Overall Bets: $ $
Cash: $ $
Best Win Bet: $10 win on Absolutely Official in the 9th
Best Longshot Win Bet: $10 win on Regal Sight in the 10th
Best Place Bet: $10 place on Hava Kadabra in the 2nd
Best Show Bet: $10 show on Brother Randy in the 8th
Best exactor bet: Exactor $10 2-4 in the 9th
Longshot exactor bet:none
Best Exotic Bet: : none
Worst Bet: Mach Code to win. $10
Overall synopsis: Maiden trotters that are all over the map in terms of talent, experience and form..and of course consistency. We are at Ouija board territory here. I make my best estimate on these. Any one of them could just jump it off and be out of it.
ARRAKIS reminds me so much of his uber fast but erratic mother that I keep waiting for him to click in. He shows signs of that, but then regresses. His last at London was pretty good and would take this bunch if he can repeat that. Big IF with him. Top call, but its not given out with much confidence.
MARKETS UP returns to the races at 3 after being a total flop at 2. New trainer, new track, better driver and she has shown a bit of speed in her qualifier. I think there is enough of a price here that I would rate her as a good value play if you don't care for my top choice, who is talented but wildly erratic. This filly didn't do much at 2, but she did win a race in the capable hands of John Campbell in pedestrian speed. Definitely this one is included in my double and pick 3 tickets. CC has been cold lately, but he is too good not to heat back up. That could get started right off the top tonight. Galucci is a talented kid.
MONOPOLY BLUE CHIP trotted fast enough last time to be in the mix with these, but didn't do much to inspire confidence that he is going forward. He only gets put in the 3 slot and not "the rest" because of how awful this bunch is top to bottom. He might just luck into a shot. He does have terrific breeding behind him. Maybe he will remember that one day. Is tonight that day? I have no effing clue.
CINCINNATI MISS Randy was very careful last time with this one, and she looked very iffy at times to stay trotting. I'm not certain she can be pushed for more speed and keep at it safely. That being the case, and her short price tonight, I will take her action. Some you just can't fix, even if your name is HOFer MacIntosh, as we saw last night with very scary Harry.
MUSCLES ROUSEY---has been 100-1 plus in two starts and justifiably so. More of the same, but maybe she gets to 40-1 this time with the time improvement. I can't play her either way. Even with this soft bunch, she is goose down pillow soft.
P C TAJALONGWITHME---ships in off a maiden score at Georgian with a non driving driver and a back half that was slower than the first. That isn't likely to cut it here. No thanks.
DEWY TAKE A SELFIE---is impossible to like currently as is. If its not the breaks, its the stopping. Post 9 tonight compounds the problem. Have to watch and see if there is anything there. So far, nadda.
ROSIES POCKETS---is obviously a project horse who has a bit of go, but post 10 negates any chance we get to see much of that here. Strictly a lesson learning experience for this one tonight. I think there is a big score in this mare, but its not coming tonight. I am watching though. Just greenness at this stage.
SETANTA---ran at London last time after trotting a gritty and fast enough effort the time before at this track to get beat by a nice colt named Boli. Relatively short price tonight, I will avoid and see what we are dealing with here. This is exactly the type of horse that makes these classes tough to play.
CROWN CLASSIC---has multiple breaks on his card and is hard to like and have confidence in at this point. I will watch for signs of steadiness and maturity. So far, I don't see it. My experience with trotters that make most of their breaks at the end of the mile and not the start is that it isn't greenness, but pending and consistent gait and lameness issues. Whatever this one's issues are, they should be easy enough to see in the post parade.
Joseph Gerard $8 to win
Hava Kadabra $10 to place,show
Overall synopsis: Either the sharp classy one with the bad post who likes to wire them or the iffy one who can go with him if he behaves and gets the right trip. The rest don't look dangerous to me, other than m 3rd choice who is dangerous but too trip dependent for me to play.
JOSEPH GERARD has put two solid efforts together now in this class, and has looked very good on the track both times. With the 10 being the big chalk, I think there is enough of a price here to take a shot with him, all the time realizing he can go back to his bad behaving ways at any time. I want 3-1 at least to take that gamble, and make no mistake, with this horse its always a gamble.
