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Breeders' Cup 2017
HRN Original Blog:
Drive On

Mohawk Raceway is back and so is Drive On!


It’s not a secret that Mohawk is our favorite racetrack in the civilized world. That being said (and repeated), tonight marks the first Saturday card of what promises to be an exciting summer meet. We are only 3 weeks away from the Pepsi North America Cup final in which 2013 USTA Pacer Of The Year Captain Treacherous will be out to avenge his loss in the Breeders Crown 2YO pace at Woodbine last fall.

Tonight’s card looks very competitive with a good likelihood of some healthy payoffs. Before we get to our full-card analysis and the “Drive On Bets” segment here are some things to look for that may help when handicapping the Mohawk races as they have recently switched from the quirky Woodbine oval 30 minutes down the 401 highway.

·         Mohawk’s races have a much better “flow” as closers can latch onto cover better and fields don’t typically gap out like they do at Woodbine. While speed horses and quick-leavers still win the lion’s share of the dashes, closers have a much better chance of mounting successful rallies due to the better flow. Quite often at Woodbine powerful stretch headwinds also favor front-enders. Wind is rarely a factor at Mohawk. It pays to look for horses that consistently have shown the fastest last ¼ times at Woodbine even if their rallies fell short. Chances are they will be into the race earlier and closer at the head of the lane. Some of these horses pay very well because they have no wins on their most recent PP lines.

·         Look for horses that had their fastest season mark at Mohawk in 2012. Many horses return to form at the Campbellville oval and the “horses for courses” mantra certainly applies here.

·         Watch closely for hot connections. Driver Scott Zeron dominated the Mohawk meet in 2012 and drove many Casie Coleman-trained freshman to victory. Young Z is already off to a hot start knocking out a Grand Slam opening night on Thursday. When young aggressive drivers like Zeron, Doug McNair or Billy Davis Jr. get hot they can bunch wins together in a hurry.


Let’s dig into tonight’s card:


Race 1: Trot-Purse $20,000 5 YO & Younger NW 3 (FM 5) Races or $70,000 Lifetime


The opener is a bit of a head scratcher with several possibilities. We are going to go for a bit of a price, the #9 R Raised Emotions on top. This 4YO Kadabra gelding won 6 of 17 last year with 10 exacta finishes and took his season’s mark at The ‘Hawk (1:56 in the slop). Trainer Henriksen took him out for some exercise from the 10-hole in his 2013 debut and now switches to catch-driver Chris Christoforou Jr. We’re pretty sure that RRE beat better than this last year. Top call. Others to watch here are the #2 Strawberry Wine with a 3-5-0 mark from 13 starts this season and the #7 Cimeronken who faced better at London recently.


Race 2: Pace-$8,500 4YO Claiming Handicap $10,000 to $15,000


#7 Crawfish Creek looks formidable here for leading trainer Moreau who currently holds almost a 2 to 1 (63 to 33) advantage on his nearest rival for the winning dash title. Next best are likely the #2 Creighton Hanover and the #8 Cashem In. I wouldn’t expect a large return here, but that exacta and tri key look solid.


Race 3 Trot-$16,000 NW $8,000 last 5 or $20,000 last 10 starts


#4 Bruce The Brave made a devastating move on the Woodbine backstretch to win going away last week. A similar brush could crush these. The two “Photos” #8 Wine Photo and #7 Star Photo both took quick marks at Mohawk last summer and definitely fit in here. Any of the three are capable of taking this dash – I will likely play whichever is longest odds nearing the off.


Race 4 Pace-$20,000 NW $14,000mlast 5 or $29,000 last 10


This race kicks off an extremely tough pick 4 segment. We will be using 4 horses in here hoping to get a price. The #1 Roethlissberger steps up off a sharp 151.1 score and is worth including at 15/1 m/l odds. #2  Astor came to the circuit after chasing some very tough competition at Harrah’s Philly and exploded home with a 52.4 back half in his first start on this circuit. No chance he goes anywhere close to his 12/1 m/l odds. The #3 Anderlecht is a classy veteran that drops in class and can be raced effectively from anywhere the driver pleases. The #9 Twin B Impressive also drops for Moreau and raced in 149.1 (53.2 back half) last time vs. Dan Patch-bound Up The Credit. Must use.


Race 5 Trot-$12,500 NW $5,000 last 5 or $10,000 last 10 starts


Once again we are using 4 horses on our pick 4 ticket starting with the #1 Northern Spark who drops to the lowest class and shows a win a class higher 6 back. Big shot. The #3 Duke of Donegal returned to form finishing second when he dropped into this class last time and merits inclusion. #6 Master Builder shows a win in claiming two back that, if repeated, would make him tough to beat. #9 All Cantab has a sneaky good most recent chartline including the fastest (27.3) last ¼. Likely a “go” for “The Postman” Anthony MacDonald when the gates swing open.


