Race Reviews

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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 Friday, July 29, 2016

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 1-7-2-5
H Horse Comment
1 SIGNAL HILL Alagna added trotting hopples in last and this colt responded with a flat mile, in which he won in 1:57. Trainer: Talented colt has had some problems with his manners, qualified back in excellent fashion and hoping to start down the right path tonight.
2 CATCH THE GAME Certain to attract attention at the windows having won all three of his charted lines. Trainer: This colt has been training very well but needs to get stronger, he could have a bright future.
3 IRON DOME Broke stride in his pari-mutuel debut and has never completed a mile in under 2:02.1, appears overmatched.
4 MAC AND PAY Shows two Meadowlands starts on his card and both were respectable, consider.
5 DEACON TONY Hasn't made a lot of noise in recent starts but they were against tougher NJSS foes, should be in the hunt.
6 BREAK FREE Another who broke in his initial betting outing, but he was bet down to 1-2, so give this one some respect.
7 YOU CANT HABIT Followed up an easy win at Goshen with a strong, bad post, second-place finish in sire stakes action at the Meadows, going well now. Trainer: He's a smart colt who has done everything he's been asked to do, the extreme heat this week has been tough on all of the horses in the barn.
8 BUCKEYE GLORY Finished in last place in all three career charted lines.
9 MUSHANA Smedshammer trainee finally stayed flat in last and could be a player in the coming weeks.
10 EARL VARIERA Trotted his mile in 2:03.1 in first recorded effort, draws the 10 hole and simply has too much to do to be close.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 2-7-4-1
H Horse Comment
1 BROADWAY IDOLE Steady Pennsylvania performer has speed, draws inside, a must-use in all exotic play.
2 ARIANA G Likely short-priced favorite has crushed her foes by a combined 11¼ lengths in her two pari-mutuel starts. Trainer: A very nice filly who is a big contender.
3 FEED YOUR HEAD Raced OK for third at odds of 80-1 facing Ariana G on July 15, chance to hit the ticket.
4 EVELYN Showed plenty of talent and potential in all three of her wagering starts, chance to pull off an upset at long odds.
5 LEXI MARIE Has not performed well in any of her three betting races and will need a good race or two to earn some respect.
6 SOUTHWIND AVANTI July 15 outing was not a good one, but her close-up second on July 1 sure was, can go with these.
7 WAFFLE CONE Has lifted her game several notches in her last two starts, Burke trainee figures to be firing away from the gate. Trainer: Little bit disappointing in the NJSS Final, hope to race from the back tonight.
8 ROSESAREEXPLOSIVE Finished an uninspiring 6th at Pocono on July 19, had missed almost a month prior to that, needs a race.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 10-4-5-2
H Horse Comment
1 L DEES EAGLE Has managed to stay flat in consecutive baby races since Gregory added the trotting hopples but still has to improve several seconds before getting consideration.
2 MYSTIC STELLA Shows four charted lines, in the three where she stayed flat, she won, when she didn't, she lost, the breaking risk might be a tad higher tonight since she tries a new track for the first time.
3 MYRNA MYRNA Inconsistent filly finished a good second when flat in last, a Trifecta possibility at a big price.
4 HILLARMBRO Off her best-looking line to date, a fourth-place finish in the Kindergarten in which she completed her mile in 1:56.1. Trainer: Nice filly with a bright future that has yet to hit her best stride, should improve from last week's race.
5 ENVY HANOVER Won a Big M baby race before finishing fourth in decent outing in her betting debut at Pocono, give a look.
6 KIM'S SPITFIRE Displayed good speed in first Big M outing, settled for second in respectable try, bears watching.
7 THEMAILWOMEN Simply not fast enough to be competitive in this field.
8 SHOWSTOPPER Had put up three good efforts in a row before breaking and finishing seventh in last, competes if flat.
9 PEACEFUL KEMP 1:59.1 mile at the Big M in last indicates this one is moving in the right direction but this post will be a big problem.
10 STAR'S EDGE Takter trainee draws worst, yes, but could prove talented enough to take this nonetheless, showed the type of speed in her June 27 start that says she might keep trotting until she makes the top. Trainer: Nice filly made a break last time and the post will hurt her chances.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 6-3-7-2
H Horse Comment
1 PHI ALPHA Solid performer has good speed and an inside post, could surprise this group with a top effort.
2 KING ON THE HILL Missed a head in the $100,000 NJSS Final two weeks ago, may not look quite as good as some in here but can obviously compete with them at a high level.
