Sunday, August 5, 2012

Market Share is 2012 Hambletonian champ

A great deal had to happen for this year’s glamour-boy trotter to be crowned champion of the sport’s most coveted prize. 

We saw the likes of him at three, first, when this blog began, in May, as Market Share easily won his Dexter Cup elimination mile easily as the 4-5 favorite at Freehold.

We went against him in the final, a good move, giving out Not Afraid and Frost Bites K. The decision was great for bettors because Not Afraid’s win price was $17 and the exacta with Frost Bites K was worth $184.80. Market Share broke and was out of the Dexter Cup Final picture.

But on Aug. 4 at the Meadowlands, there was no sign of Not Afraid or Frost Bites K as the Hambletonian Final’s field lined up. Market Share was present, leaving from post 2 after winning his elimination mile the week before, and he won the $1.5-million event.

That elimination win was strong but it included a simple touch of fate as well. Little Brown Fox, arguably a major contender for the Hambo crown, broke and was eliminated from the 2012 Hambletonian.  

The night before the Hambletonian, Little Brown Fox won the Townsend-Ackerman, a $50,000 event that featured other colts that either did not make it to the Hambo elims or final and if you believe in speed you will agree that Little Brown Fox trotted a faster mile than Market Share’s time winning the major event. 

It is a moot point, for sure, though we wish to take nothing away from Market Share’s victory, but it shows the immeasurable number of incidents that conspire to create a winner for the coveted event.

History is strewn with bad situations for some that become ingredients for successes of others and certainly Hambletonian history is not immune from such fates. Many of us recall the year Tagliabue won the Hambletonian, a victory aided by an elim misstep that knocked out one of the greatest trotters of our time, the filly CR Kay Suzie, from contention in the final. 

As well, consider what happened to Check Me Out in the Hambletonian Oaks Final. Rarely jumping in her career, she took a bad step leading in the event and lost. That race was about the only thing that could’ve stopped her from beating foes that she dominated throughout her two- and three-year-old seasons. Murphy’s Law prevailed, as fate would have it, and the worst that could happen did happen in the “Oaks.”  

Oddly enough, it was not a breaking problem that kept her from racing with the boys in the Hambletonian final, where she would definitely have been a major factor. Her connections decision to leave her race against her own sex was based upon how strenuous it would have been in the colt division considering the thick competition this year. That decision also assisted the success of Market Share and fate took other steps, so to speak, to see to it that the “safer” decision about which division the great filly should challenge was also moot and a matter of chance.  

In 2012, the sophomore-colt trotter crop is thick with competition. Certainly Market Share did not dominate from May until August, having been beaten by a lot of the colts that either made it or did not make it into the final field.  

During the season, Market Share had been beaten by Archangel, Beer Summit, Little Brown Fox, Big Chocolate and as mentioned previously, Not Afraid. All of them, except Not Afraid, who went on hiatus for unreported reasons after a scratch from the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) on May 30, are still battling for top money in the division now.  

Aside from the aforementioned Little Brown Fox victory, Top Billing, Frost Bites K and Solvato recently won lucrative PASS splits.  

Other divisional members have been riding success while off the Hambletonian grid. Coraggioso, Delano, Nothing But Class, Fashion Astral and the strangely gaited Googoo Gaagaa (the trotter with the pacing sire) could return after a few mishaps as a main divisional contender. 

Nor will Market Share’s Hambo foes lay off fighting for big purse money. We have not heard the last from Uncle Peter, Guccio and other Jimmy Takter students. And My Mvp is coming out of the second-tier category to pose threats, while Kadabra-colts Prestidigitator and Knows Nothing have more in their tanks, as do Stormin Normand, Archangel, Money On My Mind and Gym Tan Laundry.

The remainder of the season is as unpredictable as anything that has happened already to the winners and losers of either division. With no prohibitive leader of the colts and the questionable condition of Check Me Out, plenty of great racing among the sophomore trotters will ensue as the Breeders Crown countdown begins. This can only benefit bettors as the competition stays thick through the second half of the season.  

Congratulations to the Hambletonian’s first woman trainer, Linda Toscano, and to driver Tim Tetrick on his first win in the event.  

The complete archives of divisional events from May through the Hambletonian are available at the Hambletonian Society’s website.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Glamour boys and girls go head to head in trot classic

After months of prepping, the world’s 10 finest glamour-boy trotters will line up behind the Meadowlands starting gate for the 87th running of the Hambletonian on Aug. 4. Here’s the field:


1-Uncle Peter-Ron Pierce-Jimmy Takter-5/2

2-Market Share-Tim Tetrick-Linda Toscano- 4-1

3-Knows Nothing-Jody Jamieson-Jeffrey Gillis-7/2

4-Archangel-Jim Morrill Jr.-Peter Arrigenna-9/2

5-My Mvp-Mike Lachance-Tony Alagna-15-1

6-Prestidigitator-Sylvain Filion-R. Dustin Jones-12-1

7-Guccio-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-8-1

8-Stormin Normand-Dave Palone-Jim Campbell-15-1

9-Money On My Mind-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-15-1

10-Gym Tan Laundry-George Brennan-Noel Daley-30-1

It will be fairly tough, but possible, to beat morning-line favorite Uncle Peter (Cantab Hall). He will likely either take the lead or sit in the pocket and do the same move that Muscle Massive made with Ron Pierce to win in 2010.

Archangel (Credit Winner) will also look to take the lead and Market Share should get a pocket spot.

But a horse that could be the best value is Prestidigitator (Kadabra). Although people will recall or be reminded of the horrible trip he received in the elim, they probably still won’t bet heavily on him—they’ll go for the three elimination winners.

Trainer Dustin Jones has stakes experience with longshots, as Martiniontherocks gunned out of the gate from post 8 in the Breeders Crown two years back and recorded a stunning upset. So chances are that Prestidigitator will get away fourth or fifth and get a second over trip to win. Might he surprise his foes and leave to take command and keep it? Either way, he is a major player in this event.

Another horse to watch that will be afforded some great odds  is Stormin Normand (Broadway Hall). Although he barely qualified for the final, he trotted a brutal first-over journey against the speedy Archangel. Stormin Normand will likely get off the gate and settle mid-pack and close to get a minor placing; else he will be as powerful as he was against likely choice Uncle Peter during the pair’s last few contests together.

What you should know about the others:

My Mvp has trotted hot and cold these few months and though he has been competitive with the main group he has only had mild success among Pennsylvania state breds. He got into the final on the heels of the fading Riccolo and Stormin Normand’s tough trip so circumstances would have to set up for him to get the opportunity to win.

Guccio was unable to topple Little Brown Fox when that one fooled most bettors and went off over 20-1 and win in the “Dancer.” He was second to Little Brown Fox when that one won at 4-1 and even with “Fox” not in this hunt, Guccio does not appear as good as the few best mentioned; he would need a few other colts to misstep literally or figuratively to win.