Race 6 Pace-$25,000 3YO


There are some very speedy colts and geldings in this tilt two of which competed unsuccessfully in the 2YO Breeders Crown Pace Final last fall. We’ll use both of those on our ticket - #3 Captive Audience and #7 Fool Me Once as well as the consistent Menary-trained Tarpon Hanover who sizzled a 26.0 last ¼ in his season’s debut at Woodbine last Saturday.


Race 7 Pace-$16,000 NW $8,000 Last 5 or NW $21,000 Last 10


Another highly competitive dash that has us using 4 horses in the Pick 4 finale, #1 That’s The Life has shown better recent form and figures a good trip from the rail for Davis Jr. #2 The Ladies Man took a mark of 151.0 at Mohawk last summer and figures to benefit from the inside draw as well. #5 The Paninsula Hotel has two recent races that are good enough win this handily if repeated. He is a bit of a win-shy type, however, #6 Rock Me Amastreos is the value play in this race. He is taking a big class drop and is in good enough form to take advantage. Look for MacDonell to put him in the race early.


That makes our pick 4 ticket a bit pricey but hopefully lucrative.

Here it is: 1239/1369/237/1256 – total $192 for $1 or $38.40 for 20-cents


Race 8 Pace-$12,500 NW $5,000 L5 or $10,000 L10


This is an ultra-tough start to the late Pick 4 and we’re hoping to get by using 3 horses. #8 Uncle Goodfellow is our top pick and value play, He went a monster first-over trip in a claimer first time on the circuit and is definitely worth a play at a price. The #9 Yanoyanomenow comes in from Maywood for Gillis/S. Zeron in excellent form. #4 Audrey’s Dream drops to a class he can handle.


Race 9 Pace-$16,000 NW $8,000 L5 or $21,000 L10

#6 Mystician lays over this low-level condition field and the $1.8 million earner looks like a solid P4 single. For the bottom end of the Super we are using #3 Monte Christo, # 8 Bettor’s Reward, #1 Im Feeling Good and #7 Top Gear


Race 10 Pace-$27,000 NW $30,000 Last 5 starts


#5 State Treasurer steps up off a powerful 149.1 win and will be tough to overhaul if he minds his manners. Others on our Pick 4 ticket here are #2 Mach Dreamer, #7 OK Commander and #8 Oddyseus Bluechip. Pressing the #5 though.


Race 11 Pace $20,000 NW $14,000 L6 or $29,000 L10


We finish off the late Pick 4 using what is likely to be the four deepest closers in a filed laden with early speed. #1 Stonebridge On Ice, #3 Machal Jackson #4 Drain Daddy and #10 Ideal Race all figure to back out of an early stampede for the top and we’re counting on one of those 3 to swoop ‘em all late.


The late pick 4 ticket maps out like this: 489/6/2578/1349 = $48 for a $1 wager or $9.60 for 20 cents


Race 12 Pace-$12,500 NW $5,000 L5 or NW $10,000 L 10 starts


We’re thinking Scott Zeron may just blast right to the front with Gillis-trainee #10 Insane In Spain and lead this field of underachievers on a merry futile chase. Others that figure include #2 Putnam Attack (driven by Scott’s dad Rick), #8 Val America and #9 Leafs and Wings.



DRIVE ON BETS: Starting Balance: $2,000

                                 Current Balance: $1,814


Tonight’s wagers: Race 1: $20 win #9, $20 Daily Double 9-7, $5 exacta 9/27 $5 tri         9/27/27 total = $60

Race 2: $20 exactas 7/28; $5 tri 7/28/28 = total $50


Race 4: $1 pick 4: 1239/1369/237/1256 = total $192

Race 8: $2 Pick 4: 489/6/5/1349, $1 Pick 4: 489/6/2578/1349 = total $72

Race 12: $40 win #10, $1 Super 10/2389/2389/2389 = $64


Total wagered: $438

Closing Balance: $1,374




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Older Comments about Mohawk Raceway is back and so is Drive On!...

saw Jody Jamieson on his father being inducted in the Hall of Fame and hardly recognized him outside of his yellow and green.
say hi to kenny for me
Returns: Race 2 7-8 exacte paid $20.90 = $209 return; race 7: $1 pick 4 returned $1902; Race 12 #10 returned $5.50 to win = $110. Total return=$2221. Cllosing balance = $3,595 = +1,595
Thanks! I had a huge night wagering tonight.
Good to have you back Drive on.

Meet Garnet Barnsdale


I am an Honours Graduate from Humber College School of Journalism and a lifelong race fan and handicapper who has been watching and wagering on harness racing for more than 30 years. I was a staff writer for The Standardbred magazine in the late '80s. I will attempt to provide both beginners and veterans with valuable information and handicapping tips and advice on the top events from all major harness circuits.

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