by Al Cimaglia
August 10, 2018
Tonight, Hoosier Park will be the focus of many harness racing enthusiasts as Lazarus N makes his United States debut. The stage is set for the signature event in Anderson Indiana as the 25th running of $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes will roll in Race 11. There will be a solid field of nine headed by program favorite Lazarus N and second choice McWicked.
My strategy is to favor McWicked over Lazarus and lean on some prices like the Split The House and the All Bets Off to key in gimmicks. Hoosier Park is guaranteeing a $20,000 Superfecta pool and it is a 0.10 wager.
Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.
1. Dealt A Winner (8-1) - Mark Silva/Peter Wrenn - Track handicapper and I disagree on the 6-year-old son of Cam's Card Shark as I don't see 8-1 post time odds . My preference is the #3 and #7 when looking for a price shot. In seven starts this year I haven't seen enough to consider for a top four finish.
2. Beckhams Z Tam (20-1) - Jamie Macomber/Ricky Macomber Jr. - Local entry is an Always A Virgin 4-year-old who isn't a slouch but will likely find this crew too tough.
3. Split The House (20-1) - Chris Oakes/Brett Miller - Similar to #7, a price shot who could spice up the gimmicks, so best to pay attention. Won the Breeders Crown here in Oct. in 1:48.1. This is the perfect post to have a similar up-close trip to be in striking range to roll by late. Lightly raced this year but comes back in 6 days. Could offer a stiff challenge not only to hit the board but if trip pans out could upset at a square price.
4. Rockin Ron (10-1) - Ron Burke/Trace Tetrick - 'Ron has tailed off since a red-hot May. The 6-year-old son of Real Desire is another who has had more success on smaller ovals. That said this gelding is no stranger to HoP and often races well. A win would be a surprise but is another who could hit the 3/4 slots in supers.
5. Bit Of A Legend N (12-1) - Peter Tritton/Jordan Stratton - This is the other New Zealand bred in the race who is as honest as they come and at 9 years old is still racing great. It wouldn't be wise to sell short chances of hitting the bottom of the superfecta. But N.Y. invader usually does best work on a smaller oval.
6. McWicked (2-1) - Casie Coleman/Brian Sears - In 9 starts this year, he has 6 wins and 2 second place finishes. Looks like all sytems go, Casie Coleman should have this son of McCardle dialed on very high and he can fly late. I don't see 2-1 post time odds happening but if so would be worth a swing to win and is a must use in the top two spots for gimmicks.
7. All Bets Off (10-1) - Ron Burke/Matt Kakaley - If you are looking for a price shot to use in gimmicks take a close look here and his last 4 efforts could be excused to some degree. The added distance doesn't seem to help his cause as well as leaving from Post 11. Then there's 2 starts at PcD and this Burke trainee is better suited for a bigger oval. Has had a 1:49 mark here in '17 and 1:48 season mark in '18 at the Big M. Could be overlooked at the windows and is an exotic possibility.
8. New Talent (20-1) - Jeff Cullipher/Sam Widger - Local hope looks to be over his skis. Widger may blast out and hope for the best which may not help #9 get on the engine without using up much gas.
9-Lazarus N (6/5) - Jimmy Takter/Yannick Gingras - Is the "Wonder from Down Under" fully acclimated to the U.S.? His qualifier at the Big M was razor sharp but this is a different surface. The post might be an issue as there are 5 others in this field who have earned over $1 million and some will leave, so gaining a good seat early is not a lock. At odds of 6/5 or less my choice is to shoot against the great New Zealand bred in his first start in the States.
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