Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Heat wave for hopeful fillies

As June begins, sires stakes action for Hambo “Oaks”-eligibles gets as thick as the heat wave currently swarming the East Coast. Sires-stakes divisions at the Meadows and the Meadowlands host 32 potential princesses of the glamour-girl division. 

On Wednesday, June 1, fillies take to the five-eighths mile at the Meadows in three Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) splits.

The first $67,000-plus split features three eligibles. Bold And Fresh (SJ’s Caviar) has a win in two starts and looks a tad better than the other two, Hot Off The Press (Cantab Hall), with a single start so far, and Tango Dancer (Broadway Hall), off the board in a pair of starts.  

The second division features the productive Pacific Splash (American Winner), although the Lady Suffolk-winner gets post 9. Glide Maid (Glidemaster) has been in the money three of five starts and Migisi (Andover Hall) races only her second at three in an attempt to get on the board.   

In the nitecap, Pantholops (Andover Hall) was made the 20-1 morning line but looks the best of the eligible trio in this affair. She has been second twice in as many starts, while no credentials have been added by Devilish Emerald (Broadway Hall) or Celebrity Katie (SJ’s Caviar) in a pair of starts each.  

Thursday, June 2, the Meadowlands hosts New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for the femmes, many racing on the track where they hope to be crowned the best on the first Saturday in August.  

There is a trio of $16,000-plus NJSS splits. Five hopefuls in a field of eight go to post in the first division, featuring last year’s hot-and-heavy Chocolatier filly Crème De Cocoa. She broke in her first effort at three and has had some stepping problems but it is suspected she will put in a number of prime performances when racing at her best. She could very well take these with ease.  

Fitness Girl (Muscles Yankee), Hey Mister (Muscles Yankee) and Seducedbychocolate (Chocolatier) make their seasonal debuts, while Sizzling Volo (Yankee Glide) tries to improve upon a second in a single start.  

Pay Me Sister (Revenue S) will lead the bettors to the windows as the choice here, no doubt, having shown an early-season penchant for cashing checks. Lost Symbol (Yankee Glide), meanwhile, is two for two but gets post 9, which could add to his value (watch the board for higher-than-worthy odds). Caitir (Classic Photo) is a win for a start and could improve.  

Wincinnatti (Windsong’s Legacy) and Love And Hate (Muscles Yankee) debut at three, Sheer Glide (Yankee Glide) continues to show some spunk, as does Firstclassprincess (Classic Photo).  

Split three has a quintet of hopefuls, all challenging the non-eligible Tui, who should be the choice. Don’t Cry Lindy (Chocolatier), the top money-earner, takes the best shot of the eligibles, which include Angelette Hanover (Yankee Glide), Redwhitenbluestone (Yankee Glide), Tawesome More (Muscles Yankee) and Caberet Princess (Yankee Glide).  

Fillies Naughty Me Hanover (Yankee Glide) and Southwind Amiga (Chocolatier) go in conditioned events that night.  

Eligible colts in conditions that night include Matrix (Yankee Glide), Wicked Schooner (Broadway Hall), Buzz Bomb (Windsong’s Legacy), Man O’War (Chocolatier), The Evictor (Valley Victor) and Carthage Hanover (Andover Hall).   

Man O’War is looking hot right now and draws inside.

A maiden field is mixed with fillies and colts and despite the outside post, Buzz Bomb could put in a big effort.

Reviews and results available, along with archives of 2011 eligible races, at Hambletonian Society.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Holiday weekend woos eligibles’ events

On Memorial Day weekend, beginning Friday, May 27, the scheduled events for Hambo and “Oaks”-eligibles gets hot north and south of the continent’s border.

At Western Fair on May 27, two filly hopefuls are in a field racing for $130,000. It’s an Ontario Sires Stakes Final and it features an elim-winner, eligible Oh Sweet Baby (Angus Hall). She won last week and paid $6.80. Also in the field is LA Freeway (Kadabra), who finished third in her elim.

