Handicapping

Race Reviews

  • Week Of 4/24 - 4/30
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Track Handicapper Dave Little Bio

 

 Dave Little began a fascination with harness racing while formatting Monticello results at the Bergen Record in 1980, his first of three stops in the newspaper business.

Little got his start as a public handicapper when he joined the race desk at the New York Post in 1986 before moving on to the New York Daily News in 1991, where he began a 24-year run as harness and thoroughbred handicapper, columnist and racing editor.

Little's wife, Debbie, is currently the harness racing handicapper at the Post. They've been married since 1989.

 

 

RACE REVIEWS by Dave Little


 

 

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

Race Reviews For Saturday, April 30, 2016

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 7-5-2-4
H Horse Comment
1 INTERMIX Finished last in a field of nine at odds of 101-1 facing this kind last week and can be excused from consideration.
2 ROLL N CATCH Intriguing colt from Erv Miller is green for sure, but shows a pair of potent Pocono qualifiers to prep for this. Trainer: Has trained like a nice stakes horse this year.
3 WHATA TWIST Unimpressive at almost 60-1 versus better foes at Philadelphia but took money in prior YR outing, gets in soft.
4 SPORTY ALEX Off a pair of reasonable outings at Philadelphia and could prove to be a good fit with this slow field.
5 MR D'S DRAGON Merits big respect off a tough-trip third after being bet down to 5-2, should prove tough off that tightener. Trainer: Raced well last week and should improve off that.
6 MAJOR Z TAM Inexperienced son of Art Major broke in his Meadowlands qualifier and has a lot of work to do to get better.
7 CARLOS DANGER Failed to win a race yet still banked $50,000 in 2015 racing on the NY Sire Stakes circuit, Toscano trains.
8 DOW JOENS Faces tough task from post eight (with little speed) but is an Ed Hart trainee worth keeping an eye on.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 3-6-7-1
H Horse Comment
1 DRUNKEN TERROR Has been all over the class ladder in recent starts and does appear to be a good fit with these.
2 PRINCE PINANG Pulled off an upset at 24-1 for the dependable Team Harmon, sharp now, why can't he win another?
3 AMPED UP Last could have been a case of too much cover after having to race third-over from post eight, just missed, draws perfect post, loves to win.
4 GREAT SOUL Beat inexpensive stock at Freehold, which is good, but appears to be in too deep tonight, needs softer assignment.
5 UF FAST FEELIN Not at the top of his game in last three, but impressed winning after going first-over in start prior to that.
6 RESTLESS NATIVE Has the right connections (Johnson-Bongiorno) to make noise and figures to be firing away from the gate. Trainer: Came up flat in the lane last start, needs to improve off that.
7 BUCKEYE IN CHARGE Only one win in his last 38 outings yet has some hidden form, dangerous if there's a contested pace.
8 GOOD CITATIONS Lack of speed definitely hurts this one's chances so the outer flow is where it's at for this one tonight.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 4-2-1-7
H Horse Comment
1 FOUR STARZZZ Z Off impressive speed score with lesser foes but this Team Harmon class-ladder climber continues to impress.
2 CITY HALL Limited success at the NW$11,500 level in last two, back in with the type of stock he beat as the favorite three back. Trainer: Dropping down in class and had a good week.
3 THE BRUISER Hasn't raced since April 10 at Philadelphia and was a dull eighth-place finisher that day at odds of 32-1, pass.
4 KIWI IDEAL N Took the money (9-5), led for three-quarters at Yonkers before wilting with better, will be on or just off the lead. Trainer: Was sick last start, has been off three weeks but has back class and the big track should suit.
5 MR JULIAN Good-looking winner at Pocono with cheaper looks to be just a tad short on class to be competitive with these.
6 ASTOR Raced well missing just a neck in first try with these two back but was never involved in last, tough to recommend.
7 BELIEVEINTHESPIRIT Raced well in all 3 starts this year but may have to take back in this speed-laden field, which is a problem.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 5-8-6-7