Money On My Mind also gets into the final through the courtesy of some others’ faults. In the Uncle Peter win he was assisted by Banker Volo’s burnout session and Possess The Will’s inability to rebound from a terrific frosh season (though many still had faith enough to make him 5-1).

Gym Tan Laundry got into the final when once again he was our choice to win and could not satisfy our support. We have liked him from the start of the season and he collects his share of checks, racing like a professional should, he just doesn’t win. It is tough to imagine any reasonable scenario that would allow him to win this event, especially coming from the 10 hole, where a Chocolatier, a terrific horse compared to “Gym,” could not succeed a few years back.

The absence of copy relating to the filly “Oaks” should be obvious to all followers of this blog and bettors of TwinSpires. Check Me Out is easily a strong candidate for Horse of the Year, topping all editorial polls for trotters and pacers and a loss in the Oaks might not even suspend belief she would win the coveted award. However, no one feels that she will lose the Oaks, no matter the weather and no matter the improvements of any of her foes. Yes, she has been beaten before, but on this day, when she may have beaten the colts, you will have to go a long way to make a case for any of the others in the Oaks field.

Live reports from the Meadowlands on all of the stakes, in cooperation with the Hambletonian Society, will be added to this blog on Saturday, Aug. 4. Check in often for updates, insider information and late changes that affect wagering from your TwinSpires account.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Near the end of the ‘Trail’


The destination is the Meadowlands, Aug. 3, and the colts and fillies that are left standing since the journey began in May are the only hoofs beating on the Hambletonian Trail. 

The fields are set for the Hambletonian Final and the Hambletonian Oaks Final, two events in a stakes-laden program at the Meadowlands that will be reported exclusively live through the facilities of TwinSpires and the cooperation of the Hambletonian Society. 

The eliminations, held July 28, presented berths in the coveted event and those results were not all so predictable, though the highest price winner was a hard 3-1.  

Uncle Peter won a spirited first $70,000 elimination; Knows Nothing took the second elim and Market Share won the third on a racetrack listed as “good” after rainy day on the east coast.  

Our choices, Prestidigitator (14-1), My Mvp (20-1) and Gym Tan Laundry (18-1) finished third in their respective elims, as above.

Some of the expected competitors disappointed bettors. Riccolo, recently purchased for an undisclosed amount from Illinois connections as an undefeated colt, won his first Meadowlands escapade for trainer Trond Smedshammer. But in the elim, at 7-2, he led and faded badly to finish sixth.
Possess The Will, trainer Jim Campbell’s frosh champion who was the early choice to be the Hambo winner, was 5-1 and had little excuse for a seventh-place finish against Uncle Peter, who defeated him in last year’s Breeders Crown Final.
Banker Volo gathered support late, getting a buzz loud enough to make him 3-1 against Uncle Peter and Possess The Will. He could not sustain one wide move and faded to fifth.
Stormin Normand finished fourth in the Knows Nothing victory mile, where he was the soft second choice at 3-1 to Knows Nothing, who wound up the favorite at 2-1. Stormin Normand gets into the final as the fourth-place finisher of the three elims with the most earnings.
Little Brown Fox was making a bold move when he broke and galloped out of the history books.
The “Oaks” elims went mostly at planned. The first was easily won by Check Me Out ($2.10) and the second went to Maven ($3.00).
We will analyze the races thoroughly when the post positions are official.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Trotting to glory: Hambletonian eliminations

After a year of prepping from the Breeders Crown, to the Dexter Cup and then to the Dancer Memorial, 25 of the world’s best sophomore trotters dropped into the box for the 87th Hambletonian. Three eliminations will be held and two for the Hambletonian Oaks.  

Here are all three Hambletonian eliminations fields:

1st elimination - Race 5
HN - Horse - Driver - Trainer

1 - Banker Volo - David Miller - Erv Miller
2 - Possess The Will - Tim Tetrick - Jim Campbell
3 - Money On My Mind - Andy Miller - Julie Miller
4 - Uncle Peter - Ron Pierce - Jimmy Takter
5 - Magic Tonight - Ron Pierce - Noel Daley
6 - Lindys Jersey Boy - Brian Sears - Frank Antonacci
7 - From Above - Corey Callahan - Greg Peck
8 - Prestidigitator - Sylvain Filion - R. Dustin Jones

2nd elimination - Race 6
HN - Horse - Driver - Trainer

1 - Lightning Storm - John Campbell - Jonas Czernyson
2 - Stormin Normand - Dave Palone - Jim Campbell
3 - Guccio - Jimmy Takter - Jimmy Takter
4 - Beer Summit - George Brennan - Noel Daley
5 - My Mvp - Mike Lachance - Tony Alagna
6 - Knows Nothing - Jody Jamieson - Jeffrey Gillis
7 - Riccolo - Trond Smedshammer - Trond Smedshammer
8 - One In A Million - Brian Sears - Chuck Sylvester

3rd elimination - Race 8
HN - Horse - Driver - Trainer

1 - Big Chocolate - Homer Hochstetler - Homer Hochstetler
2 - Top Billing - Andy Miller - Julie Miller
3 - Delano - Ray Schnittker - Ray Schnittker
4 - Gym Tan Laundry - George Brennan - Noel Daley
5 - Solvato - Trond Smedshammer - Trond Smedshammer
6 - Market Share - Tim Tetrick - Linda Toscano
7 - Archangel - Jim Morrill, Jr. - Peter Arrigenna
8 - Appomattox - Tim Tetrick - Frank Antonacci
9 - Little Brown Fox - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter

Uncle Peter (H-Cantab Hall) headlines the first elimination after a 1:53.1 training mile in the Stanley Dancer. This race is wide open but Prestidigitator (H-Kadabra) pops out as a likely price for a great horse. We dismiss his performance in the Canadian Breeders Final as he made a costly break as the 7-5 second choice. Before that, he prevailed as the favorite in four out of five starts. He should be competitive and may race even better than he did in Canada.

Also in with a shot is Possess The Will (H-Donato Hanover). After his third-place effort in the Stanley Dancer he has been getting better at three with few races getting him here; he has the right to improve. Although he has not won a race in 2012 he is still a talented trotter and should be primed to win.

Stormin Normand (H-Broadway Hall) is the best in the second elimination. But the only way he can win is if he trots soft fractions or a hard closer from far out, Guccio (H-Yankee Glide), could shoot down the center of the track to take it all. Of course, we favor that situation while predicting odds.

The best value in this race will likely be Beer Summit (H-Cantab Hall). The Goodtimes champion can always get in a good spot and pick up cover. As long as he doesn’t go first over, he could prevail.

A horse that has been under the radar is My Mvp (H-Cantab Hall). The only time he raced against the big guys was in the “Beal,” where he was an impressive fourth to Googoo Gaagaa, Stormin Normand and Little Brown Fox (H-Muscles Yankee). Other than that, he has been dominating the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes circuit. We would be very surprised if he doesn’t finish in the top three.

The third elimination is a three-horse race, between Little Brown Fox, Market Share (H-Revenue S) and Archangel (H-Credit Winner).