The next day, at Hoosier Park, a colt eligible looks to increase his bankroll in a $40,000 Indiana Sires Stakes event. Bluebird Elian (Southwind Elian) leaves from post 2, starting his “Trail” journey among the lighter levels of the division.

Holiday Monday the pair of Empire Breeders Championship finals are the features at Vernon Downs. Colts and fillies go for the biggest dollars of the division so far this season.

The hopefuls in the colts final have to beat the state champ Dejarmbro and with Spectator K (Conway Hall) out of the event (he broke in his elim and finished seventh), it’s up to a pair of up-and-coming trotters.

Evil Urges (Cash Hall) took advantage of Spectator K’s mishap and won a longshot victory. In the first elim, Tiger’s Too Good (Conway Hall), the favorite, finished fourth. Whatever It Takes (Credit Winner) was right behind Dejarmbro in that split, so he will be in the field.

Our choice is the colt we have watched since the Dexter Cup. Troubled by a misstep and a bad post and still thriving is Whitewater Rapids (Credit Winner). He is in the mix for all exotics and if the best behaved Dejarmbro doesn’t show up or makes an error, look out for this colt.

The gals will be ruled by Jezzy (Credit Winner), who seems to be able to satisfy all the early hype. The only eligible she (pictured) needs to handle here is Some Girls (Conway Hall), who finished second in her elim. The obvious exacta may be the deal but you way want to use non-eligible Four Damsals behind Jezzy in an exacta or as the third element of the triad.

Also on Monday, Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) continue their lucrative path and Trail colts are on board for splits worth a bit over $67,000 each.

Three hopefuls are in Race 5 on the Chester bill. There are Ubabating (Broadway Hall), Bambino Hall (Tom Ridge) and Broad Bahn (Broadway Hall). All eyes are on the latter, a high-profile colt who was great at two until an injury. If Broad Bahn has recovered and is feeling the strength that got him into the headlines, he may just wander home here and continue to flex muscles en route to the big day in August.

In Race 11, five eligibles face one talented non-eligible, Washingtonian. Those looking for the upset of the obvious favorite will be Del Cielo (Broadway Hall), Big Rigs (Andover Hall), Fawkes (SJ’s Caviar), Not Nice (Glidemaster) and Magnum Kosmos (SJ’s Caviar).

Big Rigs has a future if he has matured. The sons of Andover Hall, who may have won the Hambletonian but for a misstep in the elim, has great potential and the time to wager on him is now, as the public favors the obvious contenders.

A trio on the Trail hit the third PASS split: Buffalino Hanover (Cantab Hall), Opening Night (Broadway Hall) and Orlando (Andover Hall).

“Buffalino” followed Pastor Stephen home in that one’s monstrous debut at the Meadows. That race performance could have beaten this field easily. The mystery remains Orlando, another Andover Hall colt, who is sadly repeating his sire’s gait woes. But have faith because when Orlando fires smoothly, his speed will endure, and it will do so at a price. 

Watch for the results and review of races at the Hambletonian Society's Trail section. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Eligibles enemies in the ‘Empire’

On May 21 at Vernon Downs, two sires’ products dominate the eight Hambo-eligible colts and six “Oaks”-eligible fillies in elimination divisions for next week’s Empire Breeders Championship (EBC) finals.

Colts go in three splits on the program with the first mile featuring four glamour-boy trotters with August ambitions. Johnny B Kemp (Credit Winner) gets the rail to debut for trainer Jimmy Takter. Tiger’s Too Good (Conway Hall) makes his second appearance in 2011 looking for another win. Alaric (Credit Winner) was third in his start as a soph and House On Fire (Conway Hall) has a win in five starts so far this year.
Takter has an arsenal of possibilities as the “Trail” launches its candidates and “Johnny” could be more than second string to Takter’s great hope, Pastor Stephan. If this colt is as ready as “Stephan” when he debuted, he should be great in this field.

