Monday, May 22, 2017

WEG Handicapping and Betting, Notes and Comments: May 22, 2017

RACE 3

1 Beyombo got a pretty good steer last time, getting away 4th and staying there, swinging out in the lane with a clear shot to get 2nd, but he seemed to be going all he could go and it just wasn't good enough. He looked like a prospect in the winter, when they were going slower and the better horses had not come out yet. This race comes up pretty soft relative to the Classic Pro's and others he has met lately. I still need to see more but he is possible in with this group.

2 Rock N Fantasy faced the double edged sword last time. He had the far outside, left out, but had to take a seat and then stayed in while he had one in front who wasn't very live, and one beside who was going the wrong way, but wasn't doing it fast enough. McNair bided his time, and the rail opened up, allowing him to pace forward and be a solid 3rd to 2 pretty nice prospects. As the rail was deep and hard to travel around that time, his race and effort looks pretty good overall. He meets a group here he can beat, and I'd want about 3-1 to make that value. He won on the front, breaking his maiden on March 23rd, and McNair is likely to put him there again. The names of some of the ones that have beaten him recently, Southwind Diesel, Classic Pro, Stealth Bomber, are pretty tough customers with high aspirations that he mostly avoids here.

3 Sedona Seelster is one that fooled me, and I am fully prepared to admit that. Mid winter, I couldn't see why he was racing at WEG, when he looked like a so-so B track maiden type. That is why Doug Hie is who he is. He saw the potential for this one to get better as he goes, and he has. He still has trouble sealing the deal with the better ones he meets in here, but he has very good tactical gate speed, and he is gradually coming into his own overall. He is however 1 for 40 over the last two seasons, and beat a very weak maiden group in the dead of winter to get the one win he did. I'm not sure at this point he has 52 in him, and that looks like the speed the winner will go here. Bit player with a minor shot if the logical ones don't perform.

4 Undrafted has had a variety of trips, and none of them have resulted in a win or even a close miss. I see too many options in here to think he steps up and even if he does, takes them all.

5 Kazimoto gets Trevor, as J Mac is in the penalty box for two race days. He has longshot potential for a variety of reasons. First, he gets post 5, which is a very good leaving post position, and he picks up a driver who likes to blast when he gets a horse he has not driven before. Secondly, he took back last time and was not going to gain on the contenders off that trip. He paced his back half in 55.2, and that seems like a live enough horse to consider. He was a solid 2nd the start before that when he got out closer. He is usable as an upset option for the picks.

6 Rebellious reminds me a lot of Shamballa. Not that he is likely to have to crazy overall speed that one does when all is said and done, but he came to Zeron as a project, and Zeron is taking his time and teaching him to be a racehorse. In start one, he was floated out for position, but he was so grabby, for safety's sake Zeron had to pull and put him on the front, where he daylighted that group with ease. Last time, he was taken off the gate, floated out again, but this time he drove in a more manageable way, picking up cover, and following it willingly. However, it was immediately dead cover, he had to go 3 deep on the turn around it, which he did, and he was digging all the way to the wire. He paced his own back half in 55.3, wide for most or much of it. I could have listed him on top, in what was a toss up call, but he is still a bit green and he is likely to take more money than my top choice. Could be either of them. I expect this one to progress to be a Gold type colt in a few more starts. He is on the same cross as Somebeachsomewhere, who is also the sire of Shamballa. Zeron seems to know what to do with these types to max out their potential.

7 Face of War loses McNair, as he sticks with my top choice, but picks up Roy, so he is still in solid hands. His last mile is troubling though, if you are playing for a winner here. He gapped the winner badly last time at Flamboro off a sweet pocket trip, and his back half quarters don't stack up with the better ones in here. I have to see him compete at this track, but for tonight, I prefer others.

8 Homey Joe jumps into the deep end tonight, and has a driver who doesn't drive much, and post 8 to try it with. However, he did pace London in 56.3 last year, and that is not to be taken lightly. He looks to be a solid Grassroots type of horse, but he is not an Ontario Bred. He meets a few in here who look a notch above that type of class. Pass and watch.

RACE 4

1 Four Card Major raced on very short rest last time, and as he is not a very sound horse, that worked against him. As always, he tried hard and he was competitive. He looked to be showcased then, with a discount and he was sold after the race to the new connections. Post 1 here will likely doom him to a long trip again, and in spite of picking up Roy, coming back on more reasonable rest, and getting back in the softer claiming condition, I rate him a minor shot. He is likely to be overbet.

2 Lively Freddie takes a minor class drop here, and Nixon is good at tuning them up and finding a level to make money with them. His slow starts are a problem though, and I haven't seen any progress on that front. He did take 3 seconds off his previous race, and that does indicate some progress, although time can be deceiving as a stand alone factor. He had interference the start before that, and made a break in his 4yo debut. He could have hidden form and he paced in 54 over Georgian last year. He is chancy, but that is the nature of this class as a rule.

3 Cam Engine didn't race as a colt, but appears to be putting it together as he ages. Some Camluck's do that. He has the magic Camluck/Artsplace cross, and his dam, Loving Place, comes from the family of Camtastic, and many other very good ones. He has some potential built within his genes, and could blossom as he finds his way. He is starting on this circuit at the bottom level they offer. Last time, he made a nice post parade appearance, took back to the tail with a 10 hole start but only got beat 4 lengths at the wire. He is a slow starter, but looks like he could get away 6th or 7th with this better post. I could see him picking them all off in his 3rd start to try this class. Upset call.

4 Mammoth Jack seems to be the type of bit player in this class that wins this class on nights when its hard to like any short priced horses and he is around most of the time anyway. I give him a minor shot because of all of that. His win record is not bad, albeit a B track enhanced record.

5 Rockin Ronnie makes his 2nd start for Budd for a purse, but maintains the same connections he has had all along. I recall he needed a lot of encouragement to go forward in his races last year, and only once did that play out as a win. He qualified back okay after running at the start in his Flamboro debut for Budd, and dives into a low conditioned claimer here. Just another longshot who could win this in a race where you should be looking for one and forgiving big time flaws, which this one has.

6 Jet Black Cadillac is 1 for more than 50 lifetime, and even with the solid post and looking for something longer priced to play in this race, this is one I cannot go to. Too many chances and fails.

7 Badstormanyport picked up 2nd last time, beating a horrid bunch that were behind him, but nowhere near the winner, who daylighted the entire field for his first win in many years. He is likely to take some tote money this time, and he is possible. He is usable as an option if you want to go deep here, but he does find ways to lose races.

8 Kwicky Kwanzaa had post 1 last time, and he didn't race bad. He draws outside here, but Phil takes him over two others who look viable, and that is a plus. He is a reasonable longshot that needs a lot of things to go his way, but might get it done if they do.

9 Oforpetesake got out near the top from the best post last time and turned that pocket trip into a win as he just sailed up the rail. Post 9 is a much different ballgame. I like enough others in here to pass on him.

10 Meabhrach  raced well last time, but wasn't nearly as good as the time before. Perhaps the bump he got on the trainer change has a shelf life. Post 10 is just about enough reason anyway for me to look elsewhere when he has 1 win in 3 years.

RACE 5

1 Dubious Claim is a terrible starter, and he doesn't do much once in the race. He is really up against it here from the rail. I cannot see him under any circumstances.

2 Shagnwiththedragon qualified well for McCabe, who sends them out ready, and he made a very nice post parade appearance last time. However, he stepped on the wheel of the 2nd place finisher and lost the win because of it. None of that was his fault, and the only knock I would have is he never moved off the rail until very late. Obvious shot chance, but he is still green and there are some options here to go against him.

3 Jaydens Place is a 4yo maiden with 12 3yo starts under his belt. He needed 3 qualifiers to get back racing. I will take a watch and wait attitude with him this time. He will need to take more time off his performance before he can tackle some of these.

4 This Is My Song was the beneficiary of some crashing and banging in the backfield last time, but to his credit, he made the most of it and got 3rd money, no threat to the 2 classy ones in front of him. He is hard to like, in that he is 0 for 16, but also has 3 bad posts in his last 6 lines. He is possible, but he hasn't contended for the win spot yet. Your call.

5 Casimir Quasimodo has some breeding behind him, as he is a half brother to Moving Pictures, Mr Massimo, and Mambo Italiano, all high end winners with big bankrolls made. He is also a sibling to Casimir Operaqueen, who did nothing at 2 and 3, but came alive at 4 and was a decent low condition horse at this track last fall. Joe C has had him all along and he hung on to him. That says something, as he doesn't normally do that with horses that don't pay their way. In his return qualifier, he chased 3 top stakes horses, and couldn't go with them when they kept going at the end. Not really fair for a green maiden to chase high end stakes horses. He could be better right off the shelf, so, its a post parade call for me. If you are concerned he can be a lot more than he shows to date tonight, just use him and negate the unknown factor in play here.

6 Master the View didn't win in 11 starts at 2, but he was near the money most nights, and made the Grassroots final. He qualified back okay, and Jack Darling has no need to show anybody how fast his horse is when no money is on the line. He paced in 54 last year and has an experience edge on these. Minor shot, but not my top pick. Based on his breeding, I have to see him parade.

7 Three More Smiles
goes 2nd off the layoff here, in what was a decent first effort for the season. He did look green trying to go around bad cover in the last turn, then completely blew that turn on his own, ending up 6 or 7 wide, and then suffered uncharted interference when there was a jam up right to his left. He finished okay off all that, but still hung a shade. He won once in 13 starts at 2, and he had to go to Grand River to get that. He was kept paid up to the NAC, which is puzzling, but they must think that he has a lot of talent and upside..or...they smoke crack and just cant think straight. I'm not sure which, but he has a shot here considering who his trainer is and the driver steering tonight, who drives him for the 2nd time in a race and 3rd time overall. He looks like a one brush, one speed type, and I'm sure Roy has figured that out. He needs to leave and sit, and hope to score like Bettim Chris did when Roy first drove him to his win a month ago. One of many to think about here.

8 Hermanus was one Roy turned down for Three More Smiles. He draws poorly again and doesn't look like one of the better ones in here. He is taking time to get it together, and might be better off at Grand River or Georgian when they open.

9 Maverick Joe was a first time starter last time, and he went to the back, followed from a distance, and brushed late but was no factor, taking his time down to 56. He draws bad again, but he might be the type that progresses a bit each start and then finds the right mix of experience and post improvement. I will wait and watch.

10 Mckinley gets the 10 hole but picks up Gingras. He also has a very low percentage trainer, and he also can be dangerous at times on his own. I cant back him.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

WEG Handicapping and Betting, Notes and Comments: May 20, 2017

 Race 2
 
1 Stuck In My Spanks kept it together last time, but that was about all she did and she was not in the picture when the other 3 ahead of her were battling for the win. Post 1 will hurt one like her who has issues going to the gate. I suppose she has a minor shot for the top 2 positions, if, she behaves, the flow tows her, and the heavy fave bombs out. That is a lot to count on.
2 Paradise Image tried to wire them last time, but she couldn't take them all the way. She is learning, maturing and improving, but maybe she is about a month or two from getting there, and she is in a position where she needs to be that horse now. I like others better, for now, but she looks like a prospect as the summer progresses.

3 Magic Presto needs only to get a clean trip, show up, and be herself. She has 2 seconds on this entire field, and the fear factor that most don't want to try her and lose their shot at a big 2nd money prize. She trots, she should win this easy. I'd think she is 1-9 when the bell rings.
4 Mrstery Bear is a fast leaver and she will follow well. That gives her every chance to get as much as she can. She will need others to run or not perform to do any better than 3rd, and she is no cinch for that. I'd think she is in play if you want to take a shot against the bridgejumper that will be betting big dollars to place on the 3. Being able to leave and get ahead of any trouble that might happen is a strong plus in these types of races.

