View Full Version : The Meadowlands: Friday, January 5

01-04-2018, 10:15 AM
Good morning from snowy Boston. First, the bitter cold. Then, the heavy snow. Then, the bitter cold. Boston recently tied a weather record that stood for a century: the temperature, until yesterday, did not go above 20-degrees for 7-straight days! Cabin Fever!

I don’t usually handicap one-mile harness ovals, but when I do, it’s usually The Meadowlands. Frankly, because of “The Big M’s” new 20-cent Survivor Pick-10, I’m gonna take a stab.

At first blush, my thinking is that you’ve got to load up in the early races. If you fail to pick the winner in the first few, you’re obviously: “Voted off the island”. If you can make it to the 5th or 6th race, you’ve got a shot at collecting.

Race One:

It’s one of those “amateur” jobs. The GSY Club that supports the children of professional horsemen and women. It looks like “an inside job”. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not implying that there’s something “funny” goin’ on; I’m just stating that I believe the winner will come from one of the five “inside” posts. If you’re looking for a closer, I think it can come from the 3, possibly the 4, or 5. #s 1 and 2 are front-runners who are capable, with proper handling, of carrying their speed to the finish line. In order of preference: 1 FOX VALLEY STEFFEN; 3 BOLD FRESH; 5 SONG OF THE VALLEY; 2 REAL DJ HANOVER; 4 ARUBA VACATION

Race Two:

In post-position order, moving from inside to outside, I’ve narrowed it down to four trotters. 2 PRESIDENTE ZETTE went off at 36-1 in his last about one week ago and finished a surprising 2nd. He was coming three-wide on the far turn; he finished full of trot. If you can get anything resembling double-digit odds, jump on it! Do I hear: “Overlay”? 4 LOTHARIO broke at the start in his last, a couple weeks ago, and finished a New York City block behind the rest of the field. If this Muscle Hill-bred has any chance, the sign on his barn-door must read: “No Dancing!” “The Orange Crush” is in the bike. 6 RECEIVERSHIP. If I keep betting 1-to-2 shots who go off stride at the start; well, that’s where I’ll end up: this trotter’s name. Betwixt and between. A conundrum. On the horns of a dilemma. If this well-named Chapter Seven-bred gelding runs back to his Dec. 22 qualifier, it’ll be Katy-Bar-The Door. If that happens, no one, at least in this field, will catch him. Nooooo-body. If you bet him, take a deep breath, close your eyes, take two aspirin (call me in the morning) and repeat after me: “Stay flat!” Finally, if you’re thinking of “singling,” him; I’d counsel “buying insurance”. 8 ELEVENTEEN. For your information: Did you know that the former Catskills resort, The Nevele (a big harness racing supporter; remember the horse, Nevele Honeymoon?), is the number 11 spelled backward. This mare must get into the flow, early. How much will an early brush take out of her?

Race Three:

Driving Miss Daisy - I mean 2 DRIVING MISS CRAZY – is my top choice in this trot. When I worked as publicist/back up race announcer at the now defunct Foxboro Raceway (now a Gillette Stadium parking lot), we called trotting races: “Fox-trots”. This mare’s driver, Austin Siegelman, has performed very well in upstate New York, e.g., Monticello, Saratoga. If this mare runs back to her recent qualifying win, she can prevail. 3 A PENNY EARNED drew outside in his last and did well to finish 3rd. Brett Miller reprises the drive. 5 HAILEYSGONEDANCING caught a lot of that fresh East Rutherford, NJ air in her last, a race against better in which she was parked for a good portion of the mile. A better trip makes her a “contendah,” not a Palooka (Marlon Brando, “On the Waterfront”).

Race Four:

6 WELLWESAID is in razor-sharp form having reeled off two straight wins in this company. Look for this Well Said-bred gelding to be closing with a rush in deep stretch. 7 MAYICRUISEWEST has been the model of consistency in his recent races. I look for him to be a contender once again. Brett Miller reprises. 1 EL DARTSMYBOY is my longshot try. He draws the rail. He has the services of the most capable reinsman, Greg Merton. He’s capable of springing the upset that would seriously narrow down this “Survivor” Pick-10. Worthy of consideration? You bet your dupa!

