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.

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, May 23, 2012

Jersey trotters continue sires-stakes grapples

(H) =Hambletonian Eligible.  

May 24, 2012 

Three-year-old colt-and-filly trotters return for the second leg of the New Jersey Sires Stakes on May 25 at the Meadowlands. Hambo hopefuls stuff the fields.  

There are a total of nine eligibles in the $38,500 colt division and there are 10 “Oaks”-hopefuls in the $39,500 divisions.  

The first division hosts Vic Smith (H-Yankee Glide) as the likely favorite. Also in here are Little Brown Fox (H- Muscles Yankee), New York Muscle (H-Muscles Yankee) and Gym Tan Laundry (H-Yankee Glide) along with Kingapore and Kodak Lindy. 

Little Brown Fox cannot to be ignored. He went up against the toughest division of the night in leg one, finishing third to the dueling Market Share (H-Revenue S) and Big Chocolate (H-Chocolatier). If Little Brown Fox can be gifted or manufacture a perfect trip, he may upset.  

New York Muscle is improving. At two, he suffered many miscues and took a few early into his three-year-old campaign. In his most recent race, though, he stayed flat and closed well to finish third. This guy will be great to use in the exotics.  

Big Chocolate highlights the second division. He closed in time to beat Market Share but that one may get the best of him this week. He had to come from post 8 and trotted a very game and steadily gaited mile. He gets post relief this week and may get the best of Big Chocolate.  

Also in this division are Valley Ivan (H-Chocolatier), Muscolo (H-Muscles Yankee) and Highland Yankee (H-Muscles Yankee), along with Yankee Royalty and Volare De Vie.  

The first division for fillies is likely to be dominated by Shanty Irish. Personal Style (H-Yankee Glide), Chilitodayhotamale (H-Muscles Yankee) and Aunt Mel (H-Yankee Glide) also go, with Classic Filly, Riverfest and Loose Deuce.  

If you want to take a shot against Shanty Irish, Loose Deuce is a good choice. She can launch for the lead from any post and go readily until the finish. Perhaps she will take field wire-to-wire here.  

The second division is evenly competitive. The only problem is many of these fillies have problems staying flat.  

Talbotcreek Jewely (H-Muscles Yankee) is the likely favorite. Sassy Syrinx (H-Yankee Glide) proved last week that she is fully capable of beating her. She made a tough first-over move going after Shanty Irish last week, racing far better than her odds. She wound up a very game second. If she gets a better trip or if she simply gets better, she will stroll away from the field. 

Also in the mix are Blue Muscles (H-Muscles Yankee), Flower Bouquet (H-Muscles Yankee), Vanity Treasure (H-Muscles Yankee), D’orsay (H-Yankee Glide) and Chocolatta De Vie (H-Chocolatier), along with Mrs D. 

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, May 16, 2012

More sires stakes colts and fillies rumble in early campaigns

(H= Hambletonian eligible)  

At the Meadowlands this Friday, May 18, soph-colt-and-filly trotters bred in New Jersey start down the Hambletonian Trail at the very place they hope it will end. The ever-changing Meadowlands holds New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) miles that feature a slew of trotters with August intentions.  

The first NJSS of the evening features seven colts. One of them is the highly regarded Gym Tan Laundry, coming sharp off of his season’s debut in a John Simpson Memorial Stake. He took third and looks to be the top dog in this field with a morning line of 3-2.

Vic Smith is the other recognizable name. At two he piled up the cash until he slowed as the season ended.

But promise appears evident in Trond Smedshammer’s Trojan Horse (H-Muscles Yankee). This gelding took an easy 1:57.3 tour of the Meadowlands two weeks back and may have matured considerably since breaking his maiden (his only win) at two. Certainly the public will be backing the previously mentioned pair with clenched fists, so a price should be guaranteed for this upset.

In the second NJSS, eight more sophs battle, with only three aiming at August. One of them, Ghiradelli Lindy (H-Chocolatier) is our choice over the obvious favorite, Guccio (H-Yankee Glide), one of the Jimmy Takter brigade.

Ghiradelli Lindy was all out to leave in his last race but the 4-length brush just after the first panel found him on the outside, second. He gained some ground but tired by the stretch, finishing sixth. The race before that he broke, so we excuse him. Before that he debuted at three on these grounds and stayed alive from post 8 with a three-wide brush, holding second. Here, aside from racing exclusively with his division, he could show the kind of speed that will take the field wire to wire.

