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Friday, September 17, 2010

Trotting Royalty Decends Upon Vernon - Speed Explosion Explained?

Another Friday, another treat for trotting fans at Vernon Downs as tonight, Vernon Downs presents a twelve race - all trot program which features four divisions of the New York Sires Stakes for 3yo trotting fillies, four divisions of the final preliminary leg of the Kindergarten Classic for 2yo trotters which culminates in next week's $150,000 final, and headlines the $195,000 Credit Winner open trot which features an all-star field of aged trotters including Buck I St Pat, Lucky Jim, Enough Talk, and Slave Dream.

The Credit Winner at Vernon Downs tonight has the makings for an interesting betting proposition.  Buck I St Pat, Lucky Jim, and Enough Talk, the three marquee horses each have their question marks coming into this race.  Buck I St Pat, who made a rare break last week in the Conway Hall at Vernon is somewhat of an enigma.  While the mare shows some excellent victories, she has come up empty in some races one would think she would have had no problem with.  Is it she is not the mare she has been in the past or are those defeats due to, shall we say more conservative drives when the money was not on the line?

 As for Lucky Jim, he returns to make his first pari-mutuel start in two months coming into the race with a sharp 1:54 qualifier at Chester Downs.  Is he read to fire this week or against this caliber will he need a race under his belt? 

Then there is Enough Talk.  After a disastrous effort at Scarborough Downs, he returned after a month off to finish second against a strong Scorpion Moon in the top overnight trot at Vernon.  One would think he will be ready for a top effort this week but while all the other trotters are coming in with their regular drivers, Enough Talk will be driven by his trainer Peter Kleinhans so one must wonder is Kleinhans driving because Enough Talk may not be sharp enough to entice another top driver to Vernon this evening to drive?  I will be looking past the top three, looking for value this evening.

Here are my selections for the Vernon Card:

1st Trot - $37,354; NYSS - 3yo Fillies
2 - Impressive Kemp (Vanderkemp, 2-1)
1 - Madam Hooch (Mattison, 5-1)
5 - Reena (A. Miller, 8-1)

2nd Trot - $10,000; Kindergarten Classic - 2yo Colts
1A - Manofmanymissions (A. Miller, 8-5)
  3  - Hig Pan Tolerance (Tetrick, 5-2)
  4  - Pembroke Big Bo (D. Miller, 3-1)
Coupled: Mr Jim Dandy and Manofmanymissions

3rd Trot - $37,354; NYSS - 3yo Fillies
3 - Tuesdays With Mom (Huckabone, 7-5)
5 - Sweetspellosuccess (Smedshammer,  5-1)
2 - Little Spot (Berry, 10-1)

4th Trot - $10,000; Kindergarten Classic - 2yo Fillies
5 - Taya's Photo (A. Miller, 20-1)
7 - Sacred Saint (Smedshammer, 3-1)
6 - Go Go Dancer (Mattison, 6-1)
3 - Shacklesonmyfeet (Johnson, 8-1)

5th Trot - $37,354; NYSS - 3yo Fillies
3 - Viva Las Lindy (Tetrick, 3-1)
5 - Miss Conway (Daley, 4-1)
2 - Sparkle Hall (D. Miller, 5-1)

6th Trot - $37,354; NYSS - 3yo Fillies
3 - Frosty Flirt (D. Miller, 7-2)
7 - Munis Blue Chip (Tetrick, 5-2)
5 - Free Wheeling (Goodblood, 8-1)

7th Trot - $3,600; Non-winners 2 Pari-Mutuel Races Lifetime
5 - Classic Son (A. Miller, 5-2)
6 - Naughty Broadway (Lopez, 3-1)
3 - Master Montauk (Huckabone, 6-1)
9 - Candlelight (Okusko, 15-1)

8th Trot - $195,000; The Credit Winner - Open
3 - Amrbro Chronicle (Saftic, 8-1) - Defeated Slave Dream back on July 6.  Draws inside of him this week.  A legitimate play at 8-1.
7 - Slave Dream (Filion, 3-1) - Has been on a tear but draws outside.  Will need to be at best to win here.
4 - Buck I St Pat (Tetrick, 9-2) - Takes on the boys.  If she's going to beat them, this is the week.
5 - Lucky Jim (A. Miller, 5-2) - Best on paper.  May be too deep a field to fire off of one qualifier.
6 - Enough Talk (Kleinhans, 7-2) - Must show he has returned to top form.
1 - Define The World (Macdonell, 8-1) - Field so deep this one is not out of it.  Finished two lengths behind San Pail on Monday.
6 - Enough Talk (Kleinhans, 7-2) - Must show he has returned to top form. 
2 - Hot Shot Blue Chip (D. Miller, 8-1) - If this horse ever overcame his breaking issues he will be a monster.

9th Trot - $2,900; Non-winners of 1 Pari-Mutuel Race Lifetime 
5 - Vision of Broadway (Marks, 2-1)
2 - Madoffwiththemoni (Tetrick, 3-1)
3 - CJ's Ice Breaker (Connor, 4-1)

10th Trot - $10,000; Kindergarten Classic - 2yo Colts
1 - Swan In A Million (A. Miller, 7-5)
2 - Carthage Hanover (Smedshammer, 4-1)
3 - Whit (Hochstetler, 5-1)

11th Trot - $10,000; Kindergarten Classic - 2yo Fillies
   9 - Beatgoeson Hanover (Macdonell, 2-1)
   8 - Centrifical Force (Jones, 12-1)
1A - Sizzling Volo (Johnson, 6-1)
Coupled: Southwind Rosita and Sizzling Volo

12th Trot - $2,900; Non-winners of 1 Pari-Mutuel Races Lifetime
6 - Sweet Licks (Cornell, 8-1)
8 - Coming Out (Daley, 3-1)
3 - Belle Of The Brawl (Huckabone, 4-1)
4 - Pistacious (Okuso, 12-1)

Have you been amazed by the success of certain trainers and the seemingly unexplained speed explosion we have been seeing this year with horses knocking seconds of their lifetime marks and breaking track records left and right?  It is possible the cause may have been uncovered.  In his final regularly scheduled column for Harnesslink, Andrew Cohen discusses the emergence of a new blood doping drug, called ITTP.  ITTP permits the blood to release more oxygen allowing horses to perform better.  As of now, there is no reliable test to uncover the drug so it is suspected unscrupulous trainers of all breeds are using this medication like EPO was used before.  One can't help but wonder once a test has been discovered, if we will be seeing these horses who have been putting on amazing performances slowing down; at least until the next super drug is discovered.  Unfortunately, until racing implements harsh enough penalities to make these cheaters pause, we will be dealing with super drugs for a long time.   

With Sunday being the kick-off of Jug Week at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, the USTA provides a preview to the Little Brown Jug as well as discusses some changes in the conditions for future years.  In addition, there is a review of the second session of the New Jersey Gaming Summit held at the Meadowlands last week

The USTA has put up a Little Brown Jug website which features stories about Jug week in addition to free programs for the racing action.  Remember, there is no simulcasting of Sunday and Monday's racing program.

For those who say there is no hope for harness racing, I suggest they look at the Little Brown Jug where typically 45-50,000 people attend the race; this at a county fair track in Southern Ohio on a Thursday afternoon.  If marketed right, there will always be a demand for harness racing; we just need to get past parochial interests to offer a product worthy of our customer's needs.

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