H Horse Comment
1 ENEE WEENIE AND ME Has struggled in last two starts from outside posts, move all the way inside figures to be a big help.
2 JOHNNY THE WIRE No wins in his last 32 starts marks this one as a non-contender, looks like he needs a return to the Catskills.
3 EAST MEADOW Finished a close-up third behind two good ones upon arrival here from Freehold's $6,000 claimers, watch out.
4 YOU BET YOUR GLASS Has been uncompetitive in five straight starts never going off at odds of less than 15-1, not tonight.
5 BACKDRAFT HANOVER Consistent competitor has good speed and is clearly classiest of this field, dangerous Russo dropper.
6 STORMIN RUSTLER Beat this kind two in a row, then faltered in last when bumped up in class, back in with stock he can beat.
7 MEDOLAND JATE Suffered his 4th heart-breaking loss in a row when gunned down late, will win one soon, maybe tonight?
8 CAMWISER Passed by Medoland Jate in the stretch, only to regroup and battle back determinedly to take last, super sharp. Trainer: Very sharp, we have a different driver, so it will depend on him, but the horse fits well with these.
9 HAWKEN Has had trouble keeping up in each of his four starts this year, draws worst and has quite a lot of improving to do.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 5-7-8-4
H Horse Comment
1 TANGO STAR Off a pair of less-than-spectacular qualifiers, Pat Lachance student has work to do to get to where he can win. Trainer: Qualified well, had a good week and should race well.
2 SOSSY'S KING KONG Still looking for maiden-breaking win but does have two constructive efforts under his belt this year. Trainer: Has great speed but still a lot to learn.
3 ROCKIN RONNIE Did not bring his best efforts in last two but drew poorly on both occasions, should be closer tonight. Trainer: Lazy horse that seems to be progressing with each start.
4 ROCK N ROLL STYLE Had no shot in last after drawing post nine, prior two starts were adequate, could grab a piece.
5 WESTERN FAME Won his 2016 debut as the 3-5 choice then settled for second at the same price to the gigantic Lyons Snyder, who won in 1:51.2, much the best in here for the Takter barn. Trainer: Raced great last time, had to go first up on a good horse last start and should be getting better.
6 WEGOTTATRUCKYEA Has shown very little in his last three, all of which were in Pennsylvania, takes to the big track? Trainer: Showed speed last week.
7 ROLL AWAY JOE Two respectable starts at this level put this one ahead of many in this field for trainer Ed Hart. Trainer: Had a good week, needed last week's start, has to get more involved.
8 MENTIRA Philadelphia shipper shows an exceptional start with weaker and a reasonable start with better, should be right there. Trainer: Raced well in his first two starts, the question is, can he handle the big track?
9 BRUCE'S MAGIC Little speed, a bad post and little respect at the betting windows add up to a tough go for this one. Trainer: We're pleased with all of his efforts since qualifying this season, wish we had a better post but we expect another solid last quarter from him.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 4-8-7-3
H Horse Comment
1 CONCERT ARTIST Has won two of his last four racing at Rosecroft, which is not a track that sends a lot of horses here, need more examples of these shippers to know how they stack up.
2 MARTINI HANOVER Dull effort when last seen with better on April 9, qualifier was OK, getting his act back together.
3 INTHEBLINKOFANEYE Crushed cheaper foes by 5¾ lengths in 1:49.2, claimed out that race, ambitiously spotted but is sharp.
4 RAINBOW ROMANCE N New Zealand shipper won for fun in second North American start at Philly, could be ready for this.
5 BEAT THE DRUM Was facing better when last seen in the fall, off a solid qualifier for Lind and merits exotic wager consideration.
6 JACKSRLUCKYTOO Beat this kind two back before a fourth-place finish when seeking a repeat, contender needs a trip for sure. Trainer: Got caught in a bad spot last week, he should be OK with a better trip.
7 REUBEN BROGDEN N Finished third as the odds-on choice with stronger Yonkers stock, but that was from the rail and will need to fire away from the gate given his post position circumstance.
