Wednesday, May 28, 2014

August-aimed colts and fillies line up in state-bred battles

The miles extend this weekend for Hambo and “Oaks” hopefuls, as lucrative state-bred action continues in the East, with plenty of betting opportunities going along for the rides.

On Friday, May 30, Vernon Downs hosts elims for next week’s Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) events. The elims are only $12,500 each but the rewards for being in the finals’ fields offers far more. Here are comments, featuring our suggested contenders, for both sexes’ divisions.

EBC colts, div. 1
Three of the six in the field are hopefuls. Lukas Hall, from the rail, should be the favorite and the winner. Rockie De Vie debuts at three and may need this race, while the third hopeful, Karets, needs to show more to be competitive.

EBC colts, div. 2
Mister B’s Way and Expressive Action lead the hopeful parade of six but Wild And Crazy Guy may be as good as them right now, though he has not a prayer for the classic.

EBC fillies, div. 1
Slice Slice Baby is the only eligible and yet we support Annies List, who sits on a win.

EBC fillies, div. 2
Beauty Of Gray, an eligible, debuts but the other eligible, Glowngold, comes off a fine win and should kick another one into gear.

That Friday at the Meadows, Pennsylvania Sires Stakes splits offer their usual wad of dough ($70,000-plus per event) and the first appears to be another walk in the park—this time the park near Pittsburgh—for Father Patrick. It has already become impossible to bet against him. He is the perfect key for exotics if you can hitch him up with an inflated projection on the toteboard. Last season we were successful doing this with Nuncio, who is now Father Patrick’s roommate. With four other eligibles available for second, third and fourth place in the wagering, you may want to use Jett Star, who has nothing to gain but a great payday for being second and who has a ton of experience already in this theater.

Speaking of Nuncio, he is bound to be the favorite in the second round, as three other hopefuls go after him in a field of eight. One of our big winners from last week, Auspicious Hanover, will go after him and perhaps show the kind of challenge that proves Nuncio may be a second-tier competitor. Also dangerous at the probable price is Il Sogno Dream, who has won one of only two soph races and is dangerous even from the 8 hole.

The trio’s conclusion comes in a field of eight with a quintet of August wishers. The strangely named Datsyuk may be the choice here, though Sarcastic Man, a Dexter Cup elim winner, is the top earner (he has raced 15 times already). For a price, you may put stock in the rail horse, Uva Hanover, raring to debut off of a sharp qualifier that was near as fast as the marks of any in this field. Trainer Linda Toscano sends this boy out to win.

May 31 at the Meadowlands finds the colt and filly state-breds going for their throats in respective New Jersey Sires Stakes finals, worth $100,000 each.

The unmitigated force of the glamour-boy trotter battalion in the Jimmy Takter barn this season so far is frightening. In the colt final here we find Trixton, who has dominated the Jersey boys so easily he seems to whistle past their graveyard attempts. This is a powerful field and handicappers will still have a hard time finding reason for Trixton to fail, which only makes his strength appear greater. Team Takter may find its worse enemies this season come from the brotherhood of trotters aiming at August.

So, here is a field of 10 with many cases for defeating Trixton but all we can see is this guy soaring down the stretch ahead of nine other fine trotters. If that is the scenario, then he is a true key for exotics and not a win bet. Look for strong offerings in the win pool for exotic companions, like Lightning Force, from post 10 and Resolve.

Eight fillies line up for their final. We may hope that the crowd is impressed with My Inspiration and Cee Bee Yes, even though the latter leaves from post 10, but we like coming right back to Heaven’s Door. It will be the third time we support her and it could be the charm considering we were correct about her prowess last time, though she was disqualified after finishing second as the favorite. She should not hold the top spot with bettors in this field where Moonlight In Miami will also pick up some money to balance the others mentioned on the toteboard.

Keep watching the Hambletonian Trail 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.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Holiday filled with contests for hopefuls

New Jersey, New York, Ontario and Pennsylvania tracks host the girls and boys of August this Memorial Day weekend.

Friday, May 23, colts and fillies are battling again at the Meadowlands in New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS).

A single, $27,500 NJSS for the colts looks to be a value pack with three strong contenders, all hopefuls.

Sumatra broke on the charges last time but the Dexter Cup winner has a serious stride that may not wander in this effort.

Lightning Force, our choice last out who was second to Trixton, is showing strong fettle in chase to the best of the moment.

As well, beaten choice Martiniwithmuscle is stepping well and raring to battle for a berth in the August classic.

