Weekend Stakes Preview 8/1

Hambletonian Day is Saturday, harness racing’s biggest day!

The Meadowlands in New Jersey will be the center of the harness racing world on Saturday afternoon, as the Hambletonian eliminations and final will be run.  For the first time since 1996, the eliminations and the final will be run on the same card.  Twenty three horses have been split up into three elimination heats, with the top three from each heat advancing to the finals, along with the top money earning fourth place finisher from the three heats.  The three elimination heats are carded as races 7,8, and 9 with the Hambletonian carded as race 12 and featuring a $1,000,000 purse.  Royalty for Life is the 8/5 favorite in the first heat, but drew a tough outside post.  He took the Stanley Dancer earlier on this month and has won two in a row coming into the Hambletonian Day card.  Wheelin N Dealin drew the rail in race 8 and is 2/1 on the morning line, but is lightly raced with only three starts so far this season.  He was last season’s champion 2 year old trotter though, so back class is certainly in his corner.  The third and final heat features Corky and Spider Blue Chip, both of whom have nearly double the earnings of any of their competition in this spot.

The $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks will go as Race 11 and Bee A Magician will look to continue her perfect campaign, and she’s 2/5 to do so.  She’s 8 for 8 this year with over a half million dollars in earnings and will again have Brian Sears in the bike.

The Hambletonian Day gets underway at 11:50am EST on Saturday and will also feature the $100,000 Guaranteed Hambletonian Day Pick 4, which will cover races 12 through 15. Selections for the Hambletonian Final (horses must qualify)

  1. Corky
  2. Royalty For Life
  3. Dontyouforgetit

Longshot: Aperfectyankee Selections for the Hambletonian Oaks

  1. Bee a Magician
  2. Frau Blucher
  3. Classic Martine

Longshot: Mistery Woman

West Virginia Derby heads up huge card at Mountaineer

Mountaineer is known for offering full fields and great night time racing.  Well Saturday is the one afternoon card of the season, and it’s going to be a special one as the Grade 2 $750,000 West Virginia Derby headlines a stakes only card that gets underway at 2:00pm EST.  Grade 1 winner Overanalyze will look to rebound from two lackluster performances in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont for trainer Todd Pletcher.  Rosie Napravnik will get on board for the first time and Overanalyze drew the far outside post and he shortens up to a distance he’s a perfect 2 for 2 at.  He’s going to take lots of money because of his early season success, but he’s going to have to be some up and coming, late blooming three year olds.  Departing is coming off a sixth place finish in the Preakness Stakes, but that was a race where nobody closed at all, and he’s been rock solid in almost any race that he gets a little pace to run into.  Robby Albarado will take over the mount on Departing for the first time.  Another horse to look out for is Betweenhereandcool who just barely was beaten in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby last time out.  He’s become a very solid runner for Steve Asmussen and is still lightly raced enough to expect some continued improvement.

Pletcher could also have a tough couple of runners in the $200,000 W.V. Governor’s Cup, as he sends out Mordi’s Miracle and Percussion in the big undercard event.  Mordi’s Miracle is Grade 3 placed but his only two wins came at Aqueduct.  Percussion has lots of speed and his making his Mountaineer debut.  Rosie Napravnik has the mount and expect her to try and get the lead early on, but there is lots of other speed in here, including Taptowne and Whatthecatdrugin.  Taptowne is a wily veteran and should be part of the early battle, and Whatthecatdrugin has the home court advantage, as he’s never been out of the exacta in 6 starts at Mountaineer. Selections for the West Virginia Derby

  1. Betweenhereandcool
  2. Departing
  3. Overanalyze

Longshot: Ruler of Love Selections for the W.V. Governor’s Cup

  1. Mordi’s Miracle
  2. Taptowne
  3. Eighttofasttocatch

Longshot: Percussion Selections for the Robert Byrd Memorial

  1. Gentlemen’s Bet
  2. Russell Road
  3. Jasizzle

Longshot: Tend Selections for the W.V. Secretary of State

  1. Fusaichiswonderful
  2. Amie’s Dini
  3. Heir Gone Wild

Longshot: Downtown Allen

Nine line up for the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes

The Grade 1 action continues at Del Mar on Saturday as nine runners will line up to go in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes.  Defending champ Include Me Out drew the far outside post position and will look to cement her status as the leader of a wide open division in So. Cal.  Include Me Out won in her seasonal bow last time out at Hollywood Park and should be cranked up for trainer Ron Ellis and jockey Joe Talamo.  Lady of Fifty and Byrama drew the two inside spots and both always seem to have a say in these big races.  Lady of Fifty always seems to make a run and is dependable to be in the trifecta, as she’s done so 12 of 15 starts in her career.  Byrama took the Grade 1 Vanity two starts back and cut back to a sprint in the A Gleam Stakes last time, and was closing late to grab third.   More Chocolate seems to be a step or two behind the top ones in this spot, but she’s trying Del Mar for the first time, and if she takes to the track, she could make some noise at a bit of a price. Selections for the Clement L. Hirsch

