January 17, 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 ticket for Monday’s Pick-4:
#2 NATURAL HABITAT fired home in :28 seconds to be a fast-closing runner-up in last week’s effort at Woodbine, and tonight he gets some serious post position relief to work with as he tries the same level for trainer Randy Jarvis. The gelding’s form has been rock solid in recent weeks.
#3 GLORYS MOTION is another strong closer to keep an eye on in this wide-open affair. The son of Camotion got off to a horrible start in his latest, but his :27.3 final quarter bailed him out of a jam. He looks to build on back-to-back third-place finishes for trainer Phil Coole.
#5 BLADE RUNNER was no match for the tougher foes he faced in the Snowshoe Stakes elimination on January 7, but prior to that debacle his form was pretty solid. The move back to the conditioned ranks is more than enough reason to like his chances in here.
#8 JEPSON HANOVER needed 15 kicks at the can before he broke his maiden, and he was a solid runner-up in last week’s first crack at the non-winners of 2 level. The gelding has the speed to go with these, but it remains to be seen if he can go past them at the end of the mile.
#10 OK TK got off to a slow start in 2010, but he finished up on a high note winning four of his last five starts for trainer Travis Umphrey. The strapping son of Royal Mattjesty might have to call on his tactical speed if he wants to be a contender from this challenging post position.
#1 MANNERHEIM is 2-for-2 since joining forces with trainer Wayne Preszcator, and last week’s victory came in a career-best clocking of 1:56.2. He fired home in :27.4 after being buried for most of the mile, and that type of closing speed could come in handy tonight. He still has to fine tune his overall speed if he wants to make his presence felt.
#7 GRUMPY JAKE has settle for small shares in each of his last two starts at this level for trainer Mike Guitard, who will be looking for a bigger cheque tonight. The O.S.S. graduate might have to use some of his gate speed to get early positioning from this outside post position. He’s a threat.
#9 KANDOR HANOVER was a fast-closing third in last week’s first start off the bench. The John Burns pupil, who is an O’Brien Award finalist in the Older Trotting Mare category, has another difficult post position to contend with tonight. If she gets some speed to chase, she’ll be heard from.
#10 VACATION DAY was a six-time winner last season for trainer/driver Fernand Paquet, who has a Post 10 starting spot to work with tonight. The gelding has more than enough gate speed to overcome that hurdle, and that has to be taken into account. For what it’s worth, this guy was entered to sell in this afternoon’s 2011 January Select Mixed Sale at the Meadowlands.
#3 BRAVE ALEX SEMALU threw in clunker in the final of the Valedictory Stakes after looking very impressive one week earlier in his elimination. The gelding bounced back to be a hard-charging runner-up in his 2011 debut for trainer Pierre Touchette, who gets a heaping helping of post position relief to work with tonight.
#7 LEGAL JUSTICE left hard to grab the lead last time, but then he got shuffled back and eventually got caught in en route to a disappointing seventh-place finish. If you get a chance to watch his replay you’ll know that he appeared to have plenty of pace, but lacked space in the late stages of the mile. Getting “bravened up” like that might make him very dangerous tonight.
#1 TAPIOCA BLUES got the short end of the stick in his latest effort, but he can wipe the slate clean tonight and get back on track tonight for Team Allard. The pacer went 10-for-37 last season, and that type of winning percentage can’t be overlooked. He’s a major danger in this spot.
#4 ARTCHDUKE had one rival behind him at the three-quarter pole in his latest outing, but he swept past seven foes in the final quarter of the mile and wound up finishing a hard-closing second for trainer Joe Pereira. If he can duplicate that effort in here he certainly merits consideration.
#5 MCARTICAL found his way to the bottom claiming class offered on the WEG circuit in his latest assignment, and it didn’t make much of a difference. He was hard used to make the lead, but lost positions at every call throughout the remainder of the mile. I’ll give him one more chance to rebound.
#8 COLONEL MOFFITT fired home in :27.1 two starts ago only to come up a neck short. He used a come-from-behind approach in his latest outing, as well, but he simply had too far to come and rallied to finish fourth. He has another outside post to contend with tonight, but if they give him some pace to chase he might be able to track them down in deep stretch.
Pick-4 Ticket Summary
Race 4: 2-3-5-8-10
Race 5: 1-7-9-10
Race 6: 3-7
Race 7: 1-4-5-8
Cost: $160, or you can pay one-fifth of the price ($32) by playing a $.20 ticket.