The Big Horse Handicapper provides a weekly handicapping column to the USTA covering races on Friday and Saturday. The USTA has given the Big Horse Handicapper a $100 mythical bankroll each week for wagering.
A variety of action takes place this weekend at the Meadowlands. Saturday’s features include the Hambletonian Maturity, plus eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace and the Mistletoe Shalee.
The stars of tomorrow, the 2-year-olds, are also in action as the New Jersey Sire Stakes rolls into town. With many 2-year-olds making their first couple starts, they can be very unpredictable but also provide value as these young stars learn how to race.
Last weekend was very exciting; five world records were set at Pocono Downs. Congratulations to the connections of Sebastian K, Sweet Lou, Father Patrick, McWicked and Wind Of The North, who each set a world record for their age and gait. As the breed keeps getting faster and faster, we look forward to the great summer stakes program ahead.
Last weekend of our five plays we had three winners. Unfortunately, despite several close calls, we missed out on our exotic plays leaving us $100 in the hole on our mythical bankroll. Heading into weekend #88 we have wagered $8,619 and have cashed $6,641. Good luck everyone!
Big Horse selections for Friday and Saturday, July 4-5
Friday, July 4
Pocono Downs Race #8
(1) Centurion ATM (7-2) turned in a very powerful prep in his one and only career start as he showed speed from post eight, laying just off the top two, then exploding with a :57.4 last half and an impressive :27.3 last quarter, drawing away in the stretch. He starts from post one, which can be tricky for young trotters, but with a clean trip he should be very tough in here.
The Play: $20 to win #1 Cost: $20
Pocono Downs Race #12
(2) Spectator K (3-1) is facing the softest competition he has seen in quite some time. He has been chasing much stronger and faster and draws inside here. He is simply faster than this group and barring any mishaps should prove best. (6) Hallucination (6-1) was claimed out of his last race for $7,500 and has been showing good gate speed. He moves up to the condition level here, but should again get a very good trip.
The Play: $2 trifecta 2/6/13579 and $2 trifecta 2/13579/6 Cost: $20
Saturday, July 5
The Meadowlands Race #6 **Meadowlands Pace Elimination**
(6) JK Endofanera (6-5) was king in the North America Cup at Mohawk last time out, flying late for an off the pace score. He has won four of five this year for team Burke and is the one to beat. (1) Limelight Beach (5-1) could be in for a big effort here. He had little chance last time with a post nine Pocono draw. He won more than $210,000 last year and will be more of a factor here. (3) Doo Wop Hanover (8-1) is also in very good form and another who loves to close late in the mile.
The Play: $10 exacta 6-1 and 6-3 Cost: $20
The Meadowlands Race #7 **Meadowlands Pace Elimination**
(1) Let’s Drink On It (9-2) has shown signs of greatness, but just didn’t really get involved in the North America Cup. He has proven to be a very fast racehorse and just needs the right trip to come up with a big effort.
The Play: $10 to win #1 Cost: $10
The Meadowlands Race #10 **1 1/8 Miles Hambletonian Maturity**
This is truly a wide open race. With the $484,850 purse money on the line and several superstars coming off magnificent 2013 campaigns on top of the added distance, we could be in for a longshot. (1) Your So Vain really picked it up in his prep last time when joining the Ake Svanstedt barn and may be worth a couple bucks here. He was a five time, $372,000 winner as a 3-year-old and did show a good stretch kick in his prep. We are going to try a small win and place wager on this longshot here.
The Play: $5 to win and place #1 Cost: $10
The Meadowlands Race #11 ** Mistletoe Shalee Elimination**
(7) Gallie Bythe Beach (7-2) went the high road last time, getting parked every step of the way and fought gamely despite that tough trip. She just missed in her start prior and has the speed to overcome her outside post. She won six of her 10 races last year and has a 1:50.3 mark which should make her very competitive in here. Expect a big effort.
The Play: $10 to win and place #7 Cost: $20