New Jersey horsemen are frightened that the Meadowlands is on the brink of extinction or more realisticaly, losing relevance in the racing scene. The SBOANJ wages a battle against the Governor and the politicians. The USTA comes in to convey the importance of racing at the Meadowlands has to the entire standardbred industry. Everyone complains something must be done to save this mecca of harness racing. So it is with this background that the Meadowlands opens their fall meet this year and what happens?
The owners and horsemen high tail it out of Dodge. During this time when it is important to show how there is a demand for harness racing in New Jersey, horsemen stabled in New Jersey are racing everywhere but the Meadowlands. This weekend's card at the Meadowlands is a disaster. Friday night's card has only nine races including three $8,000 claimers. Out of the nine races, only one race draws a full field of ten; one race has six entrants; another seven. Saturday night's card has ten races, including a $10,000 claiming event; $20,000 is the top straight claiming event for the whole weekend. A $20,000 claiming event on a Saturday night? Five races have less than nine horses entered. I can tell you where I will not be playing this weekend.
The Meadowlands fall meet is never as strong as the regular meet but this year, the fall meet has reached a new low, but it didn't need to be this bad. As much as horsemen and owners are saying "Save the Meadowlands", their actions are saying "Let someone else do the work, I am going to race elsewhere". For people who have such a vested interest in the survival of the Meadowlands, you would think they would be willing to sacrifice a little as an investment in their own future by entering some of their better horses into the Meadowlands entry box. Instead, they look out for themselves and race across the Delaware River at Chester and to a lesser degree, Pocono Downs or across the Hudson to race at Yonkers Raceway, providing evidence for the anti-Meadowlands forces who claim harness racing is dying, there is no reason to invest in a dying business. For this, shame on those New Jersey horsemen who are racing everywhere but New Jersey. They deserve what may be coming. Meanwhile, over at ESPN.com, Bill Finley writes how Governor Christie is hurting New Jersey taxpayers for the benefit of the Atlantic City interests.
The racing season is truly winding down with racing this weekend at Balmoral Park and Dover Downs with the running of the American-Nationals at Balmoral and the Matron and Progress Stakes at Dover. It is Survivor Weekend because for a stakes horse to be still racing this time of year is a tribute to the trainers and owners. Sure, some of the best horses that were in racing are missing; taken out of training due to injury or horsemen protecting their investment before they head to the breeding shed, but some of the best in racing are still competing for serious money.
Here is my review of the weekend's racing action:
Saturday, November 13
Balmoral Park 4th Trot - $124,000; The American National - 4yo and Up
1 - Buck I St Pat (Tetrick, 3-2)
4 - Enough Talk (Gingras, 7-5)
2 - Southwind Wasabi (Miller, 9-2)
Buck I St Pat finally is showing her best and aired it out in a qualifier between starts. Enough Talk would typically be the pick, but is vulnerable this week. Southwind Wasabi won at the Meadows, was in contention when she jumped off at Lexington.
Balmoral Park 5th Pace - $95,000; The American National - 2yo Fillies
1A - Eastern Star (Campbell, 8-1)
3 - Slickety Split (Widger, 6-1)
8 - Pardon (Magee, 3-1)
1 - Ole Miss (Seekman, 8-1)
2 - Fox Valley Touche (Hiteman, 9-2)
Coupled: Ole Miss and Eastern Star
Eastern Star seems to be coming into her own and picks up Campbell, good long shot play. Slickety Split lacked room and was impeded in last, yet missed by less than a length. Pardon is thirteen for fourteen this year but has been racing exclusively against state breds. Ole Miss is another who went a tough trip last week and completes a solid entry. Fox Valley Touche draws the rail and may complete the Superfecta.
Balmoral Park 6th Pace - $127,000; The American National - 2yo Colt and Geldings
7 - Mr Bedrock (Taylor, 8-1)
4 - Playin For Keeps (Oosting, 7-2)
5 - Mystic Desire (Tetrick, 9-5)
9 - He's So Hot (Hiteman, 8-1)
Mr Bedrock, wired the field last week and draws same post; life play here. Playin for Keeps' win streak ended when racing against open company. Mystic Desire blasted away in stretch last week and is reunited with Tetrick. He's So Hot may be good enough to complete the exotics.
Balmoral Park 7th Pace - $156,000; The American National - 4yo and Up
2 - Atochia (Gingras, 6-1)
3 - Won The West (Miller, 8-5)
6 - Bettor Sweet (Campbell, 7-2)
Atochia returns from a brief excursion in Canada finishing second to a rejuvinated Foiled Again. Worth a shot at 6-1. Won The West is the horses to beat but has seldom won two in a row this year. Bettor Sweet picks up Campbell off second place finish in the Indiana Pacing Derby.
Balmoral Park 8th Pace - $245,000; The American National - 3yo Colt and Geldings
6 - One More Laugh (Tetrick, 8-5)
4 - Aracache Hanover (Gingras, 12-1)
9 - Razzle Dazzle (Campbell, 5-1)
3 - Voomerang (Warren, 20-1)
One More Laugh gets away from his nemesis Rock N Roll Heaven. Only concern is he has had to go a lot of tough miles; gets a lukewarm nod here. Aracache Hanover competed against older in a high conditioned event. Returns to three year olds and may be worth a play with sufficient odds. Razzle Dazzle suffers from a horrible post. Voomerang may sneak into the exotics at a high price.
