Dexter Cup, Lady Suffolk Headline Soph-Trot Extravaganza Over Three Tracks

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

May 5th, 2016

Action on the Hambletonian Trail intensifies on Saturday, May 7, with the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) programs in Pennsylvaina starting alongside the featured races at Freehold, the $58,000 Lady Suffolk and the $140,800 Dexter Cup.

The lone division of the Lady Suffolk attracts three “Oaks” contenders: Flowers N Songs, American Gal K, and Southwind Hope. Shipping in from the Celia’s Counsel Series and starting from post 2, Flowers N Songs should be a heavy favorite.

Trond Smedshammer sends out Dazzling Dollars. At two, she was competitive on the New York Sires Stakes circuit, finishing second in the final. She has made one start this year, which was an off-the-board effort against conditioned trotters at the Meadowlands. However, she traveled a tough route, taking the lead into the stretch after a strenuous first-over bid, resulting in her losing stride. She’s bound to improve in her second go of the year, but should also maintain a smooth gait.

This year’s Dexter Cup could be a promise of value. Two of the three elim winners, Dominion Beach (one of two Hambo hopefuls entered, the other being Steed) and Dante, drew towards the outer half of the gate. While Cufflink Hanover, dangerous off a pocket trip, has post 3, Sir Royson, starting from post 1, demonstrated his ability over this course last week. Facing Dominion Beach, the two engaged in a sprint off down the stretch. Dominion Beach held off Sir Royson by less than a length but Sir Royson drifted heavily as he tried to surpass the favorite. The odds are in his favor with this draw, and his odds could be in our favor if he’s sent off the fourth choice.

Over at The Meadows Saturday, three divisions of fillies compete in the $161,048 PASS. The first split matches up a sextet of Oaks hopefuls against eight rivals, them being Miss Teszla, Dancing In Thehall, My Pink Bike, Black Broadway, and Ginny Weasley. Of the six, Dancing In Thehall is the fiercest foe, having improved greatly entering Lexington’s stakes week last year and getting a good qualifier under her belt for her seasonal debut.

Aside from her, My Pink Bike, consistently racing well against conditioned stock at the Meadows, will be a great price that could provide for some high-paying exotics.

Division two gathers five fillies eligible to the Oaks: Kathy Parker, Gracie Hanover, Woman’s Will, Maeve Quaider, and Spicedbourbongirl.

Woman’s Will should be a heavy favorite here, for her stellar record at two as well as her speedy qualifier. Yet, Spicedbourbongirl could have the form to topple her. Winning by open lengths in her debut on May 2, she should be even better in her second start off the bench, and should also be able to position herself well through her gate speed.

The final division brings together five eligible gals: Sunset Glider, Lookin Sharp, Candy Lane, Abbie’s Celticlass, and Synonymous Hanover.

With so many horses entering this event fresh, it’s a toss-up who could be the best value based on their form. However, because of her post, Synonymous Hanover should end up being a decent price. Since moving barns, she has improved in her three qualifiers of the year. She’ll have to be aggressive from the outside.

Colt trotters are also in play in three divisions of PA All-Stars at Pocono Downs during their afternoon program. Division one has three Hambo hopefuls, Love Matters, Hollywood Highway, and Pilgrims Tide.

Making his seasonal debut, Love Matters will take heaps of public dollars, especially off a speedy qualifier. He’s up against a group of trotters attempting to regroup in the infancy of their sophomore campaigns, which makes long shots like Mac Deeno a viable option. His last two outings display his improving form, with him making a powerful first-over move against early closers and traveling wide to finish third against conditioned trotters. He should be involved late as long as his past of breaks doesn’t seep into his performance.

Division two features three Hambo eligibles: Granite State, Marion Gondolier, and Mikkeli Hanover. Mikkeli should be the best value of the three, since he enters off of two sharp miles but draws poorly

Another sharp horse to consider in this field is Meadowbranch Memo. Shipping in from the Meadows, he raced well against early closing competition, traveling first over frequently to put himself in the mix. A stalking trip would be ideal for him.

Hambo hopefuls concentrated towards the final division of PA All-Stars, with six entered: Lagerfeld, Treasure Keys K, Make Or Miss, Hititoutofthepark, Alexander Hanover, and Tight Lines. Lagerfeld and Make Or Miss are the obvious contenders in this split, both for their form at the end of their two-year-old seasons and for their fast qualifying efforts.

However, outside of the obvious duo, Alexander Hanover stands out and Treasure Keys K is tricky. Improving in three qualifying efforts, Alexander Hanover appears primed for his return, but will have to use his gate speed to secure a stalking spot. As for Treasure Keys K, he trotted a good mile against conditioned stock at the Meadows before breaking in the Dexter Cup elim but whether or not that effort redeems galloping his way out of the “Dexter” is a tough question. Either way, if he stays flat, his may sift his way into some exotics at a high price.

The racing of classic divisions—soph-colt-and-filly trotters—on their quest to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” finals continues its exclusive, extended coverage from TwinSpires and the Hambletonian Society. Recaps of races covered in this blog can be found at the archive section of the web’s home for the Hambletonian Society.