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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Joe F's Take on the Meadowlands Maturity

VFTRG contributor Joe F offers his thoughts on the first Meadowlands Maturity.

The three trotters we would most like to see in Saturday’s Meadowlands Maturity are Market Share, Intimidate and Googoo Gaagaa. Unfortunately the latter is the only one entered. Linda Toscano is taking her time getting Market Share back to the races while Intimidate, who qualified at Rideau Carleton last week, is apparently going to be confined to Canada for most of the season by trainer Luc Blais.
There are no mares entered. That’s too bad. This race is patterned after the Realization which was an important transition trot for four-year-olds at Roosevelt Raceway during the spring, for fourteen years from 1962 on. The Realization was raced at a mile and a sixteenth. In a year like this when top tier mares like Check Me Out, Maven and Win Missy B are apparently returning for their four-year-old campaigns, they’d be entered in the Realization.

Bill Haughton’s Flamboyant wired the field in 1968 as the 1/5 favorite. Sprite Rodney, the dam of Spartan Hanover, won the Realization in 1963 for Stanley Dancer. Spry Rodney also raced that year. Claire Sampson, the second dam of Noble Florie, was entered in the first edition of the race. The outstanding trotting mare, Meadow Farr, who was the dam of Meadow Bright, also participated in 1962. Duke Rodney won that one. Armbro Flight was the favorite over second choice Noble Victory in 1966 for Joe O’Brien. She broke stride.
It would have been nice to see a couple of the mares take on the boys in the Maturity. Nine or ten of them possessed large enough bankrolls to bump some of these boys aside and make the cut if their connections wanted in.

Any trotter that won the Westbury Futurity at two, the Dexter Cup at three and the Realization at four received the added perk of the Founder’s Plate and a $50,000 bonus. The breeder received $5,000, the driver $10,000 and the owner the remaining $35,000. Speedy Scot, Dartmouth and Nevele Pride pulled it off. Perhaps the Meadowlands could tie the Peter Haughton, Hambletonion and Maturity together and offer something similar to the Founder’s Plate as well as a bonus to any horse that wins all three—no easy trick. Perhaps a mare that has won the Merrie Annabelle and the Oaks would also qualify for the prize if she won the Maturity.
The Takter trio is entered. LBF has made two unimpressive starts. Longshot Lexis Amigo won the first one at the Meadowlands and Beatgoeson beat him last time out at Pocono. At least LBF gets Gingras; poor Guccio appears destined to spend another season with Jimmy Takter sitting behind him. Modern Family beat Uncle Peter first time out and Harbor Point picked him up last time. He gets Pierce instead of Takter in the Maturity.

At least Takter’s trotters have two starts each in them. Goo and My MVP are both kicking off their 2013 campaigns on Saturday night. Goo’s mile in the Beal was the fastest ever by a trotter on a 5/8 track, but he hasn’t looked good in a competitive race for eight and a half months. He beat Market Share in the Colonial on August 19, and was subsequently give a two month time out for rest and relaxation by his trainer/owner. He then beat up on the three-legged set  in the MDSS a couple of times and finished up with two disappointing efforts in the Matron: he drew the nine post in the second tier in the elimination and never got going and he suddenly went backwards while moving on the leaders at the three quarters in the final. It’s been a long time. My MVP did win the Kentucky Futurity but he was no factor in the BC or the Matron. The ten post will be tough.
Harbor Point has a dozen starts in him while Modern Family has ten. The former labored in the minor leagues for most of last year, but came alive in the fall with a second place finish in the Circle City and the same in the Oliver. He was second to Quick Deal in this year’s Horse & Groom final. And Modern Family didn’t do much last year but the Cantab Hall stallion out of a three-quarter sister to Maven and Lanson has banked more than $84,000 since Daryl Bier bought him for $110,000 at the Tattersalls January Sale at the Meadowlands.

Solveig, a half-brother to Dontyouforgetit, won a couple of 100K PASS races last year and came second in the 200K Colonial consolation. He’s got one win over NW5 at Harrah’s for Trond Smedshammer.
Magic Tonight, a $55,000 yearling purchase who won the Bluegrass and ISS at two and took the PASS Championship last year, only has one win in four starts against lesser this year. While Another Amaretto, an $88,000 Andover Hall yearling purchase, doesn’t appear to be a factor.

Six of the ten trotters entered in the Maturity trace back to Speedy Scot on top and three others go back to Noble Victory (Goo is a toss in this regard). There are three Cantab Halls, two Yankee Glides and two Andover Halls. None of these trotters go back to Stars Pride on top, although LBF and Harbor Point do so on the bottom. There are no sons of Credit Winner; Archangel was retired. There are no sons of Kadabra; the Canadian contingent of Knows Nothing and Prestidigitator (both sons of Kadabra), as well as Intimidate, stayed home.

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