by Al Cimaglia
September 1, 2018
It's a big Saturday night of signature races at Yonkers Raceway and Mohawk Park. Grand Circuit action will be front and center on the east coast with the Yonkers Trot and the Messenger Stakes. North of the border the Canadian Pacing Derby and the Maple Leaf Trot are the headline events.
Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.
This looks like a formful race and it's difficult to find any value as #4-Six Pack (8/5) is a major threat to win. This colt can grind his way around if need be where as others may need the top do to their best work. It may take an awful trip or bad racing luck for Six Pack to not claim one of the top two spots. #1-Helpisontheway (9/5) is razor sharp and should make the most of a favorable post draw. #6-Mississippi Storm (20-1) and #8-The Veteran (4-1) should be battling for a 3rd place check.
The 2nd program chalk #1-Springsteen (3-1) is an interesting play who had issues in the last two starts but will be my top choice in another formful race. My thinking is trainer Rene Allard will get the best out of the son of Rock N Roll Heaven and the colt will be on the lead or in the 2-hole early on. If #8-Jimmy Freight (5/2) blasts out and does get the lead Springsteen could make him work hard and that could be the difference in the late going. It would be best to respect #6-Stay Hungry (4-1) who is going for the 2nd leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Stay Hungry may benefit from swift fractions as he can take air and rally late.
Woodbine Mohawk Park
Well, I took my swing to go against #2-Lazarus (7/5) in his first local start thinking he might not be acclimated to North America, and that was not a good decision. Until Lazarus shows some vulnerability I will not try to beat him, that's a good strategy to use with exceptional horses. From a betting standpoint my guess is Lazarus should go off at 1-1 or 4-5 and I'll play exactas with #4-Rockin Ron (12-1) and #5-Filibuster Hanover (8-1) underneath.
This has the makings of the best race of the day and my top two picks won't be the most popular choices. I will be using #2-Dancer Hall (5-1) and #4-Ariana G (9/2) in an exacta box and both have Canadian connections. My choices to use under those two in exactas are #3-Marion Marauder (3-1) and #5-Will Take Charge (7/2).
Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia