Hambletonian And Hambletonian Oaks Present Exceptional Engagements In The Ultimate Roundups At The Meadowlands
THE 2019 HAMBLETONIAN OAKS The fillies have been cast for the Hambletonian Oaks Final on Aug. 3 at the Meadowlands. Our suggested contenders follow our analysis, per filly (in alphabetic order; check your program for post positions). Asiago This season, trainer Per Engblom established himself as a force in trotting at the “glamour” level. However, most pundits thought his other filly, Beautiful Sin, was the blossoming “Oaks” candidate. Nope. Asiago made the Oaks final by a half length, still racing far better than Beautiful Sin. The problem is that as well as Asiago raced to get into the final mix, she does not rate among the best in the division, and they are all in this field. Evident Beauty She was queen in her division until everyone noticed she had more competition than everyone noticed. Most bettors will swarm to her, which should give the others some wiggle room because Evident Beauty will have to be better than her best to win the Oaks against this field. Millies Possesion The reason we supported her along the Hambletonian Trail each time she raced is evident (pun intended), because she is a beauty (pun intended). Low odds are guaranteed and although a win is not, she has a braggadocios chance. Miss Trixton Marcus Melander’s chances of winning the Oaks with Miss Trixton are not sterling. Her Oaks elim was very good—for an 18-1 shot—but consider that the elim favorite, Cloud Nine Fashion, was pummeled by her and three others over 18-1. Princess Deo She is the best of two in the field trained by Lucas Wallin. Her Oaks elim (at 76-1) was a product of a lackluster mile, including the failures of Clound Nine Fashion, Beautiful Sin, The Ice Dutchess, Personal Paradise and American Kronos—not to mention a sterling return to form by When Dovescry. Queen Of Trix This filly is Wallin’s only hope. She found room and trotted boldly in the stretch at 33-1 to finish third behind Evident Beauty and Millies Possesion in an elim. She beat Asiago by enough to drive a station wagon through. She looks to be an exotic element but not the kind that can pass the aforementioned, even if they duel. Sonnet Grace Ron Burke’s next chance to add a Hambletonian to his 10,000-plus wins as a trainer is not a good chance at all. Her speed could not be maintained in the elim against the top two; she finished behind Asiago. In a graph measuring the power of recent performances, she will need a more than one act of grace to find a clear path to victory. Southwind Casha Trainer John Bax entered her, forming question marks above the heads of many who have followed the Hambletonian Trail since May. Then, at 25-1, she sits cold, accepting the pocket spot, in the contest featuring the most disappointing of the division. She will go off higher than 25-1 and it still will be an underlay. Sweet Chapter She was a good earner along the “Trail,” and cashed a few winning bucks, but her elim performance proved she is mediocre, at best, against the best. She just made it here by finishing fifth. For exotic price boosting, she is a good element, though a bad key. When Dovescry Danger. Warning. The Allards’ filly was a huge favorite in May, coming off of her few fiery frosh races, but through the thick of the Trail season, she drew no attention other than the facts from her frosh resume. She went off 3-1 in her elim. That was too low for my money but then she raced like a 1-10 shot. Danger. Warning. She either knocks out Millies Possesion and Evident Beauty (and possibly herself) in a duel or tiring shuffles or she blows this field away. ANALYSIS OAKS The obvious three will dominate the win pools, but with some hope, When Dovescry and Millies Possesion will take enough money to make Evident Beauty the third choice, thus handing her overlay status and making her the play at a price no one would have predicted even a few weeks back. THE 2019 HAMBLETONIAN The colts are cast for the Hambletonian elimination heats on Aug. 3 at the Meadowlands. The first five finishers in each elimination goes to the final. Our suggested contenders per elim follow our analysis, per colt, entered in post-position order. Elim-heat one Cantab Fashion Lightly raced, he needs a lot of luck to peak in a field like this one because of the two heats this is the one demanding some experience. He has a great bloodline but he faces immeasurable competition, even to make the final. Summit In Sight Julie Miller-trained Hambo colts are always threatening. This guy is tough and has earned his way