Saturday harness preview 12/27/14

Ted Black

December 24th, 2014

While many Americans will be headed back to the malls this weekend to return or exchange gifts they perhaps never desired, standardbred racing fans will be looking to line their pockets in a different way as they head to a track or simulcast outlet seeking to cash several tickets on the final Saturday card at the Meadowlands for 2014.

Saturday's Meadowlands card offers a good blend of quality events for pacers, young and old and onlookers will be looking to find several winners on the program that will give them a good jump start into the New Year. There are at least a quartet of horses that fit that bill.

Midway through the card the New Jersey one mile oval will offer its weekly feature for older pacers, the $30,000 A-2/A-1/Free-For-All Handicap that is often a stepping stone into the Presidential Series at the Big M. Wake Up Peter won last week's edition and gets assigned the far outside this evening, so give Dapper Dude (John Campbell) a chance for redemption. Last week the durable sort gained command before the opener and maintained an honest tempo to the half and three-quarters before being nailed late by Wake Up Peter in 1:48.4. Dapper Dude just missed last week as the tepid 2-1 favorite, but look for a slightly more generous price this weekend.

One race later in the B-1 class for older pacers, give Warrawee Needy (Mark MacDonald) a chance to atone for last week's near miss as the 5-2 favorite against slightly lesser in the B-2 ranks. Warrawee Needy gained command before the opener, yielded to a rival and then brushed to command past the half, met immediate pressure on the far turn and battled bravely in the lane before settling for second. Warrawee Needy will make a slight jump in class despite the setback last week, but that should enhance his price and makes him worth the risk at 4-1 or more.

Then one race later in the B-2 class for pacers, give Mojo Terror (Corey Callahan) a chance to atone for last week's fourth-place effort at this level. Mojo Terror gained command soon after the start last week and cut honest fractions to the half and three-quarters before giving way in the lane and settling for fourth. But that effort should prove to be an ideal tightener for Mojo Terror who should have plenty left in reserve if he can get a breather to the half this weekend.

Then four races later in the 12th, a non-winners of two races or $20,000 lifetime class for younger pacers, look for Brick Bazooka (Campbell) to regain his winning ways after suffering the first setback of his five-race career last weekend. Brick Bazooka raced well in defeat last week, gaining command before the opener, yielding to the second choice before the half, sitting a tight pocket through the far turn, angling to the passing lane while the leader began to fade and closed willingly inside to secure the place spot as the 3-5 choice. Brick Bazooka should be at least twice that price this weekend and merits backing in the penultimate race on the card.