The Hambletonian Trail: Sires Stakes Cash Attract Colts And Fillies At Vernon And Meadows

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

May 10th, 2018


Both Vernon and the Meadows take center stage to the weekend’s Hambletonian Trail action, with colts competing in three divisions of the $121,000 New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) Friday, May 11 and fillies in three divisions of the $174,637 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) Saturday, May 12, respectively.

An eight-horse affair opens the NYSS contests, featuring Hambo-hopefuls Purpose Blue Chip, Cruising In Style and Six Pack, who likely will go as the favorite off a swift qualifier as well as with his win in last season’s NYSS final. However, Canadian-shipper Cruising In Style, though his times are not as quick as the probable favorite’s, makes his seasonal debut here in sneakily sharp form. He’ll be flying under the radar on the board, and we could be flying to the windows to collect our winnings if such turns out to be the case.

Division two attracts a pair of hopefuls, with Dexter Cup-elim-winner Vic’s Winner and Kinda Lucky Lindy. From the outermost post in the seven-horse group, Kinda Lucky Lindy could provide value given his lackluster freshman resume paired with public money directed towards rail-starter Clive Bigsby, off a fast qualifier, and Helpisontheway, also off a fast qualifier but also a third-place finish in the Kindergarten in his last pari-mutual outing.

Kinda Lucky Lindy, improving in his second qualifier tracking a fast pace after breaking in his first of the year, also was second to Breeders Crown winner Fourth Dimension in the Valley Victory elimination but was out of the mix from post 10. He has never proven he cannot compete with this group and should be at the right odds to wager that he’s good enough for the top group.

The final NYSS split collects eligibles Fashion Forever, Hashtagmadeyalook, Don and Classichap, with Fashion Forever and Classichap making for good longshots in the exotics. Fashion Forever, off a poor debut, has the potential to bounce given the form he showed early at two, though he ended his season appearing as if he had issues needing resolution. Classichap, with a history of gait issues, also has a quick late turn of foot, which could place him on the board so long as he stays flat.

For the win side, Ronnie Goldstein enters this race undefeated this season with two wins from off the pace at Saratoga against conditioned stock. Moving to the bigger track he is bound to improve and has already shown the form necessary to compete at this level.

Starting the PASS splits at the Meadows is a seven-horse field with Kenziesky Hanover being the only starter not eligible to the “Oaks.” What A Knockout, off a third-place finish at the Meadowlands, will likely take favoritism purely for the speed she showed in her debut. Though, Vivacious Allie, for Ake Svanstedt, is making her debut and enters off a decent qualifier, which showed her racing to the front instead of from off the pace as she did in her first. Fourth in the Jim Doherty Memorial last August, she has raced well with the best in the past and should be value if she goes at her morning-line price.

Lily Stride heads five other Oaks hopefuls in division two, those being S M S Princess, Megadolce, Andovermizbrenda, Front Circle and Southwind Angelica. While a strong favorite, Front Circle makes her seasonal debut after showing decent form on the Grand Circuit last fall at Lexington. Though Dave Palone is in to drive, she could go off near her double-digit morning-line odds, which could be worth using to win and definitely worth using in the exotics.

D’bomb, Courtney Hanover, Nixie Volo, Live Laugh Love and Win Treasures compose the Oaks hopefuls in the final PASS division, with Live Laugh Love, off two-straight wins, coming in as the likely favorite. Courtney Hanover, another with Palone in the bike, could get ignored if she does not take the standard Palone-public play. She was second to Manchego, the division champ, in the Peaceful Way elimination last year and fourth in the final, displaying her class and justifying her placement at this level. Off a qualifier that is better than it looks, she could hand Live Laugh Love her first loss of the season.

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