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Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Historic Maple Leaf Trot, An Obscure $100,000 Race

You have to give credit to San Pail who won his third straight Maple Leaf Trot in 1:51.1, defeating Arch Madness and Hot Shot Blue Chip who minded his manners.   The 1:51.1 clocking set a stakes record and equaled the Canadian record for the fastest trotting mile.  San Pail does not get the respect he deserves in the States because he has set up permanent residence at Mohawk and Woodbine but in the meanwhile, he has earned over $2 million in career earnings.   

As for $100,000 The Battle of Lake Erie, what is there to say?  You never go against Foiled Again when he gets the rail on a half mile track.   That being said, supporters had to get a little concerned as the lead at the top of the stretch was shrinking and he held on to win by a head over Giddy Up Lucky in a 1:52 mile over a sloppy track..

In the William C Conners Memorial held at Hazel Park, Soulful Delight came on in the stretch to beat the Turtle Express who attempted to wire the field to score the mild upset in 1:55.1.  Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the race was how little coverage it received.  True, it was not as big a race as The Battle of Lake Erie, but $100,000 races in Michigan don't come along that often and the coverage was virtually non-existent.  As of the writing of this blog entry, I didn't even see any news stories on the race from the local press or even on the USTA website.  I guess Michigan racing has become the Rodney Dangerfield of harness racing.  Update:  Since I wrote this piece, there is a recap of the race in HRU in the results section. 

At the Meadowlands, what may turn out to be the smallest Daily Double of the meet occurred when Krispy Apple and Big Jim won the first two races of the evenings card convincingly.  The Double paid a whopping $2.40.  No, it is not an all-time low Meadowlands Daily Double nor was it a personal low Daily Double.  I remember collecting a $2.20 payoff at The Red Mile many years ago during their Grand Circuit meet.  How easy was it to pick the first three winners of the night?  The combined winning margin was over thirteen lengths for the first three races.  Still, despite the Pick 5 being more of a Pick 2, it was not that easy to hit as in the final leg, Rockstar Tempo gave the Pick 5 some  value with a $59.40 win payoff.  Considering the overwhelming favorites in the first three legs ($2.20, $2.10, $2.40), the fifty-cent wager for all five winners paid a generous $199.85.  Four out of five  winners were not so lucky.  They were  'rewarded' with a whopping $1.15 for their handicapping efforts.

Punters at The Meadows must be cursing out the fact there was no show wagering in the fourth race as the seemingly invincible entry of Wink N Atacha and Feel Like A Fool brought up the rear in the first elimination of The Adios.  The bridge jumpers would have been cleaned out.

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