3 NEW JERSEY VIKING Did not go best of trips, settled for fourth in the NJSS Final after being sent off by the public as the 7-5 choice, only horse in the field to have put up consecutive sub-1:56 miles, obvious chance.
4 HE'S GONE Not close in either of his last two and faces a tough field.
5 DEVIOUS MAN Solid NYSS performer takes a crack at open-caliber stock and is no stranger to racing at the Meadowlands.
6 RUBIO Another possible superstar from Takter, this colt is unbeaten in three starts and has never been longer on the tote board than sixty cents on the dollar. Trainer: Perfect so far, contender.
7 SNOWSTORM HANOVER Powerhouse score at the Meadows in the PaSS came in 1:56, might be able to go a second (or more?) faster moving to the mile track.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 1-6-9-7
H Horse Comment
1 SASSA HANOVER Never got on track from the 7 hole, finished fourth at Saratoga facing winners over $25,000, beat this kind at this track as the favorite in the start prior. Trainer: Finally starting to round into form, tough trip last week, great spot tonight.
2 GAME THEORY Last week marked her first start of the year, a fourth at 97-1 against much cheaper, needs another race or two.
3 BETTOR CHILL OUT Got some class relief and scored in last at Pocono, ships in to the Big M, takes on better and does not appear to be in an ideal spot.
4 VALENTINA DE VIE None of her last four pari-mutuel starts say she's ready to be competitive with this field.
5 HEAVENLY BRIDE Non-winners of 6 at Yonkers are better than these, but her class is negated by the fact she has not raced since March.
6 DELIGHTFUL DRAGON Flexed her class muscles and crushed considerably cheaper last week, back up in class and ready to go a fast mile tonight. Trainer: Steps back up in class but raced well last week.
7 ROYAL ENGAGEMENT What a season she's had for Richard Johnson, but she has not yet proven she can win at this level at this track, although it appears she's capable of doing just that.
8 TABLE TALK 5-year-old has had problems getting her 2016 season on track, when she's right, she beats these, but she's not right.
9 BLUSH HANOVER Toscano trainee is not the most consistent horse in the world, but does have talent, has raced well in three straight and should find some live cover as they make their way to the five-eighths pole. Trainer: Very honest, however, she needs a good trip, I suspect she will be hurt by her post.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 3-1-5-4
H Horse Comment
1 CANEPA HANOVER Had a rough go of it in last two, racing in the Hambletonian Maturity and Graduate Final, was bet down to 6-5 but broke in the start prior taking on this kind, if you can forgive that effort, then this one just might be for you. Trainer: Has not raced well in his last few starts, does have back class but I'm not sure about him.
2 RULES OF THE ROAD Added Lasix and raced very well, missing a nose with this kind at 14-1, does not figure to be overbet in here and is for value players.
3 JEWELS IN HOCK Impressed in the Miss Versatility, scoring on July 16 as the 2-1 favorite, lifetime winner of 14-of-26 starts could prove best of strong field. Trainer: Was very good in her last start and has trained well coming into this race.
4 ITS HUW YOU KNOW Stopover at Pocono didn't go all that well (faced JL Cruze), back at his favorite track where he always gives a solid effort.
5 DANISH DURANGO Rallied well for third after being away for almost a month, fits quite well with these (shows multiple wins at this level) and is another who could score at a generous price.
6 SUMATRA Fanning student seeks third straight score but appears to be in a bit too deep to make that happen. Trainer: Bumps up significantly in class, had a good week.
7 DOT DOT DOT DASH Finished a solid third two back here but has won two straight at Philadelphia as the odds-on choice in the start after and prior to that, may want to head back to the Keystone State.
8 WORLD CUP Bumped up to this level and raced well for fourth in a photo finish, figures to get some live cover, threat. Trainer: Draws outside but has been sharp.
9 UVA HANOVER Never threatened when facing this type last week, draws poorly, tab for later showing some good lines with better Philadelphia stock.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 3-2-1-4
H Horse Comment
1 REQUEST FOR PAROLE Beat a solid field in last and figures once again to get a close-to-the-action type of trip taking on a tougher group.
2 GWENEEEE J Moved to lead early - a new tactic for her - before ending up fifth in last, likely to try it from off the pace.
3 FROST DAMAGE BLUES Sat second to the stretch in the 1 1/8 mile Golden Girls, a race that saw a world-record for the distance get set, faces softer task tonight and may try to go all the way on the point. Trainer: Had a good week, exits a very fast race.
