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Handicapping

  • Week Of 12/10 - 12/16
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Track Handicapper Dave Brower Bio

 

Dave Brower grew up five minutes from the Meadowlands in nearby Passaic, NJ. He served as the Meadowlands morning line oddsmaker, handicapper, and broadcaster for 16 years from 1987 to 2011. He has also co-hosted CBS Sports Network’s coverage of The Hambletonian, Meadowlands Pace, and Little Brown Jug with Hall of Famer Gary Seibel and his new co-host at the Meadowlands, Justin Horowitz. Brower also published "Harnessing Winners, The Complete Guide To Handicapping Harness Races" with Daily Racing Form Press in 2009.

 

RACE REVIEWS by Dave Brower


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

Race Reviews For Saturday, December 16, 2017

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 2-6-4-5
H Horse Comment
1 SUNFIRE BLUE CHIP Had to need that last start after being sick, so there is room for improvement here. 7YO has plenty of back class too, so a wakeup call wouldn't shock. This is no easy spot, though. Yannick's choice. Tough call! Trainer: Raced okay last start. Form is on the way up. Class drop should help.
2 MELMERBY BEACH Dropped and popped in that easy spot over at Yonkers and he finds a pretty good spot here too! Any check sends him over the $600K earnings plateau. Good inside post keeps him close and Brett aboard.
3 K-LEES SHAKENBAKE Also won on the slight drop last week and did it in a powerful way. That was a big mile, but he will need another to step up and conquer this crew. Has clearly raced himself back into shape. How good is he?
4 SPEED AGAIN Exits some really tough races and he doesn't have that betting partner this time. I will note how good he was two back. That kind of effort would certainly put him in play with these. Hard to ignore, even w/o Yannick.
5 CROSSFIREHURRICANE Got "snowed out" here last week, unable to get here. He'll get here tonight! 4YO has been pacing right along, 1:51 every time. That's good. Doesn't seem to win all that often, so I might consider underneath.
6 LACHIE MAGUIRE N Logged a lot of miles over last month, racing at different tracks. Barn always seems to find good spot for their racers. This is a significant drop, but not an easy spot. Versatile enough to go either way. Speed?
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 5-4-3-8
H Horse Comment
1 NATIVE'S BEST BET Finally gets a break from the post gods. Was suffering over at Yonkers. Will that translate into a wakeup call mile here? Wish I knew. Horse hasn't won yet, but gets a hot guy in the seat. A Nap on!
2 RECORD MACHINE Showed up here last week and delivered a quality effort with a good kick. Needs the same kind of mile, but he gets another key inside post. I don't like his "lack of win" prowess, or the potential short price.
3 BREATHLESS YANKEE Didn't show a whole lot here last week at long odds. Have to rate a longshot again.
4 DREAMS ARE TRUE Endured a brutal trip last week when parked out a long way. I can forgive that. Plus, he didn't exactly pack it in! That showed me something. I know he's got a lot of seconds, but still big chance with these.
5 CUZ I'M HAPPY Also had a rough trip from the outside post here last week. This slot should make things easier and I give him a big chance again. I just hope the price is somewhat reasonable. Have to demand the value here.
6 SPANISH ART Passed a few to get a check last time, so that's a step in the right direction, and I think we can all see the driver change. Is that enough to get this horse a win? And, what will the price be? Too low?
7 UNCE HANOVER Pocket rocketed to the short-priced win down at Freehold. Can he do that here? I'm going to guess and say no, right off the bat. Will have to pace a whole lot faster and I usually need to see it first.
8 SNEAK ON BYE Was well positioned by Vinny last time, but lacked that knockout punch. Gets stuck with the same bad post, so that's a problem. I suspect we'll see the speed again, but horse must add the late kick too! Trainer: Trained good this week.
9 BAG PIPE MAJOR A bit overbet last week, with that post relief and horse still failed to deliver the goods. Quickly slammed with an outside start again, so that's a big problem. Should offer more than the 4-1 odds this time.
10 BET THE DRAGON Scoots over from Yonkers, sporting that 1-26 lifetime slate. That, plus post 10 is enough for me to leave him out of this.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 2-6-4-5
H Horse Comment
1 TWIN B SPEEDO One of the many Yonkers shippers tonight. This fella disappointed as the fave last time, which came after an upset win. I don't suspect he'll be favored in here, and he gets another good post. Wasn't Yannick's pick.
2 BLAISE MM HANOVER Note that he "squeezes" in for the condition, so that's a big key. Technically beat a better field than this two back at Yonkers. He's shown ability to navigate a big-size track too! Might even offer a price.
