07/03/2015 12:08AM

Giwner: Sun Stakes Finals contenders and pretenders

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Wiggle It Jiggleit remains the one to beat in the $500,000 Max Hempt Final.

The majority of each handicapper’s basis for predicting the outcome of any race is a horse’s previous performance. It is worth reviewing last week’s Sun Stakes eliminations and pointing out some key horses worth watching. We’ll also provide our top choice with thoughts on appropriate odds.

$300,000 James Lynch Memorial (Race 9)

(1) BETTOR BE STEPPIN – Flashed her usual early speed to gain a pocket trip and simply lacked enough late pace to pass Stacia Hanover.

(2) DELI BEACH – She made up a ton of ground to advance to the final and appeared to have no chance at certain points in the mile. That 26 3/5 third quarter she posted to reach the field shows that she can go.

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(3) STACIA HANOVER – She put up the fastest mile of her career by far in her elimination and looked very impressive doing so. Was that effort a sign of things to come or an anomaly?

(4) SASSA HANOVER – Was fast off the gate but ultimately came out third. Driver Yannick Gingras sent her to the rim at the five-eighths and she took the lead at one point but could not withstand The Show Returns.

(5) DIVINE CAROLINE – She was on the move on the second turn and rushed by the leader impressively but ultimately settled for second on a night when speed wasn’t as good as usual.

(6) MOMAS GOT A GUN – Left strong but wound up in a three-hole. She was back on the move at the five-eighths and applied heavy pressure before edging clear late.

(7) SINGLE ME – Had every chance and lacked the needed late firepower.

(8) WICKED LITTLE MINX – Finished steadily after a ground saving trip.

(9) THE SHOW RETURNS – Flashed big speed once again and finished with plenty of pace for the victory. She may be one of the best 3-year-old pacing fillies in the sport.

Giwner Picks: Stacia Hanover really impressed me last week but in a field that appears evenly matched I would need at least 5-2 to take a shot. I’d also be a buyer on The Show Returns at 6-1 or higher and Bettor Be Steppin at a minimum price of 10-1.

$500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial (Race 10)

(1) PIERCE HANOVER – He was on the move before the second turn and took plenty of air while turning up the heat on the final turn. Ultimately, despite a tough trip, he lost by less than a length and earned some respect as a horse that could make noise in the final at a price.

(2) BETTING EXCHANGE – He made a quarter-move to the front but was simply no match for Wiggle It Jiggleit and also lost the battle for third. I doubt he’ll ever beat this group but another nice check is very possible.

(3) LOST FOR WORDS – Made an impressive move and came up second best. He has something to prove in the final.

(4) ARTSPEAK – Last year’s 2-year-old colt champion was dead game in his elimination. He had every right to lose and refused to let anyone pass. You have to expect a peak effort following that mile.

(5) WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT – He was visually the most impressive of the nine finalists. Despite using new tactics, he powered by the field with ease and never came close to breaking a sweat.

(6) IN THE ARSENAL – Driver Brian Sears looked to be loaded with pace and this guy just couldn’t get past. I’m not sure he should be downgraded off that effort and it may just be that he won’t pass to the inside; thought to ponder.

(7) WAKIZASHI HANOVER – He got another perfect trip and capitalized again. I wouldn’t be shocked if he offered some value on that fact alone.

(8) A BETTOR HAT – Raced reasonably well while uncovered but has no realistic chance of winning.

(9) NATIONAL SEELSTER – He lost cover but was still a game second ahead of BETTING EXCHANGE and they both fall into the same bucket for the final. The opportunity is there for him to hit the board but he would need a bunch of luck to find the top spot.

Giwner Picks: Wiggle It Jiggleit was such an easy winner in his elimination and the smaller track certainly favors him versus Mohawk where he did all the work and had to settle for second in the NA Cup. Fair odds on him are probably 5-2, but I can see accepting as low as 8-5. I would also consider Artspeak at above 4-1 or In The Arsenal at 10-1.

$500,000 Ben Franklin (Race 11)

There were so many crazy trips in these two eliminations and the field seems so evenly matched that trying to break it down seems like a daunting task.

(1) DOMETHATAGAIN – Was dead last at the head of the lane while following cover four deep into the stretch. He was coming fastest of all in the late stages from an impossible spot. You have to be impressed with the effort considering he typically races on or near the lead.

(2) FOILED AGAIN – Followed bad cover and was simply out-kicked in the stretch. It wasn’t a top effort, but that is really not his trip. You could get a sweet price on the richest standardbred in history.

(3) CLEAR VISION – Was third-over behind cover that was less than ideal and got out-kicked after moving wide at three quarters. It wasn’t a great effort but like his stablemate Foiled Again, that is not his best trip.

(4) STATE TREASURER – No matter how many times you watch the replay, it is hard to fathom how he closed from fourth over to win. He was absolutely motoring in the final sixteenth of the mile.

(5) DYNAMIC YOUTH – He was charted in at the quarter but really only took the tuck right at the call and was on the move a few seconds later to follow cover. That escort took control quickly and left this 6-year-old to gut it out first over and he went a huge mile to be second. He loves this track.

(6) MACH IT SO – Flashed big early speed and was outfinished. He seems like an outsider for the top spot.

(7) CAPTIVE AUDIENCE – He saved ground and split foes with pace but will need to show plenty more to compete in the final.

(8) VEGAS VACATION – He was stuck in a bad flow and tipped four wide into the stretch. It wasn’t a bad or a great effort.

(9) LUCK BE WITHYOU – Gunned off the gate and had a great trip doing what he likes to do best with no pressure.

Giwner Picks: Domethatagain does his best work near the front but still closed well in his elimination. I’m looking for 8-1 or better on him. In fact, I’d consider wagering on any of the inside five or Luck Be Withyou at odds above 8-1.

$500,000 Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial (Race 12)

(1) PINKMAN – Had no excuse, though I guess you can blame the loss on the sloppy surface. He now moves from the top of the pedestal to among the rest of the crowd.

(2) CRUZADO DELA NOCHE – He was probably the most visually impressive winner, but that has as much to do with getting to rally off a fast half and the big dog in his elimination (Habitat) making a break. Regardless of how you want to view the effort—dominating win or good trip—he won easily.

(3) CENTURION ATM – He has the most deceiving past performance line of this group. Making just his second start of the year, he had to deal with the horse in front of him breaking twice in the opening half. He then trotted a 27 2/5 third quarter just to get back into the race and was forced to wait and angle in the stretch for clearance. I’m not sure any trotter could have overcome his trip.

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(4) UNCLE LASSE – Posted a workmanlike effort and proved game in the stretch. He did nothing to improve or discredit his stature as he remained undefeated with the win.

(5) CRAZY WOW – He remains the fastest 3-year-old trotter of the year and did nothing to tarnish his reputation. If anything he bolstered it by digging in nicely against Uncle Lasse.

(6) WICKER HANOVER – You have to give him credit for rallying into relatively soft fractions and besting the formerly unbeaten Pinkman in the process. Perhaps the best part about him is the price should remain juicy in the final.

(7) SHOOT THE THRILL, (8) BOOTS N CHAINS & (9) SOUTHWIND MOZART did nothing to make you think they can win or even finish in the top two on Saturday.

Giwner Picks: I’m all in on Centurion ATM and just hoping I can get at least 7-2 (yeah, I know his morning line is 10-1). My fall back option is Uncle Lasse, who is a must play at 2-1 or higher, but I can easily see him being closer to 6-5 given that he could control this race on the front.