Early Double by Dave Brower, Meadowlands handicapper
1 SO SO DE VIE – That was a pretty spectacular effort last week, when used hard most of the way and digging in bravely. So, he is clearly the one to beat tonight, but with another new driver. Matt Z will have to gun from the rail. 1 to catch!
2 JUNIOR’S DEW – Retains longshot status, having not been a solid threat in any recent race. Hopes to sit in, save.
3 RUTHLESS DUDE – I certainly expected more out of him last week, given that perfect trip from Andrew A last week. He did pull a little early, but horse just hung from there. Not sure why, but it wasn’t good. Must bounce back bigger.
4 TAILGUNNER HANOVER – Also threw in a rare clunker last time. Was in the flow behind the hot pace and came up rather empty. Everybody gets a pass for one dull effort in a while. Juan back aboard. Will hope for similar good trip.
5 MCNULTY Z TAM – Did a fairly good job of chasing #1 last week, but that trip and drive worked out well too! It was a nice effort since he missed a week. Can Peter L fire out and land similar journey? That IS the question. Tough call.
6 BLUEBIRD GOLDWYN – Yannick gave this guy every chance in that pretty weak field last week and he just got lost chasing that classier foe. I won’t hold that against him. This should be much tougher spot, so that’s my call.
7 GRANDPA DON – Is the “real” Don going to show up tonight? This race has monster hot pace potential and that can only help him. As we know, it’s ALL about pace and trip, especially in a final like this. I wouldn’t talk you off.
8 WALKS OF LIFE – Took the easy route from that horrible post last week, to get ready for this final. But, the post gods were still not kind. Pilot has done great job of putting Walks into the race. This is time to shine! Overcomes post 8?
9 WATCHMENEIGHNEIGH – After driving #1 to the big win last week, he ends up on this one for tonight. Not sure how that works, but I have to prefer the pole-sitter, based on what I’ve seen. Suffering a case of the bad post blues!
10 GOOD DAY MATE – Where’s he going from post 10? With no speed, probably not very far. Pass.
DRIVER CHOICES: None
Top Contenders 8-1-5-7
1 CHING CHING LUCKY – Barn pulled off a monster upset last week, so you never know! But, I would have a tough time endorsing this filly that just can’t stay trotting. Needs to turn things around.
2 CLASSIC CON – Switches venues here for Team Smith. Came close only once in his six starts so far, so I would need to see a good one here first. Not yet.
3 KNIGHT OF VALOUR – Burned a little money in his Saratoga finale, but barn comes roaring in with several new shooters tonight. I love to see that! That one try here wasn’t bad, and will serve as acclimating mile. Goes faster? Trainer: Throw out last start! Bad drive.
4 GROSSETO AS – Made a decent move into a well-meant winner last time, so I’ll give some credit for that. Slated for yet another driver change and Mr. Dunn can certainly get one to wake up. No killers in here. Would be hard to leave out.
5 SLOANIE – Corey got used to him last time, so that should help. I still don’t know if gelding is going to be fast enough to compete here. It’s a work in progress and we’ll see if he gets any closer tonight.
6 MANHATTANUP NO ICE – Mark Mac took a shot and sent this fella out of there upon arrival. It didn’t work. So, I have no idea what the plan will be tonight. When he looks over the field, may swing again. Has to save a little too!
7 WAITING FOR WINGS – Drew post nine twice to end the Plainridge meet, so forget about that. Showed a bit of promise in Maine before that. Doesn’t have a lot of experience, so this is a big test, on the big track. Not sure.
8 DEVIOUS HANOVER – She’s also got a turn of speed, but possibly only questionable stamina. Ends up with a bad post again, so that never helps. I can’t be too positive just yet.
9 SWEET TEA – Figures to be the other favorite in here, along with #4. That was a very nice trip that A Nap put on her last time and she showed some trot! If anything, she could improve off that, but will have to get into the game again.
10 MY BOY CHRISTIAN – For a little while, I felt like we missed the boat on this one. But, he ended up getting a bit tired behind that runaway winner. Still, it was a good try! That’s two good tries here. Can we get a better post someday?
Mark MacDonald 6 over 7
Top Contenders 9-3-10-4