5 Expose Yourself
is a very aggressive filly, as you can see by her race lines, and mostly the 2nd last one at London. Last time, she was trying to leave a ton, so much so Henry had to keep her under control so that she didn't over trot herself and run. She settled into the 2 hole, but couldn't go on with the classier ones she met then, and meets again. I don't know that she can beat 57 at this point and might be the type that is a half mile track specialist who goes 57 there and gets rewarded for that, but comes back here and gets nothing for the same speed.
6 Gravitator was well prepped by Blais, and well driven by Roy last time. Post 1 start, he just laid off, found the flow, which was poor, came out around that late when he had his spot sewn up for the final, mowed down the leader, but the pocket horse got a jump on him. She figures obviously, but, in these types of races, horses that figure don't always get it done when they get ambitious and tackle more vigorously the strong favorite. I will play that somehow she battles and comes up short. Minor use for the place position, but I like others for the price in that spot.

7 Royal Witch sat out of it last time, but moved late to be a clear 2nd to the classy winner she had no intention of bothering with. She won the race she was there to win, which was clearly 2nd best. She did look better than most of the ones who raced in the other division, so, she has a shot to pick up 2nd money here, and even win if something goes wrong with Magic Presto. She is still a maiden, but she doesn't act like it. She seems to have her breaking issues from last year sorted out.
8 Anikadabra was solid at 2, but has not come back as good yet. Post 8 here, and she barely made the final. Pass for me until I see her step up her game to this level of competition. I'm not even certain she dominates the Grassroots if she goes back to that class looking for wins.

9 Tymal Reign is an 8 time maiden who was clearly raced last week to make the final, and she did just that, getting 3rd money while not any kind of threat to the top 2. She had post 1 last time, so her effort was good all things considered, but post 9 here in with all the ones she couldn't handle and a few more live ones from the other split. She is hard to like for the ticket.
10 Holiday Promise was in the flow last time, following the winner, but she dropped off sharply when the real racing started to take place. Post 10 here, and she looks impossible and is hoping for 5th money, which is a longshot. Others are taking their time below 57, she seems to have hit a wall at that number.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

WEG Handicapping and Betting, Notes and Comments: May 18, 2017

RACE 1

1 Eve Duharas doesn't appear to be much stock. She is 4 now, and she has 1 lifetime win, taken at Rideau last August when Pierre Bovay had her. In that race, she was the longest shot on the board at 21-1 in a 7 horse field where she was sent to the top and wired them. Since then, she has done zip. She has moved to Ben B's barn, and two qualifiers in, there doesn't seem to be any progress at all. She was 9th of 9 in the last one, way back the entire way, never gaining. She will have to be seen for future plays. Not tonight for me.

2 Hab Faith didn't win in 8 starts last year, but she was fairly steady and competitive. That is half the battle in these trot maiden races when there are no future bearcat standouts like there was on Monday in the 3rd race. That is in her favor tonight. She seemed to do her better work last year at the B tracks in the Grassroots when she had good posts and got out ahead of any commotion. When she tried the Grassroots on her return to Mohawk, she was unlucky in that she hooked Magic Presto, a Breeders Crown winner, and Anikadabra, a Grassroots final winner who rarely lost at 2. She was shut down after her next start, when it was obvious she was tired and others had caught up to her. Her return qualifier on May 12th was good, but not spectacular. She is in the mix, but others look a bit better to this point. If they behave, she is likely chasing their tails. If they don't, she could fall into a win here. 

3 Asa Im Ready did not race at 2, and debuts off one qualifier with Per holding the lines. As noted this week, the rail is very deep and bad for any horse, let alone a green trotter. That is to be taken into account here as she starts her career. She is perhaps she is better than we think, and even if she goes evenly here but shows flashes of talent, I might be tempted to take her next time at a price, on the premise she had some things against her in the qualifier and Per is test driving and tuning her tonight. Some back story on the horse and connections. Her dam, All Ready Hanover was also no good at 2, but they bought her for 5k at the Harrisburg mixed sale, and turned her around completely at 3, winning a division of the Casual Breeze in 1:53.4. They kept the dam and bred her to Muscle Massive, an odd choice if you race primarily in Ontario, so obviously they have a reason to do that. These people know trotters. She is one to watch. Because of all that, I'd be tempted to toss her on the pick 5 to be safe, although, again, she is likely out for a training mile tonight. According to Hamilton, she is still eligible to the Hambo Oaks. That speaks volumes at this stage.

4 Regal Magician has 2 qualifiers under his belt, where in both, 4 days apart, he started way back. In the 2nd one, he picked up the bit and worked for his position on the outside, fading late to a pretty nice trotter in Dancer Hall. He is obviously learning as he goes, but he does most everything right so far and he shows nice back half speed, whether he parks or he just follows. That is good to see when you are trying to figure out if one like this will go forward and when he might do that. Slow starts in races like this though can get you a lot of road trouble and even some dodging runners when you would rather be trotting into contention. He was a big ticket yearling, his dam has decent pedigree on her side and won a few races while bagging 73k. He is possible, but I will have to see him parade and how he acts when the real racing is done at night. Usable, but must be seen.

5 Dunbar Hall is still learning, and the learning curve appears fairly slow with this one. He is a full brother to Danielle Hall, who was a very good and reliable 2yo, but terrible at 3 and never returned to be anything after that. This guy couldn't get it together at 2, but he did trot in 55.2 over The Red Mile on the one day when he did to get 2nd money in the Bluegrass. He paraded last time like I expected him to, jumping around and running, but got his act together going to the gate, where he was floated out carefully by JJ, making his way to the top, but handling him like that to keep him going cost him late when he got tired. He is progressing, and has a shot tonight, but I still prefer others. He should make a decent older horse, even a solid fall 3yo when he puts it all together. This is just a straight maiden, so, he doesn't have to be a finished product to beat these. Shot.

6 Late Shift will be my top choice off the variables and for the price I expect to see when I consider how the raceline looks on the page to those who wouldn't take the time to watch his last race. He has post 6 tonight, and very little speed inside him. Last time, he left hard and had the lead, but let Per's horse--the favorite--go to the top and followed him all the way to the last turn. It was an awful night, and the track was bad, Per's horse sat in J Mac's lap, and he had nowhere to go for most of the stretch, finally just giving up and coasting in to finish 4th after a horrid shuffle. He is 0 for 10 lifetime, but kept decent company last year, shows to be a consistent and reliable leaver, and has solid yet unspectacular speed. I would think a few in here will go on to be much better class horses than him, but for tonight, he could be in the right spot to get the job done.

7 Pinecone Pete is a homebred making his first lifetime start off one qualifier, which frankly was nothing to write home about. He is another that has to be seen. Pass for tonight.

8 A Doozy made 10 starts last year, including a 90-1 attempt at the Peaceful Way that was grounded before it could even take off as she on the run before the start and she never trotted. She did the same thing the next start, regrouped with trotting hopples, but, it didn't help and broke again one more time in October before she was shut down. She qualified back okay and while she is a huge longshot, she isn't a toss either. Fillion and Milner have done pretty good together in the past on some young horses. Consider.

9 Lady Justice couldn't get a win in many starts last year, but she did make 52k and also made the Gold Superfinal. She qualified back decent but she draws bad here. Her experience and class, with the speed she has already shown are all pluses, and in that many of these will either run off the gate or take way back, post 9 isn't the post 9 we view it as in a race like this. If she can get away 4th or 5th and sit to the last turn, she is possible. I'd use her among many in the pick 5.

10 Routine was a solid 3rd in his 3yo debut, and while that was a good recommendation, I find lots of options in this race and a 10 hole leads me to think he is not one of them here. Phil goes to the obvious better prospect with the trainer that has the stock he wants to keep driving. Roger takes over. Pass and watch for another day.
Overall synopsis of this race. Lots of options in this race. I would be going 7 deep and hoping something pops from the ones I mentioned who could tonight. It only takes one of them to do that. Even if a chalkier one does it, its still a lukewarm chalk and you aren't locked into a 1-5 shot when you went 7 deep. Post parade is important here, and you get to see them all for a few minutes before you put the bet in. That is the advantage of Race 1 in a Daily Double or pick 5 bet.

RACE 2

1 Happy Trio was pretty reliable at 2 and only really didn't perform when he made a break at Grand River, which is forgivable. He made the Gold Superfinal, drew the 9 hole, but still got up for 4th money off a back end trip. He has qualified back adequately, with the 2 qualifier variable O'sullivan seems to like to use to make sure his are ready to perform right off the shelf. He gets to start back with a soft nw2 class and that should have been enough to make him a solid top pick. However, post 1 is horrendous currently, and I'm sure he is being pointed at some pretty big local dances that are close on the horizon. I doubt he is blasted out and while I will stick with him on top, he is no single or sure thing tonight. One of many. Slight edge.

2 Lawrencetown Beach
like his older full brother Melmerby Beach, he has a lot of talent, but just as many issues to go with them. He is also being aimed at big dances as that one was without the on track performance to back that up that one had. He got out on the engine last time with a jam up in the backfield taking many out of the mix, and a couple of others who didn't want to move early, so he got butter soft fractions to half to accelerate off of. Which he did. While I think he has a bright future, that is not the analysis I am doing here. For tonight, and the likely short price he brings, I will go against him. He will have to progress a lot to handle some stakes placed and decent winners. These aren't green maidens. No free pass this time.

3 Bills Fella has some ability, but can also be dangerous at times. He fell in one of his early starts last year, and when Saftic took over, he was very careful to keep him back and out of trouble, gradually letting him find himself and work towards winning form, and he got it done. McNair was at the lines when he fell last year, and he ran on him off the gate in the first qualifier this year. Saftic got him around in the 2nd one, but again, he kept him well back and out of trouble. That wont play with this bunch. Pass and watch. I'd think he is going into a Grassroots at some stage, and unless he becomes more reliable, he is a good play against at short odds at a track where neither Saftic or McNair are traveling to have him stand on his head into the first turn. He is on my watch list, and not because he is some live prospect.

4 Twin B Cowboy could possibly get it done tonight and I say that for one reason. He was fairly classy last year, making the rich NYSS final at Yonkers and getting 3rd money, and it was noted by the talking heads last time that Dr. Moore said he didn't warm up good, and he didn't seem to like the track when he was raced, although he wasn't horrid either. He comes back on two weeks, and I suspect  Moore has attempted to rectify whatever his problem was. I don't like the horses breeding at all, being a Roll With Joe from a The Panderosa mare, which screams to me a horse who wont fight for the win when asked to do so. I would expect if he is live tonight that Trevor puts him on the engine and tries to wire them. Will that work? I don't know, but he is an option if some other horses have issues, namely the 1 and 2, and he can get away with a soft 2nd quarter. Reasonable shot.

5 Clouseau Hanover is 1 for 24 lifetime and that was a win off a very good trip deep in the winter. He appears likely to be racing in a 20k conditioned claimer that we see later on in this card by the fall. He started out as a prospect last summer, but as many of us know, most fail on that trail and look to find levels and develop later when they put it together. He doesn't look dangerous in this race and possibly could use a trainer change as well. He isn't performing.

6 In Spades broke his maiden March 19th at Flamboro but couldn't take the maidens at this track when he still had earning room left to do that. Its not many horses that never break their maiden at this track that move up to nw2 and face the types he meets here with high aspirations and the actual performance to justify those hopes. He is hard to like, even with the best post and best current driver at this track. He does consistently finish well, and that will serve him well if he finds the right field to make that profitable. This doesn't look like that spot.

7 Fusion Five broke his maiden in March, before the better colts started to surface. He didn't have much next out, and was given a short rest. I don't like him tonight, but he might be another that finds a level and will improve with 5 or 6 more starts. He probably would have been better off staying a maiden for 5 more starts, but he won himself into a tough spot. Watch for tonight.

8 Biggieteen ships in from The Meadows from a low claimer, off almost a month and draws bad. That is the trifecta of negatives to start his stay at Chez WEG. Just for kicks, lets add two more. He is a Mister Big. Nuff said there, and he broke his maiden in fractions that would gap out in a qualifier at some B tracks around here. I'm sure there is a reason time was taken to send him to one of the toughest harness circuits around from one that lets you race in cheap conditioned claimers. What that is, you got me? All that being said, he is probably a cinch.

