For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Historic Week Kicks-off

The Grand Circuit rolls into the Meadowlands this week for the first time, racing the stakes races which used to be held at Historic Track in Goshen. Historic Week at the Meadowlands highlights two year olds so we will see plenty of green horses take to the track this week. Here is a review of the stakes races being conducted today and tomorrow at the Meadowlands.

Meadowlands, Wednesday June 30, 2010
2nd Race – Trot - $83,800; Acorn Stake – 2 year old fillies
  1 - Electra Blue Chip (3-1) – Finished fourth in NJSS debut and is part of a four horse entry.
1A - Jezzy (3-1) – Makes pari-mutual debut off of two impressive qualifiers. Has the potential to be a good one.
1B – Medusa Blue Chip (3-1) – Respectable :28 last quarter in last. May land share.
1C – Epona Blue Chip (3-1) – Closes fast off slower fractions. Not here.
  2 – Ladylike Volo (10-1) – Debut was not impressive. Pass.
  3 – Global Desire (6-5) – Winner of NJSS event. Seems far ahead of these at this time. 
  4 – Don’t Cry Lindy (15-1) - Jumped in pari-mutuel debut. Pass.
  5 – Guatemala (8-1) – Must show a lot more before seriously considering.  
  6 – Oakiedokie Hanover (5-1) – Two nice qualifiers at Gaitway. Now tries the big track. Don’t ignore.
  7 – Fandango Dancer (8-1) – Finished third in debut against top pick. Can improve off of that.
Selections: 3-1A-7

Meadowlands, Thursday, July 1, 2010
3rd Race – Trot - $44,100; E.H. Harriman Cup (1st Division) – 2 year old colts and geldings
  1 – High Pan Tolerance (9-5) – Comes off of two strong qualifiers. May advance here.
1A – Musclelaneous (9-5) – Just missed in NJSS. Should pick up first win here.  
  2 – Ice Machine (12-1) – May not keep up with a faster pace.
  3 – Zooming (5-1) – Raced greenly in last. Need to see more.
  4 – Forceful Action (8-1) – Seems to have a problem finishing mile.
  5 – Evil Urges (8-1) – Ships in from mid-west for first pari-mutuel start. One to watch.
  6 – Celebrity Bombay (9-2) – Big improvement in last when flat. Must mind manners to consider.
  7 – That’s A Check (3-1) – Decent debut in first pari-mutuel start. Respect.
Selections: 1A-1-5-7

5th Race - Trot $44,100; E.H. Harriman Cup (2nd Division) – 2 year old colts and geldings
1 – Consus Blue Chip (10-1) – Rail may improve chances but don’t see.
2 – Wellington Hall (12-1) – Has not been particularly competitive in the AM.
3 – Leader Of The Gang (5-2) – Winner of NJSS in crisp 1:58. Must include.
4 – Gunga Win (3-1) – Just missed against #3 and draws much better. Can reverse the finish.
5 – Getmorechips (15-1) – Faded in pari-mutuel debut. Pass.
6 – Whit (8-1) – Midwest shipper will need to pick up his game. Not impossible.
7 – Magnum Kosmos (4-1) – PA bred horse can win it all in first pari-mutuel start.
8 – Tiger’s Too Good (5-1) – Wouldn’t surprise but draws the worst.
Selections: 7-4-3

Out in Pittsburgh, the PA Sire Stakes are underway for three year old trotting fillies in addition to a couple of stallion series aces for 2yo trotting fillies. For those who may be interested, here are my selections for these races.

The Meadows, Wednesday, June 30, 2010
1st Trot - $20,000; Stallion Series - 2yo fillies (1st div)
1 – Aucune Hanover 7-2
4 – It’s Over Hanover 3-1
2 – Timocracy 6-1

4th Trot - $20,000; Stallion Series – 2yo fillies (2nd div)
6 – Newtech 4-1
1 – Easy Agenda 7-5
5 – Hawaiian Sweetie 5-2

6th Trot - $84,744; PASS – 3yo fillies (1st div)
4 – Merger Blue Chip 2-1
9 – Easy Dream 3-1
1 – Bunny Tech 20-1

8th Trot - $84,744; PASS – 3yo fillies (2nd div)
8 – Secret Magic 5-1
3 – Christiana Hanover 12-1
2 – Top Photo 5-1

10th Trot - $84,744; PASS – 3yo fillies (3rd div)
9 – Crown Laurel 5-1
4 – Barham Hanover 6-1
8 – Spicy Wings 5-2

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Preview of the Future?

To highlight the anxiety people are feeling wondering what is in the report the Christie commission is scheduled to deliver on June 30, take a look at Wednesday night's card at the Meadowlands. This may be a preview of what racing may look like at the Meadowlands next year without a purse enhancement or slot revenue.

The feature race is the second race, the $83,800 Acorn Stakes for 2yo trotting fillies which highlights the first night of Grand Circuit racing at the Meadowlands. Here is a list of the other races on the card that evening:

1st Race - $10,000 Trot - 2 year olds colts and geldings - non-winners of 1 pm race lifetime
2nd Race - The previously mentioned Acorn Stakes
3rd Race - $10,000 Trot - 2 year old fillies - non-winners of 1 pm race lifetime
4th Race - $10,000 Pace - $10,000 claiming
5th Race - $9,200 Trot - $15,000 claiming
6th Race - $10,000 Pace - $10,000 claiming
7th Race - $11,500 Trot - Non-winners $6,500 last five starts
8th Race - $8,000 Pace - $10,000 claiming; fillies and mares

That's right, only eight races on the card for Wednesday night and if not for the Grand Circuit being at the Meadowlands, the feature race would have been a non-winners of $6,500 last five starts event. The only good thing you can say is with the exception of the first race, the fields are full. Thursday is a little better. However, it is clear without help; the Meadowlands will become another Balmoral.

Without slots or a purse enhancement the Meadowlands will not be able to compete against the racino tracks being supported with slot revenue and the horse supply will get even worse. Those gamblers faithful to the Meadowlands will have no choice but to abandon their favorite track and we run the risk of losing them forever to the thoroughbreds or other gaming options. If they flee to other tracks, harness racing may be able to survive, but if they flee us completely, the whole sport may collapse in several years.

Make no mistake. The fight for the Meadowlands is everyone’s fight. For once the industry must look past their parochial interests and look at the big picture. Those who race elsewhere need to throw their financial support to either promote or fight the recommendations in the upcoming report. With the support of all, we have a chance. If out of state groups are complacent about their local market and think the problem at the Meadowlands is not their problem, they may learn the hard they were wrong; perhaps too late.

Medications and Violations

Medication is a big conversation topic in racing these days. A trainer (I am not talking about any specific trainer here), becomes very successful all of a sudden and the assumption is he/she is cheating. When someone complains about the trainer’s success, a supporter of the accused will invariably look up the accuser’s (or accuser’s trainer) regulatory record and cite the number of times that trainer has been cited for medication violations and accuse them of being a cheater as well. Of course, no one ever looks at the specifics of those medication violations. Whether people don’t look at the specifics due to laziness, ignorance (i.e., the difference between banamine, cortone, and EPO), or intellectual dishonesty to make a point, all drug violations are lumped together. Hence, all trainers with medication violations are labeled as cheaters.

If this is happening within racing’s inner circle, you can imagine what the thinking is elesewhere; in particular the media, and yes, the blogosphere and how that influences the general public. Someone goes and looks at the USTA Fines and Suspension list or a particular racing commission’s website and they see trainer John Doe being suspended thirty days for a violation involving medication XYZ; trainer Mary Smith is fined $400 for using medication EFG and it is gets reported in some blog or newspaper and the next thing you know everyone thinks racing is full of drug cheats.

Look, I am no Pollyanna, there certainly are trainers out there who seek to affect the outcome of races by medicating their horses, but the problem is being overstated because we don’t accurately differentiate when it comes to reporting violations for medications which impact a horse’s performance versus violations involving legitimate non-performance enhancing medications. When you run stables that race in multiple states, it is hard to keep track of differing rules. Different withdrawal times may apply and sometimes simple dosage level errors are made.

It is essential the industry develops a means to differentiate and report the types of violations being incurred.  By differentiating the type of violations and accurately reporting them, not only make it easier for owners to avoid ‘bad’ trainers, it will permit the industry to present a clearer picture regarding the problem of trainers and drugs; hopefully improving the image we have amongst the wagering public. Otherwise, we will have to continue battling a problem which is not as bad as we think.

Anderlecht scratched out of Saturday night's first race at Mohawk Racetrack in order to race in the Des Smith Classic at Rideau Carleton on Sunday night.  It was a smart move as Anderlecht was victorious in a driving finish in the $170,000 Des Smith, winning in 1:49.3.  As for Awesome Armbro?  His well known problems at the start of the race nailed him again as he was far behind at the start and was used to just catch up to the field at the start.   Bigtime Ball, a mainstay in the open class on the WEG circuit, took the lead in a hard fought :25.3 first quarter and paid the price at the end. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Harness Racing Center Stage, Shark Gesture and North America Cup Night

For one evening; specifically an hour and a half, harness racing ruled supreme on TVG.  That's right;  during this period the North America Cup took center stage with TVG picking up The Score's feed to cover the NA Cup.  For once, it was thoroughbred racing which played second fiddle with periodic breaks in the feed from Canada to play catch-up with thoroughbred races instead of the other way around.  Granted Hollywood Park's card was already completed and the live thoroughbred action was restricted to Evangeline and Emerald Downs, but for a channel which has continuosly featured $2,500 thoroughbred claiming races ahead of harness racing, it was a welcome change to see the shoe on the other foot.  For one evening quality won out.  Hopefully this will continue in the future.

Dan Patch Invitational
Shark Gesture is the king of pacing after his coronation last night in dominating the Dan Patch Invitational with a track record 1:48.1, defeating runner up Won The West by ten plus lengths at Hoosier Park.  How effortless was it?  Shark Gesture led at all points of call with fractions of :25.2, :53.1, and 1:20.3 with Won The West following along, never able to put any type of challenge together. 

So commanding was Shark Gesture's victory that barring any type of injury, it appears the FFA division will be at the mercy of Shark Gesture all season long. 

North America Cup - 3yo pacing colts
The most anticipated North America Cup in several years never happened as Sportswriter reasserted himself, at least for one evening, as the top pacing three year old in North America with his win in the Pepsi North America Cup last night at Mohawk Racetrack.

