• Froshes And Sophs And More Fight To Face August

    POSTED Jul 24, 2013

    July is breaking big as the classic August stakes loom boldly. At the Meadowlands the weekend programs are strewn with eliminations to set up the giant stakes program on Hambletonian day. Trotters and pacers, two- and three-year-olds, are fighting for spots in the stakes on the first August weekend.   
     
    We will be reporting on all of the stakes action live from the Meadowlands on Friday, Aug. 2 and Saturday, Aug. 3, so don’t miss following us on Twitter as well as ingesting our Aug. 1 blog. 
     
    Meanwhile, this weekend the Grand Circuit winds up at the Meadows with the Adios Pace Final, the sister Adioo Volo for the fillies and some Arden Downs Stakes on July 26 and July 27. 
     
    The Yonkers Trot Final and the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations are covered on the Hambletonian Trail at the exclusive blog. 
     
    Our exclusive harness horses to watch (H2W) list from tracks around North America continues with overnight racing bargains.
     
    Adios Action 
     
    An octet of glamour boy pacers is set to start in the Meadows’ signature race, the $450,000 Delvin Miller Adios. To accompany the Adios on the Saturday afternoon card are sophomore filly pacers, competing in two divisions of the $136,920 Adioo Volo. 
     
    A group of seven colts that did not qualify to race in the Adios in the eliminations last week have a chance of redemption in the $50,000 Adios Consolation. Heading the field is Good Day Mate, coming from an off-the-pace fifth-place effort to Lonewolf Currier. Consolation events like this are a favorite of ours, with a group of second-string stakes horses providing a big opportunity for value. The value stamp in the Adios Consolation goes to Martini Hanover, set to leave the starting gate to the left of Good Day Mate. 
     
    In last week’s elimination, Martini Hanover got away in a comfortable position and then began a first-over adventure from the half, getting flushed out by Word Power. Martini Hanover was left with the dirty work of pressuring pace-setter Sunfire Blue Chip around the final turn, which inevitably ended quickly. He has shown he can race with the best, competing with the top in this year’s crop for most of the summer. He races against weaker and off of two visually unappealing efforts will come a high price. 
     
    Somwherovrarainbow will likely be the favorite in the first division of the Adioo Volo. Although the filly with the impressive pedigree appears to be the best on paper, the efforts shown from Power Pack Hanover make her the one to watch. She has shown tremendous improvement in her last two starts, with a gate-to-wire victory in the Pennsylvania All-Stars and valiant first over move in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes last week, pacing a :26.1 third-quarter to try taking command. Drawing towards the rail means she has an opportunity to race close to the pace and pull the pocket and make her pursuit for the front. 
     
    The Ron Burke-barn sends out a duo of soph fillies in the second Adioo Volo, Carols Desire and Mistresstothestars, with “Carol” leading the two. Against her is Nikki Beach, coming from the Tony Alagna barn. In her most recent outing, she sat a pocket mile to Charisma Hanover and finished second as the public’s second choice. Looking farther back on her lines, she has competed with the best fillies this year in the Fan Hanover and James Lynch, with good efforts supporting those miles. She has the ability to leave the gate and with the right trip, she can get to the wire first. 
     
    The feature of the program is the Adios Pace Final, with elimination winners Lonewolf Currier and Sunfire Blue Chip drawing well. Lonewolf Currier will have the upper hand in this event, as he will likely get the support of bettors off of his impressive comeback mile in the eliminations.
     
    Also off an impressive mile is Word Power, though his luck when it comes to the post-position draw is absent. Regardless, he has shown himself to be a major threat in the glamour boy division. In his elimination, he attempted to get into a pocket and instead became parked the mile, luckily getting the cover of Martini Hanover for half the trip. Coming around the final turn, Some Kinda Beach veered a little wide as he tried to get room, making Word Power lose ground in his three-wide bid. He remained flying down the center of the track to miss the victory by a nose to Sunfire Blue Chip. He can leave the gate well; the only issue is his tendency to battle first over in these kinds of races. He should get off the gate far enough off the pace to get a covered trip like the one in the elimination, but come up explosive into the stretch. 
     
