Friday harness preview 12/19/14

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

December 18th, 2014

One day after standardbred enthusiasts are still seeking to solve the mystery surrounding the final tallies for trotter of the year, pacer of the year and horse of the year, many will turn their attention to the Friday evening card at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey which has several playable races early, especially among the trotters.

In the opening race, a non-winners of two races or $20,000 lifetime conditioned event for trotters, Opulent Yankee (Andy Miller) returns from a layoff into a winnable spot following two solid qualifiers in which he finished second twice, one each behind Maven and Odds On Amethyst. Granted, no trotter of their talents is in this event, but Opulent Yankee could be overbet in his return - he is 4-5 on the morning line - and could be vulverable.

If the favorite fails to deliver in his return, look for either Maximus Deo (David Miller) or Celebrity Fantasy (Brett Miller) to post the upset. Both trotters have already made at least one start over the Meadowlands strip this fall in conditioned events and both will have a slight fitness edge over Opulent Yankee this evening and both will be in the double-digit range at post time which makes them worthy of backing.

One race later in a non-winners of two races or $20,000 lifetime conditioned event for pacers, a pair of freshman fillies will settle the issue in the lane. Lissan (Matt Kakaley), a two-year-old daughter of Rockn' Roll Hanover trained by Ron Burke, has won her last two starts at Freehold Raceway, while Empress Deo (Brett Miller) has won her last three starts at Dover Downs for trainer Wayne Givens. Both should be right around 6-5 and 7-5 at post time and either of them could prevail which means an exacta box appears in order.

One race later in the third, the first half of the split B-2/B-1 Handicap for trotters, look for It Really Matters (Brett Miller) to forge the mild upset. This Larry Remmen trainee has been second in three of his last four starts at Harrah's Philadelphia after winning three straight races at Yonkers Raceway. He should be a decent price in here thanks to the presence of Odds On Amethyst (Jim Takter) who won at this level by three lengths in 1:53.3 in his latest outing on Dec. 5, but gets the outside assignment after missing last week.

Then two races later in the fifth, the other half of the split B-2/B-1 Handicap for trotters, give Master Of Law (Takter) a chance for redemption at a modest price in the 8-1 range. Accustomed to facing much tougher - he was the 2-1 favorite in the 4yo Open here and was 7-2 in the Breeders Crown elimination - Master Of Law has displayed a tendency to break stride repeatedly with catch drivers in the bike. But Takter returns to the sulky this evening and if he stays flat Master Of Law can handle this group at a generous price.