Harness Racing Update reports that the Meadowlands deal is in jeopardy as the thoroughbred horsemen have still not approved the agreement with to reduce the racing schedule and the new purse structure. The thoroughbred horsemen also have a dispute with Freehold Raceway over simulcasting the races from Monmouth Park which threatens thoroughbred simulcasting throughout the state as New Jersey has a law which requires a simulcast offered to one track must be permitted at all tracks and wagering venues. Despite the concern, I still think the Meadowlands lease will go through. If push comes to shove, I think Christie will allow the Meadowlands lease to go through if Monmouth is tied up and we could see Monmouth Park shut down. Besides, I suspect Christie will make it clear to the thoroughbred horsemen the realities they face which will cause the horsemen to acquiesce.
Anyway, it is a big racing weekend in the Northeast. The Max Hempt Memorial will be raced on Saturday at Pocono Downs; The Empire Breeders Classic Prelims for trotters at Vernon Downs on Saturday; Tioga Downs hosts the EBC prelims for pacers on Sunday along with a couple of late closing events and a top notch open pace. But before we review those races, let's take a look at Saturday night's Pick 4 races at Cal-Expo. Also, don't forget the Molson Prelims at Western Fair on Friday night. I did tweak my selections in the Molson eliminations as I realized they score seven across and the eight horse races from the second tier so you may wish to look at my comments again. But in summary, here are my picks for the Molson eliminations:
Western Fair, Friday, May 20, 2011
6th Pace - $20,000; First elimination - Molson Pace FFA
6 - Legal Litigator (Macdonald, 9-2)
3 - Atochia (Gingras, 6-5)
5 - Art Professor (Jamieson, 7-5)
7 - Rock Me Please (Saftic, 7-1)
11th Pace - $20,000; Second elimination - Molson Pace FFA
7 - Ideal Race (Zeron, 10-1)
2 - Foiled Again (Gingras, 3-5)
8 - Aracache Hanover (Filion, 6-1)
6 - Lucky Man (Macdonald, 7-2)
Cal-Expo Pick 4 Review - Saturday, May 21
Early Pick 4 (15% take out; Races 4-7)
The fourth race looks to be a two horse race. My first choice is #1 Bronte who at 6-1 adds some value to the Pick 4. Of course, you would be foolish to leave out #5 Quick On My Feet. If you want to go a little deeper in this race, I would look at #2 Heartland Express who move s to the inside for the first time after three weeks drawing post five and out. In the fifth race, I need to go three deep with my first choice is #4 Myra's Hiho. After Myra's Hiho, I would go with #5 The Deadliestcatch and #3 She Is So Glad. The sixth race is my single where I will select #3 Tutiming Gal. If you are looking to go a little deeper, I would include #2 Arts Spice who at 12-1 can boost the pay off. In the seventh race finale to the early Pick 4, there is a definite single here and that would be #2 Know The Pro who won in an easier conditioned claiming pace; I'll take the chance he can handle the hike up in conditions.
Selections: 1,5/3,4,5/3/2 - $6 ticket
Late Pick 4 ($15,000 guaranteed pool; 15% take out [0% for tickets purchased at Cal-Expo or thru Twin Spires], Races 11-14)
The eleventh race looks chalky and I will use two horses on my ticket. #5 Lucky Peterson, who came flying four wide from last at the half to win returns to the same class. My other choice, #2 Itza Free For All followed the top choice to finish second, but this time moves inside of Lucky Peterson. In the twelfth race, #4 Steady As A Rock is my top pick at 10-1 as I disregard his last trip when driven by David Siegel; the horse races better when driven by a regular driver. I need to include #8 Exit Hanover and #1 Accent Seelster. Yes, #1 has the aforementioned driver David Siegel but from the rail, I expect him to leave and try to hold them off at the end. In addition Accent Seelster does drop from open claiming into a conditioned claiming event. The thirteenth race is a wide-open affair and I look to use #1 Barona Destiny, #4 Britts, and #9 Seventh Sin on my ticket. If we are alive by the fourteenth race, I am going to let it ride on one horse, #4 Ogs Si Bon who hasn't raced well of late, but the last time he was in this class on April 8, she did win.
Selections: 2,5/1,4,8/1,4,9/4 - $18 ticket
Pocono Downs, Saturday, May 21
The Hempt Memorial is is going to be a very interesting race. Last week's elimination was marred with breakers throughout the mile. In some ways, you just need to toss the race out.
