Freehold Frenzy Scores $41 Winner With Cold $155 Daily Double; Yonkers Series Opens To Public’s Delight
Yonkers hosted the launch of the 2018 stakes season and along with the selected groups of horses-to-watch (H2W) we brought the weekend into the black. Our next blog will be the first blog of springtime as the stakes season ensues and our hunt for winners you won’t find in any other harness-race handicapping source continues to deliver.
Here are reports on our features chronologically.
Thursday, March 15
Saratoga Thursday afternoon action turned in less-than-attractive results again for a Partners For Picks event. The Pick 3 contenders were alive but could not defeat those among the top three public choices.
Our best result was in leg two with the show horse Whizzer Hanover ($6.00), beaten by the favorite. In the first leg a 4-1 took the win spot while we were fourth with J-S Miss Carolyn (12-1). We never had a shot in the third leg, which was won by the race favorite, as Puma Blue Chip (39-1) broke and was eliminated.
Friday, March 16
At Yonkers the Blue Chip Matchmaker series launched with a quartet of divisions and a weighty dose of favorites. In the first division we delivered the high-priced companion in the exacta with Motu Moonbeam ($12.80, $6.30). With the favorite on top the return was $39.20.
The favorite took the next division while we were fourth with Annabeth (23-1).
In the third division we warned about a high-percentage winner and she came through. Lady Shadow ($2.90, $2.30, $2.10) was the most probable of our three choices, which included All About Madi (29-1) who finished fifth and Safe From Terror (28-1) who finished eighth.
We wound up promoting the favorite in the fourth leg, as Mackenzie A was the fancy of the win-wagering majority. However, she was terrible, finishing eighth, while the public’s third choice won at 3-1.
Saturday, March. 17
The George Morton Levy series offered a quintet of $50,000 divisions in its first round. The series continues through April 21. We did not have a winner in any of the initial “Levy” divisions.
In the first split, the favorite won and our contender, Blood Brother (7-2) finished a poor seventh.
In the second Levy, we finished fifth with Bakersfield (23-1), as a 5-1 shot was first.
In Levy three, our choice, Awesomeness, was a co-second choice and lost, finishing fifth to his co-choice at 2-1.
The penultimate division was won by the shortest-priced favorite of the five events. Our choice, Luciano N (106-1), finished fourth.
Finally, we had the dead-on favorite but were nosed at the wire. Missile J ($2.40, $2.10) lost at the wire to a 9-1 shot. Our exacta-possible partner, Franko Rayner N (6-1) finished fourth.
All losers in our selected features appear the following week in the H2W list except any that raced in a feature after already listed once on the H2W.
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H2W LIST RESULTS
The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas listed are included when a H2W horse finishes second with a race favorite or the first two finishers making up the exacta are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete a cold exacta). The note “ok” determines that prices published are correct even when a show price exceeds a place price or any or all of the prices are the same. This week, there were 47 active horses (a 17-percent win hit rate and a 30-percent ATB [across-the-board] hit rate).
Please note that some H2W results reflect win, place, show and exotic results occurring by press time but some horses race after the blog is posted (we list them the following week) It is up to you to follow horses that have not performed before this weekly review
Momma’s Artist, $41.40, $13.60, $6.60, Daily Double, $155.60, Freehold
Rycroft N, $13.60, $4.40, $2.80, Meadows
Brand Security, $13.30, $4.80, $2.40, Fraser
Uncle Bud, $13.00, $4.80, $2.80, Meadows
Pine Dream, $7.60, $2.80, $2.10, Miami
Real Evidence, $5.40, $4.40, $3.60 Daily Double, $155.60, Freehold
Uptown Romance, $4.60, $2.80, $2.20, Northville
Bullet Bob, $3.20, $2.40, $2.10, Yonkers
Bupa Bruisier, $9.40, $6,00 (Exacta $37.20), Meadowlands
Verdad, $8.20, $4.00 (Exacta $32.00), Pocono
Mystery Dragon, $4.20, $3.60, Cal-Expo
Smirking, $4.00, Meadows
RU Machin Me, $3.10, Buffalo
Rebel Soldier, $2.80, Buffalo
News & Notes
Stall applications are being taken in Illinois for Hawthorne’s harness horsemen already. The summer meet at Chicago’s hometown track, now the only venue for harness racing in the state, offers thoroughbred racing on March 30 through April 28. One week later, harness action kicks off, racing May 4 through Sept. 24.
World-champion trotter, multi-millionaire Bee A Magician, first applauded in this blog at two, delivered her first foal, a Muscle Hill colt this past week. She was a $90,000 yearling, debuting on track in late 2017, finishing eighth as the odds-on choice in an Open Handicap at Yonkers. We were already watching her closely and caught her winning at her best prices at three and up. Her final start came after a season with only seven starts. She had a win by disqualification in the Mack Lobell Invitational at the Meadowlands then was sidelined due to an injury from a paddock accident. She returned late October, winning at Yonkers and had three starts before becoming a full-time dam.
Opening day of the 2018 harness racing season at Scarborough Downs has been postponed, as southern Maine continues to dig out and recover from a fierce succession of winter storms. The opening of the season, originally scheduled for March 24, has been pushed back to March 31 with post time of 1:30 p.m. (Eastern). Scarborough will feature harness racing on Saturday and Sunday through April.
Aaron Merriman, 39, has been the top winner among drivers in harness racing for the past three years. This past week he became the 13th driver in North American harness racing history to reach 10,000 wins. He got there on March 17 at the Meadows when he won Race 6. Merriman also went over the 10,000 mark with a win in Race 9.
Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.
And check my monthly column, Alternative Actions, at Harness Racing Update