Saturday Harness Roundup

Last night at the Meadowlands and Woodbine, several big, interesting miles were recorded. It was quite the evening for those who stayed around after the Preakness Stakes.

At the M, the handle was just over $3 million, which (considering the stock racing) was not up to snuff.

The race of the night was the Cutler, where no one could get by Sevruga. It was a blanket finish, providing us with one of harness racing's greatest win photos of the year:

I like the way Guccio has been raced so far this year. After he seasons a little bit, we might see something special from him. He can close like a train, in a sport where closers are at a supreme disadvantage.

The race, for interest, of the evening was the Meadowlands Maturity. Sweet Lou got a nice trip and nailed Warrawee Needy at the wire. It seems Burke is wanting to trip out Lou this year and I think that's wise. In his first two starts of the year he has paraded sound, and miles and trips like that help keep it that way.

The disappointment was the all world speed horse Hurrikane Kingcole. McDermott must be pulling his hair out because the horse again looked like he bounced. They have to find a way to trip that horse out, because he simply cannot go huge wound-up speed and come back and do it again. I'd love to see him buried for half the year, week in and week out. I am a huge fan of this horse.

Bolt the Duer looked happy and sound to me last evening. I think Mark and Peter would be happy with that performance off the bench.

My predictions sometimes suck, but it doesn't stop me from making them: The leader of the four year old pack, I think, will be A Rock n' Roll Dance. That is simply the best I've seen that horse look since the Meadowlands Pace. He was willing, paced sound, and made a tremendous first impression. If he is not beat up, watch out for this horse (a horse I still believe, due to his "grade I wins" should've been 3YO Pacer of the year).

Amadeus was okay winning the 3YO pacing stake, I thought, in his return back for Takter. He looked a little hitchy gaited to me, but it's only one day, and one start.

Ditto for Iluvthenightlife and Wake Up Peter. Solid debuts.

Over at Woodbine, this time of year is amazingly odd. Spring brings with it some rain and warmer temps, and sometimes it means a tight, hard surface. If you are handicapping Woodbine, ensure you chalk last night up to a tricked up track. Those horses did not go that fast, in my opinion, and 25.3 last quarters are more like 26.3's.

Having said that, former North America Cup winner Up the Credit made a wonderful pre race appearance and won in a fast time. He looked great.

I saw an interview with Tony Alagna, and I have heard similar from other old time horsemen in the past - we see inconsistent performances by horses who race too much, too hard. One week great, one week bad type of stuff. You'll often see this pattern with horses with 35 or more starts per year - as Alagna put it, with these types, they are telling you they need a vacation, because they are saving themselves by not going 100% each week (he was alluding to his horse in last night's 8th race).

It might be a little different with the four year olds this year, because they likely will not have 35 starts, but management is still needed. The trick is to find a way to space the races out enough whereby they can have the proper recovery time, while keeping them keen. With the speeds we're seeing this will be paramount for all the horsemen (and drivers) this season. One way or another, buckle up, it should be great. Remember: Close to a half dozen top colts from last year who could go very fast, have not even started up yet.

Have a nice Sunday everyone.

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