Best Bet – (4) OCEANVIEW MAGNUM – Race 8
Spot Play – (1) STORMONT MUFFIN – Race 2
20-cent Early Pick 4 – Race 3 – 2,3,4/1,2/2,6/3,5,8 = $7.20
20-cent Middle Pick 4 – Race 7 – 4,6,8/4/3,8/3,4,6 = $3.60
20-cent Late Pick 4 - Race 12 – 1,2,3/2,4,6/2,3,6/1,5,8 = $16.20
Race 1 – (1) BAYWATCHING was sent off at 10/1 odds March 21, starting ambitiously from post #2 in Rideau Carleton Nw10000lcd; although the mare had not raced since Dec. 3, Ted McDonald sent her straight to the front in a 28.2 first quarter, parking challenger The Big Cheese; she briefly battled with 1/9 fave Windsong Quincy in the stretch, finishing second in a personal 1:55.4 that was only 1/5 of a second away from her lifetime-best mark; none of her four career victories were over males, but all of them were at this track, and she was on the lead by the half in every win; has never missed a top-two Rideau finish from rail. (2) WINDSONG QUINCY shaved nearly two seconds off his lifetime mark last Sunday in Rideau Nw10000lcd company; catch driver Tyler Moore pocketed up behind pacesetter Baywatching (this race's top selection) until the three-quarters, then paced past the early leader; this field's fastest-record pacer (1:55.1) is up in class, but reunited with Guy Gagnon; lightly-raced Mandy Archer trainee is now undefeated in his two 2021 starts at this track. (5) LUNAR LAUNCH was third to Mcjagersonthemove after cutting the fractions to the three-quarters; Richard Simard was aboard for that Op15000clm effort on a night when the usual speed-favouring situation for Ottawa pacers did not hold up: just 4 of the card's 15 winners were on the lead before the stretch; this gelding is apparently Simard's choice over #9 Shemaksmefelunreal, who he won with last Sunday from the same trailing post position.
Race 2 – (1) STORMONT MUFFIN and Ryan Guy pulled the upset July 2 at Rideau Carleton Nw2r7500lcd level; starting from rail, they used passing lane move in the stretch to edge out Aim High Hanover, who led throughout the mile; mare put in big effort in fourth-place finish here March 7, moving first-over from fifth at the half, duelling with leader Wishyoudtellme in the last turn, and only a head behind show finisher Raising Rusty at the wire; class drop on her return from Mohawk. (4) THE MAGIC OF LIFE closed in 29.3 March 21, finishing sixth for owner/trainer/driver Robbie Robertson in a race where a win-streaking Undercover Strike was the overwhelming top choice; class relief tonight, but gets Rideau's second-worst post position for trotters so far this year (only one winner from 14 starters). (3) RAISING RUSTY was three-wide at the three-quarters March 21, trotting around Golden Dynamite (#2 tonight) as he chased down longshot leader Keepall; March 14, it was Beyond the Lens (#9 this race) who cut the mile that this two-time 2021 winner closed into and won; only Richsnortherndream (#7 here) seems likely to leave hard and control the early pace tonight; wagering that this means they battle and set up for someone else to get the win.
Race 3 – (4) WISK KEY K gapped in the pocket, following going-away winner Likeafreighttrain from second into the Mohawk stretch in their March 4 qualifier, ending up fourth; the Mandy Archer trained three-year-old finished third in first lifetime start, last July 6 in OSS Grassroots at Mohawk, individually timed in 1:54.3; finds a softer spot to make his 2021 pari-mutuel (and Rideau Carleton) debut tonight; Guy Gagnon is his new catch driver. (2) OHBABYWEFOUNDLOVE finished fourth behind the now-absent Windsong Quincy last week; she's the only non-maiden in this race, although she hasn't won since Oct. 1 and both career victories were over distaff rivals; her most recent win was a 4/1 upset with tonight's driver, Tyler Jones, in the sulky. (3) FESTIVE JOE is down in class after making break last start; a three-time show finisher in his short career, he jumped when fourth on the last turn here March 21, as Dellas Boy was closing fast outside of him; post #7 didn't help his chances that race.