Race 3 on the card is one of the two NJSS division for fillies. Hambo-winning-trainer Ron Gurfein campaigns Blue Muscles (H-Muscles Yankee) with his long-time regular driver Mike Lachance. This gal debuted this year with a win at Pompano and came to Pocono with a strong brush that almost won it for her. She looks great at three and looks much the best in this uneven bunch.

All of the colts in the third NJSS division hope to be Hambo bound. Among the eight is another Takter returnee, Little Brown Fox (H-Muscles Yankee). As well, Market Share (H-Revenue S), who ran to lose the Dexter Cup Final, is here to try a fast-leaving speed shot from post 8. And Big Chocolate (H-Chocolatier) comes in from Illinois to challenge all of the speed with his experience winning on the two-turn mile.

Mr Candyman (H-Chocolatier) will be ignored and that could mean a great wager for us. D.R. Ackerman’s gelding has only three starts, never having raced at two, and he busted early last time after a terrific mile on May 4. If he is going to improve off of that he may be very much like his sire, showing a versatile style that the 7 post won’t hamper.

The NJSS nightcap is the other split for the fillies. It is a very contentious field, with eight of nine shooting for the big dance. Again, we are going to take a good look at a Smedshammer entry, Chilitodayhotamale (H-Muscles Yankee). This will be her first 2012 affair. She was lightly raced at two and only finished off the board thrice. She gets a big edge on the inside and for sure she will be a good price there, too. She has classy numbers and is the second highest earner in this group.

At Philadelphia (formerly Chester), a trio of $98,000-plus Pennsylvania Sires Stakes for the trotting colts is presented on May 18.  

In the first division we have to look beyond Not Afraid (H-SJ’s Caviar), who we had for the Dexter Cup, since he will be hammered at the windows, so to speak. Our prospect for improvement here is Mr Chicago (H-Cantab Hall). His Meadowlands win was impressive and only his second at three.  

Split two, again with only six entries, presents only one possibility for a price in Hoorayforvacation and split three (another sextet) should belong to Frost Bites K (Broadway Hall), probably as the second choice to On The Podium.

At Tioga Downs on May 18, three New York Sires Stakes splits feature colt trotters looking for some respect on the “Trail.” The splits are worth $44,266 each.

In the first, Delano (H-Credit Winner) returns for the Ray Schnittker group with Ray at the reins. The top money earner in this field by miles will get plenty of action and may try to take it all the way on top. Only A Penny Earned (H-Conway Hall) could be better if he is well prepared for the new season.

In split two we find Southwind Austin (Conway Hall) back from a qualifier after breaking badly in the Dexter Cup Final. A smooth ride puts him far above these and we may get a decent price considering Archangel (H-Credit Winner) will be sucking in some bucks.

Finally, Royal Shyster (H-Rc Royalty) looks to make his second race of 2012 his first win at three. He needed the last race and comes to Tioga raring to go.

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, May 13, 2012

Meadows features filly divisions

(H= Hambletonian eligible)

At the Meadows this Tuesday, May 15, soph- filly trotters take to the track in a quartet of Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) divisions and among them are 17 aiming at the Hambletonian Oaks.

One in particular, Check Me Out (H-Donato Hanover) may be heading for the main contest against the boys. Trainer Ray Schnittker has not ruled out the chance that this filly, a winner of almost a million at two and 14 of her 16 races, will take on colts in the Hambo.

This division will offer many wagering opportunities as the weeks go on, mostly due to the sires stakes schedules that allow them to compete for major money while trotting their way through the racing months prior to August. We will be covering the state-bred races that include Hambo eligibles in all of the state-and-province programs where they appear. 

The Meadows will host a slew of PASS events for both the divisions, including a six-digit final for each, as the season ensues. While fighting for berths in the two major events in August, all of the horses in these events make the races competitive and rife for wagering.

In the first division, Race 2 at the Meadows on May 15, we like By A Nose Hanover (H-Cantab Hall). Todd Schadel’s local filly is improving at the rate we like to see this time of year and being staked to the main state-bred contest means Schadel has great hope in her. She broke at Pocono last out as a dead-on choice but cannot be disqualified in this group for a miscue like that.  

Certainly, Jimmy Takter’s Superstar Hanover (H-Cantab Hall) will be the choice in this, the colt’s debut at three. This is when we like to beat the returning frosh champs, though, and go for the price.

Also in the race on the trail are Touch Of Class (H-Broadway Hall) and Temple Blue Chip (H-Cantab Hall).

