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.

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