Stakes Season Is Fast Approaching & Other Notes

When the second week of May happens in harness racing there's a different feel in the air.  Sophomore pacers and trotters begin to qualify and the four year olds and older are beginning to swing into gear.

Last night at the Meadowlands the first real stakes-type night occurred and we got some answers, and maybe even more questions.

In the first TVG FFA Leg, Golden Receiver won in what looked like was a fairly leisurely 149.1. It was a weird race, with Warrawee Needy bottled up in the pocket, hot as a summer day. Outside Razzle Dazzle made a charge, then proceeded to almost walk the last fifty yards. Sweet Lou, whom I thought would show more flash, was kind of flat, coming third.

In the second leg, fresh off a really nice closing effort, Hurrikane King Cole went a monster third quarter, just like the old days (when he usually gets himself in trouble). He was nipped by Fred and Ginger in a sparkling 148.1. Both horses raced really well.

This is the first salvo for some of last years stellar three year old crop to be racing older. For non-harness fans, this is a year where, for example, your Derby, Preakness, Belmont, and Travers winners, runners up and third place finishers are all 110 Beyer horses and none of them retire.

Two of them, Warrawee Needy and Hurrikane King Cole have brought last years speed back, but they look like they need a ton of seasoning. They're the type of horses who look like they could use three months of racing from nowhere but the back of the bus. For Sweet Lou, one race does not make a season. We'll see what he does next week, and thereafter.

Still to come from last years class? Horse of the Year Heston Blue Chip, and Panther Hanover, and Thinking Out Loud and Bolt the Duer, and, and , you get the picture. It could be a super year.

Many of the three year olds have qualified and are ready to race. Last years 'big two', Captain Treacherous and Odds On Equuleus both look to be doing very well.

Notes:

Where did the mile from Whirl Monroe come from in race 5? I have no idea. I hated that leg, and used an all on a couple of my pick 4 tickets, and Whirl ended up whirling me out of my pick 5. Wow, he looked like he could've won in 148.4.

Notice the comment by Nick Kling - Churchill is withholding replays of all things from the DRF formulator? Are you kidding me?

One thing I like about harness racing - the slop doesn't affect things much. Yesterday at Belmont (off the turf and some major mud after several days of rain) it wreaked havoc with the card. The Peter Pan winner, Freedom Child (I bet him, so no sour grapes or anything) was probably moved up a half dozen lengths due to it, and several others regressed. You could also not win from very far back (a similar bias was seen at Monmouth for their opening day). Oftentimes, unless I see some sort of strong bias, I turn the page when it rains. I know from my statistics I do poorly when the track is off.

The Meadowlands handle was over $3M yesterday and Monmouth's opener was up 30%. New Jersey racing is a shadow of itself, but without slots it's taught them how to work to achieve handle.

Sid Fernando picked up on Jessica's slam of how the Paulick Report summarizes their links

I had a chuckle at this:
I don't follow enough people to know either way, but (like each of the twenty entrants most years) you can find some good about any horse. Animal Kingdom and Golden Soul were bred to 'get' 10f, so people like O_Crunk who likes betting pedigree could've easily had each (I think he bet AK, not sure about GS).  It probably wasn't that difficult for those types (although Golden Soul did not win of course).

Have a great Sunday everyone!

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