06/12/2013 8:59AM

Mohawk: Saturday (6/15) Stakes Analysis


Below is my take on the four non-North America Cup stakes Finals which will take place at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday, June 15. I’ll have an in-depth look at the North America Cup later in the week.

[DRF HARNESS: Watch + wager on the Saturday North America Cup card at Mohawk]

Race 2 – Armbro Flight Final

This appears to be a race of tiered competition levels. (3) MAVEN is the clear horse to beat. I’m not sure she is ultimately much faster than her rivals on Saturday, but she is clearly sharper right now. She has been driven by Yannick Gingras as much the best in shorter fields and I would expect more aggression this week to avoid possible road trouble.

The second layer of contenders features (5) CEDAR DOVE and (2) PERSONAL STYLE. The former should be primed for a big effort in her third start of the season. Last week she was stacked up behind Personal Style as she gapped off cover. Then Cedar Dove was blindswitched and had to wait until deep stretch for true clearance. It was a good effort and don’t be shocked if driver Ron Pierce decides to fire off the gate. Personal Style won her elimination with a nice grinding effort but clearly struggled a bit on the final turn before finding her best stride. You have to respect her in this final.

The underneath spots to round out the trifecta and superfecta are wide open. (8) UNEFOISDANSMAVIE has displayed the ability to step up at times and has early speed to stay close to the action. (10) BAX OF LIFE will need some luck from post 10, but she has a strong late kick and should be passing quite a few late. (1) INTENSE AMERICA has come to life since the driver change. She has speed from the pylons; good combination.

Suggested Play: Exacta Box 3/5; Exacta Key 3/2,5

Race 3 – Elegantimage Final

There are two ways to look at (5) TO DREAM ON. You can view her break two starts back and the subpar elimination effort and say something is wrong. It is a reasonable assumption that something is not right with this talented filly. All that said, I’m taking the reverse view, if not for any other reason than she will offer a decent price come post time. Dealing with only facts, last week was her first full mile of the year and she came up short after being used hard early. Previously her best game was always to brush to the front in the middle of the mile. I’m looking for more conservative handling this week and at least 7-2 odds.

(2) BEE A MAGICIAN is clearly the filly to beat. She has done everything right this year and is a must use on every ticket.

(9) SHARED PAST has drawn outside in each start this year and overcome the obstacle almost every week. Saturday’s Final will mark her toughest test to date and I honestly have not seen enough from her to know if she can handle it. I can’t fault anyone who took a positive view.

(6) HANDOVER BELLE has a strong late kick but is always at the mercy of the early action. I see an honest pace developing, so if she is close, a big check is likely.

(3) ANGIES LUCKY STAR benefitted from a soft first half en route to victory last week. I can see her hitting the ticket but would be surprised if she won.

Suggested Play: Exacta 5/2; Superfecta 5/3,6,9/2/ALL

Race 5 – Fan Hanover Final

No filly was moving faster in the stretch last week than (1) LOVE CANAL. She gained ground into a 26 4/5 final quarter, and that is not easy to do. The inside draw should work perfectly in a field with a good amount of early leavers. Driver Doug McNair should be able to get away fourth or fifth and pull early to pick up some cover. I don’t think we have seen her best race.

(4) I LUV THE NITELIFE looks like the fastest mare on paper but hardly jumps off the page as a lock. While she won her elimination easily, the pace was very soft and she is supposed to win off those fractions. I respect her chances. I just don’t fear her as the favorite.

(9) BELLE BOYD took her first defeat in last week’s elimination, but she showed me something by taking air uncovered and continuing to gain ground through the stretch. If Jody Jamieson can somehow work out a trip from post 9, this gal could score at a price.

(8) JERSEYLICIOUS has yet to miss the board this year and is clearly as fast as any of these. I give her a big shot but she wouldn’t be my top choice.

Suggested Play: WPS 1; Exacta Box Key 1/4,8,9

Race 9 – Goodtimes Final

Despite watching the elimination races, I have to admit that I don’t have a strong feel for this race. My top pick is (7) HAMDALLA because he looks like a colt that can overcome some adversity. Against lesser two starts back he overcame a bad trip from post 10 to score his fifth victory of the year. Last week the son of Taurus Dream grinded on the rim once again and only missed by a nose in his elimination.

(5) TOOCOOL FORSCHOOL is the horse to beat off last week’s elimination effort. His 1:53 4/5 winning mile was by far the most impressive performance. That said, he broke in his prior race and shows multiple breaks as a 2-year-old.

(3) DENVER tried his luck on the engine last week but seems to be a better horse when chasing foes. A small step forward could find him in the winner’s circle.

(10) CAVEAT EMPTOR is one of the more interesting colt trotters in the race. He was off the gate and gapping during most of the mile but kicked in with a late charge in the stretch. This guy danced in most of the big events last year and I wouldn’t be shocked if he pulled off the upset.

(1) ROSSINI was somewhat disappointing in his elimination. Perhaps with a better trip he can awaken.

Suggested Play: none

More to come . . . North America Cup thoughts tomorrow.