By Dave Brower, Meadowlands Handicapper — Early Double Analysis — Saturday, January 22, 2022
1 TRUMP NATION – Tough beat for the chalk players if you had him last week. Looked like he had it wrapped up, but was simply outgamed by Put To Right. No real excuse. Stays same level. Gets the rail. Will try to control it again.
2 STONEDUST – The Dust hinted at a return to form last week, making up a lot of ground from well behind. He’s in a good spot here, right alongside the probably favorite. If he only has to make one move, watch out! Dangerous.
3 RIFLEMAN – Gets some much needed post relief for second try at this higher level. Not sure he’s good enough to beat them, but IF they mix it up early, he will be coming late. Can be tossed onto the ticket at a square price.
4 BOBCAT BAY – Kind of the same boat as #3. Moves inside, which he needs. Had a decent kick from too far back on the class hike last time. It’s all about pace and trip for these closers. Should still be decent odds.
5 NUTCRACKER SWEET – I really don’t know what to do with him, coming off that scratch. Normally, this is his kind of spot. But, nothing less than his A-1 best will get it done. I do expect to see some speed out of him early. Usable.
6 GOOD ROCKIN – I have always been a big fan of this hard-trying horse. And a Big M welcome to 20YO Jake Cutting in his debut here! The Calgary, Alberta native has “shifted his tack” to the east coast. Has over 1,500 drives, 229 wins.
7 ITALIAN DELIGHT N – He just hasn’t gotten very lucky lately, to win one of these photos. But, he does seem good again. Marcus changed it up last week, flashing speed before a shuffle. But, there was more in the tank late. Danger.
8 DINA BOLT N – Showed up here and couldn’t have been more impressive for Team Bongiorno. Yes, he did get a perfect trip and drive, but he looked good doing it. This is a step up, and a move outside, so he will be tested.
9 CYCLONE BANNER N – Somebody in here has to be the longshot, so this is probably it. I don’t see him trying to leave, and I don’t see him sweeping the field from last. Good luck if you do.
DRIVER CHOICES: None
Top Contenders 7-5-8-1
1 JL CRUZE – The King and a class drop! Wow! We don’t get this circumstance too often. Plus, he was good again last week. So, he is clearly the one to beat from the pole position start. Might have to catch Hockey, but I prefer him!
2 HOCKEY HANOVER – I do not have a very good history of guessing on this guy, so he’ll probably jump up and beat me again. But, if that happens, I can live with it. That scratch has me worried. This is a big step up for him.
3 MARION GONDOLIER – Usually needs a level or two lower than this to do his best damage. Will sit and stalk.
4 ALL THE TRUTH – He’s probably the wild card in here. I see a bunch of breaks. I see a bunch of wins. But, should we really put him in same category as Cruze? I’m going with no on that. So, if he beats me, he beats me.
5 BROOKROAD MASTER – Also looking like the other longshot in here. I would be surprised if he jumped up and won.
6 ANGEL NATION – It’s been a big birthday week for Tyler M! And it looks like he is the regular driver behind the Team Orange Crush charge. That second start off the freshening was a lot better. Heading in the right direction now.
7 STORMONT VENTNOR – Good luck trying to figure this guy out. He makes mysterious breaks. And sometimes, he mows down fields. I have no idea what to expect tonight, but I’m definitely not in love with the post.
8 HAMMER TIME – Trainer Harry L had a birthday on Thursday, so Happy B-Day! And we loved the Hammer last week! He delivered right on time. Starts the ascent back up the class ladder now. JB will have to find a way to get him a trip.
DRIVER CHOICES: Corey Callahan 1 over 3 Yannick Gingras 4 over 7
Top Contenders 1-8-6-2