9 Down on My Luck won a Grassroots at Grand River at 2 by getting a very cheap half and using that to get home first. He went backwards entirely after that. He draws bad here, against a bunch that look a lot more talented than him. I will have to see where he is at, and rate him for the likely Grassroots shot he will be taking this summer. Not tonight.

10 Some Attitude is named right, as he has one. An attitude that is. Not always a bad thing, when you learn how to manage it. It comes attached with a lot of raw speed, which is buried in his high end breeding on both sides of the pedigree. P Mac is his regular ride and that is important for one like him, but he has to take his own charge in this one. Randy is MacIntosh's preferred colt driver anyway, so he will be a capable replacement. Post 10 tonight and he is getting a late start for one that has aspirations of racing in the NA Cup. He paced in 52 over Delaware during Jug week, and that is nothing to discount, although he did that chasing Downbytheseaside's tail from a long distance back. Pass and watch tonight. He has enough strikes to leave him off the pick 5 ticket tonight. Next week will be a different story if he shows me he has come back more mature and as strong as he was last year. He was very physically imposing on the track last year. That is to his credit going forward. He just needs his brain to catch up to his body.

RACE 3

1 Grana Padanno has upset potential in with this group. Post 1 and Mario are strikes against, but price makes it tolerable to accept that. He had post 10 last time against a decent group that stack up pretty well with this bunch, top to bottom. Underneath that line, he has two rails and a 9 hole on this circuit, where he raced decently, got a cheque in two of those, and gunned out from the outside in the other and paid the price for that. More recently, he went to Flamboro, where he won one of those and was a solid 2nd in the other. I can think of good reasons not to like many of the apparent viable ones here, so, I can list him underneath my top choice with a shot if he can get away clean, close up enough to pop out on the turn with a one move brush to try and get there. Price play add.

2 P L Jerico held good form moving up the ladder but he seemed spent from the get go last time and backed away badly. That was 17 days ago, and he just doesn't figure in here with a reasonably deep and tough bunch. His back to back wins have backed him into a corner and he will have to wait a few starts to get out of jail. Pass.

3 Mass Production did little wrong last year and did it right when it mattered most on Superfinal night when he trotted away from them all like they weren't there. Upon his return, he has used the 2 qualifier preparation, which seems to be the new normal, and in both, he toyed with the ones behind him, mostly inferior and green horses trying to stay out of their own way. Nevertheless, he is very talented, one year older and looking to have a big season and earn big bucks. No reason for Zeron to go wild and take shots at salty veterans like Tony Soprano, Grana Padanno and Exemplar. Minor shot on talent, but hard to like on age, experience and motivation to try tonight. I will leave him off the pick 5 and go deeper in race 1, where that is likely to pay off and is wiser in terms of chance of getting upset.

4 Sass if this horse was a pacer, he would be Melmerby Beach. He has a world of talent, and also a ton of issues that derail him some nights. The obvious one being prone to making breaks and completely blowing up. Perhaps he comes back at 4 and matures out of that. Some do. Like others of Steacy, he qualified but didn't race right away, and now has had 3 weeks between that appearance and this race. The one the other night with that variable raced short. I'd have to think this one is up against it tonight on all of that summed together. I would expect the typical J Mac steer here when he has one of these....take back, stay back, be 4th over and then come wide and brush late for whatever that gets. To me, that probably is 4th or 5th here, possibly 3rd if one of the contenders jumps it off.

5 Tony Soprano looks to be building towards a win and a progression to the Preferred. He was a topnotch 2yo who faced the best and held his own. His 3yo year never worked out, but that happens with some. He followed cover flow last time, but it was excessive and took him wide, while the dropping winner opened up daylight and hung on for dear life. He came at her and the other one but couldn't reach. He drops a notch from that level and gets a solid post. He looks like the one to me, but he is also beatable and has showed many times he doesn't always decide he feels like racing that night. Top call, but others need to be used as backups.

6 Batoutahill concluded a very good run with a 53.3 score in March, and was shut down to be bred. She returns now, and she probably needs at least one to tackle this bunch, which are a much tougher group than she was facing in the winter. I will watch.

7 Duh Bubbees left out last time, first off a long layoff and one qualifier, and while he was hung out the entire way, he did clear and make the lead, only to be swamped and passed by a few and the winner just sailed by them all. He moves up here, as 5th money earned him out of that class. No shot tonight, but the way he was gassed out last time, coupled with the big price wins he has produced before makes me keep an eye on him for the drop back down. He can be very variable, even more so than most trotters.

8 Exemplar has had terrible posts on the page for a long time, outside of one 3 hole at Woodbine when he got 2nd to a steamrolling Sargeant Seelster at that stage. He gets another bad post, but gets 2nd time Roy, and all of that in sum gives him a shot to turn the tables on these. He is another who has been higher up and done it before, not in the so distant past that you can't make a case he is one to consider as a longshot play add. That is my call on him tonight.

9 Charlie Is a Joker gets class relief tonight, but he was 75-1 last time, so, its more class reality here. He also gets the 9 hole and is the B team of the stable entry, as Mario opts for the rail horse. He wired a soft bunch a class below this, and on the right day and time of year can even compete at the Preferred level. This is not that time of the season, his form is not great anyway, and he is likely just out to drop another line. 


RACE 4

1 Malwhere didnt race at 2, but looks to have been trained down in Florida by Fred Grant, of Cambest fame. He is on the same cross as Melmerby Beach and his full brother who races earlier on the card. Ergo, big speed potential. His dam is a sister to Malicious, and he had both speed and class as a racehorse. He debuted last time at Pocono on the ship up north from Florida, left hard for a 2 hole, which became a 3 hole, which was no problem for him as he was gapping badly in a very hot pace for maidens. Eventually he came back out on the last turn and finished evenly in a slowing last quarter. He shows up in Blake MacIntosh's barn and draws the rail tonight. I don't expect much from him tonight, but he is one to watch.

2 Aphro Star was 80-1 last time, but was well meant. Fillion left out hard, sat a 2 hole which became a 3 hole, which became a road block when he wisely stayed in but was behind a stopper, got out on the turn, had to tip 3 wide, but came on late as the pace was picking up sharply on a very rainy and wet track and night. He didn't race much at 3, and has just gotten going now at 4, but he looks like a prospect for as long as his legs last. Fillion and Larocque have a positive ROI together and are winning at a 22% clip. He is a top contender for a price with the likelihood the 6 and 7 both take heavy win money here. Of note, in one of his two starts last year, the last one, he won a race in good time for Rideau with two sharp back half quarters. He is a winner among non winners with good form and 3rd off the shelf. All positives when you get a price.

3 Hes Gone Badder went to Flamboro last time and drew the rail, looking to show he is competitive so Joe Hudon can move him and get on with better stock. He got the lead, he got the cheap 2nd quarter, but he also hooked a tough colt for Flamboro types from the Blais barn and he couldn't handle him. He is now 0 for 16 lifetime and gets son Steven to drive him tonight. He looks to be in very deep water with this bunch. He can hope for 5th, but I can't see that he could do any better tonight. He might mature into something, but he is not there yet.

4 Rock on Line raced in the NYSS last year, where he was mostly overmatched, and has moved this year to O'sullivans barn for one of his better and deeper pocketed owners. They owned the sire of this colt, and I'm sure that is an attraction for them on this one. In his first try last time, he drew post 10, went to the back of the bus, where it turned out that was not safe, as he was completely wiped out before the half. To his credit, he regrouped and paced back to back 27.3 quarters out of sight of the field and most eyes. The better post, the 2nd off the shelf and in the new barn, the license to improve off interference and J Mac, who seems to win with these types every now and then, he is another I can use as a possible upset play.

5 Devils Peak has missed 17 days and has done little in the starts he has had to inspire any confidence in me. He now meets tougher and tougher every time, and he looks to be in for a long stay in this class if he doesn't head to the B tracks, if that is plan B. When Georgian opens, that might be a good fit for him. As they haven't tried Flamboro or London, I'm guessing a half mile track is not a good option. Pass.

6 American Sportsman was another bothered by one who stumbled directly in front of him last time and McNair had to veer left and around him into the safety lane, which he did. He then caught up to the 7 horse in this race, followed him but couldn't keep up, and was also steppy and iffy near the wire. He also didn't parade very sound, and being that he is a half brother to Sportswriter, and other pretty nice, but not so durable ones, and the gaps and problems he seems to have had getting into racing shape and staying racing, I will take a pass on him tonight. I'm on the fence as to which direction he will end up going, but my hunch is backwards.

7 Hurricane Beach unlike others, had a clean trip last time, but he was laid way off the pace, came for the leader, but the pace was picking up and he was never going to get to that one. He was a very big ticket yearling, but he has had issues along the way, among them not making the gate and also just not even trying once. He seems to be maturing a bit and looks like a solid contender in with this bunch and the driver he retains here, but he is one of a few in my eyes, not the clear favorite or dominant enough to single. He just isn't reliable or consistent enough yet, and not my top pick either, although I concede he has a decent shot.

8 Blacky Black ships into the Jason Libby barn for his owner who has purchased him, certainly a positive, but he draws bad and he has finished terrible twice in a row at Miami Valley. I will look him over in the post parade, but unless he wows me, he is a watch tonight, not a play.

9 Big Charlie Horse is a decently bred homebred for Carmen's dad, as they raced the dam and she was a pretty good race mare in her day. He looks to have some talent, pacing a back half in 56 and change in his first try. He draws the 9 hole here for his debut, and that is enough to lay off him and watch for future plays. That is my plan with him here. Might be a decent Grassroots type for a big score come June.

10 Go Like a Pro has consistently drawn well, but hasn't done enough to get it done. He is a homebred for MacIntosh, and I suspect he is going out the barn door soon to a new home. Tonight he draws bad in with some pretty decent prospects who look far ahead of him on many variables. Pass.

RACE 5

1 Dreamfair Eternity is bred to be good, and like her mother, she is starting fairly late and doesn't look like she is in any hurry to make waves. Post 1 tonight off one so so qualifier. I will watch and see where she is at. She will have to learn to leave a lot faster than 33 seconds if she is to be viable at this track. Lets see how she improves over the qualifier.

2 Tanzanian was sent to London by McNair, but she didn't even handle those, and he moved her out the door. Based on her breeding, I would expect her to be a poor finisher, and that is what she is. I don't see the ability to keep up at this track in the stretch. Her trainer is also 0 for 18, and I would think he is waiting for Grand River where she can probably earn a decent buck this summer. Pass.

3 Delightful Space looks to have all the variables in her favor here. She gets Trevor from Young, although he has handled her well, she gets a better post, she is 2nd time over this track, she closed well first time out, and she is gaining experience after also winning 2 at Flamboro. Last time she had to close into an accelerating pace and really had little chance to do much better than she did. Robert Young is a very capable trainer and I rate her my top choice, with only two others I view as a real threat in here.

4 Pl Katnisseverdeen ships in from Tioga off one bad line, is 2nd time lasix, first time McNair and I suppose can be dangerous as maiden shippers with some speed always can. But her consistent bad last quarters are not convincing me to fear her. I will watch her for a later assessment. Tonight, I pass on her.

5 American Cheer was given every chance by Zeron last time, but she was looking for her mother at the tote board and had nothing left. She looked like a solid stakes filly at 2, and might still be that, but I have doubts she has come around yet. The fact she didn't take much tote support last time when she figured to do that suggests the people who might know know that she isn't good yet. I'd keep my eye on that variable. Minor shot on a turnaround, but I like three others better.

6 B Fifteen saved all the ground last time on a very heady steer by CC. He just kept moving up the pylons, then angled out and back in between, looked to have the race won, but the other filly just did a shade more when they were together a few steps to the wire. She looks very logical and live tonight, but, not my top call. Must use in the pick 5 and she has the right post. She looks to be a solid Grassroots filly as the summer goes on, but she has to do more than just pace fast in the last quarter, but pass horses when she get up to their wheel.

7 Lady Sherri is 0 for 19 and shows me nothing to suggest she is dangerous at the A track to this point.

8 Columnist is what she is. She is a 30 plus start maiden who has bagged 30k plus for her trainer/owner. That's okay for him. Doesn't do much for us bettors. She paced a back half in 55.3 last time. That is something and if she shows a bit more here, I might keep my eye on her for when she heads to a B track to possibly pop her cherry.

