Spot Play – (1) – MONTANABLACKANGEL – Race 1
Best Bet – (4) – KEYSTONE PRESTIGE – Race 6
20-cent Early Pick 4 - Race 3 – 1,3,4/1,4,5,6/7/4,6 = $4.80
20-cent Late Pick 4 - Race 7 – 1,6,7/4,5/1,3/2,3,6,8 = $9.60
Race 1 – (2) MONTANABLACKANGEL's last win was against Rideau Carleton Nw2R7500lcd company July 23, taking command straight off the gate and never looking back in a 1:56.3 going-away victory for Pascal Berube; tonight's field shows similarities to that of erratic trotter's lifetime-best: small field, a post position that should allow him to make front early, and class drop; Tyler Jones tried off-the-pace approach with him in first catch drive Oct. 15, coming first up from third at the half to challenge eventual winner Asa Im Ready in a downpour; tired, retreated, and jumped it off making second move up passing lane, but otherwise steady-gaited and game for latest driver. (1) STORMONT MUFFIN has also gone 1-for-13 in wins to starts this year, taking a 1:59.3 record at this venue's Nw2r7500lcd level July 2 from the rail; she's since gone on to compete in OSS Grassroots/Grassroots eligible, unable to add to the win column again, but hampered by second-tier or outside posts in last three starts at Rideau, Mohawk, and Kawartha; class drop for late-speed filly who has only ever hit board when facing same-aged peers and one 4-year-old maiden. (4) DREAMEX lacks the breaking issues that #5 Raising Rusty has encountered in outside posts like tonight's, while having a stronger 2020 resume than the 0-for-9 top-three results of #3 Marshmellow Fellow; the 4-year-old mare has been making up for lost time this season, not having raced at age 2 or 3.
Race 2 – (2) SAGALI left quickly in her Oct. 15 Rideau Carleton debut, settling into the pocket behind Stage Terror and Bumblebabynme on the way to the opening quarter; overlooked at odds of 50/1, she charged home from sixth to second in a strong 30.4 last quarter over a "good" surface in the rain; lightly-raced maiden showed fight on the front end in her last race at Hippodrome 3R, Oct. 9, and gets a class drop here. (4) BAYWATCHING was taken back to second-last straight off the gate Oct. 15, but was out and moving from sixth before the opening quarter; Bumblebabynme and Stage Terror each led briefly over the tiring surface through the 28.2 first panel, ensuring that closers would have their say later in the mile; Ted McDonald's filly took charge by the half and extended her lead through the remainder of the race, avoiding the interference and two breakers that affected most of the field; class drop for three-time 2020 winner. (1) OHBABYWEFOUNDLOVE returns from Flamboro, where she looked like she may have hit the wing of the starting gate with her nose Oct. 11; this resulted in a sustained break that instantly took her out of the race; before that, the Autumn Series starter had back-to-back Rideau wins for Tyler Jones, at slightly lower class than tonight.
Race 3 – (4) DYLANS BANK was flying late Oct. 15, pacing his last quarter in a field's-fastest 29.3 over "good" track to finish fourth behind tonight's #6 Larry Is Debs Rock; closing/stalking trips for Guy Gagnon produced wins in both of three-year-old's other starts at Rideau Carleton, albeit at lesser classification; only Shine a Light (#3 this race) has a faster 2020 record set at this venue, and Gagnon returns to bike tonight. (3) SHINE A LIGHT pocketed up behind Larry Is Debs Rock en route to the 27.4 first quarter Oct. 15, "nose to helmet" second but unable to step out due to a three-in, three-out situation going to the three-quarters; never saw daylight until the passing lane; gate-to-wire winner from same post as tonight at lower Nw1550l3cd level Oct. 4. (1) SASKABUSH STEVE fits the "NW 2 or $30,000 lifetime" conditions because he got his first two of the season on the Manitoba fair circuit, before shocking Rideau players when he won at 60/1 in his second start here, Oct. 8; beaten fave Oct. 15 in extended second-over effort from post #6 on "good" surface.
