Best Bet – (4) RAISING RUSTY – Race 4
Spot Play – (5) SPORTY GUSSIE – Race 9
20-cent Early Pick 4 (race 2) – 4,6/1,2,8/4/1,4,5,8 = $4.80
20-cent Middle Pick 4 (race 5) – 1,4,5,8/5,7,8/1,2,3/2,7 = $14.40
20-cent Late Pick 5 (race 6) – 5,7,8/1,2,3/2,5,7/5/1,4,9 = $16.20
20-cent Late Pick 4 (race 9) – 5/1,4,9/1,3,7/1,3,9 = $5.40
Race 1 – When (5) BET ON A DREAM raced at Rideau in June, it was for a different trainer and driver; today, he's sent out by Mandy Archer, with Richard Simard driving for the second consecutive week; while up in class, he finds post relief after tough trip that saw him three-wide early after starting from post #7 and narrowly outgunned by a deep closer. (3) SPORT A LUCKY STAR and Mike Healey parked 1/5 fave The Twist to the opening quarter last Thursday, despite going off at odds of 19/1 (!) as lone mare facing the boys; the confident move was followed by another when she exited the pocket to challenge the leader again at the three-quarters; upset potential. (1) AMERICAN WAY closed for place behind The Twist that race; late speed behind top pair who put up more ambitious performances in their last start.
Race 2 – (6) SHALLOW suffered interference at the start last Thursday from breaker Deja Vu Seelster; Stephane Brosseau finished in the top two with half of his 8 drives that card, and hit board in 5 of 8 Sunday, including his 3,500th career driving victory; consistently-strong form makes her top choice over her stablemate (4) SWEET NAN, a recent Kawartha arrival, also trained by John MacMillan; only top-three finish this year was on class drop from rail; did not race at age two, but managed off-the-pace victories at Flamboro and Kawartha; largest win margin was in the slop at Flamboro last October. (1) OHBABYWEFOUNDLOVE draws the rail again; Samuel Fillion attempts to put her on board for this first time since she closed to finish third from post #6 in Rideau distaff Nw1r8500l company; took a week off after showing dislike for outside post plus slop July 8.
Race 3 – (1) STONEBRIDGE HERMES dodged two breakers in the slop here July 8, following in fourth along pylons and even making first-over bid enroute to the three-quarters; he's the lone two-year-old and lone male in this field, from second-winningest Rideau post for pacers. (8) SATURN V was a top-three pick for her career debut last Thursday, because of a 27.4 closing quarter in her qualifier; we couldn't have predicted that two horses to her inside would be scratched, making post #8 suddenly less of a handicap to her maiden front-end victory; by the opening quarter, she had made her way to the front and put away early leader (2) STONEFACE GERRY, who tried the passing lane late but couldn't touch the winner; beaten 1/5 fave draws well and retains Stephane Brosseau.
Race 4 – Last Thursday, (4) RAISING RUSTY came home in a field's-fastest 29 flat last quarter for show; that was despite overland trip from Rideau post #8 in nine-horse field with no scratches; actually trailed in last by three lengths at the start; individually-timed at least a second faster than his lifetime-best in all three of his most recent races; up in class but with improved post, anything is possible. (3) LMC MASS GEM's two 2021 place finishes were from identical post at this venue; class-dropper is light on wins, strong on runner-up credentials regardless of trip. (6) THE MAGIC OF LIFE, like this race's top choice, showed stamina and closing power after a demanding parked-out voyage last week; second consecutive race with this low-percentage post hurts.
Race 5 – (4) VENENO was boxed in near back of Hippodrome 3R top class last Sunday, finding a seam at the three-quarters and navigating through traffic for fourth in show photo; change of scenery and perhaps strategy for Stephane Brosseau-trained/driven gelding returning to larger track; late speed. Class-climbing (1) SHINE A LIGHT is back at post position of his last win; jumped a patch of water left by the water truck Sunday, causing him to break and finish up the track; latest catch driver Ryan Guy was top-two with 4 of 10 drives here Thursday. (8) VANILLA MALTED cut mile but lost ground late in second-consecutive sub-1:54 effort; cannot see him getting away from this post for a gate-to-wire victory like his last, at Kawartha; rounds out tri in a tough-to-figure race with some hard-luck horses in search of redemption. .
