Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hambletonian Oaks sans elims, prep mile to final

The Hambletonian Oaks field is set and on July 26 at the Meadowlands a special prep event will be the last we will see of the field until Aug. 2 when the final is part of the stake-filled day’s program. As well, two colt divisions of the Arden Downs at the Meadows on July 26 have to be the deciding events for six eligibles’ connections whether or not to drop into the box for the main event.

The fillies go to the gate in the $35,000 prep and their prowess will be measured against the division’s best, Shake It Cerry. The grand filly is the Jimmy Takter heroine that may earn him both Hambo crowns. Though he also sends Lifetime Pursuit off in this affair, “Cerry” is the focus.

After her remarkable win at 7-2 last week when most bettors (not on our suggestion) let her go for the sake of Designed To Be (leaving from post 1 just in front of Cerry in this prep), it appears most people are convinced—as we continually remarked through the season thus far—that Cerry is the best.

We may be reiterating much of this prep analysis next week when it is time for the final but there is no way to wager against Cerry, who becomes a magnificent key for exotics only if we look deep into second-and-third candidates that will boost the price (hopefully a ton of bettors are not wheeling her).

Last week we liked Cooler Schooner to play the co-starring role but she broke early in the “Miller” and was eliminated. However, she went off at 13-1 and may go off longer in the prep. The other candidate is Cee Bee Yes. She has been highly under-rated while being competitive with the top tier of the division, so she should offer odds strong enough to help the exacta cause (she was 17-1 in the Miller, where she made two moves.

At the Meadows that afternoon, the first Arden Downs for the soph colts, worth $32,455, the eligible Sarcastic Man (one of three eligibles) leaves from the inside and is bound to offer a generous win price, much more than he should offer. On the outside, local hero Dave Palone will drive Stakes N Plates (eligible) and the crowd will swarm to support him. Sarcastic Man can be forgiven for his Reynolds loss (no colt was going to out-trot Nuncio) and his break in the PA All Stars, as well as his sires stakes loss in June at Pocono. He is a contender and the odds predicted make him the bet.

In round two, worth $32,855, Il Sogno Dream heads a trio of hopefuls, including Mister Bs Way and Amped Up Hanover. We were all over “Sogno” from his early soph campaign, capturing much of his six wins and four places for profit, including his second (19-1) to Trixton in the Goodtimes Final. He won’t offer much as a winner but as a key we still like him and we still think it possible he will go on Aug. 2. With him, take both of the other hopefuls, even though Mister Bs Way’s odds may suffer for having Palone along for the ride (still, he is 12-1 on the morning line). Amped Up Hanover has not logged into the win column much but is a tad better than the rest.

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.

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