In a way this is a great weekend of racing; in other ways it is disappointing. There are some really good races this weekend. At Tioga Downs there is The Ladyship Stakes for 3yo pacing fillies which will also have a separate pool at the Meadowlands. The Meadowlands has the best trotters in the land racing in the Titan Cup and the Meadowlands has the first running of the Summer Survivor Series Final. Sunday, the $500,000 final of the Ben Franklin for FFA pacers will be contested at Chester.
Then there is some disappointing things this weekend as well. Both the Yonkers Trot and Hudson Filly Trot drew only seven horses in each which means there will be no eliminations this weekend. While I am not a big fan of elimination races, the fact only seven horses entered in each race is kind of sad.
Also disheartening is the fact only three horses entered The Jersey Cup up at Tioga Downs necessitating the race to go as a non-wagering event. Only three horses enter a $62,500 race? This same race went at the Meadowlands last year and there was a much better response. Why such a poor response? Sure people are going to say it is the purse opportunities in Pennsylvania, some will say the trainers just don't want to ship up to Tioga. More likely it is people don't want to race at Tioga a week before the Meadowlands Pace eliminations. Well, the three horses contesting will thank the others for dodging the race. This is the thanks Tioga Downs gets for saving this race from cancellation when the Meadowlands gave up Historic Week..
Let's not kid ourselves. The lack of entrants in the Yonkers Trot is due to the fact it has become a rule that says "Thou shalt not race on a half mile track, no matter how much the purse may be if you are planning on racing in the Hambletonian". We have become like thoroughbred racing. Race in a qualifier or some overnight race instead of going for the big money elsewhere. Yes, some horses can't handle the half mile track, but more horses can handle it than they will admit; it is the dream of syndication deals which keeps the horses off the smaller ovals as they fear drawing post seven or eight. This is why I can't wait till Jeff Gural's plans to restrict races to those sired by 5yos and up takes effect; then perhaps people will race their horses over the half mile ovals knowing they have another year to get people to forget about a single loss on a half mile track should it occur; thus allowing people to take the risk of racing at Yonkers or any other half mile track.
Lastly, there is disappointment even at Goshen. This year, there are some short fields in the Landmark Stakes on Saturday; granted a minor stake but still racing for good money. Only two horses entered the Landmark Stakes for 2yo colts and geldings trotters; they will compete for $12,600. Three horses entered the Landmark Stakes for 3yo colts and gelding trotters; they will race for $20,458. Four fillies enter the Landmark Stakes for 2yo filly trotters; going for $8,900. Four horses going in the Landmark Stakes for 3yo filly trotters; going for $13,695. No one expects the top horses to come to Goshen to race in these stakes but to tell me there are no second or third string horses who can race at Goshen, our own national landmark, is a disgrace. These races should have had better representation. I can see a problem filling the 2yo trotting colts as the NYSS for them are at Monticello that night, but the others? First of all, to allow those fans attending to see a good show and to ensure these races continue. Like any other track, if a race is not supported, it eventually will be dropped and then the future of Historic Track will be put in jeopardy as these four days of racing is a major fundraiser for the non-profit track. In the old days people raced at Goshen for the good will and it was the place to be over the Fourth of July holiday. The days of horses coming from all over to race at Goshen are long gone, but to tell me horsemen racing in the local area couldn't nominate or drop horses into the box to race is a disgrace. The NYSS couldn't schedule the pari-mutuel races around Goshen? Yes, the purses at slot tracks are better, but to think trainers and owners can't sacrifice for one week to race at Goshen is shameful.
So now that I have come off my soap box, let's look at some of the big races on Saturday.
Tioga Downs NB Pace- $62,500; The Jersey Cup - 3yo Colts
1 - Roll'em Up (Parker) - Lucky to grab fifth in a NJSS race last. Should pick up 2nd.
2 - Arockin Hanover (Merton) - Appears overmatched. Stroll around track to pick up 3rd money.
3 - Lucky Cadet - One last start at Tioga and won the NYSS in 1:55.2 at YR. One to beat
Tioga Downs 3rd Pace- $76,200; The Ladyship Stakes - 3yo Fillies (Also Race 3 at Meadowlands)
1 - Honky Tonk Woman (McCarthy, 5-2) - Class of race draws the rail. Horse to beat.
2 - Asteria Blue Chip (Hensley, 10-1) - Won NYSS in last; mixed record here. Share at very best.
3 - Winbak Corazon (Fluet, 12-1) - Has not raced well at Tioga this year. Can't see.
4 - JK Soundofmusic (Marohn
5 - Miss Annie J (Micallef, 20-1) - Not much to like. Pass.
6 - Shyaway (Dunn, 8-1) - Aussie driver gets the drive on horse who has not done well this year. Pass.
7 - Rocklamation (Braden, 9-2) - Second best in this race and will be there if top pick falters.
8 - Shabalabadingdong (Miller, 20-1) - Stepping up in company here.
9 - New Album (Merton, 3-1) - Credible effort for final placing.
10 - Stash The Cash (Kirby, 20-1) - Seems well over matched.
#10 - Stash The Cash scores from second tier.
Meadowlands 8th Trot - $220,750; Titan Cup - FFA
1 - Four Starz Speed (Gingras, 15-1) - Doesn't seem to be up to these. Pass.
2 - Corleone Kosmos (Miller, 8-1) - The old boy still puts in an occasional top effort. Don't ignore.
3 - Buck I St Pat (Tetrick, 5-1) - Mare is off to a slow start. Must show more before she gets my support.
4 - Lucky Jim (Miller, 3-1) - Won last at Meadowlands, but this is tougher.
5 - Slave Dream (Allard, 9-2) - Finished second to top choice; expect similar effort here.
6 - Arch Madness (Sears, 9-5) - Won on return to States. Right back. Horse to beat.
7 - Pilgrims Chuckie (Simpson, 15-1) - Picking up the pieces and is overmatched.
8 - Neighsay Hanover 9Lachance, 15-1) - Has had good efforts this year but outside the faves.
9 - Sir Caviar (Pierce, 15-1) - This is a much tougher field and draws the worst. Pass.
Meadowlands 9th Pace - $100,000; Summer Survivor Series Final
1 - Lettherockbegin (Lachance, 15-1) - Been fringe player in this series. Pass.
2- Mr Tommy Fra (Sears, 15-1) - Shown nothing of late but draws inside after four starts. Upset chance.
3 - Steal The Diamonds (Simpson) - Has been beaten by the #2 when he was inside. Can't suggest.
4 - Tyler Hanover (Gingras, 6-1) - Won last leg and just missed in PASS. A live one.
5 - Alex Bullville (Berry, 8-1) - Won one leg and had no chance in last. Consider for exotics.
6 - Sea Venture (Allard, 9-2) - Headed after a horrible trip last out. Definite threat.
7 - Waldy Jimmy (Tetrick, 3-1) - 2 for 3 since shipping from Pompano. But #6 beat in last start.
8 - Nathan Feelsgood (Pierce, 10-1) - Can't recommend. Pass.
9 - Four Corners (Miller, 8-1) - Woke up in last but draws post nine.
10 - Rock'em (Miller (7-2) - Swept series legs and great recovery in NJSS. Post draw not kind.
The Breeding industry can't catch a break. Democratic Senator Merkley from Oregon wants Congress to remove the special treatment racehorses get in the tax code. Currently horses can be depreciated over a three year period where the normal depreciation period is seven years. If this accelerated depreciation is repealed, it will make owning a racehorse more expensive; impacting the prices buyers will be willing to pay for yearlings at auction.