HAVA KADABRA just keeps on trucking as his class and sharpness lately have just been too much for these types. He gets the 10 hole tonight so that Puddy gets him back in for the price he took him, and likely only holds him for one start. So, it is all systems go. I think he can be picked off, but is a solid place and show play. He wont be easy to pass if he makes the top without being parked a long way. Trevor is very good with these types.
THUNDERAWAY comes back here for another try after 3 solid efforts at the B's, where she is better off most of the time. These aren't completely out of her reach if they go enough that her finish can be of better use. I give her a minor shot at a big price, as opposed to the minor shot she had at a short price before when she came. She needs a hot pace to chase.
JUSTCALLMERONALD dives into a bottom claimer after stopping and backing up last time in the bottom condition. He simply hasn't worked out as a racehorse. Moreau can't get him to go either, other than one initial bump first time out. Others look much better than him in here and I will book his short enough price. He beats me, he beats me. I don't see it.
AUDREY PEARL---drops into a claimer but she has been a total bust for a very long time. I cannot ever play this one. I think she will be a broodmare in the near future.
TIM T---draws badly and loses lasix tonight. From out here, he can't be played. He doesn't even do enough from the good posts.
BACK TO PEACE---0 for 35 the last two seasons and it goes back farther than that. No thanks.
WINDSHIELD---was claimed and then taken back by Graham and then scored an okay win for 6. He puts him back in there he loses him again. So, he protects him here, and likely races for a cheque then looks for a spot above 6 and below 12 to win and keep.
BLUSH AND CRUSH---employed the "follow and fade" last time and P Mac has employed the "goodbye and so long" to her. No thanks.
JAYPORT SUNRISE---has a lifetime mark of 57 and can't seem to go any more than that, no matter the post or trip. Most of these go 56 even if they aren't sharp. That relegates her to the rest category for me.
Happy Holidays $6 to win
Overall synopsis: Tough group to sort. Lots with potential. But most with spotty form and hard to rate consistency. Par for the course with this class. If my top 2 can repeat what they did last time, they are players at a price, and that is how I will play the race if I get the odds I am looking for.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS has trotted 2 flat miles in a row now, the last one at Georgian, showing a bit of speed, after she had a lot of trouble doing that for a long time. The pace picked up quite a bit last time and I doubt they wanted to push her into another break. She stayed at it and if she can do that again, she is a player here. This looks like one Bax picked up in Florida and has been a project for a serious trotting man like him. Maybe he has solved it. Maybe.
JENALEAH trotted an okay and fast mile last time, with a decent back half. I said then I was looking for a sign of life and competitiveness, and that was a sign. I'd still want a price and odds here, in the 6-1 or higher range. But she is playable in that range. No cinch for sure, but she just became a player for now at this level. Lets see if she can do it again. If she can, she has a reasonable shot with these. The win was beyond reach last time. She was the winner of that other race she was in last time. If not for the winner, she already has broken her maiden.
MY WAY THE HIGHWAY might have been a player tonight from a better post. She is progressing and you can be sure Roger will push the button when he thinks she is ready to win. I'm not sure that is tonight, so I rate her 3rd with a shot to be higher if others bomb and she gets up closer at the start than I think she will not be able to if they don't.
TEA BREAK---is impossible to like as is.
WHOSGOINGTOCATCHUS---went to the top last time, and went a fair way, at the end of the day staying with the pack for a shot at 2nd money, which is what they were all racing for. If she wasn't 0 for 18 lifetime, that might lead me to play her. But, she is. So, I wont. If she keeps at it, and draws a monster boxcar price on a night when a suspect big chalk with problems shows up, I might play her for that chance.
ROSES IN THE RAIN---ships up from Pompano with little experience and not much speed on the page. She will have to be seen. No play tonight.
DRINKSONTHEHOUSE---might finally be getting her act together from the horrid speciman she appeared to be on the track last year. I want to see her one more time to make a judgement call there. I wont book her again for now until I see what she can do if she is sounder and smoother now. Dangerous.
