Weekend Harness Preview for 3/15/2014

March 15th, 2014

by Ted Black

Saturday evening will mark of the last weekend of winter and the racing action at a quartet of standardbred ovals of varying sizes and locales is already starting to warm up.

At The Meadowlands on Saturday evening, the New Jersey mile oval will host the opening legs of the Clyde Hirt series and a bevy of high class overnight events.

Each of the three divisions of the opening leg of the Clyde Hirt series features at least a pair of talented, promising pacers who should be destined for the final. But until they finally meet in the series finale, it might be tough to find any value.

In the opening race on the card, the first Clyde Hirt division, both See And Ski and Burkentine Hanover look as though they will complete the exacta. Then in the 11th, the final division of the Clyde Hirt, River Run For Ryan and Wake Up Peter look like the top two, while Brees creek and Exit Cam both merit respect. Let's hope they all earn a berth in the final.

In the eighth, a B-2 class for pacers, take another shot at Tarpon Hanover. Last week he appeared to have plenty of pace while rallying from midpack only to be impeded by a rival and then forced to settle for second, beaten just a nose in 1:50.4. He should be able to work out a cleaner trip this evening and finally garner that elusive score.

Then in the next race, a C-2 class for pacers, give That's Justice another chance to prevail. Last week he was first over for much of the mile, gained command at the head of the lane then was nailed late while settling for second in 1:52.2 as the tepid 2-1 favorite. He should also be able to work out a better trip this weekend and find his way to the winner's circle.

Yonkers Raceway will offer a 12-race card of conditioned events, but next Friday and Saturday it will present the opening rounds of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for filly and mare pacers on Friday and the George Morton Levy Series for aged pacers on Saturday.

In the sixth, give Glass Prince an immediate chance at redemption in this non-winners of $32,000 last six condition. Last week his three-race win streak was snapped when he raced first over into a stellar 55.2 back half as favored PH Supercam cut the mile and edged clear late. The presence of both Sapphire City and Aracache Hanover should ensure an honest pace and that would benefit Glass Prince in the lane.

Then four races later in the 10th, take a shot at Sky Is The Limit despite his unfortunate seven hole draw. Last week he raced first over in a solid 57 flat back half and finished third, beaten just a neck in a three-way photo. He may have to rely on live cover this evening, but an honest tempo and a third over trip would perhaps enable Sky Is The Limit to prevail at a very nice price.

Of course, beginning next weekend Yonkers will take center stage on Friday and Saturday evenings as the track hosts five preliminary rounds and then lucrative finals and consolations on April 26 for both the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for pacing fillies and mares and the George Morton Levy series for aged pacers.

Once again the Levy noms include many of the best older pacers in training, including $6 million earner Foiled Again, a certain Hall of Famer, Sweet Lou, Clear Vision, Heston Blue Chip, Michaels Power and Dancin Yankee, the dominant force at Dover Downs before his recent arrival at Yonkers to prep for the Levy.

Not to be overlooked is the Blue Chip Matchmaker, which will feature Anndrovette, Economy Terror, Feeling You, Handsoffmycookie, Krispy Apple, Rocklamation, Royal Cee Cee N and Somewheroverarainbow among its 39 nominees.

Those headed to Pompano Park on Saturday evening will want to make sure they arrive for the opener, the featured $10,000 Open Handicap for pacers.

Since arriving from Canada last fall, Prairie Jaguar has devoured the local opposition like a four-legged landshark, climbing through his conditions and into the Open without tasting defeat. He has won all four of his starts this year although his races have been spread apart, sometimes three weeks between starts.

Prairie Jaguar will undoudtedly be the odds-on favorite again from his assigned outside post and again I would reluctantly attempt to beat him - just because the price will be so tempting - with Northern Companion. Last week he was fourth as the favorite in this group behind dull cover, but tomorrow night Northern Companion could perform the unthinkable and upset Prairie Jaguar in the opener.

Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland will offer a modest, 12-race card with a mix of trotters and pacers this evening, but it's a pair of pacers on opposite ends of the card that look like the best plays.

In the opener, a non-winners of $3000 last five starts class for filly-mare pacers, give Shadowonthebeach a chance to atone. Last week she was parked a long way first over and settled for third in a good effort. That race should prove to be an ideal tightener for the pacing filly and she should be able to work out a better trip this evening.

Much later in the 10th, a non-winners of two races lifetime condition for pacers, look for Rice Crisp Breeze to notch his make the successful class hike. A five-year-old gelding who made a belated career debut last fall at Rosecroft, Rice Crisp Breeze prevailed in first over fashion last weekend on the opening night card in 1:57 and a duplicate effort would enable him to triumph again tonight.