In doing so, Sportswriter denied me a nice payday.  Yes, I liked Rock N Roll Heaven but when I saw the odds of 30-1 on We Will See, I had to give him a play.  Yes, I know he was an upset winner the week before in his elimination of the NA Cup racing in the weakest of three divisions, but a winner was he.  While he may not have defeated the monsters of the division last week, you couldn't take away the fact he won last week.  When you see an elimination winner at 30-1, you have to play it.

Like last week, We Will See rode the rail and he rode it well last night.  Despite getting pushed back to sixth as they approached the stretch, Brett Miller was patiend and when the rail opened up he came flying to explode down the stretch to collar Sportswriter.  I was hoping Mark McDonald would have been caught by surprise by We Will See last minute burst, but to his credit, McDonald got Sportswriter to give one last burst of speed to regain the lead and open up a one length victory to win in 1:48.3.  That is what champions do, when caught in the stretch, they find another gear to triumph.

Kyle Major came up empty in the race and as for my pre-race favorite, Rock N Roll Heaven and All Speed Hanover?  They encountered traffic problems and were never a factor in the race.  Don't let their traffic problems diminish Sportswriter's victory.  It was a brillant performance.  As good as Sportswriter was, the picture for the galmour division continues to look murky with no clear standout this year. This should make for an exciting stakes season.

Goodtimes Trot - 3yo trotting colts and geldingsSing Jesse Sing started of a the stakes action with a victory in the Goodtimes Trot in 1:53.3.  SJS brushed up the backstretch to engage Text Me in a duel around the long Mohawk turn and was finally able to shake Text Me in the stretch but he had to hold off a last minute drive by Priority Photo.

Fan Hanover - 3yo pacing fillies
The MacDonald-Coleman team not only won the North America Cup, they were victorious in the Fan Hanover pulling of a major upset with Sing Jesse Sing who defeated division leading Put On A Show and Fancy Filly by wiring the field in a speedy 1:50.1.  Put On A Show was very impressive in defeat to fall only a neck short coming home in a :25.3 final quarter.  Unlike the colts and geldings, I expect Put On A Show to reassert her claim as the queen of pacing this year.

Elegantimage Stakes - 3yo trotting fillies
Ultimate Cameron equaled the stakes record of 1:53.3 driven Trevor Ritchie.  In her victory, Ultimate Cameron defeated division leading Poof Shes Gone.  It was a masterful drive by Ritchie who was able to slow the fractions down considerably, leaving her plenty in the tank at the end of the mile to hold off Emmylou Who.  Poof Shes Gone really had no chance, being parked out half the mile in relatively slow fractions; perhaps a more aggressive drive would have changed the results. 


Meanwhile, at the Meadowlands, the Metro Six Shooter had an impressive pool despite all the racing action occuring elsewhere.  Over $70,000 was wagered into the pool last night which considering the defection of the top horses and drivers, is pretty impressive being there was no carry over from the preceeding week. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

While Auckland Reactor Sits...

While Auckland Reactor sits in his stall waiting for his ownership to make a decision on the horse's next move, his fellow New Zealand expatriate, Awesome Armbro, prepares to do battle in the Des Smith at Rideau Carleton this Sunday.  After his initial win in North America, his owners were so pleased with his 150:2 performance, they decided to pony up the $10,000 supplementary entry fee to give him the opportunity to race against this level of competition.  A successful effort in the Des Smith will promote Awesome Armbro to the Opens at Woodbine.  While the program for the Rideau Carleton card is available here, here are my thoughts regarding the race:      

Ridc5/8 - 12th Pace - $170,000; Des Smith Classic - Open
1 - Lucky Man (M. McDonald, 8-1) - Got nailed at the end in last going wire to wire.  Will have tough time to hold off Bigtime Ball.  Use in exotics.
2 - Dali (L. Ouellette, 3-1) - Has not been good in last two.  Can't recommend despite morning line.
3 - Bigtime Ball (P. MacDonell, 1-1) -  Presidential Ball gelding has been one of the stars of the WEG circuit.  Is the horse to beat.
4 - Awesome Armbro N (J.R. Plante, 5-1) - Turned on the jets when he cleared in last.  Should have enough room to fire this week.
5 - Go Go Solano (B. Miller, 15-1) - Ambitiously place.  Not likely.
6 - Anderlecht (J. Hamieson, 12-1) - Probably will scratch out of Saturday night engagement at the Hawk.  Seems to be just a step below. 
Selections: 4-3-1-6

If you love watching the big stakes races, you need to subscribe to HarnessRacing Weekend Preview, published by the publishers of The Horseman and Fair World.  This weekly online magazine is available to all for two weeks; after which time you need to sign up for the publication to receive it.  Not only do you get stories about the major races of the weekend, Trackmaster program pages for the featured races are available for subscribers.  The best thing is all you need to do sign-up, the subscription is free.  Once you sign-up, the news concerning the feature races of the weekend will be delivered to your mailbox Friday mornings.     

Here are my selections for Sunday afternoon at Tioga Downs:
 1st - Camboozler, Goldstar Vincenzo, Mister T-Rex (7-5-1)
 2nd - Ludi Jasper, M A Roy, Disiswatitsalabout (9-2-8)
 3rd - Luey Munster, Eyesbold, Shark Shuffle (5-2-4)
 4th - Avantage, Opan Heart, Jove's Success, Keep On Dreamin (7-1-8-3)
 5th - Cee Pee Bush, Reasontocelebrate, Baffler (4-2-5)
 6th -  Pop Z Pop, Barolo Hanover, Calmlee Jason (5-3-7)
 7th -  ADmiral Albert, Presidential Skam, Don'tcomeout, Winterwood Jet (2-7-6-5)
 8th - Gavino, Big Al's Delight, Caviart Logan (3-1-4)
 9th - Max Q Oh Poncho, Willfully (1-3-8)
10th - A Crown For Lindy, Four Starz Valley, Dreamanotherdream (1-2-9)
11th - Winbak Dimensions, Where's Waldo, Sheer Brilliance (5-3-7)
12th - Savnnah Scion, Briarwood Rex, Dangerous Truth (1-3-6)
13th - Mike And Jim, About Me, Sea Of Tranquility, Bolero Artifice (9-3-6-5)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dan Patch Invitational Preview

Getting lost in all the hoopla regarding the North America Cup (click on the link for my comments on the entire card) is the Dan Patch Invitational for FFA pacers at Hoosier Park. This year Hoosier Park has a strong contingent of FFA pacers shipping in to take part in the event. As you would suspect, with all the stakes at Mohawk, all the horses shipping in from the East, with the exception of Shark Gesture will be having driver changes this week which may alter the complexion of the race. Shark Gesture is certainly at the top of his game winning his last three starts including his track record 1:48.3 at Tioga Downs in The Bettor’s Delight. Despite his commanding performances of late, this does not mean the race will be a cake walk for the seven year old stallion by Cam’s Card Shark. I expect Won The West to be driven more aggressively this week.

Here are my thoughts on the race. Since there are plenty of driver changes, I will include the driver’s name with each horse.

Hoosier Park, Saturday, June 26
Race 13 – Pace - $200,000; Dan Patch Invitational
1- Southwind Lynx (J. Dillander, 12-1) – Prepped with a 1:51.1 qualifier. Needs best effort to get in the money.
2 - Atochia (J. Sutton, 10-1) – Classy horse a step below these. Racing for a check.
3 – Won The West (R. Macomber Jr, 4-1) – Will need to be more aggressive to get the win. Clearly second best.
4 – Lisagain (P. Wrenn, 7-2) – Toss last. Doesn’t get the respect he deserves. Could be a value play.
5 – Shark Gesture (G. Brennan, 5-2) – Never better but figures to be overbet.
6 – Dinneratartsplace (S. Widger, 15-1) – Has thrived in the mid-west. Best hope of the local horses.
7 – Robin I Scott (Tr. Tetrick, 8-1) – Will be tested for class here but seems to be in deep.
8 – Hypnotic Blue Chip (M. Lachance, 6-1) – Post should take care of any chance to finish in the top three.
9 – Keep It Real (E. Hensley, 3-1) – Pena or not, this should be too tough a spot to get involved from.
Selections: 3-5-4-6

For those following Tioga Downs, here are my selections for Saturday evening.  Please note the first and second races are for amateur drivers.

 1st - S A Poster Boy, Banker Ablaze, Deep Seas (6-1-3)
 2nd - Nathanials Artist, Ethical Hanover, Shania Twain (4-5-1)
 3rd - Bound By Honor, What About Brian, Yankee Slugfest (2-7-1)
 4th - Counter Top, Brave Hearted, Cody's Honor, Village Bistro (3-9-2-6)
 5th - Super Lotto, Zapphappy Kash, Morguns Sweetheart (3-2-7)
 6th - Earlivic, Kash N Credit, Ebba's Yankee (4-2-3)
 7th - Galahad Hall, Rally By The River, Oceana Hanover, Yankee Gospel (9-1-2-5)
 8th - Baseball Express, The Shepherd, Andover America (7-2-3)
 9th - Allamerican Solo, Nothingcanshakeme, A Canuck Eh (1-7-2)
10th - Barender Blues, Jaguar, Worthy Melody, Miss Rambo (1-8-7-5)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Duo and Lucky Chucky Returns, National Racing Compact

Note: This article has been updated to reflect a response by the ARCI as to the importance of an interstate racing compact.  Also, note that Lucky Chucky has been scratched sick since the entry was posted.

Even though everyone’s attention drawn to the North America Cup and the other stakes races at Mohawk, there is racing going on elsewhere. At Hoosier Park, the FFA pacing ranks are on display in the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational which has attracted Sharks Gesture, Won The West, Hypnotic Blue Chip, and other top quality pacers. We will discuss this race further tomorrow.

There is some news worth discussing on the regulatory front. Harness horsemen in New York are hopping mad about the possibility of New York joining a racing compact where common rules and perhaps regulatory actions will be decided. While I would concur attempting to push this bill through just before the summer recess is not ideal, here is another example of parochialism; each racing jurisdiction worrying about themselves. Heaven forbid we have common racing and medication rules where decisions are made that apply to horsemen in multiple states; especially when you are a ‘have’ (racino) state. Things are wonderful. But heaven forbid something be done for the benefit of horsemen all over even if the rules change for you. This may work for you when things are going well, but how good will racing be in your state if harness racing collapses elsewhere? Until people are willing to work for the common good, there is no chance of resurrecting the sport.  Update:  Here is a response from the President of the ARCI as to why it is essential that the interstate racing compact be approved. 

