Sunday 12/7 harness preview

December 5th, 2014

While fans of the National Football League are accustomed to watching games from 1 p.m. to midnight on the East Coast every Sunday, standardbred fans are quickly enjoying a newfound tradition of playing early races on Sunday at Yonkers and then  the latter ones at Dover Downs.

Sunday morning Yonkers will again offer an early card dedicated to the trotters, but since this one is not being exported to France, the races will be slated at the standard distance of one mile rather than the Euro-favored one-mile and one-quarter. Nevertheless. there appear to be several logical plays.

In the opening race on the card, a non-winners of $25,000 last six starts conditioned event for trotters, Andie Sophia (Daniel Dube) looms the horse to beat as the four-year-old Like A Prayer mare drew the rail. Andie Sophia has spent the last six starts facing Preferred or Open trotters on the New York circuit, but gets a modest class relief and drops into a class that she prevailed on October 3 as the solid 6-5 favorite.

But a pair of trotters have a solid upset chance. Bloodstockshall Tab (Matt Kakaley) finished ninth in last week's Open, but prevailed on November 15 at the Meadowlands and earlier on Nov. 8 at Pocono Downs and on Oct. 28 at Harrah's Philadelphia on nights when Kakaley was in the bike. Itzaziam (Brian Sears) finished 11th in last week's Open, but won two starts back against non-winners of $18,000 last six company and should be prominent in this conditioned event.

Two races later in the third, a non-winners of $18,000 last six class for trotters, look for Sevruga to atone for his second-place finish as the 8-5 choice against tougher last week. The durable sort spent the winter and spring facing much tougher and has been second in his each of last two tries here against non-winners of $25,000 last six company. Dewycolorinline (Ray Schnittker) broke at the start last week in that same event and could upset the millionaire if he can stay flat.

Then two races later in the featured $44,000 Open Handicap for older trotters, a trio of horses look poised to dethrone Crazy About Pat as defending champion of this event.

Tirade Hanover has been a model of consistency for trainer Leigh Raymer and has displayed no signs of fatigue despite his busy travel schedule. Last weekend Tirade Hanover was the beaten favorite in the B1/A1/FFA handicap at the Meadowlands after taking the 4yo Open there by three lengths one week earlier. He also tried Open company in consecutive starts at Dover Downs, Pocono Downs and Harrington, winning once and finishing second in his two narrow defeats.

Two starts back Dancehall Mistress (Sears) unleashed a huge backside sweeping move to capture the Open by four lengths before settling for third last weekend. She had also been third in the top class on Nov. 16, while fourth in the Open on Nov. 9 and October 31. She gets another serious test for class here, but could surprise.

Dw's Ny Yank (George Brennan) returns to the track and distance that he loves after a good, fourth-place finish in the $500,000 TVG FFA Trotting Championship last weekend at the Meadowlands. Dw's Ny Yank was second in the Open here on Nov. 23, but posted victories in this top class on Nov. 9 and October 31 after finishing a respectable fifth in the Dayton Derby behind Market Share, the eventual TVG FFA runner-up.

Crazy About Pat will look for his second straight tally in the Open while starting from post eight. Last week he prevailed as the 2-1 favorite while Tirade Hanover and Dw's Ny Yank were elsewhere, so he will get seriously tested this morning. Crazy About Pat narrowly won the B-2 class at the Meadowlands on Nov. 14 after arriving from Saratoga where he had captured that track's Open handicap for trotters twice in four tries in October.

Then on Sunday evening all eyes will focus on the $300,000 Progress Pace final for three-year-old colt pacers at Dover Downs as recent Breeders Crown hero McWicked seeks to put the finishing touches on a championship season for trainer Casie Coleman.

Last weekend in the Progess Preview, McWicked (David Miller) got away third then brushed to command and edged clear late from favored JK Endofanera (Yannick Gingras) in the lane for a two-length score in 1:48.4. McWicked will likely assume the favorite's role Sunday night and expect a similar performance as the Coleman trainee will look to push his seasonal earnings to nearly $1.5 million and secure the title of champion three-year-old colt pacer.