Best Bet – (3) WOODMERE ROLLILY – Race 4
Spot Play – (5) COCO BEACH DE VIE – Race 2
20-Cent Early Pick 5 – Race 1: 1,5/4,5/1,5/3/1,3,4,7 = $6.40
20-Cent Late Pick 5 – Race 6: 1,2,6/2,3/1,2/1,8/1,3,6 = $14.40
20-Cent Early Pick 4 – Race 4: 3/1,3,4,7/1,2,6/2,3 = $4.80
20-Cent Late Pick 4 – Race 8: 1,2/1,8/1,3,6/1,6 = $4.80
Race 1 – (1) HEZA HANDY MAN draws best and is sent out by a trainer who clicks at a rate of 14 per cent with horses racing off layoffs. He could be tough to catch here in the 2021 curtain raiser at The Raceway. (5) YANNICK SELESTER attracts the driving services of McNair, who got off to a fast start in 2020 and he should get put into the race early; using. (4) GEORGES CREDIT has a good record with St Louis driving but the trainer’s layoff numbers aren’t strong; using underneath.
Race 2 – (5) COCO BEACH DE VIE was winning from the worst posts at this class level when last seen here and in her most recent start she knocked off a rival that was shooting for her seventh straight win. She should be tough to beat in this short field if she can clear without much of a fuss. (4) KISS IT BETTER is capable of getting position early and she should be the main threat to the choice tonight. (2) BETTER JOY should land in the top three leaving and ride a trip to a Trifecta finish.
Race 3 – This is a good spot for (1) IGNITE SEELSTER and driver Young should look to control the race from the outset; top call. (5) TJ SILVERADO shows good form at The Raceway and he goes for a barn that does well with fresh horses; using. (2) LYONS VENTURESOME – stablemate to the choice – could wake up in this spot with McNair driving but a smaller share appears to be likely.
Race 4 – (3) WOODMERE ROLLILY looks like she can be the controlling speed here in a spot where she just appears faster than her rivals and she will be a Pick 5 single for me. (1) ROLLWITHITJESSIE has drawn poorly in her past four starts and drawing best here she could ride a sweet trip to an Exacta finish. (6) BEAUTY IS BLIND is worth a look for the bottom of Tri and Super bets with St Louis picking up the drive.
Race 5 – (1) SORPRESE raced well last time she came back from a layoff and she gets the best post and an aggressive teamster in this spot; slight nod in a tough race. (4) MAGIC NIGHT should like this spot and Hensley should be blasting for position leaving the gate; using. (3) WEST RIVER CINDY has the speed to get early position here and she’s a good one to use underneath in the first High-5 of the year. (7) ZACK TO THE MAX has shown he can overcome outer posts but he faces tougher here and he may not be allowed to clear. I’d demand a price. (5) CHEATALOTPOV rarely misses a check and this is one that I wouldn’t leave off High-5 tickets.
Race 6 – (1) SPECTRUM SEELSTER is sure to line up his five rivals in behind him leaving the gate here and that may be all it takes to notch his first 2021 victory in this initial try. (6) CRANKYS BOY is another who possesses high gate speed and if he can land in the choice’s pocket leaving, he will be in with a decent chance. (2) CURIOUS CORTEZ brings a two-race winning streak to this race and he isn’t out of this, although he may be best used on the bottom tonight.
Race 7 – (3) SMOKE N REACTOR N should find this company easier than the mares she was facing at Mohawk Park and her barn does decently with horses coming off the layoff; down the road. (2) IN THE NEWS compiled a great record last year and she could sit a nice trip here. She’s on my Pick 5 ticket. (4) DREAM ALL NIGHT is worth a look for the exotics with McNair taking over the reins.
Race 8 – (1) ROSELLA likes the engine and she should have no issues making front here starting from the inside. Catch her to greet the cashier. (2) KIWI FOCUS N is sure to be put into the race early by St Louis and these two mares could be fighting it out down the lane. (4) RETURN TO STYLE had some success at The Raceway before the forced Covid-19 break and picking up McNair here won’t hurt, but she may find the top two choices too tough in this spot.
Race 9 – (1) QUIZZER should be much better in this spot facing easier, getting the rail post and his trainer has a strong record with layoff horses; top call. (8) SHADES OF BAY also faces easier here and he should get a good tow following the choice; using. (4) JAKE PARRISH is capable of passing a few rivals at this level; consider using underneath.
Race 10 – In a race where none stand out, I’ll side with (1) EATAAMS TRAUMA mainly because she draws inside and gets Coulter to drive. (3) QUEENOFHEARTS is capable of a big speed try and she is worth using in multi-race wagers. (6) XELENE BAYAMA has seen better days but she is capable against these if she fires fresh and she is another price horse that merits a look.
Race 11 – (1) LITERALLY HANOVER was on a big roll before the break and she is the one to beat drawing the rail here. (6) SIBONEY has driver Roy listed and he could send her on a speed mission. I’ll use her in this Pick 5. (5) CENTURY GAGA is another that was in solid form and she should be an exotics factor in this spot. (8) COUNT TO THREE should be able to get good position early following the choice off the starting car and she should be in the mix. (3) PAISA HANOVER was in great form before the break and she can better this placing with a decent trip.
Garnet Barnsdale is a veteran handicapper, bettor and racing writer who has worked as an analyst for DRF Harness for the past five years. He is also the current President of the Canadian Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association.
Photo by John Watkins
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