For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Grading the Stakes Part 5

VFTRG contributor Joe F is still going strong, this segment grading the races for 3yo pacing colts.

Grading the three-year-old pacing colts

Grade 1

Breeders Crown—Pocono—October--$500,000
The 2012 BC for sophomore pacing colts carried a $547,000 purse. On the other hand, the NA Cup purse was $1.5 million; the M Pace, Adios and Fan Hanover all carried  $600,000 purses; the Confederation Cup was raced for more than $580,000; and the Battle of Brandywine and Tattersalls both carry purses in excess of $500,000. The 2009 Messenger was raced for about $5,000 less than the 2012 BC.

Jeff Gural’s new end-of-season FFA series will utilize the BC as a leg in which points are accumulated toward the $500,000 final. Will this give the Allerage and BC a lift, or diminish the latter? With top tier races like the Nadia, Governor’s Cup, Three Diamonds, Valley Victory and Goldsmith Maid returning to the fall meet at the Meadowlands—post-BC—the image of the Breeders Crown series  is bound to be altered.
Also, while the folks in Ontario are determined to maintain high purses for the NA Cup, Fan and Confederation Cup, one assumes there will be cuts.

Meadowlands Pace—M1—July--$600,000 in 2012
The purse was cut 40% in 2012. In the first two editions of the Pace, when the eliminations and final were held on the same day, the purse for the final was 425K and 280K respectively. Only twice through 2011 did it dip below a million dollars—in 1987 and 1999…..In 2011 RWJ won from the eight at 5/1, while OML won from the eight at 3/1 in 2010.

Confederation Cup—Flamboro—August--$581,000 in 2012
Since 1977. Governor Armbro, Abercrombie. Cam Fella, OTRA, Jate, Matt’s Scooter, Art Major and SBSW all won the CC……Michaels Power up the Passing lane in 2012 and Bestofbest Hanover via the same route in 2011…. Heats.

Little Brown Jug—Delaware, Ohio—September--$234,000 final in 2012

Two 50K eliminations in 2012….Duer won the Adios in a :47.4 WR and paid $25.
Since 1967. Laverne, MHF, Albatross and Governor Skipper have won the Adios.

Many of the top colts skip the race. Eight of the first ten editions of the Adios were won by division winners, while only one division winner counts among the last ten winners of the race.

Max Hempt Memorial—Pocono—end of June--$300,000
Another race that many of the top colts skip….From 2001. Was William Miller prior to that…..In 2012 Dance beat Allstar and Duer at 17/1 from the eight. Kingcole was the 3/5 favorite from the three followed by Duer at 8/5 from the rail…..Custard beat Powerful Mist in 2011.

Battle Of Brandywine—Harrah’s—August--$500,000
Super Sunday….$200K open consolation and 100K consolation…..Dance in a :48.1 stakes record in 2012. He was on top of the mountain that day. It was all downhill from there.

Tattersalls—Lexington—October--$510,000 in 2012

Heats…..Lou’s sweet redemption….Alsace in 2011 over Westwardho and Fashion Delight for 486K

North American Cup—Mohawk—June--$1.5 million

Messenger—Yonkers—November--$416,000 in 2012
Despite the purse, this is a soft one. I’ll hold my nose and make it a one. The Messenger is one of three legs of the traditional Triple Crown, but it’s fallen out of favor and very few nominate to it. The brass at Yonkers has termed this disinterest on the part of owners and trainers a disgrace. Steps are being taken this year to make the race more affordable. Short fields featuring one big fish are the norm in most of the November/December stakes and this one is no exception.

There was no elimination round needed this year; seven colts and a gelding entered. Hillbilly was the curious 3/2 choice from the rail. Duer turned the tables on Pet Rock…. RWJ crushed a weak field in 2011, paying $2.10…..In 2010 Heaven was four lengths the best in a five horse field, after being supplemented in for 60K. He paid $2.60. In 2009 the purse was $542,000. If I Can Dream won it that year…..This is a RR stakes race that has made some strange stops since that track died.

Grade 2
Cane Pace—Tioga in 2012—September--$323,000 in 2012

The Cane was held at YR through 1997. It was moved from Freehold to Tioga in 2011, but got washed out and had to be raced at Pocono……Outsider Dynamic Youth won in 2012, but only paid $2.90 because he was coupled with Dance……HBC and State Treasurer were supplemented to the race……There was a single $107,000 elimination.