In the meanwhile, Sire Stakes action is underway. Two year old trotters of both sexes will be racing at the Meadowlands Thursday and 2yo pacers take to the stage on Friday while Vernon Downs hosts three year old trotting colts. But of greater note is the seasonal debut of the entry coupling Coco Lindy and Lucky Chucky in an overnight race at the Meadowlands Friday evening along with Lucky Jim and Enough Talk making their first starts since returning from Sweden in their failed attempt to win the Elitlopp. Will they be able to return to their earlier form or will they need a race or two to get back into top form?

Lucky Chucky has prepped well but awaiting Chucky is Muscle Massive, winner of the NJSS Championship for three year old trotters. With Lucky Chucky’s eye on the big prize in August, there is a good chance Muscle Massive may triumph in the first matchup. Assuming decent odds, Massive may be worth a wager.

The Titan Cup Prep is a somewhat perplexing race. You are dealing with Lucky Jim and Enough Talk making their first starts in twenty-six days. This plus the fact all eyes are on the Titan Cup prize next week, leads us to proceed cautiously this week. Given the time off, the edge goes to Arch Madness, but Buck I St Pat has been quietly toiling away and may be able to take advantage of the leading contendrs taking time off to score a minor upset.

One thing to note is in Friday’s 1st race at the Meadowlands. The racing commission ruled that Howard’s Rock and Grams Legacy will race uncoupled as having bona-fide separate interests. That may be true, but the wife of Jimmy Takter, the trainer of Grams Legacy, is one of the owners of Howard’s Rock. She may have a minority interest, but how does the racing commission uncouple these horses? It seems to me they are inviting questions needlessly.

Friday's NYSS events at Vernon Downs are worth watching.  While the first tier horses are racing at the awk in the Goodtimes, many Hambletonian-eligible horses are competing in these tilts.  Celebrity Bluechip, Big Stick Lindy, Shaq is Back, Stimulus, and Womanizer are among those Hambo-eligibles who will be racing at Vernon.

Betting two year old races at this time of year are always a dicey proposition. When they are trotters, it becomes an act of courage (or foolishness). What may look like a nice horse may turn into a poorly mannered horse who decides to perform his/her impersonation of a thoroughbred.

For those who feel particularly bold, here are my selections for the NJSS events:

Meadowlands – Thursday, June 24, 2010 – NJSS 2yo trotters
1st Race – Caiter, Global Desire, Electra Blue Chip (5-4-6)
2nd Race – Musclelaneous, Take Heart, Zooming (1A-6-8)
3rd Race – Lady Pixie, Baby I’m Bad News, Ladylike Volo (2-1-5)
5th Race – Leader Of The Gang, Gunga Win, That’s A Check (1-9-5)

Meadowlands – Friday, June 25, 2010 – NJSS 2yo pacers
1st Race – Howard’s Rock, Lookinforadventure, Gritty Millie Boy (2-4-6)
2nd Race – It’s Rock N Roll, Rollwithitharry, Painted Black (2-1-3)
3rd Race – Ivana Dance, So Perfect, Capri Hanover, Bells Are Ringing (2-1A-1-3)

Meadowlands, Friday, 6th Trot - $15,000; Non-winners of $10,000 last five starts
 1 – Coco Lindy (5-2) – Weaker half of Antonacci entry.
1A – Lucky Chucky (5-2) – Sharp qualifiers says he’s ready. One to beat.
 2 – My Man Ben (5-1) – Quit badly in last start; returns to winning driver. Must always consider a Pena horse.
 3 – St Giannis (12-1) – Jumped in last. Returns to a more comfortable spot. Share with luck.
 4 – Rompaway Alvin (8-1) – Doubt class relief will matter here.
 5 – Jailhouse Scorpion (10-1) – Talented three year old should continue to improve. May land share.
 6 – Manningly (6-1) – Returns to winning class and Sears to return. Expect improvement. Consider in exotics.
 7 – Libra Vita (10-1) – No factor in last race. No chance.
 8 – Muscle Massive (3-1) – Hambo eligible won NJSS final. Only one who logically can beat Lucky Chucky.
 9 – Captain Primeau (20-1) – Draws the worst. No realistic chance against these.
Selections: 8-1A-6-5

Meadowlands, Friday, 10th Trot - $40,000; Titan Cup Prep
1 – In Focus (8-1) – May land a share if he can mind his manners.
2 – Lucky Jim (5-2) – No chance in Sweden. May be a little short but should land share.
3 – Keystone Activator (15-1) – Meeting much much better. Don’t see,
4 – Enough Talk (6-1) - Had no chance in European tour. A question of fitness.
5 – Corleone Kosmos (10-1) – Has not returned to prior form. Pass.
6 – Arch Madness (3-1) – Did take some time off but is the one to beat.
7 – Lanson (8-1) – Has not returned to last year;s form.
8 – Buck I St Pat (4-1) – Lone mare taking on the boys. Despite that, may be able to take it all.
Selections: 8-6-2

For those who play Tioga Downs, here are the picks for Friday night.  As a bonus, I am including the selections for the NYSS races for three year old trotting colts at Vernon Downs.

Vernon Downs, Friday, June 25, 2010 - NYSS Events for 3yo colt trotters
1st  Race - Celebrity Bluechip, Marion Monaco, Proper Villian (5-4-8)
3rd Race - Syenite, Waldroff Hall, Carnegie (3-7-2)
5th Race - Shaq Is Back, Captain Sully, Through The Night (7-1-3)
7th Race - Stimulus, Aruba Vacation, Whata Winner, Bakcktuxwhitesocks (6-3-2-8)
8th Race - Strong Hope, Boztheman, Lutetium (7-1-8)

Tioga Downs, Friday, June 25, 2010
1st - Annies Wonder, Earnest Kash, Bullet (6-3-8)
2nd - Stash The Cash, Mandolin Hanover, My Big Mare (1-2-5)
3rd - Maurview Two, Mrs Ice Man Ike, Kash Gent (1-8-5)
4th - Doinit Dragonstyle, Day And Night, Silverdollar Shark, East Coast Shar (2-3-6-5)
5th - KM Sweet Dreams, Heikki, Tlkabout Joy (5-7-4)
6th - Little Pop Queen, Bond Blue Chip, Smarty Smiley (2-3-5)
7th - Impressive Char, Lucy Lucy, Penny Pincher, My True Delight (4-9-7-6)
8th - Bolero Electra, Infinite Desire, Miss Chris (3-7-8)
9th - Just Listed, Hot Potato, Backn Hill Betty (1-6-5)
10th - Goalie Avenue, Isle Of View Two, Bolero Talula, Risiing Debt (9-4-7-2)

North America Cup Night

Saturday brings us the North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack.  With the $1.5 million dollar purse, it has become a race you don't miss if you have a leading three year old pacer.  While North America Cup night does not have as strong a program as Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands, there are three other significant stakes races on their program with the Goodtimes, Fan Hanover, and Elegant Image. 

The Goodtimes (4th race) is a wide open race.  The edge in this race goes to Sing Jessee Sing who won his elimination last week from the outside who moves inside where he also has been victorious.  After him, I am looking for Southwind Warngler to complete the exacta; this late starting horse seems to be rounding into a good three year old and I don't think we have seen the bottom for him. 

In the Fan Hanover (5th); Put On A Show and Fancy Filly hook up for the first time this season and it may very well be the best contest of the evening.  I have to give the edge to Put On A Show this week.  In their last pari-mutuel hook up in the Breeders Crown last October at Woodbine, Put On A Show defeated Fancy Filly despite Fancy Filly having the better post position.

Rock N Roll Heaven seems to be a cinch to win the North American Cup (7th) as the only thing which seems able to defeat him is the fog.  Sportswriter who seems to be finally rounding into form would be the only horse to consider as having any chance to beat RNRH.  If you want a long shot possibility, I would go with One More Laugh who raceed well in his elimination last week.  With a race to acclimate to the track, he could take it all if the top pick falters.

Poof Shes Gone should handle her field to win the Elegantimage (9th).  However, I am looking for Bone A Fide to bulk up the exacta with a second place finish.  No, she is not as good as Poof, but this lightly races daughter of SJs Photo appears to be improving and may yet turn into a top rank filly.

My selections for the North America Cup Night are as follows:

1st Pace - $30,000; Non-winners $35,000 last six starts
3 - Anderlecht  3-1
2 - Royal Morn  5-1
6 - Golden Receiver  9-2
7 - Giddy Up Delight  5-1

2nd Pace - $75,000; Fan Hanover Stakes Consolation - 3yo fillies
1 - Siri Hanover  7-2
5 - A Pippin Hanover  9-2
7 -Naughtytiltheend  3-1
3 - Tiz To Dream  5-1

3rd Pace - $22,000; FM Non-winners $20,000 last six starts
2 - Artists Dynasty  10-1
1 - Thrillionaire  5-1
5 - Play At Wynn  9-2
9 - Smashbox  7-1

4th Trot - $387,000; Goodtimes Trot Final - 3yos
2 - Sing Jesse Sing  4-1
8 - Southwind Wrangler  8-1
4 - Text Me  5-1
5 - Adrion Dream  25-1
Also Eligible - Sailaway Dream should not be ignored if he draws inside.

5th Pace - $666,000; Fan Hanover Stakes Final - 3yo fillies
5 - Put On A Show  2-1
4 - A And Gs Princess  12-1
3 - Fancy Filly  8-5
8 - Western Silk  6-1

6th Pace - $100,000; North America Cup XXVII Consolation - 3yos
10 - Stonebridge Tonic  7-1
 9 - Power Of A Moment  5-2
 1 - Allthatgltrsisgold  3-1
 5 - Haul Away  8-1

7th Pace - $1,500,000; North America Cup XXVII Final - 3yos
3 - Rock N Roll Heaven  2-1
6 - Sportswriter  4-1
8 - One More Laugh  12-1
9 - Kyle Major  6-1

8th Pace - $19,000; Non-winners $14,000 last six starts
3 - John Dilinger  7-1
6 - Big Bam Ray  3-1
4 - Activator  5-1
1 - Livefreeordiehard  5-1

9th Trot - $557,000; Elegantimage Stakes Final - 3yo fillies
3 - Poof Shes Gone  8-5
8 - Bone A Fide  25-1
4 - Ipromisenottotell  8-1
6 - Jesses Messenger  6-1

10th Pace - $24,000; Non-winners $22,500 last six starts
5 - Automatic Slims  4-1
6 - The Mohegan Pan  5-1
3 - Kindly Poet  3-1
1 - Evening Job  6-1

11th Pace - $42,000; Open
2 - Ramegade Bruiser  5-2
7 - Keystone Horatio  4-1
6 - Stonebridge Terror  5-1
4 - Mr Apples  7-2

12th Pace - $16,000; Non-winners $8,000 last six starts
5 - My Fella  7-2
4 - Shadywood Baron
6 - Thepaininsulahotel  6-1
2 - Raining Again  10-1

13th Pace - $16,000; Non-winners $8,000 last six starts
2 - Canbec Condor  7-1
3 - Monster In Law  5-1
6 - Fire On The Water  6-1
9 - Foolish Justice  5-1

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Are My Eyes Deceiving Me?

