Homeracing

Weekend Harness Preview for 6/14/2014

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

June 14th, 2014

by Ted Black

While the Meadowlands is gearing up for its summer stakes and Yonkers returns off a brief hiatus, much of the attention on Saturday night certainly will be focused on Mohawk Racetrack in Toronto, Canada, as the oval offers its best card of the year to date.

This evening Mohawk will present the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup for three-year-old colt pacers as well as the $275,000 Goodtimes final for three-year-old colt trotters, the $265,000 Armbro Flight for trotting fillies and mares, the $330,000 Roses Are Red final for pacing fillies and mares, the $450,000 Fan Hanover final for three-year-old filly pacers and the $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational for older pacers, featuring Foiled Again.

Taking center stage on the grand card at Mohawk in the 31st edition of the Pepsi North America Cup for sophomore pacing colts and geldings, the first genuine marquee race of the season for the sport's glamour division. Among the contenders for the Cup are He's Watching, last year's champion two-year-old pacing colt as well as elim winners Mcwicked, Tellitlikeitis and Lyonssomewhere.

Not one of last week's three elims produced a winning favorite, although He's Watching was actually good in defeat, brushing to the top and lasting for second behind Tellitlikeitis on a night when speed horses appeared to be racing against the bias. JK Endofanera faded to third in his elim and drifted out badly in the lane, nearly impeding several rivals. It was hardly a promising effort.

All three elim winners, Mcwicked, Tellititlikeitis and Lyonssomewhere opted to select posts alongside one another and all three figure to be prominent in the outcome. Of the three, however, Mcwicked displayed the most grit, brushing to the top before the half, yielding to a fie then angling out last to overhaul Sometimes Said, who had the misfortune of drawing post 10 for the final.

Both Let's Drink On It and He's Watching bear watching in the final despite tasting defeat one week ago. Let's Drink On It has been good in all four starts this year for trainer Joe Seekman and got used hard in the middle half to clear before fading to third in a effort that was better than it looks on paper. He's Watching was dismal in his seasonal debut, but was very good two starts back in the Somebeachsomewhere and raced well again last week against the bias and deserves a look.

In the Fan Hanover final that immediate precedes the Cup, look for Nat A Virgin to regain her winning ways. Third in her elim as the odds-on choice while racing against the bias, Nat A Virgin drew the rail and should be in an ideal spot throughout and could end up being the tepid choice although her elim winner, Uffizi Hanover, draws alongside her.

One race earlier in the Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational, look for Foiled Again to regain his winning ways following a good third-place effort in the Molson Pace at Western Fair last out. He got used hard to overcome post seven and cut serious early fractions before being nailed late by State Treasurer, who draws alongside him here. Thinking Out Loud (John Campbell) has the rail and will be a major player.

One race earlier in the Roses Are Red final for pacing mares, give Somwherovrainbow a chance at redemption following a girtty, second-place effort behind Yagonnakissmeornot in her elim. Somwherovrarainbow has won six of nine starts this year, including the Bluechip Matchmaker final at Yonkers and last week she raced against the bias while settling for second at odds-on. She could be a generous 3-1 at post time tonight against Anndrovette and Yagonnakissmeornot.

Two races earlier in the Armbro Flight final for trotting fillies and mares, expect this affair to evole into a virtual match race between Perfect Alliance, who has won all 11 of her starts this year, and Bee A Magician, the reigning horse of the year who has finished second in each of her two outings this season after winning all 17 of her starts last year.

Then one race earlier in the Goodtimes final, look for Trixton (Jim Takter) to continue his winning ways. The late developing son of Muscle Hill has won four of five starts this year and romped home last week in the Goodtimes elim and two starts back in his New Jersey Sire Stakes final. He may give Takter a shot at sweeping the top three spots in the Hambletonian later this summer.

Then on Sunday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, Dancin Yankee (Ron Pierce) will seek his second straight tally and fourth win in his last five starts when he competes in the Winners Over Handicap from his assigned eight post.

A six-year-old Yankee Cruiser stallion trained by Josh Green for owner Baron Racing Stable, Dancin Yankee has emerged as one of the best older pacers on the continent this spring and now he looks poised for a lucrative summer and fall campaign.

After opening the year by dominating his local rivals at Dover Downs, Dancin Yankee then headed to Yonkers Raceway for the ultra-tough, lucrative and prestigious George Morton Levy Memorial Series for aged pacers where the Green trainee more than held his own. He won one of the five preliminary legs and finished second in two others before settling for fifth in the $567,000 final.

But Dancin Yankee has acquitted himself well since then. He won a $50,000 Invitational at Pocono Downs in 1:49 then followed that with a stunning, 1:47.2 score over that track one week later. After finishing fourth in the $140,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair in Canada, he easily regained his winning ways while taking the Open Handicap at Harrington Raceway last Monday in 1:50.3 despite racing first over for much of the last half.

Looking to upend Dancin Yankee tomorrow afternoon are several talented aged pacers who are accustomed to competing at the highest level on occasion. Meirs Hanover has won 27 of 104 lifetime starts and earned over $660,000 and sports a mark of 1:48.1 at Pocono; Clear Vision has won 25 of 147 career outings and earned roughly $1.9 million; while Heston Blue Chip was the champion three-year-old pacer of 2012 and boasts 32 wins and $1.6 million banked in 54 lifetime tries.

Harrington Raceway will offer a solid 14-race card on Sunday evening with a quartet of races toward the middle of the program taking center stage.

In the fourth, the first $20,000 division of the first round of eliminations for three-year-old colt pacers in the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund, any number of horses could prevail in this event.

Art Retreat won a DSBF elim at Dover Downs in April before settling for fifth in the final and he has raced well in four starts since, although settling for second three times. Motorino has won three of four starts at the current meet for trainer Wayne Givens and appears to be peaking at the right time, while Go Big Spinder , also an earlier elim winner at Dover, figures to be a factor for owner-breeder-trainer and petite blacksmith Leigh Louthan.

In the fifth, a non-winners of five races lifetime event for trotters named for recent graduate Brandon Haggerty, give Abbi's Gabbi a chance at redemption. Last week he raced first over into a solid back half and faded to fifth as the 9-5 favorite, but should be able to work out a much better trip. Man Of Muscle and Joeyscash will look to control the tempo from the outset.

One race later in the sixth, the second DSBF elim for the sophomore pacing colts, look for Lewiebyalength and Elite Awards to dictate the event from the outside from their two inside spots, while Above The Storm, Casino Bags Carlo and Save The Date all merit upset chances. Casino Bags Carlo won the first DSBF final at Dover, while both Above The Storm and Save The Date prepped for this round at Rosecroft. Then in the seventh, a non-winners of two races lifetime event for pacing fillies and mares, looks for Art's B to gain command early from the rail and hold safe West Liberty. A three-year-old daughter of Art Major trained by Colby Hubble, Art's B ended an 18-race skid with her first lifetime tally last week and should repeat in the annual "Happy Birthday Mary Ellen" pace at the Delaware half-mile oval.
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