‘Oaks’ Gathers 16 Fillies For A Pair Of Eliminations
The eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks are to be contested on Saturday, Aug. 1 at The Meadowlands as they prepare to host a marquee card which includes the “Oaks” final on Aug. 8. With last year’s freshman star Mission Brief opting for a position in the Hambletonian, 16 trotting fillies will compete for the top five positions in two eliminations in pursuit of the $500,000 purse.
Mission Brief’s move to fight the boys not only makes the Hambletonian a more interesting picture but her decision produces two interesting betting events in the Oaks elims that can result in either an above-average favorite victory or a longshot capitalizing off the perfect situation.
The opening elim forces us to find the talent within mediocrity, with this octet training mostly under the radar and refining their talents to an immeasurable extent. The one to beat here may be Wild Honey, who just finished second to Mission Brief in the “Zweig Memorial” last Sunday. However, she has proven beatable on a number of occasions, including to Smokinmombo, who starts from post 8.
Smokinmombo seems to be the sharpest filly in this field. She has consistently hit the board all season, beaten and finished second to Wild Honey in sires stakes and enters off a win at The Meadows. She’ll likely be involved judging by her gate speed and will be dangerous if given the pocket trip.
An interesting entrant here is Cocoacabana, coming in off a win against non-winners of two where she was facing male competition. She made an uncharacteristic move to take command from post 9, which resulted in a pocket ride. Price-wise, she’s a logical outsider and has likely improved since her fourth-place effort in the Reynolds.
The top trio of the other elimination is Rules Of The Road, Magic Marker and Livininthefastlane, who will undoubtedly be the top betting prospects for the public. The issue with this race will be gauging the value among the three fillies, all of which are worth a wager if they are the right price.
Rules Of The Road is a good bet around 5-1, as her racing style guarantees her to be in the mix, especially when she has a talent to control the pace to her comfort. But, off of a win and a sharp second in the Reynolds, it’s hard to tell if we’ll get that price.
Magic Marker would be a sharp bet at 5-1, also. While such a price seems to be demanding too much, Magic Marker is the type of filly that is consistent but sometimes comes too late. Her victory in the Reynolds over Rules Of The Road is an example of her closing ability being timed perfectly but on other occasions she gets caught in traffic or is too far off the lead. Of course, she could try and sit a stalking trip as she did in the Zweig, which makes her a major contender here.
As for Livininthefastlane, since she was third in the Del Miller Memorial and makes her second start off a short layoff, she will probably be the favorite here and because of that would not be near a price we would accept.
If our price shopping scheme turns to be a bust, there is a good chance Sarcy will be a good price. Beaten as the favorite in a sires stake at The Meadows last week, she has otherwise been a dominating force on that circuit. She will likely be positioned in a stalking spot or may even try to go wire to wire. Either way, she should improve in this race and is more than capable of facing this group.
The racing of classic divisions—soph-colt-and-filly trotters—on their quest to the Hambletonian and “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.