8 TOTALLY DREAMY Russo trainee showed two moves on the way to the winner's circle with one-class cheaper upon arrival from Dover Downs, post hurts but this one might be sharp enough to overcome that.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 8-2-1-6
H Horse Comment
1 NITRO SEELSTER Ideal trip led to an impressive score with similar, faces some tough foes but remains a big-time contender. Trainer: Had his game face on in last two and should continue.
2 MY HERO RON Showed speed from the seven hole at Yonkers against better and finished second, Burke trainee is in ideal spot. Trainer: So far has been good every start, ready to be raced aggressively.
3 REAL NICE Certain to be a nice price, given the horses he's in with, and has looked good in no fewer than five in a row.
4 CASIMIR JITTERBUG Sailed down the pike as the 1-5 chalk at Yonkers against lesser, but does possess plenty of back class.
5 ASHLEY'S HUSBAND Has proven time and again that he can compete with this kind, and better than this kind, chance.
6 NATIONAL SEELSTER Sure to improve off unsensational fifth in seasonal debut, and this Ryder student raced with some huge stock a year ago and could have a big season.
7 MEL MARA Proved he can compete at a high level with cheaper than this but will have to bump up his game to be in the mix against this group.
8 ART HISTORY Elliott trainee has performed credibly in four straight with far better stock, held gamely to the wire in start prior here against better conditioned stock than he faces tonight. Trainer: Coming back to the Meadowlands, where he seems to like it better, with the right trip he can be right there.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 2-6-1-4
H Horse Comment
1 OLD MAN CLEARY Cut fast fractions before holding on for second in good try at Pocono, threat in evenly-matched field.
2 IDEAL SON Has put together four good starts in a row and appears to have the best resume of this group. Trainer: Had a good week and this does not look like as tough a bunch.
3 LE GAMBE Showed very little in all three starts this year, but hails from good (Erv Miller) barn and may be able to go with these.
4 ROCKET DA RED Dover shipper is another in this field with great current form but may not be quite fast enough facing these.
5 ULTIMATE CREDIT At first glance is tough to get behind, but did show improvement in last when fifth at 88-1, watch this one.
6 BOOK BINGE Easiest kind of winner in career debut, a 4-length stroll at Philly in 1:56, but will have to go faster to win this.
7 FULL TIME GIG Jogged at Monticello Wednesday as the 1-5 choice but still appears to be a little short in the class department.
8 JL BILL Unspectacular efforts in four straight plus an outside post do not add up to a big night.
9 BEACHES DE VIE Based on his pair of merely adequate qualifiers, trainer may be looking to get this one ready by racing.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 1-2-5-8
H Horse Comment
1 ALEXIE MATTOSIE Came to life with a powerhouse score in 1:51 shipping in from Freehold, lifetime earner of $1.035 million looks like he's ready to roll at this level.
2 BIG JER Could not contain Alexie Mattosie when sent off as the favorite, finished second in solid try, obvious chance.
3 AVENUE HANOVER Shows three straight good efforts at this level, figures close after staying near the leaders throughout.
4 BURKENTINE HANOVER Missed a week after being scratched, finished second only a neck out in last at Saratoga with similar.
5 PIECE OF THE ROCK As consistent a performer as you'll find has won three of his last five, including his last two here at this track, this level, Fusco trainee loves racing at the Big M. Trainer: Very nice horse always tries hard to win.
6 WELL BRED Burke student couldn't hack it with the NW$7,500 types, this spot is easier on paper but there are several in here who are extremely tough, may need to luck into the right trip.
7 FRATERNITY Not many in here with little chance, but given his lack of conditioning, this one is clearly a start or two away from being competitive.
8 MISTER TRUTH Stacks up well on paper and the Saunders barn is doing well, but this one's lack of early speed is a problem.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 4-6-5-9
H Horse Comment
1 LETTUCEROCKU A Should have shown more improvement than he did in last two at Freehold after racing with considerably better at Yonkers.