Race 6 – (7) A ROYAL HIT jumped early in OSS Gold at Mohawk last race; tonight, he has the familiar Robbie Robinson back in the sulky as he returns to home turf; strong pari-mutuel debut at Mohawk, from same post as tonight; devastating qualifier in his last tune-up at Rideau; first start Lasix. (5) BETONAWHEELIN was better than expected last start, winning in the slop from off the pace; back in same post position tonight. (8) BLOGMASTER's good recent form doesn't offset his bad draw and preference for the front end, which will be tough to reach from here. (6) CREVIOR adds a new catch driver in hopes of a breakthrough; Ryan Guy is also in the sulky because Guy Gagnon is at Mohawk and Robbie Robinson drives his own colt, this race's top choice. (2) KADILLAC GIRL has had every opportunity to win, yet remains a maiden; class relief comes alongside one of this track's worst posts for trotters.
Race 7 – (2) DARCEE N and Darcy Clancy came third over from seventh on the way to the half last Thursday, then unleashed "huge bid" from three-wide; it wasn't enough to catch and clear the leader, but this veteran found more in the stretch for an improbable late rally for show; post #8 didn't take away from his gameness in pursuit of (1) DELLAS BOY, who enjoyed rail advantage for a ground-saving gate-to-wire victory. (3) SHANGHAIGOLD pocketed up for place behind Dellas Boy, closing in a field's-fastest 29.3 last quarter; late speed.
Race 8 – (7) STORMONT MUFFIN has been recently near-perfect for Ryan Guy; only one trot winner from this Rideau post this year, however, making any scratches to her inside especially noteworthy tonight. (2) BEYOND THE LENS drops in from Mohawk, where he may have been in too deep; winless in 2021, yet always in the hunt at Rideau. (5) FIELD GUNNER posed no threat to winner Amigo Mio last Sunday, but he did close for show; reliable gait puts him ahead of some faster but erratic rivals here.
Race 9 – Class-dropping (5) SPORTY GUSSIE gave three-wide chase to 1/9 pacesetter Village Jamie going to the three-quarters last Thursday; ambitious move in return to girls-only company indicates a tactic that could pay off in tonight's follow-up, where there is no such overwhelming and justified favourite. (2) BAYWATCHING has gone back-to-back with front-end home-track victories despite early interference by the #1 in tonight's field, Deja Vu Seelster; new lifetime best in most recent effort; class jump and must battle another likely leaver: (3) PICKLES ON TOP exits $7,000 distaff claiming classification for conditioned; easy win against lesser group at Hiawatha Horse Park Saturday; one of two Stacey Currie trainees entered here tonight; fast-leaving rival to her inside looks every bit as tough in a race that may set up for an off-the-pace winner.
Race 10 – (1) WISK KEY K broke from mid-pack right off the gate and destroyed his chances as 3/5 fave last Thursday; back at post of his most recent success, the winningest and fastest horse in this field in 2021 seems likely to have things his way tonight. (4) NONEYABIZZNESS also broke in that race, but recovered and got back involved; impressive reset for gelding who went from distanced to picking up a cheque in a respectable 1:57.1 personal mile. Second-tier start for (9) JOURNALISTIC, who was covered up and needing room after racing in pocket behind unexpected leader Sir A (#3 tonight) last Thursday; late progress up passing lane.
Race 11 – (1) FANCY GIRL visits from Hippodrome 3R; sure to have landed outer assignment at Trois-Rivieres after gate-to-wire distaff Preferred-1&2 Handicap win, she instead leaves familiar territory for her first-ever start outside Quebec; Francis Picard has driven her in nearly all of her lifetime races; a history of half-mile tracks, but very dangerous from inside posts; took new personal best last start. (7) REYS N A ROCKET flipped the script with a front-end victory last start; she also came up far short of her typical late kick the last time she had tonight's post position, although that was against Rideau distaff Preferred pacers; the rest of this field has 13 combined wins this year, while the Rocket has 7, making her the obvious one to beat. (3) PERFECT DALIANCE finished second to this race's top choice in previous match-up...at 99/1; Kathy McBride's mare hasn't missed the board at this track since her June comeback; she actually improved on the class jump last Thursday, racing from the pocket as late-speed mares tried but couldn't catch this race's top choice.
Race 12 – (9) TOO MUCH DUNCAN from trailing post with Pascal Berube in post-claim debut for Mandy Archer; most recent win was against Rideau $7,000 claimers, last Sept. 17 from rail, on a significant class drop; he wired in 1:54.3, barely holding off a late move from (3) GENESEE, who has been consistently close at Rideau $8,000 claiming level, but his lone win of 2021 was his last in conditioned company. (1) SENIOR K has earned more than most of this field in 2021; won from rail in seasonal debut, stalking Reddit Hanover for conditioned victory; up in class. (5) BARRYS SHELBY lost a narrow decision as an 18/1 spot play selection last Thursday; closed in a field's-fastest 29.3 for Ryan Guy, who appears to have chosen him over the class-dropping (2) TWOMACSONEMACH tonight; that Vic Puddy trainee just missed for the now-absent Guy Gagnon last outing.
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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