Between The Lines: Handicapping the big weekend stakes

by Brett Sturman

Let’s take a look at some of this weekend’s big stakes.

Last Week’s Bankroll: $838
Total Wagers $103
Total Return: $0
This Week’s Bankroll: $735

Saturday Mohawk Race 2: $130,130 SBOA Final

MAGIC PRESTO couldn’t have been any more impressive last week as an easy open-length winner in his elimination and clearly looms the one to beat in tonight’s final for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Winner of last year’s Goldsmith Maid at Woodbine, this Nifty Norman trainee appears to tower over her fellow Ontario-sired peers; seems like a short priced winner. ROYAL WITCH did well for herself last week to close for second behind the big favorite and it’s hard to believe that this fellow Kadabra filly is still a maiden. Seems like a one-run type but isn’t completely out of the question with the right setup. MRSTERY BEAR was the other elimination last week and her winning mile was far better than anything we’ve seen from here before; moving in the right direction for trainer Gaetan Hebert. GRAVITATOR had some sharp late trot to offer last week while making her first start since November; has top driver Roy aboard and will be moving forward late. PARADISE IMAGE will be a big longshot this week after being favored last out.

$5 Exacta 3 / 6-7

Saturday Mohawk Race 8: $132,1320 SBOA Final

In the pacing edition of this SBOA Final for 3-year-old fillies, WINDY SPORT is another tough favorite that looks difficult to find a real reason to go against. The Casie Coleman trainee went from Drury to Roy in the bike last week and responded with a crushing 1:51:3 win by almost five lengths, which was two full seconds quicker than the other elimination. She’ll warrant any short price that she goes off at. SOIREE SEELSTER had no shot to close in on the winner last week but is now greatly aided by the pole in her second start back; Big Jim filly will close enough if good enough. FADE is the Coleman stablemate to the top choice and she too was an elimination winner last week; nothing to knock although Roy opts off as expected. DANCING SHADOWS K couldn’t keep track with the powerful winner last out but didn’t disgrace herself in hanging in there for second; early speed could put her in a good early position once again.

$10 Exacta 4 / 1-6

Saturday Yonkers Race 8: $40,000 Rooney Elimination

With all but one of these horses coming back for next week’s rich Art Rooney final, what’s listed as an elimination is nothing more than a prep, and any wagers should be based accordingly. Two-year-old world champion DOWNBYTHESEASIDE makes his second start of the season and the Brian Brown trained colt by Somebeachsomewhere may be the best sophomore pacing colt in the country. The Governor’s Cup winner gets reunited with regular driver David Miller and the only question is how he’ll handle a rare second-tier start at this track; probably so much the best that it shouldn’t matter. If I wasn’t afraid to look foolish I’d almost be tempted to put FUNKNWAFFLES on top. NYSS star last year at 2 prepped for this with a fast 1:51Q at Pocono behind a sharp Oakes-trained winner and now lands the rail plus gets Sears; many things to like for the gelding owned by Crawford Farms and trained by Butenschoen. MISO FAST gets an inside post for Burke and Kakaley and this one earned over $250K last year as a two-year-old; nothing wrong with either of those last two from Pocono. MAC’S JACKPOT goes first time Lasix and maybe that explains his non-factor performance last out in a race won by Dan Patch winner Huntsville. HENRY THE DRAGON leaves the friendly confines of Delaware but has talent nonetheless; problem is the post.

$10 Exacta Box 1-9

Saturday Meadowlands Race 10: 
$40,000 Graduate Series 1st Leg

BROADWAY DONNA is the lone mare in this field but older trotting mares have a history of doing well against their male counterparts. Ultra classy mare has won over $1.2 million lifetime and fired a pretty good shot last week in her first start off the bench; let’s see if Miller puts her in play early tonight. DAYSON hasn’t been at his best yet through two starts this year, but still commands respect from the rail for these connections; at minimum will be part of the early pace scenario. TACO TUESDAY invades in sharp form from Yonkers where he’s been beating some classy older foes along the way; Bartlett with an opportunity to shine at the Meadowlands. WAITLIFTER K has a decent history here and picks up Campbell; may surprise as a longshot. DOUBLE L LINDY raced to be a game 3rd in the Breeders Crown here last fall but it’s tough to say if he needs at least one or two more before being in mid-season form.

$25 Win 7

Sunday Flamboro Race 11: $176,00 Confederation Cup Final

SINTRA lands post 8 in Confederation Cup XXXIX just to make things interesting, I suppose. This 4-year-old Mach Three gelding trained by Menary is turning into some type of a monster this year and he’s looked untouchable in all three of his seasonal starts to date. He swept the field last week in the blink of an eye and off a slow half-mile no less; driver Jamieson is having, relatively speaking, an off year so far, but he’ll find a way to get the job done from out here; tons best on paper. CHECK SIX may have been driven a bit too overconfidently last week by Gingras and he got nailed late as the heaviest of favorites at 5 cents on the dollar after a first over grind. Gets a new pilot tonight for Burke and this one is all but guaranteed to be aggressive early; seeks jump on #8. WESTERN FAME rode live cover to surprise in his elimination last week and it’s not too often you see a Jimmy Takter horse paying almost $20; could be the beneficiary if any battle up top sets it up for his late move. SEELEY MAN is an interesting character and didn’t disgrace himself last week in his elimination won by Sintra. Western Maverick gelding entered this year as a perfect 13 for 13 while racing exclusively on the fair circuits but has proven himself to be a formidable horse; would be quite a story if he won.

$25 Win 8

$4 Exacta Box 3-6-8