Saturday Harness Preview for 6/7/2014

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Molly Jo Rosen

June 7th, 2014

by Ted Black
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While thoroughbred fans are eagerly awaiting today's Belmont Stakes and California Chrome's bid to become the sport's 12th Triple Crown winner, standardbred fans will have races to watch and wager on once the dust settles at Belmont Park on Saturday and 'Chrome' either joins the immortals or joins the growing list of near misses.

Earning top billing among the harness racing tracks this evening is Mohawk Racetrack in Toronto, Canada, which offers eliminations for the Pepsi North America Cup for three-year-old colt pacers in addition to elims for the Fan Hanover Stakes for three-year-old fillies and the Roses Are Red elims for pacing fillies and mares. All three of those finals will be contested on a stellar card one week from this evening.

Races three, five and nine comprise the three Pepsi North America Cup eliminations, with 10 of the 22 starters returning for next week's $1.5 million final. While all three may not be playable, they certainly bare close watching in order to give scrutiny for those returning for next weekend's lucrative final.

In the third race, the first of the three North America Cup elims, Jk Endofanera returns off a good effort in the divided Somebeachsomewhere Stakes over the track, while Western Vintage arrives following a second-place finish as the 2-5 favorite in a New Jersey Sire Stakes final at The Meadowlands last weekend. Jk Endofanera has won all three of his starts this year and looks poised for a very good campaign, while Western Vintage will have to display more late willingness than he did last week in his runner-up effort at the Big M.

Two races later in the second Cup elim, look for the razor sharp Always B Miki (Corey Callahan) to continue his winning ways for trainer Joe Holloway despite drawing post seven. Always B Miki will likely drift close to even-money in a group that includes contenders Mcwicked, Lets Drink On It and Somestarsomewhere as well as Sometimes Said, who gets post two for the formidable brother tandem of trainer Jim Campbell and Hall of Fame driver John Campbell.

Several races later in the ninth, the third Cup elim, four of the seven could earn a berth in next week's final. Last year's two-year-old colt champion He's Watching rebounded from a dismal effort in the Art Rooney elims at Yonkers to capture his Somebeachsomewhere division last week in 1:49.3, the fastest of the three splits. He gets the rail this evening and should rule as the 7-5 favorite although the verdict is still out on his formful return.

Looking to topple the champ and perhaps prevent him from earning a spot in next week's final are three colts with plenty of ability. Luck Be Withyou, last year's Breeders Crown champion, raced well in his return last week and should be even sharper this evening. Tellitlikeitis is heading in the right direction and Doo Wop Hanover overhauled Western Vintage last weekend in NJSS action and is razor sharp right now. Either of those three loom a serious threat to He's Watching.

The first two races on the card comprise the elims for the Fan Hanover for three-year-old filly pacers, named in honor of the legendary lady who upset the boys to capture the Little Brown Jug roughly 50 years ago.

In the opener, either Nat A Virgin, Beach Gal, Uffizzi Hanover or Fancy Desire could prevail and be joined by one other filly in the final, then in the second race Precocious Beauty looms as the odds-on choice from. Later on the card, races eight and 11 comprise the two elims for the Roses Are Red for pacing fillies and mares and one trainer appears to be holding a pair of aces in this event.

Trainer Joe Holloway will send out Shebestingin in the first elim, which also includes the durable Anndrovette and Drop The Ball, then he will send out Somewherovrarainbow in the second elim where she should loom as the 3-5 favorite. Somewhereovrarainbow is out of the Hall of Fame race mare, Rainbow Blue, and the Bluechip Matchmaker series champion at Yonkers looks poised to add the Roses Are Red to her growing list of accomplishments.

Saturday also marks the final night of live racing for the Rosecroft Raceway spring meet. Granted, the track's Saturday cards are not as competitive or lucrative as the Tuesday programs, but the card could offer several value plays.

In the fifth, a non-winners of $2000 last five class for trotters, look for Stargazer Lily (Frank Milby) to finally attain her first win of the campaign. Owned and trained by Frank Miller, Jr. of Still Pond, Stargzer Lily overcame post seven to gain command in a snappy opener last week, got a mild breather to the half before getting pressed by three-quarters and lasted for the place spot. She should outlast Supernal Hanover for her first win in 13 starts this year.

Several races later in a very competitive, non-winners of two races lifetime class for pacers, look for Rice Crisp Breeze (Art Stafford, Jr.) to turn the tables on Above The Storm this week with Evergreen Trigger, a 24-1 upsetter two starts back, not far behind. Rice Crisp Breeze raced first over in his most recent outing and finished third, but he should turn the tables on Above The Storm and Evergreen Trigger, who have won this class between them the last two weeks.

Also on the card, Rosecroft Raceway will honor Megs Breeze as its horse of the meet for the 28-day spring meet, while the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association selected Winbak Carl for its spring meet champ. Megs Breeze won 6 of 10 starts and earned over $40,000 for owner-trainer William "Bib" Roberts while racing exclusively in the Filly-Mare Open. Winbak Carl posted a 3-2-2 slate and earned nearly $26,000 in seven starts in the top Open class for older pacers for trainer Tim Crissman.