Best Bet – (4) – LITTLEBEARCAT – Race 7
Spot Play – (1) – SEEL THE DARK – Race 6
20-cent Early Pick 5 - Race 1 – 4,5/1,2/1,2,4/3,5,7/5,7 = $14.40
20-cent Late Pick 5 - Race 6 – 1/4/2,3,4/1,6,8,9/2,4 = $4.80
20-cent Early Pick 4 - Race 4 – 1,3,5,7/4,5,7/1/4 = $2.40
20-cent Late Pick 4 - Race 7 – 4/2,3,4/1,6,8/2,4 = $3.60
Race 1 – (4) STORMONT TIM is the only winner in this field; he broke his maiden in convincing off-the-pace style Nov. 20 at Western Fair Nw5000lcd level, with Lorne House in the bike; class drop for three-year-old who was beaten 1/2 fave here Nov. 27; second-over from fourth at the half, he took charge with a three-wide move before the three-quarters, but couldn't hold off winner Dimante Vic at the finish. (5) FIRST HEIR was a beaten Dec. 11 London spot play selection; he'd previously closed well for Colin Kelly Nov. 20 at this track's Nw5000lcd level, getting up for show behind winner Stormont Tim (#4 tonight); looked to be under strong hold racing third along the pylons last start, then advanced first over to chase leader Dream Deal at the half; appeared to tire near the three-quarters, but he did finish fourth with broken equipment. (2) MAGNITUDE TEN's gift is his gait: he has never made a break; closed for place in his career debut at Hiawatha Horse Park June 6, individually clocked in 2:03.2 (last quarter 30.1); hit board in his next two starts there, despite class climb to Nw10000lcd; defeated pacers in his first qualifier on a half, July 27 at Dresden with Sullivan driving, and closed for show (wide around breaker) in August 3 Dresden Prospect Series leg; gapped-out third in comeback qualifier here Dec. 10, after layoff since Sept. 12.
Race 2 – (1) PAISA HANOVER stalked a pacesetting Century Gaga at this track Nov. 4, getting past the 1/5 fave in the stretch for her first Western Fair victory; driver change from Nick Steward to Brett MacDonald for filly who made front early and defended lead to get the 2:01.4 win here Dec. 4 against 15000clmcd fillies; she was assisted when Wine Tyme (#5 this race) jumped it off in the stretch, but showed toughness of her own. (2) ACEFORTYFOURLADYDI draws great spot to continue her win streak, now at four in a row (all at Flamboro for Nick Boyd); class-dropper has never won at Western Fair, but she's wired rivals in every start since Nov. 14, including a win on class jump to distaff Nw12000lcd level last week. (4) WINDEMERE MCSEEK didn't hit board at added distance or when starting from second tier in her most recent starts; return to regular mile and better post position tonight for Travis Henry; PEI import's two 2020 victories were gate-to-wire missions from the rail at Summerside and Charlottetown, against distaff conditioned pacers, although she picked up cheques in regional stakes events too.
Race 3 – (4) SUPER T grabbed the lead first over in the opening turn in Dec. 11 London Nw50000lcd trot; he pocketed up behind advancing longshot Chaotic Decision by the quarter, then tipped out of third on last turn, but couldn't catch runaway winner Tymal Houdini (#1 this race); he was fourth in a tight four-horse decision for place in the added-distance event behind Kashe and tonight's also-eligible Ten Four We Gone, neither of whom is currently in this return to the regular mile; class drop. (1) TYMAL HOUDINI was a six-length winner as a top-choice 2/1 selection Dec. 11; Kevin McMaster trainee has rail and driver Paul MacKenzie again; his two 2020 London victories came from off the pace after early leaders tired or broke; class relief, yet no back-to-back wins in his 27 career starts. (2) WARRAWEE USAIN steps up significantly, following his 15000clmcd gate-to-wire win at mile-and-a-sixteenth Dec. 7; fun fact: he and Tyler Borth were easy front-end winners (as 2/5 fave) from same post position here last Dec. 20, against Nw20000lcd trotters.
