This is a big weekend for standardbred racing. Starting off with the FFAllers, Saturday evening brings us the Cutler Memorial for FFA trotters while the Graduate highlights the FFA pacers at the Meadowlands. In addition to those races, three year olds take to the stage in the Simpson Memorial for 3yo trotters at Vernon Downs (selections here) with the 3yo pacers strutting their stuff in the Simpson Memorial tilts Sunday at Tioga Downs.
The Cutler Memorial brings us Lucky Jim as he make his final start before shipping over to Sweden for the Elitloppt. Lucky Jim is the likely winner here with Arch Madness looking to upset the gelding. In Focus is my selection to pick up the third spot.
In the Graduate, I am counting on Won The West to finally be at his peak to nose out Shark Gesture at the wire to win the Graduate. Share The Delight needed the last race and despite the bad post, is my selection to pick up the show honors.
Turning to the Sunday card at Tioga Downs, 3yo pacers take the stage in the Simpson Memorial. Here are my selections for the two 3yo filly divisions and the once colt and gelding division.
2nd Pace - $30,143; 1st Division - Simpson Memorial - 3yo fillies
2 - Dancinwithhestarz (8-5) - Filly victorious in PASS at the Meadows. Filly has definite class edge over these.
6 - Shaky Hanover (5-2) - Filly knocked off two nice qualifiers at Chester. May be need another race before being able to handle the top pick.
5 - O Lucky Me (3-1) - Has no luck drawing in with the top two choices but has been racing well of all year. Definite chance to complete the triple.
5th Pace - $30,143; 2nd Division - Simpson Memorial - 3yo fillies
4 - Galimony (2-1) - Missed end of last year due to illness. Sharp qualifier says she's ready for her return.
1 - Feeling You (1-1) - Swept Pocono late closing series. Only one horses to beat.
3 - Thesantafe Express (10-1) - Best of rest.
8th Pace - $42,277 - Simpson Memorial - 3yo colts and geldings
4 - Golden Time (9-2) - Been consistent all year. That's enough in this suspect field.
5 - Eagle Jolt (2-1) - Ran out of steam in his last race at the Spa. Prior at Meadowlands not bad.
7 - Hemer's Card Shark (8-1) - Race credible for the most part in the Matts Scooter. Post hurts chances.
Looking elsewhere, the question is "If you offer the government money in order to get what you want, is it a bribe?" In the past, Harrah's unsuccessfully offered Iowa money to permit them to end greyhound racing at their two tracks. In the latest installment, Canterbury Downs, after having their earlier campaign to get casino gambling at their thoroughbred track turned down, has now offered the state of Minnesota a $100 million dollar 'fee' if the state approves casino gambling for the track this year. My guess is this offer will be turned down as accepting the offer would prove to the citizens of the state that their legislature is for sale. Now, if Canterbury Park, had the proposed legislation written to include a one time $100 million licensing fee...
Carol Hodes writes about the possibility it will be necessary to assess fees from participants in racing to help fund programs to provide for standardbreds who no longer are racing. It is only a matter of time until the industry 'must' pony up to address a problem it helped create.
For those looking to take advantage of the lower takeout rates at Tioga, here are my picks for the balance of their Sunday card.
1st Trot - $4,000; Non-winners of 1 (Mares 2) pari-mutuel race lifetime
4 - Pomeroy 5-2
5 - Guess Again 5-1
1 - Fast Mail 12-1
3rd Trot - $4,800; Non-winners of 2 (Mares 3) pari--mutuel races lifetime
1 - Asabi Hanover 7-2
7 - Iroquoindianattack 9-2
2 - Sofucius 8-1
4th Pace - $5,800; $10,000 Claiming
4 - Mattsamack 4-1
7 - Fit Happens 5-1
9 - Artful Sky 12-1
8 - Burl Hanover 3-1
6th Pace - $4,500; $7,500 Claiming
4 - Real Yankee 12-1
5 - ML's Boy 5-2
8 - Powerful Boy 3-1
7th Pace - $9,500; Class B
1 - Dream Big Ed 5-1
2 - Kashability 3-1
6 - Opan Heart 8-1
5 - Waltrip Hanover 5-1
9th Pace - $3,800; $5,000 Claiming
1 - JK Born To Run 3-1
2 - Savanah Scion 2-1
5 - Life Of Rody 20-1
10th Pace - $14,000; Class A Handicap
7 - Cactus Creek 5-2
6 - That's Justice 7-2
4 - Sheer Brilliance 8-1
11th Pace - $6,300; Class C
3 - Change Your Luck 8-1
5 - Alexanderthegreat N 3-1
1 - Coris Lucky Guy 5-1
12th Pace - $3,600; Class C-2
8 - Daisy's Shark 5-2
7 - True Magic 9-2
5 - Cruisomatic 8-1
13th Pace - $3,400; $4,000 Claiming
2 - Mike And Jim 3-1
4 - Gaje 5-1
1 - Kritzer Hanover 7-2
3 - Conjugal Visit 9-2