3 ROLL AWAY JOE MIA for a couple of weeks, so that always worries me from this barn. Also, he's just 1-19 this year, so that's a concern too! But, that one win did come here. Yannick chose this one, so that's a plus. Very mixed signals.
4 SPICEBOMB Gelding likes this track, and exits a needed confidence booster down at Philly. Yes, this is a step up, but we've seen him perform well against this type before. Another that should offer value. Simon's choice over #5.
5 WESTERN JOE Field's lone 3YO rallied willingly behind Jack last time and was keeping up in stakes before that. I'm sure Joe will have his backers in here, but I still need to see more before I can hop aboard. Might be overbet.
6 AMERICANPRIMETIME Gotta love this hard-trying campaigner! Dug in tenaciously again last week and almost got there. Tullow would be 1-5 in here, so I have to give him the edge. Only needs to be close enough to fight.
7 E STREET PLAN Makes first start for Burke Brigade and he's also been off a few weeks. That makes me wonder about readiness for betting purposes tonight. That, plus Yannick opted to #3. I guess I'll watch one to gauge.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 7-6-8-3
H Horse Comment
1 SCHOLZ Wasn't much of a factor against this bunch last week and I fear the same tonight. A longshot for sure.
2 DEEPFAVE HANOVER Raced a little bit better at long odds against a similar crew last time. Will also need to turn up the jets a notch or two to get any closer, but he gets a nice inside post to help. Sits, saves, rallies late?
3 IN YOUR EYE This was Brett's choice over #1,4, so consider that. I'll add that horse is plenty familiar with mile track racing and recently, he's been more than consistent. That said, he deserves a shot here. Let's see if fast enough.
4 OBSCENE BLUE CHIP I thought Miller would opt here, so fact that he did not worries me. Horse comes off a sick scratch and a few outside post, dull efforts. Just 1-22 this year, so there are issues. Demand price if you fancy.
5 BRIAN J Took a month off after a dull effort, so maybe he needed a freshening. The comeback qualifier was okay, but not great. Left me feeling like he might need another start. We'll find out soon enough.
6 HOME JAMES Got rolling a little too late last time and the race did not set up for him. Okay, no problem. He's got speed too, and with the power on the outside, I expect him to fire out. Any smooth trip gives big chance. Trainer: Raced him from the back and came home fine. I'm happy with his performance.
7 LONE WOLF TERROR This was Allard's choice over #8 and I did expect that. The Wolf has more wins this year, than the Stretch has lifetime! The effort here two back is good enough to win this. Just toss the mistake up at Saratoga. Trainer: Traffic jam last week led to break. Hopefully, will have clear sailing tonight.
8 BIG STRETCH MARK Did a fairly good job against that heavily-favored winner last week. BUT, he finished in his usual spot again. A must use on every gimmick ticket in the second and third slot only. New driver aboard.
9 HORSING AROUND Had this fella drawn a better post, I'd probably give a much bigger chance. BUT, since he's still suffering a bad case of the post position blues, it's hard to like him a lot. Has to hope the faves mix it up somehow.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 6-7-8-1
H Horse Comment
1 QUEEN ADJALA Finally gets a break at the post draw, but keep in mind that she's clearly facing a tougher bunch tonight. Not sure what the price will be, but I wouldn't want short value. Still needs a trip, even from the rail.
2 SOUL TRAIN Had the "trip of a lifetime" for Joe Lee in that amateur race. Now in way too tough here. Trainer: He's in a touch higher class tonight.
3 AMBER ELLA Andy surprised me by firing her out last time. Raced well, but as no serious threat to #6. Moves back inside, so Steve might save her one burst of speed. Either way, she's a factor, but probably not best.
4 DI OGGI 3YO having an okay season so far. The races at Philly were consistent. I can easily just toss the Yonkers try. Seems like a one-move kind of rallier, so completely at mercy of pace and trip. A mid-range longshot for me.
5 RAISE THE CURTAIN Never really got rolling in that last one, but was very good prior to that. This is still a very tough spot, but post is ideal to just sit and wait for the flow. IF he comes up good again, might sneak onto the ticket.
6 WAITING ON A WOMAN That was a wow mile last week! An eye-opening rally and in hand doing it. Fact that it came right off the bench is impressive. Now, meeting a couple of talented younger foes in #7,8. Tough call.
7 SOUTHWIND COBRA It's been a LONG season for this fella, about to make his 23rd start. Those easy spots at Philly gave him needed confidence, but this will be much tougher. No doubt he will use his speed, to get jump on them.
8 IRON MINE BUCKY I missed the boat on this guy last time. That was vicious rally once unleashed by Yannick. Obviously, he has to stay with the Burke horse, but don't count Bucky out. The bigger knock is the post. It hurts.
