• Fame, Fortunes Meet Holiday Weekend

    POSTED Jun 29, 2011
    There is a lot more racing on the extended weekend going through July 4, with the traditional official debut of two-year-old stakes. But not all of the racing offers wagering.  

    We will cover the betting agenda, of course, but we will be keeping an eye on the horses racing at Historic Track in Goshen, N.Y., where there is no wagering but the performances of participants could lead to future profits. Also, it is Hall of Fame weekend at the landmark area. If you wish to watch a webcast of the Hall of Fame ceremonies, click here on July 4.   

    Meanwhile, back at the betting ranch, we offer analysis of this weekend’s stakes action with big money on the line for campaigning divisions. And with the Hambletonian a month away, check out our Hambletonian Trail blog and the Hambletonian Society’s exclusive coverage of all the action, before and after, of both divisions.   

    Clash Of The Titans

    The Titan Cup came to the Meadowlands in 1979, where it was presented for a purse of $35,000. The winner was Keystone Pioneer, driven by the late William Haughton. The Titan Cup is now worth over $200,000 to free-for-all trotters. The stakes record is 1:51.2, set by Sand Vic in 2006. This season, we see familiar names from recent years, some have returned from the 2010 edition—Corleone Kosmos, the mare Buck I St Pat, Lucky Jim and Arch Madness.  

    Titan Cup prep-winner Arch Madness was able to rebound after his failed attempt in the $772,485 Elitlopp at Solvalla racecourse. Out of his seven starts this year, he has visited the winner’s circle six times and banked $361,545. “Madness” is undefeated in America this year as well. He has raced in the Titan Cup for the last three consecutive years without winning. The closest he came was in 2008, where he finished second to Corleone Kosmos.  

    “Corleone” will have a new driver again. Corleone was driven to victory by Eric Goodell in 2008 and by John Campbell in 2009 and 2010. DavidMiller picks up the reigns for the 2011 edition, with a good shot as well. Last year, Corleone had issues with breaking stride; this year he has not suffered from the problem and will have a say in the results on July 2 at the Big M. He has competed in the “Titan” for the last five years.  

    The 2009 winner, Lucky Jim (pictured), rebounded this season in a $32,000 Invitational at the Meadowlands with a 1:52.3 mile, defeating Four Starz Speed, who raced in the 2009 Titan. Lucky Jim raced four times this season and won one. In his other three starts, he made bad breaks.  

    The 2011 Titan Cup looks as if Arch Madness will be the heavy favorite. But the horses that are showing the best improvements are Corleone and Neighsay Hanover.  

    Neighsay Hanover stepped up to the free-for-all ranks last year in the Breeders Crown, where he finished third in the Open Trot. He recently raced in the Maxie Lee, where he was off the board. He also raced in the Arthur Cutler and finished third. He is improving against older horses and has done well in his last four starts, finishing first once and third three times. As long as he stays flat, he should finish on the board and can upset.  

    Tioga Tussles

    This year a field of only three soph-colt pacers (two trained by Erv Miller) go in the once strong Grand Circuit stake, the Jersey Cup. The traditional event won’t even be raced in its namesake state. It is non-wagering event at Tioga Downs, New York, on July 2.  

    But the Historic Ladyship attracted 10 fabulous fillies and features wagering.  

    In the mile for soph-filly pacers, it is a tough call picking the public choice, but it may be Shabalabadingdong. That being said, Honky Tonk Woman is the horse to watch. You read that a lot in these blogs but she has yet to peak and is an improving filly at three. She is capable of showing her talent in this event. Also watch Rocklamation.

    Ben Franklin

    In the $500,000 Ben Franklin Final on Sunday, July 3, Ideal Matters is the horse to watch, again. He did well in his elim at Chester at giant odds and appears sound and raring to go in the final.

    One of the choices could be last week’s star, Aracache Hanover, while money will go to Foiled Again as he attempts to race to his early season form. Bettor Sweet has been lightning fast of late and draws post 1. Won The West has to come from the outside but will get strong backing at the windows. Vintage Master has not been off the board in five starts and is taking to FFA competition with fervor.  

    Still, “Ideal” will have the price to target, along with better chances than his odds present.  

    Frosh Follies

    The July 4th weekend is the official launch for frosh stakes and around the ovals plenty of green pacers and trotters of both sex will be displaying their talents and lack of them. It is early to make note of any particular horse but watching these events will certainly be on our agenda, as we assess the performances to use handicapping races to come through the summer.

    The first round of New Jersey Sires Stakes for two-year-old horses gets underway this week at Meadowlands Racetrack. Here is a video, with Bob Heyden asking some of the sport’s leading horsemen how they can tell a two-year-old in training is a future superstar. Click here to watch .

    (Ray Cotolo assisted in this edition.)

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