10th Pace - $300,000; Max C. Hempt Final - 3yo Colts and Geldings
1 - Sharp West Hanover (Buter, 20-1) - Was out of it before wiped out. Pass.
2 - Pan From Nantucket (Merriman, 10-1) - Jumped at start last week but won PASS last week. Hard to gauge.
3 - Vegas Rusty (Napolitano, 9-2) - On the way to upset win when impeded in stretch. Can't ignore.
4 - Reckless Ric (Parker, 15-1) - Far back entire mile. Pass.
5 - Movie Idol (Callahan, 4-1) - Upset winner won despite being impeded. Possibility
6 - Prana (Palone, 3-1) - Raced better last year but just rode the rail last week. Your guess?
7 - Powerful Mist (Pavia, 7-2) - Race not bad considering first start. Expect improvement.
8 - Smile A Little (McCarthy, 8-1) - Interference break at start but managed to finish third. Could be the one.
9 - Custard The Dragon (Teagure, 6-1) - Broke in stretch interfering with most of field in last. Before that looked very good. Lands share.
* - Dana's Sharp Smart (Kakaley, AE) - Was leading into the stretch and then jumped. If he draws in he's my pick.
Selections: AE- 8-7-5-9
Tioga Downs, Sunday, May 22
While the whole card looks good on Sunday at Tioga, we are only going to look at the EBC Prelims, the two late closing finals and a bang up Open. The eighth race is a race which may be a precursor to the 3yo Pacer of the Year award as there are a few top colts in the race. We will cover these races in race number order. While I am not handicapping all the races, remember on Sundays, Tioga Downs has a $10,000 guaranteed Pick 6 on the last six races on the card. Horses will be listed in post position order.
2nd Trot - $33,000; Morrisville College Sales Final - 3yo Colts
2 - Biz Z Million (Aldrich, 6-1) - Finished 2nd in both legs and draws the rail. Live horse.
1 - Ooga Booga (Simpson, 7-2) - Trounced in PASS in last; won first leg from the outside. Definite threat.
3 - Dream Lake (Paquet, 8-1) - When he's good he's good, when bad he's bad. Which one shows up this week?
4 - I Love New York (Grismore, 5-2) - No chance in PASS, a possibility here.
5 - Back From Vacation (Fluet, 8-1) - Has yet to throw in a bad race but won in a slow mile last week.
1A - Take Heart (A Miller, 7-2) - Outclassed in Simpson last week, but won first week. This race won't be as easy.
6 - Proud Accolade (Gregory, 10-1) - Ran out of steam last week and draws outside. Pass.
7 - Warp Drive (Schillaci, 10-1) - Would need a blistering pace to close late to be a factor.
8 - Tober (Di Benedetto, 9-2) - Can't rule this one out even from post nine. Consider if odds are long.
5th Pace - $16,500; Open I Handicap
1 - Cactus Creek (Bartlett, 8-1) - Monticello shipper conquered top class there. Deserves shot. Note set lifetime record here last year.
2 - Winbak Dimensions (Kakaley, 8-1) - Came back strong winning two straight. This is a much tougher group.
3 - Goose Creek (Sears, 5-1) - Crushed in Spa Open. This may be a little easier, but I will pass.
4 - Dry Gulch (Gregory, 7-2) - Running out of gas of late, but draws better. Don't ignore.
5 - Vlos (A Miller, 9-2) - Has had a hard time coming back but if he makes the gate; can take it all.
6 - Lahaye (Brennan, 3-1) - Should wake up here. Lands share.
7 - Storyeum (Hensley, 4-1) - Won this class last week but this is tougher. However, can't totally rule out.
6th Pace - $12,500; Empire Breeders Classic Elim - 3yo Fillies 1st Division
1 - Miss Annie J (Bartlett, 9-2) - Figures to improve but not enough in this division.
2 - Swinging Beauty (Zeron, 15-1) - Grand Circuit filly figures to benefit from her first start. Lands share.
3 - See You At Peelers (Johansson, 8-5) - Makes first start but it would be a major upset to derail her. One to beat. No value.
4 - Character Flaw (Kakaley, 3-1) - Must respect her Simpson victory. Needs fast pace to have a shot.
5 - Sight To See (Sears, 20-1) - Trounced in a step up last week. This is tougher. Pass.