THE SPRINTER---left badly and ran last time, but was put right back in to qualify and did okay. I want to see one more here. 8 hole takes most chance away tonight either way. Likely a project horse for Team B.
ASPEN CALIFORNIA---finished poorly and has x's all over the page, and also missed last weeks start. Post 9 adds to the problem. Have to pass for now. She does have speed if she ever gets it together.
Mach Two Point Six $6 to win
MACH TWO POINT SIX I will call McNair to double up with this one. He is red hot, and none of these really thrill me. I think there will be a bit of a price, and he needs exactly the right trip to get it done. It could happen. Not terribly confident, but its a worthy value play. Has to be at least 7-2 or I pass on him.
SWEET COLT OF MINE goes first off the claim, and while he gave it a good go last time, he gave it up big time when he shot the load making the lead. He is a one move horse, and I doubt the new gas gets him any further. I think he can make the ticket if he is saved a bit for the right time and move. I don't like him at all for the win.
UNIQUE BARAN goes in for 9 off the claim, and draws the 10 hole for that tag. Stewart has the key to this guy, but I'd be willing to play him again if he had a better post. He doesn't. He was also bearing in a bit the last two wins. That was okay off easier trips. Coming around horses it isn't. It adds up to a book for me.
CROWN ISLE---has fallen off a cliff form wise and while I cannot see him doing much here in his likely last start on this circuit before McMaster takes him elsewhere to make money, I have learned over time not to take McMasters action on longshots. He has tricks.
LITTLE QUICK---got the luckiest trip ever last time, and the seas parted like Moses was calling God for a favor. He made the most of it, but generally, he stays back and gets mired in traffic, and he isn't the most determined pacer anyway. If I thought he would be a short price tonight, I'd take his action too. He might not be and he could easily luck out again. For me, I like others.
LOST IN PANSLATION---backed away badly last time off a very soft trip. His form came, his form goes. Pass for me now. I never liked him much anyway for a win on this track, and now he looks even worse to me.
I WANNA BE GEARED---was wiped out last time and had no shot for the win but got up for 4th. He was moving up sharply, and he comes back again. I will watch for now. Maybe there is something there. I want to see it first.
MAJOR NAJOR---didnt get to use Lasix at Clinton, and that probably didn't help his cause. He gets it back here, but he has never shown he is an A track horse. Billings is a marginal trainer to put it nicely. Wray is an awful driver to put it bluntly. I will pass on this one.
SMOKIN BEAR---would need the "Little Quick trip" and then some to pass all of these. No thanks. I don't play the lottery.
BAGEL MAN---got the perfect trip 2 back and made the most of it. That was that. That was then. This is now. 9 hole and he wont get that trip. Pass.
Overall synopsis: None.
BISTROBISTRO TAJgoes first time lasix and that is good enough for me. I have always thought she has talent, and CC is likely to get it done with her now that she avoids stakes types. She just has to behave and get a clean trip. Top call.
NOBLE POWER is coming along, and might be a nice horse someday. Might even get it done tonight. I just think he is behind a bit my top choice in terms of experience and that might count here.
CHILLER ICE---shows promis at times, but he hesitates badly off the gate and he isn't good enough yet to catch up. One day I think he will. I wait and watch for now.
MADMAN HALL---ships up with high speed but has yet to really win races or money. He is in the mix, but I will watch him once. Not sure what to think of him yet.
COOL CREEK VALLEY---3rd time Moreau, but she just hasn't gone forward. I will pass.
MEGANOU---was terrible gaited last year and looked ready to run at any point. Until I see that corrected, I avoid her.
TYRONE ZOEY---seems like the grinder type, and she might take all these down, but I like my top two choices better for tonight. Watching her for signs she is stepping up to the challenge this level presents.
AMOUREUSE HANOVER---couldn't hold on last time against a couple who have trouble passing horses. Bad post this time, I avoid. The jury is still out on this one.
