Handicapper Blog

Posted by Ken Warkentin on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 11:42 PM

Race 1 

3-Ms Caila J Fra - races in the memory of her late owner Angelo Frassetto scored a dramatic 1:49 upset in the sires stakes final, needed last week’s mile, draws alongside the chalk & Simon will have her stalking mode 


2-I Luv The Nitelife – obviously the conversation has to start with this streaking O’Brien Award winner who has won seven of eight this year, held on in gutsy fashion to take the Mistletoe Shallee & fought hard to hold off Jerseylicious last week 


7-Jerseylicious – last year’s Sweetheart winner turned it around with a super steamroll first over to throw a scare into I Luv The Nitelife, might need somebody to rough up the favorite to get The Captain across 


Race 2 

6-Shake It Cerry – sister to Hambletonian entrant Dontyouforgetit has been stunning in all of outings & has displayed more sharp speed than Lifetime Pursuit such as her :27.1 at The Meadows last out 


3-Lifetime Pursuit – regally bred Brittany Farms filly has been flawless so far, including a PASS record at The Meadows & wrapped up elimination, yet faces an intriguing match-up with a well-rested stablemate in a Takter battalion of four  


4-Cee Bee Yes – two-for-two for Team Orange Crush & freshened an easy qualifier after winning the sires stakes final from post eight with trot at both ends 


Race 3 

7-Personal Style – last year’s Oaks upsetter has been gradually coming around with strong finishes, nosed out in the Miss Versatility on 7-12 & just missed last week with another furious rally 


9-Maven – skipped round two after a narrow loss with a perfect second over trip, goes back to Gingras & looks to resume her previous winning streak despite a post nine challenge 


3-One More Ginny – left from post eight, got shut out of a hole & fought gamely for the 25-1 upset in a sparkling Big m debut, draws better to prove it was no fluke 


Race 4 

6-Anndrovette – two-time Dan Patch Award winner did all the work in last year’s world record 1:47.3 Lady Liberty, fresh from her second straight Roses Are Red in a stakes record 1:48, one of the greatest pacing mares of all time, period 


5-Rocklamation – the best of the Burke quartet in here finished solidly in both Roses Are Red miles, won her last start here with 1:49.3 career best in the Golden Girls & she’s a fresh threat  


8-Drop The Ball – displayed blazing speed only to get gunned down by Anndrovette at Mohawk after romping in her elimination, last year’s beaten favorite got hung to dry, outside draw here likely forces her to use her mighty closing kick 


Race 5 

4-Southwind Spirit – brother to Breeders Crown champion Southwind Serena was a game runner-up in the sires stakes final, then crushed them in his elimination, picks up Sears, who won this three years in a row & set the stakes record of 1:54 with Holiday Road 


3-Father Patrick – brother to Pastor Stephen who was disqualified in 2010, turned the tables on Nuncio with a furious :27.3, just a fifth off Muscle Hill’s world record, deserving favorite looks to give Takter his fourth win in this event 


1-Nuncio – was confidently rated by Campbell & barely outgamed by Father Patrick in a stirring stretch duel & rewarded with the pole, Jim Oscarsson won this last year with Aperfectyankee 


Race 6 

6-Little Brown Fox – 2012 NJSS champion & Breeders Crown runner-up has been sharp despite some tough trips in his last two at Yonkers, consistent Takter millionaire took his mark of 1:51.2 in the Dancer  


9-Coco Lindy – ships in on a high note with three wins in his last four starts & fresh off a career best 1:52.2 at Mohawk, beating the favorite Take My Picture, may try to blast for command from post nine here 


2-Take My Picture – freshened up Preferred class winner on the WEG circuit was outmuscled by Coco Lindy in his second start off the bench, draws inside that rival in the one of the most wide-open races on the card 


Race 7 

2-Smilin Eli – Despite being unraced at two, he looked very classy sweeping the sires stakes.  Last week, he got roughed up, then locked in after changing barns and missing a month due to lingering sickness.  Has a serious shot at giving The Bionic Man back-to-back Hambletonians. 


8-Royalty For Life – Proved himself as a quality colt at two, and has taken a few starts to work out the kinks.  His 1:51.3 qualifier and 1:52 victory in the Dancer says he’s fast enough, George Ducharme feels he can handle heats, and initially gets a true test drawing outside a lot of speed. 


4-High Bridge – Jimmy Takter’s sleeper has been gradually ramping up for the big day.  Last week, he controlled an easy prep and he prefers to come from off the pace.  


Race 8 

1-Wheeling N Dealin – Like some who have been here before, trainer Dustin Jones has employed a careful, conservative approach, which is seems to be working, especially with the return of heats.  Last year’s champion has shown subtle signs of coming around at the right time and has the rail in field he can dominate. 


7-Dontyouforgetit – This Takter trainee is the little engine that could.  He was wiped out by a breaker in the Yonkers Trot and made a gallant effort to finish fourth.  Before that he took a mark of 1:52.1 in his Beal elimination and finished a solid third to his stablemate Corky in that final. 


8-Creatine – His sire Andover Hall was the beaten favorite in 2002 for Bob Stewart.  He has cycled back around after winning his sophomore debut here in 1:52.2.  He comes off an easy win in PASS from post seven and just missed to Spider Blue Chip here in the Reynolds.    