    Frosh-Trot Stakes Preludes    
     
    In a little more than a week, it’s time for Hambletonian day. As usual in the week before the classic program, eliminations for the co-featured stakes take place to finalize those who get to compete center stage. The Friday night, July 26 card at the Meadowlands has slated one elim for the Merrie Annabelle and two for the Peter Haughton Memorial, two-year-old trotting stakes that are traditionally part of the grand festival. 
     
    Jimmy Takter has a trio of freshmen fillies in the Merrie Annabelle elim, headed by undefeated Lifetime Pursuit. Our selection, though an outsider, has a vast amount of potential, as she is set to make her career debut. She will carry the burden of starting from the outside post but it should not harm Ross Croghan’s filly, Heaven’s Door. Watching her most recent qualifier one can only be impressed at how smooth her gait had become compared to her first qualifier on a damp surface. She trotted her recent qualifier in 1:57.2, sharp for a second mile. She showed good speed off the gate, fighting to get to the front at the quarter, leaving us with little worry of a start from the outside. Her post will just pump her post time odds higher. 
     
    Southwind Spirit will be the overwhelming choice in the first elim of the Peter Haughton Memorial. From the rail comes Muscle Midas, an improving son of Muscle Hill. The colt has shown improvement and strength in just two starts, his first being a parked mile resulting in a third and his second being an off the pace covered trip. With his draw, he should be able to get a position in the middle of the pack and find cover to ride into the stretch. 
     
    Freshmen champion Pastor Stephen has blood going in elim two; Father Patrick will look to live up to the family success for trainer Jimmy Takter. Fashion Farms’ trainer Jim Campbell has a colt in this elim that is showing improvement and gets needed post relief. He has an arguably amazing name, Musclesprinctonian. 
     
    Campbell appeared to find the horse’s knack in the New Jersey Sires’ Stakes Final, sending the Muscle Hill colt to the front from post 10; he finished fourth. He has a better opportunity to set the pace and or ride a pocket trip, having to use less energy to make the front from post 4. Beware though; Father Patrick and the Oscarsson-trained Nuncio are still threats in this mile. 
     
    Pace Makers 
     
    Moving onto the Saturday night card at the Big M, preps for the Miss New Jersey and New Jersey Classic, as well as two elims for the U.S. Pacing Championship are set to be contested. 
     
    Division leader I Luv The Nitelife is the headliner in the Miss New Jersey Prep, set to start the July 27 card. Arriving from a layoff is the only horse this year to, by definition, defeat I Luv The Nitelife—Ms Caila J Fra. She didn’t take to the sloppy track in the James Lynch Final, going off stride in the early stages. She took a well-deserved break, qualifying last week in a good comeback mile of 1:53. She will likely be ignored for her mistake in the “Lynch,” which will benefit the price tag at the windows as our selection.  
     
    As for the “Classic,” after a journey to the Midwest, Real Rocker returns east off of a second place effort in the Hanover Stakes at Balmoral. He is up against potential favorites Emeritus Maximus and Wake Up Peter. Though they pose as roadblocks to Real Rocker’s success, the improvement shown by the Trish Foulk-trainee is something to note. Looking back to the sires-stakes final, he never saw the pylons and was far off the pace to add on to that. He should get off the gate and be somewhat close to the pace in the early stages, slowly gaining ground until its time to strike. 
     
    The entry of Dynamic Youth and A Rocknroll Dance will likely take a majority of the betting in the first elim of the U.S. Pacing Championship for older pacers. From the rail will come a big longshot, who has shown a competitive spirit against this group of Free for All pacers, Our Lucky Chip. He was excused for his poor effort in the William Haughton elims, partly because he was in a world record mile and the partly because it was his first start off a sick scratch. He made an uncharacteristic break the next week, then shipped to Pocono for a Preferred event, where he was first over from the half to three-quarters where he paced in :25.4, resulting in his fading. He should get off the gate well from the rail, stalk the pace and kick for home strongly.
     
