Handicapping

  • Week Of 1/19 - 1/25
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Track Handicapper James Witherite Bio

 

James Witherite, a lifelong fan and follower of harness racing, has made a career of it since 2006.  Following a seven-year stint as the racecaller at Harrah's Philadelphia, he moved his base of operations to Tioga Downs (and its sister track Vernon Downs) in 2014, where he not only is the lead broadcaster, but also the program handicapper and oddsmaker.  That same content-driven analysis now comes to the Meadowlands.  When not on the mic or calling the horses to post in a more musical fashion, the 29-year-old Pennsylvania native is an accomplished jazz composer and organist.

 

RACE REVIEWS by James Witherite


 

 

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

Race Reviews For Wednesday, January 22, 2014

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 4-9-10-2
H Horse Comment
1 MACK’S MOLLY HALL Kicks off what appears to a rather top-heavy field. Needed last start. Can step up and earn a minor award now.
2 SUPER CHUCK I echo the sentiments of the trotter to his inside here. Has a right to improve, although I think a win is out of reach.
3 MCATTEE While he had to need that last start as well, he has a bit more work to do. Will be a longshot once again. Looking elsewhere.
4 BOLD FRESH Finds his way into a rather soft $15,000 claimer here. Last effort was not bad. The alternative to the two favorites here.
5 CATALYST Made more than just about any other horse in the field last year. Still, recent form just has not been good. Still a longshot.
6 STAND GUARD He improved last time at Freehold and he will be effective at this level sooner or later. For bottom of exotics only.
7 RINGSIDE WINNER Exits the same race as Stand Guard and was the better of the two. Still, was 90-1 last time at this level. Underneath.
8 LAUREEN Mare still fits non-winners of 2, so this is an interesting spot. Still, doesn’t catch a tough field and can earn a piece of this.
9 ROSE RUN LIMO If he races back to his last effort, he wins. Still, you will have to take a short price on a horse that is 1 for his last 23.
10 QUITE POSSIBLE He is the other logical horse in here. Seems to have enough speed here to overcome the draw. Logical contender.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 3-2-5-8
H Horse Comment
1 BANGING THE DRUM Not easy to like off his last race line. This is a move down in class, but he will need a reversal of form here.
2 PREDATOR DVM Last two starts are OK and in this group, a repeat of either of those efforts will be good enough for a piece of this.
3 C MAJOR HANOVER Off that last mile, he is clearly the one to beat in this field. Expect him to go right to the lead. Will be tough to catch.
4 DELCO WILLOBEE Probably needed that last start, so he has a right to improve. Still not sold on his chances just yet. Wait for later.
5 ROCK ME PLEASE The move down in class should go a long way here. Still, that last line is concerning. Very tricky call this time.
6 REAL TENACITY Didn’t offer much punch last time while sent off at 142-1. Looks like he will retain his longshot status here.
7 NF DRUM ROLL I can duplicate my comment from the gelding to his inside. Just have to watch for signs of improvement for now.
8 LEMON DROP HALL If he stays pacing, he can earn a check in this group, based on his Freehold form. Not sold on more than that.
9 PIECE OF ARTWORK Making his second start off the layoff so I expect he will be better. Will be tossing on the bottom of my exotics.
10 TWINSCAPE Made just $5k last year. Last effort was better than some of these. For the deepest of exotic tickets, only. Nothing more.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 2-4-1-6
H Horse Comment
1 THROUGH THE NIGHT Took a lot of play last week when favored. Unfortunately he made a break. If he stays trotting, he has a chance.
2 BOY OF MINE Gets a nice spot for his first attempt in a C-2. This field is without any world beaters and he will have a strong say in this.
3 HASTY PROFFITT He had to need that last start and it wasn’t bad. This barn is doing very well. Cant ignore anything it sends out now.
4 PAULA’S BRADY Not a bad effort when last seen at this level. Is he ready off the 4 week layoff, though? In this field, I suggest using him.
5 RULES LITTLE Aggressive steer last time, which may tighten him up for this. Still, he is prone to the miscue and comes with some risk.
6 HEIDI FALLS Has not raced in 6 weeks and that qualifier was a long time ago as well. But, he does fit in this group. Mixed feelings here.
7 MR GREENWELL Really hard to recommend this gelding given his current form. Need to see a better effort from him before considering.
8 KING’S CAVALIER I will forgive that last line and note that if he can race back to November form, he has a chance here. Worth including.
9 C-O-TO BLUEGRASS Last couple of starts were better on the class drop, but he hasn’t race in 5 weeks now. I will watch this start.
10 MR MYSTERIO Unable to defeat nw2 at Meadows. That doesn’t bode well. That, plus the 4 weeks off and the post leads me elsewhere.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 10-1-4-3
H Horse Comment
1 DANA’S SHARP SMART A repeat of his last effort would make him a winner here. Expect Marohn to put him on the lead. One to beat.
2 IN KENNY’S HONOR Even try last time and while he had to need that start, I don’t see him jumping up and winning this. Underneath.