Race 4 – (5) GOOD AND SWEET is down in class; lightly-campaigned four-year-old is winless in 10 seasonal starts, however his best result of 2020 was at Western Fair, an Oct. 16 place finish in Nw2500l3cd company; tonight's driver Austin Sorrie was aboard for that, plus his Sept. 23 show finish at Grand River; Dec. 11, he followed first-up Par Intended second over from fourth in second turn here, then backed down on the backstretch, still closing late for fourth up the inside. (7) ADORE HIM exits London Preferred-3 competition for softer spot; seventh-to-fifth in the stretch (in field's-second-fastest last quarter, 30.1) in his most recent start, Dec. 7; post position a challenge for winner of just one race this year, at Sarnia. (3) IRVINE JAMES lost driver Garrett Rooney to #7 Adore Him, but picks up catch driver Paul MacKenzie; he's up in class and winless in 2020, but closed for show at this track's Nw1500l3cd classification Nov. 27, before landing tougher trailing post last week; fourth consecutive race on Lasix.
Race 5 – (5) THE REINS OF TITAN barely disappointed as a Dec. 11 best bet selection; he accelerated into first turn to claim lead for Austin Sorrie, maintaining it through most of the race; only a head separated him from winner Wynd Creek (#7 this race) and runner-up Dustylane Thunder (#6 tonight) when all three reached the wire in 2:03.1; sent off at 13/1 last week, we'll stay with him again. (4) EXHIBITION DAY finished second at this distance Oct. 23, stalking Built Strong perfectly for Travis Henry; Nat Day drives here; they won at London 15000clmcd level Nov. 13; late speed. (7) WYND CREEK trotted her last quarter in 30.4 Dec. 11, overtaking leader The Reins of Titan at the three-quarters with a three-wide move; she was very sharp, but must now face added distance for the first time, from same outside post position. (6) DUSTYLANE THUNDER was place finisher in three-way toss-up at the wire Dec. 11; her 30.1 closing quarter was field's-co-fastest, taking the mare from sixth to second without the exertion of an overland trip. (3) ROYAL PEACH is in from Flamboro, where she finished second against Nw25000lcd company Dec. 12; up in class, but wired London Nw20000lcd trotters in her last previous race here, Oct. 23, on sloppy track; her other two 2020 victories were front-end trips at Flamboro; every win was for a different driver, and she adds Nick Boyd tonight.
Race 6 – (1) SEEL THE DARK left strongly for Nat Day in her last race, Western Fair's distaff Nw5000lcd pace Dec. 2; she didn't appear to break stride, but she definitely veered wide in the first turn, looking very green/distracted; taken calmly back to last, this filly made a huge comeback in the second half of the race, passing all but the top two finishers with her 30.3 co-fastest-in-field last quarter; no Oceanview Echo or Addi Three in this race, so she's a class-dropping spot play. (2) SHES GOT THE LUCK passed Rosies Beach (#4 this race) in the stretch Dec. 2, finishing third; spent some time on the outside as that rival didn't respond to encouragement on last turn; class drop for three-year-old with late speed. (4) ROSIES BEACH is the only mare and the only winner in this field, a milestone the four-year-old reached in her Western Fair pari-mutuel debut for driver Tyler Borth Nov. 25; did not race at age three, and was winless at Hanover through her two-year-old season; pocketed second behind Lady in Lace Dec. 2, she appeared to lose ground when asked for speed at the three-quarters.
Race 7 – (4) LITTLEBEARCAT has regularly dealt with tough post positions and trips in various editions of this track's filly & mare 15000clmcd pace, at the mile and mile-and-a-sixteenth; three-time 2020 winner (twice at Clinton, Sarnia) rarely misses top three from an inside post; although she hasn't won yet in London, her game closing efforts make her a strong contender this race. (3) KEMPENFELT was a beaten 3/5 fave here Dec. 4, competing against 15000clmcd fillies and mares; reunited with catch driver Ryan Desroche last week, she left hard and took lead in first turn, but let first-up challenger Panerai go by and open up at the quarter; stalking trip did not work out when she got covered and shuffled in fourth, while Literally Hanover ran away with the race. (2) ADDI THREE was runner-up to Oceanview Echo at Western Fair distaff Nw5000lcd level Dec. 2; that winner moved on to a place finish in her next start, at Mohawk, while Addi Three and Andy Moore again finished second in London in their next start, Dec. 11 at same level; cautious optimism.