BRINKERS DREAM---was good a month ago, and came back around last time but the post is poor tonight and that is the great equalizer. I will watch to see where she is at. She is hot tempered. That is not a plus.
Rather Swell $10 to win
RATHER SWELL he is a 17 time maiden I am picking on top. He is going to win at some point. The price might be right tonight with the heavy money coming on the one I am playing against. Its a risk/reward play. I need 3-1 to play him. Even at that, 7-2 would be much better.
THE FIRE WITHIN raced to his breeding last time, giving it up at the tote board as most Whosurboy's do. He might trip out, and when he did that 2 back, he had pace. Longshot..minor shot if the trip works out.
FASHION MAVEN got it done last time and was full value. However, he comes right back and likely gets heavy chalk play. I am not sold he is that type of horse, and something in here picks him up. I play against him on that angle. He should be close, and might win it. I still think his grit is in question and we will find that out tonight.
MCENROE HALL---so far, he has not shown me he is top shelf with these. He needs to step up and do that soon. Not tonight in my view.
LIBRADO HANOVER---has a shot, but again, he doesn't do enough to win and needs everything to go his way. He is not progressing.
RUSTYS OVERLOAD---not fond of this horse now that he isn't a maiden anymore. The heat that comes from facing winners is heat he might not be able to stand.
SHIPPEN OUT---bad post does him in tonight. He isn't the most win worthy type anyway. He likes to pick up the pieces. More of the same tonight.
SAM HAYES I go to Sam Hayes because he can do it if he shows up and gets the right trip. A big price makes me take that chance. I just don't like anything in here that is a short price, so I am taking a bunch who have talent but poor form. We see that all the time in this type of class. Maybe tonight will be another one of those. Maybe not. Its a crapshoot angle and play.
FLEXIBLE WOMAN has been terrible as of late. Her last was a bit better, and she has a world of talent when she is good..probably more than most in here. She could turn it around at a huge price too. Same as above.
CAN I SAY gets Jody here and that is the angle I and others will play. Another who could step up, but obviously not likely as long a price as my top 2. I am not really fond of this horse from what I have seen in the past on this track. But, I could say that about most in this race.
POWER MOVE has been knocking for a while, but can't get it done. Barry Drury is about as low percentage guy as you will find, and has been that way for the 32 years I have watched WEG. At short odds tonight, I will go with the percentages.
not rating the rest---don't like any enough to say that they are good value.
Brother Randy $10 win, show
BROTHER RANDY is a big horse and I suspected the big track would move him up and it did. He will bring a reasonable price tonight, and I think he is coming into his own now. He had issues at London with being reigned in because he wanted to go more than he needed to and didn't like it. Here, they keep rolling and that works to his favor. He could be a really nice horse as he ages. He is a big sucker.
JEB trip horse who can leave and sit, and come back on. He has trouble doing more than that, and that makes him hard to play for the win. But..he could. He is in the mix with these.
STAR COVER went the monster trip from the way outside last time and was 2nd best to a very nice horse. These aren't as tough and he has a shot, but the price will be much less than my other plays. He wouldn't shock me.
LEGION OF BOOM I'm not sold he has what it takes now that the warmer weather has arrived. He will have to prove me wrong. I have not liked what I've seen from him for a while now. He seems raced out, and he isn't the soundest horse anyway. He will take lots of money on the post position improvement, and class drop. I'm not sure that is enough.
CAMVICTED---stopped bad as I expected him to last time. He was a good winter horse when he first came out. He has settled into a level that leads you to think he is a conditioned claimer come Labor Day. Most of these are far better than that.
TWIN B SCANDAL---Is coming along and gets Steven to drive, which is an upgrade on Joe in my view at this stage. Beware. Maybe not tonight, but soon if not tonight.
STONEBRIDGE SPUNKY---paced huge last time and was sold. You would think the trainer change would step him up, but how much better can he become? I think he gets overbet tonight and I will watch to see how he performs. I am not sold he is as good as he is being touted to be.
THE BATTLE BEGINS---Stopping rat who can't pace from the turn home. He tried to bottom out maidens and did. That isn't working anymore.