Standardbred Canada and the ORC's joint feature "From the Stand"" this week features two incidents at Rideau Carlton where they discussed driver's objections and the rulings the ORC judges made. Wait a minute. Two separate driver objections? I must be reading the column wrong. Two objections? Don't the drivers in Canada realize filing an objection violates the first commandment in harness racing"?

"Thou shalt not lodge a claim of foul against a fellow driver."

Clearly these Canadian-based drivers must be heathens unlike our American-based drivers. Our drivers clearly know if there is one commandment you never, never think of violating, it is this one. You never, never place an objection against a fellow driver in a race. After all, you don't want to responsible for them having to serve a suspension do you? After all, you know what it is like to serve a suspension and heaven forbid a driver rats you out and you get an unplanned vacation.

Oh, you mean drivers should be claiming fouls?  Well of course they should.

I know the arguments. It is the judges responsibility to light up the inquiry sign; not the drivers. Don't you understand being a driver is a fraternity? To claim a foul against a fellow driver for an infraction is like betraying your fraternity brother; you just don't do it.

Memo to Drivers: Judges are human. They don't see everything. More specifically, they can't catch every little thing. As much as they may try, there is plenty of action going on during a race and sometimes, things are going to get by them. However, you as a driver can't help but notice if a driver interferes with you. No one disputes the driving colony is a fraternity (except if you are a driver trying to break into the local colony); you know what it is like to risk your life out there every day trying to eke out a living earning 5% of the purse money you win (especially at non-racino tracks). You are there when your fellow driver gets hurt and that is great.

There is only one thing. You are driving for the few remaining fans/gamblers out there investing their hard earned money, wagering on the races. If not for them (and slot revenue) you would not be able to earn a living driving horses. You owe the fans not only to drive a horse the best you can in any given race, but you owe it to the person wagering on your mount to claim a foul if a fellow driver causes an infraction against you; not leaving it to the judges to protect the bettor's interests. Drivers are professional. They should understand when an objection is claimed against them it is "nothing personal; it is strictly business".

No one is suggesting a driver claim an objection for really questionable instances, but when you know a driver has caused an infraction against you, it is your responsibility to claim a foul, even if the judges didn't see it. And who knows what may happen when the fans actually see drivers protecting their interests by claiming a foul? Some may actually come back.

Where's The Program?

Some may be wondering why I have not talked about North American Cup night yet. That’s because it is just a horse race. Of course I am being facetious about it. The $1.5 million Pepsi North American Cup features the top three year old pacers seeking to stake their claim as a leading candidate for end of the year awards both in Canada and the United States. But North American Cup Night is more than that; arguably it may be the single most exciting day of racing in Canada. The race card features major stakes for all the three year old divisions. On top of the North American Cup, the card features the $387,000 Goodtimes Trot for three year old trotters, a key race on the road to the Hambletonian, the $666,000 Fan Hanover for three year old pacing fillies, and the $557,000 Elegantimage Stakes for three year old trotting fillies; all key races for three year olds. Odds are if you are a leading three year old, you will be at Mohawk on Saturday night.

As much as industry insiders and hard core racing fans recognize the significance of North American Cup Night, we fail to meet the needs of the bettor. For all the hype we give the evening with its own website, we don’t promote the event to the gambler. As of noon on Wednesday, three days before the event, you can’t get a copy of the program for the evening. Gamblers are not overly interested in the stories; they want to see the program pages so they can begin handicapping the evening. Whet their appetite, build interest amongst the bettors so they can analyze, analyze, and analyze once again the race card so they will be ready to pump their money with confidence through the betting windows or their ADWs.

The thoroughbred industry understands this. When it comes to events like the Breeders Cup they have special editions of the Daily Racing Form and other publications so bettors can begin looking at the races and get excited about it, sometimes weeks ahead of time. There is no reason why the post position draw/press conference for the NA Cup final couldn’t have been held on Monday with the overnight races being drawn Monday morning with driver changes made by Monday evening so gamblers could already be handicapping the North American Cup program Tuesday morning (you could always list also eligibles in the program with alternate betting numbers in the event a horse scratched after the fact). Lest it be said I am singling out WEG, the Meadowlands fails to do this for Hambletonian Day and it has not been done for the Breeders Crown.

Then again, why should we be surprised? Having the program available early is something gamblers and serious fans would want; not something stakeholders of the industry would want. Stories about the races are nice. They certainly have their place in marketing and gaining interest for these events. However, if you don’t give the bettors and serious gamblers the information they really want; it is all for naught.

Decision Time, Top Trotters Return, Listening to the Fans

The connections of Auckland Reactor are in a quandary as what to do with the New Zealand pacing star.  There are several offers for the Reactor to stand stud duty in New Zealand so they need to decide whether to go on with a fall campaign with the Breeders Crown as the target or to head back home.  I personally think the best thing to do is race him in the fall when it is cooler, then give him the winter off before launching a full season campaign.  But then I don't pay the bills.  Expect the Reactor team to make a decision real soon.   

Lucky Jim and Enough Talk return to the domestic racing wars with their first starts since the Elitloppet in Friday night's Titan Cup Prep race (10th) at the Meadowlands.  The two of them will be meeting Arch Madness, Corleone Kosmos, Buck I St Pat, and others.  It will be interesting to see how these two perform being they have not qualified since they returned from Sweden.  Will they be ready at first asking or will they need the race to get back into shape?

Dean Hoffman over at the USTA website talks about the importance of listening to the bettors about what they want.  What a concept!  The industry needs to understand without the bettors there is no industry.  You can't guess what the bettors want, you need to ask them, listen and act.  It seems so simple yet most people in the industry worry about what is good for the breeders, the horsemen, and the track operators; everyone but the gambler.    

Apparently, getting Running Aces under a single owner is not going to be that easy after all.  A story in the Star Tribune suggests the possibility exists that the current harness meet may need to end early due to Minnesota Harness Racing Commission rules.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday Miscellany

On the Trackside racing show in New Zealand, trainer Kelvin Harrison discusses the problems Auckland Reactor has with heat in North America and how a fall campaign starting at Pocono Downs may be in the future for the New Zealand wonder.  Apparently, the problem Auckland Reactor is not unique as Harrison explains that 60-70% of the New Zealand imports he has encountered have similar problems with the heat; typically it takes them a second season to get acclimated to the climate conditions.  The interview is just under nine minutes but it is worth a listen.

Ever wonder why Freehold Raceway hasn't opened any more OTW locations?  It seems the operator of Freehold, Pennwood Racing, was supposed to build a OTW at the site of the old Garden State Park.  According to Penn National Gaming (PNG), it seems their partner in Pennwood, Greenwood Racing, is refusing to pursue opening an OTW there.  Could it have anything to do with Greenwood owning OTW facilities and Philadelphia Park across the river?  PNG  feels that is the case and has filed a lawsuit alleging anti-trust violations and a breach of fiduciary duties.  Why should we care?  Some of the revenue from an OTW in Camden County, one of the more populous counties in Southern New Jersey, would have found its way into the purse account at Freehold.      

Lest anyone think thoroughbred racing doesn't have medication issues, we learn Pennsylvania will begin testing thoroughbreds for milkshaking. 

Come July 1, purses at the Meadows will be cut 10% as a result of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania diverting slot revenue from the horse racing business to the state's general fund.  This is the second year the state has diverted money from slots  Despite all the wishful thinking, there is nothing to say another cut won't be forthcoming in the future.       

Real Joke qualified at Gaitway Farms yesterday, winning in 1:49.3.  Clearly he is ready to pick-up where he left off before his brief vacation.  How impressive whas his victory?  The second fastest mile of the day was a 1:55 qualifying victory by Sharks Legacy.  As for the two year old qualifiers also raced at Gaitway, top honors go to On The Radar, a precocious son of Western Hanover, who stopped the timer at 1:56.3.

It's no secret racing is in bad shape in Illinois.  If the proposed slot bill does not pass the legislature this fall, all racetracks in Illinois may no longer be viable.  Maywood Park would be the first to go according to reports

Racing returns to Quebec this weekend with a regional card scheduled for Sunday, June 27 in St. Hugues.  This will be the first harness meet since the previous track operator in Quebec went bankrupt.  There will be a few more regional meets conducted before a ten day meet at the Hippodrome de Quebec in the early fall.  Granted, it is a far cry from the previous racing circuit in Quebec, but the important thing is racing is back and being run by people who feel racing can be marketed without slots.    

For today's "What Ever Happened?" segment, we last reported on August, 27, 2009, the NJRC had approved a petition to propose a rule change to implement a Fair Start rule in New Jersey.  Well apparently, regulation moves slowly without political pressure.  Roughly ten months later, the proposed rule is being reviewed by the Attorney General's office before being published.  While others may have forgotten, I haven't.  Further updates will be forthcoming as merited.    

In the "Under the Radar" segment, Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus, MN is in foreclosure as a couple of minority partners surrendered their stake to the majority owner and additional minority owners refused to make payments (likely due to the inability to get slot machines at Running Aces).  The foreclosure will allow the majority owner to take sole ownership of the track.  In the meanwhile it is business as usual, with business actually improving.  Business should be improving as many of the Illinois horsemen have abandoned their state to race at Running Aces with their relatively lucractive purse structure.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Price Does Matter; Holding Owner's Responsible?

