VFTRG contributor Joe F. gives his thoughts on a few topics in a new segment we call, "This and That":
Taking a look at the top twenty sophomore pacing colts on the earning’s list can be informative. A couple of them, Odds On Equuleus and Wake Up Peter, have no wins; both have accumulated their bankrolls by picking up checks on the GC. So this is by no means a best of list, but money turns the wheel and earnings tell a story. Eight of those in the top twenty were bred in New York: Bettor’s Delight tops the list with four, followed by Art Major with three. American Ideal has one-- Sunfire Blue Chip. These at large numbers reflect what is happening in New York State: four of the top ten point getters in the NYSS are by Bettor’s Delight and the same number are by Art Major. Bettor’s Delight also leads the lower level Excelsior program with four in the top ten, while American Ideal has three and Art Major two. All three of them can get it done on the restricted or open level.
Six of those on the top twenty earning’s list were bred in Pennsylvania, three by SBSW, two by the Panderosa and one by Dragon Again. And three were bred in New Jersey. (Bettor’s Delight, Western Ideal and The Panderosa have all moved since this crop was foaled. The Bettor’s Delights foaled this year will be Ontario eligible and next year’s crop will be eligible to the PASS.)
The Captain has earned 55% more money than the number two—Nitelife—and he’s banked 68% more than the second place colt—Sunfire Blue Chip. He’s sucking up all the air in the room. It is surprising that there is no SBSW filly on the top twenty money list, or another couple of colts either, for that matter.
The top five, Captain, Nitelife, Sunfire, Vegas Vacation and Twilight Bonfire have functioned primarily in the open sphere. In fact only five of the top twenty are hard corps sire stakes types. That would be: Fool Me Once, who made his first starts in Ontario, but has gone the NYSS route for the last month; Love Canal, who tried the Fan, but makes her money in the ONSS; Doctor Butch, who has only won twice but has banked enough SS money to hold down the eleven spot; Night Pro, an Indiana SS colt who has been stealing from the Always A Virgin crowd; Cheyenne Miriam, a NYSS filly who hasn’t raced lately; and Bet The Moon, a hard corps NYSS colt. Four of the six are from New York; none are from Pennsylvania or New Jersey.
Seven of the top twenty earning pacers at this point are fillies, and while Nitelife doesn’t dwarf the bank accounts of the others, she has won seven of eight starts and has apparently scared Somwherovrarainbow’s connections into making her the Queen of the PASS. The stories about the latter being ready to take on the better fillies are encouraging, but they don’t mean much. Jerseylicious, Shebestingin and Belle Boyd are good, but Rainbow has already proven she can be a threat to Nitelife. We need her to step up.
The top five finishers from Sunday’s two 67K NYSS divisions at Tioga are all eligible to the EBC final a week from Sunday, with the exception of the odds on winner of the first division, Fool Me Once. Bet The Moon, Source Of Pride, Captive Audience and Sir Cary’s Z Tam are all staked to the EBC. Additionally, Odds On Equuleus, who was not staked to the Adios, has been nominated to the EBC. Bet The Moon, Source Of Pride and Equuleus are also eligible to the Battle Of Brandywine, six days after the EBC. I suppose they can do both. In the case of Equuleus, he is winless, so a go at the softer EBC would certainly make sense
I have no idea what to make of Wheeling N Dealin. Have Jones and Filion been playing us? Is he or is he not the colt we saw at the close of last season? The fall from grace experienced by To Dream On has been more pronounced and clear-cut. She was co-favorite from the four with Classic Martine, who started from the seven, in her Oaks elimination the other night. TDO finished third. Few are wondering if she can beat Bee on Saturday. On the other hand, the public bet W N D down to 3/1 from the eight on the same card: they’re not sure about him, even more so now after that strong close for second. This race carried a lot more meaning than that meaningless romp by Royalty For Life at Vernon. Corky and High Bridge both had it all their own way. Eli showed well off a four week layoff, but is he ready to go twice? And it doesn’t seem to be a situation where the draw will clear things up.
Some folks were swallowing hard at the Summer Mixed Sale on Sunday. Il Pizzaiolo, the Dewey half brother to Miss Paris and Bella Dolce, out of Pizza Dolce, sold for 5K after bringing 85K at Lexington. And Wilcox, the SBSW gelding who showed flashes of promise at M1, and sold for 110K at Lexington, brought 16K. There were plenty of those.
Saturday’s Yonkers Trot, won by Deweycolorintheline, only because Schnittker had the presence of mind to outrun the Marx Brothers routine that was the race behind him, represents a new low for that venerable classic. It appeared that Yonkers had hit bottom with the Yonkers Trot and was on the way back up, but as was the case with the reincarnated Sheppard, it will be hard top this for high priced calamity. How low can you go?
Going into Saturday’s USPC, Sweet Lou has established himself as the leader in the TVG Pacing Series with 91 points. Fred And Ginger and Golden Receiver, both of whom were successful in the earlier rounds, are in second and third. Needy, who won his USPC elimination, is fifth, followed by Duer and Kingcole. Foiled is back in tenth place. Nine of those nominated have not raced at all in the series and can be considered no factor. Another half dozen are also out of the loop. Plus, Dancin Yankee and Dial appear to have dropped out. With four preliminary legs remaining there are only a dozen viable candidates for the final left in the running.
In the trotting series things are a little more complicated. The latest two opens in the series have been cancelled, so Sevruga, Wishing Stone and Guccio, the three point’s leaders as it is, received ten points each for entering those races that never came to be. Uncle Peter, Arch and Luckycharm got five points each for the same reason. Those non-races also count toward the minimum (50%) number of starts needed to qualify for the final. Sevruga leads with 73 points.
A dozen trotters nominated to the TVG have not started at all in the prelims. Goo has been taken to Mars for rest and relaxation by Richard Hans. Is Herbie still interested? What about Knows Nothing? There appear to be about a half dozen trotters on board and engaged with the TVG. Things are not looking up for the much celebrated TVG. The estimated purse for each final is 500K? Is a five horse field acceptable?
That carefully choreographed ascent to the top in 2012 by Heston Blue Chip, culminating in wins in the BC, Progress and Matron, appears to be unraveling. His third place finish against a run-of-the-mill open field at Yonkers the other night is not the stuff legends are made of. The ads touting the first great son of American Ideal are already written in the back of someone’s mind. Careful, Sunfire Blue Chip is closing on you. Will they minimize the damage by retiring him now? You don’t want to lose to that bunch again.
There were some impressive NYSS two-year-old pacing fillies in action at Tioga Monday Night. Ali Blue, Jimmy Takter’s American ideal filly out of a full sister to Fashion Delight, won a 36K SS in :52.3 over the good filly, Supplemental Income. And Linda Toscano’s Art Major sister to Full Picture, J K Molly, ripped off a third quarter in 26.4 to win her split for Tetrick in :53. American Ideal, Art Major and Bettor’s Delight covered the first three places in all three top tier SS races.