2 EARNDAWG Looks a bit too cheap to be able to go with these but might be here to try his luck going around two turns.
3 FASHION MAVEN Yet to hit the board in seven starts this year, does have plenty of back class but has to show something before being used with confidence.
4 ALLSTAR LEGEND Has raced quite well in three straight for Burke but has little to show for it, this drop in class looks like final piece to the puzzle. Trainer: In the lowest he's ever been in his life, should look to control race.
5 DR C'S Z TAM Consistent horse from Fusco has raced superbly in four of his last five, always seems to get the right trip and does his best work from off the pace.
6 THAT'LL BE THE REI Drops to the bottom of the conditioned ladder for Team Harmon and will show much more improvement. Trainer: Got stung pretty hard getting to the front, that was definitely not his kind of trip, drop in class will help.
7 ALEX BULLVILLE Impressed winning at Pocono Tuesday as the 6-5 choice, but that was in a low-range conditioned race that carried some restrictions, which indicates he may not stack up all that well with these.
8 CALVIN B Has yet to get on track in 2016, had big stats (10-for-26) a year ago and might be back in shape in a few weeks.
9 AMERICAN ISLAND This one could be flying away from the gate given this field's overall lack of speed, could be in the number.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 1-2-3-5
H Horse Comment
1 BJ'S RAMEAU Has shown improvement in four straight starts, finished second in last upon arrival here with the trainer in the bike, switch to Andy Miller puts this one over the top.
2 OUREA NOURRIR Three straight subpar efforts will never lead to a ringing endorsement but in this soft field, from this post, with Tetrick driving, this one should be there at the wire. Trainer: Needs to stay up close during the first half, no gate speed but almost always finishes well, makes second start off Lasix, and, this is an educated guess, may have reacted negatively to it a few times in the past.
3 RELENTLESS DREAMER Another off a dull try who still looks better than most of the others in this field, did beat this type three back.
4 JACK REACHER Has not looked good in any of his last three Meadowlands starts but does not face particularly strong field.
5 TALKING BLUES Paying his way of late at Saratoga but may prove to be a half-notch below the top contenders in here.
6 PRINCE PALANI Had been facing better than this before heading to Vernon, where he failed to show much improvement.
7 STIMULUS PLAN Did not drop into an easy spot for his season debut last week, finished ninth at 84-1, drops in class tonight but is no guarantee to improve in a big way.
8 TRIPLE MAJOR Went a brutal parked-out trip from a bad post in last at this level but figures to be winging again nonetheless, things could go far better tonight.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 1-6-7-5
H Horse Comment
1 ATOCHIA Veteran is clearly not what he once was, but this lifetime earner of almost $1.8 million has continued to show improvement as he descends in class and looks to be in the winning spot tonight racing in this bottom conditioned event. Trainer: In the lowest class of his life and should be tight enough.
2 THAT MAN OF MINE Gets some class relief and draws an inside post, could find his way into the Superfecta.
3 NATHAN FEELSGOOD Looked good winning on the front end at Vernon but may be a little short facing this group.
4 STEADY PULSE Showed improvement finishing third after racing in a live cover flow, could go similar trip tonight.
5 BULLVILLE KYLE Not the most consistent horse around but if he works a trip close to the action, watch out.
6 SOME MAJOR BEACH Left the gate, raced second start to finish upon arrival at the Big M, has a touch of back class, chance. Trainer: Raced better last week and seems very sharp, just needs to get to the front to end his streak.
7 SPIRIT OF TRUTH Went parked for a half and was not heard from at the finish in last when the 2-1 choice, could rebound.
8 FOOLS GOLD Showed some improvement when dropped to this level but not quite enough to be close in this field.
9 FLY'N WITH ROYALTY Has been cashing some checks but done little else of late, draws outside and is in tough spot.