Pacing stalwarts start stakes seasonWith the Meadowlands up and running, mid-January takes on a familiar tone, with the older pacing males’ battles starting the 2011 stakes season in the first Presidential leg on Saturday, Jan. 15. Two $50,000 divisions will be featured. Also that night, two $20,000 legs of the Complex Pacing Series, for five-and-under horses, are the co-features.
Friday, the Clyde Hirt Series launches for the second-level older pacers (four and under with conditions), with three legs (see picks below). At Woodbine on Friday the feature is the $60,000 Snowshoe Final.
Our interest in the both Presidential miles leans to the members of the Mark Ford barn. In Race 5, Ford sends out River Shark for the second time this season. The tough, fast pacer that has proven himself against the older ranks at the Meadowlands in 2010, gets post 2 and driver Daniel Dube. His first outing resulted finishing third. He needed that race and can begin to show his stuff as he did early on last year against this group.
Bettor Sweet and Schoolkids should suck in all the major money, leaving “Shark” with a decent overlay status.
In the 10th race’s Presidential division, Ford and Dube team up again with a good player from last season, Handsome Harry. This guy was competitive with the best of the division and did well early on the mile. He may strike early in this, his first 2011 race, and surprise the public.
Vlos, who was big last week and has won two right off the top of the season, will get most of the win wagering. This could be a fine upset from a fresh horse, completing a Presidential sweep on the evening for Mr. Ford.
The Complex’s first division, Race 2, could be the place for McClelland’s second-straight win at the Meadowlands. Though he may be the public choice it is hard to look beyond him at this level.
In Race 3, the Complex division could go to Ron Burke’s Windsong Gorgeous. He was second in his first outing this season and looks primed to be big in this series.
The Cal Expo no-takeout late Pick 4 is available again this Saturday night. We offer one horse that should be a must-use in the first leg, Race 11. That horse is Awesome Deal N.
We added him into the mix last week and he was gung-ho from the 8 hole early, leading a good part of the way. His odds were huge compared to the week before, when he was the favorite in a similar group.
He could be the key to bagging a big Pick 4 if the crowd stays off of him again. Be brave with this wager, single him, and don’t forget to play him to win if you like the odds after you have bought your Pick 4 ticket.
Woodbine’s Snowshoe Final may be a good bet for those ready to defy last week’s elimination winners. Should the public go for the two winners, value could arise for Premier Intel, who was second in one of those splits. “Intel” lost only by a head going a tougher trip than winner Hamlin Hanover. Intel is clearly a better horse and could prove it as the big money flows in the final.
Also, with Web Cam, an elim choice that was a dull third, getting the 9 hole in the final, we may expect a better chance despite the post. In the 9 hole “Web” should be forced to change a front-pacing style that did not work, as well as his odds could balloon due to the post position. Intel and Web should combine into a worthwhile exactor both ways, though Intel is the better key.
1-Mai Tai Guy