05/31/2012 1:49PM

Meadowlands: Jay Bergman examines the Saturday card

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Jay Bergman gives his take on Saturday's guaranteed wagers at the Meadowlands.

The Meadowlands will host a great night of racing action this Saturday. Race secretary Peter Koch has had been limited in recent weeks but has come up with a solid card that includes four $150,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes events for 3-year-olds of both gaits and sexes, including the cream of the sophomore colts with a resurgent I Fought Dalaw meeting A Rocknroll Dance among others in the sixth race.

The card also features some interesting Koch-styled late closers, offering a bonus to those lucky or unlucky enough to enter as non-winners of $4,000 in their last 5 starts. Our custom in these overnights that morph into finals is to look and stick with class. Some horses are in non-winners of $4,000 because that’s the highest level they will achieve. Others have simply reached that plateau through a series of bad posts, bad racing luck or difficult trips.

Treading through the opener, the first of three for this class, we find Hanks Kid, a legitimate $20,000 claimer this year at Yonkers and Philadelphia, meeting the conditions while dropping into a race that also includes $10,000 claimers. His recent form is questionable, but there are some fast miles in that group against much higher caliber foes. Blade Runner, a winner two starts back at this level, and Triple Major, a solid second in his first start off a layoff, are legitimate contenders.

The second race finds Yannick Gingras guiding the likely odds-on favorite Rockweiller for leading trainer Ron Burke. Ordinarily we like horses dropping from stakes races into the non-winner’s category, but at 0 for 15 lifetime, this son of Rocknroll Hanover may be more of a suck-along type who follows but doesn’t pass no matter what class he’s entered against. Betterthancheddar’s half-brother Joe Rocks and Only Rock N Roll have indicated that they may have some talent and could post the upset. The latter has had some useful work at Saratoga and then showed pace finishing in his first start for trainer Mark Silva.

In the first of the Sire Stakes finals, race three has an exciting filly in Riverfest. The daughter by the late Windsong’s Legacy has looked sharp in two of three races this year while breaking in her lone defeat. She landed inside and should be forwardly placed. I won’t make much of Lachance opting off since he’s got a long standing commitment to trainer Ron Gurfein. Trainer Richard (Nifty) Norman has had a lot of success with trotting fillies in recent years. Although his entry in this final Personal Style landed post 10, you can expect driver Dave Miller to loosen the screws a bit after three encouraging closing efforts.

The fourth race appears the most unpredictable leg of the Pick Five wager. This is not a stellar group of colts. While many have shown speed, there are plenty who have made breaks for no good reason. Big Chocolate somehow outdueled Market Share in the first leg and then last week broke on the final turn for absolutely no reason. Market Share went the fastest elimination heat, but that came after a perfect trip. Top trotting trainer Jimmy Takter has two in this field. Both Little Brown Fox and Guccio enter off winning miles with Ron Pierce getting the call on the former from the rail. I still can’t understand how stablemates can be uncoupled. And then there is Vic Smith, a seven-time winner that was badly outgamed on the wire in his last start.

None of these 3-year-olds stick out and all must be used.

Pirouette Hanover looked like her old self in a brush and crush scenario two weeks ago. She gets a bit bumpy on the turns but seems to have the power and stamina to go a long way in this NJSS event for filly pacers (race 5). With Pierce in tow she seems primed.

.50-cent Pick Five Play (3,6,7 with 2,5,8 with 2,10 with 1,2,3,4,7 with 5) = $45 Investment

The sixth race starts the $75,000 Guaranteed Pick Four and it’s impossible to look past A Rocknroll Dance. This colt has been brought around perfectly and toyed with his division in his only start this season. With next week’s $1.5 million North America Cup trials looming at Mohawk Racetrack, A Rocknroll Dance will want to get serious and that should include a sub-1:49 effort in here. Despite what we’ve seen from the Takter-trained Time To Roll and Simply Business to date, driver Ron Pierce is remaining loyal to Simply Business from an outside draw versus Time To Roll from the rail. We should remember Pierce gave up the drive behind A Rocknroll Dance in last year’s $1 million Metro final and jumped aboard Simply Business from post 10!

The feeling here is that history will not repeat and A Rocknroll Dance will dominate. I Fought Dalaw looks every bit as good as he was at the Meadowlands a year ago. His troubles started when he left New Jersey. He looks poised for a sub-1:50 mile but that might not be enough.

In the seventh, trainer Rene Allard has had the magic touch in the northeast this spring. There’s good reason to believe that Trade Editor’s return to the Garden State was planned. First he had to shed earnings in his first two trips at Saratoga. Now with a ton of class he returns to the mile track against some weary foes. I Wanna Go Fast and Western Trademark have been winter warriors who have stayed the course and remain relatively sharp for this event.

The eighth comes up with more variables than we like. Some positives are Must Be The Bunny, who lands inside for sharp driver Corey Callahan. Evening Job, who picks up Gingras after a rough trip from the pole and Dunkirk Beach who is in sharp hands, are both contenders.

The ninth race looks like a perfect spot for Panesthetic’s return to the Meadowlands. The combination of trainer Casie Coleman and driver Dave Miller has been lethal this year and Coleman gave this one a useful first trip at Harrah’s Philadelphia before shipping in. Though there are some nice horses in this field, none have shown the speed and class of this 5-year-old who paced in 1:49 here last year and 1:48 2/5 as a 3-year-old.

$1 Pick Four Play (5,8 with 1,2,5 with 1,4,8 with 9) = $18 Investment

 

 

Mark Richman More than 1 year ago
Hi Jay - Mark R here in a rare trip out of Georgia to horse racing land - in this case Jacksonville. I like Ideal Champ in the 6th, hoping he can work out a trip and upset some very heavy hitters. In the 8th I think Gold Like U finished very well from an impossible spot last time. And in the 9th TheBestofJoel put in a great effort last week. Hoping for luck at the simulcast!