• Stakes Parade, Solid Action On Hambletonian Day

    POSTED Jul 30, 2014
    For the umpteenth year, we will be reporting live from the Meadowlands for the super-stakes-filled program on the first Saturday in August, Hambletonian day. This time, of course, we have our digs in the new facility—the state-of-the-art Meadowlands Press Box in the structure located on the opposite side of the historic track’s original area in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Exclusively for TwinSpires, we will be reporting on line via @harnessraycer, @FrankCotolo and @TwinSpires, with updates, quick news items, quotes and anything else worthy for our contingent of harness bettors.

    On this page we will cover all of the stakes action for Aug. 2 except the Hambletonian events, which this year are single race (no elimination heats are necessary based on the number of horses dropping into the boxes). Our spin-off blog, the Hambletonian Trail, features the jackpot-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow events, The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks.

    Friday, Aug. 1 at the Meadowlands, a slew of Kindergarten stakes legs for two-year-old filly trotters adorn the program. See our horses-to-watch (H2W) list below, under the Meadowlands heading, for horses that have impressed us in these categories.

    All H2W through North America –our suggested contenders—are valuable additions to your win, place and show bets and exotics. See our weekly list of “lookouts” below. 

    Weekdays, check out the TwinSpires-Hoosier perks for players. Tuesdays, wager all you want and earn 10 TSC Elite Points per dollar bet. Click here for details. Every Thursday night, there is a 20-percent bonus on hitting the Pick 4 starting at Race 3. Click here for details. And the ongoing 10-percent Pick-4 bonus every racing night on Pick-4 hits continues through the meet. Click here for details.

    Townsend Ackermans

    Colts staying away from the Hambletonian will contest in the $100,000 Townsend Ackerman. Two divisions, compiled of 23 trotters, will segue the race card into the major events.

    The opening split features no standouts and is a wide-open affair. Our hopes lay with Scacco Matto, a colt who has shown promise against similar amid his breaking issue. Adding hopples in his last start, he traveled three wide for nearly the whole mile, with his 20-length loss slightly exaggerated by Trixton’s 9-length romp. Given the right trip in this class drop, he could come sweeping into contention.

    Class is what will separate the winners from the losers in the other edition. Starting from the rail, Sumatra might get his first victory since the Dexter Cup. When competing in the New Jersey Sires Stakes he was always in contention behind Trixton, the eventual series winner. He’ll likely be given a patient drive, which, if allowed in the stretch, will make him able to close well. In the exotics, Well Built might offer a price as he drops in class, too.

    Peter Haughton

    Trotting guru Ake Svanstedt returns with a talented freshman trotter in the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial. Centurion Atm brushed to command towards the top of the stretch and drew away by 3 lengths to win the “Haughton” elimination as our choice last week. He seems to be getting sharp at the right time, so trying to beat him may result in failure.

    Ima Lula Ladies

    The $52,000 Ima Lula final, features four-year-old mare trotters. The last two editions have featured the winner of the Hambo Oaks, with Bee A Magician looking to become the first to win this event.

    After her impressive uprising over Bee A Magician, Classic Martine has likely swayed favoritism onto her. Yet, her victory in the final prelim last week does not necessarily make her better than Bee A Magician. She has constantly raced well in the top level and should have saved enough in the tank for a victorious afternoon. In the exotics, also watch out for Nf Happenstance, who will likely be stalking the pace setter and have enough to hit the board.

    Big Boys’ Best

    The U.S. Pacing Championship features stalwart older pacers but is not truly a championship. That is, winning the $257,700 event bears no resemblance to a divisional crown and neither does it hold any more reverence than any of the older-pacing stakes. This season, all entries attempt to do what they have been trying to do for a few months—defeat Sweet Lou.

    Though he has been great, Captaintreacherous has been better than most of these, who are over four (Sunfire Blue Chip is the other four-year-old). Here is the difference in this event compared to the others: Daylight. But could that mean so much? Could an “off track” be a detriment to “Lou”? We doubt it; few scenarios put him behind any of these. Bettor’s Edge has done well chasing Lou and may once again race with odds better than his chances (10-1 and 18-1 respectively, when second to Lou in their most recent two meetings. And there may be the exacta and trifecta, keying Lou with the two mentioned in both exotics.

    Classic Jerseyites

    New Jersey-bred colts make up the $225,000 New Jersey Classic, a race that may unfold with a bargain or two. It’s difficult to predict a favorite or an underlay here but our hope is that Western Vintage may get less attention than he deserves. He has had a rougher time than we forecast as a soph but he is still lightly raced and has been rested with two prep qualifiers on his side coming into this battle. However he tries, from the front or with some cover close to the pacesetter, he is a big danger that the public may not support enough.

    Doo Wop Hanover, on the other hand, won’t be ignored; he may be the choice of the crowd, since his state affairs have been sterling and he has faced far stronger than this group. His Meadowlands Pace failure was no surprise, having no change to make up ground with a slow start from post 10 and fractions that steamed by the stretch, allowing Hes Watching to glide off of a near-perfect trip.

