The curtain rises Friday evening at Vernon Downs for their 2012 race meet. I know most heavy hitters avoid tracks like Vernon due to the handle not being large enough to wager on but form seems to hold well here. Also, Vernon has a lot of trotting races which is something I like (realizing I am in the minority).
At the early part of the meet, it is going to be a little harder to handicap as you have horses that haven't raced since last year or haven't raced in forty-five days in the box. Something to consider is Roman Lopez has been hot in the qualifiers leading up to this meet. Of course, qualifying success does not necessarily translate to pari-mutuel success, but you may wish to give Lopez's horses a little closer look.
The wagering menus at Vernon Downs is as follows:
Daily Double: Races 1-2; Last two races
Exacta, Trifecta, Superfectas - All races
Pick 3 - Races 3-5
Pick 4 - Races 7-10
Without further ado, here are my selections for Friday night's card at Vernon Downs. I have listed driver's choices. Other driver changes have been made but are not noted; typically because the change was not from another driver in the race or the original driver was required to drive the another horse (horse trained by them or a family member).
1st Trot - $5,200; $7,500-$10,000 Claiming Handicap
3 - Steubenmeanmachine (Whittemore, 12-1) - Drops back to winning level. Worth a shot.
7 - Forrest County (Kinney, 9-2) - Has prepped well for this meet; post hampers.
8 - Ziegler Hanover (Lems, 7-2) - Canadian shipper saddle with worst post.
1 - Play Right (Lopez, 6-1) - Best of rest. Seems to have horses ready.
#8 - Driver's choice over #5.
2nd Pace - $6,200; FM Non-winners $4,501 Last 5 Starts
2 - RD Blues (Rice, 9-2) - Appears to lay over this field.
4 - Tia Maria Hanover (Huckabone, 3-1) - Prepped at the Meadowlands; could take it all.
6 - Mctootsie (Paquet, 2-1) - Way over her head in last; should show better here.
7 - Harlem Rockturne (Whittemore, 6-1) - Shows ability; saddled with poor post.
3rd Trot - $3,400; Non-winners 2 PM Races or $7,500 Lifetime
5 - Vixy (Lems, 5-1) - Appears to have matured over winter. Worth a good look here.
2 - Steuben Lone Pine (Fisher, 6-1) - Dominated NY sires late closers last year. Translates against open stock?
4 - Moonglow (Antonacci, 9-2) - Another who went well against state breds. Seems step below #2.
7 - J'Omama (Brunet, 8-1) - Highly regarded filly makes seasonal debut. Lives up to hopes? We'll see.
#9 - Driver's choice over #3.
#5 - Driver's choice over #8.
4th Trot - $6,200; Non-winners $4,501 Last 5 Starts
2 - Love U Overandover (Duer, 5-2) - Pompano shipper finds class relief here.
7 - Rhythmic Moves (Brunet, 7-2) - Would be top pick if not for #2.
4 - Client Nine (Plano, 6-1) - Lost all chance in stretch in last. Threat if flat.
6 - Guinever's Star (Okusko, 8-1) - Hasn't come back well. May improve with return to the big track.
5th Pace - $4,100; FM Non-winners $2,501 Last 5 Starts
2 - Sinspirational (Lems, 7-2) - May have finally gotten act together. Worth the odds?
1 - Look Up (Paquet, 8-1) - Consistent sort. Should handle layoff.
5 - Laugh Away (Whittemore, 5-2) - Fits well here. May improve rating.
4 - Determined Lady (Plano, 12-1) - Qualified well. Picks up pieces.
6th Pace - $9,500; FM Open (Post Positions Assigned by Earnings Last 5) - No Superfecta
6 - Bunny In The Bank (Switzer, 9-5) - Lays over this field.
4 - Dovetail (Paquet, 6-1) - Seems to be best of the rest.
1 - Forty Three (Capizzano, 3-1) - Good qualifier, but this is a significant hike.
7th Trot - $7,600; Winners over $12,500 Lifetime
5 - Aruba Vacation (Paquet, 6-1) - Ships over from Tioga ready to go.
8 - Under The Stars (Whittemore, 9-2) - Drops down but gets bad draw.
9 - Glorious Winner (Lopez, 12-1) - Came home well in qualifier. May need another start.
3 - New Yorks Fines (Conner, 8-1) - Two winning qualifiers, but stepping up here.
8th Pace - $3,400; FM Winners 1 but not 3 PM races or $7,500 Lifetime
1 - Winbak Your Kash (Bailey, 9-2) - Deserves top choice
3 - Table Games (Lopez, 5-2) - Another raring to go. Could up end top pick.
6 - Izzy (Rice, 8-1) - Raced well against state breds. Must step up.
2 - Donna Party (Whittemore, 7-2) - Must get straightened out. Has potential.
9th Trot - $4,100; Non-winners $2,501 Last 5 Starts
3 - Broadway Matador (Nassimos, 10-1) - Gets weak nod in weak field.
4 - Tioga Thunder (Capizzano, 7-2) - Brilliant qualifier. May have found his spot.
8 - Red Light (Huckabone, 9-2) - A Brainard reclamation project. Turn around that quick?
5 - Victoria Hall (Harp, 8-1) - Winless last year. May be good enough to finish in the superfecta.
#2 - Driver's choice over #1, #7.
10th Pace - $3,800; FM $4,000-$6,000 Claiming Handicap
5 - Canaco Star (Kinney, 5-2) - Should be hard to beat she gets the early lead.
4 - Moon Lake (Nassimos, 8-1) - Stays close to challenge at the end.
9 - Pounne De Luxe (Davis, 6-1) - Fits this level. Post hurts.
2 - Jo Pa's Wish (Davis, 15-1) - Picks up the pieces and may work way in superfecta).