9 ZOOMING Great drive by Tyler two weeks ago. That speed is what got him second behind uncatchable winner. Might not be so easy in here, but a few of the faves are closers. Will he take a shot and send again? Wish I knew.
10 CAN DO We know he's got speed, but not always the stamina. Not sure what the plan will be from post 10, but it might be time to just take him back and let him finish. The tough speed tries add up over time. Your call?
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 4-6-1-3
H Horse Comment
1 ABBIJADE HANOVER Just when I thought we had Abbi figured out, she goes ahead and storms home with a rally. Yes, that was a softer bunch than this, but it was impressive and Yannick took her over the partner. H'mmmm.
1A BETTORHAVEANOTHER Pretty disappointing down at Freehold, but the track was really bad that day, so I will give her a pass for that. Prior effort here saw her lacking stamina, despite well-rated pace. Different strategy now? Adds L.
2 PHYLLIS JEAN Has she tailed off? Or is this simply too high in class? I'll go with both. Wait for a class drop.
3 GO FOR SAND Coming off a sick scratch and a slow race at Freehold. She does own a win here this year, however, and the price will be right. If you think she's primed for a good mile, then go ahead and use.
4 JEWEL LEHIGH A Gets a touch of post relief, after a tough trip upon arrival. If anything, that should serve as excellent tightener, and good acclimating mile. I'd be very willing to toss her onto the ticket at any fair price. Good mare! Trainer: Been hampered with outside posts since coming to the Big M. Her form is good, and with a smoother journey, better results are waiting.
5 SUDDEN CHANGE N Finds her way over to the mile track, and yes, this is a legitimate class drop. Could she wake back up from the ideal midpack post? Absolutely! This race could have a lot of action in it. That helps her.
6 BETABCOOL N Monstrously overbet last week, but she sure was live! Rolled along at a decent clip and just failed to last. It was good try, but not quite good enough. Moves to tougher post. Needs all of that speed, and bit more.
7 CAROBBEAN PACETRY Another of the invaders in this wide open race. Hard to get a real read on her current form, but I'll probably want to watch one. To see if she belongs on the mile track.
8 OK HEAVENLY What do we do with this massive closer? Could very well get away last, with the entrymates drawn directly outside. They might both leave. I don't envision a huge price either. Your call on how far back she will be.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 7-6-4-3
H Horse Comment
1 JACKSRLUCKYTOO Wow, what a rally from Jack last time, to upset the applecart at 9-1! He is sharp right now, but I firmly believe he's in a little too tough here, without his regular driver. A pass for tonight.
2 PONYTA BOY I must admit, I was more than a little surprised by this fella last week. Yes, the track was playing for that kind of move, but he still kicked in like a rocketship! I also believe these are way too tough for him.
3 LIMELIGHT BEACH The millionaire has been flashing speed while up and down the class ladder lately. Not quite as good as he once was, but that's okay. Still cranks out earnings and starts. Could easily be part of this with a trip.
4 TULLOW N What a monster this is, but only on the mile track. He's about to meet another monster in #7 and I can't wait till they hook up! Should be interesting, and I will note that this guy has the post edge. He can grind. Watch out!
5 SWEET ROCK Up from Dover where his last two races saw him tackle #7, and the Breeders Crown winner! Almost not fair! So, let's take a shot on the mile track, right? #7 followed him up the Turnpike. Still in tough. Needs speed.
6 SI SEMALU I guess if anybody can upend the faves, it's this guy! Lures Marohn off #!, so that's a big call. The races at Pocono look super. Only knock may be the missed couple of weeks? Nothing less than best will beat #4,7.
7 CHRISTEN ME N Over $2 million now in career. Coming off a wicked good mile at Dover, despite the sick scratch. Aims for four in a row tonight and as long as he's close enough, he can outpace anybody. Hard to ignore!
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 7-3-1-5
H Horse Comment
1 JK WILL POWER Suffered the Meadowlands shuffle last week and did have some pace when free. With that said, it's the rail again, so he'll have to protect the inside. Has the back class and might be meeting a weaker bunch here.
2 BETTORSLUCKYSTREAK Big, big mile for Bettor to beat up on lesser. And, he overcame a tough trip to dig in and stave off all comers. I liked that. I do not like the huge hike up in class now. Will need even more to repeat.
3 SUPER IMPOSED N Squeezes in for the condition here, and I thought he had big shot last week. Was aggressive out of the gate, but had NO pace late. Now, I don't know what to do. Give another shot? Or toss on mile track?