With all the bad news regarding declining pari-mutuel handle, some good news comes to us from Tioga Downs where they have an overall 4.6% increase in their wagering for their first eighteen days of racing. When you consider Standardbred Canada is reporting a decline in wagering of 8.74% and the American thoroughbreds are suffering from an 8.3% decline, you have to wonder what Tioga Downs is doing right.

Actually, you don't need to think too hard. Remember, Tioga Downs lowered their takeout rate to the legal minimum allowed by the NYSRWB and the State of New York making it the lowest takeout in North America. With the decrease in the takeout rate, off-track handle increased by a significant 9.9%. On-track handle was down 8.6% but factors such as cold weather and rain contributed partially to the decline. Clearly price matters when it comes to deciding which track you plan to wager on when you are off-track. As for on-track wagering, price reduction, while important, is not the whole solution. Tracks must continue to work on improving the live racing experience for on-track customers as entertainment is a bigger component of the experience than it is online.

Owner responsibility when it comes to selecting a trainer has become a hot topic of late. Joe Faraldo from the SOA of NY has definite thoughts when it comes to the possibility of an Owners Responsibility Rule. In a word, he considers it a stupid idea. Click here to read his comments and let me know what you think.

I disagree with Mr. Faraldo. For sure, racing needs to be more proactive when it comes to finding the cheaters in the sport, but this does not diminish the fact the owner needs to be held accountable when he/she selects a trainer. When you select a trainer, you are hiring someone to be an agent for you. Businesses routinely check a potential employee’s record before making a decision to hire someone, shouldn’t an owner check on a trainer as well? The information regarding a trainer's medication record is available (though it does need to be made easier for an owner to check on the type of violations a trainer may have had) so there is no reason why asking an owner to check on the trainer's record is unreasonable. No one is (or should be) suggesting you get penalized for selecting a trainer whose last medication violation was years ago, but if someone recently had a violation for a prohibited substance, it should set off warning bells. If you choose to hire a trainer despite a record of recent violations, you must be willing to accept some risk in making that decision.

No one is saying an owner should be barred from hiring a successful trainer. This does not mean they should be permitted to win at all costs.

For those who missed yesterday's column where we discussed the rash of recent accidents, you may read it by clicking on this link.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Time to Apply the Brakes?

There appears to be a rash of racing accidents of late at harness tracks in the United States and Canada, culminating in this past Friday night’s massive pile-up at the Meadowlands. So far we have been lucky in that no drivers have been killed in these spills. Aaron Merriman is out indefinitely due to injuries following a racing accident at the Meadows on June 11, Richie Silverman is in intensive care and Daniel Dube has suffered back injuries resulting from Friday night’s spill at the Meadowlands, Jim Mettinis injured in an accident at Freehold back in April are a few of the drivers who have suffered injuries as a result of racing accidents. Fortunately, most of our accidents result in drivers escaping or suffering minor injuries but the potential for serious if not fatal injury exists. Perhaps it is coincidence, just a rash of accidents which occurs every so often. Then again, perhaps there is something more to it.

There are several possibilities which may explain the seemingly increasing number of racing accidents. Perhaps horses are racing too fast, horses are racing when they shouldn’t be, drivers not as experienced as they should be, or perhaps a combination of these factors. Let’s look at these possibilities.

Racing too fast – I know this sounds contradictory; isn’t racing faster the goal of a horse race? Of course it is, but maybe we have pushed the envelope too far when it comes to speed. Thoroughbreds have basically been running as fast as they are able to for many years while standardbreds continue to race faster and faster. With all due respect to breeders, I don’t believe our breeding has improved that much over the past ten years, so what makes our horses continue to race faster and faster? Perhaps it can be attributed to tracks being banked more for speed than they were before, continuing advances to equipment such as the sulky, continuing “advances” in training, or a combination of these things which results in our horses going too fast; to the point of our horses racing beyond their natural ability which results in horses jumping off–stride and falling more often which increases the chances of a resulting accident. When you have horses in lower classes putting establishing the lifetime marks they are these days, you have to wonder. Maybe we have tweaked with the “engine” too much that we are operating outside the safety zone?

Horses are racing when they shouldn’t - With so many racetracks now racing extended meets, many tracks are experiencing horse shortages. As a result, where horses in the past may have been lucky to race three weeks a month, these horses are finding their way into races every week and sometimes more often to help racing secretaries fill race cards. With slot-infused purses, owners and trainers may be more hesitant to let a horse skip a week to recover from the racing wars. Hence, increased racing brings with it the potential for horses racing with more aches which may account for more breaking in races. Another problem with smaller horse populations being available at any individual track is we find cheaper quality horses racing at our fastest tracks resulting in horses with greater soundness issues being asked to race faster than they have in the past.

Lack of driving experience – Before the racino age, there was less disparity between racetrack purse structures. Traditionally, a driver would start off at a minor track then after a while progress to a mid-size track and after doing their time, if they have the ability, they would find themselves driving at our major raceways. Now with the introduction of racinos, we find drivers with any real ability looking to ply their trade at tracks with slot-infused purses much quicker, leaving a void at our non-racino tracks which is being filled with drivers with less experience than they traditionally would have had. The end result is drivers are less seasoned and experienced when they move up to the better tracks resulting in an increased potential for an accident when something goes wrong within a race.

No one disputes racing accidents come along with being a driver; it is an inherent risk of driving race horses. Many drivers will be involved in at least one racing accident during their career; it comes with the territory. That being said, we owe it to our human and equine participants to make racing as safe as possible. The USTA and racing commissions need to get together to fully investigate these accidents to see what if anything can be done to reduce the risk of accidents. The last thing we want to see is the expression “Speed Kills” to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A column in the Asbury Park Press previews what is at stake when Governor Christie's commission on Sports, Entertainment, and Gaming submits its report at the end of the month.  Some people feel there will be only one winner when the committee reports.

Cangamble talks about the curernt controversy regarding trainer Lou Pena.  If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck...

Awesome Armbro 1 - Auckland Reactor 0

To add insult to injury, Awesome Armbro, one of Auckland Reactor's nemeses in the Southern Hemisphere, has broken his North American maiden in his second start, winning in 1:50.2. at Mohawk Racetrack. Once everyone found their early positions, Luc Ouellette took Awesome Armbro to the rail where he stayed until they reached the stretch in third place at which time Luc managed to get Awesome Armbro to the outside. Once he got clearance, he zoomed on by in a :26.2 last quarter to win by a length and a quarter.

Granted, Awesome Armbro was not racing in an Open or Invitational, racing in a $24,000 (nw22000l6) race but then again, neither was Auckland Reactor when he finished last in his most recent start. The fact is the eight year old gelding has reached the winners circle while the connections of Auckland Reactor are still trying to figure out what to do with him. Perhaps a trip to Canada may the tonic Auckland Reactor needs.

Dean over at PTP discusses last night's eliminations for the North American Cup.  Rather than reinventing the wheel, take a look at what Dean has to say

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A New Low

We would be remiss if we didn't discuss the terrible accident which occurred last night at the Meadowlands during the second race.  Clearly it was one of the most horrific wrecks I have seen in a long time with six horses being involved in the pile-up.  Our best wishes go out to Richie Silverman who clearly suffered the worst of it in the mishap.  Hopefully it won't be long until we see him back in the sulky.  Fortunately, none of the horses suffered severe injuries. 

It still amazes me when people talk about drivers deliberately forcing their horses to go off stride.  Whenever someone says these types of things, someone should show them a replay of an accident like last night's and ask them if they still think someone would jump a horse off gait as part of some conspiracy. 

It seems to me there are many more accidents these days than we used to see.  I will be discussing this in subsequent blog.

The Meadowlands has sunk to a new low with the bookend races on tonight's racing card.  The first race is for non-winners of $4,000 in the last five starts with the finale a race for $10,000 claimers.  Who would have ever thought the day would come when the Meadowlands would have to resort to these bottom classes on a Saturday night to present a full racing card?  Mind you, this is with the support of the expiring casino industry subsidy.  Imagine what racing will be like at the Meadowlands next year without any subsidy or relief from the state.  Without any assistance, the Meadowlands may be forced to emulate what is being done at Monmouth Park; running a meet of less than a hundred days.  To race longer than that will result in such a watering down of the racing product that wagering interest will fall off the cliff and ten thousand claimers may be the top class.    

Haven't heard enough commentary regarding Lou Pena?  Derick Giwner sums it up; perfectly.

For those following the action at Tioga Downs, here are my selections for Saturday and Sunday.  Don't forget Sunday is the first Pick-6 Sunday at Tioga featuring the $6,000 guaranteed pool.  Race 4 kicks off the Pick-6.

Saturday, June 19
1st - Camboozler, Goldstar Incenzo, Extraordinary Guy (4-2-1)
2nd - Sturdy Falcon, Banker Ablaze, Fox Valley Majest (4-3-2)
3rd - Blazing Winner, Zapphappy Kash, Catamount N (1-2-7)
4th - Quick Delivery, Sisyphus, Wholli Molli Eddie, Powerful Al (2-1-8-3)
5th - Southern Beauty, Slated For Success, Doc's All Class (4-2-5)
6th - Real Houdini, Bond Blue Chip, Sheenajunglequeen (6-5-1)
7th - Andover America, One Awesome Master, Browadwaylonghall, Kash N Credit (2-9-7-1)
8th - Galahad Hall, Habanero, Red Rocks (5-7-4)
9th - Lindy The Shark, Bartender Blues, Eric Cartman (6-7-2)
10th - Tricky Fella, Ethical Hanover, Presidential Skam, Lookinforasign (1-7-4-6)

Sunday, June 20
1st- New Revenue, Tuscan Lindy, Majestic Lad (3-4-7)
2nd - Paydaze A Comin, That's Justice, Calmlee Jason (5-6-2)
3rd - A Crown For Lindy, Aviewtoakill, Sam's Honeybee (8-2-3)
4th - Village Blizzard, Clive Hanover, Gavino, Coronet Hanover (3-4-6-8)
5th - Reasontocelebrate, Savannah Scion, Cee Pee Bush (1-4-5)
6th - Southbound Trucker, Winbak Dimensions, Cactus Creek (7-2-1)
7th - Cam's Western, Starfleets Fury, Elm Grove Action (5-1-8)
8th - Tree Light, Tyber Champ, Virtuocity (5-4-3)
9th - Baffler, Big John B, Leutenant General (2-3-8)
10th - True Desire, Opan Heart, Goldstar Patriod D, Keep On Dreamin (4-2-6-1)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Exchange Betting, NA Cup Elims, Tioga Friday Night

Legislation has been introduced to permit the NJSEA to offer exchange wagering.  Were this bill to be approved by both houses of the legislature, New Jersey could be the first state to allow exchange wagering in the United States.  Of course, the outcome of this legislative proposal may depend on Governor Christie's plans for horse racing in the State of New Jersey and may run afoul of the state constitution which authorized pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing.  That being said, it is good to see a state attempt to do something to promote increased wagering on horse racing.

