By Dave Brower, Meadowlands Handicapper — Early Double Analysis — Saturday, December 26, 2020
1 GRUDEN – Definitely improved over those last two starts here. Billy Dob not here tonight, so a nice pickup for Mr. Hoagland. The rail and some speed will help. Sits and stalks again. Let’s see how much trot he has left late.
2 PAPPY GO GO – Pappy burned a lot of betting money in those last two, so be careful, folks! He’s not going to be odds-on tonight, but won’t be huge price. I do like that he’s rounded back into form. A Mac will put him in play. Trainer: He’s rounding back into his winter form. Always better in this season.
3 SMART AS HILL – Have to give this guy a shot at big wakeup call tonight. G Nap not here, so Dave Miller gets the Cullipher Crew horses tonight. Has now acclimated, and drops. Very dangerous from a cozy inner post. Use!
4 THISISSHE – Worked her way right up the class ladder over at Yonkers. Several shippers from there tonight. Mare is very consistent, so she might be worth using at the right price. Seems versatile too! First time A Nap. Interesting.
5 CLASSIC VENTURE – Has now missed a couple of week, so that’s a concern. He’s shown more versatility of late, so that’s a plus. I do see plenty of speed in here. I would want a fair price to even consider using. Might be bit short.
6 ZOOMING – Team Buter warhorse is still going strong at age 12! Just missed with super rally over at Yonkers, but this has to be considered a step up for him. Can he still do it on the mile track? They tend to keep him away from here.
7 RONNIE GOLDSTEIN – Gave it all he had last week, and was a very nice price too! I almost feel like we missed the boat with him not getting home. Now, he gets forced up the ladder and from a tougher post. Probably needs a trip now.
8 TAKE A WISH – We all know her game, and sometimes it actually works! Swept the whole field for Dawn A over at Yonkers, but this will be brand new ballgame tonight. I guess I’d be surprised if she zoomed past this crew.
9 ALEX THE GREAT – Wasn’t much of a factor when hiked up to this level. Tonight’s post makes it even tougher.
10 ST JAMES GATE – Have to admit, this looks like a great purchase for the Burke Brigade. He gets another stiff test on fourth straight class hike tonight. Plus, first really bad post. I guess if you wanted to swing against, tonight’s the night.
DRIVER CHOICES: None
Top Contenders 3-2-10-6
1 DAVIDS COMING HOME – Seems like he rounded into better form down at The Hold. Last try here was an absolute disaster. Let’s see if we get a more representative effort from a key inside post. Chance, IF he comes up good.
2 BETTOR SPIRITS N – Current form is just dull, so he’s hard to like. Somebody did in last YR try. But, no good.
3 ACTING OUT – Things didn’t set up quite as well in that last one. Faces the same crew here, but from much better post. That alone will keep him closer. It’s all about the pace and the trip for him. Owns one good move and must time it.
4 MOUNTAIN HIGH – Took a shot and flashed more speed two weeks ago. It didn’t work out in the end. A Nap is going to look at the inside longshots and probably try it again. Only needs a bit more to stick a lot closer at the end.
5 MCNULTY Z TAM – It’s been a tough road betting on this one last two months. Lots of decent efforts, some excuses, but NO wins. With that said, it’s getting harder to consider for the top spot, but definite use underneath.
6 SANATTLE SLEW – Still a big longshot in current sluggish form. Would be hard to make a strong case. Pass.
7 HAYMITCH – Put it all together nicely here two back. Raced at Freehold after that, and not sure why? He’s clearly better here. The plan is pretty simple. He’s best as a one-run closer, so hoping for hot pace and some live cover.
8 FOX VALLEY NEMITZ – Another that sports a mixed bag of efforts. His best would be good enough, but he doesn’t always deliver the goods. I’m not in love with the post, or potential low price. Simon will try to get him a trip. Tuf call.
9 PARKLANE JET – It’s been a long time since he won, so that’s a problem. On plus side, he’s been involved in those last two, so he could be rounding into better form. The post stinks, but Dexter will have to overcome that. Maybe.
10 KEYSTONE STEAM – Hasn’t been a successful claim just yet, but the party’s not over. This is a slight drop, but gets slammed with post 10. I just don’t see how that’s going to work out.
DRIVER CHOICES: Todd McCarthy 3 over 5
Top Contenders 3-5-7-8