by Al Cimaglia
January 8, 2021
The Meadowlands card kicks-off with the 0.20 Pick 5 which will have a hefty $100,000 guaranteed pool. The sequence has a 15% takeout and will be my focus.
Last night, the driver with the hottest hands was Todd McCarthy with four trips to the winner's circle. All 13-races were won by different conditioners.
Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.
5-My Pal Joe (3-1)-Got the top, went to the 3/4's in 122 and sealed the deal drawing off by >2 lengths with a 27.4 kicker on 1/2. Fits with this crew and last week's career best of 149.4 was too good to not consider the possibility of an encore.
8-Always And Again (5-1)-Doesn't usually make an early move to get the top but did so in last and faded down the lane. It was still a good try to finish 2nd after being off 3-weeks. Looking for the same pilot to come off cover this week and the pace could be lively.
2-So So De Vie (3-1)-George Nap steers and has had success in the past with this 4-year-old. Looking for an aggressive steer and could leave and not look back.
3-Keystone Honor (10-1)-Ten-year-old still knows how to win but blasting off the gate usually isn't his thing. Having the rail in last didn't help, the trip wasn't smooth but did roll late when able. Zeron is back in the bike and he should work a more efficient journey in 2nd Big M start.
4-Western Redhot (7/2)-Dunn takes over for Gingras and this small barn has won twice in 3 tries over the last 30 days. Redhot has won 2 of last 3 and will string along in 4th start for new connections.
4-No Time To Play (10-1)-Took the long way around in last, gets post relief and now MacDonald takes the lines. Looks to be worth a swing at the morning line price.
6-I Got The Looks (15-1)-Was facing better when last here and now makes 2nd start on Lasix. Comes off a nice effort at Philly considering being idle for 3 weeks. Another price shot that is worth a look in a race without a standout.
8-Graceful Winner (9/2)-Has been off since 12/18 but Dunn returns, and he will need to work a smooth trip from this post. Drops, has hit the board in 2 of 3 starts at M1 with a picture and should be in the hunt with the right steer.
9-Swan In Motion (7/2)-Drops and 4-year-old tries Lasix for the 2nd time. Came home in 56.2 in last and could be better tonight so hard to leave off the ticket. But is trip dependent, needs honest fractions plus could be over bet and faces older mares.
1-Sugar Town (9/2)-Drops in 3rd start since 10/28/19 after being bet down in last and didn't show much. But this is a softer spot and gets post relief. Should leave quick enough to protect the rail and stay in the hunt.
5-Toppville Olympian (8-1)-Comes off 2 qualifiers and improved in the 2nd but hasn't raced since 10-3 so there are question marks. Should like the company and Dunn sticks after steering in both qualifiers. Will respect chances in a race where many have issues.
7-Saying Grace N (3-1)-Cullipher trainee was bet down in last which was 1st time Lasix and broke at the start. Dave Miller drives and that won't hurt. Using and hoping for a rebound and to not be over bet.
1-Semi Tough (5-1) -Makes 8th Big M start looking for its 1st win, and this is a spot to shine. Joe B takes a spin, and he can blast out and try to wire this bunch. Not sure that's the winning recipe but could control this race at a square price.
5-JK Will Power (10-1)-Gets a new pilot and some needed class relief. Bartlett could work a stalking trip and rally down the lane. Has the speed to be a threat and this post draw shouldn't hurt chances.
8-Stonedust (7/2)-It looked like this 7-year-old was going to take a picture last week but just fell short from post 10. Dave Miller was listed on a few but sticks again with the Cullipher barn. Looks like a major threat but was only 1-19 in 2020.
Race 1) 5,8
Race 2) 2,3,4
Race 3) 4,6,8,9
Race 4) 1,5,7
Race 5) 1,5,8
Total Ticket Cost) $43.20 for $0.20
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