4 NOT BEFORE EIGHT Rallied like a lunatic to get second, pacing her final quarter in :26.3, obvious chance to win with the proper pace scenario. Trainer: Rallied well from a tough spot last week, faces a tough field but is going well now.
5 ELLIESJET N First start upon arrival from Philadelphia was OK, she appears to be in too tough but she can improve off that effort.
6 DIVINE CAROLINE Has plenty of back class but her resume says she's only won once this year, and that was at the NW$7,500 level.
7 SEEKING NIRVANA Uncompetitive in last two facing similar foes, she was a winner in the start prior, albeit facing far softer competition.
8 INITTOWINAFORTUNE Remarkably consistent mare has yet to win in 20 starts this year, yet is close so often, she's banked over $85,000 for her owners, should always be included when playing the gimmicks.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 2-3-7-4
H Horse Comment
1 CAMERON HILL Winner of two straight at Mohawk is obviously sharp but may need to trot in 1:54 to take this, it's unclear if he can do that.
2 THATS ALL MONI Takter filly has won two in a row on the PaSS circuit, but won two baby races at the Meadowlands prior to that, which says her ability to acclimate should be high. Trainer: Very good filly, big chance.
3 CHEZATTER Missed a head to That's All Moni on July 12, or she'd be the one who came into this unbeaten, take note that in that race, Chezatter was the favorite. Trainer: Has been vicious in Pennsylvania in her first three starts.
4 DONATO FASHION Off her best-ever performance but looks a notch or two below the best that this field offers.
5 ONDA SU Broke in last while making up some ground, another who does not appear to be a good fit with this field's better performers.
6 ICE ATTRACTION If you throw out last from the 10 hole, you are left with a good second-place finish to Ariana G, the night AG dominated in the slop.
7 SIANNA HANOVER Was sailing along on the lead before getting nailed on the wire by Chezatter on July 19, take note that Sianna Hanover was the 3-5 favorite in that race, this is as good a three-way matchup as you'll find in this division. Trainer: Top filly, would like to try to follow but can win.
8 AMUSE'S Ohio Sire Stakes standout might take well to the big track but does not appear to be fast enough for this right now.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 2-8-6-10
H Horse Comment
1 OUTBURST Consistent performer takes on better stock that he has of late yet is still capable of grabbing a piece of the pie.
2 CLASSICAL ANNIE Raced with higher-powered conditioned stock in last before facing some extremely talented mares in the Miss Versatility in the two starts before that, was competitive in all of those and has more than enough class to take this. Trainer: Had trot last week, will be aggressive.
3 MADEWELL HANOVER Not close in any of his last three, but gets some class relief and a major driver change to Tetrick.
4 SWEET JUSTICE Saunders student is erratic, has some ability but may not be able to trot in 1:52 and a piece, which might be necessary to win this.
5 KEENAN Switch to Campbell is good and he has plenty of trot, but at the end of the day, his only two recent wins came in amateur events.
6 BLUE MUSE Has just enough earnings on her card to not qualify for the NW$7,500 level, a level where she can win, but she is sharp enough to be in the mix.
7 KEYSTONE THOMAS Impressed winning an amateur event on July 15 but faces far tougher task tonight.
8 POSSESSED FASHION Broke in last at Pocono, key line was two back here when third behind All The Time and Dog Gone Lucky, a pair of horses who came into that race well prepared and ready to go, can take this if he races back to that start. Trainer: Was freshened up, can be very tough in here with the right trip.
9 JACKS TO OPEN Another who drops into this tough spot after some success in amateur races, not a good fit.
10 IRON MINE BUCKY Off a pair of thirds - in the Stanley Dancer and Beal Consolation - but draws the 10 hole, not sure if she's good enough to overcome that.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 2-1-3-5
H Horse Comment
1 SOUTHWIND COBRA Went off stride early in the NJSS Final in last, but that was his first career miscue, has plenty of ability and speed and is a major player. Trainer: Unfortunate break last start but trained great this week.
2 WHAT THE HILL Scored in the NJSS Final working out a trip close to the action, stablemate of Southwind Cobra also has speed and will be close from start to finish. Trainer: Super sharp form, looks to win again.
3 ANOTHER CHAPTER Has performed credibly on the NYSS circuit and could prove to be as good as some of the better ones in here.
4 SONGNATRA Raced OK in both betting starts but will need quite a bit more than that to be competitive with these.
5 VICTOR GIO IT Broke in the stretch as the 2-5 choice in last for Takter, figures to stay flat and rebound with a much better effort.
