While the attention of the harness racing world is focused on the Meadowlands Pace this coming Saturday, the three year old trotters are getting ready for their final prep races for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks eliminations on August 1st. Many of the top contenders will be racing Friday night in the Delvin Miller (fillies) and Stanley Dancer (colt and geldings) Memorials at the Meadowlands.
In the first division of the Delvin Miller Memorial (4th race), Gabbys Dream, Raising Rachel, Margarita Momma and Windsong Soprano face off. Also of note in this division is a rare U.S. appearance of Jack Moiseyev on Raising Rachel who moved to Canada back in 2003 after being very successful on the New Jersey circuit for an extended period of time. In the second division of the Delvin Miller (6th race), Celebrity Deville, Honorable Daughter lead the field.
In the first division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial (5th race), Hambo favorite Muscle Hill makes his third parimutuel start of the year. Also in this division is Copy Catch and Tom Tango. The second division (8th race) is probably the more competitive field with Citation Lindy, Federal Flex, Mr Cantab and Hot Shot Blue Chip.
While I will provide my thoughts on these races tomorrow or Friday, some questions will be answered by the end of Friday evening. Is Federal Flex over his illness and ready to challenge Muscle Hill for the Hambletonian Crown? While Muscle Hill will likely win his division, will his victory be convincing enough to scare some contenders from the Hambletonian or will his lack of competitive racing show? Will the connections of Hot Shot Blue Chip be able to figure out how to keep this talented but erratic trotter flat? On the filly side, how will Gabbys Dream and Windsong Soprano race coming of their qualifiers?
Does another filly or colt all of a sudden step up and become a major threat on August 1?
Things will be a lot clearer come Saturday morning.