More State-Bred Tests And Grand Circuit Affairs For August Hopefuls
Hambletonian Trail action this week is focused on the Meadowlands, which hosts the $100,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) finals for the colts and for the fillies on Friday, June 2, and the Meadows, which will contest three divisions of the $119,424 Currier & Ives for colts on Saturday, June 3.
Ariana G is the filly and the “Oaks” hopeful to beat in the NJSS filly final. She fronts fellow filly hopefuls Glitzey Gal, Romancing Rachel, Ice Attraction, Dream Baby Dream, Evelyn, Hillarmbro and Feed Your Head.
Value in this race only comes from two scenarios—somehow, Ariana G can be beaten by this field (which is not too probable), or, the more likely possibility, she will finish in front of larger-priced horses to provide higher-than-usual exotics.
The two outside fillies, Hillarmbro and Feed Your Head, could be the long shot exotics’ contenders. Hillarmbro, skipping the second round after a decent debut in the opening prelim two weeks ago, should be able to work out a covered trip and, assuming she improves in her second outing of the season, should have no problem out-sprinting some of her competitors.
Feed Your Head has demonstrated a late kick incomparable to most of the field. Her late speed will be crucial from her outside post, as she will likely drop towards the back of the field and have to rely on her late pace to carry her into the mix.
The colt final is truly a match up between Hambo-eligibles Long Tom and What The Hill, with King On The Hill, New Jersey Viking, Deacon Tony, Southwind Woody, Southwind Cobra and Fly On as the other eligible competitors likely to just be chasing the two dominant forces.
Clearly, the value in this race rests with Long Tom, who will be the second choice to morning-line favorite What The Hill. For the form displayed in the opening round of the NJSS by Long Tom, getting him as the second choice should be a greater bargain than expected.
The opening division of the Currier & Ives attracts hopefuls Meme Hanover, Muay Hanover, Stealth Hanover and Simply Volo. A total of six competitors lining up to kick of the Saturday program at the Meadows, the leveled appearance of this field makes it perhaps the most likely to see a large-priced winner, which could be Fraser Ridge here. The first of many Christopher Beaver trainees who are rounding into form before attacking Grand Circuit foes, he showed another dimension closing to finish fourth against older rivals at Scioto last out. His versatility for the price he’ll probably be makes him value.
Phi Alpha, Giveitgasandgo, Affair Of Honor, Snowstorm Hanover and Moonshiner Hanover are the eligibles in division two. Of them, Affair Of Honor should provide the best price, entering off an impressive sixth-place finish, which was the result of parking the first half of the mile while on the lead. A better trip will remedy that poor performance.
Backstage Pass, an ineligible, should also be a great price. Drawing better after a lackluster effort likely caused by the bad draw, he could be in the right position off the gate to upset this group, considering his form is hidden behind lines against older horses at Plainridge and at Yonkers.
The final Currier & Ives split features eligibles Brand New Key, Dover Dan, Sortie and Thisguyisonfire, with Sortie likely taking a majority of the play. Two of the ineligibles here, Andy M and Always A Good Time, are definite contenders to beat Sortie for trainer Chris Beaver.
Though Andy M will likely be played off his win in a division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes, Always A Good Time should be a good price despite exiting a win at Scioto Downs. Making his third start of the year, he appears to be bettering with each outing and could get a good enough trip to possibly beat the heavy favorite.
The racing of classic divisions—soph-colt-and-filly trotters—on their quest to the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks finals continues its exclusive, extended coverage from TwinSpires and the Hambletonian Society. Recaps of races covered in this blog can be found at the archive section of the web’s home for the Hambletonian Society.