In a Reynolds stake last night (7/30) at the Meadowlands, Hambletonian-bound Southwind Frank scored a convincing victory in 1:52.1 over a sloppy oval, starting from post position eleven. Frank was parked the first half mile before being able to go into cruise control the rest of the way. No doubt he is ready for the Hambletonian
Tomorrow, we learn how many horses drop into the Hambletonian. Fourteen horses dropping in the box will result in elimination heats prior to the final while thirteen or fewer horses head directly to the final. My guess is after Southwind Frank's performance Saturday night, there won't be any need for same-day eliminations.
As impressive as Southwind Frank was, one has to have their eyes wide-open after seeing Racing Hill's 1:48.4 off-track victory in the Adios. Tony Alagna's Racing Hill had to defeat five horses from the Burke stable and he went through blistering fractions being parked in :25.1, :52.1 before getting the lead and followed it up by getting a breather in the third quarter to reach that marker in 1:20.3 before winning in hand.
Understandably, after this race, Racing Hill will be skipping the Cane Pace at the Meadowlands for a little freshening. Believe me, after this mile, he deserves a break.
Savor this week's Hambletonian Day card for if some reason the expanded gaming referendum in New Jersey fails, next year's Hambletonian Day will be a mere shadow of this year's card. Oh, and for those who feel strongly one way or the other about second tier and lengthier races, note as many as six of the races on the Hambletonian Day card could end up being contested at 9 furlongs.
Monday (August 1) is Industry Day at Grand River Raceway and as part of the day, there is an $11,000 RUS Handicap on the card, programmed as Race 3. With many ADWs covering Grand River Raceway, let's take a look at the field for the one mile dash.
Monday, Grand River Raceway
3rd Trot - $11,000; RUS Handicap
1 Callie Magoo (Habke, 12-1) - Gets rider change after disappointing finish. Don't see this one winning.
2 Gracies Harmony (Enberg, 10-1) - Scratched two weeks straight; concern about fitness Appears 'ouchy', pass.
3 Ospry Vision (Brand, 7-1) - Finished 3rd in RUS qualifier. Seems to always land a share.
4 Southwind Alice (Harms, 7-2) - Three race win streak came to an end last start. Looks to start over.
5 Fashion Goddess (Kennedy, 2-1) - Won last in 1:55 in sulky. Broke in RUS qualifier here. Your call. I'll pass.
6 Muscle Matters (Town, 8-5) - Won last RUS in 2:01.1, then won in Grand River qualifier for a rider. The one to beat.