The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks elimination race card at the Meadowlands tomorrow night has some great racing. Yes, there are few full field races on the card, mostly because of the eliminations (discussed in an earlier post) so the races may not be as attractive wagering wise. However, the quality of the racing can not be disputed. In addition, there is the Golden Girls FFA pace for mares.
Here is a brief review of the 'featured' races on the card:
2nd - 1st Elimination - Hambletonian Oaks
4 - Windsong Soprano (5-2)
7 - Seaside (3-1)
6- OK to Play (5-1)
8 - Gabbys Dream (9-2)
Windsong Soprano is the obvious pick in this race. On his return from a brief layoff she was impressive in her division of the Miller Memorial winning a parked out effort in 1:55.3. The only problem is she will likely be an underlay. If you are willing to take a chance, Seaside will probably go off higher than her 3-1 odds. True, she finished 5 1/2 lengths back in third in her division of the Miller, but it was a faster division and she was used twice in that race. OK to Play may be good enough to pick up minor spoils. Gabbys Dream has not been able to repeat her success in the NJSS with open company. That being said, with a good trip it is possible she can improve off her recent efforts. Consider her in your trifectas.
3rd -2nd Elimination - Hambletonian Oaks
2 - Elusive Desire (2-1)
5 - Celebrity Athena (4-1)
4 - Hall of Wishes (10-1)
3 - Moonlight Kronos (7-2)
Elusive Desire is a winner of her last four races, most recently in the final of the Canadian Breeders Stakes. Clearly she has never been better. Celebrity Athena finished second in her division of the Miller and won her prior start in the Zweig Filly Memorial; the strongest of the local horses. Hall of Wishes has been racing well of late in the PASS and the Reynolds, may land a share to juice up the exotics. Moonlight Kronos is the mystery horse making her first North American start shipping in from Sweden. Those who study breeding will note she is a full sister of Lantern Kosmos, the 3yo filly trotter of the year in the United States. While she can not be ignored, it should be noted Europeans look more towards longer racing careers than we do on this side of the pond. While you may need to include her in your exotics, I would need higher odds to make a win wager.
4th - 3rd Elimination - Hambletonian Oaks
2 - Honorable Daughter (5-2)
4 - Caviart Annie (8-1)
7 - Celebrity Juliet (9-2)
1 - Raising Rachel (7-2)
Throw out Honorable Daughter's last race. In her first race back since May, she had an impossible trip as the even money favorite in the Miller Memorial. She should be much improved. However, if she falls below 2-1 I will be looking for someone to beat her. That could be Caviart Annie. Caviart Annie is coming off a sharp 1:56.4 qualifier and if not for a miscue would be coming in on a three race win streak. Note the trainer is Greg Peck, who has Muscle Hill in the Hambletonian. Celebrity Juliet has been racing well in more prestigious events, could take it all. Raising Rachel from the rail may improve of her last race; not out of it.
5th - 4th Elimination - Hambletonian Oaks
8 - Broadway Page (8-1)
7 - Margarita Mary (9-2)
2 - Broadway Schooner (6-1)
1 - Margarita Momma (5-2)
Broadway Page is my upset pick for this elimination. She raced well in the Reynolds and the PASS at Pocono, winning her last start in a sharp 1:54.4. While she did not win in her efforts in the Currier and Ives at the Meadows, it is a traditional route for prepping for the Oaks. Margarita Mary woke up in a prep race last week, could complete a decent paying exacta. Broadway Schooner shows ability when she stays flat, finished behind Margarita Mary last start. Margarita Momma, beat by Windsong Soprano in her last start. She either bounces back and wins or has she have peaked to soon? See how Windsong Legacy does in her elimination and use it as your guide. At 5-2 and probably much lower at post time, I'll take my chance and try to beat her.
7th - 1st Elimination - Hambletonian
5 - NF Quotable (10-1)
1 - Explosive Matter (9-5)
4 - Reinsman Hanover (9-2)
2 - Citation Lindy (5-1)
In the weakest of the three eliminations, I will take a chance on NF Quotable. Winner in 1:54.4 in the PASS at the Meadows, he appears to be rounding into form and picks up David Miller. Explosive Matter is the horse to beat after finishing 2nd to Muscle Hill in the Dancer Memorial after jumping at the start in his last race. No doubt about it, the race was a huge effort but being he will likely go off much less than 9-5, I would want to make sure the break was a fluke. That being said, I realize there is a good chance I will be proven wrong. Reinsman Hanover has improved since his return back to the Meadowlands. Steps up but may land part. Citation Lindy has not lived up to his reputation though far but in a weak field may wake up this week. Definite consideration for your exotics.
8th - 2nd Elimination - Hambletonian
7 - Federal Flex (9-5)
3 - Mr Cantab (5-2)
6 - Cesar A Blue Chip (9-2)
1 - Symphonic Hanover (6-1)
Federal Flex should dominate this elimination to set up a match up with Muscle Hill. next week. Won his first race back after illness to win his Dancer division in a sharp 1:53.3; should be even better this week. Mr Cantab finished second to Federal Flex in the Dancer, came back to win a conditioned trot as a prep. Solid second choice. Cesar A Blue Chip finished behind the top two in the Dancer. Makes for a chalky trifecta. Symphonic Hanover raced a nice qualifier after his miscue in the Dickerson, while no threat to the top choice, may sneak in the exotics with a perfect trip.
9th - 3rd Elimination - Hambletonian
2 - Muscle Hill (1-1)
7 - Airzoom Lindy (6-1)
3 - The Chancellor (6-1)
4 - Tom Cango (5-1)
Muscle Hill moves on to a date with Federal Flex in the Hambletonian final next week with what should be an easy win this week. No value for a win wager but who realistically is going to beat him? Airzoom Lindy comes from the Lindy Racing Stable, usually has a presence in the final. My guess is while no threat to the winner, he is better than his lines show. Consider for the exacta. The Chancellor is good when he stays flat but oh those breaks. Your guess if he stays flat. Tom Cango has not yet returned to last year's form but is quietly improving. May finish higher and make the dance next week.
10th - Golden Girls FFA Pace (Mares) - $214,000
3 - Southwind Tempo (2-1)
2 - Tidewaterdragonfly (8-1)
6 - A and G'sconfusion (5-1)
4 - Tug River Princess (3-1)
With all the excitement of the Hambo and Oaks eliminations, the featured race of the night is being overlooked. This race is basically a do over of the Roses are Red Final at Mohawk last week. Southwind Tempo finished second last week in the Roses are Red Final, the winner does not make the trip south. The winner of the Lady Liberty is the horse to beat. Tidewaterdragonfly was awful last week but was impressive in her elimination the week before. Expect a better effort than last week and she may spice up the exacta. A and G'sconfusion making her third start back since the layoff; expect a better effort this week. Tug River Princess been going very well before getting parked out (first over?) in brutal fractions last week. May bounce back this week but am wondering if that trip took a lot out of her last week. We will see.
Picks for the Adios and Adios Volvo for tomorrow afternoon will be posted shortly. Enjoy the racing.