Last year, after a season in the shadows, Intimidate opened many eyes with a close second to 3/2 favorite Little Brown Fox in the Simcoe for Ron Pierce. He was 26/1 that night. Several weeks later it was Intimidate who was the 3/2 choice as he crushed the opposition in the BC. He was a star. In Saturday’s H&G BC at Pocono he was sent away as the 3/2 favorite once again, but this time Pierce chose to cut the mile and Intimidate went backwards when challenged on the last turn by "Hard Luck Herbie." He finished eighth.
Despite a single open stakes win in the Credit Winner and with him not being TVG eligible, it looked like another dominant performance in the BC could garner Intimidate division honors, but the BC giveth and the BC taketh away—and it tooketh away Saturday night. He may win the O’Brien off his preferred wins at Mohawk, but Herbie, who has only won once this year, is staked to the Am-Nat Aged Trot on Nov 9 at Balmoral as well as the TVG Open on Nov 23 and the TVG Final on Nov 30. It’s too late for Mister Herbie to win the division, but after Intimidate’s melt down in the BC he can certainly win the O’Brien. Ten trotters in his division have earned more money than Intimidate this year. Mister Herbie, who has only made one more start than Intimidate and has six fewer wins, has earned 45% more money…. Market Share won the Maple Leaf, but he only raced once in Canada so he isn’t eligible.
The supporters of Captaintreacherous and Bee A Magician both saw their candidate as the winner of Saturday’s debate at Pocono. In fact, both were very impressive and confirmed that they deserve to be set apart. The Captain will apparently start in the Monument Circle at Hoosier Park on Nov 2 and perhaps in the American-National at Balmoral the following week. His connections are not interested in the more high profile Messenger--a leg of the Triple Crown-- and Matron which are held at roughly the same time. Sunshine Beach, who launched an impressive challenge in the BC, is not staked to the Monument Circle; neither are Vegas and Lucan. It will essentially be another kick at the tomato cans, very similar the laugher of an invitational The Captain chose over the Jug. The heavy hitters in the division are also absent from the nominees list of the Am-Nat. Then there’s the TVG Final on Nov 30, which he may or may not race in. The Captain is staked to the Progress Pace on December 1 . Sunshine Beach, Sunfire Blue Chip and Vegas Vacation are also staked to the Progress. Team treacherous could conceivably pass on the TVG and race in the Progress instead.
Bee will apparently race in the Moni Maker on Nov 30. Between now and then she could supplement to the AM-Nat Nov 9; or they could supplement her to the Matron on Nov 10 for 25K . Winning one of these races wouldn’t prove anything, but if kicking the tomato cans is good for The Captain it’s also good for Bee. The Dan Patch and O’Brien voters tend to be parochial. To Bee’s benefit is the fact that a Canadian chapter of the USHWA was formed in February. Bee may get all or most of those 14 votes.
The Breeders Crown has sewed up the division for plenty of horses. It has also helped some jump a couple of spots to a division win. How did Saturday’s edition affect the chances of horses with top shelf aspirations? Captaintreacherous, Bee A Magician, Father Patrick and I Luv The Nitelife already had their division titles secured, and they all won on Saturday. Precocious Beauty looked to be the queen of the 2YO filly pacers but she was burned out near the front and finished eighth in her BC race. She’s staked to the 400K Three Diamonds on Nov 30 at M1 and a win there should nail it for her. Having won the Eternal Camnation, Great Lady and Champlain in Canada, she’s a cinch for the O’Brien. Uffizi Hanover, the BC winner, only has one other win—the Bluegrass. She is also staked to the Three Diamonds. Uffizi is also eligible to the Matron; Precocious Beauty would need to be supplemented to that one for 20K. It’s unlikely that Precocious Beauty will be denied a Dan Patch.
Shake It Cerry may have locked up a division title with her win in the BC. She also won the Peaceful Way at Mohawk. Designed To Be, winner of a split of the Bluegrass as well as the PASS final, broke in her elimination, making it difficult to win it all. Also, she is not eligible to the Goldsmith Maid, while Cerry and Cooler Schooner are. The latter, the WR holder on any size track, broke in the BC final, and probably ended any chance of winning the division. OSS champ Riveting Rosie, who also won the Peaceful Way and the Champlain, will win the O’Brien.
