08/04/2016 3:36PM

Meadowlands: Saturday 8/6 Analysis

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Race 1 - $50,000 Guaranteed Pick Five Pool

Race 3 - $50,000 Guaranteed Pick Four Pool

Race 8 - $75,000 Guaranteed Pick Four Pool

CHAMPIONSHIP MEET STATS: 118 - 314 / $649.30 (+$21.30)

BEST BETS: 16 - 26 / $40.90 (-11.10)

Best Bet: ARIANA G (5th)

Spot Play: SOLAR SISTER (15th)

Race 1

(9) WESTERN FAME hasn’t been up to facing the best 3-year-olds in the sport but proved he can go with this class two starts back when he was second in a 1:49 3/5 mile. In a field with multiple options, I’ll stay here assuming the price doesn’t drift too low. (7) CALVIN B was a solid second in this class last week when he lost a bit of momentum by taking the inside route before angling outside. (2) POLAK A was facing some top-notch foes at Yonkers and should fit nicely with this group. (4) ART HISTORY will get another win sooner or later, but I’ve lost my patience.

[MEADOWLANDS: Watch the Hambletonian Day card from The Meadowlands Live on DRF!]

Race 2

It is difficult to separate (4) BLUE MOON STRIDE & (3) DARLINONTHEBEACH. My advice would be to take whichever filly is the better price. For the sake of official selections, I’m giving the edge to the former since she comes with fewer recent issues (break, AFib). (5) CALL ME QUEEN BE & (1) PENPAL look to be exotic players only.

Race 3

(4) HANNELORE HANOVER somehow overcame an early break and still beat some of the better older trotters in the sport last time out. Unless she looks awful on the track and you think another break is in store, there really are no kinks in her armor. (6) JEWELS IN HOCK has done very well in her starts versus mares and should provide an honest effort Saturday. (9) SHAKE IT CERRY hasn’t been her usual self in 2016, but that doesn’t mean she can’t pop a big mile. The 1-1/8 distance should help her gain valuable early position from the outside. (2) ROCKIN WITH DEWEY qualified okay. Her best race puts her in the exotics at a price.

Race 4

(1) KING ON THE HILL has been much improved since adding hobbles and seemed even better mannered in his second start with the new equipment in play. I don’t see much separating the top five or six horses in this race and this Jimmy Takter trainee should offer some value. (4) VICTOR GIO IT could be an interesting play depending on how the money goes. There is a chance that foreign bettors hammer down his price with Bjorn Goop driving. There is no doubt that this horse has tons of talent. (6) RUBIO is perfect in four starts but hasn’t separated himself from this group enough for me to take a short price. (2) WHAT THE HILL certainly belongs in the conversation when discussing contenders. I couldn’t fault anyone who likes this colt on top.

Race 5

(1) ARIANA G jumps off the page for me and will do the same for most betting this race. This homebred daughter of Muscle Hill-Cantab It All oozes talent and maturity. (5) CHEZATTER has stepped up with David Miller joining the team and really showed poise by fighting off a stiff challenge from That’s All Moni last time. The above said, she’ll need a career best effort to beat the top choice. (9) ROSESAREEXPLOSIVE was flashing some good late trot in deep stretch during last week’s elimination. That could be a hint that this Linda Toscano trainee is ready to peak. (8) THAT’S ALL MONI had dead aim but lacked the winning desire last time. She’s a contender but I’m using her underneath only.

Race 6

(5) RESOLVE has been super in his Meadowlands starts and I see no reason why he isn’t the one to beat in this spot. (7) JL CRUZE has shown some signs of returning to the form that made him the best trotter in North America for a time last year. (9) HONOR AND SERVE is probably the second best trotter in trainer Ake Svanstedt’s barn, but this guy is no slouch. The addition of Brian Sears makes him worth considering on multi-race tickets despite the poor draw. (1) FLANAGAN MEMORY has proven time and time again that he is the best in Canada; respect his chances. (4) HOMICIDE HUNTER has displayed flashes of brilliance.

Race 7

I probably spent more time on this race than most of the others trying to find a way to beat (4) CONTROL THE MOMENT. The bottom line is that he is the best horse, has a good post and one of the best drivers in the sport. As long as he doesn’t offer odds south of 4-5, I’m sticking with him. (1) CHECK SIX should get the award for consistency, with nine in-the-money finishes in 11 starts. I’m not sold on him stepping up to win, but I wouldn’t be shocked. (11) PURE COUNTRY ranks as highly in this race as any of the boys except my top pick. If Brett Miller can get this filly a decent trip, she can win. (5) ADRIAN HANOVER comes in sharp and his connections liked him enough to put up $35,000 to vie for a first place check of $160,000.

Race 8

(1) BAR HOPPING has been a victim of circumstance in some of his races and displayed signs of a possible Hambletonian winner in others. Unless something goes very wrong or one of his eight competitors finds a new gear, this is his race to lose as the odds-on chalk. (5) BROOKLYN HILL has played the role of a tease throughout his career. You look at him week after week and wait for that huge effort you think he has inside, but it never seems to come. Personally I think he is best as a one-move closer, but they haven’t asked me to drive yet. (6) MAVENS WAY does have that 1:51 4/5 mile that jumps off the page. I’m still not sure how good this colt is yet.

