Note: This article has been updated to reflect a response by the ARCI as to the importance of an interstate racing compact. Also, note that Lucky Chucky has been scratched sick since the entry was posted.
Even though everyone’s attention drawn to the North America Cup and the other stakes races at Mohawk, there is racing going on elsewhere. At Hoosier Park, the FFA pacing ranks are on display in the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational which has attracted Sharks Gesture, Won The West, Hypnotic Blue Chip, and other top quality pacers. We will discuss this race further tomorrow.
There is some news worth discussing on the regulatory front. Harness horsemen in New York are hopping mad about the possibility of New York joining a racing compact where common rules and perhaps regulatory actions will be decided. While I would concur attempting to push this bill through just before the summer recess is not ideal, here is another example of parochialism; each racing jurisdiction worrying about themselves. Heaven forbid we have common racing and medication rules where decisions are made that apply to horsemen in multiple states; especially when you are a ‘have’ (racino) state. Things are wonderful. But heaven forbid something be done for the benefit of horsemen all over even if the rules change for you. This may work for you when things are going well, but how good will racing be in your state if harness racing collapses elsewhere? Until people are willing to work for the common good, there is no chance of resurrecting the sport. Update: Here is a response from the President of the ARCI as to why it is essential that the interstate racing compact be approved.
In the meanwhile, Sire Stakes action is underway. Two year old trotters of both sexes will be racing at the Meadowlands Thursday and 2yo pacers take to the stage on Friday while Vernon Downs hosts three year old trotting colts. But of greater note is the seasonal debut of the entry coupling Coco Lindy and Lucky Chucky in an overnight race at the Meadowlands Friday evening along with Lucky Jim and Enough Talk making their first starts since returning from Sweden in their failed attempt to win the Elitlopp. Will they be able to return to their earlier form or will they need a race or two to get back into top form?
Lucky Chucky has prepped well but awaiting Chucky is Muscle Massive, winner of the NJSS Championship for three year old trotters. With Lucky Chucky’s eye on the big prize in August, there is a good chance Muscle Massive may triumph in the first matchup. Assuming decent odds, Massive may be worth a wager.
The Titan Cup Prep is a somewhat perplexing race. You are dealing with Lucky Jim and Enough Talk making their first starts in twenty-six days. This plus the fact all eyes are on the Titan Cup prize next week, leads us to proceed cautiously this week. Given the time off, the edge goes to Arch Madness, but Buck I St Pat has been quietly toiling away and may be able to take advantage of the leading contendrs taking time off to score a minor upset.
One thing to note is in Friday’s 1st race at the Meadowlands. The racing commission ruled that Howard’s Rock and Grams Legacy will race uncoupled as having bona-fide separate interests. That may be true, but the wife of Jimmy Takter, the trainer of Grams Legacy, is one of the owners of Howard’s Rock. She may have a minority interest, but how does the racing commission uncouple these horses? It seems to me they are inviting questions needlessly.
Friday's NYSS events at Vernon Downs are worth watching. While the first tier horses are racing at the awk in the Goodtimes, many Hambletonian-eligible horses are competing in these tilts. Celebrity Bluechip, Big Stick Lindy, Shaq is Back, Stimulus, and Womanizer are among those Hambo-eligibles who will be racing at Vernon.
Betting two year old races at this time of year are always a dicey proposition. When they are trotters, it becomes an act of courage (or foolishness). What may look like a nice horse may turn into a poorly mannered horse who decides to perform his/her impersonation of a thoroughbred.