6 ETERNAL PATROL Yet to have an exceptional outing yet in his brief career.
7 DI OGGI Raced well in two straight Meadows outings before a not-so-impressive start here in the Kindergarten.
8 CHROMEO Would need some explosive early speed to have a chance and finds himself in a field where the best two horses have speed and draw inside him, tough spot.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 4-5-1-1A-2
H Horse Comment
1 CRAZY WOW Off a good-looking third in the Hambletonian Maturity, appears to be rounding into season's-best form after winning better than $1M last year. Trainer: Finally turned the corner, horse is getting ready to win.
1A OBRIGADO Raced for $180,000 or more in four straight starts and won three over the last two months, but his one loss came at the Big M facing some of the best stock in training, a similar scenario to tonight. Trainer: Looking for a good effort tonight that will set us up for the Cashman next week, he's feeling good.
2 WINGS OF ROYALTY Second-best in the Hambo Mat in a superb effort, may not be one of the elite in this field but he can always compete with them on best.
3 IL SOGNO DREAM Winless in six starts this year and does not look like he belongs in here.
4 JL CRUZE Ended his three-race losing streak in convincing fashion in last, only other loss this year came in the Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff, when he simply did not bring a good effort, the only horse in Meadowlands history to break the 1:50 barrier might be ready to break the 1:51 barrier tonight. Trainer: Glad to be back at the Meadowlands, where he has done so well.
5 HANNELORE HANOVER Nothing short of awesome last week in drubbing her foes in the Hambo Mat, figures to head for the top and could prove tough to catch. Trainer: Top mare in racing right now, will go back to her stalking ways tonight.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 9-4-6-1
H Horse Comment
1 MARGARITA M Most recent line might not impress, but her mile time of 1:54.4 puts her in the mix in this soft field.
2 SIGMUND Dull effort in last (at odds of 111-1) ran his lifetime record to no wins in 17 lifetime starts.
3 FUMATA BIANCA No firsts or seconds in 15 lifetime starts, has been no shorter than 23-1 in any of his last five outings.
4 PRINCE DE VIE His first lifetime start a week ago resulted in a solid third at odds of 3-1 in a race won in 1:55.1. Trainer: Did well in his first career start, hoping we can build off that tonight.
5 OAKIE Has put together three good outings in a row, the only question is: Is he fast enough?
6 KAPOW Racing well of late on the NYSS Excelsior ‘A' circuit, on-the-ticket in six-of-nine lifetime starts, merits respect.
7 FREE WILLY HANOVER Qualified well after breaking in two straight, may hang around for a piece.
8 NORTHERN SWEETIE Three consecutive poor qualifiers, needs a lot of work.
9 REIGNING MONI Had to go up against Marion Marauder and Southwind Frank in his last two starts, which were the Dancer and Beal Final, Takter trainee should be good enough to overcome this outside post facing a moderately-talented group. Trainer: Nice colt has been racing at a high level lately but the bad post might hurt his chances.
10 MILLBROOK HANOVER Broke stride in each of his last two betting starts, draws worst.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 2-6-4-3
H Horse Comment
1 STATUS WARRIOR Went a tough trip, ended up well back in the NW$3,000 class at Pocono, faces tougher test tonight.
2 LET HER ROCK Has gone up against the likes of Delightful Dragon, Purity and Divine Caroline in recent tries, now drops to the bottom conditioned level and figures to get brave in a hurry. Trainer: Class drop and inside post should make her very competitive in this spot.
3 BODACIOUS BECKY Has performed well in recent starts for Richard Johnson and is one of several who could win if Let Her Rock does not bring a good effort. Trainer: In the same class as her last two starts, needs a better trip.
4 M A JACKIE One week after finishing third to the classy Intoview, this Nick Surick trainee rallied well to beat this kind.
5 JANIE BAY Team Harmon trainee is in the midst of a good form cycle and must be included in all exotic play. Trainer: Raced really well, I thought, going parked past the half and hanging on until halfway down the lane.
6 GIRLOFYOURDREAMS Has been facing better foes out of town and should react well to the handling of Tim Tetrick.
7 EXOTIC BEACH Off a rail-skimming third at Vernon in a race where she paced her mile in 1:51.2, a time that puts among this field's contenders.
8 EAST SIDE HANOVER Finished a credible fifth after going a tough trip in Meadowlands return, rarely takes money and is for longshot players.
9 VRAKA HANOVER First-time Ron Burke is always worth mentioning, Canadian shipper might be firing away from the gate.
10 BEAVERCREEK ANNIE Uncompetitive at this level from post 3 in last, now draws the 10 hole.