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Hambletonian: Experts reveal their Hambo Day plays
We gave DRF Harness handicappers Jay Bergman, Bob Pandolfo, Matt Rose and Derick Giwner a $200 mythical bankroll and asked them to guide us to a winning Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands.
With a $200 mythical bankroll courtesy of DRF.com we’ll try to attack the Hambletonian Day program with a series of varied wagers.
We’ll start the day off in the first with $10 to win and place on Oasis Dream (10). This filly has been showing signs of speed and courage in her recent efforts and seems more than capable of overcoming the outside draw.
Total investment $20
Drop The Ball (4) should regain her winning form in the Lady Liberty, race 2 on the program. This mare was dead game in defeat in the Roses Are Red despite gutting it out uncovered the final half. Look for an earlier move by Yannick Gingras and more favorable results. We’ll save in doubles with the other contenders Anndrovette (1) and Put On A Show (5).
Daily Double: (10-4) $5, (10-1) $2, (10-5) $2
Total Investment $9
The Sweetheart final race five puts to the test one of our favorite betting angles. Odds On Alpha (9) a filly from the first crop of Somebeachsomewhere, had missed time heading into last week’s prep race. John Campbell drove the horse in uncharacteristic fashion zooming down the road and cutting quick fractions before succumbing to Nikki Beach (2) in the stretch. The 1:23 2/5 three quarter clocking is faster than any of these fillies has gone to date and should tighten this one for the money.
Play $20 win on (9) Odds On Alpha.
Play $20 exacta (9-2) with a $20 reverse (2-9)
Total Investment $60
We’ll focus on the Hambletonian and the late Pick 4 next since there is a $100,000 guaranteed pool on this wager.
The Hambletonian figures to attract more early speed from the outside than in years past. We expect both Money On My Mind and Gym Tan Laundry to leave the gate since neither has a prayer of getting money coming from the back of the pack. We wouldn’t be surprised to see early moves from some contenders on the inside as well which may compromise favorite Uncle Peter’s (1) chances should the pace get heated. Driver Mike Lachance may be only a seasonal expert these days but he has proven time and time again to be a master of position in trotting races. MY MVP (5) should be in the right spot at the right time and kick home strongly for the upset. We believe Uncle Peter is probably the best horse but may get exhausted on his way through the homestretch. Archangel (4) was a victim of a sprinter in his elim but may find the cover he desires this week.
Wagers: $20 Win (5) My Mvp, $10 Exacta (5-1), $5 Exacta (1-5). $4 Exacta (5-4), $2 Exacta (4-5)
Total Investment: $41
Aracache Hanover (4) seems in prime position to score in the U.S. Pacing Championship. This horse has seen nothing but hard luck this year and has the speed and staying power to provide a mild upset in race 13. Both We Will See (8) and Foiled Again (12) can never be counted out in big-money aged events.
Wagers: $10 win Aracache Hanover. $5 Exacta Box (4-8-12)
Total Investment: $40
We like Hurrikane Kingcole (5) in the New Jersey Classic race 14 and import Malak Uswaad N (10) in the finale.
Late Pick 4 Play: (1,3,4,5,7 with 4,8,12 with 5 with 10) $2 wagers
Total investment $30
I have three goals with my “play money” bankroll: full-card action, the chance to score big and enough safe plays to break even if the big ticket items fail. Sounds like a tough task with only $200, but you have to aim high. If you feel shortchanged by my analytic insight, feel free to flip to page 14 for my in-depth graded analysis.
We’ll start in the first, because we do not want to miss a race. Let’s roll the dice in the $25k guaranteed pick five. I’m basically throwing all of my eggs in a basket with a major hole. The entire bet hinges on Valdonna, who has made breaks in 3 of her last 4 starts. But she has never had a mistake with trainer Jimmy Takter in the bike. I truly believe she is fastest if Takter keeps her trotting and I’d rather single around her in the pick five, where I can still cash a consolation if she loses, than put $50 to win at 3-1 or so.
.50-cent Pick Five: (1,3,10 with 1,4,5,6 with 7 with 2,4,10 with 2,4,9)
Total investment: $54
In the fifth, the Sweetheart final, I really like Cult Status. She finished with a strong kick and seems to be ready for a big mile.
$20 win on (4) Cult Status; $2 exacta box (2-4-9)
Total investment: $32
I’ll try Delaware Hanover in the Wilson final (race 6). He has shown a nice progression through four starts and should be a price.
