The standardbred stakes season kicks off in earnest today with the finals of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Memorial pacing series at Yonkers Raceway, part of the first round of HANA Harness' The Pen vs. The Chip Handicapping Challenge - The Road to the Breeders Crown, races which feature FFA pacers of both sexes.
In addition, the three year olds get into gear this weekend with The Courageous Lady for 3yo pacing fillies at Northfield Park. This afternoon, 3yo trotting colts and geldings will be vying for the six open slots in an elimination for The Dexter Cup which will be contested at Freehold Raceway next Saturday (also part of HANA Harness' handicapping challenge).
Here are my selections for each of these races; listed in order of their anticipated post time.
9th Fhld - Trot - $46,100; Dexter Cup Elimination - (Top six advance; Frostbite K and Southwind Austin received byes)
6 - Market Share (Gregory, 5-2) - Makes seasonal debut off strong qualifiers. Wins at first asking.
1 - Astarsborn Hanover (Tetrick, 5-1) - Off to slow start but Schnittker has been owning this race of late; consider.
3 - Trouble (A Miller, 7-2) - Raced credibly in Survivor Series. Has ability on the half mile
4 - Not Afraid (Takter, 9-2) - Second in last two legs of Survivor Series. May very well improve ranking.
Coupled: #1 - Astarsborn Hanover, #1A - On The Podium
7th YR - Pace - $297,000; Bluechip Matchmaker Series Final - FFA Mares (No Show Wagering)
1 - Rocklamation (Gingras, 5-1) - Will ride pocket and try to pounce at the end.
2 - See You At Peelers (Sears, 4-5) - Will get the lead easily. Question is will she get pressured or not?
3 - Androvette (Tetrick, 3-1) - Don't believe last line at all. Will have her "A' game ready.
Coupled: #1 Rocklamation, #1A - Ginger And Fred
9th YR - Pace - $455,000; George Morton Levy Memorial Series Final - FFA
2 - Blatantly Good (Brennan, 8-1) - Takes advantage of the post; possible upset.
1 - Atochia (Pierce, 6-5) - Gets good position and makes move in stretch; enough?
1A - Foiled Again (Gingras, 6-5) - Week off and bad draw comprimises chance.
3 - Art Z (B. Miller, 6-1) - Completes trifecta with a good trip.
Coupled: #1 - Atochia, #1A - Foiled Again
11th Nfld - Pace - $86,000; The Courageous Lady - 3yo Fillies
5 - Frontierpan (Wilder, 4-1) - Has tightner under belt. Slight nod
2 - Destiny's Chance (Palone, 2-1) - Can win it all; can't play at these odds.
7 - Darena Hanover (Hall, 6-1) - Love the horse; hate the post. Don't ignore.
1 - Podges Lady (Stahl, 7-2) - Completes superfecta with the rail.