4 STARZNHEAVEN Also squeezing in for the condition, and also razor sharp right now. Gets a new driver with Andy Mac not here. Ideally spotted with the midpack post. Like #5, he's a grinder too! Will need a smooth trip to win.
5 IAMMRBRIGHTSIDE N Took a week off, after letting me and everybody else down with that last photo loss. By all rights, he should have won by a block with that great trip. I now must wonder how sharp he is? Vulnerable fave? Trainer: Should be sharper tonight. He loves the Big M.
6 STELLA'S PHELLA Seems overclassified in this spot, so I'll just take a pass and leave him out. In too tough.
7 JENERAL PATTON Takes a fourth straight dip down the class ladder, so I feel the wakeup call is imminent! I'm going to take a shot with this fresh face, and hope he conjures up some speed. Five wins this year. Hoping for six! Trainer: Trained well. Trying the big track.
8 MAJOR LEGACY In a field full of closers, this is the odd man out. This class seemed a little too tough for him two weeks ago, and he's not helped by the post. Demand big price if you think he can win from last.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 2-10-5-3
H Horse Comment
1 DIABANDO Not really sure how to gauge a Yonkers $20K claimer in a spot like this? There are five different conditions written for this event, so that makes it VERY hard to handicap. I see Brett gets the call. A maybe.
2 MORE DRAGON The Dragon was sitting on a big one last week and he paid off on 9/5 promise. He's got plenty of back class to work with, so I'm not concerned about the hike. If anything, that might make the price better.
3 ROCK ON THE HILL Drops back to the more proper spot. Raced well against these two back and plots for that kind of trip again. Wasn't A Nap's choice, but I expected that. If he gets to follow the Dragon, that would be live cover.
4 IDEAL MATTERS Vicious two back. Not quite as vicious last week, but he still dug in and won. I have to believe he's facing a better bunch here, so nothing less than best will do. I also expect the price to be low, so might go against.
5 JOHNNY Q Here's one of the eligible upsetters. Drops a tick in class. Figures to get a very good trip, if the flow is live, and he can finish strong at times. Not completely out of this and he does offer value. I will use tonight.
6 STIRLING ESCORT Tries Club Med with a 2-28 record this year, so I'll just pass and watch one. See if he belongs.
7 RICIMER A Seems like a one-move rallier, in a field full of closers. I can't guarantee he'll be any better on the big track, but we're bound to find out. Up and down the class ladder lately. A chance, but a longshot one at best.
8 DAVID'S DREAM I think he had some traffic issues in that mad scramble of a race last week. Prior to that, he was monstrous to nail the big favorite. Tonight's problem could be the post. Also loses his regular driver. Trainer: Drops back down to where he won two weeks ago. Should be very competitive.
9 SPORTY REDHOT Loses that inside post advantage that he's enjoyed for a while. It's all uphill from here.
10 ALLSTAR PARTNER Probably the key to the race, folks! Packs blast out speed potential, and when Simon looks at the program, he'll know he has to leave. That was a BIG mile to win on the drop at Philly. Confidence builder.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 3-5-1-2
H Horse Comment
1 YO CHEYENNE ROCKY Coming off a sick scratch in what would have been a live spot on class drop. That worries me. Barn elects to bring him here, instead of re-enter in that class. If it was available. Horse has raced here before.
2 STRATOCASTER Had a good trip in a very live flow last time, but that was clearly a better race than this. The drop and pop angle is big in this spot. He looks a LOT better than most of these, plus drew a key inside post. Have to like.
3 WINDSONG JACK Written into this race, with the NW11k this year condition. You have to take that into account. Horse should benefit from a needed speed tightener and I expect improvement. Might offer better value than #2.
4 NEPTUNE Monstrously overbet last time on the driver change and bettors didn't get rewarded. The trip wasn't easy and this step up in class makes things harder. What will the price be tonight? It should be a lot larger.
5 MAJOR WAR Even thought Brett opted elsewhere, I see this as a possible upsetter! Raced well here two back, beaten by trip horse. Got torched over at Yonkers, but sometimes those type efforts get one ready. Speed coming again.
6 PACIFIC IMAGE Not exactly sharp right now, and wasn't Brett Miller's choice. Won't be mine tonight either.
7 VALRHONA One of the 3YO's in here. It's an odd spot for them, and I'm not sure how to evaluate his recent races across the river. Did win up at Vernon on a big track, though. Very mixed feelings from a difficult post here.
8 CRUZING HILL This was Brett's choice, off an improved effort fresh off the claim. He must have liked the horse, but I do caution it's a hike up in class and another bad post. At mercy of pace and trip, or can he leave the gate? Trainer: Raced very well last week. Hoping for the same result.
