteen (Tetrick, 15-1l) - Another second tier filly; one who must deal with an outer post.
9 - Wilsonator (Zeron) - Just missed in last but moves from the rail to the fence. Too far out to contend.
10th Pace - $300,000; Breeders Crown - 3 Year Old and Older Mares Post 9:12pm
1 - Not Enough (Morrill, 7-2) - Got late start this year and may be peaking. Don't ignore.
2 - Voelz Hanover (Dube, 20-1) - Solid effort of a scratch-sick. Don't ignore.
3 - Chancey Lady (A Miller, 12-1) - Dull effort in elim. Out of this league.
4 - Dreamfair Eternal (Waples, 2-1) - The horse to beat. Likely no value.
5 - Showherthemoney (Pierce, 10-1) - Not ready to compete against these. Pass.
6 - Ginger And Fred (Sears, 5-1) - Will need to catch a trip to contend.
7 - Southwind Tempo (Tetrick, 9-2) - Mare has been steady performer this year. Just can't seem to get there against the best. Lands share.
8 - On The Glass (Gingras, 15-1) - Not off recent.
9 - Tug River Princess (Campbell, 6-1) - Big mile last week. Threat if able to get a good spot early.
11th Pace - $500,000; Breeders Crown - 3 Year Old Fillies Post 9:40pm
1 - Cannae Cammie (Pierce, 7-2) - Never better but has to handle #3. Legitimate shot.
2 - Higher And Higher (Morrill, 4-1) - Finished second to #3 in elim. Lands share.
3 - Put On A Show (Tetrick, 5-2) - What's there to say? The one to beat.
4 - Northwest Hanover (B Miller, 12-1) - Finished second to #3 in Simcoe. Excellent exacta possibility.
5 - Hula's Z Tam (P Lachance, 15-1) - Appears overmatched.
6 - Rock N Soul (Gingras, 8-1) - May not be able to get close early.
7 - Naughtytiltheend (A Miller, 6-1) - Overreached in elimination. The class gap will be seen this week.
8 - Western Sislk (Macdonald, 5-1) - Jugette winner needs a lot of help this week to contend.
9 - Panagler (Palone, 20-1) - Too far out to be a factor. Pass.
12th Pace - $500,000; Breeders Crown - 3 Year Old and Older Open Post 10:08pm
1 - Shark Gesture (Brennan, 5-2) - Blistering qualifier. Will he be tight enough in first start back?
2 - Foiled Again (Gingras, 7-2) - Beat Won The West in Quillen. Definite contender.
3 - Bettor Sweet (Sears, 10-1) - Will be hard pressed to pick up a check.
4 - Hypnotic Blue Chip (Jamieson, 5-1) - Nice effort in Pocono warm up. May be a live long shot.
5 - Won The West (D Miller, 3-1) - Leaves the half mile oval and should improve here on the bigger oval. Will challenge..
6 - Lisagain (A Miller, 10-1) - Post position hampers this one.
7 - Clear Vision (Pierce, 8-1) - Has been over achieving. Seven hold should bring back to reality.
8 - Blueridge Western (Dube, 15-1) - Game gelding not the same horse he was before. Appears overmatched.
13th Pace - $500,000; Breeders Crown - 3 Year Old Colts and Geldings Post 10:36pm
1 - Shoobee's Place (Pierce, 12-1) - Second tier horse is over his head. Pass.
2 - One More Laugh (Tetrick, 7-2) - Definite threat here to win but coming up against a buzz saw.
3 - Rock N Roll Heaven (Dube, 2-1) - Winner of four straight can win on or off the pace. The horse to beat.
4 - He's Gorgeous (Morrill, 10-1) - Belongs back in with state breds. Pass.
5 - We Will See (B Miller, 6-1) - Will head for the rail and hope the top two drift in the stretch. Will they?
6 - Art N Charm (Campbell, 20-1) - Too much speed inside.
7 - Fred And Ginger (Sears, 9-2) - Has tailed off and has not regained that magic.
8 - BG's Folly (D Miller, 15-1) - Was freshened but may need a race; especially from here.
9 - Rockin Image (Gingras, 5-1) - Draws the worst of it. May complete the superfecta.