Race 4 – (2) ST LADS CAPTAIN gets post and class relief; drawing inside has proved a game-changer for Darcy Clancy's gelding in the recent past; his last victory was at Rideau Carleton Nw500pscd classification Dec. 20, from same post as tonight; started his 2021 season with a place finish at this track's tougher Nw4000l3cd level Feb. 16, also from post #2. (1) SANTANNA TONY landed post #8 in his previous two starts at higher classification, closing for fourth on both occasions; Richard Simard stays with the Anne Marie Turenne trainee for a second start in a row at similar classification; second over from fourth at the half March 21, he went three-wide around a stalled first-up Maracasso at the top of the stretch, ending up sixth behind a wall of closers despite a good effort; most recent victory was stalking trip Feb. 16, from the rail, but at much lower Rideau Nw400pscd classification for Pascal Berube. (9) MATTS TUITION and trainer/driver Guy Gagnon reunite for second-tier start; class drop for $10,000 claimer who finished third in his most recent trip with Gagnon aboard, March 14.
Race 5 – (2) LUKE AND DUKE should romp on class drop from Rideau Carleton Preferred, with owner/trainer/driver Guy Gagnon back in the sulky; with 10 wins in 28 races last season, and a 2-for-5 record this year so far, he's on track for his favoured kind of front-end trip and another victory. (6) XTERNAL paced a personal 1:53.4-mile last week, closing from seventh to fifth in the Ottawa Preferred for owner/trainer/driver Marie Claude Auger; no one else in this field has paced a sub-1:54 mile so far this season; infrequent victories make this class-dropper tough to use on top; his last win was here Feb. 21, over Nw630pscd company. We still appreciate (9) DRACHAN HANOVER, but not enough to put him on top again; veteran Marcel Barrieau trainee has had everything his way, but couldn't defend his lead for Stephane Brosseau March 21, ending up third behind The Regulator (#8 this race) and Avatar J; class jump to Nw4250l3cd level, from trailing post.
Race 6 – Loved (5) OFFICER JONES in March 21 Rideau Carleton Preferred; he and Ryan Guy started from second tier, charging home late in a co-field's-fastest 29.2 after pacesetter Oceanview Magnum surrendered; unfortunately for Officer Jones, #8 National Debt passed him in the stretch for the length-and-a quarter victory; post position makes the difference for Vic Puddy trainee tonight--he's got the track's second-winningest 2021 post for pacers, while (8) NATIONAL DEBT is farthest out again; Pascal Berube stays loyal to the classy 12-time 2020 winner who paced this year's fastest winning mile on a Canadian 5/8-mile track (1:52.4) here last week; closers seemed to be at an unusually strong advantage that night, and National Debt owes a debt of gratitude to Oceanview Magnum for the early fractions (26/54.1/1:22.4). (3) RACEMUP is back together with catch driver Marie Claude Auger, after a show finish at this level for Samuel Fillion last week (Fillion has apparently opted to drive #1 Farmers Tan this race); while Auger was aboard for this gelding's only current win, a near gate-to-wire effort in the March 7 Rideau Preferred Handicap, it's noteworthy that his only 2020-21 Preferred-level wins at this track have both been on the front end, from mid-pack post positions (#5 or #6).
Race 7 – (4) UNDERCOVER STRIKE recorded his eighth consecutive Rideau Carleton victory March 21, earning himself a class hike this week; trainer/driver Guy Gagnon teams back up with trotter who has been dropping his week-over-week winning times by nearly a second in all but one race this season; last Sunday's 1:56.4 victory stands as Canada's fastest trotting mile on a 5/8-mile track so far this year. (8) LESTENPERCENT captured this track's March 21 Preferred Handicap in 1:57.2 for regular reinsman Rodney La Framboise; his average closing quarters are faster than Undercover Strike's so far this season; while he's won from the #8-hole three times in 2020, all at Preferred/Preferred Handicap classifications, he hasn't had such a formful and formidable rival to his inside on those three occasions. (6) WILDWILD MEN is another Guy Gagnon trainee; catch driver Richard Simard is in the bike behind front-end-loving trotter who is vulnerable to late speed; they led most of the March 21 Preferred Handicap, but were caught in the stretch, finishing third behind Lestenpercent (#8 this race) and runner-up LMC Mass Gem (#7 tonight).