Saturday at Mohawk brings us three eliminations of the North American Cup which will be raced next week.  Unlike recent years, there is yet to be that one standout horse in the three year old pacing division so the potential for upsets in these eliminations does exist.  In particular, I am looking for upsets in the first and second eliminations.  Here is my take on the three divisions.

5th Race - $50,000; North American Cup - 1st Elimination
 1 - Rock Me Please (10-1) - Seems to be in too deep.
 2 - OK Commander (25-1) - May have a chance with the second tier horses, but not here.
 3 - Ideal Matter (7-2) - Draws well and has been better than originally thought.  With the draw may compete for the win.
 4 - Power Of A Moment (12-1) - Illini 14 for 17. Being tested for class but may be able to upset with faves drawing outside.
 5 - Code Word (25-1) - Seems to race better with Ontario-sired.  Pass.
 6 - Allthatgltrsisgold  (7-1) - Can't dismiss with a better trip.
 7 - Sportswriter (6-1) - Been plaqued with quarter cracks.  Plan to revert to successful racing style, but want to see a race before supporting.
 8 - Kyle Major (9-2) - Must respect but draws poorly.
 9 - Rock N Roll Heaven (5-2) - Done in by the fog in last.  Post may do him in this week.
10 - Dr Drreamy (7-1) - Only concerned with advancing to the final.
Selections: 4-3-9-6 

7th Race - $50,000; North American Cup - 2nd Elimination
 1 - Mach Dreamer (25-1) - Has to have a better trip this week, but it may still be asking too much.
 2 - Delmarvalous (7-2) - Still looking for first win this year.  Has had a problem substaining drive at the end.
 3 - Twin B Warrior (7-1) - Wouldn't surprise me.  Must consider for exotics.
 4 - Art N Charm (25-1) - Appears overmatched.
 5 - All Speed Hanover (2-1) - Is the horse to beat with post advantage over Fred And Ginger.
 6 - Four Starz Trace (12-1) - Can't rule out, but will pass.
 7 - Stonebridge Tonic (15-1) - Another one that can't be ruled completely out.  Could shock.
 8 - Haul Away (8-1) - My upset selection.  Won at Georgian Downs; competitive against Anderlecht.  Worth a chance at long odds.
 9 - Fred An Ginger (3-1) - Can go head to head with All Speed except the draw hurts chances.
10 - Triple Major (20-1) -  Would be a huge shock.  Don't see.
Selections: 8-5-9

8th Race - $50,000; North American Cup - 3rd Elimination
 1 - We Will See (8-1) - No we wont.
 2 - Woodstock (10-1) - Has not thus far been able to live up to the expectations some had.
 3 - Iam Bonasera (12-1) - Another Illini shipping in.  Gauge by performance of Power Of A Moment in the 5th.
 4 - BP Chimo (6-1) - Has been knocking.  May be worth a play at decent odds.
 5 - Keystone Raptor (7-1) - Shocked last week at 39-1.  Not convinced he can repeat this week.
 6- Piece Of The Rock (5-1) - Seems to be over his head.
 7 - Warrawee Legend (15-1) - Another with little chance.
 8 - One More Laught (2-1) - Rooney victor seems to be up to the task.  Is the one to beat.
 9 - Art Professor (7-1) - Tested for class here.  May complete the superfecta.
10 - Malicious (6-1) - Draws the worst of it, but may still land share.
Selections: 4-8-3-9

While attention is drawn to the NA Cup, there are eliminations for other quality races such as the Goodtimes Trot, where many Hambo eligible horses will race, in addition to the Fan Hanover.  While no apparent standouts are in the Goodtimes, we can expect steller performances by Fan Hanover participants Put On A Show (2nd), Fancy Filly (9th).

For those following Tioga Downs, this week marks the return of conditioned race; replacing the ABC  classified system at the behest of horsemen.  While I think the racing secretary did a good job with classifying horses, the racing population was overloaded with the C class horses, not allowing much movement in classes. 

Here are my selections for Friday evening:

 1st - George Is A Hit, Guess Again, Earnest Kash (1-8-3)
 2nd - Little Pop Queen, Smarty Smiley, Honey Ofacharacter (1-2-5)
 3rd - Focus On The Rail, Dangerismybusiness, Leaves And Twigs (1-2-8)
 4th - Isle Of View Too, East Coast Girl, Goalie Avenue, True Gritty (2-8-6-1)
 5th - Goldstarlook, CR's Gift, K M Dreamcatcher (5-8-3)
 6th - Silverdollar Shark, Cape Cove Daisy, Miss Chris (1-2-4)
 7th - Huge Success N, Canaco Piment, Odds On Diamant, KZ Bezz (9-8-6-2)
 8th - All Spirit, Ubetterthink Think, Penn Pincher (6-5-4)
 9th - Lost Weight, Colonial Mansion, Bluff Springs (2-1-4)
10th - About Me, Nothing Canshakeme, A Canuck Eh, Allamerican Solo (2-1-6-8)

Business is going well at Vernon Downs.  Purses have been increased 15% starting June 24 with the top overnighters racing for up to $11,000 while the bottom claimers will be racing for $3,400.  In the meanwhile, Pick-6 wagering debuts at Tioga Downs with a guaranteed pool of $6,000 and is being offered only on Sundays.  Continuing with their practice of offering the lowest possible takeout rate, the takeout rate on the Pick-6 will be 21%. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Make Your Plans to Come to Harness Racing Heaven

If you want to see the true beauty of harness racing, make plans to come to Goshen, New York for the Grand Circuit meet being held on July 2 through July 5.  There may be no wagering (well, perhaps a few friendly wagers) at Historic Track, but you will experience harness racing the way it should.  People hanging out along the rail and touring the stable areas.  A grandstand most days full with people who enjoy racing as a sport. 

The schedule for this year;s racing action is as follows (post time 1:00pm):
Friday, July 2 - Landmark Stakes for three year olds; amateur races, including the C.K.G. Billings.
Saturday, July 3 - Landmark Stakes for two year olds; NYSS for 3yo filly pacers, and the Farrell Memorial (Women's Invitational)
Sunday, July 4  - NYSS races and the Hall of Fame Invitational (HOF Inductions held at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame later in the day).
Monday, July 5 - New York County Fair Races for two and three year olds.  

There is more to do at Goshen besides attending the races.  Of course, a visit to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame is mandatory.  There is something new to see every visit so make sure you stop in even if you have been there before.  With free admission, there is no reason not to go.  On July 3 and 4, the Village of Goshen hosts the Great American Weekend, which features a craft fair, rides, and other activities for the whole family, young and old.  You can attend the fair before and after the races. 

If you haven't had your fill of racing there is plenty of high quality pari-mutuel racing in the area.  Starting June 30, the Meadowlands will be racing Wednesday thru Saturday nights with a 7:00pm post time which features Grand Circuit racing including the Harriman Cup (July 1); Historic-Dickerson Cup, Coaching Club Trotting Oaks, Ladyship, and The Debutante (July 2); Titan Cup, Jersey Cup, and Goshen Cup (July 3) .  Yonkers Raceway races every evening except Wednesday and Sunday with the first race at 7:10pm with July 3 being the eliminations for the Yonkers Trot and the Hudson Filly Trot.  Monticello Raceway will be racing on July 1 and 5 with a first post of 12:50pm and on July 3 starting at 7:30 (fireworks show after the races).

So come to Goshen and enjoy a touch of Americana.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Lyell Creek N Solution

I think we can fix him but he is going to need cooler weather, so if he was my horse I'd put him away now, give him an easier time and aim for the Breeders Crown.

So says trainer Kelvin Harrison of the New Zealand superstar Auckland Reactor N according to the New Zealand Herald in response to a question regarding what is wrong with the Kiwi superstar. So heat is apparently the enemy of Auckland Reactor. According to Harrison, Auckland Reactor can't acclimate to the hot weather and when you race in North America this time of year, especially in the Northeast; this is a disaster for the team which purchased Auckland Reactor to be a dual hemisphere stallion. If you can't race the big boys during stakes season when the money is on the line, many breeders will not be looking at your stallion seriously.

Is this a case of a trainer looking to cover himself? I think not. Like people, some horses just don't respond well to the heat. Owners and trainers of these types of horses know summer is the time to put their horses in the field and bring them back in the fall for a late fall to early spring campaign, piling up the wins and raking in the money. Of course, these horses tend not to become in demand stallions; nor do their owners pay $3.5 million for their horse

This presents a dilemma for Auckland Reactor's connections. They have several options to consider; listen to the trainer and go for bust aiming for the Breeders Crown (and perhaps a time trial at Lexington to show his speed?); dismiss the trainer's advice and tell the trainer to keep going with him realizing every loss further cheapens the horses; fire the trainer and see if you have better luck with another trainer; head back home to New Zealand where the weather apparently doesn't get this hot and resurrect a successful racing and future breeding career down under.

Perhaps there is another option?  I, for one, do believe this horse has the potential to ultimately live up to the hype.  Maybe let his biological clock get back in sync and have a short fall campaign and then bring him back next year thus allowing him to go through the seasons in logical progression; permitting full acclimation  This is what worked for Lyell Creek N, who won the Canadian Trotting Derby the year after he came to North America after suffering through a very non-descript first year in the Northern Hemisphere.  Of course, this would add a year to the owners' plans and it too doesn't guarantee success. 

It will be interesting to see what the Auckland Reactor team decides to do. While it would be unrealistic for financial concerns not to be a factor, hopefully “what is best for the horse” are not hollow words.

It Was the Best of Times; It Was the Worst of Times

Shark Gesture showed it was the best of times at Tioga Downs with an exciting victory in the $228,000 Bettor's Delight defeating a fast closing Hypnotic Blue Chip in 1:48.3. Won The West, who decided to hook up and challenge the eventual winner, finished a strong third passed by a horse that managed to close fast after getting a good trip rather than tiring in the stretch.