Only one eligible goes in division two: Whatever It Takes (Credit Winner). Julie Miller’s colt has only been off the board once in five starts and certainly towers over this field.

Division three offers another theater for the hot Spectator K (Conway Hall), who has won two for Charlie Norris. He will have the upper hand, probably as the dead-on favorite, against Evil Urges (Cash Hall) and Whitewater Rapids (Credit Winner).

“Rapids” may have a gait problem but his performance in the Dexter Cup Final could also be a flare for the speed this colt may be harboring. After breaking at the Freehold event, he made up at least 15 lengths around three turns without skipping again. From post 9 he is a longshot to out-perform “K” but certainly worth attention at the promised long odds and for the potential speed.

A pair of filly EBC elims offer a half-dozen eligibles for the Oaks. The first mile has a quartet of femmes, including the so-far sparkling Jezzy (Credit Winner). She is one for one, while the others are yet to hit the board. They are: Miss Sue V (Credit Winner), Pretty As My Mom (Conway Hall) and Brooklyn (Conway Hall).

Jezzy (pictured left) is from team Schnittker and deserves favoritism hands down here.

A pair of eligibles go in round two, with Some Girls (Conway Hall) topping the entire field, including eligible-mate Medusa Blue Chip (Credit Winner). “Girls” debuted with wings for Gabes Brunet and has a strong future on the Trail.

Check afor the analysis of results after the races at the Hambletonian Society site.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hopefuls led by Pastor Stephen at Meadows

On May 17 at the Meadows, three soph-colt-trot miles featuring Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) horses will include 11 Hambletonian eligibles, including the 2010 champion freshman, Pastor Stephen.

Considered the winter-book favorite for the 2011 classic, trainer Jimmy Takter, who won last year’s Hambo with Muscle Massive, is aware that satisfying the hype still means earning the position once race at a time.

Takter told Meadows PR man Evan Pattak, “You can’t really say the Hambletonian is the only race you’re thinking about.” He said, “There are a lot of big races [along the ‘Trail’] and they don’t go for small change.”

In the split “Stephen” debuts as a three-year-old, the Cantab Hall product must face eligible Buffalino Hanover (Cantab Hall), who has won two in as many starts this season.

Unabating (Broadway Hall) is the top earner in the field, with a win in three starts and Fort Valley As (Tom Ridge) and Mythical Hall (Andover Hall) are the other eligibles with any 2010 experience on track.

Also debuting in the field are Orlando (Andover Hall) debuts and is worth a look as an upset possibility. He was shaky at two but he raced with the best, including Stephen. He could return with a more mature attitude and be a worthy foe all the way to August, certainly in the lucrative PASS schedule.

Stephen (pictured below) is a big horse, so Takter won’t be racing on tracks smaller than five-eighths, according to the trainer. As well, his come-from-behind style remains the emphasis of his attack.   

When you have a young horse, you prefer teaching him something,” Takter said. “You can develop a horse more when he is racing from behind. If you send him [to the top] every week, how much do you actually accomplish? If you teach him [to be tactical], when he grows up a little bit, he can do anything.”

That may be another edge for an Orland upset. Beware, bettors, Orlando may have sincere speed yet to be shown.

Only three eligibles show up for split one. Del Cielo (Broadway Hall) and Opening Night (Broadway Hall) debut, while Just In (Andover Hall) goes in his sixth effort with one win. We like Just In, trained and driven by Jean Dubois, who may have his best shot at a Hambo contender yet.

In the third split, the second PASS race on the card, two eligibles go in the first two posts of a seven-horse field. Fawkes (SJ’s Caviar) and Not Nice (Glidemaster) both debut as sophomores. The emphasis will be on the latter, a Takter product. The horse to watch here may be the other Dubois-trained colt, Onirique, which is not an eligible. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

‘Simpson’ splits side by side for eligibles

The John Simpson Memorial Stakes, part of the Grand Circuit’s run of races, host soph-colt-and-filly trotters on Saturday, May 14, at Vernon Downs. Eleven colts seeking Hambo fame are spread over three splits; a dozen fillies with dreams of “Oaks” show up through three other splits.