14th Pace - $50,000; 3 Year Old Invitational Post 11:04pm
1- Eagle Jolt (Gingras, 5-1 ) - Draws well enough to get minor spoils
2 - Jimmie Hanover (Brennan, 7-2) - Just missed in NYSS final. Can he make the transition to open company?
3 - Oakmont (Teague, 8-1) - Has had little success against this caliber.
4 - Pang Shui (Morrill, 9-2 ) - Never threatened in last. Meets easier but it may not be enough.
5 - Valentino (Brennan, 3-1) - Tough trip in his elim. Has big class advantage. The one to beat.
6 - Fashion Heart (D Miller, 10-1) - Another one seems to be in over his head.
7 - Indelible Hanover (Campbell, 12-1) - Driver change may get him in the exotics.
8 - Versado (Kakaley, 4-1) - Would be my pick if inside. Not sure if he can get position early. Passing on him.
I am also pleased to provide friend to VFTRG, Daryl's take on the Breeders Crown:
1st Trot - Breeders Crown - 3yo and Older Mares
4- Southwind Wasabi (Gingras, (6-1)
1 - Windsong Soprano (Pierce, 7-2)
7- Buck I St Pat (Tetrick, 5-2)
2nd Pace - Breeders Crown - 3yo and Older Open
6 - Lucky Jim (A Miller, 5-2)
2 - Slave Dream (Campbell, 5-1)
7- Triumphant Caviar (Ouellette, 7-2)
3rd Trot - Breeders Crown - 2yo Fillies
5 - Hey Mister (Sears, 6-1)
3 - Fitness Girl (Tetrick, 7-2)
2 - Lady Rainbow (Zeron, 4-1)
4th Trot - Breeders Crown - 3yo Colts and Geldings
4 - Lucky Chucky (Campbell, 5-2)
3 - Flex The Muscle (Tetrick, 5-1)
5 - Break The Bank K (Sears, 4-1)
5th Pace - Breeders Crown - 2yo Fillies
2 - Idyllic (MacDonald, 3-1)
1 - See You At Peelers (Morrill, 5-2)
4 - Cold Mist (B Miller, 6-1)
6th Trot - Breeders Crown - 2yo Colts and Geldings
4 - Leader Of The Gang (Pierce, 5-1)
2 - Big Rigs (Campbell, 4-1)
3 - Dejarmbro (Gregory, 5-2)
7th Trot - 3yo Invitational
6 - Cassis (Schnittker, 2-1)
1 - Kirty Dream (Palone, 5-2)
3 - Freedom Ridge (D Miller, 9-2)
8th Pace - Breeders Crown - 2yo Colts and Geldings
4 - Shadyshark Hanover (Morrill, 4-1)
2 - Fashion Delight (D Miller, 5-2)
7 - Big Jim (Hudon, 6-1)
9th Trot - Breeders Crown - 3yo Fillies
5 - Impressive Kemp (Pierce, 6-1)
6 - Bramalea Hanover (D Miller, 10-1)
3 - Fashion Feline (Morrill, 4-1)
10th Pace - Breeders Crown - 3yo and Older Mares
4 - Dreamfair Eternal (Waples, 2-1)
3 - Chancey Lady (A Miller, 12-1)
7 - Southwind Tempo (Tetrick, 9-2)
11th Pace - Breeders Crown - 3yo Fillies
3 - Put On A Show (Tetrick, 5-2)
2 - Higher And Higher (Morrill, 4-1)
8 - Western Silk (MacDonald, 5-1)
12th Pace - Breeders Crown - 3yo and Older Open
4 - Hypnotic Blue Chip (Jamieson, 5-1)
5 - Won The West (D Miller, 3-1)
1 - Shark Gesture (G Brennan, 5-2)
13th Pace - Breeders Crown - 3yo Colts and Geldings
3 - Rock N Roll Heaven (Dube, 2-1)
2 - One More Laugh (Tetrick, 7-2)
9 - Rockin Image (Gingras, 5-1)
14th Pace - 3yo Invitational
4 - Pang Shui (Morrill, 9-2)
6 - Fashion Heart (D Miller, 10-1)
5 - Valentino (Brennan, 3-1)