3 CASINO KING I like the improvement he has shown over the 3 starts here. Has some upside and is worth including in your plays.
4 FAST BILL He will likely press the pace early and challenge Dana. Had to need that last start and figures to be in the money if not more.
5 LONG FIGHT HANOVER Has not been a factor in either start and will retain his longshot status until he shows a form reversal.
6 COME ON RIDGE Also a long shot off his last mile. He has early speed, but his stamina is lacking. Not sold on his chances again.
7 FRISKIES CHEAPSUIT Loomed up last time but then flattened out in the stretch. He will need to improve off that effort to contend.
8 JIN DANDY Didn’t show me enough pop in his last start to consider. But something tells me there are better efforts coming in the future.
9 NICK FOTIU He did pace in under 1:54 when last seen here and he had to need that last start. Raced better on 12/7 too. Has a chance.,
10 ITTAKESTWOBABY Tough trip last time and it is worth noting this horse was 2-1 in there. Will offer a better price tonight. Interesting.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 2-1-6-10
H Horse Comment
1 DELISIOUSLYNAUGHTY She was a little bit better last time and I think she might be cycling forward. Will be using on my tickets.
2 KARDASHIAN Took a lot of early play last week and raced OK. Expecting a better effort this time. I will take a flyer on her tonight.
3 DAY TO PONDER Passed a few in the stretch last time and may improve off that start. Still think she is a start away from threatening.
4 A PERFECT DEO She was better last time and note the barn change. Figures to offer a square price to anyone will to use that angle.
5 PARDON MY FRENCH No factor last time as she was well-beaten at 75-1. Need to see some improvement before I can consider.
6 GODDESS’S ROSA She will need to be better than her last start, but this barn cannot be dismissed. Marcus Miller’s choice of three.
7 TERROR TO CAM Out-raced her odds last time as she was 2nd at 114-1. That price is gone, but she should still offer decent value.
8 ALWAYS ON A ROLL Still eligible for that nw2 condition, but she has been racing well. This barn seems to always attract plenty of play.
9 OK AMELIA Did not factor last time at 100-1 and I will need to see some improvement before I can consider playing. Longshot.
10 BUSYBEINGFABULOUS The presence of Sears might make this mare overbet here. I will watch the tote board. Obviously in the mix.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 4-6-1-2A
H Horse Comment
1 TIME TO QUIT He was all out to hold off a very brave Cajole Hanover. He is not the prohibitive choice we once though. Still, a key player.
1A COCOTIER While a nice compliment to his stable mate, I would be surprised if he jumped up and won this. An exotics player again.
2 HOME TURF Went from awesome to empty last time. Which Home Turf shows up now? Backers will get a square price this time.
2A CORLEONE HALL He is better than that last start indicates. Note, he was a very good 2nd to one of the favorites in round 1. Interesting.
3 SIXTEEN MIKES Much better effort last time, but feel he has come out of the 2 weaker divisions. Will need to improve quite a bit.
4 DONATELLA HANOVER I think she is the best horse in the race, so I will make her my top pick. Filly with a bright future ahead of her.
5 RAY HALL How much does Sears presence affect the price? Which Ray Hall shows up? I wish I could answer those questions. Wild card.
6 CAJOLE HANOVER Has a world of talent. Went a huge trip last time and might even be favored again. Not sure I want the short price.
7 J CS JAKE Sold at Tattersalls on Monday for $30,000. He has been good in this series. Will need absolute best to win this though.
8 CLEMENTINE DREAM She showed up with her best last time. Now she will need even more, especially from this outside post.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 9-3-4-7
H Horse Comment
1 WHEELAWAY Another interesting gelding that still fits nw2 moving into a C-2. This group is a bit tougher than the others. Tough call here.
2 WESTERN TSUNAMI Disappointed last time. Andy Miller listed to drive, but Capone is now up and Andy is not elsewhere. Will he scratch?
3 ON THE RADAR Getting some needed class relief and you have to figure this move down the ladder is going to wake him up. Logical.
4 CONTRABAND HANOVER Another class dropper. I think we will see speed this time around and he will be a factor from start to finish.
5 TERROR HIGH Also moving down the ladder, but his form has been dull. Still, aggressive last time and gets post improvement. Maybe.
6 DOIN TIME TOGETHER Last pair of starts at this level just aren’t good enough. This field is tougher too. Looking elsewhere now.
7 FRESH DREAM Also dropping down and if he can race back to his win at Pocono, he has a chance in here. I will toss on my tickets.
8 YANKEE DEVIL Coming off back to back solid efforts and he continues to improve. The problem here is the 6 week layoff. Needs one?
9 NEXT FLIGHT That was some rally last time while sent off at 22-1. I think he can repeat that form and will likely still offer a square price.
10 FUDGE Qualifier was decent, but this is his first start in 7 weeks. Have to figure that he needs a start. Tabbing for future consideration.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 1-5-8-4
H Horse Comment
1 FREDDY DAY HANOVER This looks like the spot he will win. Raced very well last week, too good to lose. Draws better. Single in Pick 4.