For those who feel particularly bold, here are my selections for the NJSS events:
Meadowlands – Thursday, June 24, 2010 – NJSS 2yo trotters
1st Race – Caiter, Global Desire, Electra Blue Chip (5-4-6)
2nd Race – Musclelaneous, Take Heart, Zooming (1A-6-8)
3rd Race – Lady Pixie, Baby I’m Bad News, Ladylike Volo (2-1-5)
5th Race – Leader Of The Gang, Gunga Win, That’s A Check (1-9-5)
Meadowlands – Friday, June 25, 2010 – NJSS 2yo pacers
1st Race – Howard’s Rock, Lookinforadventure, Gritty Millie Boy (2-4-6)
2nd Race – It’s Rock N Roll, Rollwithitharry, Painted Black (2-1-3)
3rd Race – Ivana Dance, So Perfect, Capri Hanover, Bells Are Ringing (2-1A-1-3)
Meadowlands, Friday, 6th Trot - $15,000; Non-winners of $10,000 last five starts
1 – Coco Lindy (5-2) – Weaker half of Antonacci entry.
1A – Lucky Chucky (5-2) – Sharp qualifiers says he’s ready. One to beat.
2 – My Man Ben (5-1) – Quit badly in last start; returns to winning driver. Must always consider a Pena horse.
3 – St Giannis (12-1) – Jumped in last. Returns to a more comfortable spot. Share with luck.
4 – Rompaway Alvin (8-1) – Doubt class relief will matter here.
5 – Jailhouse Scorpion (10-1) – Talented three year old should continue to improve. May land share.
6 – Manningly (6-1) – Returns to winning class and Sears to return. Expect improvement. Consider in exotics.
7 – Libra Vita (10-1) – No factor in last race. No chance.
8 – Muscle Massive (3-1) – Hambo eligible won NJSS final. Only one who logically can beat Lucky Chucky.
9 – Captain Primeau (20-1) – Draws the worst. No realistic chance against these.
Meadowlands, Friday, 10th Trot - $40,000; Titan Cup Prep
1 – In Focus (8-1) – May land a share if he can mind his manners.
2 – Lucky Jim (5-2) – No chance in Sweden. May be a little short but should land share.
3 – Keystone Activator (15-1) – Meeting much much better. Don’t see,
4 – Enough Talk (6-1) - Had no chance in European tour. A question of fitness.
5 – Corleone Kosmos (10-1) – Has not returned to prior form. Pass.
6 – Arch Madness (3-1) – Did take some time off but is the one to beat.
7 – Lanson (8-1) – Has not returned to last year;s form.
8 – Buck I St Pat (4-1) – Lone mare taking on the boys. Despite that, may be able to take it all.
For those who play Tioga Downs, here are the picks for Friday night. As a bonus, I am including the selections for the NYSS races for three year old trotting colts at Vernon Downs.
Vernon Downs, Friday, June 25, 2010 - NYSS Events for 3yo colt trotters
1st Race - Celebrity Bluechip, Marion Monaco, Proper Villian (5-4-8)
3rd Race - Syenite, Waldroff Hall, Carnegie (3-7-2)
5th Race - Shaq Is Back, Captain Sully, Through The Night (7-1-3)
7th Race - Stimulus, Aruba Vacation, Whata Winner, Bakcktuxwhitesocks (6-3-2-8)
8th Race - Strong Hope, Boztheman, Lutetium (7-1-8)
Tioga Downs, Friday, June 25, 2010
1st - Annies Wonder, Earnest Kash, Bullet (6-3-8)
2nd - Stash The Cash, Mandolin Hanover, My Big Mare (1-2-5)
3rd - Maurview Two, Mrs Ice Man Ike, Kash Gent (1-8-5)
4th - Doinit Dragonstyle, Day And Night, Silverdollar Shark, East Coast Shar (2-3-6-5)
5th - KM Sweet Dreams, Heikki, Tlkabout Joy (5-7-4)
6th - Little Pop Queen, Bond Blue Chip, Smarty Smiley (2-3-5)
7th - Impressive Char, Lucy Lucy, Penny Pincher, My True Delight (4-9-7-6)
8th - Bolero Electra, Infinite Desire, Miss Chris (3-7-8)
9th - Just Listed, Hot Potato, Backn Hill Betty (1-6-5)
10th - Goalie Avenue, Isle Of View Two, Bolero Talula, Risiing Debt (9-4-7-2)