9 Northern Swift trained down and raced once at 2 off a decent qualifier, but ran in the race and was put on the shelf. She has come back ready to race now, and drew the rail last time, which probably compromised her overall chances. She came late and looked live, and while she draws the 9 hole here, she is a reasonable add if you aren't sold on too many in here, which I'm not.

10 Rose Run Samantha raced at 2, did little, has had 2 qualifiers off the shelf and now starts with Jones driving from the 10 hole. Watching tonight, but I can't see how she wins this with all that in play. Big longshot, and deservedly so.


RACE 6

1 Cersei Hanover is an interesting prospect as a new recruit to team Ben B and Mario. She draws the rail, so obviously, that is a problem, and she has been off 21 days, which is usually not good, but also indicates Ben has had time to tinker with her, which is his thing. She shows X's all over the page, so, tinkering when you have his skills is actually a good thing. Ben certainly likes and does well with both Andover Hall's and Yankee Glide's, and this mare is a cross of the two. I'd use her in the exotics, but she isn't my top choice on the likely short price and the performance of Mario as of late, and on the whole the last year or two. She wont beat me, but I won't play her straight up.

2 Deuce Deuce Deuce is a 4yo with one lifetime win, and large gaps in his schedule. He took 3 to get qualified back as he ran in two of them, then kept it together and did so again in the race last time. He is a longshot for a price if you are looking for one here. His 56.4 win last year shows he has the speed on the night he puts it together. That could be tonight. Viable iffy shot.

3 Tymal Declan is a 3yo filly who did well to stay to the slower half mile B tracks at 2 and make a bit of cash on that angle. Not so good at Mohawk, and now has returned with two tries at Flamboro, the last one where she had the lead but coughed it up. Her dam has thrown a few and they seem to have that spit the bit trait when it matters. I will lay off her here and see where she is at. She looks like B track material to me. However, so do many of these. If she had won there, she might have gained my confidence on the switch here.

4 Literally was an early scratch.
5 Tougher Than Ever came off the shelf with two bad posts and not much of a resume to begin with. As an 80-1 longshot and higher the time before, I have to see him perform to some level before I start thinking he is going in the right direction. Not so far. I like others enough to pass on him for now.

6 Warrawee Shipshape has a new trainer, a well known trotting man, but the same connections in term of driver and owner. He made a few bucks early by being ready and going enough before others were ready to. He started to stop badly once they caught up to him. I have to see him on the track with the new trainer working on him. For tonight, pass.

7 Svensson looked like a player last time, and Fillion put him in the perfect spot to take them, but he hung badly. He gets on the lasix program here, and I suppose that is saying he bled last time and that is why he could not perform. He beat maidens off a pocket trip, but he is a 4yo with only 8 starts, and mostly they have not been great. He is shot material, but I will take my chances against him, but list him as a minor use on the picks.

8 Majestic Wanda has shown nothing to date as a 3yo, and took 3 just to get qualified. She moves into post 7, but I'm not sure she can leave enough to make that an advantage.

9 Zorgwijk Rocket was a decent 2yo last year, and looked good every time I saw him parade this winter, but he didn't perform for whatever reason. He has qualified back okay, and from post 8 I can use him if I am not sold on the logical faves in here, which I am not in any way. He wouldn't shock me, and he has some upside, along with the apparent downside of his recent performances. Trotters, especially young trotters, are very variable.

10 More Than Majestic won a grassroots last year at Sarnia in pretty slow time, as Sarnia is a freeway. Otherwise, he did little. His qualifier back was poor, with him being on the front and finishing a back half in 1:02. That wont cut it. Pass for now.

RACE 7

1 Big Chute pulled reluctantly first up last time, and it turned out there was good reason Zeron wanted to stay in, as she was pretty much done when they turned for home. Off the right trip, she is still viable for a price, but she was wildly overbet last time. I don't go near her this time for less than 8-1. I like a few other longshots here anyway, so I will pass on her for the pick 4. Being a rail starter, that is also not in her favor here.

2 Brave New World is another from Carmen's barn that was ready early but didn't make it and was shut down after one bad result. She qualified okay upon return, with some high end fillies well ahead of her. I will take a wait and see approach with her, as I can make a decent case for some of these and first time starters with an ordinary qualifier rarely pop right away unless they are meeting many who are hard to like.

3 Wicked Hill couldn't cut it with maidens at this track in 3 tries, but was more viable at the B tracks, although she didn't win either. I can't see her with this bunch as is. She will have to show me a lot more to even think she is ticket material, let alone the winner.

4 Billie Mcjean is very green but seems to have a lot of upside. Experience might be the key with this type and I would list her a fair shot in here and a use in the picks. I don't really care for any of the faves here, so she is one who could be the upsetter, as can others.

5 Loves Angel was running in horrible the entire stretch and McNair had the line in his hand to keep her from going inside the pylons. That is a Big Jim trait you see with many of them. She is probably the favorite here, and I will pass on her entirely. I just didn't like what I saw.

6 Party Beach is one who apparently showed talent at 2, but got colic and almost died. She made it, and she looked like a serious prospect parading last time. As many of Steacy's just didn't appear to be that live in the last week or so, I can play her on the angle that she was just short, or coming off a sickness, or a combo of both, and that was also her first lifetime start. Post 6 here, and she looks as good as any of these. She took her overall time down quite a bit, and that is at least a nice progression.

7 Alexa Hanover is seemingly well bred, but also a full sister to Abbijade Hanover, who took a long time to become a winner. Blais also had that one, and while Roy can make a difference here, she had to go to Flamboro to get a win, and needed to be on the front and get a cheap half. She will probably be overbet on the variables, and I will pass and go elsewhere. Minor use in the picks on the Roy angle solely.

8 Deprived makes her 3rd lifetime start but draws poorly here in what looks to be a contentious field. She certainly is an aggressive filly and likes to be out and going, just like her father did. Last time, she rated decently in the pocket, popped that and looked to sail by, but she hung badly. I will pass on her. Her time will come, but I don't see this as the spot. She should have at least passed Loves Angel, who was going sideways and had covered her up the entire way, and she couldn't even do that.

9 Macharita makes her first lifetime start off a qualifier at Flamboro, where you would have expected her to race off that scenario. The fact she doesn't suggests she could win first out there, and her connections don't want that to happen. If they don't, and they have the 9 hole here, I think they are looking for a piece of the pie, but not the biggest slice.

10 Granny Pants
won twice at 2, but then she was shut down. She draws post 10 here, and I don't expect a lot of aggression in this start. She does look sharp though, so if she keeps the ball rolling and draws better next time, I'd be on board with a chance then.

RACE 8


1 True Blue Stride sailed by a fairly weak bunch who battled a bit and he just picked them off like they were not there. It gets a lot tougher with this group. I can't see him taking them. Pass.

2 O Narutac Perfetto gets some class relief here, and that is significant for him. His habitually slow starts are a problem though, and its why he is not my top choice, but something to use on the bottom of the exotics. He will have to trip out.

3 Mister Herbie is as tough and classy as they come, but lameness is his enemy and its a serious foe for him. I will have to see him parade, but I'm inclined to go to others as he is on the downside of a great career at this point.

4 Rockin With Dewey clearly had an issue on May 8th, but qualified right back 4 days later. She had a similar issue the start before, and was sick before that. I like others in this spot, and will be watching to see which one of her personalities shows up this time.

5 Streamsong is a new one for Cullen, and he has been keeping some pretty tough company in Delaware. He is 23 days out of the box, and Cullen seems to need at least one to figure these new recruits out. Pass tonight, but possibly go to him if I like what I see and he gets a bit more class relief, which it looks like he might need.

6 Big Rich  drew badly last time and that cost him in the end. He gets in with easier here, and gets a good post, and a hot driver who drives him for the 2nd time. Not my top choice, but I can use him underneath as an option. He can win this if he gets out on the lead and finds someone live to follow most of the way to braven him up. Roy seems to find that trip more often than not.

7 Adversity was 2nd best last week when trying to dial in the winner who got away from him while he had traffic issues. He also gets to drop, but off sharp form, as Hamilton points out in the Journal. He looks like the one to me, and the price should be reasonable. I'd say 3-1 or slightly higher is about right.

8 Zeus Lightning has missed some time and draws poorly here. That is two strikes against a very low percentage winner on the downside of a long and successful career. I have to go to others in this spot.

9 Wild and Crazy Guy beat this class off a nice trip from a good post on a night when few saw him coming at big odds. The class is the same, but the field is much deeper here and he draws the far outside. No thanks. 






first five

RACE 1

1 Eve Duharas doesn't appear to be much stock. She is 4 now, and she has 1 lifetime win, taken at Rideau last August when Pierre Bovay had her. In that race, she was the longest shot on the board at 21-1 in a 7 horse field where she was sent to the top and wired them. Since then, she has done zip. She has moved to Ben B's barn, and two qualifiers in, there doesn't seem to be any progress at all. She was 9th of 9 in the last one, way back the entire way, never gaining. She will have to be seen for future plays. Not tonight for me.

2 Hab Faith didn't win in 8 starts last year, but she was fairly steady and competitive. That is half the battle in these trot maiden races when there are no future bearcat standouts like there was on Monday in the 3rd race. That is in her favor tonight. She seemed to do her better work last year at the B tracks in the Grassroots when she had good posts and got out ahead of any commotion. When she tried the Grassroots on her return to Mohawk, she was unlucky in that she hooked Magic Presto, a Breeders Crown winner, and Anikadabra, a Grassroots final winner who rarely lost at 2. She was shut down after her next start, when it was obvious she was tired and others had caught up to her. Her return qualifier on May 12th was good, but not spectacular. She is in the mix, but others look a bit better to this point. If they behave, she is likely chasing their tails. If they don't, she could fall into a win here. 

3 Asa Im Ready did not race at 2, and debuts off one qualifier with Per holding the lines. As noted this week, the rail is very deep and bad for any horse, let alone a green trotter. That is to be taken into account here as she starts her career. She is perhaps she is better than we think, and even if she goes evenly here but shows flashes of talent, I might be tempted to take her next time at a price, on the premise she had some things against her in the qualifier and Per is test driving and tuning her tonight. Some back story on the horse and connections. Her dam, All Ready Hanover was also no good at 2, but they bought her for 5k at the Harrisburg mixed sale, and turned her around completely at 3, winning a division of the Casual Breeze in 1:53.4. They kept the dam and bred her to Muscle Massive, an odd choice if you race primarily in Ontario, so obviously they have a reason to do that. These people know trotters. She is one to watch. Because of all that, I'd be tempted to toss her on the pick 5 to be safe, although, again, she is likely out for a training mile tonight. According to Hamilton, she is still eligible to the Hambo Oaks. That speaks volumes at this stage.

4 Regal Magician has 2 qualifiers under his belt, where in both, 4 days apart, he started way back. In the 2nd one, he picked up the bit and worked for his position on the outside, fading late to a pretty nice trotter in Dancer Hall. He is obviously learning as he goes, but he does most everything right so far and he shows nice back half speed, whether he parks or he just follows. That is good to see when you are trying to figure out if one like this will go forward and when he might do that. Slow starts in races like this though can get you a lot of road trouble and even some dodging runners when you would rather be trotting into contention. He was a big ticket yearling, his dam has decent pedigree on her side and won a few races while bagging 73k. He is possible, but I will have to see him parade and how he acts when the real racing is done at night. Usable, but must be seen.

5 Dunbar Hall is still learning, and the learning curve appears fairly slow with this one. He is a full brother to Danielle Hall, who was a very good and reliable 2yo, but terrible at 3 and never returned to be anything after that. This guy couldn't get it together at 2, but he did trot in 55.2 over The Red Mile on the one day when he did to get 2nd money in the Bluegrass. He paraded last time like I expected him to, jumping around and running, but got his act together going to the gate, where he was floated out carefully by JJ, making his way to the top, but handling him like that to keep him going cost him late when he got tired. He is progressing, and has a shot tonight, but I still prefer others. He should make a decent older horse, even a solid fall 3yo when he puts it all together. This is just a straight maiden, so, he doesn't have to be a finished product to beat these. Shot.

