Last night's final preliminary leg for the Hambletonian RUS late closer was contested and whereas there were two division last week, a single field of seven trotters met the starting gate this week. What we saw was arguably the best RUS event of the year thus far as Stephanie Werder, in from Norway to prepare for next week's $28,000 final showed patience and composure as she waited to split horses late to gain a victory for O U Gus in 1:59.4.
Something I noticed this year is the riders are being much more patient and rating the horses better. Last year, it was all out in the beginning and the trotters would slow up in the final half of the race. This week's race was typical of this year's events, quarters of :29.1, :31.1. :30.2 and :29. These riders have been working hard in improving their skills and it shows.
I can't wait for next week's final which will be occuring on Friday night, August 1; a day prior to the Hambletonian. In the meanwhile, Hanover Raceway's 3rd race tonight is another RUS event with wagering. A field of 7 are competing in the tilt. For those of you able to wager on Hanover Raceway via your ADW or on track, here is a link to their program. My selections for the race are: 6 - Dayplanner (Amundsen, 2-1), 1 - Callie Magoo (Berg, 7-1), 2 - Radical Dreamer (Valstad, 9-5). If you are unable to wager on the race, the race will be shown live on Hanover Raceway's website. My guess is we will see parimutuel wagering on RUS in the United States come 2015.
Kiss the match up of Hambletonian winners of Royalty For Life and Market Share good bye as Harness Racing Update reports Royalty For Life most likely suffering a career ending injury. The official call has not been made, but right now Royalty For Life has been scratched from his elimination of the John Cashman Jr.
At Monmouth Park, the Haskell is being contested tomorrow. Why do I mention this race? This is the second year the Haskell and Hambletonian have been decoupled, previously being raced two days in a row. While the intentions may have been well-intentioned, the races do better as stand alone events; having their own weekends of attention in the media.