Best Bet – (1) DEFCON SEELSTER – Race 5
Spot Play – (5) BARRYS SHELBY – Race 1
20-cent Early Pick 4 – Race 2 – 4,5/6/3,6/1,2,4 = $2.40
20-cent Middle Pick 4 – Race 5 – 1,4/2,4,9/2,4,7/2,6 = $7.20
20-cent Pick 5 – Race 6 – 2,4,9/2,4,7/2,6/4,5/1,3,4 = $21.60
20-cent Late Pick 4 – Race 9 – 4,5/1,3,4/5/1,5,7 = $3.60
Race 1 – Because "why are they here instead of at Kawartha Downs?" is a productive recent angle at Rideau, (5) BARRYS SHELBY looks interesting; he closed for fourth from worst Kawartha post in a field's-fastest 30.1 for Ryan Guy; love him here, even on class jump; has improved on Lasix, just needs right spot. (4) WALKS OF LIFE won on exact same angle Thursday, from pocket, in seasonal Rideau debut; class relief and keeps Stephane Brosseau, but this field seems a little more evenly-matched. (3) REDDIT HANOVER is apparent choice of Pascal Berube over #1 Outlawfryreyesonly, in spite of blowing up turning into stretch of his own accord last Sunday; now back at level of his most recent win.
Race 2 – (4) BESTOFBEST HANOVER finds best opportunity for his breakthrough 2021 victory here; most recent win was at Rideau Nw850pscd classification last October, when he scored at 14/1 in a narrow off-the-pace decision for Stephane Pouliot. (5) JON SNOW paid a heavy price for cutting the fastest opening quarter (26.4) and half (56) of Kawartha's entire July 10 card; up in class at the track where his recent results on/near front end have been much better. (2) THUNDERING JIM is the other late-speed horse here; class relief is offset by weak resume.
Race 3 – (6) AMERICAN PARADISE has no wins in all of 2020 or 2021 until tonight; second by diminishing margins in his most recent race and qualifier; his last win was in March 2019, against Rideau 7000clmcd company, stalking and winning by a neck in 1:56.3; has been better each week since racing started back. (5) JIM TOM fared poorly from outside post in 6-horse field last week; Rodney La Framboise drove him that race, and has evidently chosen to drive this race's top choice instead tonight; trailed throughout in a gapped-out race that saw everyone but him in a late scramble for the wire; how much does catch driver Guy Gagnon elevate chances? (1) JACKSON K DOWN was a non-factor at back of Canada Day field, although he did close seventh to sixth with field's third-fastest (28.4) last quarter; this is his second consecutive start with Lasix.
Race 4 – (6) SEVERUS HANOVER took a lot of late money when he last raced, dropping from 14/1 to 6/1 (third favourite) by post time; he stalked and finished second to this race's likely favourite, (3) FRIDO PV, who has bounced after each of his last three wins; it took a new lifetime best to beat Severus Hanover last time around. (1) RICHSNORTHERNDREAM took a new personal best at this track just three starts ago, also from rail for Guy Gagnon; that was against slightly lesser competition, however, and a second slower than the fastest marks of this race's top pair.
Race 5 – Class-dropping (1) DEFCON SEELSTER's form has been so sharp, he was third from trailing post when he took on Ontario Sires Stakes colts last Sunday; could easily wire here for Guy Gagnon. (4) AMIGO MIO also took on OSS Grassroots rivals last weekend at this track; he sprinted home for fourth in a field's-fastest 28.4, which was co-fastest last quarter of all the Grassroots divisions; his winning style has been decidedly front-end, which makes him second choice here, but not by much. (2) FIELD GUNNER has disappointed when top choice back on June 17; former $200K yearling seems to have a preference for half-mile Hippodrome 3R this year so far.
Race 6 – (4) DEAN STREET evades Wisk Key K and The Twist tonight, finally getting class relief and draw that position him to break maiden; note interference in previous two efforts as well. (2) JAZZ BEACH missed starting gate and was refunded two starts back, then had to deal with second-tier post position in slop in subsequent start; he was a game first over second at the half that night, retreating to fourth after battling The Twist. (9) REALXAMPLE was a competitive place finisher here in 2yr-Nw7500l company last August; came home in field's-fastest closing quarter (27.4); Richard Veilleux drives again, as Hippodrome 3R winner tries to keep recent improvements rolling, but from second tier on Rideau return. (8) MAJOR MOTION drops in, and down in class, from Kawartha Downs; set the pace throughout last race and tired late; unhelpful post. (7) BET ON A DREAM is four, but with a light resume; Richard Simard picks up catch drive on Mandy Archer trainee who's one of just two non-maidens in this race.