This triptych may result in a healthy trifecta and certainly Sumatra could be an overlay key if the wagering goes as it did last time.

Two $40,000 NJSS filly divisions take their spots in the Saturday program at the Meadowlands as well.

Cee Bee Yes, the Lady Suffolk winner, takes to the mile and will most likely be the public choice. Look out, however, for Ake Svanstedt’s Heaven’s Door because Ake has strong stable content with definite intent to make big impressions other than his speedy older trotter, Sebastian K. From the outside, Mistresswithmuscle meets Cee Bee Yes again, after finishing a distant third to her mostly due to a gate break from which she recovered.

Extreme value may be waiting for bettors in round two with Resolve. She came into her soph campaign a winner after finishing her frosh season in good stride at Vernon, doing well in a Simpson against tough ones.

Also on Friday, a pair of New York Sires Stakes for colts at Tioga includes only four eligibles, a pair in each of the $62,400 splits.

In the first split, Flyhawk El Dorado returns after a fine effort in a “Simpson” at the Meadowlands, finishing third to Trixton.

In split two, the two Hambo possibilities, Expressing Action and Karets, should be the exacta stronghold elements. Either way in a wager will suffice, especially if the crowd is more supportive of entries with no path to August.

On Saturday night at Mohawk, twenty-seven sophomore fillies will contest in three eliminations for the S.B.O.A Stakes. Of the twenty-seven, seven have their sights on the Oaks on the first Saturday in August.

Elimination one highlights hopefuls Wings Of Ballykeel, Muscle Babe and Sweetie Hearts. In this wide-open betting affair, we’ll take a shot with Tosca from the center of the gate. She raced incredibly well in the Celias Counsel at Mohawk in early May, finishing third with a first-over trip in the final. She’ll be a threat to the trio of Oaks hopefuls if she minds her gait.

Famed sire Kadabra, producing the 2013 Hambletonian Oaks champion Bee A Magician, sired one hopeful in the second elimination, Miss Liv. She has shown breaks in her last two pari-mutual starts, with her last including an addition of hopples. Two major threats stand in her journey to the winners’ circle: Danica and the likely favorite Magic Feeling. Magic Feeling comes into this elimination off of a series sweep in the Celias Counsel. Danica, starting from the rail, has been performing against low-leveled non-winners of two at Woodbine. She could improve tremendously to get a victory tonight, and perhaps at a price.

The last of the eliminations attracts three Oak eligibles: Herecomesthebride, I Jasmin and Margie. Margie is the most interesting of the three, shipping to the Great White North off of a romp against maidens at Vernon Downs. Her trainer is George Ducharme, of Royalty For Life fame. It appears he also dreams of possessing the filly-rendition of the classic his colt obtained effortlessly last season. Her main threat is Riveting Rosie, a hometown favorite at the Campbellville oval. The Peaceful Way and Ontario Sires Stakes champion makes her second sophomore start, after breaking in her debut. Margie, if not the favorite, might be worth $2 come post time. 

Sunday at Pocono, two divisions of the $66,424 Coaching Club Oaks highlight their card. In the first division, Lifetime Pursuit highlights the three eligibles in the quintet (the other two being Broadway Socks and Cannonball). Her debut wasn’t sublime due to her lack of stamina turning into the stretch, losing the lead and finishing fifth. She could certainly rebound off that dismal performance. However, Highest Peak is another filly improving into this event. She competed against Shake It Cerry in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) last week, challenging her in a first-over move by three-quarters. She couldn’t sustain her challenge and finished 7 lengths off the Dan Patch winning filly. With the right trip, this filly could be a nice price to open up the two divisions.

The second division features four eligibles, highlighted by Shake It Cerry. Contesting her will be Tweet Me, Cooler Schooner and Struck By Lindy. In this quintet, Shake It Cerry once again reigns supreme. The other fillies in this event should examine her talent, so that they can adjust to the action of giving chase to this improving filly. Shake It Cerry is quite a gal to watch, (more so than she is for a wager since she is always heavily bet to win) and if one wishes to be bold, one may predict she doesn’t lose a race at three. She seems tons better than Bee A Magician and may prove it by actually always beating strong contenders at three. 

Keep watching the Hambletonian Trail 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. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Father Patrick returns

On Wednesday, May 21 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, two Historic Dickerson divisions are on the card. The traditional Grand Circuit stake this year is highlighted by the return of last year's super frosh colt trotter, Father Patrick.