Race 8 – March 21, (4) OCEANVIEW MAGNUM set the stage for Canada's fastest mile of 2021 on a 5/8-mile track, blasting to the lead but finished by the 1:22.4 three-quarters in the Rideau Carleton Preferred Handicap; new catch driver is Richard Simard this week, as the class-dropping gelding makes second consecutive start at Rideau Carleton. (5) SHADOW MARGEAUX is up in class after strong closing effort last Sunday; paced last quarter in a field's-co-fastest 28.4 to finish third by a head behind winner Windsun Cheyenne and second-best Prince Giovanni, neither of whom is in tonight's race; only one 2020 victory, at half-mile Hanover. (2) THUNDERING JIM makes his second start of the new year tonight; a non-factor eighth from post #8 in his seasonal comeback March 21, the Ted McDonald trained-/driven gelding draws much better spot here; his only Rideau victory last year was in Brian Jerome Memorial Series for $10,000 claimers, for former trainer/driver Guy Gagnon. (6) WOO SHARK remains winless in five starts this year; followed a first-up Hooter Shooter from second-over at the half, taking the overland route in pursuit of leader Farmers Tan; boxed in by a three-wide D GS De Vito on final turn, his sixth-place finish was the result of traffic; Tyler Jones stays loyal to three-time 2020 winner; up in class. (3) ROAD RUNNER COLONY has yet to hit board after two tries this year; better post this race, plus a 28.4 closing quarter March 21, suggest Hi-5 possibilities.
Race 9 – (8) DYLANS BANK has won from this post at Rideau Carleton last year; he was eighth for a different catch driver March 21, but teams up with Stephane Brosseau again here; a March 7 winner at this track's Op15000clm classification for Brosseau in the fastest winning mile (1:54.4) by any of this field so far in 2021; class relief for the second-winningest horse of this field in 2020 (six wins). (3) LEVIS DAY is apparent choice of Marie Claude Auger over #7 Task Bar Hanover; Vic Puddy trainee avoids Bs Tyrrific and Western Phil this week, after finishing third to that pair in Rideau Nw2500l3cd action March 21; paced field's second-fastest last quarter (28.1); improved significantly over seventh-place finish March 14 where he lost ground late against same-level pacers. (1) D GS DE VITO finished third as beaten fave here last week; strong closing effort March 14 and 21; the 1:54.3 individual clocking last race is the fastest performance this year by any horse in this race, but the Jonathan Lachance-driven gelding has had a year-long dry spell.
Race 10 – (4) BESTOFBEST HANOVER won 4 times last year; now 13-years old, owner/trainer Melanie Plourde's stallion hasn't won since Oct. 11, when he and Stephane Pouliot upset this track's Nw850pscd pacers at 14/1 from post #7, closing as pacesetter Prince Giovanni (#5 tonight) faded; abundant back class; slipped into traffic and stealthily gaining ground late in March 21 effort, pacing field's-co-fastest last quarter (28.4). (3) WESTERN PHIL delivered two moves when Samuel Fillion asked March 21 in Rideau Carleton Nw2500l3cd company; left hard to battle eventual winner Bs Tyrrific and Wrangler Cash for early lead, backing off to third by the 27.3 opening quarter; showed late turn of foot, closing in on Bs Tyrrific in the stretch and running out of racetrack in a ground-saving trip from rail; light on wins, although he appears to be building up to one; up in class. (6) SPORTS AUTHORITY hasn't raced at Rideau since July 19, when he finished second as 6/5 beaten fave in Nw4000l3cd company; it was among the steepest class drops he got last year, but he did not win at this track all season (although he won at Mohawk, and at Preferred classifications at Flamboro and Hippodrome 3R); owner/trainer Cassandra Lecourt's gelding debuted with eye-catching qualifier here March 17 with tonight's driver Ryan Guy in the bike, advancing from last of five pacers at the three-quarters, to drawing clear in a winning 2:01.4 romp with a 29 flat closing quarter; 2021 pari-mutuel comeback tonight.
Race 11 – (1) JOURNALISTIC gets class relief and the rail after struggling in March 21 Rideau Carleton Op15000clm pace; owner/trainer/driver Phil Reid's four-year-old wired field in maiden victory from same post in Ottawa debut June 7 at Nw7500lcd classification, when still trained by Mandy Archer/driven by Guy Gagnon; bottomed out the field here March 14 in a similar-style win at Nw250pscd level. (9) BIG CITY NEWS makes third consecutive start with Lasix; Mandy Archer trains new Rideau arrival class-dropping in from Mohawk; trailing post for former Carmen Auciello trainee who recently seemed over his head in Campbellville; versatile in his three career victories last year at 5/8-mile Sarnia, all at Nw5000l classifications; Samuel Fillion (winless but hit board in 5 of 9 catch drives March 21) could be aboard an overlay here. (8) WILD RIVER COYOTEE is up in class, but the March 21 beaten fave is back in rein to Guy Gagnon; hasn't won from this far out before, yet he's so consistently hitting board that he's essential in exotics; Journalistic may not give way if he comes calling early, because both geldings are at their best on the front end.