Capturing the number one spot on our top 20 list, Little Brown Fox is the best in the division. Chances are that he will be bet well but not the choice as Archangel also drew in to this elimination.

We will aim at an exacta with Little Brown Fox on top. Gym Tan Laundry has not done so well this year but should be primed to get a shot in the final. He made a strong first-over move after Riccolo last week in a three-year-old Open, faltering to fourth. This horse is a fighter and he’ll have to take the lead or sit second early to finish in the top three. Market Share should finish in the trifecta.

Here are the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations:

 1st Elimination - Race 3
HN - Horse - Trainer - Driver

1. Sassy Syrinx – D.M. Smith-George Brennan
2. Holier Than Thou - Jonas Czernyson- Yannick Gingras
3. Check Me Out – Ray Schnittker – Tim Tetrick
4. Superstar Hanover- Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter
5. Uncommon Night – Dewayne Minor-George Brennan
6. Valdonna - Jimmy Takter-Ron Pierce
7. For A Dancer – Joe Holloway-Jeff Gregory

2nd Elimination - Race 4
HN - Horse - Trainer - Driver

1. Personal Style – Richard Norman-David Miller
2. D’orsay – Jonas Czernyson-Marcus Johansson
3. Maven – Jonas Czernyson- Yannick Gingras
4. Win Missy B – Charlie Norris-Brian Sears
5. Cant Have My Moni – Frank Antonacci, Jr – Tim Tetrick
6. Dream On Hanover – Staffan Lind- George Brennan
7. Real Babe - Ray Schnittker - Ray Schnittker

Check Me Out (H-Donato Hanover) is the best in the division. If she lost for any reason, chances are For A Dancer (H-Conway Hall) would take it. If you want an exacta, Check Me Out over For A Dancer is perfect and could be a short-priced overlay. 

Maven (H-Glidemaster) headlines the second elimination. She almost beat Check Me Out in the Elegant Image. A good value in this race might be Personal Style (H-Yankee Glide). She was third to Check Me Out in the Del Miller and has won the New Jersey Sires Stakes from post 10 at the Big M. She will either win or make the final.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Who's rumblin' and ready?

Now the Hambletonian question is twofold: Which eligibles will drop into the box for the eliminations?  

We have put together a top-20 list for the colts and a top-12 list for the fillies, all based upon our surveying the divisions through this blog and the archives at Hambletonian Society’s web site. 

We will be reporting on the elim fields shortly after the draws and through TwinSpires and this blog before next weekend. 

Hambletonian Top 20

1 Little Brown Fox (Muscles Yankee) --pictured

2 Archangel (Credit Winner)

3 Stormin Normand (Broadway Hall)

4 Uncle Peter (Cantab Hall)

5 Guccio (Yankee Glide)

6 Riccolo (Northern Kid)

7 Knows Nothing (Kadabra)

8 Beer Summit (Cantab Hall)

9 Delano (Credit Winner)

10 Possess The Will (Donato Hanover)

11 Money On My Mind (Cantab Hall)

12 Top Billing (Andover Hall)

13 Market Share (Revenue S)

14 My Mvp (Cantab Hall)

15 Weingartner (Donato Hanover)

16 Banker Volo (Yankee Glide)

17 Corraggioso (Conway Hall)

18 Magic Tonight (Andover Hall)

19 Prestidigitator (Kadabra)

20 Lightning Storm (Donato Hanover)

Hambletonian Oaks Top 12

1 Check Me Out (Donato Hanover)

2 Maven (Glidemaster)

3 Win Missy B (Conway Hall)

4 On The Bright Side (Cantab Hall)

5 For A Dancer (Conway Hall)

6 Cowgirl Hall (Cash Hall)

7 Can't Have My Moni (Cantab Hall)

8 Lima Playmate (Credit Winner)

9 Superstar Hanover (Cantab Hall)

10 Personal Style (Yankee Glide)

11 Anandamide (Credit Winner)

12 Sassy Syrinx (Yankee Glide)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Decisive battles for both sexes north and south

H = Hambletonian eligible.  

With the elims for the Hambo and Hambo Oaks nearing, some hopefuls are all out for big checks from Canada and U.S. action on July 21. 

The Canadian Breeders Championships (CBC) offer two divisions, one for each sex, with the fields best still looking to get in the classic action at the Meadowlands. 

Leading the colt mile, worth $159,058, is Prestidigitator (H-Kadabra), the star of the three hopeful sons by Kadabra in this field. Aiming directly at the Hambo elims, this colt has been primed to cash as many bucks as possible before going to New Jersey. There might not be much of a price but he may dominate this group with ease before departing the Great White North. 

The other two are Il Mago (H-Kadabra) and Knows Nothing (H-Kadabra).  

Three filly hopefuls go in the $1,66,373 CBC final, with our choice, Miss Paris (H-Kadabra) on her mission to get back to the Meadowlands. She will have to deal with Frisky Strike (H-Striking Sahbra) and I’m On Cloud Nine (H-Angus Hall) but that may not be enough to stop her.  

Two divisions for colts and two for fillies make up the Tompkins-Geers stakes that same day in New York as Tioga Downs hosts the soph events.  

The top colt in the first $33,497 mile is the only hopeful and the best in the field, Coraggioso (H-Conway Hall). He should be out for a jog.  

In split two, worth the same amount, four of six eligibles appear for battle. We like Duluth (H-Chocolatier) of the quartet. From the inside he appears to be in a spot that can overtake the big choice, Archangel (H-Credit Winner) at a price.  

Astarisborn Hanover (H-Donato Hanover) and No Frosting (H-Credit Winner) will also ride along.  

Both filly splits are worth $33,747. The first invites Cowgirl Hall (H-Cash Hall) to win another with an easy inside trip. The other two eligibles are not of her ilk: American Lassie (H-American Mike) and Latte Hall (Conway Hall) are probably not going to show up for the big dance, in our opinion.  

Split two for the femmes has a pair of eligibles. We once again support Fancy (H-Conway Hall), although she draws outside of Lady Andi (H-Andover Hall).  

Get to TwinSpires for wagering all of the great races leading to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” and read all the result stories at Hambletonian Society’s exclusive “trail” section.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Trotters to tango in ‘Dancer’ and ‘Miller’

H = Hambletonian eligible.

To complement the Meadowlands Pace program, the $303,500 Stanley Dancer Memorial and the $245,500 Del Miller Memorial attract the country’s top trotters to the Meadowlands on July 14.

In the first “Dancer,” Uncle Peter (H-Cantab Hall) comes off an easy winning effort in the PA All-Stars. Making his return off a layoff is Vic Smith (H-Yankee Glide). He comes off a good qualifier, finishing second to free-for-all trotter Hot Shot Blue Chip in 1:54.3. He was a little green at the beginning of the year and looks to come back sharp.  

Also with a shot is Appomattox (H-Yankee Glide). He finished fourth against older horses in a conditioned event at the Meadowlands and before that finished second to Corraggioso (H-Conway Hall) in the Dickerson Cup. This field is fairly weak and the Antonacci trainee may get his time to shine tonight.  