On the other end of the spectrum, it was the worst of times at Chester Downs with Auckland Reactor finishing dead last (seventh) after attempting to wire the field in a winners over event.  Granted he was only four lengths off the winner at the end of a 1:51.1 mile by longshot Lindy's Bandit ($91), but even with setting fractions of :26.3, :55.1, and 1:23, you can't be coming home in :29 and expect to be a factor in any race.  Granted the first quarter was a tough :26.3 as he was pressed by Jim's Guy and the track was off (listed good), but make no mistake about it; this was a step backwards for the New Zealand pacing wonder. 

Yes, the track was off and it was hot and humid, but this is weather in the Northeast part of the United States in the summer and it is only going to get worse as the summer goes on.  Unless things change dramatically, it is beginning to look like there is no way the Reactor will be able to compete in our FFA ranks. 

While the Reactor has won at the mile distance, most of his racing has been done at longer distances.  What I would like to see is a racing secretary card a distance race or two to see how North American horses perform when racing against the Reactor at a distance he is more familiar with.  Then we would see if it is the mile distance is the Reactor's problem or if it is a case where he just can't compete against better North American stock.   

My last blog entry discussed how this appears to be a year where the three year old pacers lack a superstar.  PullthePocket evaluates the top three year olds as we head towards the North American Cup.  He concurs this year lacks a superstar. 

In other news, it appears the classified racing experiment has come to an end at Tioga Downs as this week's condition sheet features races written using conditions instead of class.  My suspicion is more than trainers complaining, it was becoming too hard to ship horses in from the various tracks feeding Tioga's entry box plus the fact payoffs have not gotten any better, which was the reason for implementing classified racing.

There is a story in the New York Times blog regarding the comeback attempt being made by Alan Charles.  Make sure to watch the video attached to the story.  Whether he makes it back to become a full time driver or not, you got to appreciate this drive.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Taking the Plunge, Maryland Ills, and the Company You Keep

While we all have times where we can't hit the side of a barn with our handicapping picks, most of us suffer anonymously. Those of us who choose to be brave (read that foolish) enough to post them in a blog entry; our futility is out there for all to see. You know it is not going to be a good night when you can’t pick one winner out of two four horse races (albeit it non-wagering events). At least, I had three winners at Tioga last night. What can you say? Sometimes, you have dry spells and you just need to ride them out.

Well, at least I wasn’t one of the bridge jumpers who got pummeled last night at Mohawk with the favorites failing in all three Burlington splits. Sportswriter was never a factor in his division and Rock N Roll Heaven jumping off stride and pulled up in the second split. While not the target of bridge jumpers, Mcaracas was the third favorite to fail after breaking stride late in the race. I can never understand the logic of bridge jumping. Sure, betting a lot of money on a horse that is all but certain to come in the money may get you a 5% return on your money but all it takes is one loss to wipe out your profits from multiple hits. Let’s look at last night. Assuming you typically wager $10,000 to show in bridge jumping situations. If you jumped on Sportsmaster and Rock N Roll Heaven last night, unless you won your last forty such wagers, you lost money bridge jumping.

I must confess, while Ideal Matters benefited from Rock N Roll Heaven’s breaking last night, I have more respect for him than I did before the race. Ideal Matters showed last night that he can compete with the best three year olds this season. That being said, there does not appear to be any one three year old pacing colt (I don’t see it on the trotting side either) which looks like he will dominate the division this year. This could be a good thing. While we may not have that one “star” this year, we may see less managing and more racing this year as no one may play it safe to have that lucrative breeding career.

The situation in Maryland for harness racing continues to get worse. Rosecroft Raceway remains in bankruptcy and the way things are going, one can’t help but wonder if the property will be put up for auction and developed for non-racing uses. As for our friends on the Eastern Shore, Ocean Downs has cancelled their forty day race meet this year due to ongoing construction of their racino facility. Instead, Ocean Downs will conduct four Saturdays in August for Maryland Standardbred Stakes races which will be non-wagering.

A friend of mine commented to me that you can tell a lot about a person regarding the company he keeps and is wondering why our better drivers continue to drive for questionable trainers. I would like to think it has more to do with the fear of sanctions from the racing commissions for refusing to drive, but probably boils down to “someone is going to make money driving those horses, why not me” attitude. But when you think about it, why should we blame all the drivers driving for these trainers? What about the owners that flock to the very same trainers? Owners have the ability to help police the sport as much as the drivers. You are judged by the company you keep and from looking at the handle, a lot of gamblers have formed their opinions.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Bettor's Delight and Looking for Win Number 1

While the big race on Sunday, is Tioga Downs' $228,000 Bettor's Delight FFA, some of the attention which deserves to be on this race has been drawn down to Chester, Pennsylvania where Auckland Reactor N will be racing in a winners over race; a change from the original plan to compete with the FFAllers in the Bettor's Delight.  As you are aware by now, Auckland Reactor is still looking for his first North American win and is now focusing on the Ben Franklin which will be raced at Chester Downs on July 18.

This race may be pivotal in the success of Auckland Reactor's North American campaign.  He finds himself racing against the weakest field he has come across thus far since arriving on these shores and barring a totally horrible trip, anything less than a second place finish will put his ability to compete against North America's best seriously in doubt.  Let's take a look at the field for Auckland Reactor's third purse start:

Sunday, Chester Downs 10th Race - $28,000; Winners Over $25,000 Lifetime Pace
1 - Solano (9-2) - Best races have been over the Harrington half mile oval.  Tough spot here.
2 - Mucho Sleazy (8-1) - Beat weaker in last race but had raced credibly in a preliminary of the Graduate.  Can't dismiss completely.
3 - Smellthecolornine (5-1) - Returns to Chester after unsuccessful trip at Yonkers.  Has won here this year.
4 - Lindy's Bandit (10-1) - Another returning from the Hilltop.  Has won in this class earlier this year.
5 - Jim's Guy (3-1) - Just missed last week in a 1:49.4 mile.  Will give the Reactor his toughest challenge.
6 - Auckland Reactor N (5-2) - Is the one to beat off last but has to beat the #5.  Need value to play.
7 - Blueridge Western (6-1) - Get's needed class relief.  Seems to have peaked earlier this year.
Selections: 5-6-4-2   

In addition to the Bettor's Delight, there are four divisions of the NYSS for three year old pacing fillies.  There are a few fillies to watch out for in the sixth race.  Galimony, Hula's Z Tam, and Barks Like A Dog look like they will be dominating this division this year and they hook up in the sixth race.  While they look to be the top dogs on the NYSS circuit, there is one outsider that gets my interest by the name of Delightful Syd who may be worth a look, being driven by the king of the NYSS, Jim Morrill Jr.  .

The Bettor's Delight looks to be a faceoff between Won The West and Shark Gesture.  Won The West returns from Western Fair where he won the $293,280 Molson Pace while Shark Gesture just set a world record for the fastest qualifier after winning the $200,000 Graduate at the Meadowlands.  I give the nod to Won The West as he has shows ability on the smaller oval.  No matter who wins, this is arguably the best field of pacers assembled at Tioga Downs and the fans in attendance should be in for a treat.  Should the forecasted showers hold off, a track record is likely.  Let's take a look at the field:

Sunday, Tioga Downs 10th Race - $228,000; The Bettor's Delight FFA
1      2 Mccedes - Seems to be out of his league here. 
1A    4 Foiled Again - Draws outside Won The West.  Tough to win here.
1B   10 Atochia - This field is too deep for him.
2      1 Mr Wiggles - Not experienced enough to be face these bearcats.
3      3 Won The West - The one to beat, but watch the shark.
4      5 Hypnotic Blue Chip - Lands share with best effort.
5      6 Shark Gesture - Set world record for qualifier in last, but I think WTW has better command of the smaller oval.
6      7 Blatantly Good - Is not THAT good.  Can land in the exotics at best.
7      8 Pacinello -  Appears to be overmatched.
8      9 Jeremey's Successor - Reaching with post nine.  Not today.
Selections: 3-6-1A 

For those looking to play the Metro Six Shooter Saturday night, here are my top three selections for each leg of the wager:

Leg A (Meadowlands-Race 4) - Bar Slide, Boinga, Costa Rica (4-1-7)
Leg B (Meadowlands-Race 5) - Flex The Muscle, Temple of Doom, Take My Picture (1-6-2)
Leg C (Yonkers-Race 5) - Artist Cafe, Warning Zone, Reminic (3-1-6)
Leg D (Meadowlands-Race 6) - Allthatgltrsisgold, Classic Rock Nroll, Valentino (3-1-2)
Leg E (Meadowlands-Race 7) - One False Move, Future Cruiser, Cole Diddy (9-12-10)
Leg F (Yonkers-Race 7) - Oyster Bay, J P Jackpot, The Maniac (4-6-1)

As I have been providing throughout the Tioga meet, here are my selections for Saturday and Sunday's racing action.

Tioga Downs, Saturday, June 12
 1st - Little Pop Queen, Kiss Me Nice, Smarty Smiley (3-4-1)
 2nd - Be Famous, Ebba's Yankee, Winters Lil Gigolo (3-7-9)
 3rd - Talkabout Joy, Sturdy Falcon, Yankee Gospel (3-2-8)
 4th - Ally-Con, Goldstar Vincenzo, Brave Hearted, Tangerine (2-3-4-7)
 5th - Grey Ice, Same Page, Edgewood (2-1-6)
 6th - Kash N Credit, Super Lotto, Tia Maria Kosmos (2-4-5)
 7th - Wholli Molli Eddie, Village Bistro, Jazzmo, Under Sail (3-7-9-8)
 8th - One Awesome Master, Ten Yard Penalty, Habanero (5-4-7)
 9th - Rally By The River, Seven Bends, Oceana Hanover (9-4-6)
10th - Passin Inthe Rain, Allamerican Solo, Briarwood Rex, Huge Success N (3-4-5-1)

Tioga Downs, Sunday,  June 13
 1st - Tally Ho, Tia Maria Hanover, Buy Art (4-8-5)
 2nd - Ladybones, Love And Honor, Laugh Away (1-4-3)
 3rd - Majestic Lad, A Crown For Lindy, Two Black Clouds (3-5-4)
 4th - Lahaye, Jove's Success, Gota Go Bullville, Card Dealer (5-3-1-6)
 5th - Perfectly Content, Crown Lady, Anndrovette (4-5-3)
 6th - Delightful Syd, Galimony, Hula's Z Tam (3-6-7)
 7th - Mizuno, Jovial Jester N, Whole Lotta Wow, Shark Dressed Man (6-5-2-3)
 8th - Silver Delivery, No Doze, Aviewtoakill (2-9-6)
 9th - Handsome Harry, Sheer Brilliance, Allamerican Titan (5-8-3)
10th - Won The West, Shark Gesture, Foiled Again (3-6-1A)
11th - Commander Cole, New Revenue, P L Conjure (1-9-4)
12th - Seton Hall, Blue Claw, Top Flight (3-7-2)
13th - Gavino, Hose Me Down, Clive Hanover, ML's Boy (2-1-4-8)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Three Year Olds on Parade

This weekend is a busy one for three year old pacers. On Saturday, we have at Yonkers Raceway two non-wagering events, the Art Rooney and Lismore Paces for 3yos of both sexes. With only four horses for each race, management had no choice to race them beforehand. While the fields are short, the races are still worth watching as each race has horses which may be able to compete against the best in the division.