6 - JK Geronimo (Marohn, 20-1) - Has been racing credibly against older. Always a plus. Should advance to next week.
7 - Whats New Pussycat (Brennan, 6-1) - Lexington winner makes second start. Post doesn't help chances.
8 - Winbak Corazon (Fluet, 10-1) - Post eliminates.
8th Pace - $12,500; Empire Breeders Classic Elim - 3yo Colts and Geldings 1st Division
1 - Roadside Delight (Brennan, 9-2) - Prepped well in speedy fashion at Chester. Will be in the Exacta.
2 - Major Way (Bartlett, 12-1) - Tough spot to make his debut.
3 - Sir Ziggy's Z Tam (Lachance, 6-1) - Has credentials but this is a tough division. May complete Trifecta
4 - Feel Like A Fool (Sears, 3-1) - After last week's seasonal debut, how do you ignore him? You don't.
5 - Nukes Art (Lancaster, 20-1) - This is a huge class hike. Pass.
6 - Bombay Away (Caruso, 8-1) - Came back strong as a three year old but will be tested for class here.
7 - Townslight Hanover (McCarthy, 5-1) - Nice debut but another one being tested for class.
8 - Fashion Delight (D Miller, 7-2) - Tough spot for his seasonal debut.
9 - American Arena (Allard, 8-1) - A perfect 3 for 3 lifetime. Perfect record ends today.
10th Pace - $12,500; Empire Breeders Classic Elim - 3yo Fillies 2nd Division
1 - My Girl's A Star (Schnittker, 8-1) - No chance in last, will be firing from the start.
2 - Dreamlands Roxy (Gregory, 5-1) - Has not shown 2yo form.
3 - New Album (Brennan, 6-1) - Looks to be the best of them. One to beat.
4 - Song In A Major (Merton, 15-1) - Faded in Simpson. Don't expect better this week.
5 - Soutwind Jazmin (A Miller, 3-1) - Appears to have improved over 2yo form. Will be a major threat.
6 - Asteria Blue Chip (Bartlett, 9-2) - Solid second place finish from an impossible post in debut. Can't ignore.
7 - Shyaway (D Miller, 8-1) - Must show he belongs with these.
8 - Some Girls Do (Sears, 7-2) - Can't deny these credentials but draws the worst of it.
11th Pace - $34,200 - The Kenneth J Pace Final - 3yo Colts and Geldings
1 - All Tricked Out (Di Benedetto, 5-1) - Swept both legs and draws rail. Obvious contender.
2 - JK Camelot (A Miller, 7-2) - Just missed last week in faster mile. Can pull the minor upset.
3 - Black Ace Hanover (Sears, 3-1) - Won both legs and speedier than #1. The one to beat.
4 - Gotta Love Him (Kakaley, 8-1) - Will have a much tougher time this week.
5 - Nathan Feelsgood (Hensley, 9-2) - Raced well and picks up Hensley. Does the driver change do it?
6 - Tyler Hanover (Pavia, 6-1) - Consistent sort but would like better from inner post.
7 - Willie's Dragon (D Miller, 10-1) - Not off last start.
8 - Colossal (Merton, 12-1) - Post takes a contender and eliminates him.
9 - Reflection Of Blue (Bartlett, 8-1) - Post rules out.
12th Pace - $12,500; Empire Breeders Classic - 3yo Colts and Geldings 2nd Division
1 - Mosee Terror (Kakaley, 8-1) - Appears to be ambitiously placed.
2 - Upfront Missys Boy (Gregory, 15-1) - Seems to be over his head.
3 - Samandar (Sears, 7-2) - Two sharp qualifiers. Will he win on first start back?
4 - Flipper J (Bartlett, 9-2) - NYSS horse fits here. Lands part.
5 - Fantaddy (Zeron, 3-1) - Raced well in Wdb7/8 late closer. Will be a factor.
6 - Bettor's Green (Grismore, 8-1) - Raced poorly in same late closer as #5; pass.
7 - Mat's Delight (Schnittker, 10-1) - Couldn't keep up with monster in last. Hasn't shown much.
8 - Lucky Cadet (A Miller, 10-1) - Has raced well in local late closer but may not be enough.
9 - Sir Jonathan Z Tam (Lachance, 5-1) - Nice seasonal debut at Meadowlands but post eliminates.