6 Late Shift will be my top choice off the variables and for the price I expect to see when I consider how the raceline looks on the page to those who wouldn't take the time to watch his last race. He has post 6 tonight, and very little speed inside him. Last time, he left hard and had the lead, but let Per's horse--the favorite--go to the top and followed him all the way to the last turn. It was an awful night, and the track was bad, Per's horse sat in J Mac's lap, and he had nowhere to go for most of the stretch, finally just giving up and coasting in to finish 4th after a horrid shuffle. He is 0 for 10 lifetime, but kept decent company last year, shows to be a consistent and reliable leaver, and has solid yet unspectacular speed. I would think a few in here will go on to be much better class horses than him, but for tonight, he could be in the right spot to get the job done.

7 Pinecone Pete is a homebred making his first lifetime start off one qualifier, which frankly was nothing to write home about. He is another that has to be seen. Pass for tonight.

8 A Doozy made 10 starts last year, including a 90-1 attempt at the Peaceful Way that was grounded before it could even take off as she on the run before the start and she never trotted. She did the same thing the next start, regrouped with trotting hopples, but, it didn't help and broke again one more time in October before she was shut down. She qualified back okay and while she is a huge longshot, she isn't a toss either. Fillion and Milner have done pretty good together in the past on some young horses. Consider.

9 Lady Justice couldn't get a win in many starts last year, but she did make 52k and also made the Gold Superfinal. She qualified back decent but she draws bad here. Her experience and class, with the speed she has already shown are all pluses, and in that many of these will either run off the gate or take way back, post 9 isn't the post 9 we view it as in a race like this. If she can get away 4th or 5th and sit to the last turn, she is possible. I'd use her among many in the pick 5.

10 Routine was a solid 3rd in his 3yo debut, and while that was a good recommendation, I find lots of options in this race and a 10 hole leads me to think he is not one of them here. Phil goes to the obvious better prospect with the trainer that has the stock he wants to keep driving. Roger takes over. Pass and watch for another day.
Overall synopsis of this race. Lots of options in this race. I would be going 7 deep and hoping something pops from the ones I mentioned who could tonight. It only takes one of them to do that. Even if a chalkier one does it, its still a lukewarm chalk and you aren't locked into a 1-5 shot when you went 7 deep. Post parade is important here, and you get to see them all for a few minutes before you put the bet in. That is the advantage of Race 1 in a Daily Double or pick 5 bet.

RACE 2

1 Happy Trio was pretty reliable at 2 and only really didn't perform when he made a break at Grand River, which is forgivable. He made the Gold Superfinal, drew the 9 hole, but still got up for 4th money off a back end trip. He has qualified back adequately, with the 2 qualifier variable O'sullivan seems to like to use to make sure his are ready to perform right off the shelf. He gets to start back with a soft nw2 class and that should have been enough to make him a solid top pick. However, post 1 is horrendous currently, and I'm sure he is being pointed at some pretty big local dances that are close on the horizon. I doubt he is blasted out and while I will stick with him on top, he is no single or sure thing tonight. One of many. Slight edge.

2 Lawrencetown Beach
like his older full brother Melmerby Beach, he has a lot of talent, but just as many issues to go with them. He is also being aimed at big dances as that one was without the on track performance to back that up that one had. He got out on the engine last time with a jam up in the backfield taking many out of the mix, and a couple of others who didn't want to move early, so he got butter soft fractions to half to accelerate off of. Which he did. While I think he has a bright future, that is not the analysis I am doing here. For tonight, and the likely short price he brings, I will go against him. He will have to progress a lot to handle some stakes placed and decent winners. These aren't green maidens. No free pass this time.

3 Bills Fella has some ability, but can also be dangerous at times. He fell in one of his early starts last year, and when Saftic took over, he was very careful to keep him back and out of trouble, gradually letting him find himself and work towards winning form, and he got it done. McNair was at the lines when he fell last year, and he ran on him off the gate in the first qualifier this year. Saftic got him around in the 2nd one, but again, he kept him well back and out of trouble. That wont play with this bunch. Pass and watch. I'd think he is going into a Grassroots at some stage, and unless he becomes more reliable, he is a good play against at short odds at a track where neither Saftic or McNair are traveling to have him stand on his head into the first turn. He is on my watch list, and not because he is some live prospect.

4 Twin B Cowboy could possibly get it done tonight and I say that for one reason. He was fairly classy last year, making the rich NYSS final at Yonkers and getting 3rd money, and it was noted by the talking heads last time that Dr. Moore said he didn't warm up good, and he didn't seem to like the track when he was raced, although he wasn't horrid either. He comes back on two weeks, and I suspect  Moore has attempted to rectify whatever his problem was. I don't like the horses breeding at all, being a Roll With Joe from a The Panderosa mare, which screams to me a horse who wont fight for the win when asked to do so. I would expect if he is live tonight that Trevor puts him on the engine and tries to wire them. Will that work? I don't know, but he is an option if some other horses have issues, namely the 1 and 2, and he can get away with a soft 2nd quarter. Reasonable shot.

5 Clouseau Hanover is 1 for 24 lifetime and that was a win off a very good trip deep in the winter. He appears likely to be racing in a 20k conditioned claimer that we see later on in this card by the fall. He started out as a prospect last summer, but as many of us know, most fail on that trail and look to find levels and develop later when they put it together. He doesn't look dangerous in this race and possibly could use a trainer change as well. He isn't performing.

6 In Spades broke his maiden March 19th at Flamboro but couldn't take the maidens at this track when he still had earning room left to do that. Its not many horses that never break their maiden at this track that move up to nw2 and face the types he meets here with high aspirations and the actual performance to justify those hopes. He is hard to like, even with the best post and best current driver at this track. He does consistently finish well, and that will serve him well if he finds the right field to make that profitable. This doesn't look like that spot.

7 Fusion Five broke his maiden in March, before the better colts started to surface. He didn't have much next out, and was given a short rest. I don't like him tonight, but he might be another that finds a level and will improve with 5 or 6 more starts. He probably would have been better off staying a maiden for 5 more starts, but he won himself into a tough spot. Watch for tonight.

8 Biggieteen ships in from The Meadows from a low claimer, off almost a month and draws bad. That is the trifecta of negatives to start his stay at Chez WEG. Just for kicks, lets add two more. He is a Mister Big. Nuff said there, and he broke his maiden in fractions that would gap out in a qualifier at some B tracks around here. I'm sure there is a reason time was taken to send him to one of the toughest harness circuits around from one that lets you race in cheap conditioned claimers. What that is, you got me? All that being said, he is probably a cinch.

9 Down on My Luck won a Grassroots at Grand River at 2 by getting a very cheap half and using that to get home first. He went backwards entirely after that. He draws bad here, against a bunch that look a lot more talented than him. I will have to see where he is at, and rate him for the likely Grassroots shot he will be taking this summer. Not tonight.

10 Some Attitude is named right, as he has one. An attitude that is. Not always a bad thing, when you learn how to manage it. It comes attached with a lot of raw speed, which is buried in his high end breeding on both sides of the pedigree. P Mac is his regular ride and that is important for one like him, but he has to take his own charge in this one. Randy is MacIntosh's preferred colt driver anyway, so he will be a capable replacement. Post 10 tonight and he is getting a late start for one that has aspirations of racing in the NA Cup. He paced in 52 over Delaware during Jug week, and that is nothing to discount, although he did that chasing Downbytheseaside's tail from a long distance back. Pass and watch tonight. He has enough strikes to leave him off the pick 5 ticket tonight. Next week will be a different story if he shows me he has come back more mature and as strong as he was last year. He was very physically imposing on the track last year. That is to his credit going forward. He just needs his brain to catch up to his body.

RACE 3

1 Grana Padanno has upset potential in with this group. Post 1 and Mario are strikes against, but price makes it tolerable to accept that. He had post 10 last time against a decent group that stack up pretty well with this bunch, top to bottom. Underneath that line, he has two rails and a 9 hole on this circuit, where he raced decently, got a cheque in two of those, and gunned out from the outside in the other and paid the price for that. More recently, he went to Flamboro, where he won one of those and was a solid 2nd in the other. I can think of good reasons not to like many of the apparent viable ones here, so, I can list him underneath my top choice with a shot if he can get away clean, close up enough to pop out on the turn with a one move brush to try and get there. Price play add.

2 P L Jerico held good form moving up the ladder but he seemed spent from the get go last time and backed away badly. That was 17 days ago, and he just doesn't figure in here with a reasonably deep and tough bunch. His back to back wins have backed him into a corner and he will have to wait a few starts to get out of jail. Pass.

3 Mass Production did little wrong last year and did it right when it mattered most on Superfinal night when he trotted away from them all like they weren't there. Upon his return, he has used the 2 qualifier preparation, which seems to be the new normal, and in both, he toyed with the ones behind him, mostly inferior and green horses trying to stay out of their own way. Nevertheless, he is very talented, one year older and looking to have a big season and earn big bucks. No reason for Zeron to go wild and take shots at salty veterans like Tony Soprano, Grana Padanno and Exemplar. Minor shot on talent, but hard to like on age, experience and motivation to try tonight. I will leave him off the pick 5 and go deeper in race 1, where that is likely to pay off and is wiser in terms of chance of getting upset.

4 Sass if this horse was a pacer, he would be Melmerby Beach. He has a world of talent, and also a ton of issues that derail him some nights. The obvious one being prone to making breaks and completely blowing up. Perhaps he comes back at 4 and matures out of that. Some do. Like others of Steacy, he qualified but didn't race right away, and now has had 3 weeks between that appearance and this race. The one the other night with that variable raced short. I'd have to think this one is up against it tonight on all of that summed together. I would expect the typical J Mac steer here when he has one of these....take back, stay back, be 4th over and then come wide and brush late for whatever that gets. To me, that probably is 4th or 5th here, possibly 3rd if one of the contenders jumps it off.

5 Tony Soprano looks to be building towards a win and a progression to the Preferred. He was a topnotch 2yo who faced the best and held his own. His 3yo year never worked out, but that happens with some. He followed cover flow last time, but it was excessive and took him wide, while the dropping winner opened up daylight and hung on for dear life. He came at her and the other one but couldn't reach. He drops a notch from that level and gets a solid post. He looks like the one to me, but he is also beatable and has showed many times he doesn't always decide he feels like racing that night. Top call, but others need to be used as backups.

6 Batoutahill concluded a very good run with a 53.3 score in March, and was shut down to be bred. She returns now, and she probably needs at least one to tackle this bunch, which are a much tougher group than she was facing in the winter. I will watch.

7 Duh Bubbees left out last time, first off a long layoff and one qualifier, and while he was hung out the entire way, he did clear and make the lead, only to be swamped and passed by a few and the winner just sailed by them all. He moves up here, as 5th money earned him out of that class. No shot tonight, but the way he was gassed out last time, coupled with the big price wins he has produced before makes me keep an eye on him for the drop back down. He can be very variable, even more so than most trotters.

8 Exemplar has had terrible posts on the page for a long time, outside of one 3 hole at Woodbine when he got 2nd to a steamrolling Sargeant Seelster at that stage. He gets another bad post, but gets 2nd time Roy, and all of that in sum gives him a shot to turn the tables on these. He is another who has been higher up and done it before, not in the so distant past that you can't make a case he is one to consider as a longshot play add. That is my call on him tonight.

9 Charlie Is a Joker gets class relief tonight, but he was 75-1 last time, so, its more class reality here. He also gets the 9 hole and is the B team of the stable entry, as Mario opts for the rail horse. He wired a soft bunch a class below this, and on the right day and time of year can even compete at the Preferred level. This is not that time of the season, his form is not great anyway, and he is likely just out to drop another line. 


