By Dave Brower, Meadowlands Handicapper — Early Double Analysis — Saturday, February 12
1 LETTUCERIPRITA A – Recently claimed 12YO hit the board in last Yonkers try. Seems like a long time ago since he was here. Definitely a small-track specialist at this stage of career. Will have to prove it again over the big track.
2 WRAPPERS DELIGHT A – Been a tad disappointment lately, so Team Pelling opts to stick him in a claimer. Probably a good idea! Rule number one is you have to race them where they can win. I’m not on board, but he could surprise.
3 MANHATTAN BEACH – I will admit that I had forgotten the Burke Brigade had this horse in his very successful past. So, we probably all missed the boat on that 4-1 payoff last week. Yannick simply stole another one. Steps up here.
4 VERGEOFGREATNESS N – Been trying to find the right spot for this guy and this claimer doesn’t seem to be it either. At least he gets a better post tonight to stick a bit closer. Joe B takes another turn in sulky seat. Needs more.
5 DARTH FADER – Tough to get a real feel for his form at moment. Was tackling supposedly tougher 30’s and now drops a bit. Is he over that sickness from last month? That is the question. Wasn’t a bad third here last week.
6 JUST N ACE – Knocking on the door lately, that’s for sure. Gunned down late last week by Cool Blues Man, who paid nice price. Can’t fault the form, though. I can fault the price. Likely favorite again? Why take fave in wide-open race?
7 THNDRFRMTHETHRON N – He’s firmly planted on the longshot list for now. Need to see a lot more from him.
8 COOL BLUES MAN – Mark Mac had this fella in high gear late last week. Flew by when it counted. That’s second time horse has done that here. You got 19-1 if you believed. Will not offer that kind of price here. Tougher spot?
9 GO WEST GO FAST – It’s become very hard for me to compare some of the Trackmaster levels, to these claiming handicaps. Since he’s in for $23,000, he figures to get stuck with outside post. That never makes it easy.
10 ALLGONOWHOA – Barn trying to “protect” it’s recent claim here, but with that, you get a bad post. Yannick put him in a good spot last time, only to get tired lately. Will just have to work on the stamina to stick closer. Not sure.
Yannick Gingras 3 over 1,10
Top Contenders 2-3-6-5
1 OPUS BLUE CHIP – Racing really well for this barn since the Lasix went on a while back. Looking for a little revenge on #4 and could easily get it. Those two seem to stand out in this bunch, but I’ll take my shot with a price play. Trainer: This draw is perfect for him, and he’s always sharp when he gets a bit of time off. Last week just did not work out. Will probably try to go down the road.
2 FRANKIE ROCKS A – I’m nowhere near getting ready to endorse this gelding. Need to see a LOT more first.
3 ALWAYS A FORCE – Makes second start back off the long layoff. A big-time wakeup call would not surprise me. So, if you’re searching for a price option, this is probably it. Todd off, but still a decent post. Will be in stalking position.
4 CAPTAIN’S REIGN – Put it all together for his new barn last time. A blow-by finish to a strong win, despite a broken headpole! He still steered straight down the lane. Big step in the right direction. They stick back in for same price.
5 OUTLAW BADLANDS – Came back with a slowish qualifier. I doubt he’s ready for this, and I will pass for now.
6 PIRATES ALLEY – He owns one good move. Remember that. If used early, he tends to get a little tired late. If saved for late, he’s at mercy of both pace and trip. So, I never know what to do! We just have to guess if race will set up for him.
7 FERDIEONTHEBEACH – Definitely looking like a project horse and he’s not there yet. Let’s watch one.
8 DIAMOND COWBOY – It would be tough for me to make a strong case for success on the mile track. He’s 13. Stuck in a bad post. Was facing weaker down at the Croft. I would need to see a good one here first. Not so sure about that. Trainer: Last week, Cowboy was very strong, and if I pulled him, he was a winner. Was running them over at the wire.
9 S MCKEE – Seemed a little buried in that conditioned spot last time, and raced like it. I’m not really sure this will be that much easier, especially from post nine. Loses Todd, but I expected that. Will need to get some sort of dream trip.
Todd McCarthy 4 over 3,9
Top Contenders 3-1-4-6