January 3, 2011
Woodbine Racetrack presents a $50,000 guaranteed pool for its early Pick-4 on Monday evening, and WEG’s track announcer Ken Middleton scanned through Races 4 thru 7 to come up with a plan of attack for constructing a ticket.
Here are Middleton’s thoughts on a Pick-4 ticket for tonight:
A full field squares off in this non-winners of 1 race or $7,500 lifetime class, and I’ve identified these five pacers as contenders:
#3 BRIEF BLISS made five starts as a rookie, and he managed to take home money in all of those efforts. He’s paced in the 1:54-1:55 range in his last three outings, and that might be the kind of speed it will take to get the job done in here.
#4 JOES RAINBOW mastered the art of finishing second in his first three starts at out-of-town venues, but he made a costly miscue in his WEG debut on December 27. He gets an improved post position to work from tonight, and that might be all the edge he needs to get back on track.
#6 FISH TALES got off to a late start in his rookie campaign for trainer Jeff Gillis, who had to be pleased with the pacer’s runner-up effort in his debut. The colt was a post time scratch in his follow-up effort, but his quick return to action is a good sign. The issue couldn’t have been major one otherwise Gillis wouldn’t have him back in the entry box.
#8 SOUTHWIND TURBO had tough trips in his first two starts, and that limited him to picking up small shares in both of those assignments. He has really come to life in his last two outings, and that has prompted trainer Justin Robson to give the gelding a shot on this oval. He’s capable of fine-tuning his speed and holding his own in this spot.
#9 VILLAGE RHYTHM failed to crack the top three in his first five starts, but he’s hit the board in each of his last three outings. The gelding is going to have to generate more speed in order to be competitive in here. He merits consideration based on his recent form.
The second leg of tonight’s Pick-4 is a non-winners of 2 races or $30,000 lifetime class, and I’ve opted to go five deep again. Here are some contenders to consider:
#2 SECRETSOTHERNEPHEW was just so-so in his first start off the shelf for trainer/driver Lyle MacArthur, but the effort should act as a good tightener for the homebred. He gets a great post to work from once again, and if races to the best of his ability there’s no doubt he can handle this group.
#7 LORD OF ART joins forces with trainer Ben Baillargeon after hitting the board in nearly half of his starts last season. The Rideau shipper should be able to fine-tune his speed with the move to the bigger oval. Baillargeon’s new recruits always merit consideration.
#8 PANFERMIN FESTIVAL had a productive rookie campaign, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t take over right where he left off for trainer Bob McIntosh. Mike Saftic picks up the “live” catch-drive behind the homebred, who showed a lot of grit en route to earning a lifetime mark of 1:54.1 in his latest assignment.
#9 IRON BYRON was horrible in last week’s debut for trainer Dave Menary, but keep in mind the talent pool was much deeper in that assignment compared to the foes he faces tonight. The extra week of getting acclimate to his new surroundings can only help his chances. He showed big speed in some of his earlier starts at the Meadowlands, and if he can duplicate that type of speed in here he can make some noise.
The third leg of tonight’s Pick-4 is the lowest conditioned class offered on the WEG circuit. Here are five horses I’d give serious consideration to:
#2 ENGINE NUMBER NINE returns to the same level that he raced and won at last week for the duo of trainer Ken Skinner and driver Paul MacDonell. They get to work from a great post position in tonight’s quest to repeat.
#3 LOMBO SKYRIDER A missed a scheduled start over this oval on December 27, but he did front-step his way to a 1:55.1 score at Georgian Downs nine days earlier. The classy veteran is no spring chicken, but he still merits consideration.
#4 MASTER CHARGE went a long way on the lead in his latest assignment for trainer Joe Pereira, who stuffs him back in the same class tonight. The son of Camluck figures to be a speed factor from this favourable post position. He’s capable of going the distance.
#7 WINDSUN CALLUM was skunked in 2010, but I still think he’s capable of holding his own if he’s on the receiving end of the right type of trip. Even though he came up with a poor effort in his latest outing, he was a respectable third-place finisher for driver Mark MacDonald two starts ago. MacDonald is reunited with the pacer tonight.
#8 HES A LION made multiple moves in last week’s assignment, and he wound up being a distant runner-up. Rick Zeron picks up the drive tonight on the son of Mach Three, who clearly has the speed to make some noise in here.
A solid group of Preferred trotters wraps up the Pick-4 wager, and I’m going to put my faith in #8 ARMBRO CHRONICLE. The 42-time winner, who came first over in last week’s Open Trot, should appreciate a week away from fellow O’Brien Award finalist, San Pail. Look for driver Mike Saftic to have the veteran on the move early from this outside post position.
Pick-4 Ticket Summary
Race 4: 3-4-6-8-9
Race 5: 2-7-8-9-10
Race 6: 2-3-4-7-8
Race 7: 8
Cost: $125, or you can pay one-fifth of the price ($25) by playing a $.20 ticket.