  1. Include Me Out
  2. More Chocolate
  3. Byrama

Longshot: Sisterhood

 Seagram Cup headlines Stakes Double at Woodbine 

Woodbine is in full swing and the Grade 3 Seagram Cup is part of another fantastic Saturday of racing north of the border.  James Street drew the outside and is certainly one of the more accomplished runners in the field.  James Street is a Grade 2 winner, but hasn’t won in his four starts in 2013.  Ultimate Destiny comes into this race in very fine form, with three straight wins here in 2013.  Last time was a restricted stakes event, but he’s going to make his first try against graded rivals.  Alpha Bettor figures to get some strong attention at the windows in this spot, as he’s been very solid at both Grade 3 and Grade 2 levels in his career.  In fact, he’s the defending champ in this race and is 5 for 10 at the distance.  The Seagram Cup is slated as race 8 on the card, with the Nandi Stakes for two year old fillies going off as race 6. Selections for the Seagram Cup

  1. James Street
  2. Alpha Bettor
  3. Ultimate Destiny

Longshot: Any Given Royal Selections for the Nandi Stakes

  1. Paladin Bay
  2. Lia’s Miracle
  3. Where’s The Carat

Longshot: It’s a Gizmo

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 7                  Naked Greed Stakes                           3:32pm EST

Race 9                  Crystal Rail Stakes                              4:26pm EST


Race 6                  Northbound Pride Oaks                      5:10pm EST

Race 7                  Shakopee Juvenile Stakes                   5:40pm EST

Race 8                  Mystic Lake Derby                              6:12pm EST

Charles Town

Race 8                  Robert Leavitt Memorial                    10:25pm EST

Del Mar

Race 8                  Clement L. Hirsch Stakes                   8:40pm EST

Ellis Park

Race 8                  Coup Handicap                                  4:10pm EST

Finger Lakes

Race 8                  Genesee Valley Breeders’ H.             4:19pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 8                  Housebuster Stakes                          4:45pm EST

Louisiana Downs

Race 4                  Donnie Wilhite Memorial                   3:40pm EST

Race 6                  Sunny’s Halo Stakes                         4:33pm EST

Race 8                  Barksdale Stakes                             5:31pm EST

Race 9                  Super Derby Prelude                       6:00pm EST

Meadowlands Harness

Race 7          Hambletonian Elim Heat 1                       2:24pm EST

Race 8         Hambletonian Elim Heat 2                       2:51pm EST

Race 9          Hambletonian Elim Heat 3                       3:18pm EST

Race 10       J. Cashman Memorial                               3:45pm EST

Race 11       Hambo Oaks                                             4:18pm EST

Race 12       Hambeltonian Final                                   4:45pm EST

Monmouth Park

Race 11       My Frenchman Stakes                               5:59pm EST


Race 1                  Mountaineer Juvenile                         2:00pm EST

Race 2                  WV Legislators Chairman Cup           2:30pm EST

Race 3                  WV Secretary of State Stakes             3:00pm EST

Race 4                  Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies                3:30pm EST

Race 5                  WV Senate President’s Cup                4:00pm EST

Race 6                  Robert Byrd Memorial                         4:30pm EST

Race 7                  WV Governor’s Cup                            5:12pm EST

Race 8                  West Virginia Derby                             5:45pm EST

Race 9                  WV House of Delegates Stakes           6:15pm EST

Northlands Park

Race 7                  Fred Jones Handicap                        4:00pm EST

Prairie Meadows

Race 3                  Iowa Sorority States                           8:25pm EST

Race 4                  Iowa Cradle Stakes                            8:54pm EST

Race 5                  Iowa Breeders’ Oaks                          9:23pm EST

Race 6                  Iowa Breeders’ Derby                         9:52pm EST

Race 7                  Iowa Classic Sprint                             10:21pm EST

Race 8                  Donna Reed Stakes                           10:50pm EST

Race 9                  Ralph Hayes Stakes                            11:19pm EST

Santa Rosa

Race 8                  Isadorable Stakes                              8:10pm EST


Race 6                  Nandi Stakes                                     3:15pm EST

Race 8                  Seagram Cup Stakes                          4:19pm EST


Leave a Reply