08/03/2017 3:21PM

Meadowlands: Saturday 8/5 Analysis

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Best Bet: BLAZIN BRITCHES (2nd)

Spot Play: METEORIC (10th)

Race 1 - $50,000 Guaranteed Pick Five Pool

Race 3 - $50,000 Guaranteed Pick Four Pool

Race 8 - $75,000 Guaranteed Pick Four Pool

MEET STATS: 120 - 297 / $572.40 (-$21.60)

BEST BETS: 16 - 24 / $51.60 (+$3.60)

Race 1

(2) TUONOBLU REX wasn’t on his game last time but I’ll chalk that up to missing a few weeks of racing. This short field should allow him to settle in and either brush or make a quick move in the lane. (1) GURAL HANOVER has been super out of town lately and already owns a 1:51 win here this year. It will be interesting to see if he gives up the early lead to his common ownership entrymate (1A) OPULENT YANKEE, who in theory has more in common with #2 coming from the same Julie Miller barn. (4) CUFFLINK HANOVER broke in the Spirit of Massachusetts but was a solid second here in his previous start.

Race 2

(2) BLAZIN BRITCHES came to play in her first stakes engagement of the year and proved she is the real deal. Her connections didn’t supplement her and ship from Ohio to get anything less than the winner’s share. (6) IDYLLIC BEACH hasn’t been the same of late, though even at less than 100% she is still better than most of these. (5) CAVIART ALLY picked up some confidence versus cheaper and should be in the battle for third with (4) WASH & (3) ELLA CHRISTINA.

Race 3

(3) HANNELORE HANOVER came up just shy versus the boys last time as JL Cruze had a perfect ground-saving trip along the cones. She is back on the big track now where she does her best work and I can’t see her losing. (1) PASITHEA FACE S raced very well in her North American debut and will certainly take plenty of action at the windows, but she’s going to have to show me more to believe she can defeat the top pick. (2) CAPRICE HILL raced well behind Hannelore in the Miss Versatility on July 15 here and qualified back with a nice willing effort. That said, I just don’t think she is fast enough to win. (8) EMOTICON HANOVER should make her presence felt at the start and certainly could hang around for a big piece.

Race 4

(7) METS HALL came uncovered and just couldn’t get there despite putting up a 56-second final half in his elimination. It was his first career defeat but another sharp effort. With the price likely rising dramatically off the 2-5 offering last week, I’ll stick around and hope the trip is clean. (5) YOU KNOW YOU DO was visibly impressive as he kicked into high gear through the stretch to win going away last Friday. Was that enough to accept betting him at odds-on? I say no. (1) SAMO DIFFERENT DAY was dead game beating the top choice last weekend and has to be considered again. (4) FASHION FOREVER seems like a solid underneath play. (8) STORMING MIST has upset potential with the proper trip, but I don’t see how things work out for him this week.

Race 5

(4) MANCHEGO sprinted home in 26 4/5 and looked like she might have even more in the tank. She’s versatile enough to control the action or track of cover and should get the job done. (2) PHAETOSIVE chased fast fractions and blew the field away in the stretch in her elimination. She is very talented but I still give the edge to the top choice. (8) SUPERGIRL RILEY came uncovered and was a bit flat in the lane last time. I’m not willing to give up on her yet. (7) LILY STRIDE seems likely to show early speed and should hang around for one of the exotic slots.

Race 6

Oversized field has about eight legitimate win candidates. Ultimately I landed on (7) CRAZY WOW since he has pacer speed off the gate and should be able to work out a trouble-free trip. Despite finishing third last Friday at Plainridge, he was very game after setting strong fractions. (3) MARION MARAUDER is definitely the horse to beat in my book but probably not worth betting at under 2-1, which seems highly likely in this spot. He’s been stellar all year and may just be the top dog in this division for some time. (8) FLANAGAN MEMORY shipped in sharp and closed like a rocket from too far back last time. If Brian Sears can work out any reasonable trip, and hey it’s Sears so you know it’s possible, this guy can definitely win. (2) RESOLVE could be the best horse in the race, but after the drive he received in the Spirit of Massachusetts last week I have no confidence that the right decisions will be made in this large field. (12) OBRIGADO is making his first start on the big track this year. The second tier could be an issue, but he is more than capable of picking up his game. (9) MUSICAL RHYTHM is very sharp and could be flying off the wings of the gate with the extra 1/8 of a mile run to the first turn; another contender.

Race 7

As competitive as the Cashman could be, the Cane Pace looks like a clear match race between (5) DOWNBYTHESEASIDE & (1) HUNTSVILLE. I’m giving the slight nod to the former since he is coming in fresh having skipped the Adios where Huntsville was used very hard. As long as Huntsville is the favorite (and he should be), I’ll side with ‘Seaside’ and hope Sears puts him in play from the word ‘GO’. (2) CHIP WALTHER had a bit of a slow start to the year but seems to be hitting full stride now. Let’s remember that this guy paced in 1:50 3/5 as a 2-year-old. (6) R J P has been racing well since the barn change but seems to be a notch below the top pair.

