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Track Handicapper Ken Warkentin Bio


Ken Warkentin has been a member of the award-winning broadcast team at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ as an announcer and television commentator for over 25 years. He is also the Track Announcer at Freehold Raceway.
Ken has appeared on national television networks such as ESPN, called 15 editions of the $1 million Hambletonian, and worked as a member of the broadcast team for NBC Sports and CBS Sports.  He anchors “Racing From The Meadowlands”, seen regularly on SportsNet New York and on TVG.



RACE REVIEWS by Ken Warkentin



Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment makes every  effort to post Race Reviews 48 hours before scheduled post time.  

Race Reviews For Friday, February 24, 2017

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 7-1-5-2
H Horse Comment
1 Crosbys Clam Bake Left with his usual early speed, got shuffled a bit & lacked room until mid stretch, finished in a crisp :27.3, the rail affords him a better chance of taking charge, controlling & conserving.
2 Can Do Stepped up to face this kind & faded to seventh from the rail last week, steady gelding in line for another stalking trip & bounce back effort, previous form was solid.
3 Opulent Yankee Pace compromised from post nine, yet lacked his usual late vigor last week, moves inside, classy & capable of beating these when on his best game.
4 Alexander Hanover 4YO gelding trending in a positive direction for the red-hot Mike Watson barn, just missed by a nose despite being severely thwarted by the slow :58.1 half last week, test for class, yet he might be this good.
5 War Cry Hall Hasn’t been able to duplicate the renewed winning form @ Dover Downs last month with a miscue, then a dull sixth last week, would have to turn things around significantly.
6 MARCH AWARENESS Barn change here. Gelding has ability, winning nearly half his starts. Second qualifier was good. May need a start.
7 Lady’s Dude 1:52.2 blowout winner here from post seven back on 11-4-16, took two months off & qualified with plenty for Team Burke, can capitalize on the fresh angle for Team Burke.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 3-1-5-8
H Horse Comment
1 Marion Gondolier T4YO is just one for 39, returns off a sick scratch & superb qualifier chasing Lady’s Dude, draws inside for a barn going well & lands in a soft spot.
1A Auteur Hanover 3YO Muscles Yankee colt with a future, scored a gutsy win just before the recent layoff, qualified well behind the far superior Lady’s Dude, may need to acclimate from post nine.
2 Fortunes One Muscles Yankee colt went 0 for 10 when a nonfactor seventh in his Big M debut, previous qualified was solid, moves to the rail with a chance to improve.
3 Pretty Phylly G Finished a distant, yet decent third in the comebacker, draws inside again & eligible to trip out & surprise this wide-open group with a driver change to Jim Marohn, Jr.
4 Brenda And Eddie Lightly-raced gelding landed on the fringes in both starts here after slow starts, draws well again & obviously there’s potential for more.
5 I’ll Have Another I admit, Was much better in his latest, roughing it first over off a pedestrian :59 half & trotted home in :30 for minor spoils, has a chance to step it up.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 7-5-6-3
H Horse Comment
1 Our Jerry Lee N Dropped to the level below this & rallied out of a shuffle to hit the ticket last week, bumped back up, lands the rail & in line to play a stalkers role in a pretty competitive match up.
2 Rock Star Stormed home from post eight & last to knock on the door in an admirable double jump in class, rewarded with an improved post & use his wicked kick within closer striking range.
3 Starlite Kid Freshened with a couple of months off after a narrow loss here back on 12-16-16, returns at the same reduced level with an inside post & energetic qualifier on view.
4 Real Nice 12YO finished a strong third to Quality Closer after blasting off from post ten, gets another shot at this tougher level from a better post.
5 Blatantly Best Just missed by a head two starts back with a sterling rally from post eight, paced a :54.2 back half last week out of striking range, form, class & persistence may produce an overdue win.
6 Stratocaster Drops back to the level of the game upset in 1:51.3 on 2-4, yet will need another slick drive by Jim Marohn, Jr. to accomplish a similar feat.
