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Meadowlands: Saturday 8/8 Analysis
Race 1 - $50,000 Guaranteed Pick Five Pool
Race 3 - $50,000 Guaranteed Pick Four Pool
Race 7 - $75,000 Guaranteed Pick Five Pool
Race 9 - $100,000 Guaranteed Pick Four Pool
Race 13 - $100,000 Guaranteed Pick Four Pool
Race 16 – Jackpot Hi-Five Mandatory Payout ($231,403.14 C/O)
CHAMPIONSHIP MEET STATS: 105 - 356 / $540.70 BEST BETS: 14 - 27 / $54.70
Best Bet: WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT (11th)
Spot Play: RESOLVE (10th)
(8) GREAT VINTAGE has been rolling of late and really hasn’t thrown in any bad races all year. While this field is loaded with top Open foes, his versatility gives him the edge. (6) ODDS ON EQUULEUS couldn’t be any sharper than he is right now and is a must on most tickets. (1) CLEAR VISION & (1A) ALL BETS OFF form a powerful entry from trainer Ron Burke. Either horse is capable with a top effort.
(3) BROADWAY DONNA is perfect in five career starts and is clearly more advanced than this group right now. She would have to make a mistake or one of the others in here would have to step up their games by three to five lengths for her to be upset. (1) CELEBRITY EVENTSY has displayed the ability to chase a leader and gain ground in the stretch. She has early speed and should be in tracking position with every chance for second money. (5) MISS TEZSLA finished strongly in her most recent start and continues to progress nicely. I like the driver change to Callahan, but fear that may drop her odds lower than warranted. (6) SUNSET GLIDER can certainly leave fast but needs to trot two seconds faster to compete.
(2) ROCKLAMATION was stuck on the rim for every step of the Golden Girls and got locked in with no room to stretch her legs last week. She may not be the same mare she was last year, but her form is better than it looks on paper and these open mare races have been crapshoots. (5) ANNDROVETTE shocked in the Golden Girls and was unsurprisingly flat in an Open race that didn’t matter much a week ago. She is a clear player in a race that doesn’t appear to have an abundance of early speed. (4) ACT NOW comes off a break but reunites with a driver that drove her well in her prior start. Four-year-old is talented enough to blow up the tote board with a clear trip. (11) VENUS DELIGHT had no chance in her last start here. If driver Jason Bartlett gets more aggressive and puts her in play, I’d give her a legitimate chance.
(6) JK ENDOFANERA proved very game a week ago when it seemed like he couldn’t possibly win heading past three quarters. Jimmy Takter-trained 4-year-old has a strong 5 for 11 record at the Big M and finds a field that seems to lack much early speed. (9) FOILED AGAIN was locked in with pace last week and certainly would have finished better than fifth with clearance. My only concern is that race went in 1:49 and this one will be faster, something that doesn’t suit the old guy. (1) MACH IT SO could be handled more aggressively this week. We’ve seen he can go with this group. (5) STATE TREASURER is always at the mercy of the pace. If he can come home in 25 and change, he’ll have a big shot.
(1) INTIMIDATE wasn’t exactly loaded with trot last Saturday, but took a positive step in the right direction while making just his third start in 54 days. We’ve all seen what this 6-year-old gelding can do when he is right and I think we’ll see a peak effort Saturday. (10) WIND OF THE NORTH does some of his best work on the lead and is in a race loaded with early speedsters; bad combination, right? Maybe not. He is certainly one of the fastest off the wings and this race is at the 1-1/8 distance which gives him plenty of time to make the front before the first turn. (5) OBRIGADO wasn’t exactly loaded with trot last week but is as consistent as they come. If he is sitting off cover or somehow in the pocket, he can win. (9) NATURAL HERBIE might have been my pick if he drew inside. It seems this guy is getting better every week, but I fear he’ll have too many horses to pass this week. (6) MARKET SHARE certainly has a shot, but I’d need better than a price in the range of 3-1 or 4-1. (4) MAGIC TONIGHT went wire to wire in the Elitlopp. If he can accomplish that here I’ll be shocked. I usually like European imports, but this time I want to see a race. (2) FLANAGAN MEMORY won a leg of the TVG a week ago and is certainly capable of going back to back.
(6) BEE A MAGICIAN has basically toyed with her competition all year long. I wouldn’t say she is unbeatable in this spot, but she’ll have to throw in a dud or get very unlucky to lose. (10) D’ONE was quite sharp in her first U.S. qualifier. Royally bred 5-year-old mare is very intriguing. (11) SHAKE IT CERRY has been hit and miss most of the year. I like the way she raced with Johnny Takter in the bike last time. (8) HANDOVER BELLE couldn’t be any sharper; upset chance. (1) ALLIE LABROOK closed well last time but still has something to prove at this level. (4) CLASSIC MARTINE has the class but lacks form; your call.
I’m really not sure if (9) BAR HOPPING can get a trip good enough to win the Haughton final. I do feel reasonably confident that he is the best horse. So I’m going to take a chance at what should be a healthy price. (2) SOUTHWIND FRANK is clearly the horse to beat, but has he separated himself so much that a price around even money is warranted? I’m thinking probably not. (4) MILLIGAN’S SCHOOL certainly impressed in his elimination and I can find no real knocks against him; using. (5) WINTER HARBOR was certainly green during his last mile but also finished up with trot; tough call. (1) BROOKLYN HILL is the one I really wanted to pick because he should be in a good spot from this post, but his previous two races just weren’t very good; mixed feelings.