$10 win/place on (7) Delaware Hanover
Total investment: $20
To Dream On looks tough to beat in the Merrie Annabelle (race 7). I’m just going to throw out a small pick three and hope for value in the middle leg.
$1 Pick Three: (4 with 1,2,3,6,7,9 with 1,3,8,10)
Total investment: $24
Most are predicting a match race between Check Me Out and Maven in the Oaks (race 11). I think Check Me Out is much the best. I will try a couple of exotics and key my two best price plays in the double.
$8 exacta (2 with 4); $8 trifecta (2 with 3 with 4); $10 double (2 with 4,6)
Total investment: $36
That leaves me $34, and while everyone will key in on the $100k guaranteed late Pick Four, I’ll try to sneak in a late Pick Three in race 13 and cash a nice ticket.
$1 Pick Three: (4,8,11,12 with 1,5 with 2,8,10)
Total investment: $24
So we have action from start to finish, I like (2) Alexie Mattosie in the finale. He needed his last start and should be tighter today.
$10 win (8) Alexie Mattosie
Well, they tell me I’ve been given $200 to mess around with on Hambo day at The Meadowlands. I must have missed that stipend in my check, but here it goes anyway:
We’ll start in race 10, which is the Nat Ray Invitational for aged trotters. I like Chapter Seven, who has come back strong as a four-year old for Linda Toscano. He will look to avenge his loss in the 2011 Hambletonian and prove he belongs in the upper echelon of trotters. Underneath I’m using Hot Shot Blue Chip, who is erratic yet talented, Mister Herbie, the Maple Leaf Trot winner, and Daylon Magician, who picks up Brian Sears for his Big M debut and expects to be forwardly placed.
The play: $10 exacta 4/2-5-7 and a $4 Trifecta key 4/2-5-7 Total investment $54
Race 11 certainly looks like a two-horse affair on paper. Both Check Me Out and Maven have looked flawless thus far in their three-year-old campaigns. While the Ray Schnittker-trained Check Me Out will likely take most of the attention at the windows, don’t forget that Maven got the best of her when they met up for their first starts of the year. Others worthy of consideration include Uncommon Night, the Dewayne Minor trainee who charged home willingly in her elimination, and Win Missy B, who will almost certainly be firing away from the gate.
The play: $10 trifecta 2-3/2-3/5-7
Total investment $40
Race 12 I like Market Share to win the Hambletonian. He looked perfect last week in his elimination, and I just have the feeling this is going to be long time conditioner Linda Toscano’s year.
The play: $50 win 2
Race 13 is the US Pacing Championship for Free For All pacers. This bulky field is highly competitive, but I’ll take a stab with We Will See. The five-year-old was super game in defeat in the Ben Franklin at Pocono at the hands of the highly regarded Betterthancheddar. His last start he was a bit flat, but that was after an unaggressive uncovered attempt. Now with the Big M spotlight on him, I expect a top-notch effort. Having Ron Pierce in the bike doesn’t hurt, either. Underneath I’ll spread with a few horses in the exacta.
The play: $4 exacta 8/1-3-4-6-12 & $2 reverse 1-3-4-6-12/8 Total investment: $30
Race 15 the Down-Under import Malak Uswaad N has been nothing short of sensational since arriving. He’s shown an unreal closing kick over the smaller oval at Harrah’s Philly, and I don’t see post ten being a problem here. Expect Tetrick to float out and be in a perfect striking spot.
The play: $8 exacta 10/5-6-8 and a $2 win ticket to stick in the wallet for a rainy day
Total investment: $26
Starting in the first race, I liked the speed that Riverfest showed through a fast middle-half last week.
$30 to Win on 8-Riverfest, $20 Daily Double 8-4 with Drop The Ball
The favorite looks solid in race 5, but I’ll box him with a longer shot and hope to hit the bigger number.
$20 Exacta Box Nikki Beach-Cult Status (2-4)
Aperfectyankee (race 8) broke early and made a strong recovery last week.
$30 to Win on 4-Aperfectyankee
Sometimes you have to take what they give you. A cold exacta of Chapter Seven over Mister Herbie looks like the play in the tenth race.
$50 Cold Exacta 4-5
$10 Win Round Robin Parlay Riverfest—Aperfectyankee—Chapter Seven (this is three $10 win parlays, Riverfest/Aperfect Yankee, Riverfest/Chapter Seven, and Aperfect Yankee/Chapter Seven, total bet $30.00)