Friday Harness Preview for 6/13/2014

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

June 13th, 2014

by Ted Black

A pair of harness tracks that are virtual opposites for several reasons deserve top billing on Friday evening as The Meadowlands in New Jersey offers a solid, 13-race card while Ocean Downs presents its second night of live racing for the meet following a kickoff program on Thursday.

In a sense, Friday night at The Meadowlands will be an early preview of Hambletonian Day as the New Jersey mile oval offers eight races for trotters, young and old. But taking center stage is one of the handful of races for pacers, the $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity for four-year-olds that marks the seasonal debut of last year's champion three-year-old pacing colt, Captaintreacherous.

A Somebeachsomewhere stallion trained by Tony Alagna and piloted by Tim Tetrick, Captaintreacherous won 13 of 16 starts and earned over $2 million last year en route to being named champion three-year-old pacer and pacer of the year for the second time in his career. A winner 21 times in 26 career outings with lifetime earnings just under $3 million, Captaintreacherous looks primed for a solid four-year-old campaign.

Captaintreacherous, who boasts the highest earnings and the fastest lifetime mark (1:47.1) in the field, arrives off three very good qualifiers, two of which he won, the most recent by seven lengths in a stellar 1:50.1. While he looks best on paper, Captaintreacherous had the misfortune of drawing post 10 for his seasonal debut and several of his rivals have already faced some of the best older horses in training. Thus, the 'Captain' might be facing a mutiny this evening.

Perhaps the pacer with the best chance at the upset in Apprentice Hanover (Mark MacDonald) who has already won 6 of 12 starts and earned over $300,000 this year for trainer Ben Wallace. Apprentice Hanover began the year by dominating the Preferred at Woodbine and then competed in the tough, lucrative George Morton Levy Memorial Series at Yonkers Raceway where he won one leg, finished second in two others and then finished second in the $567,000 final.

Fittingly, in two starts since then Apprentice Hanover has finished second in the Preferred at Woodbine and second in the $140,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair. Apprentice Hanover will start from post three this evening and he will likely race from off the pace. But the four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere stallion has always had a fondness for the bigger tracks and right now he owns a fitness edge on Captaintreacherous and is worth backing at 4-1.

Another pacer with good recent efforts, especially over this oval, is Dovuto Hanover. A winner five times in 15 starts this year for trainer Darran Cassar, Dovuto Hanover has won the A-2/FFA here twice and also owns an earlier 1:49 score over the track and he won a Preferred at Pocono Downs in April. In each of his last three starts, however, Dovuto Hanover has chased the revived Sweet Lou to no avail but he draws post two here and cannot be overlooked.

In the opening race on the card, a non-winners of two event for three- and four-year-old trotters, look for Dejatiero (Trond Smedshammer) to post the mild upset. A three-year-old Chocolatier gelding who won at first asking by four lengths in 1:55.2 as the 3-5 choice last week, Dejatiero will likely be the third choice behind Lightning Force and Gural Hanover, but he looks to have plenty of potential and is certainly worth backing at 4-1 here.

Several races later in the C-1/B-2/B-1 Handicap for trotters, give Smoother Ride a chance to repeat despite the nine-hole assignment. A four-year-old Yankee Glide stallion trained by John McDermott, Smoother Ride got used hard to reach the top before the half in 54.3 last week and still had plenty in reserve to score in 1:52.3. Another win at this level will certainly earn him a berth in the A-2/FFA at some point.

Friday evening at Ocean Downs in Berlin, Maryland, five miles west of Ocean City, the local nine-race card offers plenty of intrigue and possibly some value.

In the third race on the card, the featured A-3 for older pacers, look for Osceola Gold to continue his stellar turnaround in his local debut. A winner eight times in 15 starts with earnings of nearly $29,000 for owner-trainer Jeanmarie Kurowski, Osceloa Gold recently finished second in the voting for Rosecroft Raceway spring meet champ following a bevy of good efforts over the five-eighths mile oval. Now he will seek to carry his form to the half-mile oval.

Several races later in the C-1/B-3 Handicap for older pacers, either Sharp West Hanover, Quik Groom or Beginner's Luck could prevail in this six-horse event and the winner will likely earn a berth in the A-3 here next week. Sharp West Hanover has only raced four times this year, while Quik Groom sports a mark of 1:53.2 and Beginner's Luck is still in quest of his first win from 11 outings for trainer Ron Dixon, Jr. of Matter of Opinion fame.