Race Five:

Another trot. Remember your dance lessons from the Arthur Murray Dance Studios: Left-front, right-rear, right front, left rear. You got it! Now, “Don’t Go Dancing!” 1 MOONLIGHT COCKTAIL is my top pick. I like it that this 5-year mare has drawn the rail. She has also faced better. Linda Toscano is a solid conditioner; Joe Bongiorno, a solid driver. The inside starting post should work to this mare’s advantage. If you’re thinking of “singling” in this “Survivor,” this may well be your horse. 2 CAULFIELD also draws inside and gets a big driver switch to Brett Miller. Frankly, the thing that worries me most is that this gelding has been away from the races for three weeks. Others that I would consider are: #s 7, 4, 6.

Race Six:

7 DOUBLE JOY with “The Orange Crush,” Andy Miller, for “The Mainer,” Philip Bo Sowers, is a combination that’s most capable of winning here. This Jenna’s Beach Boy-bred turned in a 1:53.4 at Rosecroft last year. Anything that approximates that effort and this mare gets her picture taken. 3 BEAUTIFUL LADY, the Rocknroll Hanover-bred 7-year old should be a factor. She’s faced better. Vinny Ginsburg drives for trainer Monique Cohen. Others I’m considering are #s 9, 8.

Race Seven:

5 SIGNAL HILL is my medium longshot try. This Muscle Hill-bred horse needed his last, “a tightener”. He should be fitter now off his fall layoff. If he’s as ready as I think he is, this horse can prevail. Another horse I’m looking at is 1 MORE THAN TALK. This Chapter Seven-bred won his last, albeit against slightly weaker. Yet, the rail start should help. So too should the services of Anthony Napolitano. The most capable Ron Burke trains. 2 HE’S GONE finished second in his last. There’s room for improvement. He may be ready to take a step forward.

Race Eight:

10 AREYOUREADYGIRL N is another medium-longshot try (yes, I know, overcoming the 10-hole is a daunting task). If the odds stay anywhere near 5-1, I’ll be doing my best impersonation of a Pavlovian dog when the bell sounds. I believe this Christian Cullen-bred is ready for a big race, that despite starting from “Out in Nassau County”. He should be coming right off the tailgate and flying home like Adios Butler (If you remember that great pacer, you’re as old as I am). Others: #s 5, 7, 8.

Race Nine:

1 ASHES CASH is my longshot pick of the evening. No, I’m not high on “Bloody Marys” (a belated Happy New Year!). Before you say, "Abuelo loco," hear me out. This Conway Hall-bred finally draws inside. That just might be the ticket for a trip to the winner’s circle. Tony Schadel is a solid driver. This gelding has faced better. Chortle if you want, but if he pops… 4 P L ICABOD has been a consistent sort, two 2nds, two 3rds, in his last four starts. I look for this Brett Miller-piloted 6-year old to once again be right there. Others: #s 5, 2

Race Ten:

6 A JERSEY CONTRACT, with Bill Mann in the sulky, is my pick in this last leg of “The Survivor” (I have serious doubts it’ll get this far). This Lucky Chucky-bred gelding has faced some tough costumers up at “The Spa”. A change of scenery to The Meadowlands’ one-mile oval could do wonders for this gelding. A ringa-ding-ding... (thank you “ol’ Blue Eyes”). Do I hear a wake-up call? The other horse I’m looking at is the rail horse, 1 TEASIN AND PLEASIN. Brett Miller is back in the bike for trainer Tom Corelli. I guess my only concern is the short vacation this mare’s been on since her last race. The 8-hole at the “ol’ Hilltop,” a.k.a. Yonkers Raceway is “il bacio della morte!” Others to consider are: #s 7, 8.

Good Luck!