Vernon Downs hosts Friday evening the $202,000 Muscle Hill (Race 10) and the $214,000 Credit Winner (Race 11) for Open Trotters (the Muscle Hill is for mares). In a way these races are being lost on a Friday night as races of this quality should be held on a Saturday night. That being said, the schedule is the schedule so the big action for trotters occurs on Friday evening.
One thing I always wonder is when you have two stakes races back to back, why don't tracks schedule a Daily Double for those two races? It seems like a natural to me.
Anyway, let's take an early look at these races. Note this analysis takes place before scratch time so odds are not available and there will be some driving changes.
10th Trot - $202,000 Muscle Hill - Open Mares
1 - Maven (Gingras, pp 6) - She's been virtually unstoppable this year (8-6-1-0). She just needs the trip to be a threat here.
1A - D'Orsay (Callahan, pp 9) - Occasionally throws in a good effort, but this field may be a challenge. Definitely the weaker half off the entry.
2 - Beatgoeson Hanover (D Miller, pp 1) - Solid overnight horse who seems to always come up short in the big money events. Expect the same here.
3 - Intense America (Tetrick, pp 2) - Has shown little in stakes company. Expect Tetrick to choose off this mare.
4 - Pembroke Heat Wave (Sears, pp 3) - Should be a little tighter and gets Sears. May be able to land share at best.
5 - Cedar Dove (Pierce, pp 4) - Has been a disappointment to me all year. Has the potential to do more. Perhaps this is the week? Willing to look at odds.
7 - Personal Style (A Miller, pp 7) - Recent form says she is up against it this week. Will pass.
8 - Bax Of Life (Campbell, pp 8) - Toss last start. If this one can work out a trip, may be a factor.
9 - Check Me Out (Tetrick, pp 10) - Has not repeated last year's accomplishments. From the second tier, I think it will be another disappointing start.
AE - Uncommon Night (Morrill, AE1) -A toss if she gets in; plain and simple
AE - China Pearls (Waples, AE2) - Could be interesting if she draws in on and gets an inner post.
Early Play: Maven is the obvious choice here. There will be no value in the win pool; the key is exotics. Looking to key Maven with Pembroke Heat Wave, Cedar Dove, and Bax of Life.
Longshot Play: If you get 10-1, Cedar Dove is worth consideration.
11th Trot - $214,000 Credit Winner - Open Trot
1 - My MVP (Callahan, pp 2) - Riding two race win streak, defeating stablemate in last start. Part of formidable entry.
1A - Market Share (Tetrick, pp 3) - Maple Leaf Trot winner appears to have tailed off. Will he rebound with the money on the line?
1B - Wishing Stone (Gingras, pp 5) - Winner of Open at YR has not been able to compete recently with the best but note he won the Maxie Lee. Completes entry.
2 - Arch Madness (TBA, pp 1) - Not the same horse as in the past. Finally won against local talent. A step below these in current form.
3 - Sevruga (A Miller, pp 4) - Has quietly been challenging at this level. Needs to be up close to contend. Don't ignore.
4 - Guccio (Takter, pp 6) - Early season sensation seems to be up against it here.
5 - Intimidate (Pierce, pp 7) - 2012 BC Champion begins season in earnest. Worth a serious look.
6 - Mister Herbie (Jamieson, pp 8) - This horse loves to finish second. Include in exotics.
Early Play - He was missing a long part of the season but Intimidate is looking to make his run for this year's Breeders Crown. Should be able to get good odds. While others can make their case to win, you can find knocks. If looking at exotics, include Intimidate, Mister Herbie and the entry.