ONE TO DRAW TO---terrible gaited young horse who is way up against it here with these. Can't see him.
MARS MAN---Has not showed he can go with any of these so far. Pass.
Exactor $10 2-4
Overall synopsis: Strictly a race between my top 2 choices, with the heavy chalk going down the road and my top choice, the likely 2nd fave, stalking and trying to pick him off in the lane. The balance look like cheque hunters for minor spoils.
ABSOLUTLY OFFICIAL sat out of it last time and paced enough to get up for 3rd, while the two leaders were long gone on the entire field. That was a good step forward and likely the best he was capable of on that night. He took his time down in that one and finished in better than 27. That can't be ignored from a good post this time with this mediocre bunch. The question is how short of a price would you be willing to take on him? I'd want 5-2 or better for a horse that starts very slow and might find traffic trouble trying to play catch up. He might get there, he might not. You need odds to account for that variable in my view.
A MARCOU STORY the likely heavy favorite, was parked to the quarter from the 8 hole at Philly last time in his 2nd lifetime after breaking his maiden. That was against nw3 types, which are very tough at Philly. He tried to wire them from there but got picked up in the lane, which is no big deal coming back in against this lot. He ships up with the rest of the Gelrod/Armor crew and obviously is the one to beat here. 52.4 at Philly cannot be ignored when he gets to face maidens at this track who are on their life in 53 at Mohawk. He has an edge on this entire field, but the 3-5 price will make my play elsewhere. I'd likely play the straight exactor of my top 2 picks and hope the top pick guns down this guy. Its a stretch though. If he paces back to the Philly mile, he is much the best here.
FULL TIME GIG seems to be progressing like a colt should on his way to winning eventually. He was a 50-1 longshot last week against a pretty iffy bunch and while he got around and raced okay enough on paper, he was putting in many extra steps and Saftic was holding him together. His breeding suggests that will be a pattern going forward, and I will list him 3rd with the idea Saftic will try to do the same thing again and he can stay for 3rd. I don't think he can make the high speed needed to beat the top 2 without jumping it off.
JET BLACK CADILLAC is a 21 time Jeremes Jet maiden who draws better this time and will likely take some action. As mentioned before, he goes just enough every time to give the bettors hope he will convert that to a win..but just doesn't.
AXELERATE SEELSTER---looked terrible on the track his first lifetime, but got 2nd anyway. He has gone backwards since, as you might expect. He even bombed out in a very soft spot at Sarnia. I can't use him unless I see a correction of his issues, if that is even possible. I'm not sure it is. When you look that bad in your first lifetime, its mostly downhill from there.
DEETZY---is an 11 time Jereme's Jet maiden from the 10 hole who starts poorly even from better spots and generally only closes with the pack to pick up shares. I have to pass. He might be a good candidate for a chalk bomb effort at KD if Sucee gives up the stakes chase with him and goes there.
GHOSTWRITER---did not impress me when I saw him at Clinton and he has only marginally improved since. I don't think the big track steps him up, and it would have to. Not with these.
CANADIAN WRITER---is regressing like most Sportswriters seem prone to do. He now comes back quicker, but I'm not sure that helps him and might even hurt him more. In any event, I wil pass on this double digit longshot. He has to show me much more to get my eyes back on him to be a legit threat.
NEW MIRACLE---paced what seemed to be a big effort from the back last time when he started from post 10. He gets the 9 hole here. But if you were to watch that race, it was chock full of horrid rats and none have gone forward a step off that race. If this guy can pace another decent effort from out here, I might take a longer look at him from a better post next time. He is now on the radar, but not as a play. Yet.
SPORTS COLOGNE---paced evenly in the softest Grassroot split and finished the same. 12 time maiden now, and he has a minor shot here at odds, but he wont get my money. He doesn't do enough when it counts and that isn't how winners win, even with a weak group like this. Super factor though.
Regal Sight $10 to win, place
Pier Ho Temptation $10 to win
Overall synopsis: I am not enamoured with the Grassroots winners in here from last week, and view something in this bunch to get up at a price. It could be any of my top 3 or even another from the rest. Price hunt here and take many in the pick 4 if this is the leg you think you will close it out with. The sugar added value comes at the end.
