Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Soph contenders abound

The Hudson Filly Trot, Grand Circuit Reynolds stakes and a slew of Pennsylvania All Stars (PAAS) events adorn the first weekend in July at three tracks with different sizes hosting hopefuls for August classics.

Yonkers hosts the $155,624 Hudson Filly Trot for the soph gals on July 6, with eight behind the gate, half of them eligibles.

Lady Broadway has been going great guns but is ineligible to the big dance and will have do deal with the freshness of one eligible as her main threat. The Kadabra soph, Cha Cha Magic, makes only her fourth start and has one second and a sharp aim at August. Trainer Staffan Lind’s ticket to the “Oaks” gets the best post and should offer a big price. She is one of the progeny of Kadabra, who has sent out female champs like this year’s Bee A Magician.

PAAS colt trotters start off another big Saturday program at Pocono Downs, July 6. The purses for these events are $30,000 each. Race one looks like a battle between Brew Master and Maxamillus, with only the former an eligible. Brew Master is in top form now and is at the level of this group, though his recent win was among cheaper types.

Round two of five for the colts has seven eligibles in eight, with another shot for Aperfectyankee. Staying flat is all he needs, as he seems to tower over the others and with morning-line choice Tigress’s Legacy on the outside, Aperfectyankee could put in his best soph performance yet.

In the third PAAS split we have two possibilities, the obvious and the wild card. The former is Bluto, who has raced with better and should be a dead-on favorite. But the non-eligible Classicality could fool some folks, having won at a fair in slow time on a good track last out. We find it a positive that driver Dave Palone becomes the guide for Walter Dunn’s local trotter who Brian Zendt has been handling well among state-breds. If he upset this group it would be no surprise to us but may be a surprise to bettors.

The penultimate colt PAAS presents only one eligible, our choice, High Bridge. Coming from a second in the “Beal” he should be ready to take on this field, a group that has not seen the likes of the first tier in the division.

Finally, All Laid Out is here after winning the Beal consolation. With Palone up the odds will dip but we will go with Boffin, also an eligible, who will offer odds higher than his chances. He was third to All Laid Out last week and has put in some good races with excuses.

On July 5 the Grand Circuit’s W.R. Reynolds stakes for filly and colt trotters are part of the weekend Meadowlands stakes menu.

In the first filly contest, we like Ma Cherie Hall, who returned as a soph in top form. This classy lass may not be overlooked but she is too hot to dismiss. In round two for the gals, we like the outsider Raring To Go S, an eligible with two wins in three starts that can make trouble for the two big favorites, Mistery Woman and To Dream On.

More than $50,000 is on the line in the only Reynolds colt split, featuring five eligibles. We like Banco Solo again. His Pocono races were good with larger fields. This small and lightweight group may be easier to command, especially with two turns.

The Hambletonian Society has owned and serviced the Hambletonian since its inception in 1926 and presents the 88th edition at the Meadowlands, where it has been staged since 1981, There are no supplemental entries permitted in the Hambletonian and Oaks, nor are participants allowed to race on Lasix or Butazolidin. Along with the four juvenile Breeders Cup races for thoroughbreds, they are the only events in North American horse racing that prohibit the use of any race-day medication.

Keep watching this blog for updates and races involving eligibles through July and for live coverage from TwinSpires on Hambletonian day. Read race results at the special section archived at the Hambletonian Society web site.

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