RACE 4

1 Malwhere didnt race at 2, but looks to have been trained down in Florida by Fred Grant, of Cambest fame. He is on the same cross as Melmerby Beach and his full brother who races earlier on the card. Ergo, big speed potential. His dam is a sister to Malicious, and he had both speed and class as a racehorse. He debuted last time at Pocono on the ship up north from Florida, left hard for a 2 hole, which became a 3 hole, which was no problem for him as he was gapping badly in a very hot pace for maidens. Eventually he came back out on the last turn and finished evenly in a slowing last quarter. He shows up in Blake MacIntosh's barn and draws the rail tonight. I don't expect much from him tonight, but he is one to watch.

2 Aphro Star was 80-1 last time, but was well meant. Fillion left out hard, sat a 2 hole which became a 3 hole, which became a road block when he wisely stayed in but was behind a stopper, got out on the turn, had to tip 3 wide, but came on late as the pace was picking up sharply on a very rainy and wet track and night. He didn't race much at 3, and has just gotten going now at 4, but he looks like a prospect for as long as his legs last. Fillion and Larocque have a positive ROI together and are winning at a 22% clip. He is a top contender for a price with the likelihood the 6 and 7 both take heavy win money here. Of note, in one of his two starts last year, the last one, he won a race in good time for Rideau with two sharp back half quarters. He is a winner among non winners with good form and 3rd off the shelf. All positives when you get a price.

3 Hes Gone Badder went to Flamboro last time and drew the rail, looking to show he is competitive so Joe Hudon can move him and get on with better stock. He got the lead, he got the cheap 2nd quarter, but he also hooked a tough colt for Flamboro types from the Blais barn and he couldn't handle him. He is now 0 for 16 lifetime and gets son Steven to drive him tonight. He looks to be in very deep water with this bunch. He can hope for 5th, but I can't see that he could do any better tonight. He might mature into something, but he is not there yet.

4 Rock on Line raced in the NYSS last year, where he was mostly overmatched, and has moved this year to O'sullivans barn for one of his better and deeper pocketed owners. They owned the sire of this colt, and I'm sure that is an attraction for them on this one. In his first try last time, he drew post 10, went to the back of the bus, where it turned out that was not safe, as he was completely wiped out before the half. To his credit, he regrouped and paced back to back 27.3 quarters out of sight of the field and most eyes. The better post, the 2nd off the shelf and in the new barn, the license to improve off interference and J Mac, who seems to win with these types every now and then, he is another I can use as a possible upset play.

5 Devils Peak has missed 17 days and has done little in the starts he has had to inspire any confidence in me. He now meets tougher and tougher every time, and he looks to be in for a long stay in this class if he doesn't head to the B tracks, if that is plan B. When Georgian opens, that might be a good fit for him. As they haven't tried Flamboro or London, I'm guessing a half mile track is not a good option. Pass.

6 American Sportsman was another bothered by one who stumbled directly in front of him last time and McNair had to veer left and around him into the safety lane, which he did. He then caught up to the 7 horse in this race, followed him but couldn't keep up, and was also steppy and iffy near the wire. He also didn't parade very sound, and being that he is a half brother to Sportswriter, and other pretty nice, but not so durable ones, and the gaps and problems he seems to have had getting into racing shape and staying racing, I will take a pass on him tonight. I'm on the fence as to which direction he will end up going, but my hunch is backwards.

7 Hurricane Beach unlike others, had a clean trip last time, but he was laid way off the pace, came for the leader, but the pace was picking up and he was never going to get to that one. He was a very big ticket yearling, but he has had issues along the way, among them not making the gate and also just not even trying once. He seems to be maturing a bit and looks like a solid contender in with this bunch and the driver he retains here, but he is one of a few in my eyes, not the clear favorite or dominant enough to single. He just isn't reliable or consistent enough yet, and not my top pick either, although I concede he has a decent shot.

8 Blacky Black ships into the Jason Libby barn for his owner who has purchased him, certainly a positive, but he draws bad and he has finished terrible twice in a row at Miami Valley. I will look him over in the post parade, but unless he wows me, he is a watch tonight, not a play.

9 Big Charlie Horse is a decently bred homebred for Carmen's dad, as they raced the dam and she was a pretty good race mare in her day. He looks to have some talent, pacing a back half in 56 and change in his first try. He draws the 9 hole here for his debut, and that is enough to lay off him and watch for future plays. That is my plan with him here. Might be a decent Grassroots type for a big score come June.

10 Go Like a Pro has consistently drawn well, but hasn't done enough to get it done. He is a homebred for MacIntosh, and I suspect he is going out the barn door soon to a new home. Tonight he draws bad in with some pretty decent prospects who look far ahead of him on many variables. Pass.

RACE 5

1 Dreamfair Eternity is bred to be good, and like her mother, she is starting fairly late and doesn't look like she is in any hurry to make waves. Post 1 tonight off one so so qualifier. I will watch and see where she is at. She will have to learn to leave a lot faster than 33 seconds if she is to be viable at this track. Lets see how she improves over the qualifier.

2 Tanzanian was sent to London by McNair, but she didn't even handle those, and he moved her out the door. Based on her breeding, I would expect her to be a poor finisher, and that is what she is. I don't see the ability to keep up at this track in the stretch. Her trainer is also 0 for 18, and I would think he is waiting for Grand River where she can probably earn a decent buck this summer. Pass.

3 Delightful Space looks to have all the variables in her favor here. She gets Trevor from Young, although he has handled her well, she gets a better post, she is 2nd time over this track, she closed well first time out, and she is gaining experience after also winning 2 at Flamboro. Last time she had to close into an accelerating pace and really had little chance to do much better than she did. Robert Young is a very capable trainer and I rate her my top choice, with only two others I view as a real threat in here.

4 Pl Katnisseverdeen ships in from Tioga off one bad line, is 2nd time lasix, first time McNair and I suppose can be dangerous as maiden shippers with some speed always can. But her consistent bad last quarters are not convincing me to fear her. I will watch her for a later assessment. Tonight, I pass on her.

5 American Cheer was given every chance by Zeron last time, but she was looking for her mother at the tote board and had nothing left. She looked like a solid stakes filly at 2, and might still be that, but I have doubts she has come around yet. The fact she didn't take much tote support last time when she figured to do that suggests the people who might know know that she isn't good yet. I'd keep my eye on that variable. Minor shot on a turnaround, but I like three others better.

6 B Fifteen saved all the ground last time on a very heady steer by CC. He just kept moving up the pylons, then angled out and back in between, looked to have the race won, but the other filly just did a shade more when they were together a few steps to the wire. She looks very logical and live tonight, but, not my top call. Must use in the pick 5 and she has the right post. She looks to be a solid Grassroots filly as the summer goes on, but she has to do more than just pace fast in the last quarter, but pass horses when she get up to their wheel.

7 Lady Sherri is 0 for 19 and shows me nothing to suggest she is dangerous at the A track to this point.

8 Columnist is what she is. She is a 30 plus start maiden who has bagged 30k plus for her trainer/owner. That's okay for him. Doesn't do much for us bettors. She paced a back half in 55.3 last time. That is something and if she shows a bit more here, I might keep my eye on her for when she heads to a B track to possibly pop her cherry.

9 Northern Swift trained down and raced once at 2 off a decent qualifier, but ran in the race and was put on the shelf. She has come back ready to race now, and drew the rail last time, which probably compromised her overall chances. She came late and looked live, and while she draws the 9 hole here, she is a reasonable add if you aren't sold on too many in here, which I'm not.

10 Rose Run Samantha raced at 2, did little, has had 2 qualifiers off the shelf and now starts with Jones driving from the 10 hole. Watching tonight, but I can't see how she wins this with all that in play. Big longshot, and deservedly so.

Monday, May 15, 2017

WEG Handicapping and Betting, Notes and Comments: May 15, 2017

RACE 3

1 Noble Prize was aimed at some bigger prizes at 2, and bagged 34k along the way, but never won. He parked to make the lead in his qualifier, but went the wrong way from there, trotting a poor back half and not even near the top bunch. Mayotte is a fine horseman and capable enough as a driver, but he is low percentage, the horse has the rail and he has no reason to push him here. I can pass on this one and watch to see if he is making any progress.

2 The Back Nine is a first time starting 3yo by Muscle Mass, and most of those take a while to figure it out. They are generally steady, smart enough, and earn a good buck as they go along. He might be one of those. We shall see. He wasn't even in the ballpark in his qualifier where Noble Prize was well ahead of him. He looks tough to back until you see some experience in his ledger. He is a homebred and I guess these people are patient. They are names I recognize from many years back, so they probably are taking the long term view on this horse, as will I.

3 Holiday Money shows X's all over the page, but being he is handled by Greg Peck, he probably will be thrown into an OSS gold because we just don't see the potential in him that he does. Blair gave up on him. I can't even think of going near him until he shows some talent and can keep his act together over an actual mile. 5 starts into his career, he is 0 for 2 in that regard.

4 Stritch qualified 3 weeks ago but did not race until this start. Warning sign for me. Not the worst thing, but at a 2-1 ML, and his performance last year, I wouldn't be taking a short price on a horse like that. Maybe he was just sick, and they waited. Maybe he was sick and they will race him easy tonight because he has some OSS races coming up. Steacy has been known to operate that way. On paper, he looks solid, dependable, capable and more talented than most of these. Paper doesn't win races. I will have to see him, and of course, he has to be used in a pick 5 play, but, he is likely bad value as a win prospect. Not that that will stop the sheep from getting sheered.

5 Try Try Again looks like the one to me. But first, lets get it right. He was 2nd in his qualifier, beat about 6 lengths in 2:00.3, not 3rd by 15 lengths as charted. He was well in hand and wasn't being asked to do more. He looks like a serious prospect, he has big time connections. From a pedigree perspective, he is bred to be a very good one. His mother, Sweetspellosuccess is a Credit Winner half sister to Marion Marauder, and her dam is Spellbound Hanover, A world champion who has produced a Hambo winner. His dam has produced 2 other foals that were no good at all at 2, but came on at 3. It was probably wise to lay off this one and let him do what he can probably do best, which is mature into himself and earn that way.  As he is still eligible to some big dances as Hamilton has noted, they probably feel that way about him.  Hamilton didn't watch the qualifier, or he would have seen what I did and what Ryan Willis told me he saw. If the 4 takes big money, he could easily take him at a price. He is still a first time starting maiden though, and that can't be lost in the conversation.

6 Hp Run Like Mom is a homebred for her connections, but Ben B has not been able to do much with her. She doesn't appear ready to win at WEG, and she blew up as a 50c on the dollar chalk at Flamboro last time. Back here she comes, but she will have to prove she can do a lot more to get me on board. I will watch. She has some speed, but probably not enough for the best ones in here at this stage. In spite of Hamilton's detailed commentary, she is not a colt, but a filly taking on some colts and one filly who is likely to be the favorite.

7 Spark Business is a 4yo with very few starts, off a very long layoff going for new connections and was far behind my top choice in the qualifier. Based on his breeding, he will have to be seen. He is likely to be a loon. I will look him over in the post parade. He has enough X's on the page to get the win in Tic Tac Toe.

8 Charmbo Chrome made 11 starts at 2, but didn't win. However, he is on his sires best cross, to Angus Hall, and he showed decent speed in the qualifier, and some overall ability in his races last year. He is a viable option to use even from the 8 hole if you think the 4 might not fire tonight and the 5 is not a known quantity to rely on yet. Both of those statements can easily hold water.

9 Archangel Raphael is a 3yo colt that has some breeding on his side, being by Muscle Hill and coming from a female family that included talented ones like Dancers Victory, but also troubling soundness issues, which many Muscle Hill's can also be prone to. This one is a half brother to Lady Dynamite, who shows some flashes of ability. Post 9 tonight, and Zeron is likely to just get him around and build up his confidence and experience. He is not impossible, but I don't want to go deep here, so I would leave him off and take the chance that even if he is going to be something, tonight is not the night.

10 E T Phone Home was mentioned to be a project horse by Durand last fall, a big fumbly trotter with some learning issues. He shows the speed, but, between the horse, the driver, the post and his current suspect form, I can pass and watch.

