The Meadowlands presents a troika of late closing finals on Saturday night with the $117,000 Presidential final being the first major test of FFAllers in the United State for 2010. While this FFA event misses some of the stars of the FFA ranks (taking time off), the Presidential still represents a solid field of aged pacers currently in training. In addition to the Presidential, the $90,000 Complex and Clyde Hirt finals will also be contested.
While it is early in the meet and will likely change, the dreaded ten hole is not the post of doom it traditionally is thus far. If you ignore post position eleven with only four starts, the ten hole has the second best win percentage (11.5%) thus far, trailing just post position five with its 17.7% win percentage. The statistics are more in line with the norm when you look at the percentages for place and show. The track has also been favoring speed as statistics are showing very few horses are coming from off the pace thus far. So if you have a horse coming out of the ten hole with early speed, as of now it is much harder to dismiss it. These and more interesting handicapping statistics are available from the Meadowlands website.
Here are my preliminary selections for the major races on Saturday's Meadowlands card. Depending on the odds of these horses, the actual plays may be different. Program pages for the Presidential, Complex, and Clyde Hirt are available here for free.
3rd Race - Pace - $30,000 Open
7 - Beau Rivage N (8-1) - Can upset with trip and has been racing credibly against better FFAllers in IL.
4 - Poker Hat (5-1) - Gone three overland trips in a row. A little luck can seal the victory.
3 - Tarver Hanover (4-1) - Fastest of all in last start but is stepping up.
6th Race - Pace - $117,000 Presidential Final - FFA
6 - Western Shore (5-2) - Lack of early speed inside seals the victory.
7 - Jeremy's Successor (9-2) - Second best in field.
3 - Noble Falcon (10-1) - Ability to pick up the pieces.
9th Race - Pace - $90,000 Complex Final - 5yo and under; nw4 ext pm races or $125,000 lifetime as of 11/15/09
5 - Pacinello (9-2) - Won off a month layoff. Should be sharper and looks to repeat.
4 - Real Image (3-1) - Riding two race win streak with these. Will be there if top pick falters.
10 - Intheblinkofaneye (8-1) - Will be flying late to pick up the show spot.
6 - F Train (7-2) - Picks up the final placing with his consistent efforts.
10th Race - Pace - $90,000 Clyde Hirt Final - 4yo and under stallion and geldings; nw 3 ext pm or $75,000 lifetime as of 11/15/09; Coupled - Start Party, Tommy Tiger, Magicmaker Hanover; Pantastic Guy, Going Native
7 (pp 10) - Majestic Jackpot (4-1) - Looked good with two move effort last; can follow for victory.
6 (pp 9) - Real Joke (6-5) - Three race win streak; will be over bet.
2 (pp 2) - Pantastic Guy (8-1) - Upset chance with favorable post draw.