(2) THE BANK drew far inside the other three top contenders in this race. That gives Johnny Takter options the other drivers simply won’t have. I predict he either leaves and sits the pocket or brushes to the front between the first two calls. (8) CENTURION ATM certainly made up a ton of ground in the Dancer, but you do have to wonder why he made a break in the first place. Driver Ake Svanstedt will have to move to the rim early and hope for decent cover, which I think he’ll get in a talented field. (10) PINKMAN certainly has his work cut out for him from post 10. You know Yannick Gingras will be leaving . . . how hard will depend on what others inside do. I respect his chances but lean against except as a saver in multi-race exotics. (9) CANEPA HANOVER could be the fastest horse in the race, but from post 9 I think he’ll play to just finish in the top five and make the final. (1) DONATOMITE could have a huge role in the outcome of this race. He has post one and high early speed; using underneath.
(2) MISSION BRIEF obviously comes with some risk, but she looked great in her last start at Vernon and is reportedly training great leading up to the Hambletonian. If she comes with anything near a top effort, she wins! It has been a battle all year for (9) MUSCLE DIAMOND to even get on the track. This guy is loaded with talent and is a horse I fear if the top choice has any trouble. (7) UNCLE LASSE should be flying off the wings of the gate and bring his usual top effort; hard to toss. (6) FRENCH LAUNDRY is a use for only the bottom of the exotics on my tickets.
(10) RESOLVE has been chasing the likes of JL Cruze for months and came close to beating him last time out. Don’t be fooled by his 0-for-6 record, this guy is very sharp and ready to win. (2) IL SOGNO DREAM comes off a nice confidence building win and is clearly a fit with this group. (6) ETRUSCAN HANOVER has raced very well in three of his last four starts up North; worth using. (9) DAYLON MAGICIAN is closing in on $2 million earned for his career; trip player.
(2) WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT looks like a free square in the pick four and pick five. He’s been the best pacer in the sport all year and faces the same foes he has dispatched week after week. (8) YANKEE BOUNTY hasn’t lived up to his strong rookie campaign, but his recent efforts have been much improved. If you dig deep in his PP lines, he used to show plenty of early speed and I wouldn’t be shocked if Gingras elected to shake him up early and see if he can respond. (1) DUDE’S THE MAN has been extremely reliable and proved he could step up with a win when the waters were a bit shallower in the Adios. (5) ARTSPEAK was better in the New Jersey Classic but still not the horse many were expecting to see this year.
(2) WILD HONEY took some air early and trotted home very willingly in her elimination last week. While I like the addition of Gingras to the bike, I fear it means a much shorter price than I would have received with Takter. (7) LIVININTHEFASTLANE is the one filly I fear the most. There is a big mile coming from her at some point and trainer Julie Miller said she wasn’t 100% last time. (1) LOCK DOWN LINDY showed what she can do last week. She’s clearly dangerous. (5) RULES OF THE ROAD has plenty of early zip, but I see this as a spot she may be better off with a patient steer; using for third and fourth only.
It is hard to pick a winner without knowing the horses or post positions. That said, I selected CENTURION ATM as my top trotter back in February and that would be hard to accomplish without winning the Hambletonian. It is obvious Ake Svanstedt has changed his style of training this year with an eye on the second half of the stakes season. I feel like this horse’s one and only goal all year has been winning on August 8.
(4) WICKED LITTLE MINX showed what kind of filly she is by winning the Miss NJ last time out. Trainer Nancy Johansson has said she thinks this gal could be the best in the division by year’s end and I’m starting to agree. (2) BAND OF ANGELS raced better than I thought she would in the Mistletoe Shalee and seems a bit more consistent than some of the other possible contenders. (6) STACIA HANOVER & (5) BETTOR BE STEPPIN are each capable given a smooth journey.
(4) EXPLOSIVE MAN was being considered for the Hambletonian, so that should tell you his connections feel he has talent. He doesn’t have the best gait in the world, but he looks like he can handle a tough trip and still win. (2) MUSICAL RHYTHM closed a ton in his first start on Lasix. I’m almost expecting an even better effort this week; very dangerous. (8) SUIT AND TIE has raced very well here and has the early speed to make plenty of noise.
There is a $231,403 carryover in the Super Hi-5 this race which must be paid out. If you are able to hit it, you’ll have earned the money, because this race is far from easy to decipher. (8) MY NAME IS SAM made a powerful move to the front after chasing fast fractions and came up just short at the wire. Although he is moving up on paper, this field doesn’t look much tougher to my eyes. (10) MCARDLES LIGHTNING was unlucky to draw post 10, but being this is a 1-1/8 mile race, he should have ample opportunity to fire out. Three-year-old has tackles some good ones in his division and should feel at home versus this group. (6) GRAB YOUR KEYS was a solid second at this level last time and Brett Miller’s choice over my top pick. (1) BETTOR THAN YOU has speed, an inside post and Burke/Gingras in his corner. (7) GARNET RIVER A has plenty of early speed and has been racing well of late.