here. We respect his chances here as better than most have offered along the Trail. Swandre The Giant Of course the medication he cannot have in the Lasix-free Hambo will be the issue, as he excelled with it, and won, one of the elims looking better than he had as August drew closer. However, we do not rate him atop the talent in this field. In fact, even if he could get Lasix again, at least five others leaving the gate could still beat him. He may not even make the final. Soul Strong Ake Svanstedt’s other entry has not beaten the likes of a few here but it is Ake’s entry and he will be all out to at least make the final. Watch his trip closely; it may show remarkable improvement. Then, he affects the final field. Mr Vicktor His break in last week’s Reynolds eliminated him. He is a dynamo, coming from lots of half-mile track battles in the New York Sires Stakes (NYSS), where he earned famously. Forgiving him for the misstep is a necessity—he is a player in this mile. Osterc He showed more promise than he sustained since winning the Dexter Cup in May and cashed some big checks. Still, he leaves the gate with monstrous trotters on either side and may shiver from the vibrations. Gimpanzee Without a few others involved in either of these elims, Melander’s second in his holy trotting trio may be the best. Yes, better. Gimpanzee’s three wins in NYSS indicate he has not been used in the least and his debut on two turns, if pushed, could provide a sonic boom that shakes stacks through Cancer Ally. Green Manalishi S Melander said this guy may be peaking, that he needed his last two. Perhaps he was not pushed when losing to “Swandre”? The point is that if he is on his way up, he could make it to the final in a single brush, late. ANALYSIS HEAT ONE There is a lot of money to be spread out in this, the tougher of the two heats and that is good, because Gimpanzee may be good enough to beat them at a decent price. If he does so easily, we will take him in the final, but if he happens to get beat and still looks very good due to a tough trip or bad traffic, we will still take him in the final. If driver Brian Sears chooses to drive Greenshoe (we hope, we hope, we hope), it will also increase the value of Gimpanzee and—you guessed it—we will play him in the final at a very fair price. Elim-heat two Forbidden Trade He just has not shown enough against the top foes along the Trail to be measured a strong contender. This field certainly includes too many that have taken him. Gerry The Marcus Melander black sheep makes it into an elim and that is as far as he may go. Barring the usual last-quarter chaos that could get him into the final (where he has no chance to win), he is easy to ignore. Pilot Discretion He flirted with being very good and captured some fans from his Canadian win but in essence, though he could be a sure thing to make the final, he has to show talent he may not have to win the crown. Reign Of Honor Imagine a mythical burst of power and a total form reversal from the best colts in either elim and this guy gets the trophy. Other than that, his honor may get him to the final but he will not reign. Greenshoe One of Marcus Melander’s holy trio and this year’s anointed colt and morning-line favorite looks to live up to some enormous accolades. He even looked better losing to a lesser talent in the Earl Beal final. He wins this, it seems, merely by showing up. The final is another story. Don’t Let’em If he is improving, he will get to the final. If he gets to the final he will have to continue improving, unless some black magic takes out the Melanderers [sic], including Greenshoe. Super Schissel He has worked harder than most to win over 60Gs, so we are surprised that he dropped into the box. He is a chaser, which is sometimes a positive in races built on the caliber of speed a Hambletonian crew possesses. In this case, though, all you have to do is look at who he chases to surrender all hope. Marseille We were on top of Ake Svanstedt’s colt from his first race at three. He is the only horse to defeat Greenshoe at three but that was not even his best race of the season; it was an anomaly. But he is a strong colt and regardless of post 8, we expect him to make the final and make noise in it. ANALYSIS HEAT TWO If “Beat Greenshoe” is the battle call, look for the great contradictory bet. It may be Don’t Let’em, due to the unknown factor of light racing and the Jimmy Takter legacy given trainer Nancy Johansson. Make sure the price meets your approval, though. Follow the Hambletonian Society’s classic races on TwinSpires harness blogs.