Hambletonian Day Stakes plays
Below are our contenders for the featured stakes on the day of the classic trotting event named after the Standardbred’s foundation sire.
Hambletonian (Race 15)
The main event ($1 million) offers many arguments for each colt; all must be respected. #1 Rebuff (9-5) has been made the favorite, followed by #5 Jiggy Jog S (4-1), the second filly in the field.
Due to that change of heart compared to each week’s top 10 leading to the final, the price for #2 Joviality S (7-2) will be hoisted to overlay. She may not conquer the race on top all the way, but she’s capable of improvising on her enormous talent to win anyway.
Another competitive entry that could get the trip of a lifetime is #3 Fast As The Wind (8-1). There is nothing wrong with this guy; he made it here, and he could easily race under the betting radar to be a major part of this event’s history.
Hambletonian Oaks (Race 12)
The final of the filly Hambo ($500k), we hope, will be nothing like the elim that #3 Warrawee Xenia (5-1) won. We like the filly #7 Baptism (15-1) based on her trip. Baptism began wide, came in to race on the rail and then was shuffled, forced to go three wide on the turn and use what was left closing well center tack—and made the final. “Xenia” used everything she had in one move to catch #10 Fashion Schooner (4-1). That’s our focus, owing to a more aggressive final than either elim with #5 Venerable (9-5) making a big impression on Xenia that could help Baptism.
Muscle Hill (Race 4)
Our key-race bet-back horses from the Hambo elims (to return after the final) offer #1 Justice and #3 Testing Testing. The warning for upset guy is #6 Castle House for his prowess to be at the wire eight of nine times with checks to cash against top New York-breds.
Peter Haughton (Race 5)
The $337k memorial stakes for frosh-colt trotters offers three Marcus Melander youngsters. Of the three, the true value should be #8 Oh Well (4-1).
The public may bet him down, but the outside position could sway them to Melander's unbeaten #1 Kilmister (2-1) or #2 Herodotus (10-1), the now horse. We like those for exotics, but Oh Well as a win bet.
Jim Doherty (Race 13)
This $335k memorial stakes is for frosh-filly trotters and includes our 15-1 elim winner, #1 Una Madonna (4-1). The public won’t let her go with such odds this time and should be all out for #6 Mambacita (3-1). There is our top two, the latter representing a good new sire, Tactical Landing.
Vincennes (Race 11)
Still hauntingly contending is #9 Take All Comers, who always races better than his odds and matches these no matter what anyone says. Racing better than he did before (and paying better) should become a trend for him from here on into his five-year-old campaign.
John Cashman (Race 14)
The $279k memorial for older trotters has eight at the gate, five from Ake Svanstedt’s barn. We do not like the inequity of trainer reps, so we leave this one up to you.
The Cane Pace (Race 8)
Glamour-boy pacers go for $275k, starring #6 Beach Glass (9-5) (who we demolished in the Adios). Poor #8 Night Hawk (4-1) gets the 8 hole but may not be so poor racing his best from it. An overlay price on him is guaranteed, and we like his chances to shine in daylight racing, even if he does not win by daylight.
Sam McKee (Race 10)
This memorial for 11 older pacers ($278k) is tough, with five from Ron Burke’s battalion. Our longshot bet-back from the most recent division’s fray is #6 Catch The Fire (10-1), hoping to catch a good trip to fly late against wild speedsters shuffling in all four quarters. We have no idea who will wind up the favorite.
Lady Liberty (Race 9)
The Open Mares event ($173k) will indeed be a test of faith betting on #7 Test Of Faith (8-5). She lost three of nine so far, and we do not forgive her for them. It’s not a great wagering event, but consider giving an outside shot to #2 Mikala (5-1); it would make George Brennan’s trip to New Jersey worth it.
Dr. John Steele (Race 3)
A memorial for Open mare trotters ($145k) that offers only six who beat one another based upon factors far beyond the wit or wisdom of handicappers. The now horse is #2 Bella Bellini (8-5), but there’s talent lurking in the other five, so we have no argument for your choice while we go for an upset with #4 Weslynn Quest (15-1).
Shady Daisy (Race 7)
Soph-filly pacers ($93k) include trainer-driver / father-son team for #2 Sweet Rock Deo (15-1) to be involved in our exotics with #6 Max Contract (9-5) and #9 Treacherous Dragon (4-1).