Balmoral Park 9th Pace - $191,000; The American National - 3yo Fillies
1 - Put On A Show (Tetrick, 6-5)
4 - Fox Valley Oracle (Magee, 8-1)
2 - Rev Me Up (Gingras, 4-1)
7 - Wendy's Dragon (Campbell, 15-1)
Put On A Show has been stellar all year short of one start. Looks to win her thirteenth win of the season. Fox Valley Oracle just missed after being hung out to dry in late closer final at Indy; 2nd best. Rev Me Up was able to win that late closer after racing in the pocket; would need a similar trip to be a factor. Wendy's Dragon put in a horrible effort at Indy; has been racing well at Balmoral. Adds Campbell and may offer value to the exotics.
Dover Downs 6th Trot - $132,075; Matron Stakes - 2yo Colts and Geldings
2 - Bambino Hall (Wolfenden, 5-1)
6 - Chapter Seven (Lachance, 1-2)
1A - Spring Goal (Sears, 8-1)
Coupled: Way Back When and Spring Goal
Bambino Hall was second best in elimination and draws an inside post. May be enough to score the minor upset. Chapter Seven has been almost flawless but draws the outside for the first time; not going to take at 1-2. Spring Goal's Red Mile efforts indicate this one is better than last race; may offer value.
Dover Downs 7th Pace - $147,000; Matron Stakes - 2yo Fillies
6 - Southwind Jazmin (Dube, 5-2) -
5 - Krispy Apple (Sears, 2-1)
2 - New Album (Pierce, 3-1)
Coupled: Myluvmylife and Dreamlands Roxy
Southwind Jazmin wins with better control of fractions. Krispy Apple just missed in career debut; should be better this week. New Album returns off layoff to win elimination in a shocker. Will he bounce here?
Dover Downs 10th Trot - $136,725; Matron Stakes - 2yo Fillies
3 - Don't Cry Lindy (Lachance, 10-1)
8 - Sweet Love (Sears, 7-2)
5 - Tight Pants (Miller, 2-1)
Don't Cry Lindy has been racing well when she stays flat. Elimination effort was even. May be able to score a shocker. Sweet Love won elimination but has not shown interest from the outside. Tight Pants finished second to Sweet Love but she too moves outside.
Dover Downs 11th Pace - $203,950; Matron Stakes - 2yo Colts and Geldings
4 - Lookinforadventure (Dube, 2-1)
5 - Powerful Mist (Morand, 7-2)
1A - Feel Like A Fool (Sears, 9-5)
Coupled: Three Martini's and Feel Like A Fool
Lookingforadventure missed the win in last. Won't get the odds from last week as he moves inside the elimination winner. Powerful Mist winner of five straight on the Delaware circuit; but draws post six. Feel Like A Fool highlights powerful entry and can win it all but will likely be odds on. Your move.
Sunday, November 14
Dover Downs 7th Pace - $186,850 - Matron Stakes - 3yo Fillies
1 - Rock N Soul (Gingras, 8-5)
3 - Ticket To Rock (Miller, 5-2)
7 - Northwest Hanover (Tetrick, 6-1)
Coupled: Rock N Soul and Sand Gesture
Rock N Soul draws the rail and may control the entire mile. Ticket To Rock was on fire before the elimination; can take it all. Northwest Hanover has been quietly going about her business; don't ignore.
Dover Downs 8th Trot - $193,088; Matron Stakes - 3yo Filles
2 - Christiana Hanover (Rekila, 8-1)
7 - Costa Rica (Pierce, 5-2)
8 - Glide Power (Brennan, 5-1)
Christiana Hanover has been wining when least expected; possible shocker. Costa Rica has been best this year on the half mile oval; large oval not as proficient. Glide Power won the elimination but gets saddled with outside post; may land share.
Dover Downs 10th Pace - $320,000; Progress Pace - 3yos
3 - Fred and Ginger (Tetrick, 4-1)
3A - Dramlands Art (Palone, 4-1)
5 - Rockin Image (Gingras, 3-5)
1A - World Of Rocknroll (Brennan, 6-1)
Coupled: Shoobee's Place and World of Rocknroll; Windfall Blue Chip and Delmarvalous; Fred And Giner and Dreamlands ArtFred And Ginger had no chance in last. With no Rock N Roll Heaven to worry about; should find this field easier. Dramlands Art tossed in a clunker last week but Red Mile efforts say this one is a strong entrymate. Rockin Image devastated the field last week but gets post seven here; not a favorable post. World Of Rocknroll was good early in this year; may improve without RnR.
Dover Downs 11th Trot - $237,213; Matron Stakes - 3yo Colts and Geldings
3 - Wishing Stone (Brennan, 7-5)
4 - Il Villaggio (Jamieson, 9-2)
8 - Break The Bank K (Sears, 4-1)
With the top two of the division gone, Wishing Stone should have no problem with this field; the one to beast. Il Villaggio is trying to salvage the season and may be worth including in the Exacta if odds are good enough. Break The Bank K gets shouldered with the worst of the draw. May pick up the scraps to complete the Trifecta.