2 SKY MESA After last weekend, anything from Burke/Gingras is likely to be overbet, including this gelding. Only use if the price is right.
3 CAN HE GO Passed a few in the stretch last time, but still need to see more from him. Retains his longshot status for now.
4 THAT’S JUSTICE He was a little bit better last time and if he gets into a live outer flow, he can round out a superfecta. Use accordingly.
5 SEEK THE DRAGON Much better last time as he might have needed a start to build up confidence again. Loses Miller, but gets Sears.
6 PRINCE SHARKA Can he race back ti that mile on 12/7? His last was an improvement from the previous try. Might toss on some tickets.
7 COLONIAL ROAD Back to back runner-up tries are not enough to lure Zeron. Still, with the right trip, you can make a case for him.
8 PENN TURBO TED The $15,000 claimers have been deceptively strong so far this meet. That was a big mile too. Cannot be dismissed.
9 DRAGON RIDGE Comes back on the quick turnaround, but he will also need a turnaround in form as well. Not sold on his chances.
10 REDNECK OUTLAW Stepping up off a win, but he did have an ideal setup in there. Not the move up and post 10 is more difficult.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 1-4-5-3
H Horse Comment
1 RACING ROCKY Added Lasix last time and raced better. This is a move up in class, but not a very tough field. Can contend here.
2 VLOS Form just is not there right now. Coming off a sub-par season as well. I need to see some improvement before considering.
3 BUCKEYE IN CHARGE Burnt some cash last time. Wouldn’t shock me if he raced better here, but I wouldn’t want a short price either.
4 ALLAMERICAN APACHE Not a bad effort in his first start off the bench. This barn is going so well that you have to include this guy.
5 SPINARAMA The drop in class certainly makes him a contender, but note that Dave Miller goes elsewhere. Still, cannot be dismissed.
6 GRATIAS DEO If he stays pacing, he has a chance in here. The mile on 12/7 puts him in contention here. Mixed feelings this time.
7 NY ICE Considering post 10 and his first start over the track, he wasn’t bad last time. Will still need to be better to contend though.
8 ROO ROO RUSTY Tough trip last time did him in. If he can work out a smoother journey, he has a chance at a decent price. Consider.
9 SISSBOOMBAH Coming off a three month layoff, so I will likely be looking elsewhere for the winner. Will offer a price for believers.
10 STIMULUS PLAN This looks like a tough spot for him to try. Still fits nw2 and now stuck against tougher in post 10. Not sold on chances.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 5-2-6-9
H Horse Comment
1 EAGLE SAY Not bad at all last time, but he catches a tougher than usual C-2 here. Will likely offer a square price in a wide open event.
2 ODINO JET Also coming off a decent effort, but much the same as Eagle Say, catches a strong group. Will need even more this time.
3 PLAY FAIR Part of the reason this race is tough is the class droppers, led by this gelding. Won his last time at this level, too. Must use.
4 BLUEBIRD KIDSQUEEN Looks like the longshot of the field, despite the win last time. Was well-beaten when last at this level.
5 MAJESTIC STONE Another class dropper that makes this race even tougher. Perfect post and figures to be prominent throughout.
6 SOAPY SAP Just missed last time and comes right back at the same level. She will be a factor once again. Top-3 finish appears likely.
7 MAIN STAGE Did not make much of an impact at the $15k level at Monti. This is a tougher spot, so he is a tough sell at this point.
8 LATTE HALL She has been picking up decent checks at this level. That said, just 4 for 47 lifetime, so I will not endorse on the win end.
9 SALOME MARVEL Exits the same race as Eagle Say and will reiterate that this field is tougher. Still, off her last, she can compete here.
10 QUANTIM LIGHTNING Coming off a third place effort against this class. Still, things get tougher with this field. Post doesn’t help either.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 3-10-6-9
H Horse Comment
1 THREESTEPSTOHEAVEN Has won 2 of his last 3 at Monticello, but this is a different ballgame. Still, I would toss him on some tickets.
2 THRU N THRU Has to make up some ground on Black Hat, not to mention Windsong Gorgeous. Still, he can pick up a piece of this.
3 BOILER BOB THE QB He was better last week, but still needs to step it up to beat ‘Gorgeous. Bare in mind, he has done it before.
4 ST LADS HE MAN Looks like a longshot again off his recent form. Will need to turn things around to beat this group. Not for me.
5 ROCINATE Despite the class drop, it is really hard to recommend him off that last effort. Will be watching and tabbing for later.
6 WINDSONG GORGEOUS He is not winning in romps, but still getting the job done. Wouldn’t be shocked if board is a little cold on him here.
7 PRO MATTIC Another that I cannot recommend off that last effort. Seems to be in over his head at this level. Retains longshot status.
8 ALL POWERFUL Continues to do well to pick up checks, despite the moves up in class. Looks like he can hit the ticket again.
9 BLACK HAT Coming off a nice win at this level. See how C Major Hanover did earlier in the card. Figures to be a factor once again.
10 GRAB A CRAB Getting some class relief and I am shocked that Miller opted off. Not sure what I am missing. He has a shot at this level.