by Al Cimaglia
September 2, 2017
It's the start of Labor Day weekend and there will be some top harness racing around the U.S. and north of the border. My focus will be on the Grand Circuit events and Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk as well as two major stake races at Yonkers.
Last night at Hawthorne my Pick 4 ticket came apart in the 2nd leg when #7-Heaven For Sure won and paid $33.80. The other 3 legs clicked, but Heaven For Sure was a winner that was completely off my radar. The 9-7-1-2 Late Pick 4 combination paid $382.85 on a 0.50 bet.
Tonight, the selections below do include horses that could provide some pop to the exotics, as in some cases the chalks do seem vulnerable.
Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.
Race 2-Champlain Pace 2 yr. old F Pace $169,381
6-Kendall Seelster-Hasn't beaten #5 yet but has come close. Thinking #5 won't get such an easy lead and might get caught.
5-Percy Bluechip-Hasn't ever lost, including qualifiers, seems to do just enough to win and that's the sign of a quality horse.
9-Kissin In The Sand-Post doesn't help but can grind it out and spice up an the exotics.
Race 5 -Champlain 2 yr. old C&G Pace $97,880
7-Stay Hungry-Regally bred colt made it look easy in debut. Looks like a clean trip away from a nice payday.
5-Trump That-Has had seconditis but has lost to some very good youngsters, the main threat.
6-Evening Play-Beaten favorite has been sharp at a 12-1 ML can provide some juice to the ticket.
Race 6-Simcoe 3 yr. old Trot $165,838
4-International Money-Deserved a better fate in Hambo and can make amends for getting knocked out with a win here.
2-R First Class-Major player who loves the track and has sharp connections. Respect chances to be in the mix.
7-Magic Night-Here's a price play with Roy that can battle with these with a strong effort. Will look to use underneath.
Race 7-Canadian Pacing Derby $615,000
2-Keystone Velocity-ML favorite sizzled home in 25.1 last week and Allard trainee is a big-time performer.
4-Rockin Robin-Got on the engine and made it look easy. This won't be as easy but is sharp, last week probably not a fluke.
3-Easy Lover Hanover-Longshot raced the last 1/2 almost as fast as #2, but had 8 hole. McNair can keep in the hunt.
Race 8-Ontario Sire Stakes Gold 3 yr. old C&G $98,000
3-Rebellious-Rick Zeron has been hot and this is a competitive race, will use and should be a nice price.
9-Mach Deja Vu-Roy will work a trip from this post but starting outside stops me from putting on top.
4-Sports Column-2-1 ML chalk leads field in LT and seasonal earnings but has lost the winning touch lately.
Race 9-Champlain 2 yr. old Pace $96,880
7-Hudson Phil-Has kept some fast company and at 6-1 ML taking a swing will knock off #1-#2 who were scratched sick.
1-Summer Travel-Coleman trainee has a 1:50.3 mark, if ready will be tough to beat from rail with David Miller.
5-Dragon Time-Not expecting this to be a picture taking opportunity but can be used in gimmicks at a square price.
Race 10-Ontario Sire Stakes Gold 3 yr.old C&G Pace $98,000
3-Dreamfair BJ-Last was better than the lines read, was off 21 days. 10-1 ML, gets post relief, could be sitting on a big race.
4-Red John-Took full advantage of a torrid pace to win last. Pace should be quick and if so will be rolling down the lane again.
7-Classic Pro-6/5 ML favorite has won >$400k in brief career, but will play against. Another chalk who might be tailing off.
Race 4-Messenger Stake Final-$500,000
7-Downbytheseaside-Big favorite is racing well and despite a bad post draw should be able to handle these.
5-Funknwaffles-From this post should be able to stay in the mix throughout, 2nd chalk needs a good early seat.
6-Bloodline-7-1 ML and if was starting inside would have rated higher. Sharp connections deserve respect.
Race 5-Yonkers Trot Final-$580,000
4-Guardian Angel As-Is sharp and Bartlett gets along well. Can beat the chalk if minds manners.
1-Devious Man-Winner of >$740K this year is a very good competitor and gets a prime post, should be bet hard.
6-Yes Mickey-Versatile Muscle Hill colt has been 1st or 2nd in 9 of 10 in 2017. Should make presence felt again tonight.
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