7 Quality Closer Beat these with a great drive from post nine by Drew Monti, then just missed last week while weaving through heavy stretch traffic, has come around after a recent sick scratch.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 4-2-3-7
H Horse Comment
1 Marion Millionair Early breaks wiped out her chances last week after two wins in a row, trainer Mike Watson on a roll, chance to rebound at this tougher level from the rail with tactical speed her key weapon.
2 Sheer Flex Was claimed off back-to-back upsets & lowered his mark to 1:54.1, couldn’t overcome a tough trip off a slow pace from post nine two weeks ago, fires from the two-hole this time, which has been good for him.
3 Waiting On A Woman Finished with good trot on the rail while ending up fourth again, draws post three again & will look to capitalize on another stalking trip.
4 Windsong Illusion Fresh off a lifetime best two starts back he finished with keen late trot out of a shuffle & in traffic last week, may present some value in this tight match up.
5 Caulfield Simply toured the oval as a no factor eighth last week, 1:54.1 performer @ Pocono last season has a chance to be better in his second start off the bench & with some class relief.
6 Its Payday Friday Gelding sports a solid 2016 record, but hampered by breaking issues recently, latest qualifier chasing Rose Run Parker was inspiring.
7 Classical Annie Steady Team Burke mare was allowed to crawl past a :58.1 half & almost stole an overdue win from post nine last week, most effective at this level & likely blasting for control again.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 8-3-1-10
H Horse Comment
1 Ulshootureyeoutkid Excellent recent form & terrific acclimating mile here, closed from a tough spot to hit the ticket & now moves inside for Matt Zuccarello.
2 Lightning Strike Beaten favorite set a pretty solid pace from post eight & faded to fourth, potent combo of Kokinos & Lappe draws much better here to atone.
3 Who Do You Like A solid runner up in all three starts for Bongiorno & Johnson, gutsy second in a Dash For The G Notes Final, draws well for new connections.
4 Idealist Just one for his last 35, but racing well since switching to John Mc Intyre, 14YO chased a revved up Mr Big Load two starts back, that kind of mile puts him in play here.
5 Palm’s Beach 10YO steps up here & arrives on roll @ Freehold, lands an ideal midpack starting slot for David Yarock & has had his share of experience here.
6 Shaguar Flashed some decent late pace in his debut here for Michael Russo, look for Alan Charles to aim at a better speed target & smooth cover trip & hopefully the price will be there.
7 Keystone I Wish Fresh claim off a solid second & game score on the engine from post ten before that, David Glasser figures to be firing with this mare & some mayhem may ensue.
8 Bieber Hanover Saved ground, angled & surged just a neck shy at 23-1 given a great driver by Joseph Lee, great first start here after missing three weeks, tougher post presents a challenge, yet likely pumps up the price.
9 Legends Luck 9YO took some needed time off & qualified adequately, owns some back class, but draws a stiff assignment.
10 Seafood Mike Unleashed a huge wide rally to nail the mild upset for Tony Beltrami last week, moves outside, but this looks like a field that will really mix it up & set the table nicely.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 5-4-2-1
H Horse Comment
1 Montalbano Bi Beaten heavy favorite steamrolled first over & couldn’t get to a well-rated Never Ever Clever, takes a massive triple jump up in class, yet may be sharp enough & a favorable trip is imminent.
2 Starsaboveallerage Knocking on the door recently, just missed two starts back, chased a headstrong Nowucit Nowudont last week, post two facilitates the ideal trip he needs.
3 Oho Diamond Newcomer made only seven starts last year, Ontario bred mare by Ken Warkentin qualified with vigor, a win @ Pocono & close second here, seeks to acclimate & find her level here.
4 Downundermatter Took advantage of another shot at a reduced level & absolutely perfect drive by Campbell to score the mild upset, looks to parlay that confidence-boosting score.
5 J A T O Fresh threat for Team Burke, took the trotting hopples off, qualified big here & just missed @ Yonkers in a sharp comebacker, seems to fit well in this match up.
6 Stonebridge Idol Both recent wins came at the bottom condition level, then faded to fifth in a Dash For The G Notes Final, 9YO gets a test for class in this affair.
7 Fusion Power Was hammered down to 2-1 favorite, flashed sudden speed & went all the way in a career best 1:55.1 two starts back, no factor after a slow start from a similar post when elevated to this level last week.
8 Ashes Cash Strong record in 2016, returns from more than two months off & qualified with some late trot, likely floating out from post eight, securing position & launching late.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 3-9-1-7
H Horse Comment
1 Truth And Liberty Tremendous record last season, very productive with 11 wins, just missed here from post eight back on 1-6, brutal trip from post seven last week, moves inside & has upset potential.
2 Lucy’s Pearl Team Burke-tuned mare banked $70,000 in 2016, flashing speed on five-eighths tracks, faded in her qualifier here & likely need to acclimate.
3 The Summer Wind The Summer Wind came blowing in on a 38-degree night back on 1-27, beaten favorite @ Yonkers last out draws inside to take charge & show her class.
4 Fanticipation Has been very steady so far this season, surged to a late lead & yielded to Shutthefrontdoor last week, super rally to just miss from post ten before that, contender draws post four again.
5 Angel Or Terror Switches to the mile track, pace compromised & out of position in her latest @ Yonkers, two straight narrow losses before that, look for aggressive handling here.
6 Persuasive Hanover Set a rated pace & faded to third behind Shutthefrontdoor in her first start off the sick scratch, 8YO mare can be a factor again after that needed race.
7 hutthefrontdoor More than lived up to the favorite’s hype when she charged home a convincing winner with Super Brett, strong record last year, merits the step up & capable of handling the tougher post.
8 Soft Idea Stakes caliber filly was noticeably better in her second qualifier, draws a pretty tough assignment for her 4YO debut & likely needs one or two tightening trips.
9 Vintage Babe Mare arrives with excellent form & four wins in six starts this season @ Dover Downs, lands outside, but her speed can easily overcome it.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 5-1-2-7
H Horse Comment
1 Nowucit Nowudont Red-hot gelding lands the rail on a form spree, fresh claim whacked one out on the engine & looked pretty sure-footed, looms as the one to catch.
2 Hot Summer Knight Gelding took two starts to acclimate here & exploded to a dominant score with Brett Miller, draws an improved post while taking a double jump up in class.
3 Rose Run Quickly Took his third straight class drop & was clearly third best behind Hill I Am, was a dominant winner at this level back on 1-27, draws inside & remains a serious factor.
4 Opening Night Classy 9YO displayed sudden speed & faded to fifth in :30 behind Hill I Am, bumped up a notch, draws better & Campbell may employ an off-the-pace strategy this time.
5 Hill I Am Former NJSS champion at two dropped & popped at 7-1 with a patient drive by Corey Callahan, just a fifth off his lifetime mark, eligible to repeat on the move back up in class.
6 Its Chocolate Time Gelding has been consistent here, hitting to board in four of six starts in 2017, outsprinted by Nowucit Nowudont last week, excellent stalking try from post eight before that.
7 Swift Warrior 11-time winner last season score an 8-1 upset in his Big M debut, then made a break & was claimed, new barn has had two weeks to tinker with him.
8 Playboy Rusty 11YO has done very well in the Amateur events, returns from three months on the shelf, the qualifier wasn’t encouraging & post nine may seal his fate.
9 Andovers Touch Credit Vinnie Ginsberg with working out a perfect second over trip & this gelding kicked home sharply to just miss by a nose, post even tougher here, but a similar effort makes him a player here.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 9-3-8-6
H Horse Comment
1 Jarnac Steady 8YO mare has hit the board in her last three, chased She’s Heavenly with pace at both ends last out, pushes off from the rail again, but takes a double jump up in class.
2 She’s Heavenly Came back at the bottom level & prevailed with a 14-1 upset, owns some back class & draws well, a favorable stalking trip is likely, but faced with a double class hike.
3 Jeramaya Nick Surick trainee has been tearing them up at Freehold, winning four of her last five in blowout fashion, tackles some classier mares here, yet may take charge & take no prisoners.