In division 2, Race 4, Sand Violent Blu (H-Tom Ridge) returns to the track at three for trainer Tye Loy. Last year, the state-bred champ won seven of nine with a front-trotting style that was frosh-quick for sure. 

Our eyes are on the value expected from Idonette (H-Donato Hanover). Trainer Henrik Lundell keeps John Campbell aboard this lightly raced filly to face the best of the state and the team seems perfect. Campbell rates well and this gal has a huge brush that can turn into two moves to make her a major “Oaks” contender and threat to the richer among the group.  

Also in the race on the trail are Keystone Tempo (H-Cantab Hall), Read Babe (H-Donato Hanover), Bluff (H-Donato Hanover) and Valdonna (H-Andover Hall). 

In the third division, Race 3, the pools will be packed with the Takter-Dave Palone morning-line choice, On The Bright Side (H-Cantab Hall).  

However, Voluptuous Ronda (H-Broadway Hall) deserves attention, even after a break in her seasonal debut and one in her qualifier at Philadelphia. John Campbell will take the reins for the first time on the Nicholas Surick-trained gal and he has the experience to gather her gait and get out of her what was expected even this early in the season. 

This is a filly that at two won a Matron elim and almost took the final at 166-1. She was scratched sick for her debut at three and then the two breaks make her look like a toss out hereany sane handicapper in the world. Our “insane” notion of trying to pick up a great price based on a proven horse has brought us profit before and we will be glad to ride along with Mr. Campbell on this one as opposed to going with the obvious.

Also in the race on the trail is Blue Yonder (H-Tom Ridge). 

Finally the fourth division, Race 9, marks the return of Check Me Out. (She, by the way, is the filly that Voluptuous Ronda followed to be second in the Matron at 166-1.)  

Perhaps this is a better pass (no pun intended) than a play but the mere presence of Check Me Out raises the odds of the Lady Suffolk winner, Cocktail Attire. She has already won at the Meadows this year, has won four of five this year and has got the momentum that Check Me Out does not have opening her season.  

Also in the race on the trail are Summer Blush (H-Tom Ridge) and Playwear Hanover (H-Andover Hall). 

Two hopefuls take part in the Pennsylvania Stallion Stakes Series the day before the PASS at the Meadows. Sandra Volo (H-Cantab Hall) and Magical Affair (H-Glidemaster) participate in separate $20,000 divisions. 

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, May 9, 2012

‘Simpsons’ host hopefuls

(H= Hambletonian eligible)  

At the Meadowlands this Friday, May 11, soph-colt and soph-filly trotters race in a pair of John Simpson stakes.  

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.  

In the colts’ $54,866 test, trainer Noel Daley presents a trio of prospects, two coupled. Gym Tan Laundry (H-Yankee Glide) and Magic Tonight (H-Andover Hall) race as one entity, while Royal Shyster (H-RC Royalty), goes on his own.  

All three of Noel’s students make their sophomore debuts in this event and all three were top money winners at two.  

Royal Shyster, who raced for Dan Daley last season (his new owners paid $450,000 as an investment in his sophomore prowess), is no stranger to TwinSpires harness readers. The colt was mentioned here early in his career and we supported him a number of times as he trotted his way to becoming a New York Sires Stakes champion. He had some gait problems but may have solved them through maturity and the tactics of last year’s Hambo-winning trainer. (Noel trained Broad Bahn, our big Hambo score of 2011.)  

Gym Tan Laundry also got mentioned a few weeks and came through for us on his way to winning $165,892 as a frosh. Magic Tonight made some noise at two, winning classy divisions of Grand Circuit races to earn $100,050.  

We expect Royal Shyster to be the coolest of the trio, having every right to have matured and be ready out of the gate at first shot. He is, however, the morning-line choice and may be bet heavily in his debut for Noel and two strong qualifiers. 

Pay attention to Googoo Gaagaa, a colt with no Hambo target. He has won seven of eight for trainer Richard Hans and was a Maryland Sires Stakes champion in a race he won by 41 lengths (that number is correct). He ships in from Philadelphia where is won a conditioned race in 1:53.3. He could be a good price and may be better than anyone thought he could be at three. 

The fillies have 11 in their “Simpson” field, with four Hambletonian Oaks hopefuls. This purse is $51,375.  

We like one of the outsiders, Feegee, forgiving her for a bad race on April 13. She should be overlooked by the public, giving us an edge supporting her. She is a maiden, true, but her races at the Meadowlands are strong enough to put her into contention among this group.

