By Dave Brower, Meadowlands Handicapper — Early Double Analysis— Friday, February 18, 2022
1 SPUNKIN’SROCKTMAN – Barn’s got two in again and they’re both getting used to Club Med. This one looks like he’s going to be okay here. Has proven he can go fast enough, and has passed a few in the lane lately. A touch more?
2 SPREE – Maintains longshot status for now. Until he proves he can come up with a bigger stretch kick. This is smaller bunch and his post is good. Should be in decent stalking position. Let’s see if we get more tonight.
3 STAY CLOSE – Certainly turned in a better effort last time, despite the outside post. Broke in the first go around. So, the post is better. The barn’s been on fire. Yannick takes over. It’s time to step up and deliver a big one vs. #6.
4 LOVE THIS BAR – Not sure why, but he seemed to regress a little in the second start here. Usually, it’s the other way around. So now, I would need to see an improvement before I could endorse. Another that will be sitting, stalking.
5 BIRDMAN – The Bird found that conditioned field a tad too much. Okay. Right back to where he belongs. His game is speed, so expect the full send here for another new driver. Overall, I still like the start to his Big M career.
6 CAMDEN HILLS – Gave it a super try in Big M debut. If anything, he was a little unlucky too! Seeks revenge on the Burke Barn tonight and should probably get it. Went a lot faster than all of these. Should improve tonight too!
7 GLACIER HANOVER – Enters off the layoff tonight and let’s not forget his stakes experience from last fall. Now on Lasix. Had a much better second qualifier. Todd knows him better now. I think barn will be okay with new one.
Yannick Gingras 3 over 5
Todd McCarthy 7 over 2
Top Contenders 6-7-5-1
1 SETTLEMOIR – At least he gets a better post tonight, to try and rejoin the GSY wars. Hasn’t made much of an impact.
2 TOPVILLE CRUISER – Marches up the Turnpike for a rare big track try. The recent form at The Hold isn’t exactly jumping off the page. I guess I’d just like to watch one here. To see if he can hack it. I’m not so sure.
3 MASTER CONRAD – Still waiting on a wakeup call from him and it sure didn’t come last time. Yes, I know he missed a little time, but he offered very little effort. Would be a tough play, after seeing that. Needs total turnaround.
4 KINGOFTHEJUNGLE – I guess he’s got a decent shot in here. Got caught up in a hot pace battle last time, which he doesn’t need. This field looks just a touch weaker than last one. He’s going to need a better trip, but it’s possible.
5 STEADY PULSE – The barn’s favorite horse! The 12YO warhorse! It seems like Nikki has him rounding into better form. It’s been a long time since we saw him here, but he’ll know his way around. Just has to go faster tonight. Maybe. Trainer: Hasn’t been the sharpest, but seems to respond on a big track. I’ve dreamed of driving him here forever, so we will give it out all.
6 KEEP COMING – He’s been off a LONG time, so that’s a major concern. I didn’t learn too much from that one and only qualifier. I would have preferred to see a second, but oh well. I do see who’s driving, so very mixed signals. Trainer: Aka: Kevin! Coming off a significant layoff. Felt great in the qualifier, considering the steep competition. It’s always nice to have Joe Lee in the bike. In the GSY races, he usually gets along with anything he sits behind.
7 MV OK PALACIO BR – I thought he had good shot in that race last week and that part was right! He raced well, but just ran into a better foe. Tonight’s problem will be the post, since he’s got no speed. Needs the right setup.
8 FERDINAND A – This looks like nice spot for him, with that superb speed. Jim S has been on a real good roll of late too! To me, he is the one to beat tonight, but will have to deal with #4 at some point. Won’t be easy, but can win.
9 CASINO BAGS ANSO – I just haven’t seen enough from him to make me want to bet. Pass from a bad post.
10 BUNGALOW BILL N – Bill gets slammed with another tough starting slot. He overcame it with a nice rally last time, but this one may not set up the same way. Totally at mercy of pace and trip, unless they plan on blasting.
Joe Lee 6 over 9
Top Contenders 8-4-7-5