Weekend Harness Preview for 1/25/2014
by Ted Black
While temperatures have failed to moderate on the East Coast, those willing to head to a harness track this weekend will likely find the cozy confines of the clubhouse or grandstands the ideal place to watch live racing and simulcasts from a trio of tracks.
With the Meadowlands idle this weekend, the Saturday card at Yonkers Raceway certainly deserves top billing. Among the 12-race card are several very competitive events that could offer some value plays.
In fact, in the third race on the card, a non-winners of $12,000 last six starts condition, give Long Live Rock (Jeff Dauplaise) a chance at redemption while starting from the coveted rail. Last week in the fastest of three splits of this condition, Long Live Rock was a bit unlucky while sitting the pocket and finished second as the even-money choice. His effort was better than it looks on paper, so Long Live Rock should prevail this evening at 8-5 or better.
Several races later in the sixth, the featured $33,000 Open Handicap for aged pacers, take a shot on Money Twitch A although this is his first venture into the top class and will start from post seven. Last week in a tough condition, Money Twitch A grinded out a first over victory into a solid 56 flat back half and completed the mile two lengths clear in 1:52.4. Granted, post seven in the Open is hardly ideal, but Money Twitch A has won both of his starts this year in gritty fashion and since this is his first try in the top class he will likely get overlooked by the wagering public.
Two races later in the eighth, a non-winners of $32,000 last six class, give Electrofire a solid shot. Last week against similar company, Electrofire finished second as the 8-5 favorite in a one-mile and one-sixteenth event and cuts back to the standard mile this evening and draws well. His main threat will be Escape The News, who descends from the Open following a good second-place finish last week and will be the odds-on favorite in here. Electrofire could dictate the tempo from the outset and he should be able to outlast Escape The News as the 3-1 second choice.
One race later in the ninth, a non-winners of $18,000 last six class, take a swing at Electric Shooter. Last week in a similar group he rallied second over into a wicked back half to finish third, beaten only a length in an effort that was much better than it looked on paper. In a race where May Day, who has finished second in each of his three starts this year, will be the solid choice, Electric Shooter should be able to work out a second over trip in a race that should offer an honest pace and that could enable him to overhaul May Day in the lane.
That same evening at Pompano Park in Florida, a pair of pacers look like deserving plays in varying classes. In the third, the $8500 Open Handicap, look for Northern Companion to be able to overcome his unlucky post eight draw and prevail in the top class while reigning champ, Prairie Jaguar, gets another week off. Northern Companion chased Prairie Jaguar in futile fashion last week and gained the place spot in a good effort and should thrive here despite the outside draw. Prairie Jaguar has devoured his southern Florida foes like a four-legged landshark since arriving from Canada last month, so Northern Companion should take advantage of his absence.
Then several races later on the card, in a non-winners of $2601 last five starts/optional $12,500 claimer for pacers, give Highland Boreas a genuine chance to repeat. Last week he grinded out a first over victory while wearing down 3-10 choice Quincy in an almost identical condition and this week they will renew their rivalry. Look for Quincy to go postward at 7-5, while Highland Boreas dips down the 5-2, but expect 'Boreas' to grind out another victory over his speedy rival.
Then on Sunday evening at Dover Downs, a quartet of pacers look poised to avenge narrow setbacks last week.
In the sixth, a non-winners of $4001 last six class, give Foxland (Tony Morgan) an immediate chance at redemption. Last week he was used hard and settled for third as the 7-5 second choice in this group, but tomorrow evening expect Foxland to make amends at a generous price. He has enough speed to get into contention early and should be able to avoid making two moves before the half and that will enable him to have plenty of pace late.
Then in the next race on the program, a non-winners of $6001 last six class, take a shot at Cams Art (Bret Brittingham) despite his outside post draw. Last week in this class, Cams Art grinded out a long, first over journey and still lasted for third in a very good try. The Ryan McInnis trainee owns plenty of back class and he should be able to work out a trip on Sunday evening, perhaps as the 4-1 third choice.
Several races later in the 10th, a $20,000 claiming event, give Hasty Western (Allan Davis) a look. In each of his last two starts, Hasty Western has been unlucky while settling for second and third, respectively, in those outings, and while he will likely not drift as high as 6-1 as listed on the morning line, this Wayne Givens trainee should finally be able to work out a decent trip and find the winner's circle on Sunday evening.
Then in the 13th, a non-winners of three event for pacers, take a shot at Nathaniel B (Gorden Barrett) who will clearly be a generous price. Last week Nathaniel B was second despite a first over trip after providing live cover for the eventual winner, Cowboy Coffee. Nathaniel B could drift as high as 8-1 in this event, thanks to the presence of Spinfiniti, a sharp 1:53.1 winner against non-winners of two company last weekend for trainer Josh Green. Spinifiniti will be the odds-on choice from post nine, so expect Nathaniel B to be a very generous price.