REGAL SIGHT tried to leave out from the 9 hole last time but stacked up 4 high in a 1st quarter of 26.4 and parked well past the quarter to finally land in 4th at the rail. For that, he ended up sitting and getting a shuffle until there was room and he paced forward to get a solid 3rd, while no threat to the first two finishers. He isn't the most motivated individual and lacks a bit of desire, which is likely due to who his sire is and who he dam sire it. Yet, he keeps going forward if you make him. He just needs to get the trip to be in position to do that. He will always be the solid, unspectacular type who gets up at a decent price when much of the race ends up going his way. I will play him tonight on all of that. The price should be right.
PIER HO TEMPTATION had 2 consecutive 10 holes, and for a horse that likes to get out and go right away, that was something that really went against his chances. Last time, he left hard from the 10 hole, got parked a long way and settled in 4th while they went 26 flat up front. They went a blistering 54.2 to the half, and he pulled first up but was neither advancing or backing up. To his credit, he kept going right to the wire and only tired due to the hard trip. The winner tripped out and was long gone, but this guys effort was solid. This time, post 2. Big shot to score at a price if he can get out good again and not work in the middle part of the race.
LITTLE CLAYT is a slow developing 3yo who gets better as he goes. If he had drawn well, I might have listed him as my top call. This is his first try at this track, and I doubt they want to do anything but see if he is good enough, and likely try him in the Grassroots going forward. Back of the bus or midpack for him, and brush late. If there was a hot pace and it totally collapsed, I could see him picking them all off. That is a lot to count on and I wont. I will watch. He could easily make the ticket if the flow goes his way.
MACH CODE has looked like a player to me for some time, and got it done last time off a soft trip before I could cash in on him. He was clearly ready to pop. Now, the word is out and he gets hammered tonight off that explosion in the stretch. I am not so certain he is that legit, although I still like him and think he has a future. He is likely on the ticket, and could win, but in a risk/reward play, I will take his action tonight.
He wasn't so alive the two before that when he had to work for it.
THE SHADOW KNOWS tries very hard and went a fast overall mile, relative to most of these, but he still is very lame and wearing down. There are enough live ones in this race to think he would have to be at his best to beat them all, and I don't think he is. If he were somehow sound again, he would be my top play. I doubt he is. He is a warrior, but a wounded one.
HP BUSHIDO DRAGJET went first time for team B last time and landed in the softest division of the Grassroots that night. He was full value for the win, working hard for it, but relative to all of these, and now drawing post 9, he would have to be a lot better and I doubt that is the case. He could be a Super factor if things go right. I don't think he makes the ticket.
TWIN B TK---came first up last time. The pace was hot to the half, but it didn't let up to the 3/4 and he never really advanced or was dangerous. He was bearing in quite a bit from the turn to the wire, and he simply does not wear well, like many from his sire. He broke his maiden but looked very bad doing it, and he has really hit the wall with these. Pass.
ALEXAS PRAYER---broke his maiden against a very soft London group. When he tried straight maidens here, he was a non factor. In this one, he meets proven stakes winners and others who have won at this track and been at least competitive against winners. Pass on this one.
MIDNIGHT PLAY---left to the back last time, as he has now done several times, and closed up with the pack to try and get a small share, which he did. He doesn't currently do enough to suggest to me he is win worthy. Maybe he will develop. So far, while I had high hopes last year he might, he has not. He is stuck in neutral. Likely a better B track horse for now, and I would look him over if he was moved there in the right spot.
ANTAR PHIL---finally broke his maiden when he tripped out and beat a very soft bunch while still bearing out bad. Last time, with stakes colts, he left to the back, pulled and got cover, but had trouble keeping up to it and was also very steppy in the turns, bearing in bad coming out of it, then bearing out bad again coming to the wire. He now is in with the types where his issues really cost him. I can't use him going forward and his only value is to play against him if he somehow finds chalk at any track. That wont be tonight anyway.