    Elim two has speed-machine Warrawee Needy, drawing the rail and “Haughton” champ Pet Rock in the starting gate’s center. It’s hard to tell how much action our selection will take off of one powerful effort in the top condition at the Meadowlands, crushing favorite Abelard Hanover. Our choice was the “buzzed” speed demon heading into 2013—Hurrikane Kingcole. His last start was both long overdue and dazzling, romping Free for All caliber horses off of three less than par efforts. Whatever was wrong with him appears to be history and the John McDermott-trainee poses as a major player in this mile.  
     
    Arden Downs 
     
    The soph-colt-and-filly Arden Downs episodes at the Meadows on Friday will be covered here since the fillies involved are not in the “Oaks” elims and the colts involved are most likely not headed for the heats-laden main event. 
     
    In the first filly split, Choose Happy, coupled with Upfrontluckycarol, was eliminated from a Hanover Stakes at Balmoral with a break last week. But she came from a great effort at Pocono, racing against stronger company than these, finishing third after an outside trip at 10-1. Before that she won a decent stake at Pocono and here, from post 6, she should be a bargain. 
     


    Promisemethis is bound to be the choice in the second filly split but the outside contender, McKenzie’s Star, offers a big chance at a big price. She raced well four back in top company against “Promise,” after winning a minor soph stake. With a good trip, she could turn an exacta with the choice upside down. 
     
    Colt-stakes one should belong to Maxamillus and at a good price considering Major Athens will get the bulk of the win-pool money and can be beaten soundly here. “Max” is in great shape these days and has been picking up checks in top affairs. He has been well supported but may be overlooked here. 
     
    The second colt adventure is rife with questionable steppers. However, Detour Hanover, who broke last out while heavily backed in a Yonkers Trot elim, is best when not galloping. Top-contender Its Complicated may give “Detour” a perfect trip, so all we have to worry about is that Detour’s driver, Dave Palone, doesn’t suck in money that dowses the overlay. 
     
    H2W Legend
     
    Review our choices and follow the wagering at the prescribed track to decide how you will use the information. The list has shortened as the stakes season ensues but still offers the best possible contenders we have judged from reviewing races.
     
    The horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track after the date they will be racing. The race in which they are entered (R and race number) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name it means that horse is appearing on the list for the second (and last time) because it failed to win the first time it appeared.
     
    An “ae” signals the horse is entered but on the also-eligible list (so it might not get into the race). Multi-horses may be listed in the same race.  Horses from previous lists that are not racing this week will no longer appear until they are confirmed in a race.  
     
    Wagering on any of the H2W listed horses is based on your own judgment. Your handicapping skills should include decisions to wager to win, place, show or in exotics. If you have any questions about the H2W list, send them to us through the TwinSpires blog channel.   
     
    H2W 
     
    Maywood
    7/26/13, + Nash Gram R11 
     
    Northfield
    7/26/13, Medley Mindale R4; Gee Up R5; Hurricane Hanna R7; Coolwater Wildrose R11
    7/27/13, Classic Banker R4; Contech R7; SF Stampede R11
     
    Pompano
    7/27/13, Diamond Amber R4; Moonglow R7; Fire Diamond R11  
     
    Running Aces
    7/27/13, Rearin And Ready R1; + Furious Five R2; Driven By Destiny R5; Billied R7 
     
    Saratoga
    7/27/13, Johnny Grippa R2; That’s My Dream R3; Jk Black Beauty R6; El Ringer R8; Kyle Major R12
     
    Scioto
    7/25/13, Charlie B R5  
     
    Vernon
    7/26/13, +Ulay Boko R5; +Lis Rain R6
    7/27/13, Wheelaway R4; Sri Panka R11 
     
    Ray Cotolo contributed to this edition.
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