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Friday, February 19, 2010

Winter Late Closing Finals, Reunion Weekend

This weekend at the Meadowlands marks the conclusion of four late closing events, marking the end of the deep winter portion of the meet.  Friday night brings us the final of the Cape & Cutter for Open Mares; Saturday night brings us the finals of the Exit 16W (4yo and under non-winners of 3 or $100K as of November 15, 2009), Junior Trendsetter (3yo and non-winners of 2 or $20,000 as of November 15,200), and the Aquarius (4yo Open).  With no horse standing out in any of these races (Native Bride was scratched from the Cape & Cutter), I don't believe we will be seeing any odds on favorites winning. 

Here are my early selections for this quartet of finals:

Meadowlands - Friday, February 19, 2010
5th Race - Pace; $80,000 Cape & Cutter Final (Open Mares)
7 - Ginger and Fred     (4-1) - Pulls off minor upset.
3 - Chancey Lady        (3-1) - May be overbet and is beatable.
1 - Ramona Disomma  (5-1) - Completes trifecta; steady sort can improve finish.
Scratched: 5 - Native Bride

Meadowlands - Saturday, February 20, 2010
6th Race - Pace; $88,000 Exit 16W Final (4 year olds & under, stallions and geldings) 6 - In Over My Head   (3-1) - Undefeated since his return.  Should go 3-3 this year.
10 - Real Joke              (5-1) - Good recovery from break.  Post no hinderance; completes exacta.
 7 - Majestic Jackpot    (6-1) - Beat by top choice in last; use in exotics.

8th Race - Pace; $76,500 Junior Trendsetter Final (3 year olds, colts and geldings)
3 - Rush of Fools     (15-1) - Can shock in very competitive race if overland route is avoided.
7 - Native Treasure  (10-1) - Made two moves before faltering in last; threat with better trip.
6 - BG's Folly            (9-2) - Can win if top choices falters.

10th Race - Pace; $80,000 Aquarius Final (4 year old Open)
2 - Keep It Real     (3-1) -  Just missed in last; picks up JC.
4 - Riover Shark    (5-2) - Completes chalky exacta.
7 - Go Go Solano  (5-1) - Best of rest.

Saturday night also kicks off the Roosevelt Raceway reunion weekend at Pompano Park. While the formal reunion event is Sunday evening, Saturday night brings nostalgia to Pompano. The racetrack will be showing racing highlights from Roosevelt between their races and will be featuring drivers and trainers from Roosevelt signing autographs and selling souvenirs for the benefit of the Standardbred Retirement Foundation. With a large population of New York transplants living in the area, it should be a busy evening at Pompano.

Pompano also has two divisions of the Mildred Williams Ladies Driving Championship on Saturday night. Being a person who feels women (given the opportunity) can drive as well as a man, hopes the day comes when we have women driving regularly at our major racetracks; making events like the Mildred Williams series unnecessary. The thoroughbred industry has embraced women jockeys, why we haven't embraced women drivers puzzles me. We have women training at the highest levels of our sport, we should be encouraging women to drive and earn their way to compete at our major tracks. Not only is it the right thing to do, women drivers also helps us promote the sport to women.

NEWS ITEM: Christie Vetoes SBOANJ BudgetGovernor Christie has vetoed a 5.6% increase in the budget of the SBOANJ and a 19.8% increase in the budget of the TBOA (thoroughbred).  These budgets were approved in the January meeting of the NJRC.  Being a significant portion of the funding comes from the takeout on wagers placed, the racing commission needs to approve the respective breed association budgets.

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