Also eligible are From Above (H-Donato Hanover), Dandover (H-Donato Hanover), Big Chocolate (H-Chocolatier) and Banker Volo (H-Yankee Glide).  

Possess The Will (H-Donato Hanover) and Googoo Gaagaa are stamped as likely favorites in division two. Gym Tan Laundry (H-Yankee Glide) comes off a surprising effort in the Goodtimes. He took the lead and was able to hold on to third at 161-1. As long as he gets the top or sits second, we could likely see a upset.  

Also in with a shot is Guccio (H-Yankee Glide). Although he broke against conditioned trotters last week, he has a resume of talent before that. As long as he stays flat, he will likely get a good trip and close hard.  

Also eligible are Money On My Mind (H-Cantab Hall), Epic Tale (H-Donato Hanover), Little Brown Fox (H-Muscles Yankee) and One In A Million (H-Donato Hanover).  

Check Me Out (H-Donato Hanover) headlines the Del Miller after strolling around the half-mile oval at Yonkers to smoothly win the $185,194 Hudson Filly Trot. She is listed as the one to beat and in our books (and in all books); she is the one that can’t be beat.  

But if you want to go against her or find a good horse for second, look at On The Bright Side (H-Cantab Hall). She jogged in the Pennsylvania All-Stars, winning in 1:54.3. On The Bright Side has hit her peak and should continue to provide success.  

Also watch Lady Andi (H-Andover Hall). Although she was disappointing in the Casual Breeze, she has gotten her act together. She won her Pennsylvania All-Stars for fun in 1:55.1 as the 6-5 favorite. She should be sharp and ready to trot this week.  

Also eligible are Personal Style (H-Yankee Glide), Sterling Volo (H-Donato Hanover), Win Missy B (H-Conway Hall), Superstar Hanover (H-Cantab Hall) and Quarentine S (H-Varenne).   

Get to TwinSpires for wagering all of the great races leading to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” and read all the result stories at Hambletonian Society’s exclusive “trail” section.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New York controls hopefuls’ action

Vernon Downs and Monticello Raceway drew Hambo hopefuls from both divisions for the $132,236 New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) on Wednesday, July 11 and the $164,840 NYSS on Thursday, July 12. The colts will race on Wednesday and the fillies on Thursday.

Two divisions drew six Hambletonian eligibles on Wednesday. In the first division, Delano (H-Credit Winner) is the likely favorite. Flyhawk Jester (H-RC Royalty) will be looking for redemption. He returns to the track where he did best and if he gets a good trip, he should get the best of Delano.

Also eligible are A Penny Earned (H-Conway Hall) and No Frosting (H-Credit Winner).

In the second division, Corraggioso (H-Conway Hall), seen winning in photo on left, is the likely favorite. Royal Shyster (H-RC Royalty) is still seeking a 2012 victory. He was parked in his return at Yonkers and faded to third. He’ll need, and could get, a better trip to win.  

On Thursday, nine “Oaks”-hopefuls drew into four divisions of NYSS at Monticello.  

In the first division, there may be no beating For A Dancer (H-Conway Hall). Last time against her, we gave a shot to Fancy (H-Conway Hall), who is a slim upset candidate. Also here is The Heart Lives On (H-RC Royalty).  

In the second division, Adriana Hanover (H-Credit Winner) is the only eligible. We’ll take our shot with Lady Crown. She never found the cones at Yonkers and should get a better trip this week. ‘

In the third division, Cowgirl Hall (H-Cash Hall) will likely take a lot of money. Bridge The Way (H-Conway Hall) has a great shot to beat her. She took the lead from post 7 at Yonkers but finished second. She gets a better post and may have a little energy left to pass them all in the stretch.  

In the final division, Lima Playmate (H-Credit Winner) and Anandamide (H-Credit Winner) are the only eligibles. Lima Playmate should come out victorious. She raced very well from post 8 at Yonkers and won by 39 lengths at Goshen before that. She should be sharp and ready to win this week.  

In a related story of eligibles, Prestidigitator (H-Kadabra) scored in an Ontario Sires Stake Gold Final at Georgian Downs last Saturday and the victory appears worth more than the prize money to trainer Dustin Jones, who spoke to The Harness Edge website.  

“It was the way he raced that matters. He is far more manageable and did it exactly the way [his driver] wanted him to do it,” said Jones., who is looking forward to a shot in the  Hambletonian.

“The game plan now is the Canadian Breeders Championship eliminations on [July 13] if they are needed and then the final before we head for the Meadowlands.” 

Prestidigitator earned a 1:54 lifetime mark but Jones was happier about the way he got around the five-eighths mile track.  

With $88,000 earned this year and $320,000 last season, Prestidigitator has banked over $400,000 for owner Ecurie Synergie of Montreal. 

Get to TwinSpires for wagering all of the great races leading to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” and read all the result stories at Hambletonian Society’s exclusive “trail” section.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Yonkers Trot headlines hopefuls’ stakes agenda

H = Hambletonian eligible

Saturday, July 7’s Yonkers Trot and Hudson Filly Trot find the aiming-for-August groups squaring off in big stakes. But on Friday, July 6, and Saturday, fillies fight and colts grapple at the Meadowlands, Pocono and Hazel Park. (Note that the Hudson Filly Trot is a non-wagering stakes event.) 

World champion Googoo Gaagaa drew post 1 for the Yonkers Trot, worth $445,594. The ruling glamour-boy trotter who is not eligible to the coveted classic is the son of a pacing sire (Cam’s Rocket) and has won 11 of his 12 starts and $345,945. Googoo Gaagaa comes to the half-mile track off a 1:50.4 win—the fastest ever over a five-eighths mile oval—in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Final at Pocono. 

The potential giant killers include Stormin Normand (H-Broadway Hall), Market Share (H-Revenue S), Muscolo (H-Muscles Yankee) and Archangel (H-Credit Winner).  

The best anyone playing against “Googoo” can hope for is a shuffling speed duel between Googoo, Market Share and Archangel. The latter has been a speedball in New York-bred events and Market Share loves the top. So, as fast as Googoo can fly, those two could burn him enough to make room for Stormin Normand to close, either in the inner lane or wide late.  

The companion event, the Hudson Filly Trot, has only three soph fillies but is worth $185,194 and goes as a non-wagering event. Still considering a challenge for the boys, millionairess Check Me Out (H-Donato Hanover), last season's divisional champ, scared away all but Real Babe (H-Donato Hanover) and Aunt Mel (H-Yankee Glide).  

At Hazel Park a sweet trio, so to speak, of Chocolatier progeny vie for spots in next week’s William Connors Final. Looking to add some money to their accounts while they eye a spot at the classic, the first $10,000 elim features Ghirardelli Lindy (H-Chocolatier) and Duluth (H-Chocolatier). We liked Duluth earlier in the season, going against better in a New Jersey Sires Stakes, and although an appearance in the Hambo is, at best, a longshot, he could have it all over this soft group.  

