01/14/2016 3:34PM

Meadowlands: Saturday 1/16 Analysis


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MEET STATS: 64 - 215 / $340.10  BEST BETS: 8 - 16 / $28.30


Spot Play: ETHAN HANOVER (12th)

Race 1

Two-thirds of the field is slated to sell on Monday, so I wouldn’t be shocked if one of those six jumped up with a big mile. Of the group, I think (5) JK ONAROLL probably needs a big effort more than the rest to sell for a good number. I’ve seen hints of some talent from this 3-year-old and he should be tighter in his second start since June. (8) CONNECTING FLIGHT avoided any breaking issues by rolling along at his own pace on the engine. This guy has the speed to go a long way. (3) BRED TO RACE showed improvement in his first start for Burke and can build on that effort. Along with the top two choices, the other sale horses are: (9) GRAND THEFT, (1) MAJOR IN LIFE, (7) MISSILE J & (2) BETTOR MEMORIES.

[DRF HARNESS LIVE: Real-time insights from the DRF Harness team this Saturday at 6:35 p.m.]

Race 2

(5) DOCTOR BUTCH was in the midst of rating the third quarter when Bushwacker came to call at full speed and blew him away last Saturday. My feeling is that if Campbell had ‘Butch’ rolling with a big third quarter the outcome may have been different, but hindsight is 20/20. I’ll give him another shot. (4) ATTA BOY DAN ships in sharp from Dover where he defeated likely favorite (6) BUSHWACKER in their last meeting on December 28. The latter has done everything right in his two Meadowlands starts this year.

Race 3

It is hard to get excited about any of these horses, which is obvious by my selection of (7) SOME MAJOR BEACH, who hasn’t won since 2014. While his form hasn’t been great, he does get a new driver this week and sometimes a different set of hands at the controls makes all the difference. (6) PIECE OF THE ROCK actually comes off a win, which registers as red-hot in this field. (8) VISA VIPER makes his second start off the bench and could show more. He is just 4 for 65 lifetime, though.

Race 4

(5) TRUE BLUE HALL hasn’t been able to get over the top lately but seems to be in a good spot this week where he can control the action or at worse sit the pocket. (4) MIDNIGHT LIGHTNING had too much ground to make up last time. Perhaps Campbell in the bike will get him back in the winner’s circle. (3) MR CENSI brushed and just lasted a week ago; big shot again. (7) J T would be no surprise; shows speed this week?

Race 5

 (1) MOONLIGHT RANSOM took some action at the windows despite starting from post 10 last Saturday and failed to live up to the hype on a night where you needed to be close to the pace to win. He lands in the perfect spot this week and should bring a top effort. (7) ADDWATER will need a bit of pace help on the engine, but he could menace at least in the exotics if the trip works in his favor. (5) DREAMZZZZ R FOR U raced okay last time and adds Gingras now.

Race 6

(4) SO TAKE THAT has seemed like a horse that is ready to win but needed a ‘kick in the ass’ to get over the top (to be clear, I’m not saying drivers should be allowed to kick horses . . . it’s just a saying). I’m willing to take a shot at what should be a decent price that Gingras can prove to be the wake-up call this gelding needs. (9) DINNER AT THE MET wired the field impressively last time and rolls right back at the same level. (5) ALL WEEK couldn’t be any sharper; hard to toss.

Race 7

(3) POINTSMAN was my pick last week before Campbell opted off. Now we finally get a catch-driver in the bike and hopefully we’ll see the top effort I’m expecting. (4) NOBETTORPLACETOBE likely makes his final start for Burke as he is in the sale Monday. Something tells me we will see a more aggressive effort this week; dangerous. (9) CAN HE GO didn’t have the best opportunity to show his best in a bulky 14-horse field last time; maybe. (5) VICTORY AHEAD looked super two starts back but remains in against slightly tougher now.

Race 8

(4) ULTIMATE BEACHBOY drops again this week as he continues to work his way back into top shape. Burke trainee should have an easy path to the front this week and have a big shot at the win prior to Monday’s sale. (5) JET AIRWAY has a win and a second in his last two starts in this condition. If he catches live cover, watch out! (6) STARSKY’S DREAM N was Tetrick’s choice over three other viable horses, which is very interesting. This guy finished with good energy in his qualifier and caught my eye. (7) COBALT MAN has back class and seems ready to fire in his third start back.

Race 9

(3) OUR DRAGON KING drops back down to the NW $7,500 level where he won by four back in November. He didn’t exactly have a great trip last time and you have to think this high percentage barn will have him ready since he is another horse in the sale Monday. (1) CASTLE FLIGHT & (2) MUDSLIDE are also moving down the class ladder and figure prominently. (4) EASTEND EDDIE is an honest horse that should be involved at some point.

Race 10

(9) MAJOR WAR was used to a fast half and held reasonably well in his first start in more than four weeks. I’m going to stick with him and hope Tetrick can work some magic from the outside post. (2) MEL MARA hasn’t been seen in a pari-mutuel race since September 2014 but qualified back in good order while under a drive late. Lightly raced 7-year-old has ability and is slated to be sold Monday. (5) AIMO HANOVER wheels right back in the same class despite winning last time.  (7) SOMETIMES SAID is another horse with class making his first start since 2014.

Race 11

(10) HERE COMES SWIFTY has some excuses for his lack of recent success. He steps down a notch on the class ladder and adds Tetrick tonight. (3) FRATERNITY was a determined winner last time, his third victory in his previous four starts. He may just be able to handle the tougher competition. (1) JUNGLE OF TERROR flashed speed last time and took the field a long way despite facing pressure in the mile.

Race 12

(3) ETHAN HANOVER double-drops tonight and has no excuses. (5) UF FAST FEELIN blew away the field at this level a week ago; sharp. (2) ESCAPE THE NEWS has improved since moving to the Meadowlands.

Race 13

(4) MAH SISH N finished fast from post nine last time and seems to be in a spot where a switch in tactics to early speed might produce great results; we’ll see. (7) BETTOR THAN YOU is another Burke horse slated to sell in the Mixed Sale on Monday. Like (5) ASHLEY’S HUSBAND, they both drop out of the Open Handicap and merit some attention.

Race 14

(4) AROCKIN HANOVER took care of business in this class last week and gets another free ride. (1) AVENUE HANOVER showed some signs of life chasing the top choice last Saturday. He is capable of waking up with one big mile. (5) PENN TURBO TED won a race in 1:53 here last year, so don’t ignore him completely in a field full of mostly dull horses. (8) EIGHT TEN EOM can leave well off the gate and might last for a good piece.

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