Art Rooney Memorial—Yonkers—June--$300,000
Talk about a race nobody cares about? The Rooney’s purchased a controlling interest in Yonkers from the estates of Martin and Alfred Tannenbaum in 1971. The Rooney dates back to 1989. Pet Rock snuck up the passing lane to beat Duer in 2012…..Peelers won at 1/9 in 2011. She was part of a three horse Takter entry. There were only four betting interests….In 2010 OML beat three others in a NB contest. Enough said. Can I make a 300K single dash a three or four?

Simcoe—Mohawk—September--$252,000 in 2012

Raced in divisions most years…Panther Hanover (9/1) beat Dance in a single 12 horse dash in 2012. Michaels Power was third…..Odysseus Blue Chip and UTC in 2011…..From 1962


Formerly the Burlington…Two relatively weak divisions in 2012. Michaels Power and Secretsoftheknight won those.

Split….In 2012 TOL beat Bettor’s Edge and Pet Rock in one 100K division and Mel Mara beat Sweet Lou and Escape The News in the other……In 2011 Hugadragon won one division and BBJ beat UTC and Westwardho in the other.

Progress Pace—Dover—November--$270,000 final in 2012

While most tracks simply accept it when not enough nominees surface to require an elimination round, Dover requires those entered in the PP to race in a Preview Pace the week before. And since the Messenger, American National and Ontario Gold Series Super Finals all take place the day before the PP eliminations/Preview, this forces connections to make some tough choices in November……Good field in 2012: HBC (1/9) over TOL and Bettor’s Edge….In 2011 Westwardho (2/1) beat Alsace and Rock To Glory for a 330K purse. Soft field, overall…..Another soft field in 2010 as Rockin Image (1/2) beat Delmarvalous for a 320K purse.

Matron—Dover—December--$176,000 final in 2012
A couple of 30K eliminations in 2012…..HBC (1/2) over TOL and Escape The News…..Hugadragon (1/9) as part of an entry with second place Westwardho for 221K in 2011. Soft field…..In 2010 only five entered as Heaven (1/9) beat Delmarvalous and Rockin Image. Again, an odds on killer in a field of lambs is the end of season norm.

Cleveland Classic—Northfield—December--$130,000 in 2012

The season finale…..Short field in 2012, but with more quality than is generally the case. Duer over Pet Rock and TOL….162K purse in 2011. Ten horse field. Westwardho (1/5) over Mystic Desire….1/5 OML over Valentino for 172K in 2010…..As is the case with the Battle of Lake Erie, the purse keeps dropping.  

Monument Circle—Indy—November--$250,000
Good field in 2012. Bettor’s Edge (5/2) over Dynamic Youth and Breakin The Law. Sweet Lou, Kingcole, Dance and Dapper Dude were also in the field……In 2011 3/5 Hugadragon (entry) won. Glitter in 2010.

Windy City—Maywood—November--$215,000 in 2012

Pet Rock (3/5) over Dynamic Youth (5/1) and Dance (7/1)…..175K purse in 2011. Cheddar (1/9) over Mystic Desire.

American National—Balmoral—November--$260,000
Our Lucky Chip (9/2) over Dynamic Youth (8/5) and Easy Again….225K purse in 2011. Cheddar (3/5) over Hugadragon and Mystic Desire.

Sorry to see the Holmes go…..1976-2011.....Raced in divisions most years…..Two 100K splits in 2011….Shadyshark (21/1) over Hugadragon and RWJ (1/1). Also, BBJ at even money. The Holmes gave good value for relatively short money.
The same goes for the Berry’s Creek being eliminated after 2010. That year Heaven won. The purse was 220K. The Matt’s Scooter was also discontinued in 2011.

Grade 3 or 4

Hanover—Balmoral—July—2 $31,000 divisions in 2012

Maywood Pace—June--$123,000 final in 2012

Previously the Mohawk Pace….from 2005…..For nw 100k previous year….80K final in 2011

John Simpson—Tioga--$48,000 in 2011
No 2012….No 2009….Was Hanover-Hempt

Tompkins-Geers—Tioga--$35,000 in 2012

Reynolds—two divisions in 2012, three in 2011 and three in 2010

Circle City—Indy—October--$45,000 divisions

Junior Trendsetter—Meadowlands—February--$58,000 in 2012

Review—Springfield—since 1900


riceownz2 said...

Did I miss the Little Brown Jug while reading this entry?

Pacingguy said...

No doubt an oversight. The author has been informed. I would expect an update.

Pacingguy said...

The article has been updated. The LBJ is listed as a Grade 1 race.