Dexter Cup, Lady Suffolk Set Stage For Classics’ Journey
By Frank Cotolo
The Dexter Cup and the Lady Suffolk open the soph-colt-and-filly trotters’ race to the second Saturday in August, the race date for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks for those divisions, respectively (though fillies can race with the colts). It is only three months until the big events but there are 118 colts and 75 fillies beginning May with hopes of making the fields of the coveted classics. A lot of stakes, national and homebred, will ensue and a lot of money is on the line before the divisions go for the historic titles.
The “Cup” features six eligible for the Hambo and this purse of $133,170. Four in the field received byes and were allowed to skip the one-race elim at Freehold. The two of those that are Hambo-eligibles are Habitat and Sixteen Encores.
Also eligible in the final field are Divisionist and Apostles Creed, the later which won the elimination. “Creed” will be one of the fan choices, for sure, being a Jimmy Takter-trained colt looking very good last week over favorite Divisionist.
But Habitat is the horse to beat. We followed him and cashed a number of times during his rich frosh campaign and on this half-mile, if he is ready to roar at three, he will be tough on the track and on the toteboard.
Divisionist was challenged in the elim and came up short as Creed found good cover and came from behind. A duel again, this time with Habitat, could close the deal for Creed, a wager if he is let to go off as the third choice, which is highly possible.
The Lady Suffolk for the soph-fillies features two $35,750 divisions. The first offers two “Oaks” eligibles, Rileys Dream and Rules Of The Road. They may both be beaten by non-eligible EL Love, Riina Rekila’s tough filly that debuted at three with a win. The two eligibles have not won at three yet.
The second division also features two eligibles: Southwind Cartier and My Lucky Word. “Cartier” is one for one and D.R. Ackerman is bound to be sailing strongly, wanting to keep this filly sharp for all the big purses. She may actually be sent off at a decent price for this small field. “Word” should get a lot of action, also coming into this race with one start and one win but non-eligible Showy Starlet is bound to attract dollars, as is Jewels In Hock, leaving Ackerman under-rated.
On May 2 at Pocono, there are four $32,000 PA All Stars events for soph-colt trotters.
In division one, Hambo-eligible Boots N Chains debuts at three and will be played strongly. We like Jacksons Minion, the second of three eligibles (Don’t Mind Me is the third). His soph debut was terrific with an early brush that cost him a neck at the finish.
In division two, five of the seven have Hambo badges and the bargain price for contenders could go to Piercewave Hanover. The Ron Burke trainee could be overlooked in the wagering, a plus for us.
Round three has a trio targeting the classic and our choice is Cruzado Dela Noche. We expect great improvement from this colt, having watched him school at two and race competitively, though green. He may mature and now is the time to get a price on him before everyone catches on—if we are correct.
Finally, the nightcap has a quartet of Hambo eligibles among the seven going to the gate and the highly regarded Takter student, Whom Shall I Fear will get a lot of play. We suggest another contender, Cue Hall. Though he broke last out, his debut when flat, two back, is an exceptional performance. He will offer a good price and may surprise the crowd and Takter fans, as well as Takter.
Recaps of races covered in this blog can be found at the archive section of the web’s home for the Hambletonian Society.