Race 7 – (4) SOLID MAN looks, well, solid on the class drop for trainer/driver Guy Gagnon; ironically edged out by Big Petes Style (#8 this race) after setting pace here last start; second as beaten 1/9 fave that card, he looks ready to roll after a little time off. (2) NIGHT CLUB HANOVER hasn't missed Rideau board since last November; however, in his most recent Rideau start he was set back from third to last for a break at the top of the stretch that caused interference to the rest of the field; he jumped on the lead when Take the Deal drew even with him on the outside; front-end-loving type who tends to lose ground late has had time off since late June. Post position works against (7) TWIN B LAKER, who will also need to find more speed to step up tonight; form has been improving by the week, but he's up in class after near-miss at 5/1 as a Spot Play selection that card.
Race 8 – (6) FCEE N blasted off the gate again and opened up by four lengths, only to end up part of a three-horse photo for place last Sunday; that was on class jump and after laying down the night's fastest fractions from the quarter to the three-quarters; broken equipment and winning driver Trevor Henry cramped his style, but anticipate a comeback here on class drop. (2) MATTS TUITION was the winner of that place photo Fcee N lost; Guy Gagnon tends to have him in the right place at the right time, but he's not delivering eye-catching statements like this race's top choice is right now. (5) BOBBIES POWER PLAY has finished third almost every race since arriving from Rosecroft; class drop, but has lost ground late in last two starts.
Race 9 – (5) NATIONAL DEBT deserves to be played back even after his second-last-place finish in last Sunday's Preferred Handicap, because he was parked nearly entire mile, taking overland route from post #7 and still individually clocked in 1:52.2; he captured previous two in same class, from tonight's post, in line to Pascal Berube. (4) RACEMUP was beaten 4/5 fave in that mile; left well three-wide off starting gate for Guy Gagnon, but proved unable to take down pacesetting (7) VEGAS ROCKS when bridle-to-bridle enroute to the half; post hurts tonight for 9-year-old who nearly matched his career-best 1:50 record last Sunday, pacing the co-fastest 1:50.4 winning mile on a Canadian 5/8-mile track this year; that was from post #5, with Trevor Henry shaking things up a little; even with Guy Gagnon now catch driving, we're predicting a bounce this week.
Race 10 – (1) GREAT SOMEWHERE's issues could be solved with the rail and class drop tonight; powerful qualifier (26.4 last quarter!) over this track for newest catch driver Ryan Guy. (3) PRINT MEDIA at 10/1 morning line doesn't seem to fit; he had post #8 last start, getting covered and shuffled back in pylon-skimming trip; flying wide late in traffic, he closed for fourth in field's-fastest 28.4; went very wide when camera shook, so viewers may have lost the action of the big move to get around traffic; Richard Simard stays loyal. (4) VANILLA MALTED isn't a sure thing here, although he was recently one at Kawartha; front-end style could be a disadvantage here, but he paced second-fastest last race of anyone in this field, finishing fourth versus similar last Sunday.
Race 11 – (5) VERO AMORE BI has excellent post for Rideau trotters here, as he and Mike Healey look to find position on/near front end for a repeat performance of their June 27 Preferred Handicap; stalked but couldn't catch (7) SEEYOU MEN last Sunday, when that rival wired field from much better post than tonight. (4) CROSSFIT is apparent choice of Ryan Guy over #1 Angels Kid; overlooked in last two victories at this track, last week he came first up from third to challenge leader Seeyou Men going to the three-quarters, but couldn't clear and was caught late by closers for show spot.
Race 12 – (5) SHADOW MARGEAUX looked overshadowed in Canada's co-fastest 2021 mile on a 5/8-mile track last Sunday; instead, he tripped out to close in 28-flat for place money behind the now-absent Vegas Rocks; his previous victory was for Ryan Guy, who stays aboard for this class drop. (1) SILVERADO hasn't won from rail in last two attempts; class climb for stalker who's light in win column. (7) OCEANVIEW MAGNUM 's form is indisputable; the question is whether he can pull off another miracle from the #7 hole. (6) LUKE AND DUKE used stalking trip to his advantage as a winning 2/5 fave last outing; note that he hasn't raced or qualified since March 28. (4) OFFICER JONES has late speed; best recent efforts have been for Ryan Guy, however, and he's aboard this race's top selection.
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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