Trainer Charlie Norris (teamed with breeder Robert Key) has a few colt eligibles this year that have already begun to show profit. In the first colt split he offers Spectator K, one win for one start this year. The colt is amid a good number of Conway Hall progeny on the eligibles lists.

Muscles Malone is a Julie Miller trainee. The Muscles Yankee colt has won one and been in the money three other times in eight starts.

These two deserve the attention of handicappers in the first $22,974 “Simpson” split.

In colt-division two, the first five posts belong to eligibles. The buzz horse is the four, Charlie De Vie, trainer Chris Ryder’s Yankee Glide product that won his sophomore-debut race.

Getting the most support at the windows, “Charlie” would be less than worth the pay off, considering Whit (Classic Photo), winner of his first two soph races, and New Zion (Conway Hall) deserve attention due to current form. This pair has the right to improve.

Also, Ray Schnittker’s Winuendo, who behaved badly due to broken equipment in the “Dexter,” is yet to prove he doesn’t have what it takes to move along on the “Trail.” Schnittker is driving this time and that could mean a plus for the odds.

Also in the field with credentials is Aequitos (post 2) by trotting-triple-crown-winner Glidemaster.    

In colt-split three, the eligible quartet is (1) House On Fire (Conway Hall), (3) The Evictor (Valley Victor), (8) Ice Machine (Muscles Yankee) and (9) Man O’War (Chocolatier).

Ice Machine is the Dexter winner and owner of a trio of wins in as many starts at three for Norris. However, he will have to work from post 8, though his style could manage soft speedy types here.

Schnittker’s pair, “Man” and “Fire” are both in supreme spots to command the trot rate and muck it up for “Ice.” Man, with Frank Antonnaci, could be the most dangerous of Ray’s combine.

The filly divisions ($24,670) begin with eligible Pacific Splash (American Winner) poised to pay less than in her stunning Lady Suffolk split win. Eligible Sheer Glide (Yankee Glide) gets to begin at a better post than her last attempt and could turn the tables here.

Six of seven in split two are on the eligibles’ list. Linda Toscano’s Don’t Cry Lindy (Chocolatier) appears to tower over the rest. The Lady Suffolk favorite who had a bad enough trip to lose in a close finish may destroy the rest of the gals, including soph-debuting Massive Drama (Credit Winner), Some Girls (Conway Hall) and Brooklyn (Conway Hall), as well as Broadway’s Fortune (Broadway Hall) and Pretty As My Mom (Conway Hall).

The potency of the Conway Halls is yet to be established. We have touted the Chocolatier femmes successfully last year and look forward to more good ones. So this race is up for study as well as being easy to predict.

Finally, a quartet of eligibles go in a seven-horse field for the third filly Simpson split.

This seems the greener of the crop, with the morning-line choice going to Schnittker’s Jezzy (Credit Winner) from post 7. Also going for the first time at three will be Medusa Blue Chip (Credit Winner) and Firstclassprincess (Classic Photo).

The latter is a Trond Smedshammer product. His sophs usually hit the track prepared and Trond is scheduled in the bike for this one, so look for a top debut performance at decent odds.

Chris Ryder’s Naughty Me Hanover (Yankee Glide) is the other eligible.

For results analysis, check Hambletonian Society website after races.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cash on Pacific Splash

In one of the two Lady Suffolk splits for soph-filly pacers on May 6, we handed you Pacific Splash (pictured right). She won, paying $16.60. She was the only "Oaks"-eligible in the field.

The second split was not won by an eligible but our two choices, the only eligibles in the short field, finished second and third, respectively. The Chocolatier filly, Don't Cry Lindy and Yankee Glide-progeny Sheer Glide were impressive. The former, the race choice, had the tougher trip of all three on the board and still just missed.