In the second split you only have to look at Mr. Candyman (H-Chocolatier) and decide if he is worth the wager, being the classiest here, which is going to be obvious.

Saturday at the Meadowlands, five colts take to the track in a $46,452 W.N. Reynolds stake. This mile features the soph debut of last year’s frosh-colt trot champ, Possess The Will (H-Donato Hanover).

If he is ready, he is primed to go a big mile and then race conservatively over the next month to be fresh for his big target, the Hambo. His biggest foe, should he care to be challenged, will be Lightning Storm (H-Donato Hanover), who has been far better than expected in four starts, winning half of them quite quickly.

Also here are Power Play (H-Donato Hanover), Money On My Mind (H-Cantab Hall) and Modern Family (H-Cantab Hall).

Friday’s Reynolds is for the fillies with two divisions worth $28,426 each. Win Missy B (Conway Hall) is coming from a decent win but may not deserve favorite status. Certainly Temple Blue Chip (H-Cantab Hall) is rounding into winning form and will be an overlay.

Also here are Quarentine S (Varenne), D’Orsay (H-Yankee Glide), Riverfest and Chocoholic (Chocolatier).

The second split hands a 3-5 morning line to Maven (H-Glidemaster), which sets us off on Chocolatta De Vie (H-Chocolatier). She will be greatly overlooked and could surprise at a mighty price.

Three $50,000 Pennsylvania All Stars splits go on July 7 at Pocono, featuring fields larger that the Yonkers Trot with many Hambo hopefuls.

Fashion Astral (H-Broadway Hall) has not been too sharp but from the rail in division one may be able to control the fractions and finally get that first soph win. Also here are Fogelberg (SJ’s Caviar) and Another Amaretto (H-Andover Hall), with Bullvillcomeonjohn, Boytown, Redder Than Red and Upfront Billy.

In division two we once again like Frost Bites K (H-Broadway Hall). Even the races he has lost, six of 10, have been good races and here he is not up against anywhere near as much as he has taken on this season.

Also here are Astarisborn Hanover (H-Donato Hanover), Nothing But Class (H-Andover Hall).Can Do, Celebrity Hall, Hawaiian Caviar, The Big Thea Thea and Beluga Ridge.

The nightcap features another shot for Uncle Peter (H-Cantab Hall), who has been uneven while facing the likes of Googoo Gaagaa. He needs to win this for a few reasons and may be able to with a smooth gait as he is up against four second-tier hopefuls: Solvato (H-Donato Hanover), Lindys Jersey Boy (H-Cantab Hall), Pekoe Fashion (H-Broadway Hall), as well as Mr Ridgetaker, Mikesbrotherfrank, Pilgrims Power and On The Podium.

Get to TwinSpires for wagering all of the great races leading to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” and read all the result stories at Hambletonian Society’s exclusive “trail” section.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Colts contest more New York Sires Stakes

H = Hambletonian eligible.

Yonkers Raceway features the $337,270 New York Sires Stakes, another round of high-paying miles, on Tuesday, July 3. Three divisions will be held, drawing in eight eligibles in all.

Flyhawk Jester (H-RC Royalty) and Corraggioso (H-Conway Hall), pictured on left from a win at Tioga Downs, are the two hopefuls in the first division.

Our choice, Flyhawk Jester, makes his first start in the Brainard barn after a disappointing fifth in the Empire Breeders Classic. Before that he did fairly well. He should be sharp for his new connections.

Four August-classic contenders drew into the second division. No Frosting (H-Credit Winner), Delano (H-Credit Winner), Royal Shyster (H-RC Royalty) and Armed Dangerously (H-Cash Hall) will be seeking the $55,545 check.

Royal Shyster will be looking for his first 2012 victory tonight. He is coming off a good qualifier and should have improved since his first start this year.  

The final division attracted two hopefuls, Monster Luke (H-Conway Hall) and A Penny Earned (H-Conway Hall).  

We’ll take our shot with non-eligible Brookroad Knight. He’s been doing well against older in conditioned company. This field is fairly weak and should give this guy an advantage.  

Get to TwinSpires for wagering all of the great races leading to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” and read all the result stories at Hambletonian Society’s exclusive “trail” section.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Femmes fight at Yonkers

H = Hambletonian eligible.  

Three-year-old filly trotters get to joust in the limelight in the $343,268 New York Sires Stakes at Yonkers Raceway on Monday, July 2. In the four divisions, 11 fillies will be prepping for the big tango in August.  

Zanna Royal (H-RC Royalty) is the only eligible in the first division, worth $86,567. She will have to deal with Vixy, who could provide a mild upset against probable favorite Borrow And Spend, even though that one will start from post 8. 

The second division, also worth $86,567, presents two hopefuls, Anandamide (H-Credit Winner) and Lima Playmate (H-Credit Winner). Anandamide has been tough and in this group looks as good as ever. But with Lima Playmate in post 8 you could be able to pull out a decent exacta price with outsider Feegee. 

In the third division, wirth $85,067, five eligibles will contest the purse. They are For A Dancer (H-Conway Hall), Latte Hall (H-Conway Hall), Fancy (H-Conway Hall), American Lassie (H-American Mike) and The Heart Lives On (H-RC Royalty).  

For A Dancer is perfect in four starts this year and will go off the big public choice. You could take a shot at Fancy getting a ground-saving trip if positioned well early and nipping the choice at the wire. 

The final division, worth $85,067, draws three eligibles: Adriana Hanover (H-Credit Winner), Cowgirl Hall (H-Cash Hall) and Bridge The Way (H-Conway Hall).  

We have been on the side of Cowgirl Hall for a few starts but she will be a huge favorite here, making us lean to the outider Adriana Hanover. This one has had a few tough trips and may be able to put something together in this round.

Get to TwinSpires for wagering all of the great races leading to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” and read all the result stories at Hambletonian Society’s exclusive “trail” section.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Currier & Ives’ fillies at the Meadows

H = Hambletonian eligible

A trio of Currier & Ives splits for soph-filly trotters is spread out on the Monday, June 25 program at the Meadows. Each split is worth $40,000 and hosts five femmes with August on the minds of their connections.

The third split presents the bulk of them, with By A Nose Hanover (H-Cantab Hall), Powell Blue Chip (H-Andover Hall) and Uncommon Night (H-Donato Hanover) the stars in the eight-filly field.

However, Cocktail Attire is here and appears to lay over this field. By A Nose Hanover and Uncommon Night are still trying to win a race this season, while Powell Blue Chip has a single win in four starts to Cocktail Attire’s six wins in nine starts.

In the first split, Win Missy B (H-Conway Hall) has the best chance yet to win this season in three gallant starts. She is the class of this field regardless of her three misses.

In the second split finds Keystone Tempo (H-Cantab Hall) looking for her first soph win, though she is up against some stiff competition. Taylor Jean will be a top choice but we like Gaynor Blue Chip to upset.