Race 9 

2-Murmur Hanover – Distinguished himself as a two-year-old winning two OSS Gold Finals, and finished second to Wheeling N Dealin in the Wellwood and third from post nine in the Breeders Crown.  He has been gearing up nicely at Mohawk and draws well in a competitive split for 2011 runner-up Randy Waples. 


5-Corky – Jimmy Takter’s best hope comes in on a roll, winning four of his last five.  His Beal victory was a gutsy one and his connections believe he’s a durable colt who can outlast them in two heats. 


6-Spider Blue Chip – It’s no surprise four-time winner Chuck Sylvester has him primed perfectly.  The gelding was all out to hold off Possessed Fashion last time after taking a :27.2 shot at Royalty For Life.  Perfect Pierce piloting makes him the major danger.   


Race 10 

5-Uncle Peter  

Last year’s Hambletonian favorite who equaled a record :54.3 half and came up sick, has come back to trot a world record of 1:50.3 at Pocono Downs.  He finished a close second to Market Share on June 21, makes his second start off the bench, draws a perfect midpack post and figures to stalk a contested pace. 


9-Market Share  

Looks to become the first Hambletonian winner since Mack Lobell to come back to take this event.  Last year’s leading money winner has been a scary good three-for-three, and he could’ve easily done the sub 1:50 thing already.  2012 Horse of the Year Chapter Seven equaled the fastest trotting mile in Meadowlands history for these connections.  That mark is in jeopardy under the right conditions, but post nine in a vicious field is definitely no picnic. 


6-Mister Herbie  

Last year’s runner-up has regrouped from a disappointing ninth in the Cutler as the beaten favorite, winning in :26.3 at Mohawk, then finishing second to Market Share in the Maple Leaf Trot.  He was so impressive winning the Cutler and Maple Leaf last year, this fresh threat is only making his fifth start of the season, and Jody Jamieson has set three world records here. 


Race 11 

3-Classic Martine  

She raced better than her much heralded stablemate Frau Blucher in an excellent acclimating mile from a tougher post.  Her previous efforts were top quality, and there’s an excellent chance she can stalk the chalk and pounce in her third try off the bench.  She’s also strong in the win column and retains Hall of Famer Ron Pierce, who has won this three times.  Yes, The Miracle Man has done it before.  


2-Bee A Magician 

I always try to beat the favorite, it seems virtually impossible to go against this magical filly, and you simply can’t help being a big fan of her obvious talent.  Nifty Norman took advantage when the two favorites went offstride in last year’s edition with Personal Style.  Now he’s got the chalk, an inside post and 2009 Oaks winner Brian Sears in the sulky.  This New Jersey bred daughter of Kadabra was wrapped up again last week after her world record 1:51 and all-time OSS mark of 1:52.2. 


4-Mistery Woman  

This steady filly had been persistently plugging away before she capitalized on a live cover trip tracking To Dream On.  Now she looks to build on that career best mile with a more favorable draw as Dave Miller looks for an Oaks repeat.  Her Jonas Czernyson stablemate Ma Chere Hall also can’t be counted out with her closing kick. 


Race 12 

Wheeling N Dealin – The Dan Patch Award winner has drawn inside a soft elimination, and his connections are confident he is well positioned to take the necessary steps as he regains his championship form. 


Smilin Eli – May be ready and might get the chance to display his raw talent again with a smooth trip from an inside post with the Bionic Man. 


Royalty For Life – The Dancer winner and overall favorite looks to build on his new momentum with Brian Sears and the advantage of more first elimination recovery time. 


Race 13 

9-Lucan Hanover – did some damage & flaunted his speed in the Summer Survivor Series, swept the Summertime at Mohawk & has a chance to expound on that raging form in a vulnerable field  


6-Word Power – looked like the next coming of Niatross when he won his first three starts here, including a stunning 1:50.1 debut & that was some vicious rally in the Adios Final, might be overbet as a result 


2-Emeritus Maximus – 1:48.3 Hempt elimination winner gave a clear indication he’s ready to roll again with that improved second to Johny Rock, who’s stuck in the second tier, lands inside a field riddled with question marks 


Race 14 

4-Bolt The Duer – twice a 1:47.4 world record performer shook loose too late in the Haughton & got locked in behind Sweet Lou last week, about due to work out that ideal stalking trip from the same inside post 


3-Sweet Lou – has come back his toes for the heat of the season, huge first over in the Haughton after winning his elimination in :25.2, in full control last week & figures to get a prime target in Golden Receiver 


2-Warrawee Needy – beaten favorite with tough trip in the Haughton bounced back to nail a gallant Golden Receiver last week, 1:46.4 world champion continues his raging mid-season form spree in an amazing field with composite earnings of $17,176,669 


Race 15 

8-Fred And Ginger – world record setter in 1:47.3 back on June 1 recently passed the million mark & finally gets some class relief 


4-Abelard Hanover – amazing Abelard was no up to the 1:47.3 Hurrikane Kingcole blitzkrieg on 7-13, yet has bounced back with his speed & draws more favorably today 


5-Bettor’s Edge – was able to regain his winning edge twice beating lesser in different styles at Harrah’s Philly, can easily be forwardly placed in this wide-open finale 





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Ken Warkentin has been a member of the award-winning broadcast team at Meadowlands Racetrack as the Track Announcer and television commentator for almost 20 years. Ken has appeared on national television networks such as ESPN, called 11 editions of the $1.5 million Hambletonian, and worked as a member of the broadcast team for NBC Sports and CBS Sports.

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