by Al Cimaglia
June 5, 2021
Beginning in 1986, the Battle of Lake Erie is the longest running stake race at Northfield Park and one their most notable events. Tonight, there is a solid field of nine pacers going postward in Race 10 and they will be competing for a share of a $200,000 purse. This Is The Plan leads the field in money earned with over $2.1 million in the bank and the Ron Burke trainee is the 2-1 morning line choice.
Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.
Race 10-Battle of Lake Erie-Free For All Pace-Purse $200,000
1-Western Joe (7/2)-Arron Merriman is between the pipes replacing usual pilot Dexter Dunn. Merriman knows this track like few others and if Joe is dialed on high he could take a picture. Not sure the rail is the best post draw for this classy 7-year-old but should be a major threat regardless.
2-Little Rocket Man (8-1)-Did get in a race over the NFLD surface on 5-16 and paced the back half in a quick .54. Trainer Melisa Essig commented the 5-year-old was a little steppy going into the 1st turn and they will adjust his hobbles, otherwise they were pleased. Regular pilot John De Long will be steering as he was in the last HoP start on 5-29. That night Rocket Man blasted out of the gate with a swift 25.4 opening quarter and made every call a winning one. The program chalks (#3-#1-#4) are making their NFLD debut and maybe having a race over this surface will serve this price shot well.
3-This Is The Plan (2-1)-This 6-year-old has big gate speed, if he gets the top and Gingras can steal a quarter it could be trouble for every foe. The son of Somebeachsomewhere can be a handful to drive and at times looks very uncomfortable behind the gate. The morning line favorite should be a main player but probably at a short price.
4-Stars Align A (4-1)-Winner of 2 straight since joining the Bongiorno barn faces a big test and hasn't raced since 5-1. Comes into town off a sharp qualifier on 5-29 at the Big M and should be forwardly placed. Does have a 148.0 mark at Dayton on the 5/8s' but my thinking is others could be better suited for a top effort tonight.
5-Hesa Kingslayer N (15-1)-Makes NFLD debut and this longshot will probably be hard pressed to hit the board unless the fractions are hot and Wrenn works a great trip. The quick fractions part of the equation should happen but will likely need to take the long way around.
6-Gold Digger King (12-1)-Winner of 3 straight makes a nice living on the Ohio circuit but not against this kind. Has never won at NFLD in 4 starts and is unlikely to take a picture battling this company.
7-Century Farroh (6-1)-Last year's Breeder Crown Champ has a third place finish in one start at NFLD. The post makes the price and can leave as fast as the gate car but others inside can boast the same. Appears to have a good chance at adding some juice to the gimmicks but it would be tough to cash the top check with this post draw.
8-Southwind Amazon (20-1)-Local hero has won 7 of the last 8 and loves the NFLD oval booking 70 wins in 129 starts. This 11-year-old is as game as they come but the outside post draw has sealed his fate and he is not facing Open Handicap company this evening.
9-Catch the Fire (10-1)-Knows how to win on a 5/8's oval versus top competition, but leaving from the 2nd tier is a tall task. Not sure how Brett Miller gets this 4-year-old into the race. Has won 2 straight but has not faced anything close to this level of competition and would need racing luck to extend that streak.
$6 Exacta 2/1,3-Total Bet=$12
$4 Exacta 2/4,7-Total Bet=$8
$4 Exacta 1,3/2-Total Bet=$8
$2 Exacta 4,7/2-Total Bet=$4
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