Race 8 – (3) ASK FOR ME was racing in the distaff Open Pace this summer at Manitoba's Miami Fair, winning twice in August over the half-mile track; versatile mare won on front-end by a five-length margin in her seasonal-best 2:00 victory there; changed hands to new owner/trainer/driver Preston Shaw after her last Alberta start, Oct. 24 at Century Downs; has hit board in nearly half of her 23 seasonal starts; her Dec. 2 London place finish (from trailing post #8) showcased a three-wide move from second-last that hinted at better results in near future; up in class. (2) SHADOW DREAMER is down in class and back at regular mile distance; she hasn't won since March 6 at Flamboro, but she's gained ground late in her three most recent efforts; Scott Wray drives mare whose three seasonal victories were all in rein to Paul MacKenzie, who drives... (4) SILVERHILL MISTY this race; another class-dropper, her recent form hasn't been great, but she's this field's top earner of 2020 for a reason; her Feb. 20 victory at Flamboro (one of just two 2020 wins) was with MacKenzie in the sulky, at 8/1; deep closer potential.
Race 9 – (8) BOSTON BLUE has made steady improvements in last two December starts at London; place finish behind Mackjustice Dec. 11, on the class jump, courtesy of field's-co-fastest (30.3) closing quarter; second tier for class drop this week; Vic Puddy trainee retains Lorne House for third pari-mutuel start since place finish in their Flamboro qualifier Nov. 28; his only 2020 win was stalking trip at The Raceway's Nw8000lcd level Oct. 9. (6) ELLA also has two seasonal victories and competed in Mohawk's Harvest Series last month; Austin Sorrie picks up catch drive on three-year-old filly campaigned by her previous trainer/driver until now. (1) ST HELENS won from rail in her maiden victory, Oct. 23 at Nw20000lcd classification; stayed flat for Scott Wray in her fifth-place finish Dec. 11; single-file fifth after being taken back early, she followed the cover of the first-up Umpteen Hanover at the half, chasing leader Mackjustice; tipping thee-wide at top of the stretch, she lost late momentum, ending up fifth.
Race 10 – (4) LAND OF PARADISE won Western Fair's Dec. 4 filly & mare 15000clmcd mile-and-a-sixteenth for Travis Henry; teams up with latest catch driver Brett MacDonald tonight (Henry isn't driving any rivals in this race); fourth in her previous try at same distance, Oct. 21, at higher level (Distaff Nw35000lcd). (2) BOOKIE BABY has been closing well but not getting the win; added distance for class-climber who finished fourth from post #9 in previous attempt at Western Fair mile-and-a-sixteenth on Oct. 30; she trailed field throughout, but turned on the jets to pass horses late. (8) CENTURY GEORGIA was a front-end London winner from the rail Dec. 9, despite being up in class at filly & mare Nw15000l classification; Scott Wray stays loyal for six-time 2020 winner's first try at the extra distance; trailing post may suit her. (9) KISS IT BETTER hits the board in more than half her 23 starts this year; driver change to Nat Day for filly who put in steps early last week, compromising her chances as she tried to catch field and tired. (6) COCO BEACH DE VIE is a three-time 2020 winner, capturing both of her November starts in London for Travis Henry; driver change to Colin Kelly tonight, as the Dec. 5 Flamboro beaten fave is back at a distance where she finished fifth and fourth in two October tries from less-appealing posts.
Photo by John Watkins
Melissa Keith is a lifelong harness handicapper/bettor, Hervey/O'Brien Media Excellence Award-winning writer, and occasional racecaller. She is a contributor to TROT, Hoof Beats, Atlantic Post Calls, and Harness Racing Update, often covering topics related to wagering. Her most memorable bets include taking down the Truro Raceway Pick-7 pool for a $36 investment (it has not been offered since) and collecting $1,287 for a Woodbine Harness Pick-4 which cost a whopping $1.60.
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