Sires stakes once again present Hambo-eligibles of both sexes, with divisional scenarios in New Jersey (Meadowlands) and Pennsylvania (Meadows and Harrah’s Philadelphia), along with a focused SBOA final in Ontario (Mohawk). The Hambletonian Trail herds go trotting on Friday, May 24.
A field of New Jersey Sires Stakes for colts ($33,000) and one for fillies ($34,000) are the focus at the Meadowlands. Five of six are Hambo-eligible, King Of Muscles being the odd one out.
We liked Amalfi Coast last week and stick with him for the sake of price, since Corky will be a huge choice and may have an easy go of the mile.
The fillies also have one ineligible and again we will go with the one that is not a daughter of Muscles Yankee. Southwind Cocoa has been sitting on a win and will not be the choice here. The Chocolatier femme has a good stride and some soph experience behind her now, maybe enough to take this at a decent price.
The Meadows hosts a quartet of Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) with purses of $48,000 and change for colts.
In the next PASS we witness the return of Aperfectyankee as he debuts at three. Up against Dontyouforgetit, the Dexter Cup failed favorite, he may need a race to handle his foe and other, budding performers here. We will go with Valley Of Sin, an ineligible that has faltered from miscues but when under control seems to be under rated.
Round three is entirely Hambo-eligibles, with a lot of chances for each of the eight to improve. Dexter Cup-winning Celebrity Maserati has to deal with post 8 aside from the new competition involved. We like the chances of San Donato and hope he will be close to his morning-line odds, 8-1. Beaten as the choice in his soph debut he had excuses beyond returning to a new division. He fought from post 8 after a slow start. He should be much better here.
Only a pair of eligibles take on six state-breds in the penultimate PASS mile. Jimmy Takter’s Bluto may get a shot at racing like his April qualifier, going wire to wire after handling a lot tougher competition in the John Simpson for a piece of the purse.
Then, in the finale for the program, Arctic Tale is one of six eligibles and the one we feel may be the bargain of the day. His recent effort at the Meadows was marred by a break after a wide, early duel that failed to get the top. Ron Burke’s gelding has a lot of speed and may be best equipped to use it in this group and win at a price.
PASSes also adorn the Harrah’s Philadelphia program on May 24, these four splits going for $61,000 plus each.
In the first split we get another chance at Cupcake, the daughter of Trotting Triple Crown-winner Glidemaster. Last week she jumped at the gate and was eliminated and must be given another shot in what appears to be an easier group to handle if she stays trotting.
In round two we will take a shot with Aspidistra Hanover. Another of many Donato Hanover daughters, she was bold at 11-1 in her debut, a PASS mile where she made a huge brush and got hanged to the half. She may be raring to show more with a good trip and we would like to have her at this price.
The third split should find Frau Blucher a favorite after her first-time Lasix win last week. But we will let the fans have her and support Coffeecake Hanover, who fired quickly to duel for the lead at the Meadows’ PASS fest last week and was in a lot of trouble late in the game. That line should send her off a great price.
Defiant Donato could be one of the best fillies in this crop, certainly one of the Hambo-winner’s top sophs this season and she almost got the whole pie at the Meadows were it not for a few steps she had to race wide, surrendering to the better journey taken by non-eligible Curtsy Hanover. She will be backed heavily but here can still be an overlay.
Bee A Magician won her SBOA filly-trot elim and will be the huge favorite in the final at Mohawk this week. She is the key and we don’t expect any of her foes to upset her speed, smooth gait and obvious confidence.
The Hambletonian Society has owned and serviced the Hambletonian since its inception in 1926 and presents the 88th edition at the Meadowlands, where it has been staged since 1981, There are no supplemental entries permitted in the Hambletonian and Oaks, nor are participants allowed to race on Lasix or Butazolidin. Along with the four juvenile Breeders Cup races for thoroughbreds, they are the only events in North American horse racing that prohibit the use of any race-day medication.
Keep watching this blog for updates and races involving eligibles through July and for live coverage from TwinSpires on Hambletonian day. Read race results at the special section archived at the Hambletonian Society web site.