by Al Cimaglia
July 18, 2020
The Meadowlands Pace is the signature race for the East Rutherford track and tonight's contest figures to be an exciting affair. The star-studded card features the top trotters and pacers in North America.
Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.
Race 3-Del Miller Memorial Trot-Purse $253,500
1-Sorella (7/2)-A big test but having the rail wasn't a problem in the past and last week's win was impressive. Winner of 3 of 4 at the Big M comes into this race very sharp. Gingras can take advantage of main foes starting outside.
8-Hypnotic AM (3-1)-Cruised home from the 9-hole at VD and should be in the hunt throughout. Sears may get aggressive and look to make a quarter move, but he could grind it out.
10-Ramona Hill (9/2)-This is a tough filly with limited options from this post. Last week struck me as a measured effort from the 9-hole and it was a nice tune-up. This post draw is even worse, but fresh horse and should be heard from.
Race 7-Haughton Memorial Pace-Purse $391,300
4-Century Farroh (6-1)-Last week's trip could not have been worse and was really no fault of the driver. It was an odd race as everyone pulled from the beginning. Dave Miller steers again and could be sitting on a big try at a square price.
5-Backstreet Shadow (7/2)-Hard to find a fault with this Burke trainee who just missed from the 9-hole off a tough trip and was off 20 days. Gets a very good post and probably leaves and land on top or in the pocket behind #6.
6-Dancin Lou (3-1)-Program chalk deserves respect, has done some heavy lifting in last 2 starts. Knows how to win and should be a factor but have to wonder if his tank hasn't been drained due to the last 2 big efforts.
Race 8-Hambletonian Maturity-Purse $464,900
7-Reign Of Honor (12-1)-Will swing for a price, last 2 have been better and will look for upswing to continue. Does lose Dave Miller to #6 but Tim Tetrick is aboard and that's usually a good thing. It looks like a spot to blast and take control.
13-Gimpanzee (3-1)-The best horse in the race but gets a tough post draw. Sears will need #3 to leave in hurry and get some luck to be in position at the top of the stretch. It appears to be a tough task, but this champ will likely be in the hunt somehow.
1-Forbidden Trade (7/2)-The 2019 Hambo winner comes off a nice turn-up win at the Big M versus older. It wouldn't be a surprise if it's picture time tonight, but this post may not be the best for him.
Race 9-Meadowlands Pace-Purse $636,650
4-Allywag Hanover (9/2)-Doesn't have the bankroll of #5 and #9. But has blossomed in his 3-year-old season and will face the "A" team tonight. This is a Pelling pupil along with #9 and he gets the post edge over his stablemate. The post draw could make the difference and has some value at 9/2. Tetrick has options and could come off cover or race close to the lead.
5-Tall Dark Stranger (7/5)-Winner of 10 of 11 lifetime deserves to be the morning line chalk but at 7/5 doesn't offer any value versus a tough group. My guess is Gingras blasts this monster out and looks to wire the field. That could happen but it won't be easy.
9-Papi Rob Hanover (4-1)-Dave Miller will be aboard as usual, and this is another freak who has beaten #5 twice but was Dq'd once. This is the 3rd start of 2020 and in the first 2 was stuck with post 10. Doesn't get much of a break tonight but it's best to respect. It wouldn't surprise me if both Pelling entries hit the board. I will be using Rob in gimmicks and if the pace is sizzling he may roll by everyone.
I will be betting my top choice in each race to win.
In Race 8, #7 & #13 will be used in an exacta box and both will be keyed in exactas on top of #1. In Race 9, Papi Rob Hanover will be boxed in exactas with #4 and #5.
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