Noel Daley’s She Wears It Well (H-Andover Hall) will get action but has not been sharp opening her soph season. Loose Deuce should be the favorite after a decent second in last week’s Dexter Cup but no betting value will surface. The only other outsider to look for improvement is Willing Wind.

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.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dexter Cup sends soph-colts off to powerful, perplexing start

(H) denotes Hambletonian Eligible  

On May 5 at Freehold Raceway, the $138,000 Dexter Cup presents a cast of glamour-boy soph trotters that appears more contentious than recent years.  

Even though Market Share (H-Revenue S) takes his undefeated status into the first fray along the Hambletonian Trail, there is much to be said for the launching of the three-year-old season of Southwind Austin (H-Conway Hall) and Frost Bites K (Broadway Hall) has already started this year with three wins in four starts. Both received byes and did not race in last week’s elim, which was won by Market Share. 

Also a contender is Not Afraid (H-SJ’s Caviar). Although he skipped at the wire and was nosed out of the place by Trouble, a non-eligible also in this field, he has promise in the long-run battle for a berth in the August classic.  

Bettors are stuck with a focus on the toteboard to find some value here and must put a lot of faith in some strong possibilities if they are going to get a price. 

Market Share, no doubt, will try to take the field around the four turns but how easily he does it depends upon what happens in the early stages of the race. We have to assume that the other foes will not be ready to let Market Share have a gift of this mile and may challenge him early. 

Not Afraid, Frost Bites K and Southwind Austin may be the foils and unless Market Share has an alternative style yet to be determined, he could be toast early accepting any major challenge from this trio. 

Putting the quartet in a shuffling duel or two will only help Trouble put on the gas late, as he did in the elim. But I feel we need to go with the best of the rest, if, indeed, Market Share is the best.   

That’s why we are looking at Andy and Julie Miller’s Frost Bites K as the colt that could be the value and the most strategic choice. If he has one big brush he could win this and may do so at bargain odds.  

For exotic value, we will use Not Afraid in the mix with Southwind Austin, using the scenario that Market Share gets burned from pushing the lead.  

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, May 2, 2012

Glamour-girl trotters begin ‘Oaks’ journey

(H) denotes Hambletonian Eligible  

Sixteen sophomore trotting fillies are divided into a pair of divisions for the Lady Suffolk at Freehold Raceway on May 4.  

Each division is worth $80,000. The first split presents four Hambletonian Oaks eligibles, while the second features a trio.  

These events aren’t for the light-hearted handicapper, since few of these gals have much you can go on concerning their sophomore performances. In this early showing of the division, only a pair entered are on the top money-earning list as freshmen. 

Those two are Lima Playmate (H-Credit Winner) and For A Dancer (H-Conway Hall). These two appear in the first division on May 4. 

For A Dancer won eight of 11 at two, earning $262,332 in her first season on the track.  

Lima Playmate was nine wins for 13 starts last year, earning $156,680. 

Also eyeing the “Oaks” in the first-division are Cocolatta De Vie (H-Chocolatier) and Winning Sissy (H-Angus Hall). 

The only winner this season appearing in that field is Proximity Four, with a single victory in four races.  

The Joe Holloway-trained For A Dancer comes off a strong qualifier win (1:57.2) and is highly regarded to graduate to three with prowess.  

We like Chocolatta De Vie for reasons we have explained each season sinceher sire, Chocolatier, presented the track with his first crop. We have touted his progeny, specifically his younger fillies, successfully on these pages. As we did with Kadabra early on in his sire career, we intend to profit on a rarely used handicapping element in standardbred racing—specific-sire promise. So, we continue to endorse Chocolatier gals, frosh or soph, and look for the Brian Roland-trained Chocolatta De Vie to show vast improvement.  

With the aforementioned top two in this division, though they debut for the year, Chocolatta De Vie could offer a good price as an outsider. In a late New Jersey Futurity last season (at Freehold), she was second to undefeated-colt Market Share (H), who will go May 5 in the Dexter Cup. She broke in the Matron. Her only race this year, at the newly named Philadelphia (aka Chester) was a wonderful performance.

In division two, Bridge The Way has every reason to improve and if he does he will bring a price from post 6. She makes her seasonal debut and brings with her a Kindergarten win from late last season at Vernon. Although that is her only win in seven starts, she is far classier than most of these, with two Freehold qualifiers last month that prove she is in good shape for trainer Henrik Lundell.  

It’s a great time to go with possible improvers; the early season holds much promise for players with an ability to catch big prices on horses that may pay little to nothing all season. This is a proven, profitable gait we use along the Hambletonian Trail.  

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.