The Empire Breeders Classic finals for 3yo pacers are being held today at Tioga Downs with the finals for 3yo trotters being held on Memorial Day at Vernon Downs. Before we discuss those races, let's review some of the stakes action from Saturday.
The Meadowlands conducted a pair of $200,000 NJSS finals for three year old pacers yesterday and the favorites did not disappoint with Put On A Show (1:50.1) and Rock N Roll Heaven (1:48.3) winning their respective races.
Put On A Show's victory was an exciting affair. She was sixth at the quarter and then made a bold three wide move past the half to take the lead and then managed to hold off a stretch challenge from Naughytiltheend in a thrilling finish.
No doubt Put On A Show will be one of the leading three year old pacing fillies this year, but Naughtytiltheend who did not race as a two year old seems to be developing into a nice filly as well. However, the horse that seems to have a lot of potential is the green BJ's Mayreau. While she finished fourth in the final and did not really present a challenge to the top two finishers, she showed be a lot of ability for a green horse. Prior to the final, BJ's Mayreau had only two pari-mutuel starts so it was not realistic to expect her to vanquish the Put On A Show and Naughtytiltheend. However, given a few more races, I suspect she will be able to challenge the top fillies as the season moves on.
In the $200,000 NJSS final for the boys, Rock N Roll Heaven won his race convincingly in 1:48.3. While the race line shows he got the lead after the quarter, it doesn't show he was challenged and overtaken briefly by A J Corbelli before Corbelli got rough gaited and surrendered the rail allowing Rock N Roll Heaven to take the lead once again. While BJ's Mayreau showed a lot of ability in her race, I suspect we may have seen the best from Ideal Matters. With the pressure Rock N Roll Heaven had to deal with in the race, I would have thought Ideal Matters would have been able to offer some type of challenge in the stretch.
Meanwhile, World of Rocknroll made the right decision to bypass the NJSS final and race in the $500,000 Hoosier Cup to come off the pace and win in 1:50.3. World of Rocknroll came from the second tier and was able to manage through the traffic to come home in a :27.3 last quarter and win by three lengths. For those who argue about a second tier, it whould be noted that three horses started from the second tier in this race and two of them finished 1-2.
The Meadowlands drivers head to Tioga Downs today for the EBC finals and they promise to be exciting races. Here is my analysis of those races plus the two EBC finals for Monday at Vernon Downs. At the end of this entry, you will see my selections for the balance of today's Tioga and tomorrow's Vernon Downs races.
Sunday, May 30 - Tioga Downs
8th Pace - $202,200; Empire Breeders Classic - 3yo fillies
4 - Barks Like A Dog (3-1) - Winner last week should go wire to wire once again; this time with Brennan.
3 - Hula's Z Tam (2-1) - Expect her stretch kick will fall short.
2 - Galimony (4-1) - Should complete the triffecta.
9th Pace - $217,250; Empire Breeders Classic - 3yo colts and geldings
2 - Malicous (2-1) - Should win easily as he gets ready to move into open stakes company.
5 - Jo Pa's Fod (9-2) - Once again finishes behind the top choice.
8 - OK Commander (8-1) - Post hampers possibility for a better finish. Expect to hear more from him as season progresses.
Monday, May 31 - Vernon Downs
6th Trot - $235,900; Empire Breeders Classic - 3yo colts and geldings
1 - Big Stick Lindy (5-2) - Will be competing stablemate for the finish.
3 - Whata Winner (7-2) - Overcame post eight last week only to get Dq'd. No mistake this week; can challenge.
1A - Shaq is Back (5-2) - Completes powerful stable entry.
6 - Strong Hope (8-1) - Best chance for an upset shocker.
8th Trot - $234,900 - Empire Breeders Classic - 3yo fillies
3 - Impressive Kemp (7-2) - Makes his claim to be one of the better 3yos this season with this race.
4 - Southwind Samurai (5-2) - Should improve off first start last time. Is it enough to overtake #3?
1 - To Lindy's Credit (9-2) - Ready to take advantage if top choices falter.
For those interested, here are my selections for the balance of these cards.
Tioga Downs - Sunday, May 30
1st - Yankee Gospel, Grey Ice, Victor's Story (5-9-2)
2nd - Real Houdini, P L Dragon, Chatty Kathy (2-6-1)
3rd - Happy Jackson Plus, Wygant Prince, Oh No It's Steveo (6-7-5)
4th - Capital Blue Chip, Morgan Starn, It'sabouttime, Counter Top (1-6-3-8)
5th - Kentucky Wildcat, Royal Taga, Rules Little Man (1-5-7)
6th - Scorpion Moon, Jon Win, Andover America (6-3-5)
7th - Ten Yard Penalty, Cross Creek Photo, Bridal Vail, Camelot Kosmos (2-6-5-7)
10th - Doc's All Class, Slated For Success, Heidi Falls, Sago (3-7-5-2)
Vernon Downs - Monday, May 31
1st - Munis Blue Chip, Opaline, Nothing But Moni (6-3-4)
2nd - Steamship Round, Mr Express, Bruce Kav (4-2-1)
3rd - Artistic Memory, George The Animal, Hammers Sammys Toy (4-3-9)
4th - Kommander Hawk, Fit Happens, Kingsandqueens, Sterling Rocket (3-1-7-4)
5th - Stettin Hanover, Daley Deposit Only, Bet On Roulette (2-1-4)
7th - Chianaglia, J T Arturo, Touch Of The Past, Up Front Rudy (2-4-1-9)
9th - Outlaw Blues, Hay Goodlooking, Yankee Arnie (2-5-7)
10th - Village Blizzard, Miracle Freeluck, Blue Cam Rock (5-8-3)
11th - Bucky B Skipalong, The Grey Bullet, Soldier Boy, National Artchive (8-1-7-5)