While there are many stakes races on Friday and Saturday night, there are a few races worth special mention.
In the Dickerson Cup, some Hambletonian hopefuls make their first starts of the year, making this race one to watch. Lucky Chucky makes his first pari-mutuel start of the year coming off a scratched-sick. The winner of the Matron Stakes last year seemed to be coming along well before being scratched last week. Tyler Buter picks up the drive this week substituting for John Campbell who will be unavailable Friday night. Lucky Chucky is part of a powerful three horse entry of Coco Lindy (winner of six out of seven last year) and Pilgrims Chuckie who may have a lesser set of credentials but has been racing quite well in the PASS. Facing Lucky Chucky is Holiday Road who is also making his first start of the year, prepping for this race with three qualifying victories including his most recent, a 1:54.2 effort. There are two other horse who can be heard from in this race, Muscle Massive (winner off the $200,000 NJSS championship) and Temple Of Doom (winner of a preliminary leg of the NJSS, defeating Muscle Massive). Despite Holiday Road and Lucky Chucky having morning lines of 2-1 or less, this race may very well be an interesting wagering race.
In the first division of the Jersey Cup on Saturday evening, there is a match up between Hoosier Cup winner World Of Rocknroll, who bypassed the NJSS final to race at Hoosier Park in the larger purse race, and BG's Folly who was the winner of the New Jersey Classic. No doubt the Hoosier Cup was one of the weaker fields they have had in its history, but this shouldn't take anything away from World Of Rocknroll who was able to win from the second tier in a twelve horse race. WOR didn't race well in the preliminary and final of the NJ Classic but he was a recipient of bad racing luck in both races. With a better post position, he may be live in this race. We also have Lou Pena trained Valentino who could have been the winner of the NJ Classic if he stayed flat; we likely will hear from this son of Rocknroll Hanover sometime this year.
In the second division of the Jersey Cup, Ideal Matters attempts to rebound from his poor performance in the North America Cup eliminations where he jumped off stride. I know a lot of people have high hopes for this horse, but I am still not convinced he will be one of the top tier horses in this division. Joining Ideal Matters is Rockin Image who prepped for this race with a blistering 1:52 on the Gaitway Farms training track. Nova Artist, who won a PASS tilt at Pocono Downs in his last start in 1:51.2, cannot be dismissed from contention.
Of course the big race of Grand Circuit week at the Meadowlands is the Titan Cup which features FFA trotters Lucky Jim, Enough Talk, Arch Madness and others to do battle in this race. Enough Talk came back from Sweden to win last week in the prep race in an upset but he may have reached his limit in that victory. The question is will Lucky Jim improve off his second place finish last week to challenge for the trophy? Arch Madness finished third off a two week layoff and can't be dismissed either.
Over at Yonkers Raceway, we have two eliminations for the Hudson and Yonkers Trots. Costa Rica is in the first elimination of the Hudson Trot and while you can't deny she is a very good filly, she was defeated in enough races last year that I will probably try to beat her this week. Spicy Wings with Cat Manzi will likely be my pick. The second elimination for the Hudson Trot is a match up between the division winners of the Lady Suffolk at Freehold Raceway back in May with Religulous and Sweespellosuccess meeting for bragging rights. Unfortunately for them, they will need to deal with Bramalea Hanover who ships in from Mohawk after doing battle in the Elegantimage.
In the Yonkers Trot eliminations, while the marquee horses are racing in the Dickerson Cup, some very nice three year old trotters are competing. On The Tab who finished second to Pilgrim Taj in a PASS race is my pick in the first elimination though Celebrity Bluechip and Shaq is Back will certainly be heard from in the mile. There will be a driver change on On The Tab as Marcuss Johansson was injured in a baby race at the Meadowlands on Friday and it is unknown when he will return as of this writing. The second elimination is extremely competetive with Senor Glide, Flex The Muscle, Big Stick Lindy, and Break The Bank K in this heat. My guess is the Schnittker entry will be competing for the win when all is said and done.