He is the only eligible in the second "Dickerson" split, worth $37,262 and it seems the perfect vehicle for a payday while prepping for what is predicted as a huge season. Father Patrick is the obvious early choice to win the Hambletonian, which would be another Jimmy Takter trot success in a line of U.S. victories.

Father Patrick rules over the Dickerson field in more ways than President Putin can cover Ukraine borders with soldiers. Coming back at three with 50-percent of his talent makes the Dickerson a qualifier that will pay in dollars, so to speak, as he swallows a small field of sophs that we may never hear about again in the context of a contest including Father Patrick.

In round one of the Dickerson, worth $36,512, Auspicious Hanover is the sole eligible in the small field and should take over as he aims for dollars and momentum to get to the August classic.

Keep watching the Hambletonian Trail 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. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Colt events top bill

Thursday, May 15 and Friday, May 16 finds fields of colt eligibles in splits of the the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) at Harrah’s Philadelphia and the season’s start of New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) at the Meadowlands. At the Meadows on May 17, top-rated filly Shake It Cerry returns.

On May 15, in the first of three PASS splits, a trio of eligible colts gets in line against three with no “Trail” hopes. Returning for the fourth start of his soph campaign is Journey, the colt we feel may offer an edge in price with an improved performance. Journey has already won two of three, a better showing than his frosh season, and he enters the stakes ring with much potential. A good showing is expected as trainer Don Montagne aims this Donato Hanover product at glory in August.

The other two eligible colts, Outbust and Exodus Hanover, make their sophomore debuts, the latter a PASS winner on this surface at two as a huge choice.

Split two, worth $75,300, presents a quintet of colts with August dreams. One of our early successful discoveries from last season, Nuncio, is now in the Jimmy Takter barn at three and gets the buzz. He appears to be up against a very soft group but that doesn’t take into account possible improvements that one can only read between the lines.

We make Raise The Curtain, an eligible, a contender that may go under the radar. He raced well against Father Patrick, if we are to measure colts against Father Patrick at three, and he won his ’14 debut and was second next, both times at Woodbine.

As well, eligible Fashion Tagman has suffered some tough trips at Woodbine and will be overlooked here, possibly mores than “Curtain.” These two loom dangerous to Nuncio in this mile, if not through the season.

The third PASS division, also worth $75,300, presents one of our choices for a top earner this season, Don Dorado. He appears to have matured and to be ready to continue his late-season frosh rise to stardom. Something about his gait and general presence is strongly the same as his Hambo-winning sire and if that is an omen then Father Patrick may be in for some stiff competition heading for August. As for price, he may be worth a short price, especially if he blows the field away and a chance at the price he offers in this race begins to look humongous in the weeks to come. 

The Meadowlands brings colts together in two NJSS events. The fillies have a pair but only one is a betting race.

The first colt split is worth $21,500. It’s a contest that includes the earliest rivalry in the division with Dexter Cup-winner Sumata facing Trixton, who won over this surface impressively last week and is another in the Takter team on the Hambletonian Trail.
Add to the duo the seeming ascension of Odds On Amethyst (one of six colts by Muscle Hill, so any “sire factor” for handicapping purposes is moot), a threatening King City (though still a maiden) and a contentious Lightning Force and you have a perplexed evaluation chore. Where you would receive the best value wager is near impossible to predict but we will take the chance with Lightning Force, based on the gelding’s late-season form at two which could continue to improve.

The second $21,500 NJSS for colts offers Well Built a chance to stay on gait and begin a profitable soph season. Two of his four soph efforts found him in a gallop. His trainer, Chris Ryder, says that is a setback, having full confidence in the colt’s prowess. Well Built is coupled with another Ryder student, Southwind Poseidon, who did not race at two and is very green; both are eligible to the classic.

Muscle Network will get play as he debuts at three but he is not eligible and is coming off a qualifier where he won but broke badly. Looking to be in fine fettle and strong of gait is Martiniwithmuscle, who becomes our choice. He was lightly raced at two but graduated with his first win and has taken two straight at three.

The betting NJSS for fillies is a seven-horse field with only one non-eligible, the Chocolatier gal, Coin Collector. That one is one for two so far in a field of first-time sophs and gets our call. We have supported fillies by this terrific sire before due to a great percentage for winners and expect a great price for what should be a strong contender in the bunch.

The Meadows hosts a pair of $99,000 PASS miles on May 17. Division two will probably belong to champion filly Shake It Cerry. Post 7 in a field of seven should be no problem if she is raring to start her soph season anywhere near as sharp as she performed at two. 