Get to TwinSpires for wagering all of the great races leading to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” and read all the result stories at Hambletonian Society’s exclusive “trail” section.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Colts resume rivalry at Pocono

H = Hambletonian eligible

The Earl Beal Memorial at Pocono on Saturday, June 23 is a major stakes, worth $530,000, attracting some of the top glamour-boy trotters on the Hambletonian Trail and one that challenges the division as an ineligible to the August classic. 

Googoo Gaagaa, the only non-eligible in the field is the one to beat and the crowd should anoint him with favorite status. Last week in the elimination for this event he became the fastest soph-colt trotter on a five-eighths mile, winning in a startling 1:51.3. This complemented his frosh mark, the record for a freshman colt trotter on a half-mile, which he accomplished at Ocean Downs winning in 1:56. 

Googoo Gaagaa came to the elimination with nine wins in 10 starts. We tagged him in the Simpson on May 11 when he turned out to be well backed at 1-2 and won (we gave out the $11.40 exacta [with Royal Shyster (H-RC Royalty) and $22.60 triple [with Gym Tan Laundry (H-Yankee Glide)] ) in that race at the Meadowlands.  

His elim record blew away the field by 7 lengths, going panels of :27, :56 and 1:23.3. He broke the record of Break The Bank K, who on the 2010 “Trail” set the mark at 1:52.2 at Pocono in the Breeders Crown Final. Oddly enough, Dejarmbro, another non-eligible that challenged the herd headed for August, matched that in the 2011 Earl Beal, Jr. Final. 

We gave you the second elim winner last week with Stormand Normand (H-Broadway Hall) at the fantastic win price of $16.40. He defeated Breeders Crown-winner Uncle Peter (H-Cantab Hall) in that mile after losing to him at the Meadows. 

In the final, Uncle Peter and Stormin Normand could be greatly ignored in the wake of Googoo Gaagaa’s presence. Stormin Normand will likely get a pocket trip and come late.

Uncle Peter had a rough trip when Stormin Normand beat him. Uncle Peter had gone very wide and was closing late but came up short. If he’s closer to the front throughout, he should close well. Since he is one of the top two early Hambletonian choices, earning that by beating Possess The Will (H-Donato Hanover) in the 2011 Breeders Crown (Possess The Will is yet to appear this season), the Jimmy Takter trainee is a great contender for the August classic and has raced well so far this year. This could be the best time to get him at a price.

Also in the field are Magic Tonight (H-Andover Hall), Nothing But Class (H-Andover Hall), Frost Bites K (H-Broadway Hall), Lightning Storm (H-Donato Hanover), Little Brown Fox (H-Muscles Yankee) and My Mvp (H-Cantab Hall).

Get to TwinSpires for wagering all of the great races leading to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” and read all the result stories at Hambletonian Society’s exclusive “trail” section.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Buffalo fillies trot for cash

H = Hambletonian eligible.

New York Sires Stakes at Buffalo Raceway feature a few lucrative divisions for three-year-old filly trotters on June 20.

The first division involving fillies aiming at August is worth $49,004. Three hopefuls are engaging in the dash for the cash.

Our choice is one of them, American Lassie (H-American Mike). Having won only a single race this season from four, the Charlie Norris trainee faces a field with little going for it in the division.

Also in the mile are Zanna Royal (H-RC Royalty) and Bridge The Way (H-Conway Hall) along with morning-line favorite Miss Connor and four others.

Another split with eligibles is worth $48,104 and the duo with the class are topped by Anandamide (H-Credit Winner). Having two wins in three starts against much better gives her the edge.

Lima Playmate (H-Credit Winner) is still a maiden but has been racing with better than the other five in this field that are non-eligibles.

Get to TwinSpires for wagering all of the great races leading to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” and read all the result stories at Hambletonian Society’s exclusive “trail” section.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Trotters coincide on North America Cup card at Mohawk and elims at Pocono

H = Hambletonian eligible  

On the weekend of North America’s richest race for pacers, the trotters are prepping in the Earl Beal Memorial eliminations at Pocono and the finals of the Elegant Image and Goodtimes at Mohawk.  

The $530,000 Elegant Image draws an all-star group of sophomore gals on Saturday, June 16. 

Check Me Out (H-Donato Hanover) is absolutely the best horse in this field. Unless luck does not ride with her she will romp yet again and prove she can take the boys in the $1.5-million Hambletonian. Also eligible in the final are On The Bright Side (H-Cantab Hall), Win Missy B (H-Conway Hall), Maven (H-Glidemaster), Sand Violent Blue (H-Tom Ridge), Superstar Hanover (H-Cantab Hall), Valdonna (H-Andover Hall), Miss Paris (H-Kadabra) and Personal Style (H-Yankee Glide).

Anybody can tell you that Check Me Out is a great key, so here are some ideas for exotic wagers. With their outside posts, Miss Paris and Personal Style are the two best bets to complete the triactor (crisscross them in second and third positions).

Miss Paris was closing late in her elimination to pass Win Missy B and finish second to Maven. She should be able to close once again from post 9 and pump up the triactor price.

Personal Style loves to close. Its how she won the New Jersey Sires Stakes and how she was runner-up to Check Me Out. If the pace is fast or slow, I guarantee she’ll be in the top three.

The Goodtimes has a final on Saturday and a consolation on Friday, June 15.

The eligibles in the $50,000 consolation are Littlejack Hanover (H-Donato Hanover), Midfield Magic (H-Kadabra) and Southwind Warsaw (H-Chocolatier).

The consolation seems to be the race where non-eligibles have the best shot. Reckon Im Ready trotted a game mile in his elimination but came up short after the closers got to him. He took the lead and held it till the half, where he dueled with Beer Summit (H-Cantab Hall). He faded and finished seventh by 8 lengths. As long as he gets a better trip, he’ll be fine.

The $351,000 Goodtimes final looks to be the most competitive in the last couple of years. Eligible in this race are Lindys Jersey Boy (H-Cantab Hall), Il Mago (H-Kadabra), Knows Nothing (H-Kadabra), Market Share (H-Revenue S), Scary Good (H-Cantab Hall), Beer Summit, Guccio (H-Yankee Glide) and Gym Tan Laundry (H-Yankee Glide).

The two elimination winners, Market Share and Knows Nothing, are the likely two to receive favoritism. Guccio and Beer Summit will look for redemption after finishing second in their eliminations.

Guccio trotted a game first over mile to come up short in the stretch and Knows Nothing took that elimination. If Guccio can get cover or a pocket trip, he’s an easy winner.

Beer Summit went first over and brushed to take the lead. He lost it in the stretch to Market Share and settled for second. He also needs a better trip to triumph in the Canadian final.

Also for glamour-boy trotting colts this weekend is the $50,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial eliminations at Pocono Downs. This also attracted some familiar faces.

In the first elim, Modern Family (H-Cantab Hall), Solvato (H-Donato Hanover), Magic Tonight (H-Andover Hall), Frost Bites K (H-Broadway Hall), Highland Yankee (H-Muscles Yankee) and Little Brown Fox (H-Muscles Yankee) are eligible for the August classic.

