Not to take anything away from Intimidate's victory in the MLT this past Saturday, but European sources suggest if Sebastian K does have an Achilles heel, it his ability to navigate the off going such as the one a experienced Saturday evening. That being said, Intimidate had to negotiate the same surface but I expect a return to his dominating ways coming his next start, assuming a dry surface.
It will be interesting to see how the voting in this week's Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll to see how many defections there will be from Sebastian K. Last week, Sebastian K had all 35 first place votes, I expect to see a few of those votes to peel away, but he should easily remain number one.
Hard to believe but there are only four more days of racing remaining in the 2014 Championship Meet at the Meadowlands with the Hambletonian only two weeks away. This weekend is elimination weekend with elims for the Merrie Annabelle and Peter Haughton Memorial on Friday evening while Saturday brings us the Hambletonian Oaks, US Pacing Championship, Lady Liberty and John Cashman Jr. Memorial eliminations to the docket.
I don't know if you were watching the non-wagering events this past Saturday at the Meadowlands where the first legs of the Hambletonian RUS Late Closing event took place. With eleven horses entered, there were two divisions and if one thing can be said, the racing is much improved over the previous year as the fields were more competitive, not being spread out as much in the past. Just watching the starts show you how much improved the product is. Last year the riders were all over the track on the approach to the start; this year they were lined up on the gate.
The first division was won by Flowing James who was trained and ridden to victory in 2:00 flat by Tara Hynes.
The second division was won by Take My Picture who was trained by Nikolas Drennan and ridden by Therese Lindgren in a sparkling 1:58.1.
The second leg of the series is the Friday evening with the final being contested on August 1, the night before the Hambletonian. With the product continuing to improve, fans should not be hesitating to wager on these races.
Famed thoroughbred announcer Larry Collmus was visiting at the Meadowlands this past Friday and called a race on the card. It goes to show a great announcer can call any type of race; he sounded like he has been calling standardbred races for quite a while.
If you have been missing your Monticello Raceway simulcasting, and yes there are those that do, rejoice, for the signal is back on as the horsemen and track have apparently reached an agreement. Both sides are not talking about it until the 'I's are dotted and the 'T's are crossed, but it is a foregone conclusion the deal will be done. With 10 of 13 races today restricted to NY-sired horses, I'll pass until there are more overnights available. I know the horsemen love being able to ship all their horses within a division who are participating in the three levels of sires stakes events, but this fan doesn't like it. Too many of these races are simply not attractive wagering propositions.
Enjoy your Monday and have a great week.