Race 12 – (2) KAHLUA MORNING hasn't won since Guy Gagnon was last in the sulky, Feb. 16 in Rideau Carleton; she wired a short field of otherwise-male $7,000 claimers over a snowy surface that wasn't ideal for closers; gets significant class drop from the mares she tangled with last week. (3) KOLOY DM was taken to the back of the pack by Pascal Berube March 21, opting to follow as Baywatching cut the mile; made up considerable ground in the last quarter, pacing around misbehaving rivals and closing in field's-co-fastest last quarter (28.2); back in distaff competition after last Sunday's fifth-place finish in Nw10000lcd seasonal debut. (1) JK ELLEM ENOH was a solid second to Mcjagersonthemove in March 21 Rideau Nw265pscd; she had same post, but catch driver Ryan Guy, who isn't aboard any rivals this race: Robbie Robinson returns to drive mare who went winless last year, but showed real improvement last week on the class drop.
Race 13 – (2) ASA IM READY has had bad luck so far this season, currently 0-for-5 despite missing the Rideau Carleton board only once; John MacMillan-trained mare was winningest of this field in 2020 (seven wins), yet she's been vulnerable at the end of recent miles; post #8 (with one rival scratched to the inside) and the unstoppable Undercover Strike were her main adversaries March 21; expect a rebound tonight. (4) VERO AMORE BI tripped out for owner/trainer/driver Mike Healey last Sunday, leading through most of the mile and beaten only by the win-steaking, now-absent Undercover Strike. (6) MONTANABLACKANGEL misbehaved in his March 7 start for Tyler Jones, requiring a qualifier in order to race tonight; he wired a mixed-gait Rideau qualifier March 17, winning in 2:00 flat with trainer Mike Armstrong driving; he and Jones won from post #6 last Oct. 29, in another successful front-end effort.
Race 14 – (6) REYS N A ROCKET draws easiest post position she's had so far in the new year; claimed by owner/trainer Robert Bernicky last Sunday, she debuts for latest catch driver Richard Simard instead of being teamed up with usual partner Ryan Guy (who's aboard #1 Perfect Daliance); late speed to spare. (2) SOPHIES CAM finished third for Tyler Moore as a spot play selection March 21; she battled the now-absent Kahlua Morning early, established herself on the front end, but had nothing to offer when Reys N A Rocket and Jans Legacy overtook her in the stretch; catch driver change to Stephane Brosseau from Richard Simard this race, as Simard drives this race's top selection. (3) E R RHONDA was interfered with last week, forced wide from fourth in the first turn when first-over Michele Z Tam went in reverse ahead of her; badly parked and tired; reunited with Guy Gagnon tonight.
Race 15 – (5) REDDIT HANOVER essentially wired Rideau Carleton $7,000 claimers Feb. 21 with Richard Simard driving; class drop plus Simard's return suggest a strong front-end trip tonight. Fellow class-dropper (8) KEYSTONE PRESTIGE was claimed last week, and races for trainer Vic Puddy and catch driver Ryan Guy from outside post here; prevailed by a nose over Senior K for his most recent victory, March 14, making front by the half for Jonathan Lachance and successfully holding off closers. Thirteen-year-old (1) PLAYIN FOR KEEPS and Pascal Berube also get class relief; last Sunday, he and Berube also had the rail; followed a first-up Twin B Fearless out of fourth at the half, only to end up parked second to the new leader en route to the three-quarters; dug deep in the stretch to finish third by a game neck. (2) CLIFF DRUMMOND is also 13 years old; veteran gelding was third for Samuel Fillion March 7, his best race of four in 2021; infrequent winner had same post as tonight on that occasion. (3) BARRYS SHELBY was beaten by trotter Montanablackangel in their March 17 Rideau qualifier; Guy Gagnon catch drives after this pacer finished sixth for Ryan Guy at this track's Nw450pscd classification last Sunday.
Melissa Keith is a lifelong harness handicapper/bettor, Hervey/O'Brien Media Excellence Award-winning writer, and occasional racecaller. She is a contributor to TROT, Hoof Beats, Atlantic Post Calls, and Harness Racing Update, often covering topics related to wagering. Her most memorable bets include taking down the Truro Raceway Pick-7 pool for a $36 investment (it has not been offered since) and collecting $1,287 for a Woodbine Harness Pick-4 which cost a whopping $1.60.
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