In the first split we once again support Raging Sea, who failed at 3-1 last week, finishing sixth. She should improve here enough to win, perhaps at a better price?

Keep watching the Hambletonian Trail 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. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Philly for fillies and Jersey for boys

Thursday, May 8, “Oaks”-eligibles take a shot at big purses in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) for sophomore filly trotters at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Then, on Friday, May 9, the John Simpson Memorial for soph-colt trotters is a betting affair at the Meadowlands (a “Simpson” filly mile with a field of three is a non-betting feature.

The first of three splits ($74,132) presents only three eligible fillies, Silent Opera K, Designed To Be and Vanity Matters from a field of seven. “Silent” is coming off of two good late-closers at the Meadows, while the other two have not raced since the 2013 Breeders Crown, in which they both broke in eliminations. Those two are the probable favorites and we like “Vanity” best, hoping for a second-choice price.

The next PASS split ($73,732) has only two eligibles, Donatella Hanover (the probable favorite) and Raging Sea, in a field of six. Raging Sea is lightly raced and deserves support. She may not get a lot of action, making her more appetizing. If she is much better an shows it, you will be getting a price on her that will be difficult to come by again soon.

Finally, another $74,132 division has only one ineligible in seven on the gate. Expect Take The Money to take the bulk of the bets, as she is on a winning skein at three. But Noon Tea Party and Bikini So Teeny should have a say in this, with “Noon” the fresh face as a soph and a record that puts her second a few times to top-rated Shake It Cerry. The three mentioned could, in fact, be the stars of the trifecta in any particular order.

May 9 at The Meadowlands brings out the colts in a $51,543 Simpson stake. Eleven battle on the two-turn mile with seven eligibles for the Hambletonian.

We like the chances for Deweykeepumnwhy to win and hope that Well Built, who broke in the Dexter Cup prep as the big favorite, once again woos the crowd. “Dewey” debuts at three in this event. He appears to have the speed of his Hambo-winning sire and a tactical ability as well, having come from behind strongly at two from outside posts. He has qualified well and is in the perfect spot to command this group. Flyhawk El Durado, also an eligible, will negotiate the distance from post 9 but has the class to make noise late. And Trixton, another from the soph crop of Muscle Hill, has every right to improve and may be around for a piece of the trifecta late.

Keep watching the Hambletonian Trail 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.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dexter Cup starts the sulkies rolling for August

The Hambletonian Trail is now opened for business and it is filled with road bumps and rabbit holes and a herd of horses, colts and fillies, hungering for crowns in the August classic. 

As we have for some years now, in cooperation with TwinSpires and the Hambletonian Society, we bring you top betting analysis for the eligible colts and fillies of the Hambletonian and the Hambletonian Oaks. Each race along the "Trail" involving the possible contenders will be handicapped and offer contenders from our wagering experiences over the past few decades.

May is here and thus, we begin with the colts.

Saturday, May 3 brings on the boys and a single mile into the $115,370 Dexter Cup. 

The event this year presents eight soph colts, with five raring to start on the Trail. Certainly there will be a strong focus on the first soph product of Hambo-champ Muscle Hill—King City (also-eligible Well Built did not make the final). 

King City has only been out twice, with one second, but the Jonas Czernyson trainee is obviously aimed at making a lot of noise down the Trail. Well Built may be out of this one but the Chris Ryder barn looks to build a strong contender in him for the classic in future events.

Tom Fanning’s Sumatra is one of two Muscles Yankee kids—Dave Briggs the other—that is just getting started at three. “Briggs” has already won two and hails from the productive Jimmy Takter barn. Sarcastic Man, by Tom Ridge, has to deal with post 8 at Freehold for trainer Gail Wrubel. He won the prep elim last week at 12-1 from post 7 with 13-1 King City on his tail, getting second. Well Built was the favorite but he broke at the gate and was eliminated. Sumatra, the crowd’s second choice, was third. Well Built’s bust knocked out “Briggs,” “Wish” and non-eligible“Derby.”

Schnittker’s Sheer Action, from post 5 in the final and a non-eligible, had the toughest trip of the prep, being forced outside while avoiding runners and reaching the top by a nose at three-quarters. He travels uncoupled from a 9-1 three-prong entry last week and will be much higher than that in what could be a terrific upset. 

We have to go with Sheer Action, though he won't be a participant in the August classic. He may have the goods on this group on this day and will be a price worth backing.