Saturday, July 30, 2011

Harness Saturday

It's raining today, I am watching dogs, I am up early. I am sensing- after I download the days thoroughbred races, watch the Adios at the Meadows, and switch on the Hambletonian Elim card at the M- it's going to be one of those 13 and a half hour racing days. I'm not complaining.

Looking at the Meadowlands card, it might not be great for betting, but as a fan of the sport, it's a must-watch.

In race 2, the 3 year old fillies take center stage; minus See You At Peelers. As an aside, I was not sold on her last race, because driver Marcus Johanssen (who never goes to the stick and pilots her home in 26 and change) had to. I don't think she was the same horse on Thursday that she was at Mohawk, or Vernon. Anyhoo, the second race tonight showcases the very good Krispy Apple. She is the only filly besides SYAP who can pace 50, as the rest seem to hit the wall around 51.

In race 3 we have a two horse entry which might be the only entry in harness racing history to be coming off positive tests. Crys Dream is the best of this division, but because she has raced so many races in Canada, the US seems to have discounted her as such. In the simulcast world I have no idea how, or why this still happens.

In race 4 we have the Jezzy entry, who I am not sold on, and Lady Rainbow, who is not the same filly she was last season. They will both probably be overbet. But I can't find anyone to beat them. Quandary!

Race 5, is a very good Hambo elim. Blue Porsche is probably the most talented trotter, but he is coming off sickness and has no charted line. I would suspect Blair zipped him in 55 at Mohawk in a schooler to prep, and I hope someone in the Meadowlands press asks him about that. I like the way Chapter Seven closed out his last, but the race did set up for him, with a decent pace and a slow third quarter.

In race 6, Manofmanymissions is the best horse, possibly by far, but he can beat himself. Usually trotters off a big effort are poor betbacks, but he did it so easily last time, we have to discount that. I do like John Campbell as a longshot here. That horse has some go, and if something crazy happens, who knows.

Owner Robert Hamather has gone to supertrainers in the past, and he does again, moving from one to another. Kyle Major in the Open, is first time Pena. Despite this magic ability of this guy, if this horse wins off the barn change, the game has clearly passed me by as an owner. One More Laugh is another interesting horse in here, simply because of the way he has come back, and how overbet he has been. Won the West is the play in there for me. If he makes front, we might see a huge mile.

The Wilson Prep is the highlight for me. How a $12,000 race could be a highlight? Because it has Mel Mara in it. I would expect another off the pace effort from this guy, and I bet we continue to see something special. At times Yannick Gingras has driven the horse and not the odds board in situations like this, so bettors will be beware.

All of the above sets up for next week of course. It will be, and has annually been, the greatest and most interesting card of stakes racing this sport has to offer.

Have a great Saturday everyone!

3 comments:

Sunny Jim said...

Greetings PTP -

I think your comment on Lou Pena and the game passing you by might need a bit more elaboration. Not sure what you meant exactly.

To me, the issues raised about trainer Pena have not been settled, just quietly gone away. But they have only added to my cynicism about the credibility of the sport of harness racing. Somehow I don't think I am alone with this opinion.

For your readers who don't know what I am referring to, I recommend Googling 'Andrew Cohen/Lou Pena' to take a look at Cohen's series of ranting articles that began in May of 2010. Be forewarned: They are not objective.

Just last week, in the 9th race at Yonkers on Saturday July 23rd, I saw Pena's horse (from the dreaded #8 post position) grad the lead and then blow out a decent field of 50 claimers with the fastest 3/4 time of the night and the second-fastest final time, even though there were several classier fields carded that night at Yonkers. As you and your readers well know, #8-post horses at 22-1 just don't usually do those sorts of things at Yonkers. So no, I do not think that the questions swirling around this former 12%-at-Cal-Expo trainer have come close to being resolved, and the sport continues to suffer for it.

Just my own two cents on the matter, but I do know that there have been many a time when I have shied away from a Meadowlands or Yonkers race this year when there is a Pena-trained horse in the race. I just don't trust that the race I am about to see is totally on the up and up. Can I be the only one who feels this way???

Pull the Pocket said...

Hi Sunny,

Nice to hear from you again!

There's a rumor on twitter that Lou got the boot from Yonkers today. I am not sure if it's true or not, but if anyone knows one way or another, let us know.

PTP

Blaine said...

Let's hold off on crowning Mel Mara for a little while Pocket. Was 2nd over, but lacked the finishing punch. 2yo's are tough on themselves all the time.