Frost Bites K will likely be ignored in this elimination. He romped in the Currier & Ives at the Meadows in his last start. Although it was a field of nobodies, he still showed much talent in that mile. He has not been getting the respect he deserves lately, so he should be equally as good this week and an overlay to boot.

The second elimination features a lot of very classy glamour boys. Eligible in this elim are Stormin Normand (H-Broadway Hall), Lightning Storm (H-Donato Hanover), My Mvp (H-Cantab Hall), Uncle Peter (H-Cantab Hall), Money On My Mind (H-Cantab Hall), Dandover (H-Donato Hanover) and Nothing But Class (H-Andover Hall).

Uncle Peter is the likely favorite. Stormin Normand and My Mvp will give him a race for the money. Stormin Normand was second to Uncle Peter in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes a while back. If he gets the right trip, he’ll be able to pass Uncle Peter at the wire.

My Mvp won a Pennsylvania Sires Stake, beating Goodtimes hopeful Beer Summit. If he gets a perfect trip, there will be spoils for the choices in this elim.

Get to TwinSpires for wagering all of the great races leading to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” and read all the result stories at Hambletonian Society’s exclusive “trail” section.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Eliminations, Canadian style; the ‘Empires’ strike back

H = Hambletonian eligible.

To coincide with the 29th edition of the North America Cup and the Fan Hanover, Mohawk gives trotters a chance to prep for the Hambletonian and the “Oaks” in the Elegant Image and Goodtimes. There are two eliminations for the Elegant Image, going for $35,000 each. The Goodtimes also has two elims that go for $30,000 each.  

Friday, June 8 showcases two Elegant Image eliminations. The first features Casual Breeze winners All Ready Hanover (H-Chocolatier) and Smarty Pants. Also in are Idonette (H-Donato Hanover), Maven (H-Glidemaster), Valdonna (H-Andover Hall), Miss Paris (H-Kadabra), Win Missy B (H-Conway Hall) and Superstar Hanover (H-Cantab Hall).  

After going off stride last week, Idonette looks to return sharper than ever. Trainer Henrik Lundell said, “She was throwing her head and almost reared up, probably didnt like the tie down. No tie down [this] week.” She should be better gaited to provide a win.

The second attracted five eligibles; Check Me Out (H-Donato Hanover), Sand Violent Blue (H-Tom Ridge), Im On Cloud Nine (H-Angus Hall), Personal Style (H-Yankee Glide) and On The Bright Side (H-Cantab Hall).  

There is no doubt that Check Me Out is the one to beat. Im On Cloud Nine has a home-track advantage. The Kevin O’Reilly trainee has won the Ontario SBOA, Celias Counsel and Ontario Sires Stakes Prep in Canada. She can go a tough first over and may have to, as Check Me Out will definitely be on the lead.

Also with a shot is Personal Style. She closed well from post 10 to win the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) by 2 lengths. She gained a total of 13 lengths in that mile. If she sits close to the pace she may be able to challenge Check Me Out and also be a possibility of an upset.

Saturday night, June 9 features the two Goodtimes splits.

In the first elim, Beer Summit (H-Cantab Hall) is the likely favorite, perhaps causing the public to dismiss Market Share (H-Revenue S) leaving from an outside post. He came from the 8 hole in the NJSS and finished a valiant second to Big Chocolate in the first leg. He should be able to provide a similar effort against a weaker field.

Also eligible in this elim are Southwind Warsaw (H-Chocolatier), Lindys Jersey Boy (H-Cantab Hall) and Il Mago (H-Kadabra).

In the second elimination, Guccio (H-Yankee Glide) will take a lot of money. Also eligible are Scary Good (H-Cantab Hall), Gym Tan Laundry (H-Yankee Glide), Knows Anything (H-Kadabra) and Littlejack Hanover (H-Donato Hanover).

Mr Ridgetaker may be able to rebound after a break in the Currier & Ives. Before that start, he was a good third to Uncle Peter (H-Cantab Hall) in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes. Here, he should be sharp and ready to tango with these trotters.

On Friday, June 8, colts and fillies line up at Vernon Downs for the lucrative finals of the Empire Breeders Championships (EBC). The elims were worth pittance compared to the final fields, with the colts battling for $233,250 and the filly episode worth $239,500.

Archangel (H-Credit Winner) has been charged lately and last week took a speed badge in one of the EBC’s cheap elims; that was his third-straight win among the classier of the New York breds in this division.

But right there with him was our choice, Coraggioso (H-Conway Hall) who suffered a tougher trip and still took second from the speedball. Coraggioso broke after chasing the leader first over and getting the lead for some steps before jumping again. That was his first loss this season.

We like Coraggioso even more this week because, for one, he comes from post 9, which will hoist his odds some and because last week’s missteps should not distract us from his prowess this season thus far.

Delano (H-Credit Winner) also had a bad time of it last week but he could be tangled in a speed storm with Archangel and Flyhawk Jester (H-RC Royalty), more support for our outsider.

The femmes have a three-pronged entry with Cowgirl Hall (H-Cash Hall), Lima Playmate (H-Credit Winner) and Borrow And Spend.

This is another dash-for-the-front scenario, probably led by Anandamine (H-Credit Winner). But, the only filly in the entry not trained by Ray Schnittker, that is, Gates Brunet’s Cowgirl Hall (who we liked last week but finished second to For A Dancer [H-Conway Hall]) is in a perfect striking position. We opt for the mild upset with Cowgirl Hall.

Get to TwinSpires for wagering all of the great races leading to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” and read all the result stories at Hambletonian Society’s exclusive “trail” section.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Battles over each borders for soph trotters

H = Hambletonian eligible.

As June dawns, a few major events host glamour boy and girl trotters, many pumping for the August classics. At Mohawk on June 1, two divisions of the Casual Breeze host fillies.

Back in America that same day, a pair of elims for each sex will set the fields for the lucrative Empire Breeders Classics (EBC) next week at Vernon Downs.

New Jersey Sires Stakes finals at the Meadowlands are the features Saturday, June 2.

In the first Casual Breeze division, worth $79,519, Win Missy B (H-Conway Hall) looks to bowl over this group in her debut at three. However, more interesting to us is the return of Miss Paris (H-Kadabra), who we successfully tabbed at two.

Miss Paris looks ready to show her age, so to speak, and her maturity after a strong qualifier at the Meadowlands. She is blue-blooded material and should be a major player this season. Why she is 7-1 on the morning line is a mystery but a joy if it comes true.

The second split, worth $81,020, suggests a three-way favorite pool featuring Idonette (H-Donato Hanover), Lovely Vacation and Frisky Strike (H-Striking Sahbra). However, if Idonette is offered as the third choice of this trio, value is blossoming.

We gave you her when she won at the Meadows and there is no reason she will let up from that kind of performance here. She is quite a classy character and her Meadows win was quite impressive, no less compared to the efforts of this group thus far.