4 Sage N Was rested for three months after making breaks else, flashed some sneaky late pace in the qualifier here, definitely looks like she needs one or two.
5 Uf Dragon’s Queen Convincing winner at this level back on 1-13, has fallen off form in her last two, hasn’t raced in two weeks, Greg Merton may try to fire her up.
6 Whiskersonkittens Steps up in class off two straight thirds, the latest behind Icommandmyspirit, her 2017 win percentage & $100,000 bankroll are worth noting.
7 Caribbean Rose N 1:52.1 winner here last season was a nonthreatening sixth in her 2017 debut, we will likely see more from the veteran mare who was facing comparable before the two-month break.
8 Icommandmyspirit Dropped a notch, Jim Marohn, Jr. gave her a well-rated drive & she responded with an overdue win, may try to fire out again despite a lot of speed to her inside.
9 Mac’s Secure This mare has caught fire, sparked by the upset two starts back, then rallied from way back to just miss by a neck in :26.4, dangerous despite another outside assignment.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 2-4-6-3
H Horse Comment
1 Leave Your Mark 8YO gelding still finding his best stride since switching to Team Harmon, draws the rail off a solid acclimating mile & eligible to trip out.
2 Roundtown Rocker Dropped to this level & finished a solid second from post seven, 11-time winner last season with a mark of 1:55.3 here draws into an ideal striking position.
3 Winemaster Hanover Revolving door trotter claimed in all seven starts this season, six different barns, six different drivers, goes back to Rick Dane, Jr., faded badly off a tough trip, how can he bounce back a big question.
4 Exquisite Glide Throw out last week’s mile from post eight, almost went all the way before that, now drops a notch, draws well as a fresh threat for Tony Alagna.
5 Enjoy The Journey Mare no doubt did not enjoy the journey last week, 1:54.2 winner here last season figures to be within closer striking range for her third start off the bench.
6 Danish Durango Beaten favorite thwarted by a pedestrian :58.4 half in his second start off a sick scratch, tons of back class, recent addition of Lasix, big chance with another try at this reduced level.
7 Man Of Muscle Had little chance after a slow start in his debut here, needed the race, but now forced to step up a notch & draws a tougher post.
8 Sim Brown 9YO gelding hasn’t picked up a check since the claim back on 1-8 @ Yonkers, just three for his last 39, plenty of back class, the barn is doing well this meet & this is a substantial class drop.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 5-1-10-4
H Horse Comment
1 Cherokee Ranger Dropped n popped at 7-1 with a solid rally for the surging Mike Watson barn, logical threat to repeat from the rail with Joe Bongiorno hustling him away.
2 UF Fast Feelin Michael Russo claim off a sick scratch, has missed 22 days, horse-for-the-course draws well, but remains a question mark in a wide-open finale.
3 Rocknalltheway Productive record last year, not much in his first start here, tough to gauge the effort @ Monticello last out, the price drop & inside draw make him a longshot possibility.
4 Perfect Terror Draws well again fresh off an improved effort to grab the show behind Cut The Beach at almost 69-1, could be a prime upset candidate.
5 Sailin Metro Added Corey Callahan & just missed by a head to Cut The Beach with a game effort, draws inside that rival for barn that has an impressive UTRS here.
6 Tijuana Party Gelding has thrived on half mile tracks like Freehold, fresh off a wire-to-wire blowout down south, sets up a possible pacesetting effort, a decent third here back on 1-26.
7 The Pokester We’ve seen his act here in the not too distant past, broke in his third start on the comeback trail @ Monticello, not sure if we can support him until we see a race or two.
8 Auckland Flyer Only one for his last 30, but positive speed last out, drops back to the bottom claiming level, but will need more from a demanding post.
9 Happy New Year Gelding flashed early speed & gave way in an uneventful debut here, only two for 32 in 2016, stuck with post nine & has to prove himself here.
10 Cut The Beach Great drive by Andy Miller, maneuvered his way through traffic to score the upset fresh off the bench, gelding looks for similar magic from post ten.