Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks hopefuls (e) are in action all weekend in lucrative New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS), Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) and the Grand Circuit-classic Currier & Ives. Then, at Vernon, colts and fillies battle division foes in the Empire Breeders Classic. * * * * * * A single division of the classic Currier & Ives events sends glamour-boy trotters into action at the Meadows on May 24. Nine, of which four are racing for a Hambletonian berth, are on gate. A win from his first effort at three, Ginger Tree Skyr (e) bettors will react that with more support than they give Kate’s Massive, who comes to this race with the exact record. Though the eligible colts should get the majority of the win backing, the public probably will steer clear of Winning Legends (e) from post 8 and the other two, Forecast (e) and Shake N Bake (e). However, ignoring Forecast would be a great miscalculation. John Butenschoen’s colt goes in his second race this season and should not be penalized for being off the board in his first. It is good for bettors like us, though, if the public dismisses Forecast, so we can get him at a great price that may not be so available in the coming weeks’ events. Also on May 24, colts and fillies at the Meadowlands each go in leg two’s pair of NJSS divisions ($25,000). In the filly split, seven move on with Evident Beauty (e) a likely top choice for bettors. Last week we rode with Solitare Hill (3) from her bad post in a larger field. We got the price we wanted but the trip was too tough for her. This week she could prove an upset against these and is worthy of backing. Eleven colts make up the glamour-boy division of the NJSS that same night in a contentious bout. Trix And Stones (e) returns from his win last week; he is the only 2019 soph winner in the field. No Drama Please (e) was our choice and the public’s choice, too, last week but finished fourth. We suggest you consider Hudson River (e) from the Nancy Johansson barn. This guy was missing on the board in his first start, a race he needed, but comes here looking good to win his first as a soph as contrasted to the other 10. Pocono on Sunday, May 26, hosts three divisions of fillies in PASS splits worth $55,000-plus each. In the first round, five of seven aim for the “Oaks,” one of which interests us for price and purpose: Jim Campbell’s Swizzle Sticks (e). Two seconds until now, she could easily take a cover journey or swoop up the inside to take this while the crowd roots for Hallintheclouds (e) and Sonnet Grace (e), both of which could easily give way to Swizzle Sticks. In the PASS middle split, The Ice Dutchess (e) tries to resume a strong domination of these ex-frosh fillies that fell to her last season. “Ice” won her first out easily and in a seven-filly field will be hammered to win. Still, we will sway to another Jim Campbell gal, who we backed a few weeks ago—Jazzy Fashion (e). She never had a shot at that field, breaking at the gate. If she is smooth here she could beat Ice and the four others with Oaks dreams. The last PASS offers seven fillies. Millies Possession (e)is three wins for three starts, probably making her the favorite. However, Firedbylindy will suck in some bets along with Magical Beliefs. Those two could be crushed by Millies Possession but a few better steps from Southwind Casha (e) and we will have a neat upset. She is getting better and more contentious and from the rail has two paths to choose from, winning with early foot or late foot. Monday afternoon, May 27, Vernon hosts the soph-trotting Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) finals. Fillies and colts go for six-digit purses, largest yet offered to the Hambletonian Trail divisions. Though the filly favorites looked swell in their elims, we have been sharper than the crowd twice by making Sweet Chapter (e) a strong contestant and look for her biggest mile, an upset win, in the final. Few people will argue the EBC colt final, since it is the soph debut of Gimpanzee (e), this year’s overwhelming early choice to be the Hambo champ. Gimpanzee narrowly lost his tune-up qualifier to Hannelore Hanover, which is no great loss but certainly a show of fitness without pressure. He won all of his nine frosh starts and is on his home-bred turf in New York’s EBC. Make him a key to the highest odds in the field for exotics or watch him perform with a pass but do not bet against him, not here, not until he shows any sign of an Achilles Heel. Follow Hambletonian Trail action from this blog on Twitter #Hambo19 and @FrankCotolo in cooperation with the Hambletonian Society.