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Wide-open affair
Monday, October 24, 2011 - by Frank Cotolo

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Once the season got into full swing, I began to blog and tweet my audience of harness bettors an opinion on the 2011 crop of sophomore colt pacers that has turned into the darn truth, for lack of a better term.


I wrote, to paraphrase, that this group is very evenly matched, and under most circumstances, one of them can beat the other in any of the major events.


Your honor, I submit the evidence, including the results of the two Breeders Crown elims for that division.


The winners were Westwardho Hanover and Betterthancheddar. Like most others in the first tier of stakes-performing sophomore colt pacers this season, those two have raced with and been beaten by others in the crop.


The standings are unlike a lot of seasons over the past two decades.


There’s Meadowlands Pace winner Roll With Joe, North America Cup winner Up The Credit and Little Brown Jug winner Big Bad John, all earning money and fame from winning the high-profile events, but losing their Crown elims, as well as to one another in high-profile events.


Then there are the ancillaries: Custard The Dragon, Hugadragon, High Noon and Alsace Hanover, also winners of top events this year.


This being documented, the Breeders Crown sophomore colt final comes down to this group:


Westwardho Hanover, Alsace Hanover, Roll With Joe, Mystician, Odysseus Bluechip, Betterthancheddar, Hugadragon, Big Bad John, Up The Credit and Fashion Delight.


“It all comes down to the Breeders Crown,” but this year, it is no one colt’s race to lose. It is like most of the top stakes this year for this division, with a sprinkling of “who’s that?” with the inclusion of Odysseus Bluechip. Most fans know Mystician better.


In the defense of the rag-tag group of sophomore scamps, I would like to take it in my power to speak for the entire harness wagering public and say thanks.




Because no matter what happens in the Breeders Crown final, this crop of characters has presented us with great wagering opportunities, strong handicapping challenges and, hopefully, profits.


This is good for the bettors, good for the sport and great for the Breeders Crown.

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The views contained in this column are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of the United States Trotting Association.

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