August aims for glamour divisions with Dexter Cup, Lady Suffolk finals
Once again this year, the Dexter Cup and the Lady Suffolk at Freehold open the soph-colt-and-filly trotters’ journey to the first Saturday in August, when the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks makes history at The Meadowlands.
And again we are proud to add the Hambletonian Trail blog to our TwinSpires harness menu. Here we will analyze races which include eligible colts and fillies along the way to the big dance, if you will, looking for profits from the fields of ultra-competitive trotters earning their ways into berths for a shot at stardom.
The featured event on the Saturday, May 6 program at Freehold is the $143,737 Dexter Cup Final, featuring Hambletonian hopefuls Another Chapter, Sir John F and Southwind Cobra. Another Chapter, off a win in one of the two eliminations last week, and Southwind Cobra, receiving a bye and skipping the elims, should take a majority of the play.
Aside from them, Texican (the sole also eligible in an eight-horse field), showed great ability in his elimination despite his fourth-place finish. Kicking off cover into the stretch, he gradually cut into the lead and pressured his rivals until suffering a defeat due to lack of real estate, that is, the short Freehold stretch. Perhaps with a similar trip in the final Texican will have a stronger late bid.
Texican is not eligible to the Hambletonian but his connections may discover that it was a mistake not to pay up, especially if he defeats the two eligible colts, both that were upsets in their elims due to a lot of running by their foes.
Closing ground in a gallop-laden elimination, Arch Credit (post 7 but non-eligible to the Hambletonian, too) could threaten the dominant players mentioned. Though he was the best of the struggling rest in an elim, he was forced to weave around horses and circumvent several obstacles (breaking entries) in order to secure third in a much improved effort relative to any race where he competed at two. Voiding any similar mishaps, expect him to be involved late.
The Lady Suffolk for the soph-filly trotters comes in two divisions this year, each worth $36,850. The first should feature strong support for Jimmy Takter’s Princess Aurora, a winner of her debut at three but most of these are unproven sophomores and that gives promise to fresh fillies, especially the first two on the gate, Ake Svanstedt’s Sparkle Plenty and Linda Toscano’s Amber Ella.
Neither is eligible to the August classics (all fillies are automatically eligible to the Hambletonian and the “Oaks” and only two in this field, Pennys N Dimes and Princess Aurora, can enter the main stakes) but is hard to argue against without evidence, while their trainers can make an argument for winning.
Pennys N Dimes should be the second choice but “Aurora” has the edge over her in class and post position. So all in all, Ake and Linda fillies will offer some value.
In round two, Romancing Rachel, a Muscle Hill filly, is the sole Oaks eligible in the eight-horse field. Ron Burke sends her out for her fourth spin at three. The only winner so far this season is Ansovertheplace, who should get some support and, always dangerous is Trond Smedshammer, who trains and drives Celebrity Ruth. “Rachel” as a key and “Ruth” for an exacta could prove profitable.
Recaps of races covered in this blog can be found at the archive section of the web’s home for the Hambletonian Society.