Filly Frays Ensue; Sires Stakes Challenge Favorites As Division Remains Wide Open
Hambletonian Oaks hopefuls (e) race for berths in the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) final next week at Vernon. They are on the Trail on Friday, May 17 in $12,500 elimination divisions. The Meadowlands hosts colts and fillies in the launch of the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) with the first leg on May 17 (see separate blog). Saturday, May 18, more fillies go in another Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) leg, this one at the Meadows. At Vernon, in the first EBC division, three fillies recognizable from last week’s Yonkers’ adventures traveled north to join three others in the six-horse field. Some luck was added to our contender’s trip on the wet Yonkers track last week when a few in the field broke and Pilgrims Lass (e) stayed steady to finish second at 36-1. He lost to a big favorite in that split and looks super in this mile. He won’t offer the huge price but his “Oaks”-aiming foes, Conway Kellyanne (e) and Gobi Princess (e) won’t be lethal threats. Six others are involved in division two, with, as mentioned, Winndevie (e) the huge favorite—and rightfully so. With Out A Doubt won last week and Hanna Dreamgirl (e) put in a winning mile and we went with Sweet Chapter (e), who should race better in this group and will be worth more than last week and will up the reward in an exacta with Winndevie. There are four $42,000-plus PASS divisions for fillies at the Meadows on May 18. Division one is another shot in three for Jezzy’s Legacy (e) to take her first soph win. The price will be right in a field where the fans will look beyond Oaks hopefuls. The second of four PASS events has seven and only one with no credentials for August. Sweet Madam’s (e) record will attract bettors, as will Burke’s Sonnet Grace (e). Hallintheclouds (e) was handed a victory last week when top fillies lost their breaths at three-quarters. Our choice, then, settles with Ma Was Right (e). Brett Pelling is in action again and this one is a chance for him to get a filly to the Oaks. This is only her second race at three, so this event is important to show what she is made of before the division is too thick with dominant fillies. Division three has a pair of gals we backed last week and from the duo will choose to take Southwind Casha (e). She will offer a better price because this week the take on Millies Possesion (e) will be stronger than previously, when we won with her.. In division four, Julie Miller’s American Kronos (e) looks for win two in two. She is highly regarded for her bloodline and should get a favorite nod among these. Burke’s Fade Into You will be supported on his soph season thus far but we will return to Mimi’spearloflindy (e), a choice we backed last week. She was third in a race ruining class by fizzled speed (won by Hallintheclouds, see division two) and an upset here, which would be her first soph win, is not farfetched. At Woodbine/Mohawk, Presto Change O (e) faces 10 Ontario-breds in the six-digit SBOA final for soph-filly trotters. She made the final via a tough 9-hold trip in the elim where she finished fifth at 2-1. Lots of traffic kept her from a late charge that could have changed the order of the top three. A win here takes her closer to the Oaks. Follow Hambletonian Trail action from this blog on Twitter #Hambo19 and @FrankCotolo in cooperation with the Hambletonian Society.