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Friday, December 28, 2012

Grading the Stakes - Part 4

VFTRG contributor Joe F. continues with his grading of harness racing stakes; this time looking at stakes for 2yo trotting colts and fillies.

Two-Year-Old Trotting Colts
Grade 1

Breeders Crown—Pocono—October--$591,000 in 2012
Wheeling N Dealin was the seemingly invincible winner of this year’s BC, but then again the three previous winners all disappointed us at three. Pilgrim’s Taj won a heat of the Hambo. MOMM won the Kentucky Futurity, Colonial and Stanley Dancer, as well as a heat of the Hambo, but he still proved to be a disappointment. MOMM won his Hambletonion elimination at 2/5 and was the 8/5 favorite in the final. He broke at mid-stretch while moving on Broad Bahn. He was second choice in the BC but, once again, broke at the top of the stretch. And Uncle Peter won the Stanley Dancer and a heat of the Hambo. Let’s hope W N D has better luck next year.

Peter Haughton Memorial—Meadowlands—August--$387,250 in 2012

The race honors Peter Haughton, who was killed when his car hit a pole on route 20 in January, 1980. Express Ride, Supergill, Westgate Crown, Donerail, Donato, Muscle Hill and Holiday Road are a few of the past winners.
Jim Oscarrson won with Aperfectyankee in 2012.

William Wellwood Memorial—Mohawk—September--$462,000 in 2012

In 2005 the Campbleville Stakes (1988-2004) was renamed to honor Wellwood, who passed in February, 2003.
There were three $30,000 eliminations this year. W N D won the final.

Valley Victory—Meadowlands—fall

The Big M is supposedly reviving the Valley Victory during their fall meet. The V V was raced at GSP from 1990 to 2000 and has since bounced around between the Meadowlands, the WEG tracks and Chester. It was not on anyone’s calendar last year.
The purse was $539,000 when Blue Porsche won at Woodbine in 2010.

Grade 2
Bluegrass—Lexington—September--$350,000 divided into 4 divisions in 2012

The fact that it’s split into four divisions makes it a two. The 2012 winners weren’t at the top end of the ladder. Major Athens won the Keystone Classic in addition to the Bluegrass, but All Laid Out, Creatine and Punxsutawney had no other significant wins.

International Stallion Stakes—Lexington—September--$400,000 divided by 4 in 2012
Super Bowl and Flush won the two splits of the inaugural ISS in 1971. You’re So Vain, Fashion Blizzard, Pine Credit and Royalty For Life won this year.

When the 2010 winner, MOMM, was retired last year after his sophomore campaign, Jeff Gural was none too pleased about it. Realizing that he was powerless to do anything about it, Gural pointed out that MOMM wasn’t exactly going to pack his grandstand anyway. Actually MOMM was very popular with the bettors. They have a soft spot for mercurial horses with extreme speed—jump or win.
MOMM served 128 mares in 2012. Kentuckiana recently announced that he will remain in Ontario. His fee was $7,000 last year.

Champlain—Mohawk—August—2 divisions @ $140,000 each in 2012

Good race but the splits drop it to a two. W N D won this year.
IN 2011 there were three divisions that raced for $101,000 each; Guccio, Weingartner and Money On My Mind were the winners.

The Champlain goes back to 1961.

Text Winner won the Matron in 2012. Chapter Seven won in 2010, Lucky Chucky in 2009 and Explosive matter in 2008.

The Matron was held in Michigan from 1970 to the mid-eighties. It relocated to Pompano until 1996, when it was moved to Dover.

Grade 3 or 4
American-National—Balmoral—September--$76,000 in 2012

Good history. From 1968. Longwell won in 2012. Single dash since 2002. Raced in two divisions more often than not prior to that.

Standardbred—Delaware, Ohio—September--$65,000

Single dash in 2012. Generally goes in 4-7 divisions. Race held at Pocono in 2012. In 2013 the Reynolds will be raced at Tioga, later in the season.