Last, but certainly not the least, is The Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park. This year they have put together an excellent field with Foiled Again, Pilgrims Toner, Hypnotic Blue Chip, and Won The West being the major contenders in this race. In this competitive race, I have to give the edge to the half mile specialist Foiled Again.
All in all, this is a "Can't Miss" weekend of racing for any serious racing fan. Try to catch as many of these races as possible.
Here are my early selections for these races. I will post my selections for the Betsy Ross and the weekend Tioga Downs cards in a subsequent post.
Meadowlands - Friday, July 2
1st Pace - $77,700; The Ladyship Stake - 3yo fillies
5 - BJ's Mayreau (D. Miller, 2-1)
2 - JK Sure I Can (Y. Gingras, 7-2)
1 - Best Boss (M. Lachance, 5-2)
2nd Trot - $80,900; Dickerson Cup - 3yo colts and geldings
5 - Muscle Massive (R. Pierce, 7-2)
2 - Holiday Road (B. Sears, 9-5)
1 - Lucky Chucky (T. Buter, 2-1)
3rd Trot - $72,400 - Coaching Club Trotting Oaks - 3yo fillies
5 - Southwind Samurai (P. Berry, 9-2)
6 - Glide Power (B. Sears, 2-1)
3 - Springtime Volo (G. Brennan, 5-2)
4th Pace - $37,900; Debutante Stake - 2yo fillies (1st Division)
5 - Ace Of Pace (G. Brennan, 7-2)
1A - So Perfect (R. Pierce, 9-2)
8 - Miss Annie J (A. Miller, 6-1)
2 - Crazy Luv Bug (D. Miller, 3-1)
6th Pace - $37,400; Debutante Stake - 2yo fillies (2nd Division)
3 - Live Inspired (B. Sears, 3-1)
2 - Whatrugonnado (G. Brennan, 7-2)
7 - Cold Mist (A. Miller, 5-1)
Meadowlands - Saturday, July 3
2nd Pace - $38,100 - Jersey Cup - 3yo colts and geldings (1st Division)
1A - World Of Rocknroll (A. Miller, 7-2)
3 - BG's Folly (B. Sears, 8-5)
4 - Valentino (G. Brennan, 9-5)
3rd Pace - $37,500 - Jersrey Cup - 3yo colts and geldings (2nd Division)
1 - Rockin Image (Y, Gingras, 5-1)
5 - Nova Artist (B. Sears, 3-1)
2 - Ideal Matters (8-5)
8th Pace - $235,750; Titan Cup Final - FFA
8 - Arch Madness (B. Sears, 3-1)
3 - Lucky Jim (A. Miller, 5-2)
6 - Enough Talk (R. Pierce, 4-1)
Yonkers Raceway - Saturday, July 3
4th Trot - $20,000; Hudson Trot Elimination - 3yo fillies
6 - Spicy Wings (C. Manzi, 3-1)
2 - Costa Rica (R. Pierce, 7-5)
3 - Secret Credit (J. Gregory, 5-1)
6th Trot - $20,000; Hudson Trot Elimination - 3yo fillies
3 - Bramalea Hanover (D. Miller, 7-5)
1A - Religulous (C. Manzi, 8-5)
5 - Sweetspellosuccess (T. Smedshammer, 6-1)
8th Trot - $40,000; Yonkers Trot Elimination - 3yo open
1A - On The Tab (TBA, 9-5)
3 - Celebrity Bluechip (J. Bartlett, 5-1)
6 - Shaq Is Back (R. Schnittker, 4-1)
9th Trot - $40,000; Yonkers Trot Elimination - 3yo open
2 - Big Stick Lindy (R. Schnittker, 8-5)
2A - Flex The Muscle (D. Miller, 8-5)
6 - Break The Bank K (T. Smedshmmer, 9-5)
1 - Senor Glide (R. Pierce, 5-1)
Northfield Park - Saturday, July 3
12th Pace - $100,000; The Battle of Lake Erie - FFA by Invitation
1 - Foiled Again (D. Palone, 2-1)
4 - Hypnotic Blue Chip (J. Jamieson, 6-1)
7 - Won The West (M. Kakaley, 4-1)
3 - Pilgrims Toner (T. Hall, 7-2)