Mohawk Raceway also presents three divisions of the Burlington Stakes, being used by many horses as a prep race for the Pepsi North American Cup eliminations the following week at Mohawk. Mohawk’s sixth race also marks the North American debut of Awesome Armbro, a highly regarded if unheralded aged pacer from New Zealand who has raced against some of the best horses in Australasia including the champion Monkey King. In his only North American qualifying effort, Awesome Armbro N won in 1:53.3 with a :26.2 final quarter. It would likely be an embarrassment to the Auckland Reactor team if Awesome Armbro found his way into the winners circle first.

Also on the card for Saturday night, the Meadowlands presents the Miss New Jersey and the Jersey Classic for three year old New Jersey sired-pacers featuring some of the leading three year old pacing candidates.  Not be ignored, the NJSS for three year old trotters including some Hambletonian nominees will be competing as well in their $200,000 finals.

Not to be forgotten is Tioga Down’s Bettor’s Delight and Auckland Reactors third attempt at a North American victory at Chester Downs. These races will be discussed in a subsequent post along with my selections for the weekend action at Tioga (there is no racing at Tioga this Friday).

Now on to the action.

Yonkers Raceway, Saturday June 12
4th Non-wagering Race - $150,000; Lismore Pace – 3yo pacing fillies
1 – It’s De Lovely - Shows great improvement this year, has two to beat.
2 – Dancinwiththestarz – Two for two this year including win in the Simpson. Being away compromises chance.
3 – Aries Angel – Tested for class here. Don’t see.
4 – A And Gs Princess – Toss last at Pocono. The one to beat.
Selections: 4-2-1

5th Non-wagering Race - $250,000; Art Rooney Pace – 3yo open
1 – He’s Gorgeous – Devastating 1:52.4 qualifier at Yonkers says he’s ready.
2 – Tobago Cays – Also ran in NJSS may land minor spoils.
3 – We Will See – Seems well overmatched despite fast times.
4 – One More Laugh – Rank in Hempt final. Must mind manners here.
Selections: 1-4-2

Mohawk Racetrack, Saturday, June 12
5th Pace - $100,000; Burlington Stakes – 3yos (1st division)
 1 – Malicious (7-2) – Just missed in Empire Breeders Class final against the #2. Lands share.
 2 – Dr Dreamy (6-1) – Coming in on a two race win streak. Will be tough and brings value.
 3 – Kyle Major (5-1) – Won last in brisk :26.2 last quarter. Should land share.
 4 – Sportswriter (1-1) – Raced well in seasonal debut but at these odds, must show more.
 5 – Grin For Money (30-1) – Faltered versus Ontario breds. Pass.
 6 – Willis Place (30-1) – Another overmatched horse.
 7 – I’m Gorgeous (12-1) – Encountered heavy traffic at Hoosier. Could be an upset candidate.
 8 – OK Commander (30-1) – Not off New York starts.
 9 – Twin B Warrior (15-1) – Good Ontario bred. Would be a threat from the inside.
10 – Code Word (25-1) – Not with these.
Selections: 2-4-1-3

6th Pace - $26,000; Non-winners $30,500 Last six starts. AE: Non-winners $150,000 life time, $100,000 optional claimers, or 4 year olds
 1 – Awesome Armbro N (7-2) - While not out of it, likely needs a start.
 2 – Panmunjom (5-1) – Slight drop down but raced credibly against Won The West two back. Possibility
 3 – Pangiorno (7-1) – Expect a fast pace which will not favor this one.
 4 – Barn Art (10-1) – Wallace trainee seems up against it here.
 5 – Stonebridge On Ice (9-2) – May be a factor if pace is slowed.
 6 – Overcard (7-1) – Must be respected but this class is tougher this week.
 7 – The Ladies Man (15-1) – Will strike out tonight.
 8 – Stonebridge Terror (8-1) – Half length back of Won The West at Western Fair. Incredible value at these odds despite post.
 9 – Anderlecht (7-1) – Draws poorly here.
10 – Balanchine (6-1) – Returns from Georgian Downs preferred to draw the worst of it. Pass.
Selections: 8-3-5

8th Pace - $100,000; Burlington Stakes – 3yos (2nd division)
 1 – Future Million (50-1) – Ambitiously placed against tough field.
 2 – Rock N Roll Heaven (3-5) - NJSS champion looks to conquer open company. Can do it.
 3 – Rock Me Please (8-1) – Hot but steps up here.
 4 – Ideal Matters (8-5) – Still not convinced he is as good as some people say. Picks up a share.
 5 – Windfall Blue Chip (10-1) – Expect pace to fast for him at the end.
 6 - Stonebridge Tonic (40-1) – Outsider plain and simple.
 7 – Art N Charm (50-1) – Appears overmatched against these.
 8 – Mach Dreamer (50-1) – Best efforts are on the B circuit.
 9 – Rojettes Best (50-1) – Indiana invader seems to be over his head.
10 – Triple Major (25-1) – Don’t see him here.
11 – Shipps Xtravganza (50-1) – Maiden will still be looking after this race.
Selections: 2-3-4-8

9th Pace - $100,000; Burlington Stakes – 3yos (3rd division)
1 – Touch The Rock (4-1) – Toss last. Not out of it.
2 – Luckcamotion (50-1) – Outclassed and overmatched.
3 – Mcaracas (4-1) – Two race win streak snapped with impossible trip in last. Starts a new streak?
4 – BP Chimo (7-1) – Finally gets a good post. Can possibly beat top choice.
5 – Delmarvalous (3-1) – Will be competitive here.
6 – Woodstock (9-2) – Needs a fast pace to be relative.
7 – Aracache Hanover (10-1) – Not out of it. Consider if value.
8 – Keystone Raptor (7-1) – Faltered in last. Don’t see.
9 – Trick Man (15-1) – Appears to be overmatched.
10 – Warrawee Legend (10-1) – Would need to step it up from post 10.
Selections: 3-4-5

Meadowlands, Saturday, June 12
3rd Pace - $175,000; Miss New Jersey - 3yo NJ Sired Fillies
1 - Naughtytiltheend (4-1) - Clearly is second best here.
2 - Rock N Soul (8-1) - Can't compete against these.
3 - BJ's Mayreau (5-1) - Filly is improving but pace may be too fast for here here.  Not out of it.
4 - Put On A Show (8-5) - Appears to dominate this field.
5 - She Just Rocks (10-1) - Can pick up a piece with racing luck.
6 - Its Only Rocknroll (15-1) - Failed in nw2cd last start.  Pass.
7 - Rockaroundthetrack (15-1) - Looked better at Chester.  Must prove self.
8 - Lover Of Art (10-1) - Not from here.
9 - Full Picture (8-1) - Lands a share despite the horrible post.
Selections: 4-1-9

4th Trot - $200,000; NJSS Final - 3yo fillies
 1 - Boinga (9-2) - Four for five this year and draws rail.  Live one.
 2 - Springtime Volo (8-1) - Made seasonal debut a winning one.  Eligible to improve.
 3 - Unefoisdansmavie (6-1) - Meets tougher here.
 4 - Bar Slide (7-2) -  The one to beat if flat.
 5 - Muscle Armour (10-1) - Still looking for first win of the season.
 6 - Jettalady (15-1) - Not a realistic chance.
 7 - Costa Rica (3-1) - Seasonal debut was a winning effort.  Still not sure if her speed has picked up.
 8 - IPO Blue Chip (15-1) - Post should eliminate.
 9 - Glide Power (10-1) - Outside chance at best.
10 - Keystone Tabby (10-1) - Likely a maiden after tonight.
Selections: 4-1-7-2

5th Trot - $200,000; NJSS Final - 3yo colts and geldings
 1 - Flex The Muscle (10-1) - Dexter Cup winner is a possible longshot from the rail.
 2 - Take My Picture (8-1) - Suffering from seconditis.  Wouldn't be a shock if he improves. 
 3 - Plan Of Action (15-1) - Appears to be overmatched.
 4 - The First Time (12-1) - Another one which seems to be aiming high.
 5 - Muscle Massive (7-2) - Don't think he will get to ride the inside here.
 6 - Temple Of Doom (9-2) - Major contender here. 
 7 - Classic Viking (15-1) - Outclassed and overmatched.
 8 - I've Got It All (6-1) - Three for four this year.  Would need to step up his game to make it four for five.
 9 - Break The Bank K (5-2) - Draws the worst form the contenders.  Looking to beat the favorite.
10 - Priority Photo (15-1) - Post takes away any chance.
Selections: 1-6-2-5

6th Pace - $500,000; New Jersey Classic Final - 3yo NJ Sired Open
 1 - Classic Rock NRoll (15-1) - Here's one where the rail goes against him.  Pass.
 2 - Valentino (4-1) - Pena trainee is two for two sine the trainer change.  Will try to wire the field.
 3 - Allthatgltrsisgold (8-1) - Will be flying late.  Could steal it all.
 4 - All Speed Hanover (2-1) - Expect to see him in the photo at the end.  One to beat.
 5 - Piece Of My Rock (10-1) - In tough here.
 6 - BG's Folly (5-1) - Another one likely to falter in the stretch.
 7 - Shoobee's Place (10-1) - Could land share.
 8 - World Of Rocknroll (6-1) - Seems like he may have peaked at Hoosier.
 9 - BJ's Bequia (20-1) - Overmatched.
10 - Foreign Offier (15-1) - Not completely out of it.
Selections: 3-1-2-10