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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bits and Pieces

VFTRG frequent contributor Joe F. offers his take on things in a column he calls Bits and Pieces.

The qualifying card at The Meadowlands on Friday might be better than the main event. Royalty For Life, who came on strong at the end of last year, faces Detour Hanover, the full brother to Donato who has beaten nw1 thus far and is making folks forget about Good Humor Man. RFL, who was stuck at Vernon during the quarantine, is one of many contenders from that division not to be entered in the Goodtimes eliminations scheduled for Saturday at Mohawk. Division kingpin Wheeling N Dealin, a Canadian based colt, wasn’t even nominated to the Goodtimes. Smilin Eli, Time To Kill, Aperfectyankee, Murmur Hanover, Corky, Major Athens and Fashion Blizzard are a few more from the list of the missing.

Last year longshot Beer Summit beat longer shot, Prayer Session. The final went for $351,000; this year the purse for the final has been trimmed 30%. The fourteen nominees who are entered in the two eliminations are a forgettable bunch.

It’s apparent that all the big dogs are on board for the NA Cup eliminations on Saturday, but Friday’s Elegantimage prelims also drew the division leaders. To Dream On broke stride while being raced conservatively by Yannick Gingras in last week’s EBC elimination. As a result, she failed to make the final and is slated to face Bee A Magician in the first EI elimination. Mistery Woman is also in that race.

I Luv The Nitelife, last year’s O’Brien winner, is also in to qualify for Tetrick at M1 on Friday. She’s also entered in that night’s single elimination for the Fan Hanover at Mohawk. The latter sounds like the more likely and lucrative option. Jewel won the Fan last year and Peelers took it in 2011. Last year 16 fillies raced in two eliminations and there were ten in the final. On Saturday there is a single elimination with a field of ten. One will be culled from the final, which already includes Jerseylicious.

Somwherovrarainbow was nominated to the Fan but her connections chose to beat up on a field of PASS also rans in Tuesday’s Adios Betty instead. The purse for the Fan is off almost 40% from the $642,000 offered last year, but $400,000 is still a lot more than the $78,000 available  for each split of the Adios Betty. Charisma Hanover and Novascotia Hanover, neither of whom was nominated to the Fan, were the short-priced winners of the other Adios Betty splits. I think the 2011 BC elimination, where Montrel took Custard out in :26.1, and after parking Pierce and RWJ, backed into the field finishing up the track, was the last time he drove at a WEG track. Tetrick drove Rainbow in the Great Lady and Eternal Camnation while Andy Miller won the BC with her.

Casie Coleman’s L Dees Lioness, the other big dog in that division at season’s end, hasn’t raced since finishing third in the BC.

Heston Blue Chip, who finished third behind Dynamic Youth and Bettor’s Edge in his lone 2013 start, is also in to qualify at M1 Friday, along with the winner of the last two BCs for older pacers, Bettor Sweet. It’s June and HBCs only start is in an oddball four–year-old open at M1 consisting of five horses, two of them from the Toscano barn. Heston finished third. She skipped last week with him; now he’s gonna qualify? The Roll With Joe is Sunday, right in his backyard. No RWJ for HBC? He’s staked to it. Maybe this is the new normal under Gural’s stallion rules: piddle around at four, then head for the stud barn. Market Share has also been out once; he was given the three post in an A-1/FFA handicap.

HBC and Market Share figured to make some noise in the TVG series—and they more than likely will. However, who would have guessed that after two rounds, Fred And Ginger would have 43% more points than any other pacer and Sevruga would be leading the trotters.

Cheddar, Sweet Lou, Foiled, Duer, Razzle Dazzle, Pet Rock, Golden Receiver, ARNRD, Heston and Bettor’s Edge are the ten pacers that qualify, according to their earnings, for Sunday’s Roll With Joe at Tioga;  and Anndrovette, Feeling You, Economy Terror,  Rocklamation, Romantic Moment, Bettor B Lucky, Camille, Cee Cee, Darena and Big McDeal are the mares that qualify for the Artiscape. And there are plenty of other good ones nominated, in case some of the above choose not to enter.

Michaels Power and Panther Hanover haven’t been heard from this year.

Lots of high dollar Muscle Hills going in baby races at M1 on Saturday. Ivory Pearl, a $135,000 Tattersalls purchase who is out of Pure Ivory, the O’Brien winner at two and three, is one of them. Quikwit, another Lexington purchase, this one only $100,000, is out of the unraced Conway Hall mare, Twitty. Quikwit is half to Smarty Pants. Great Society, Fortunes Of Fables and King City are three others in the $50,000 range. Plain Cheddar, the colt who represented the bottom for Muscle Hill at $6,000, also races on Saturday. Well Said’s half brother to Rockin Amadeus and Rockin Image, Tellitlikeitis, also goes.

The Hambletonion Society/BC Poll is a mess. Is it any wonder? No horse really stands out at this point. That pipsqueak, Wishing Stone, is at the top. Who woulda thunk it? …..Golden Receiver, badly beaten last time out, is number two. The cold weather is finally gone and GR will be too, soon enough.

 Who can argue with Feeling You at number three?......Captainifidontracetheycantbeatme holds down the fourth spot off a single win against a soft field in the PASS. Albatross had six starts in him at this point in his sophomore campaign.…..Razzle Dazzle is a perfect example of voting the bankroll. He won the high dollar Levy final as well as a couple of prelims. This puts him up near the top moneywise, but give us a break? He looked great executing that three-deep sweep in the TVG a few weeks ago, but not so good fading into the night at the end…..Duer is number seven off of a tripped out win in the Hoosier. What? Sweet Lou looked a lot better winning the Maturity and finishing second in the TVG.

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