Fillies Fight In ‘Oaks’ Elims; Colts Combat In Ultimate Hambo Prep

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

July 28th, 2016

With one week until Hambletonian Day, 20 fillies compete in two eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks on Saturday, July 30, and the colts go in the $53,488 Reynolds Stakes on the under-card of the “Oaks” eliminations.

Southwind Frank races against 10 other trotters, five of which are Hambo eligible, in the Reynolds. He’ll start from the second tier in an easier field compared to those in his previous starts. Yet, the trailing post could create traffic issues or it could give him a position where he can brush and crush this group. In the event this races turns into a group effort to defeat Southwind Frank, Ake Svanstedt’s pair, Double L Lindy and Desert Runner, could spring an upset.

Elimination one for the Hambletonian Oaks attracts Canadian star Caprice Hill to go against Unica Steed and Womans Will. Together, this trio should take a majority of the win plays. Yet, a couple of fillies entered here appear to be sharpening and could provide value.

Flowers N Songs will likely present the best value. Drawing post 10, she enters off a win in the $140,000 “Zweig” and has defeated Caprice Hill earlier in the season. Sitting off a fast pace, Flowers N Songs swept to control in the $134,233 Ontario SBOA final at 23-1. Her outside draw fits her closing style but she will need to receive the proper setup to launch to victory.

Black Broadway has matured over the course of the Hambletonian Trail. Once a clumsily gaited trotter, she has managed to stay flat against both the sires stakes ranks and conditioned ranks. While she avoided some of the major dances, she enters the eliminations off a parked mile from post 9 against conditioned trotters. Considering her improved draw, she could organize a trip that results in a large payoff.

Finally, Dream Child has flown under the radar. She parked the mile in the second consolation for the Zweig, pressuring the leader until the stretch when she faltered. Aside from comfort issues when racing in the Reynolds against All The Time and other top-Oaks prospects, she trotted home strongly, only having to weave herself into contention. She draws well here, so, if anything, she could sit for the mile and pull herself into the exotics.

The headlining act of elimination two is the rematch of Celebrity Eventsy, All The Time and Broadway Donna. The three met last in the Del Miller Memorial, where they grinded through the stretch in a battle won by Broadway Donna. However, these three will also be the predominant favorites against some fillies who will be ignored.

Wildflower has raced only four times heading into this elimination. In her debut, she won a prelim of the New Jersey Sires Stakes with ease and lost the final after getting caught in a speed duel. Off a month’s rest she raced in the Reynolds, where she traveled first over off a fast pace and failed to advance farther. She comes in off a win against conditioned trotters at Pocono Downs, but, because she won there with relative ease, that victory may signal that this filly is primed for Oaks.

Spicedbourbongirl has been a sharp filly on the Oaks trail all season. She has demonstrated talent with her application of speed and has raced well against the likes of Broadway Donna on the sires stakes circuit. Yet, given a second-over trip in the Reynolds, she couldn’t sling herself into contention and instead finished sixth. Despite her poor performance she followed the Reynolds with a closing effort in the Zweig, sprinting to finish sixth after trailing for most of the mile. She has a perfect starting spot in this elimination, the question will be whether or not she can capitalize with it.

The racing of classic divisions—soph-colt-and-filly trotters—on their quest to the Hambletonian and Hambletonian 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.
Ray Cotolo contributes to this blog