    The $100,000 Miss New Jersey, restricted to New Jersey-sired filly pacers, seems to be a toss-up when it comes to talent. Off a victory against older mares, Gettingreadytoroll appears to be the one to beat if her gait is truly no longer an issue. Yet, Cut A Deal, who comes from an average company for this group, could be eyeing an upset. Traveling first over and sustaining third in her last start, she appears to be sharp enough to gain victory given the right trip.

    On Their ‘Merrie’ Way

    Frosh-filly trotters engage in a $352,050 event, the Merrie Annabelle Final, and for many of the 10 involved (five are still maidens) it may be the last time they partake in such a wealthy race. The elim winners, Lock Down Lindy and Mission Brief will take most of the money, with the latter dazzling bettors with her green speed, so to speak.

    In the fastest elim, Jolene Jolene was second at 27-1 (we had her) and the race before that she was 30-1 against Lock Down Lindy. Her 9 post here may cause a problem but it will just help her to go off again at a bargain price. Any improvement for her is a major challenge to the obvious top contenders.

    Top Trotters Truckin’

    The $300,650 John Cashman, Jr. Memorial finds older trotting hero Sebastian K on the rail with the usual suspects raring to bring him down. The latest gunner is Archangel, who last week knocked a super mile into place in an elim (“K” was in the other elim). Also, Uncle Peter goes for his second mile since returning from abroad and he was good last week, just behind Mister Herbie, who took second the week after we called for him to upset K in Canada (it was Intimidate that got the nose victory and he is here, too). Then there is Market Share, always a threat but recently subservient to K. And there is Servruga, our huge upset last year in this race, who this year is far from showing his best.

    Where does this leave us but with it being K’s race to lose? We can make cases for the others but only Uncle Peter gets a nod as the least experienced falling to K. In an upset scenario, he is the culprit, especially on a day when team Takter can rule on so many levels. 

    Ladies Of Liberty

    The $177,750 Lady Liberty hosts the pacing mares, all of which have had their days and all of whom come into this affair with modest credentials. You could make good cases for most of them so you have to look outside of the obvious to find value. In that order, opportunity may shine upon Jerseylicious, who has been doing well while racing at odds far more than she deserves (11-1 and 70-1) against similar at this top level.

    Tough trips have found better horses—Shebestingin and Somwherovrarainbow—recently losing largely and this fray may also be too demanding for them. Charisma Hanover may be a great exotic participant under these circumstances, too, and prices may blind the toteboard while flashing the top three.

    Vincennes

    Open-level trotters will get their shot to compete on Hambo day with the Vincennes Invitational. Takter’s newest acquisition, Master Of Law, comes in off a 1:52 effort against the top level two weeks ago. Yet, his bad draw could allow for a bigger price to be victorious.

    Sweet Justice draws into the Vincennes due to his narrow disqualification in the “Cashman” eliminations last week. He’s always had a knack for this level and draws well to win in his usual fashion. 

    While she is competing against the boys, D’orsay is also the queen of upsets. Doing so last year in the Ima Lula final (where we capitalized on her $36 return in the 2013 TwinSpires Players’ Pool) and in the Armbro Flight elimination (where we profited by her 50-1 win from our blog). She has a similar racing style to Sweet Justice and was super impressive when grinding the mile last week, coming a nose short of victory.

    H2W Legend

    Review our choices and follow the wagering at the prescribed track. These are 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 it 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 on the also-eligible list. If a horse is listed twice, refer to the entries on the night of the race since a horse may enter in more than one race. Types of wagering on any of the H2W listed horses are based on your judgment. If you have any questions, email us at TwinSpires.

    H2W

    Batavia
    8/1/14, Sanskrit R6
    8/2/14, +King William R1; +Larrys Dream R3; Sbm Innocentoutlaw R4; Whipmeintospape R12

    Georgian
    8/2/14, Oaklea Winfrey R3; +Got What It Takes R8

    Grand River
    8/1/14, Cons Legacy R9

    Maywood
    7/31/14, Wilfully Scootereva R6

    Meadowlands
    8/1/14, Christine Sixteen R2; +Sweet Thing R2; Josies Joy R3; Saturday Mornings R4; Cathys Princess R13

    Meadows
    8/1/14, Sawbuck Hanover R7; +Mattacardle R7


    Mohawk
    7/31/14, +Best Risque R12

    Ocean
    8/3/14, +Ok Amelia R4

    Philadelphia
    7/31/14, +Baximum R4
    8/1/14, Real Legacy R4
    8/3/14, +Corky Duke R14

    Plainridge
    7/26/14, Somerset Minibob R1

    Pocono
    8/2/14, +Luck Be Withyou R12

    Saratoga
    8/1/14, Still Electric R12
    8/2/14, +All Powerful R8; I’m The Real Major R10

    Scarborough
    8/2/14, +Bullseye R4

    Scioto
    8/2/14, QB Killa R1

    Tioga
    8/2/14, KJ Brenda R2

    Vernon
    8/2/14, Curlys Son R1; Guilty Man R5; Royal Deceptor R6; Deadhead Royalty R11

    Yonkers
    7/31/14, +Mystical Pacer R8; +Sir Lehigh Z Tam R12
    8/1/14, Putnams Attack R7

    Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition.      
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