At Vernon, the EBC elims are only worth $12,500 each but they are worth the effort to get into the lucrative finals the following week.

In the first colt division, No Frosting (H-Credit Winner) will settle for second or third choice to Flyhawk Jester (H-RC Royalty) and that would make him the bet. Don’t worry about his speed offerings, they are moot at this point; he deserves the respect to improve and we would like to cash in on that before the public joins the club. (Getting George Brennan in the bike is a strong plus, though it may affect the odds.)

The second split is one tough affair. Delano (H-Credit Winner) is the default favorite but by no means a trot-away winner here. Coraggioso (H-Conway Hall) may not get the respect he deserves and topple the field. He has to contend with more than Delano, however, with Southwind Austin (H-Conway Hall), Archangel (H-Credit Winner) and Royal Shyster (H-RC Royalty) impossible to dismiss. 

In the filly elims, Anandamile (H-Credit Winner) scored with power in her state-bred outing at Saratoga and needs a lot of attention here, certainly at her morning-line offering.

The second elim for the gals may also produce a bargain bet in Cowgirl Hall (H-Cash Hall). She is on a specific roll and can make this a romp.

Saturday’s NJSS finals at the Meadowlands are each worth $150,000. The colt’s division is an early test of much talent, with a field of 10 strong cases.

Barring any breaks, this mile could require a bit of shuffling, as a premium may be placed on the speed factor. Which of these guys does not want the lead as a tool to win? Value-wise, it seems obvious that Gym Tan Laundry (H-Yankee Glide) strikes a betting position, which is good (10-1 morning line), especially since he could be the one to take advantage of shuffling and speed duels, should they ensue. That is the best scenario for taking on this group in a mile that could spark some jumping and traffic. 

The fillies don’t look as competitive as the colts and a score of miscues make it difficult to trust many of them. Still, all things being equal, Vanity Treasure (H-Muscles Yankee) and Sassy Syrinx (H-Yankee Glide) stand out for us.  

The former won last week by only a neck but that doesn’t mean she got lucky. When flat, Vanity Treasure has more talent than luck and is a contender under most circumstances. As for the latter, the lightly raced Sassy Syrinx has proven that she is serious about this season and can put on the gas with square-legged swiftness.  

Get to TwinSpires for wagering all of the great races leading to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” and read all the result stories at Hambletonian Society’s exclusive “trail” section.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hopefuls fill fields in Pennsylvania Sires Stakes

H = Hambletonian eligible.  

Fillies and colts vying to make it to the summer classics fill most of the fields in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) on Wednesday, May 30 and Thursday, May 31.  

On Wednesday colts battle in the $274,510 PASS at the Meadows. The fillies get their time to shine on Thursday in the $309,312 state-bred affairs at Harrah’s Philadelphia.  

The first division of the colt trots consists of a field of six. They are Solvato (H-Donato Hanover), Beer Summit (H-Cantab Hall), Go Tapaigh (H-Andover Hall), My Mvp (H-Cantab Hall), Not Afraid (H-SJ’s Caviar) and Dandover (H-Andover Hall).  

Solvato is the likely favorite. He has already won a PASS and has done so going a first-over mile. One who may get bet some but is a competitive contender is Not Afraid. The Dexter Cup champion seemed to stroll in his first sires stake versus Solvato but will likely not let him get by as easily as he did at Harrah’s Philadelphia.  

In the second division Magic Tonight (H-Andover Hall) will take a lot of money from bettors. Also eligible are Money On My Mind (H-Cantab Hall), Nothing But Class (H-Andover Hall) and Frost Bites K (H-Broadway Hall).  

However, On The Podium might get the best of this bunch, especially if he doesn’t go first over. He went that route last time in this company and it ruined his chances to win. He draws the rail here and should be up close and strike at a price at the end.  

The final division features the return of Breeders Crown champion Uncle Peter (H-Cantab Hall), who was supposed to make his debut last week but scratched. He is the likely favorite, of course. Other eligibles in this division are Top Billing (H-Andover Hall) and Stormin Normand (H-Broadway Hall).  

Outsider Mr Ridgetaker could provide a big upset. He is coming off a romp in non-winners of five at the Meadows in his recent race. He is also the winner of the William Wellwood consolation. If he can get a trip and if Uncle Peter isn’t trotting on all cylinders this first time out at three, he’ll be charging late.  

Stormin Normand also looks good enough to be in the picture. He has won six of seven starts and knows the Meadows’ surface very well;  he is the winner of the PASS championship at two; defeating the likes of Pekoe Fashion (the Matron winner). He may be the other horse that can beat Uncle Peter here as he figures to improve and be a divisional threat later in his soph career.  

Thursday features the $309,312 PASS for the fillies at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Four splits feature big money for state-breds regardless of their plans for August. 

After Cocktail Attire lost as our choice two races back, she stepped down into a conditioned event at won at 8-1. She is clearly sires-stakes material and shows up here against Southwind Moni (H-Andover Hall), Bluff (H-Donato Hanover), Superstar Hanover (H-Cantab Hall) and the filly that beat her in her last PASS episode, Maven (Glidemaster). That was a strong victory for Maven and it is complemented by receiving an 8-5 morning line.  

But she has to contend with Superstar Hanover on the outside, as well as the unpredictable behavior of Southwind Moni as she debuts at three. This commingling of speed and uncertainty may give Cocktail Attire a good shot at some glory. 

In the second split it appears that She Wears It Well (H-Andover Hall) may not get the respect she deserves. From the morning line of 10-1 to having two excuses for not performing better in her debuts for the season we may be handed a big overlay, especially for a contender in a six-horse field. 

On The Bright Side (H-Cantab Hall) should weigh in a giant betting choice, leaving some room for an upset. Also involved here are Playwear Hanover (H-Andover Hall), Oasis Dream (H-Cantab Hall), Holier Than Thou and Miss Chip K. 

The third mile is the second attempt for Check Me Out (H-Donato Hall), who was upset in her first race at three. This is another humungous betting favorite and a huge prospect for the “Oaks” as well as a rumored foe against the boys in the main August affair. But she had better start defeating her own division fields soon to keep the colts in her sights. 

Sand Violent Blu (H-Tom Ridge) is itching to beat Check Me Out and stand as a major 2012 contender, so expect her to be trying in this event. What that could mean is trouble for both and a chance to wager on another upset.  

Take decent aim on Uncommon Night (H-Donato Hanover), who returns for a soph campaign and has chased Check Me Out with some degree of success at two. She has the class to debut big and she has the right to mature after ending the season with two tough race losses that are not embarrassing.

Also on the docket are Temple Blue Chip (H-Cantab Hall), Blue Yonder (H-Tagliabue), Komma Ka Z and Funny Fashion.

The nightcap may offer a mild upset with Real Babe (H-Donato Hanover). Her second outing this season provided a strong finish, while her first race is a 10-hole toss out. This is the team Schnittker filly in the group below the likes of Check Me Out and that may be unfair right now, since she can get better and who knows, maybe be better than the barn star at three.

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