By Edison Hatter, Meadowlands Handicapper — Early Double Analysis Friday, January 13
1 IN NEVADA N – I wasn’t super high on him when he first came in from the Midwest this fall, but he’s been racing well in GSY races as of late and his form currently is the most consistent in this field, so I’ll take a chance with him on top.
2 VALIANY IVY – Was in a good spot early last time out, but wasn’t able to offer a whole lot in the finishing stages of the mile last week. Maine form was solid, but I’ll pass here until he proves himself a bit more on the big track.
3 NIGHT EXPLORER – Solid win two back and he was closing some ground late last time out as a tepid 2-1 favorite. Nonetheless, two solid tries for the Wiskow barn before moving over to the Paul Fusco barn tonight. Has a chance.
4 ALWAYS A PANTHER – Took solid support against GSY foes two back, but he ended up parked for the mile and was a well-beaten fourth in the end. Got used hard last time out, too. Needs a trip tonight, but certainly has the talent here.
5 RIGHTHERERIGHTNOW – Well, we hadn’t seen speed out of him in a while, but he blasted off from Post 8 in an Amateur race down in Maryland last time out and scored on the front end. Draws well, but this is a much tougher spot.
6 ROYAL COURTIER – Came into the Meadowlands with solid Monticello form, but hasn’t been given a whole lot of respect in the GSY races, yet has been beaten less than three lengths in the last two. I’ll use here at a price.
7 LOU ED ZEPPELIN – Raced pretty evenly last time out on the ship in from Monticello and while he did finish sixth, he was beaten less than three lengths in the end. He did go winless from 38 starts last year, which looms large on paper.
8 MARCUS SEELSTER – Had some weeks off when scratching sick from Saratoga in the middle of November, but has had two GSY starts here lately. Speed try didn’t work in the first and he was parked the mile last time. Post 8 again here.
9 A DEAL’S A DEAL – The recent form hasn’t been great and he’s had a lot of tough posts to work from lately, but this does appear to be a bit softer of a spot than his recent races. Unfortunately, it’s still from a tough post. I’ll pass tonight.
10 STOLEN ART – He took significant 11-1 support from Post 9 two starts ago against GSY foes, but couldn’t get involved after taking back early. Same trip essentially last time out. Post 10 tonight isn’t likely to change a whole lot here for him.
DRIVER CHOICES: None
Top Contenders: 1-4-6
1 ROGUE CHEDDAR – Tough DQ last time out for causing confusion to trailing horses in the second quarter, but he did race well to cross the wire in front. Second start off a long layoff, but seems sharp judging by the last one and the Q.
2 MADDOX HANOVER – Strong second while grinding away on a tough first over trip against similar claimers three starts ago. He’s been well-beaten in the last two, but he does draw better than those tries and I’ll use him in this spot.
3 RISKY BUDDY – There’s been a lot of outside posts to deal with at Freehold lately and he was a winner when he last drew on the inside half of the gate against a TM group last month. I’ll pass here until we see a bit more consistency.
4 BET THE LIMIT – Recent form has been okay down at Freehold, but this is a step up in class and he well beaten by ROGUE CHEDDAR last time out prior to the DQ. I’ll pass tonight and watch to see where his form matches up here.
5 SPORTSLOVER – Just missed against similar claimers at Saratoga four back, so he could be competitive here, but he’s missed some time off a sick scratch and had two tough posts to work from since. Draws well, but was winless last year.
6 NESH CRUISER – Toss out the last effort from Post 8 and he had a bit of a tough trip two back at Monticello as well. Prior to that, though, he was very competitive at several tracks against similar type claimers. 7 wins last season is a plus.
7 DOC SEMALU – Trips haven’t quite worked out for him in some of the recent Meadowlands races, but he’s sneakily shown a bit of ability that I like here tonight. Draws better than the last two, which will hopefully get him a better trip.
8 SD WATCH ME NOW – Well, the positive is that he had five wins last season, which is more than a lot of others can say in this field. The negative is the tough post tonight and not a whole lot to like in the recent form.
9 PHILOSOPHIZER – Not a whole lot of consistency in the recent form for him, but he did race really well four back here against TM company when blasting off from Post 10. Tough post here, but not too much speed inside, so could blast.
10 TIGERS WAY – Solid second last time out at Freehold when grinding first over and came out of a better TM71.50 race it appears than ROGUE CHEDDAR and BET THE LIMIT. The big negative here is having to work out a trip from Post 10.
DRIVER CHOICES: None
Top Contenders: 6-1-7-2