Here is my overall synopsis of this race. It would be tempting to single the 5 here, but that would also be foolish. I would go 3 deep and overweight the 5 and short the 4 and 8 as backups.

RACE 7

1 Electric Western takes the healthy class drop, and that is very much in his favor. He does that with very good form, which also works for him. He tows Mario B, who is a very low percentage driver (Mario Baillargeon (177-10-12-22-.135) at this stage, and that is a problem. Post 1 is also an issue for a horse that has gate speed when its a good time to use it, and this class would be that time for him. Also note that while he is racing well and dropping at least 2 classes, he was a longshot in every one of those races, so the public viewed him as over his head in every one of those, and rightly so, as he didn't prove them wrong. Last time, he blasted out from the 5 hole, let Randy cut it, who for some strange reason let Phil clear when he was hung and going nowhere and then backed into all of them, including Mario who got left in. When he finally got out, he closed well and wasnt badly beaten by a group who towers over this bunch. He is a must use, but Mario is a little slow off the switch to make moves now, and that can easily get him beat if he cant make front, which post 1 might prohibit him from doing.

2 Ciona Bromach picked up some nice shares in the bottom classes here, and moves up a shade because of that. Last time at Flamboro in the Preferred 3, he was 3 wide on the last turn when the leader was live, the pocket horse was live and first up was the winner. He was also 45-1 from the 2 hole, and he backed up to finish 8th. Trevor took Weller's over him, and while that used to be automatic, it isn't anymore and that one has horrid form and lines. Pass on this one for me until he hits bottom again. He fits nw of 3000l3 at Flamboro if he doesn't earn tonight, and that is likely his next stop.

3 Rockin Finish strangely does not have Trevor aboard, the driver who he won with last time and has a pretty suspect one to drive against him. He does get Roy, but its an odd driver change. He has 528,000 reasons to be able to move up from the bottom off a win, a layoff to keep him fresh, and a weak group to tackle. And a driver who is winning with just about anything live he touches these days. He is also 9 for 32 in the win column over the last two seasons, and has won 37 times, many at a high level. Big shot, but he would have to bring a decent price to be a win play. Easy use in the pick 4 to close it out if you are playing that. With the allowance for the sloppy track last time and his overall past ability (not back class, but back ability), he is in range time wise.

4 Burning Shore dropped last time, but he met Machal Jordon who was also doing that, and MJ is the king of the castle of the drop and pop. He hung in there with him, but was never a threat to haul him down, as none of them were. Roy jumps off him for the 3, and Randy gets back aboard a horse he has driven many times. With his leaving ability, and this post, he could trip out, and we all know Randy loves to do that. I'd have to use him based on that scenario playing out. Over his career, he is a very low percentage winner when he looks like he can win it. Even more reason for Randy to bury him and hope he gets lucky at the right time. Just a side note for Hamilton. He is a gelding, not a mare.

5 Bs Tyrrific has missed a month, and one could argue he has been MIA for much longer than that. He did draw poorly on April 15th, and they did go a big mile, so, he has the potential to have hidden form. That is a big stretch and a very optimistic view, but Trevor lands on him when he probably could have had the drive on the 3. Hmmm. He isn't impossible with this post and his decent win record. If I had one spot left over when my pick 4 ticket was done, I'd add him on the chance he wakes up and others bomb out. Its very pie in the sky, but not like that doesn't happen a lot in this type of class.

6 Mac Raider was sent to Flamboro by Cullen to try and steal some purses while he could, a tactic he wisely uses with the B team when they can't quite cut it at WEG. On his first try, he got up on the wire by a nose in the lower class. Last time, on a sharp move up to the top Preferred level there, with Davis driving, he blasted out like a bat out of hell, made the lead but had to go plenty to keep another in the 2 hole. This horse will begin pulling and wont relax when he is driven that way, and while Davis got the breather on paper, the horse was using energy anyway. Then under attack in the 3rd quarter, he fended that one off, only to get picked up in the lane by 2 of them, and others were right beside him. He is back now, as that class is too tough for him, and he has to face tougher than he was racing last time he was here. The post is in his favor here, for the style he likes, and I suppose that gives him a shot for a longshot upset. Possible use in the picks, but I probably wont. There are enough others in here I do like and he has to beat all of them. I don't see it playing out that way.

7 Hes a Sensation goes 3rd off the shelf, usually a pretty good angle for him, as he seems to go lame and need long layoffs and comes back sounder for a while each time. This time, not as sound. He is getting up there in age, and traditionally he does best right at the bottom, which he has not reached yet. Roy is off, Phil is back on, and he has done very well with this horse over the horses career. Be mindful of that. I'm not sold he is ready to win yet. He had broken equipment last time, but I want to see him compete and he has yet to do that since his return. Pass and watch.

8 Casimir Overdrive was his old self last time. So so leaver, out moving under heavy urging, backing up on the turn, coming back on turning down the lane and going enough to get some money. Post 8 will dig a deeper hole tonight, and he isn't at the bottom either. I prefer others and he has to show me he can do a bit more for the time he reaches the next level down, if that plays out. Pass for me.

9 Weatherly can be fairly effective at the bottom, but he is a low percentage winner as a rule, trip dependent, and not liking parking long ways to do his best. All of that goes against his chances here, when he is not at the bottom, draws the 9 hole, and was going all he could go last time to get 2nd. I will pass and roll the dice against him proving me wrong here.

10 Dalton Did It  dropped in class last time and tried to wire them up from the 4 hole. Things were looking good until the favorite steamrolled him on the turn and said goodbye. He hung in there for a while, but then spit the bit and collapsed. With post 10 tonight in the same class, back of the bus looks likely and brush late for a share and a positive move towards a possible better draw next time. For the 30k they paid, he is not looking like a good investment at this stage.

Here is my overall synopsis of this race. This race is ripe for some kind of illogical longshot to step up and beat a few in here with not terrible form, but reasons to think they can lay down when it matters. I have mentioned which those are, and I'd play both sides of the fence here and use all of them. They are highlighted in pink. 5 deep.

RACE 9

1 Dovuto Hanover has been skating on very thin ice soundness wise for a very long time. I'd say at least 2 years, but it could be longer. To his credit, he tries his heart out. Unfortunately, his legs have little left to give, other than the speed that was bred into him when he was a clean legged yearling. Here he takes another drop in class, but there really is no choice. He is so lame and used up, in my view its just a matter of time before they scrape him off the track and that will be a sad day and sad ending to a very nice horse in his day. Last time, he drew the 9 hole as Cullen tried a lower nw condition, and he attempted to blast off the gate, but first he ran in sideways, then he put in steps. Cullen drove on, and he was hung into the backstretch, where he found a 3 hole. He kept up until the turn, where he was rough gaited (called by Middleton) but no more so than he always is, and then shuffly all through the lane, but still trying and going forward to pace up for 4th money. In spite of his obvious soundness and shelf life issues, I could see someone dipping in and taking him tonight. If that is the case, Cullen will beat the crap out of him and probably use him harder than he should. I can't back him off what I continue to see.

2 Next Thing Smoken travels a lot as Joe C. looks for spots for him to win races, and he can do that because of his location and proximity to all those tracks and his ability to ship here by whatever means he does that. Two trips to Northville have resulted in two wins, and each time he does that, he has to go elsewhere to find a place to compete. Last time that was Hoosier, a place he was very good at a couple of years ago when he raced at the Open level and did well. Note his 1:50.2 win last year there. He is not that horse anymore, clearly, but he can still move around the nw classes and find the right claiming class to be viable if the trip is right. He was 6th of 6 at Hoosier, straight to the back with no gain but he kept up. Now he returns, in a 15k claimer here, which is a drop from the 20k he competed at last time he took a tag at this track, and he picks up J Mac, who does very well with Joe C. He drew the rail and 2 hole when he raced at Woodbine, and both of those were very bad posts over the meet and also around the time he raced there. He ended up with a tough trip in his last Woodbine try, and held his own but faded at the end. He did pace in 52.1, last quarter in 27.1 over Hoosier last time and won parked the mile at Northville, 3 high on last turn, beating among others Cobble Beach, who is not a bad horse for Northville types. He has sneaky good form and a license to be good enough to take these.

3 Cheyenne Ford was claimed for 17k by Johnson and Casie Coleman, but he was not good enough, so they dropped him so that they could get out on him and get another one. Mission accomplished. He beat that group, with a 12k attached, but most were in for 10k and are even suspect at that price. He meets far tougher here, and loses the gas that a Johnson, Allard, and others can provide. I think he is over his head with this group and I will pass on him. Even though he won last time, he still didn't have a lot of interest in going by them. These will give him a fight for that if he even tries. He has been known to quit when that happens.

4 Think Again is now at the earnings point that he can't rely on beating up on conditioned claimers. In with these types twice, he has gotten 5th money. These are likely to go 52 or so, and he has never shown he can beat 53 and change, which is where his lifetime record sits and where he won at last year as well. He seems a second tier type with these, and more viable if it was a 12 to 15 claimer and he drew okay with those. No cheque tonight and he will fit the class that goes in race 11 tonight. Keep an eye on him for that possibility. He is a outsider longshot in with these.

5 Lonewolf Currier is a lot of things. At one time, he was a very high end, very fast stakes horse. He paced in 1:48.3 over a 5/8ths as a 3yo, but he broke down after that, and has never been the same. These days, if you can convince him to try, he is about an 18 claimer, give or take. He also does not like to go onto the track or turn and pace to the gate, so he needs assistance and convincing to do that. That is a sign he isn't really all that interested in his current career options. He is the typical The Panderosa foal, in that his desire can be severely lacking, but his speed is certainly there. As I mentioned in Race 11, Robbie Mac knows value, and knows when to bail and take some profit. He moved his price from 22k to 20k, and that was enough to complete the sale. Hart/Gangell/Friend et al jumped in, and off that race, jacked him up to an optional 30k race, where he met a tough claimer in Musselsforbrussels and a tough conditioned foe in Audreys Dream, and others who soundly trounced him when he made a first over bid to no avail with them. The Katie Gangell era appears to be over and Friend returns and they move him in for 20k, possibly hoping somebody will bail them out. It might happen. He loses Roy, and picks up Phil. While I like and respect Phil's talent and skills, currently, he is a big downgrade from what Roy is doing. Roy takes the Moreau horse here no matter what, but, I have to go elsewhere and pass on this horse tonight.

6 Mckinney seems to like this class, but I think they have written it since his last try with them. That being the case, Ryan took him to Flamboro, where he already races regularly, and did what you do with this one. He blasted out looking for the top, but another was faster away, so he sat a comfy pocket the entire way and had a clear shot at him in the passing lane, but couldn't quite go by, and another took both of them in the 3 path. It was pretty much a blanket finish. He seems to be between classes right now, in that he is okay with these, and viable, even possible, but, he probably a solid 18 to 20 claimer for the win prize, and he is an even better fit in the bottom 3 conditioned nw classes, but he needs to drop 2 lines to get back in there. A victim of his own success. He bears watching and has a shot with these, but he will be all over the bottom types if he gets there and holds his decent current form. Keep an eye on him. Ryan has a very high ROI, both as a trainer, a driver, and a trainer/driver because he brings in a lot of longshots and finds the right trip when he can. He did exactly that 4 back when he took his lifetime record, although I think he has paced faster in the past but not won. I'd have to use him tonight for all the reasons I have mentioned. As a 10-1 ML, he could easily be overlooked in the late pick 4 and wipe out a lot of players.

7 Panedictine goes 2nd off the claim for Fuller, who seems to do well with these types. He jacked him up in class last time and he was no good, making a break and was distanced. I don't like the connections he has gone through, and being that he is always one that looks borderline lame, I am suspicious he will hold up as he travels from barn to barn. Somebody is going to lose the game of musical chairs and eat him. He might get claimed again tonight
and McNair won with him the last two times he drove him for two different barns. His 9 for 49 win record over the last two years is certainly a positive, and many of those were for big odds. Your call. I'd have to see him to make a true call, but if you are playing the pick 4, I'd think he has to be used to cover your ass.