Race 9

I love the progression I’ve seen from (4) MARION MARAUDER. He has displayed impressive versatility and brings his best late in the mile when others get leg weary. While I’m on the Marion Marauder bandwagon, I do admit that (5) SOUTHWIND FRANK is the clear horse to beat in this elimination and anyone who tosses him off their tickets is simply being illogical rather than contrarian. (1) JIMMY WILLIAM was a bit better last time in the Zweig and he does come from Mr. Hambo’s barn, Jimmy Takter.

Race 10

The Vincennes came up really tough this year. While I see legitimate angles on a few horses, I’m going to try my luck with (2) PINKMAN. After scoring an impressive win in Sweden he wound up getting sick and had to miss time, but I love how he battled to win his qualifier and I’m sure Takter will have him ready for a top effort. (3) MUSICAL RHYTHM went from awesome in the Graduate to blah in the Hambletonian Maturity. He had to race without Lasix in the latter stake and I’m thinking that is a reasonable excuse. (6) WINGS OF ROYALTY lured Sears to The Meadowlands last weekend for one race; interesting. Something tells me we’ll see a big race from this guy sometime this year, maybe tonight. (9) CENTURION ATM is another horse that was sharp prior to the Maturity when he had to race without Lasix.

Race 11

In my mind, (3) ALWAYS B MIKI is the fastest of the ‘Big Three’ and is also the sharpest. Anything can happen during a race, but on the mile track in a short field, I have to strongly side with Always B Miki. (6) WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT is simply as freak of nature. Most horses would crumble facing his schedule and yet he brings 110% every week. (1) DEALT A WINNER comes off a big mile and posted a career best 1:47 3/5 win in the Cane Pace on Hambo Day last year. (4) FREAKY FEET PETE is an excellent horse that may have been a megastar if racing against different horses. Unfortunately he has to consistently compete against two potential Hall of Fame-type horses.

Race 12

Before you get all excited about her 40-1 morning line, trust me, (5) WINDOWSHOPPER is not going to offer anywhere near those odds. More likely, she’ll open up as one of the favorites and drift up to a reasonable 6-1 or 8-1. The angles on this horse are obvious. She appeared to be rolling past both Broadway Donna and All The Time two starts back before she broke and now hired gun Brian Sears is in the bike. She is a much better horse than it appears on paper. (1) CAPRICE HILL has never missed the board in her 15-race career. Last week she came up a head short, but I’m willing to give her a pass having just shipped down from Canada. (6) ALL THE TIME has clearly been off her game a touch in recent weeks, but we are talking about trainer Jimmy Takter here and a huge effort if very possible. (4) SIDE BET HANOVER has won three straight including last week’s elimination. The best part is you’ll get a price on her. (7) BROADWAY DONNA could scare people away after the break last time. She remains loaded with talent.  (2) CELEBRITY EVENTSY is another elimination winner from last week. She rarely puts in a bad race.

Race 13

While it is impossible to know which horses will be racing in the 10-horse Hambletonian final, I’m making MARION MARAUDER my early selection. He comes into this race in fine form and always seems to finish up his miles fresh. To me, that seems like a fit for a second heat win.

Race 14

(5) ROCKEYED OPTIMIST is probably the best older pacer of the ‘B’ level crowd. He’s no Wiggle It Jiggleit, but this guy has compiled a stellar 26 wins in 50 career starts. The near four week layoff is a slight concern, but that is wiped away but the strong 1:51 1/5 qualifying win on Tuesday at Philly. (1A) MEL MARA has proven to be the fastest in this group. If the recent scratched-sick line is nothing, who knows how fast this guy may pace? (3) BIT OF A LEGEND N raced well for second in the Gerrity at Saratoga last time. It remains to be seen how good he can be on the bigger track.

Race 15

(5) SOLAR SISTER was buried in the second tier in her last start and charged home for second behind Lady Shadow. Now those post positions are reversed and this Gregg McNair trainee should be the one asserting herself in the early stages. (4) KATIE SAID has been the victim of circumstance in many of her starts. The inside post today finally gives her the chance at coming up with a big mile. (12) LADY SHADOW deserves props as the best pacing mare in the country right now; obvious top contender. (1) DEVIL CHILD has picked up her game since Lasix was removed. The ability is there with this gal.

Race 16

I’d love to send you home a winner in the last race of the meet, but I truly don’t have a strong opinion in this race. (7) BARIMAH A came up with a nice effort in his first start at this level and certainly figures prominently. (4) HOPE FOR BADLANDS stopped on the lead on a track that was certainly tiring; could rebound. (2) OUREA NOURRIR is always capable if he minds his manners and gets smooth sailing. (1) LETTUCERIPRITA A is an interesting Down Under import.

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