By Dave Brower, Meadowlands Handicapper — Early Double Analysis — Friday, February 12, 2021 — Race 1
1 BIG SWEEP OSBORNE – Not a whole lot in his recent form suggests a sudden turnaround. Have to pass again.
2 BEBOP ON THE BLOCK – Bebop seems overdue for a good sort of break. Maybe tonight. Finally gets a decent post, and his overall versatility should get him a better trip. That was excellent try last week at a big, overlay price.
3 MAY I CRUISE WEST – Yes, I can see who’s driving, so don’t expect to get the usual huge price. This is also a pretty weak bunch, so he is expected to step it up with a little more. Just not sure I would want to bet at any low odds.
4 K-LEES SHAKENBAKE – It took a couple starts, but he may have finally rounded back into form. There once was a time when he would crush a field like this. Gets better post. I guess I wouldn’t talk you off in this situation.
5 BLUEBIRD GOLDWYN – It’s been a long time since he won a race, so keep that in mind. Yannick back aboard, and he did get a check with him recently. To me, that is the goal again. Just earn a share. I’d be surprised if he beat these.
6 TWO FIFTYEIGHT N – Just take that last start and put a line through it. Speed dueled into the ground. Since he’s right back in the box, let’s hope it didn’t take too much out of him. New barn will probably “rent” him for week. Good luck! Trainer: Trained great! Not sure if he liked the equipment changes the prior trainer made before. Hence, the bad start. But I think he will be very competitive this time around.
7 MASTER CONRAD – Lots of us liked the Master last week and he was downright flat. Considering that trip, he should have had much more punch. He was a very short price too! So, I’m off the bandwagon. Best wishes if you stick around.
8 STATESMAN N – I’ll give him the tepid call as morning line favorite, in this VERY hard-to-handicap race. I’m not in love with the post, but do like the sizable class drop. He’s also beaten better than this in the past. Dex off #3 to get this one.
9 SIR MACHALOT – Suffering the bad post blues right now. But, at least he can say he owns a win this year. Not many of these can say that. Interesting spot for T Mac on a versatile performer. Will he send, or just float? Good question.
DRIVER CHOICES: None
Top Contenders 8-6-2-4
1 HE’S EXPLOSIVE – Definitely a “work in progress” with the scratches and gaps, etc. The pole usually keeps one close. Let’s see if he can keep up and get a check. That would be the goal here.
2 SPUNKIN’SROCKETMAN – It’s hard to believe the sudden time drop from first to second qualifier. I guess he just can’t get around the half? Still didn’t show me enough here, so I think we want to watch one first. Not ready for this.
3 HIPSTER K – Was even more impressive here last week, overcoming that post with some good, reliable speed. Gets the “free pass” in this class again and I’m kind of surprised to see him in back-to-back weeks. Probably needs the work!
4 R HERBIE BLUE CHIP – Herbie’s in a nice spot again. I’d love to see him leave along with the fave and then get to follow and track the rest of the way. Overall, he’s been pretty reliable here. Doesn’t miss any checks. Nice!
5 SCIROCCO PATRICK – Simon drove this guy a little differently last week and horse did get a touch tired late. Okay. Regular pilot is back in the seat tonight and you can expect a conservative Captain steer. Horse gains confidence.
6 SO LONG HANOVER – Definitely having a better 4YO campaign so far. Took a while to get him to learn the game, but those last two down at home base look pretty good. Is he ready to tackle the likes of #3? No. Corey chose #5.
7 THE GREAT PG – What a very mixed bag of efforts on view. But, even I will admit he was much better last week! The trip worked out, but he finished with trot. Will have to hope for similar journey, but it may not happen out here. Trainer: Has been steadily improving each week on the mile track. Hopefully, we can work out a nice trip with him.
8 AP HALL OF TRIX – He’s been a tough horse to gauge for a long time. Dexter raced him from behind out of the bad post and it was better effort, and he did stay trotting. That’s a step in the right direction. Will it continue?
9 MANHATTANUP NO ICE – He’s the wild card in here, because you know he’ll be blasting out of the gate. Will need to make it easier than last time where he stopped. Any smoother journey can get him a check.
10 BLUFFINNER – Figures to need this, off the layoff. That, plus post 10, make him a pass for tonight.
Corey Callahan 5 over 6
Top Contenders 3-4-5-9