Arden—Meadows—July--$80,000 divided
Three divisions in 2012 and 4 in 2011.

Harold Dancer—Freehold—September--$60,000
From 1985. Single dash. King Muscles won in 2012, Muscolo in 2011 and Chapter Seven in 2010.

John W Simpson—VD in 2013—fall

Will be scheduled for later in the season. In 2010 at VD there were two divisions @ $35,000.

Bridger Series—Mohawk—August--$50,000 final
First leg $20,000 and second $30,000.

Two-Year-Old Trotting Fillies

Grade 1
Breeders Crown—Pocono—October--$591,000 in 2012

TDO won as the 8/5 second choice out of the eight this year. The 6/5 favorite, Bee A Magician, had run down TDO several weeks before the BC in the Peaceful Way. In that one TDO was the 1/5 favorite and Bee the 5/2 second choice. Between the Peaceful Way and the BC TDO won the Bluegrass and the ISS.
TDO won the Dan Patch with 80% of the vote, while Bee got 17%. Chances are that Bee, who won the OSS Super Final after losing the BC, will win the O’Brien. Welcome to the sectarian world of harness racing.

Merrie Annabelle—Meadowlands—August--$354,000 in 2012
To Dream On set a TR in winning the 2012 edition in :50.4 from way off the pace.

The MA goes back to 1977. Royal Prestige, Alf Palema, Winkys Goal, Supergill, Duke Of York and Jezzy are a few of the trotters out of Merrie Annabelle winners.

Peaceful Way—Mohawk—September--$470,000
Bee A Magician closed on TDO and won the 2012 edition.  The race was the Oakville prior to 2008.

Last year Win Missy B upset CMO in her PW elimination off a pocket trip. In the final Missy trotted away from the field and CMO couldn’t quite reel her in. The Conway Hall filly set a track, stakes and Canadian record of :53.3.

Goldsmith Maid—Meadowlands—fall
Jeff Gural is supposed to be bringing the Goldsmith Maid back at the Meadowlands fall meet. It wasn’t raced last year. Crys Dream won the GM in 2010 over Cedar Dove at Woodbine. The purse was $502,000. Win Missy B beat Superstar Hanover in 2011 at Harrah’s. The purse was $365,000.

Grade 2

Five divisions in 2012, three in 2011 and five in 2010
2012 winners were Frau Blucher, Upfrontcarol, Aspidistra Hanover, Time To Kill and TDO.

Goes back to 1976. Winners include Peace Corps, Winkys Goal, Continentalvictory, Pizza Dolce, Maven and CMO.

International Stallion Stakes—Lexington--$300,000
Three $98,000 divisions in 2012. Winners: TDO, Fashion Athena and Mystery Woman.

Champlain—Mohawk—late August/September--$265,000
Bee A Magician and Zorgwijk Nova won $120,000 divisions of the Champlain in 2012.

Matron—Dover—November--$129,000 in 2012

Royal Assets beat 1/5 favorite, Time To Kill, in the 2012 Matron.
Last year Check Me Out was 1/9 and the other six fillies entered were listed at 99/1. The bridge jumpers groaned when CMO broke on the first turn and dropped back 25 lengths behind the leader. Fortunately for Tetrick, Schnittker and the high-rollers the competition consisted of pretend trotters, and Tetrick circled the field with the Donato filly for a $2.10 win.

Grade 3 or 4

Reynolds—Tioga in 2013—July—3 divisions @ $27,000 each in 2012
Sturdy Muscles, Find The Magic and TDO won the three divisions in 2012.

Harold Dancer—Freehold—September--$58,000

Standardbred—Delaware, Ohio—September--$62,000


Simpson—Vernon in 2013—fall
$10,000 divisions at M1 in June 2012

Circle City—Indiana Downs—October--$60,000

Two divisions. Pine Credit won in a weak four horse field. Drink The Wine won the other.  Goes back to 1945.

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