In a division full of in and outers Market Share carved out an inside track for himself with his BC win. His two other noteworthy wins are the Maple Leaf and a 50K TVG-FFA at M1. A win in the TVG Final would secure the division for him. The Am-Nat Aged Trot on Nov 9 could make the race interesting. Market Share, Mister Herbie, Arch and Sevruga are all staked to it. Also, Maven is staked to the AM-Nat. Wouldn’t it be sweet to see her take on the boys.
Shelliscape winning the Aged Mare Pace simply adds to the confusion in that division. This one, on top of her upset win in the Allerage, certainly gives her a stake in the division. Anndrovette won the Roses Are Red; Rocklamation won the Milton and the Golden Girls; Drop The Ball won the Lady Liberty. Now that the Forest City Pace has apparently fallen victim to the austerity movement in Ontario there really isn’t a logical place to settle this one. As is the case with Foiled Again, the returning champ carries an edge in these situations.
A Breeders Crown victory would have secured a division win for Royalty For Life, who already had wins in the Hambletonion, Stanley Dancer and Zweig, but he scratched. Spider Blue Chip, winner of a Bluegrass split, the Colonial and now the BC, has positioned himself to be a prime contender. The Oliver at Hoosier Park on November 2, the Am-Nat a week later at Balmoral and the Matron a week after that are the three races left in that division. RFL and SBC, as well as Creatine, who won the KY Futurity and a Bluegrass split, are all ineligible to the Matron. A 20K check would take care of that. On the other hand, all three are staked to the American-National on November 9 at Balmoral. Perhaps they’ll settle it there. The Hambletonion carries a lot of weight—see Broad Bahn—so RFL probably still has the inside track.
The two-year-old pacing division has been up for grabs all season. He’s Watching, the lightly staked king of the NYSS, who has no open stakes wins to his credit, has been the top vote getter in that division of late. A winner with a sire stakes record devoid of open stakes wouldn’t stand out in the O’Brien’s but it would represent a very unusual resume for a Dan Patch winner. Luck Be Withyou, the winner of a split of the Champlain, won the BC in the rain and slop as the second choice. He had also won his BC elimination. Race favorite Somestarsomewhere, who won a split of the ISS, finished third. So Surreal, another ISS winner, ran out (literally) in the BC. Western Vintage, the early season leader, finished out at 2/5 in his BC elimination. The Governor’s Cup at M1 and the Matron and Am-Nat should help settle this one. Somestarsomewhere and So Surreal are both staked to the Matron. Luck Bewithyou, Western Vintage and He’s Watching are not. The buy in is 20K. There are no supplemental entries to the Governor’s Cup at M1 on November 30; Western Vintage, So Surreal and Somestarsomewhere are all eligible. He’s Watching and Luck Bewithyou are not. None of these colts are staked to the Am-Nat.
It would appear that He’s Watching is through for the year. Again, it would be odd for a colt that never won an open stakes race to win the division. Needy won the O’Brien that way two years ago, but Canada is different. Metro winner, Boomboom Ballykeel, or Nassagaweya winner, Arthur Blue Chip, will probably win the O’Brien.
The senior pacing division has featured the highest level of competition all year. Sweet Lou won the 100K Maturity; Bolt The Duer won the Dan Patch; Pet Rock won the Roll With Joe; ARNRD won the Canadian Pacing Derby and the Battle of Lake Erie; TOL won the US Pacing Championship; Clear Vision won the Quillen; Needy won the Mohawk; Golden Receiver has dominated the TVG races. Foiled won the division on the basis of a soft win record the last two years. His money mark and the lack of a compelling alternative got him the nod. Could it happen again? Foiled is now 260K ahead of Pet Rock in the division. If he wins the TVG final, it’s all over. But prior to that, in two weeks, we have the Indiana Pacing Derby, which Foiled won the last two years, last year in TR time. And the following week we have the Am-Nat, which Foiled won two years ago. Sweet Lou, Needy, ARNRD, Pet Rock, Golden Receiver and Michaels Power are also staked to that one. Between those two races, the TVG Open and the TVG Final there will be plenty of opportunities for the older pacers to sort things out.