By Dave Brower, Meadowlands Handicapper — Early Double Analysis — Friday, January 7, 20222
1 ROCKIN PANDA – Liked his chances a little last week and he raced okay at a big price. Luke H put him in decent spot and they kept up after that. Luke not here tonight, so this is the first of MANY pickups for JB. He’ll make the most of it.
2 ROCKNROLL CAPTAIN – Improved a little bit last time to pick up a check. That’s the goal again. A longshot still.
3 FLOW WITH JOE – I know that last line doesn’t appear all that impressive, but he needed it! Liable to improve a touch tonight and that could make big difference. One of many chances in a very wide-open race. Good luck!
4 PIG IRON – He’s got to have a big chance too! Especially with that speed, and the Captain in the bike. Watch out!
5 ADMIRAL – Down from Monti off a miscue, so that’s not a good thing. I guess I’d just like to watch one here.
6 DASH POINT HANOVER – Just two wins all of last year. No match when he had to go faster down at Philly. I don’t see much change here. Will have to step up his game.
7 GRAVE DANCER – I guess if you like sharp horses, this could be your play? We haven’t seen too much of Big Bob L last six months, but winter racing is his thing. This horse has been here before, so that helps too! Must overcome the post.
8 DL’S BIG ELVIS – Not a whole lot going on in this corner, so I have to keep him on the longshot list. Needs wakeup.
9 P-DRIVE HANOVER – Making only second start for the new barn, so that’s a small plus. This is race of many question marks, and he’s one of them too. I’m not in love with the post. Demand fair value IF you fancy his chances.
10 MACHING TIME – Endured a pretty tough trip in that qualifier, so don’t hold that against him. This won’t be any easier from the dreaded post 10.
Mark MacDonald 3 over 6,10
Top Contenders 4-3-1-7
1 MASTER CONRAD – Finally gets a little break from the post gods, so that has to help. Likely in line for that sit-in, save ground kind of trip. Will have to get out late, but nothing is impossible in these races.
2 FATHER SARDUCCI – James S gets back in the bike behind the one he owns. He almost had to “park out” this horse in the GSY Final last time, so that didn’t work out. I do think the price will be a lot shorter tonight. Hard to leave out.
3 EXTRADITE N – That was a nice confidence booster last time. But, this is a pretty big step UP the class ladder tonight. I’ve got to see a good one before I could endorse here.
4 MIDNIGHT LIGHTNING – Basically had no chance from post 10 in the final, so don’t hold that against him. This is much better situation, and post. He will not be 37-1 this week for last week’s winning driver. Dangerous.
5 PIRATES ALLEY – Keep in mind that he’s won here before. And, I mean both horse and driver! The Harness Writer’s Driver of the Year in the seat from the perfect midpack post. Just needs the right kind of setup to deliver the goods.
6 ROCKABILLY CHARM – Also got slammed with an outside post in the final last week and never really got rolling. This could be a little different. I am unsure about the pace scenario in this one. Could go a bunch of different ways.
7 SPORTS VISION – Up the Turnpike from Freehold with a lot to prove. I don’t see a whole lot of speed. Tough spot.
8 SOUTHWIND TERROR – 12YO warhorse down from Maine for a big track try. I do see he took his mark here, but that was a long time ago. Will have to revive some of those memories to beat a group like this. Maybe he can. Maybe.
9 WATCHMENEIGHNEIGH – Gets the very tepid call as morning line fave, because he usually takes money. He’s not one of my favorites, so I’m always swinging against. Especially from a tough post like this. Good luck if you bet.
10 MEETMEATTHEDANCE – The other Maine invader tried it here once and he did pick up a check! But, it will be a lot harder to do that again from post 10.
DRIVER CHOICES: None
Top Contenders 5-4-2-1