8 Jimmy Be Good is one of those that is good, not good, good, and who the hell knows on any given night. He has always been that way. Moreau has had him for a couple of months now, and he keeps looking for spots to make him profitable considering the kind of things he needs to do and what that costs to race one out of his barn. He tried him twice at Flamboro but he couldn't get the job done, although he bagged 2nd in the top class. Back in at Mohawk, he was a very good 2nd to Lisvinnie last week and fits this class nicely, with the tracks top driver on board again. Moreau and Roy have a positive ROI together, and he is a must use in the picks, but I suspect bad win price value.

Here is my overall synopsis of this race. To me it all hinges on who gets claimed and how they might be raced. If Dovuto Hanover is claimed, he will push the pace and likely set it up for others. I will go on the premise he will get claimed. I see Jimmy Be Good being claimed, and being sent right out, with McKinney going right with him from the best post to leave from on this track. That leaves Dovuto coming at whoever holds the lead down the backside, and any number of others latching on to the flow, and in the end, if Next Thing Smoken is good tonight, J Mac somehow finding a way or seam to beat them all when it matters, which we have seen him to time and again the last few years. I have highlighed in pink which ones I view as uses in a pick 4 play. 

Race 11

1 Shoe Shine loses Fillion to Monte Christo, which isn't surprising as he has weak form anyway, Larocque is more his regular ride, and the way Fillion has been driving lately, not entirely a bad thing. He is still Fillion and has talent, and he will break out of the funk or slump. But, any horse he has driven over the past month or so, especially the suspect ones like this, you have to look at the trips he has given them. He has post 1 tonight, and thats still clearly a negative at Mohawk. Post 1 did not win a race on all 3 cards on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 0 for 31. He has missed more than 2 weeks now, even though its not hard to get in whenever you want. Last time he had the 8 hole, floated to the back, was following one who wasnt very live, but didnt sit on his lap either, but he did get trapped behind him briefly when he needed out as another came up beside and neither went by or went backwards. When angled out, he did have pace and was going forward, but the pace was picking up sharply. He came a back half of 55.4, which is solid. He has drawn 7 hole or outside in all of his last 4 starts, so, another poor post here, but when he did draw a bit better, he was in the mix but no threat to the winner. The horse is 0 for the last two years, and Saftic is a very low percentage driver at this stage. Very minor shot. I would leave him off the tickets. If he shows some decent pace tonight, and draws 4,5 or 6 next time and back in this class or the bottom, I might use him then.

2 Monte Cristo picks up Fillion upon his return to this track. I have made comments about Fillion's performance as of late in the Shoe Shine commentary. Monte Christo is a well known hanger at this track and even others. He has 4 wins out of his last 44 starts, and the years before don't look any different, possibly even worse. All of those wins came at the B tracks. Last time at Flamboro, he had the 9 hole (the trailer) got away 5th, pulled first up before the 2nd turn, had trouble even getting up to the leader, even though the 2nd quarter was slow, and then began to hang and fade as the pace picked up. He hung in there in the lane to only get beat 3 lengths, but didn't get a cheque. He was also bearing in all the way and noticably on the right line. The bigger oval will help him with that tonight. The longer stretch will hurt him as he is a poor finisher, which is why he does a bit better at the B tracks. Too many options in this race to think he is the one to pick up the pieces when a few of them likely fail. He could be a good one for the lowest non winner class at Grand River when that opens in two weeks if he gets no money tonight, which is very possible.

3 Im the Pied Piper  had to move up last time as he got 2nd money two back, just missing on the line to Koultons Rocket, who makes a good living winning that class. He has had two 10 holes in his last 3 starts and that has done him in. He can leave a little bit, so I would expect Henseley to attempt to do that here, but he is better coming from off the pace with one well timed move, which looks like all he has left at this stage in his career. When Burke had him, he was a top Open horse at tracks like The Meadows and Northfield, but he has been raced out and is clearly on the downside of his career. Most in this class usually are. Cullen moved him to his sister and brother in law 4 back because he couldn't make him go at all. They got him going, but last time, in addition to the 10 hole start, he wasn't even keeping up in soft fractions and Hensely was tattooing him all thru the last turn and into the lane, to no avail as he was not even gaining on the pack, even though they only came home in 29. All signs point to him being overbet tonight on the class drop and better post. I would leave him off the ticket and use that spot for something else. He looks like a 5 claimer now. Hamilton picks him 2nd, even though he made a pretty good case against taking him at all. Just sayin.

4 Ideal Jet went to Flamboro last time, drew the rail and had JJ, in with a very soft bunch in what looked to be an easy score. As many times happens when you train horses and you show up with that in play, something happens and you get nothing. He suffered broken equipment and was pulled up. I had that very thing happen to me at that track once (I forgot my hopples that day, borrowed a pair from a guy I know that was stabled there, didn't check them over and they broke in the race and my horse pulled up as well), then jogged the next week at Kawartha with that horse. That is how the game goes sometimes. No fault to the horse or trainer last time. It happens every now and then. In any event, on the positive side, he dropped a line and gets in with easier here. For this horse, one who looks like he is in contention and moving forward in the lane, only to hang in the last bit before the wire, that is a very big positive. The post is also good for him, as he can leave plenty when asked to, but needs a breather to finish. This post can achieve that. JJ is aboard again, and he has driven him enough to know what to do with him. If you look over his last 5 lines, ignoring the last one where he pulled up, he shows a very fast quarter in his last 2 quarters, mostly in the last one, but a 26.3 3rd quarter in the only one where he didn't have the fast last one. The class drop and the very soft nature of this field make him viable. He is a must use tonight.

5 Southwind Masimo was listed on the SC site for sale and Puddy bought him and raced him first time last start. Unfortunately, he drew the 10 hole and also moved up in class. He had zero shot, and was beat by many, including the sharp winner who has serious ability and doubled up against better on Saturday night.
In terms of how he performed, he did follow the gate okay and was leaving smooth, but when Trevor took hold of him, he threw in a step or two, and he had to hold him to his gait. (He also seemed to do that the start before when J Mac took a light hold of him behind the gate). He also ran in badly in the stretch at least once last time, but when not doing that, he was going forward at the end, like he always does. I would look for some equipment changes, possibly a tighter hopple and maybe some headgear adjustment. That was the first time Trevor drove him that I know of, and he will know him well enough to leave with all the variables in mind.
That was his 3rd bad post in a row, and tonight he gets the 5 hole, statistically one of the two best posts at this track. He also managed to get 2nd twice in a row from the 8 hole, both in this class or the one below, once making a gate break, the other time flying up from the backfield and pacing his own back half in 55.1 to nab 2nd when the winner was on a front end mission and long gone. He meets that horse again tonight (Sports Lightning) on the drop, but he is very hot and cold, and right now, ice cold. Masimo is only 3 for 37 over the last two years, and has been known to hang badly in the stretch when he raced in the States, even on the nights he looked live and in good form as he does now. That is something to consider. He has new connections now though, and that can change a horses attitude and racing style. He is in the mix, and one to use, but he is beatable enough and not reliable in my eyes. "His 2016/2017 boxscore isn’t terribly encouraging but make no mistake about it, he does know
how to win races; he’s 33-for-159 (20.7%) lifetime."
That is a valid point Hamilton makes in the Journal. Or it would be if it was correct. Which it is not. He has 7 lifetime wins, which is right on the program page.

6 Chief Talkalot has all the right variables in his favor. He has post 6, which is the right post to have in a field like this, or any field at this track for that matter. He has a high percentage trainer in Robbie MacMillan, who I was stabled with for a couple of years. Robbie knows how to get one going, classify them to make money, and then move on to another when they are in need of that. He is hanging on to this one, and he has clearly improved in his care if you look at his lines before he got him, which are now off the page. J Mac has been aboard him in all his starts on the page, and now knows him. The horse doesn't always leave, but he can, as shown by his April 3rd line when he had the 9 hole at Woodbine and was 3 wide in a first quarter of 25.4 and yet still finished 3rd in 52.4 to a daylight winner who on his best day was an Open horse. He consistently paces miles in 52 or 53, which is just about right for this class. He isn't making a class move here, but clearly this race is easier than last time, as Spinfiniti and Shadow Place would both be heavy faves in with this bunch off their last races. In that last race, J Mac took him off the gate although the horse wanted to leave, and that was a wise move considering the wicked pace, got him 3rd over, but he just wasn't good enough, although he tried hard right to the wire and did keep going forward. An effort like that again, being more forwardly placed should be enough.  Under that race, he was chasing Jins Shark, a horse who has moved back up an dominated the Preferred. He was 2nd 3 back off a back end trip and clearly has good form. Hamilton doesnt even list him in his to 5, but to me, he is the one to beat. Not a single for sure, but he is one you would have to have. J Mac and Robbie Mac have a positive ROI together. That can't be ignored.

7 Who Doesnt has drawn post 7 and outside in his last 3 starts, and taken way back each time. I see no reason he doesn't do that again. To his credit last time, he did lay off 15 at the half and closed to get 2nd, in a back half that was only a minute flat. That was one level below this, which while a very minor difference, is something to a horse like this who doesn't win often at the big track. He has needed to go to Flamboro to get all 3 of his wins since he returned from his Alberta base with Cullen. He is a 38 time winner, but many of those came in Alberta. He just seems a shade short of winning form at this track. Next winter he is probably more viable for that consideration when they slow up about 2 or 3 seconds. I'm sure he will have a solid summer going over to Grand River and some of the other B tracks and beating up on those when he fits the conditions, as he did at Flamboro on April 16th. Not with these for me. I will leave him off the tickets and roll the dice.

8 Sports Lightning is one of those types you see in this class every now and then. On his best day, he could blast out and daylight them, and then outstagger them with the big cushion in his back pocket. Which is exactly what he did when Roy blasted him out, wanted a hole but the horse wouldn't rate, so he just drove on and kept going. Right after that, he returned to his no try ways and terrible finishes. He can be a bit of both of those types on any given night. Post 8 tonight, with quite a few inside him who will also want to blast does not favor him here. He made a bid for the lead last time on the last turn, but it was short lived and not even close to being dangerous. When that happens, he will stop like he hit a brick wall backed up with another brick wall to make sure there are no designs to do otherwise. He is dropping in class, and if Drury were to try and send him out on a mission, I doubt he completes that mission tonight, but he could take a few passengers into the ditch with him. I will roll the dice against him tonight based on too many negatives I see.

9 Surprise Hanover had Fillion listed, but obviously there was no way he was going to take him, so he picks up Roy. Not the worst trade that could have played out. This is his 3rd bad post in a row, and he seems to not leave a step when that happens. Roy is a smart kid. I doubt he is going to alter that on this horse, who is well known as one who wins very rarely, even from good posts. He did pace back half in 54 flat 2 races back, and if, and only if, there was some kind of crazy speed battle and he was in a live flow, with another contender pinned in while he got the jump on them, he is possible. Being that Roy seems to fall into those trips, he is a use if you want to go deep here. I'd certainly trade Im The Pied Piper's spot on the ticket for him if you are looking to make that call. He is a longshot, but not a "no shot".

10 Par Intended goes 2nd off the claim for Lee, and gets a lot of class relief, but he drew the short end of the post position stick. That is his 3rd bad post in a row, and he was also in with some very tough customers relative to these last time. He seems to take right back to last when he draws like this, and its hard to see him passing the entire field when he is likely to have a lot of road trouble with the hangers on the last turn pushing him very wide and losing both ground and momentum doing that. He is not impossible, but he is up against it.

Here is my overall synopsis of this race. Ideal Jet and Chief Talkalot are both likely to blast out, and one of those two should be cutting it, likely Chief Talkalot. Shoe Shine is hard to see being any factor, and should stay in most of the way, while Monte Christo will do the same and look to find a seam late to see what he can get. Im The Pied Piper is likely to be in the flow, possibly first up, depending on what Southwind Masimo does. I could see that one trying to make a brush to the top just after the quarter. Does he clear? Do they hang him? If they do, who is on his back? Who is on that ones back? I would think in that scenario, it is being set up for one of the two on the front, or one of either Surprise Hanover or Par Intended, both at a very big price.