Weekend Harness Preview for 7/26/2014

Molly Jo Rosen

July 26th, 2014

by Ted Black
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One week before standardbred owners, trainers, drivers and fans prepare for the most coveted race in the sport on one of harness racing's biggest days, a trio of tracks will offer several stakes that will keep enthusiasts on their toes.

Saturday afternoon the Meadows, a five-eighths mile track near Pittsburgh, will host the $400,000 Delvin Miller Adios on a stakes-filled card. Several of the Adios finalists have already competed in some of the sport's biggest events, including the North America Cup at Mohawk and the Meadowlands Pace and they will likely be pointing for numerous other major stakes races as well this summer and fall.

Slated as race 12 on a 16-race card, the Adios should be well worth the wait. Among the serious contenders for the Adios - the race for the orchids - are McWicked (David Miller), At Press Time (Matt Kakaley), Cammikey (Brian Zendt) and Let's Drink On It (Tyler Smith). All four arrive with something in common - they have all won more races than they have lost this year.

McWicked, trained by Casie Coleman, has won five of eight starts and earned over $400,000 and boasts the fastest mark in the field of 1:47.3, courtesy of his score in the Max Hempt Memorial final at Pocono Downs last month.

At Press Time has won six of 11 outings and nearly $240,000 this season for trainer Ron Burke, including an elim score in 1:48.2. Cammikey arrives with six wins in 10 starts and earnings well over $150,000 and draws the rail, while Let's Drink On It sports five wins in nine starts and a seasonal bankroll just shy of $120,000 for trainer Joe Seekman.

One race later on the card the talented Yankee Bounty (Corey Callahan) will take the next step toward winning next year's Adios when he competes in a division of the Arden Downs for two-year-old colt pacers. A freshman son of Yankee Cruiser trained by Kevin Lare, Yankee Bounty has won all three of his starts this year and earned just under $70,000 and taken a mark of 1:51.3. He has displayed enough precocious ability to garner a share of the spotlight.

Saturday night at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, a quartet of races take center stage with many of the participants looking to earn a berth in one of the numerous lucrative stakes on the undercard of the Grade I, $1.2 million Hambletonian for three-year-old colt trotters and accompanying Grade I, $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks for three-year filly trotters.

In tonight's fourth race, the $40,000 Lady Liberty elimination, a full field of 10 pacing fillies and mares will go postward but exactly one-half the field is comprised of two separate entries.

Krispy Apple, Shelliscape and Anndrovette all comprise a tough, three-ply entry for trainer P J Fraley, while Shebestingin and Somwherovrarainbow will form a formidable tandem for trainer Joe Holloway. Anndrovette was last year's champion older pacing mare and has loads of back class, while Somwherovrarainbow has looked sensational at times, much like her dam, Hall of Famer and 2004 horse of the year, Rainbow Blue.

One race later in the Hambletonian Oaks prep, much of the focus will be on the two horses that drew inside - Designed To Be and Shake It Cerry. Designed To Be has plenty of potential, but Shake It Cerry is the defending champion of this gait's generation and merits plenty of respect this week and next. Her best effort, however, will likely come in next week's Oak final.

Two races later in the seventh, the first of two eliminations for the John Cashman Memorial for older trotters, a trio of horses looked poised to make the final. Market Share (Tim Tetrick), a former Hambo hero, Intimidate (Ron Pierce), a 45-1 upset winner of last week's $650,000 Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk, and Your So Vain (Ake Svandstedt), upset winner of the Hambletonian Maturity, will garner plenty of support.

Then four races later in the 11th, the other Cashman Memorial elim, Sebastian K (Svandstedt) will seek immediate redemption after being stunned by Intimidate in the Maple Leaf Trot last weekend. In his five previous starts on the continent since arriving from Sweden, Sebastian K had been virtually invincible, setting a trio of world records including an unbelievable 1:49 score in a $100,000 Invitational at Pocono Downs last month.

But Sebastian K finally proved vulnerable last weekend - although the sloppy Mohawk track may have played a role in that setback - and three of his rivals look prepared for upset chances. Sweet Justice, Uncle Peter and Appamatox all arrive with two-fold goals - stay sharp this week and then return even sharper for next week's final on Hambo Day.

Saturday night's feature at Yonkers Raceway in New York is the $44,000 Open Handicap for older pacers and the race offers plenty of potential wagering options.

PH Supercam won the $567,000 George Morton Levy Memorial series final here and has since returned to win the Open on several occasions, but he missed last week and was assigned the dreaded eight hole again which diminishes his chances for success.

Just to his inside is Dream Out Loud N, who won this event one week ago when he took full advantage of his rail assignment, led throughout courtesy of a cheap 57 half and kept his closers at bay. Tonight he gets assigned the seven hole and will likely not get involved early or be a factor late.

Two horses that return and that were both victimized by the pace scenario a week ago should be major players and could complete a healthy exacta. Life Up Front gets the rail following a fourth-place effort, while Heston Blue Chip gets post four after a fifth-place performance last week following a missed start. Both older pacers figure to be much better this evening.