In the May 7 Dexter Cup, Hambo-eligible Ice Machine won, paying $5.40. Our choice, Whitewater Rapids, had a tough time of the race early but made up a lot of ground to finish fourth at 21-1. The second-and-third finishers are not eligibles.

For complete coverage of completed events on the "Trail" visit the Hambletonian Society.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dexter Cup, Lady Suffolk Present New Divisions

The Grand Circuit for 2011 launches with the Lady Suffolk (May 6) and The Dexter Cup (May 7) at Freehold Raceway.

This is the first edition of our look at eligibles for the August classics for three-year-old trotters: the Hambletonian and the Hambletonian Oaks. For all of the week's racing, see our harness blog at TwinSpires.

The $160,850 Dexter Cup, this year without elims, previews six possible Hambletonian stars in a field of eight fresh soph-colt trotters. 

The six Hambo-eligibles in the “Dexter” include colts that made some noise at two, as well as four of them are sired by Hambletonian champions.

Whitewater Rapids is one of a trio in the field trained by Ray Schnittker, no stranger to the “Trail” over the past few years. “Rapids” placed in the New York Sires Stakes Championship for two-year-old trotters to Dejarmbro, a powerhouse frosh trotter of 2010 who is not on the Trail. Rapids is a son of Credit Winner, a mighty Empire State sire that does not have a Hambo victory on his pedigree page.

Schnittker also brings in Winuendo to the Dexter. This colt is one of the final products of the ill-fated sire Windsong’s Legacy, the trotter that won the trotting triple crown. Schnittker’s other son-of-a-Hambo-winner is Musclelaneous, sired by the productive Muscles Yankee.

Other eligibles include Buzz Bomb (Windsong’s Legacy), trained by Jim Meittinis, and Jimmy Takter’s Gordo Hall, by Tom Ridge (a failed Hambo favorite), as well as Ice Machine (Muscles Yankee) from the Charlie Norris team.

Hopeless for the Hambo are two ineligibles, Justa Jersey Boy and Marcus Bi.

This is a difficult race to handicap, since the outsiders tend to be the colts that have already raced this year but have not faced the likes of the freshmen returning as sophomores to the stakes scene. Neither can you rely upon the strength of trainers to hoist a colt to sudden stardom in this event. Rarely has the Dexter been a showcase for a colt that went on to win the Hambo.

Also, this is the Freehold half-mile hosting the race and these colts can easily stammer along the four-turn trip, especially those leaving from the outside. This is why we are particularly high on Whitewater Rapids, who leaves from post 5 with Tim Tetrick, not trainer Schnittker.

The Credit Winners have produced a lot of half-mile trotters, having raced on the New York circuit more than the progeny of other sires mentioned above. The colt that defeated Rapids at the end of 2010, Dejarmbro, could destroy this field on paper, so it is no stretch to imagine Rapids conquering this event.

If he is coming back with the use of all “cylinders,” Rapid could be the early hero of this division. All the horses that could possibly be better are behind him in post position, so that edge also belongs to him.

The Lady Suffolk will be contested in two divisions, each worth $39,825. In the mix there is only a trio of “Oaks”-eligible fillies. They are: Pacific Splash (post 4 in division one) and Don’t Cry Lindy (post 3) and Sheer Glide (post 6) in division two.

Pacific Splash’s sire is American Winner, who oddly enough was one of the last colts to win the Dexter and go on to win the Hambo. She comes from the Norris barn and is the focus of this field for us.

Don’t Cry Lindy, from post 3, is a young filly by Chocolatier, a sire we touted last season successfully as a strong producer of sharp fillies. This is the choice here, no doubt, since Sheer Glide (by Yankee Glide) gets the outside post 6. These two offer low-priced payouts but must be respected as they make their start on the Hambletonian Trail in a crowded division.