9 TWINCREEKS JESSE A little bit better last time, but this looks like a rough spot in bad post. He's had a few of those lately. For longshot players only.
10 BASS PLAYER Down from the north for a big track try. Recently on Lasix and it seems to be helping. Obviously, I hate the post and he doesn't show much speed. Will need to get very lucky from way out here.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 3-1-5-9
H Horse Comment
1 ONEISALONELYNUMBER Post relief and a class drop are usually angles that offer success. This is a race with a bunch of different conditions, so you know it'll be tough to handicap. I guess I wouldn't be shocked if he surprised here.
2 AMERICANFIREWATER Here's one of the 3YO's in a difficult situation. Not sure how that class at Yonkers will stack up here. Also not sure how sharp the horse is. Overall record isn't great. I will probably go against.
3 SUNSHINE WEST Gets into this race on the NW55K life. Was very good in that one try here. Those weren't easy races last pair in Pennsy. And, horse switches to Brett Miller. I can easily make a case for this fella tonight.
4 CARDIAC FASHION Was flat out flying home in the G Notes, almost getting to his stablemate. With that said, he doesn't figure to offer much betting value in this spot, and it IS a tougher race. Not sure what to do here.
5 TRADING UP Squeezes in for the condition by a mere $10. That's usually a good thing. After being sick a month or so ago, horse has come back strong. Just how strong? I guess we'll find out tonight. This is serious bump up in class.
6 NOBLES FINESSE Vinny drives a lot for this barn, so that might be why he opted here over #3. I think the other horse has a better chance tonight, but oh well! This gelding is still in too tough, and coming off a scratch. I'll pass.
7 SPIRIT OF TRUTH Finished last from post eight at Yonkers on Tuesday. I'm never a fan of the short rest thing, and he gets stuck with another difficult post. I think he'll need some additional class relief before we get the right spot.
8 LAUXMONT CAPRI Another NY invader that is just too hard to gauge in spot like this. I'm going to watch one.
9 FRANKY'S BEACH BOY The other 3YO in here has shown flashes of ability while up and down the class ladder in Pennsy. If you told me that A Nap was going to send him out of there, I'd probably tell you to use him. Needs speed.
10 JUSTIFIED This looks a little too tough for him, plus the outside starting slot to boot. Mayhem amongst the leaders would set up his rally, but that's hard to predict. Needs a little luck to overcome the post. Trainer: Paced well last week finishing third. Handicapped a little bit this week with the outside post, but I anticipate him to be good.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 6-4-9-1
H Horse Comment
1 MISTER TRUTH Gave it a pretty good try last time against a superior foe. I guess I'll add a few more points if the Dragon did well in tonight's ninth. The pole is a BIG plus for him, to save something for late. Hard to leave out.
2 I'M THE REAL MAJOR Up from Philly and in for the tag. Ok. Some of his races are good enough to go with these, but consistency doesn't seem to be best weapon. New barn. New driver. Let's see if any better tonight.
3 ROCKIN THE HOUSE Hard to get a gauge on his form either. An in-and-outer? Got snowed out last week, so back for another try. Wasn't Marohn's choice. I have very mixed feelings about this one here.
4 GRAVE DANCER One of six shippers from different tracks, so you know this is an impossible race! I'd have to call that last one a real clunker, but some of his races are good enough. He's won here before. A big fat maybe!
5 CHEYENNE REIDER Beat up on the weaker bunch, given a perfect and patient drive by Eric A. Now they bump up the ladder to try and do it again. I'm not so sure. I do like the post, though. Gives the pilot some options. Trainer: He's a classy, older horse that historically loves the bigger strip. He loves to sprint late. If he catches a similar trip, I think he will be right there.
6 SIR MACHALOT Allowed into this race on one of the secondary conditions. That catches my eye. The barn is almost impossible to leave out right now. This is a 10-level class drop, so I won't try to beat him. I will just key him.
7 ROCKET J I still can't believe this horse won a race here! The drive by Simon was perfect, though. Can't rough the horse up too much, and he might actually try for a bit. Will he repeat? I'm going to take stand and say no.
8 CITY HALL Freshened up for a couple of months. Drew outside off good qualifier. I'm hoping he "needs one."
9 BRUCE'S MAGIC Returns to Club Med, but gets stuck with a rough post. Has many good races here in the past, but it's all about the trip for Bruce. He needs a good one and it doesn't always happen from post nine. Adds Lasix.
10 CHIP WALTHER The lone 3YO didn't have much luck at the post draw. Yes, I can see the stakes races he's been in, but I also see post 10 and a few other key class droppers. If you think he can overcome that, go ahead and bet.