by Al Cimaglia
May 22, 2021
Tonight, four-year-old trotters are the headliners at the Meadowlands as they are featured in Leg 1 action of the Graduate Series. The 0.50 Early Pick 4 starts in Race 6. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout, and it will be my focus.
On Friday, Doug McNair and Yannick Gingras led the drivers with three wins. Jeff Cullipher was the top conditioners with two trips to the winner's circle. On the lead or close to it was the place to be last night as no winner closed from far back.
Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.
6-Pikachu Hanover (3-1)-Team McNair entry races best near the top of the stack and there is no reason to think that won't be the case here. Big players start outside so will use looking for a favorable trip and could be overlooked at the windows.
9-JL Cruz (7/2)-This is a soft spot and Dunn should have this veteran in striking range. The question is at what cost? But best to respect despite the post draw and should be hard to beat with a smooth trip.
10-Ready For Moni (9/2)-Takter trainee was very good in the 5-14 qualifier despite losing the race to a tough foe by almost 6 lengths. Not sure what the game plan will be tonight, but it's risky to leave off the ticket at this level.
1-Allywag Hanover (7/2)-Came off the bench on 5-1 with an even effort in the Graduate. The next start was on 5-15 in that same series, plus it was the 1st time for Lasix. The effort was good, raced near the lead and the fractions were swift so will look for even more tonight.
4-Warrawee Vital (3-1)-Makes the 3rd start off the bench and has come 2nd in previous races. Did come very close in both and the winners aren't in this field. Should be on the engine soon after the word "go" and might not look back.
1-Machnhope (3-1)-Winner of 3 straight has been that good and should be on top or in the pocket when the dust settles. The Daley barn is batting 32% over the past 30 days and this is probably not the time to overthink and try to beat.
3-Alexa Skye (7/2)-This mare came out swinging in her 4-year-old season winning 8 of 12 on smaller and larger ovals. TMac should be sitting on top or right behind his brother (#1). Winner in 5 of 11 starts at M1 looks like a major threat.
6-Ideal Feeling (15-1)-Going to stretch out in this leg and there a number of ways this one could play out. Clarke trainee shipped up from the Pomp to PcD to face better than this without any luck. But did post a 148.0 mark here last year and has big gate speed. Could be put in play early and should be a juicy price.
7-Franco Totem N (8-1)-Dunn's choice over #10 has had a string of dull efforts but fits better with this kind. Winner of 10 in 38 starts at M1 might be in a spot to wake-up at a solid price.
8-Shake That House (15-1)-Raced from the back in a needed start, went a very fast 2nd-half and that was the first time using Lasix. TMac is between the pipes again and he might be more aggressive this time. Quick fractions would help the cause and that could happen.
9-Nandolo N (3-1)-Was far back early last week in season debut, and smoked the 2nd half with a 25.3 final panel. Should be a player but this post may pose a big challenge. Plus, this Betterthancheddar 7-year-old is making only the 2nd U.S. start. Tough to leave off the ticket but probably won't offer any value and it's too early to get a very good good read.
0.50 Early Pick 4
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