Harness Racing: Picks and Horses to watch March 17-21
The stakes season gets rolling with aged pacers battling at Yonkers in leg 1 of the Blue Chip Matchmaker (MM [mares]) and Bogata (males) pacing series. The Matchmaker legs go on Fridays; the Bogatas go on Mondays. This edition covers the Bogata’s first leg, to be reported in the following Monday’s Update.
Selected features and the never-ending TwinSpires’ horses-to-watch list (H2W) share keys to success in your exotic and win, place and show payoffs.
Thursday, March 17
Each week we highlight some probable long shots from Mohawk Park. If they do not win at first crack we add them to the H2W the following week as bet-backs or in selected features, adding new possibilities to this section.
Race 7 – JM Deflection: Had a hideous trip last out, toss that race.
Race 8 – Horse Trader: Burned out racing in the second tier at 4-1.
Thursday, March 17
Meadows, Race 5
A tough early duel to make the lead made the public’s third-choice, Mission Voyage, short down the stretch so toss that one out and expect a better price and a better mile that could mean another win notch in the Scott Betts barn.
For exotics looking to pay well, use Perlucky, who won last week in said race and should be a good price from the 8 hole; and Papi Hanover, in a good spot to suck along to add value.
MATCHMAKERS LEG 1
Friday, March 18
Yonkers, Races 5, 6, 7, 8
Each $40k MM split has a field of eight. Clearly, Lit De Rose, winner of a Yonkers Open last week, gets the most attention and deserves it. The crowd also backs Drama Act, who prepped finishing second at Miami in a Mares Open and is fresh after the near win.
We see the most value in Machnhope, Noel Daley’s contender coming from a win at the Meadowlands. Bettors may mistakenly punish her coming from the 7 hole but we won’t.
Nick Devita, though rarely respected in the pools, sends Best Head West to post with three wins in six starts and bettors will like that. She was the favorite in the race won by Lit De Rose and rode a rougher trip than the first two finishers.
Our decision, though, goes to Delitfulcatherin N. She comes in from Pocono where her aggressive move in a qualifier could work better on the half-mile oval. Trainer Deborah Daguet horses have been competitive overlays.
The contenders run deep in this field. However, if Best Head West races better than the crowd measures in odds in Race 6, a big mile could be in the works for Blue Ivy here. She was the close second favorite to “West” last out. She won some in the 2021 MM and Todd Buter came back with her now and she has not peaked yet.
Productive on the New York half-miles are horses trained by Andrew Adamczyk and one is here. Karma Seelster won a filly/mares open with power on March 3 and beat a few of the entries in leg 1. She is on a roll and may offer a better-than-fair price to win here, which could mean she will be around for the final in April.
Mystifying blew away some others in the MM on March 10, winning at 46-1 without obvious miscues in the field. Another good price may surface for a good grinding mare.
Saturday, March 19
Pocono, Race 5
Most likely to be the third choice of the public in this seven-horse field, Yankee Keeler should be forceful from the rail against the top two that will be bet the most. He comes out of a race on March 5 where we nailed a cold exacta, finishing fourth at 17-1.
BORGATA LEG 1
Monday, March 21
Yonkers, Races 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
All Borgata legs are $50k each. This Is The Plan starts his season in this field and off of a sterling history and a better post than American History, his main rival, Burke will have this one flying. In a spot for a suck-along trip is Sonny Weaver N, coming from a mediocre Meadowlands performance. These two could easily finish one-two in either order and produce a healthy price.
The Bongiornos’ Dragon Said was second as a favorite prepping for this series at the Meadowlands and won’t be short if putting his top speed to work on four turns.
Burke sends Elver Hanover to work and like him, we expect the pacer matured and will race better than his soph season.
The Bongiornos’ Nicholas Beach needed his qualifier on March 5 and looked good making his needed time finishing fourth. He will go way faster here and could dominate the group.
Covered Bridge, another Burke pony, is going well these days and will be in the mix.
Leonidas A was good early in the 2021 series but faded later. He started 2022 big and gets the 1 hole for a wire-to-wire path performance.
Again, the Bonjiornos’ loom boldly, this time with Ostro Hanover, who will make an impression on the tote.
Nandolo N comes from a Preferred at the Meadowlands, his first of the year, and from post 1 here he will improve, maybe enough to handle leg 1’s softest field.
Horses To Watch
Review our choices and confirm the wagers available at the prescribed track. H2W offers possible contenders researched from reviewing races. Horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track with the date of their race and the race number (R6) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name, it appears on the list for the second time (horses are listed twice only if, at first, they failed to win. An “ae” signals also-eligible. Types of wagers to make are based on your judgment.
3/18/22, +Street Parade R1
3/17/22, Awigglenagiggle R3; +Snowball's Romeo R6; Metallica R8; Ziggy Sky R9
3/18/22, Too Much Hanover R1; Smartys Filly R8; Sports Vision R9
3/18/22, Drivin Me Crazy R3; +Three Card R4
3/18/22, +Meadowbranch Ricky R8
3/19/22, +Pretty Ricki R4
3/17/22, Aint Watching R10
3/18/22, +Bereaved Hanover R1; Jaspers Revenge R3; King Royal R6; Resita R10
3/17/22, +Blank Stare R7; +Big Gulp R10
3/17/22, +Draven Hanover R5
3/17/22, Dateline Hanover R2; +Imamajorplayer R5
3/18/22, +Risky Becky R1; +Sierras Spirit R2; +Nox R4
3/19/22, Diesel Accelerator R7
3/19/22, +Father Sarducci R3; Keystone Tenacious R4
3/19/22, Gibus R2; +Bombshell Hanover R3; +Crockets Cullen N R6
3/17/22, Ellagator R3; +Pivotal R5; +Striking Genson R5; +Infinite Zette R7; +No Win No Feed A R8
3/18/22, Secret Bro R9