Race 8

While some people are fretting over the lack of an obvious superstar heading into the 92nd Hambletonian, I love the fact that there appear to be plenty of viable betting options in play. (3) GUARDIAN ANGEL AS proved he can go with stakes foes in the Goodtimes back in June and has displayed the quick acceleration needed to compete at any level. Whether he is ready to trot in 1:51 remains a mystery but I think the talent is there and I know the price will be right. (5) INTERNATIONAL MONI deserves to be the favorite since he hasn’t lost yet this year. The race even sets up nicely for him from the inside post. I’m just not willing to accept a price that should hover around even money. He doesn’t stand out that much. (8) LONG TOM’s only loss in five starts this year came in the Beal final where he was setting the pace on a track that wasn’t kind to speed. He’ll be flying off the wings at the start here and has a big chance. (7) VICTOR GIO IT has all the talent in the world but only recently seems to be putting it all together. His best race probably wins this. (2) BILL’S MAN has lacked the ‘edge’ he had as a 2-year-old but doesn’t seem to enjoy trotting strong in the late stages. Can he up his game on the big stage? (4) GIVEITGASANDGO added Lasix and put in a career best mile. He has to come off that medication here.

Race 9

While most people feel differently, I’m firmly against (9) DEVIOUS MAN in this spot. I see too much other early speed in here and too many opportunities for something to go wrong to accept playing him as the potential chalk. (3) SORTIE is the most erratic horse entered in the Hambletonian but perhaps one of the fastest. His connections are adding hobbles this week in an attempt to keep his mind occupied and hopefully on straight. We’ve also heard rumblings that he may be sent hard to the front with a ‘take no prisoners’ strategy. I’m all for that and will roll the dice. (5) DOVER DAN aborted a leave attempt to settle in at the back and still had trot at the end of the mile last Saturday. That was probably the best race I’ve seen from him; using, despite the loss of Lasix. (1) WHAT THE HILL does everything well but nothing exceptionally from what I’ve seen. He could win but I’m just not a big fan. (6) ENTERPRISE has plenty of early speed but I still have questions about whether we’ve seen his best. While I’ve already stated my position on (9) DEVIOUS MAN, he obviously could win. (2) SEVEN AND SEVEN hasn’t been seen in some time but the trainer reports that he should be ready to roll. I might use him on a pick four ticket.

Race 10

(9) METEORIC won three starts back then finished third twice behind four horses that are racing in the Hambletonian. This is the class drop he needs and if I can get anywhere near the 10-1 morning line, count me in. (2) YES MICKEY has been racing very well lately but those five seconds versus one win stand out. (5) RUBIO added hobbles last time and still broke. If you are looking for a speck of light in the darkness, the last time trainer Jimmy Takter drove, he won. (3) FLY ON finally draws well this week and should have every opportunity to prove himself.

Race 11

It’s been a long road for (9) WAKIZASHI HANOVER to return to form but the time has arrived. The 2015 North America Cup winner is razor sharp now and should only be helped by the 1-1/8 mile distance on Saturday. (6) MEL MARA does his best work on the lead and beat the top choice by rating the fractions last time. I assume he’ll take them as far as he can here. (8) BOSTON RED ROCKS is probably as sharp as any horse in this race. He just can’t seem to find the winner’s circle. (1) ROCK N’ ROLL WORLD finished his mile in 27 1/5 on the half at Yonkers to get a win with Lasix added. I’m still convinced he can go with this top group but it is put up or shut up time. (4) MACH IT SO won here two starts back and put in a huge mile for second in the Gerrity. He clearly has a shot this week.

Race 12

I’ll admit that I wasn’t overly impressed with (5) MAGIC PRESTO’s effort in her Hambletonian Oaks elimination. That said, I’m convinced there is more in the tank then we’ve seen. Is she as good as (4) ARIANA G on a day-in day-out basis? No. Can she beat her as the 5-2 second choice to her 1-2 on Saturday? I think so. (2) DREAM TOGETHER is a sneaky horse worth considering here. Both of her Meadowlands races have been solid and she’s been handled very patiently thus far. If she has more to offer we’ll see it this week. (7) FEED YOUR HEAD has dangerous early speed and plenty of form, but she’ll need to trot a lifetime best to have any chance at winning. I don’t see enough upside here.

Race 13

It’s impossible to predict a winner of a race with no entrants and unknown post positions. That said, I’m going with Bill’s Man as my Hambletonian winner. He seems to be the type of horse that won’t mind the two heats.

Race 14

(3) NO BUS FOR US hasn’t really done much wrong so far in 2017. With the opportunity to catch an up-and-coming filly at a price, I’ll go for it. (5) GLITZEY GAL is the fastest filly in the race by far if she trots. Three breaks in her last four starts doesn’t inspire confidence. (4) BROADWAY CONCERT has won two straight and seems like a decent fit here.

Race 15

(5) NIKE FRANCO N seems too sharp and too fast to lose to this group. Without Lady Shadow in here, Tetrick should have his way with this group. (3) PURE COUNTRY got as wakeup call from MacDonald and raced very well. Can she build on that effort? If so, she has an upset chance. (1) CALL ME QUEEN BE should be hustled away from the cones and get into the exotics. (7) BLUE MOON STRIDE has been disappointing thus far but does have ability.

Race 16

(8) IN THE ARSENAL showed some serious life attacked first-over most recently. Maybe he is finally ready to round into form. (4) SICILY won for this claiming tag last week. Why not again? (5) MR JULIAN has been super for some time, but why the three week gap in action? I have mixed feelings. (1) BRUCE’S MAGIC has speed, form and a good post to work with Saturday.

[DRF HARNESS LIVE: Watch Live Video and get insights for Saturday's Hambletonian Day card at The Meadowlands.]