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.