Race 4 – (4) BRONSON sold as a $100,000 yearling under the name "Captain in My Coke" back in 2017; he competed in stakes at Red Mile, never winning but pacing in 1:53.2 at age two; first off the gate Oct. 15 in his second Rideau Carleton start, the four-year-old made bold first-over move from fourth near the half to challenge Stoney Curtis; kept chasing that leader all the way to the wire, holding off all other contenders for place despite tiring track condition. (1) MACH JACOBS is apparently Pascal Berube's choice over #8 Cool Hand Lucan; it's understandable after this colt won for him from post #7 Oct. 18 at Hippodrome 3R; could be tired after spending almost the entire mile on the outside in his 2:00.1 maiden-breaking performance. (6) TJ THUNDER is the two-year-old stablemate of #4 Bronson; in his first drive by Stephane Brosseau Oct. 11, this colt left from second tier, settled in fifth and waited for his cue; eye-catching late kick saw him gain ground late for fourth in a 29 flat last quarter.
Race 5 – (7) ASA IM READY romped from post #6 in her Rideau Carleton debut, opening up by over five lengths at the finish; the six-year-old mare hadn't raced since 2017, but hasn't missed board since her comeback this season for trainer John MacMillan; fastest winner in the field took her 1:56.4 personal best here Oct. 1. (6) SOUND TRACK comes into this race with back-to-back Ottawa victories Oct. 1 and 8; more current closing power and ability to hold his ground in the late stages of the race than... (5) FRIDO PV last lost at Rideau Sept. 17 from post #7, when he broke leaving and never recovered enough to challenge for top-three status; his first three wins of 2020 were at lower classifications with trainer/driver Yves St. Jacques in the sulky, but his three consecutive victories leading into tonight were all for catch driver Stephane Brosseau, who has evidently chosen #7 Asa Im Ready this race.
Race 6 – (4) KEYSTONE PRESTIGE disappointed his backers Oct. 18, as he dealt with post #7 and a class jump the same start, still closing in 28.4 for fifth at Rideau Carleton Op7000clm classification; we loved his chances from post #8 the previous week, when he went off at 45/1 in Nw250pscd event and closed for place behind the now-absent Stolen Art; class drop, improved post for game four-year-old making second consecutive start for driver Rodney Laframboise. (6) RED JOHN finished last from post #8 in his Ottawa debut with Guy Gagnon aboard Oct. 18; crossed wire in a 1:56.4 clocking identical to tonight's #4 Keystone Prestige and Singhampton Kenny in a tight decision for sixth; three wins this year have all been on half-mile tracks, but class-dropping gelding makes fourth start with Lasix tonight. (2) ITS ALL WORTH IT gets class/post relief after an Oct. 15 fourth-place finish marred by broken equipment; 50/1 shot led much of the way, but was visibly tiring in the stretch over the "good" track surface in the rain. (5) OK EBURY was second at Hippodrome 3R in his two most recent efforts; up in class, but has Pascal Berube back in the bike and the third-best Ottawa post for pacers. (9) SPRINGBRIDGEVISION held for fourth Oct. 18 in her tenth start of 2020; trailing post position didn't help August 13, when the mare "looked live" with "no place to go" near back of pack, in the words of John MacMillan; class-dropper still hasn't built upon the promise of her eight-win 2019 campaign this year.
Race 7 – (1) OSIRIS BLUE CHIP has six seasonal wins, the rail, and the Mandy Archer/Guy Gagnon team working in his favour; it's up to the class-climber to avenge losses in his last two Rideau Carleton starts, including an Oct. 15 place finish as beaten fave stalking the now-absent Rose Run Slider; best draw since his 1:53.2 August 30 victory from post #2. (6) STATE NEWS was a going-away winner in gate-to-wire Oct. 15 effort at this venue; class climb for pacer who closed in 28.3 despite "good" track rating last start, and set his seasonal-best 1:55.4 here Oct. 1, also for tonight's driver Ryan Guy. (7) BADSTORMANYPORT is lone class-dropper this race; apparent choice of Tyler Jones over #3 Royal Canvas; handled mid-pack to outer post positions readily last month.
Race 8 – (5) JUMPSHOT was a beaten fave Oct. 4 at Rideau Carleton Nw2800l3cd classification, when he tried to tip three-wide from sixth around a tiring first-over P C Heisenberg (#4 here); the "good" surface proved tiring to closers, as Y C Broadway wired the field; this is his first start back, for trainer/driver Stephane Brosseau and with class drop. (4) P C HEISENBERG missed by just a neck Oct. 15, stalking winner The Magic of Life; six-time seasonal place finisher has just one 2020 win, but benefits from another post #4 start despite class-climb this week. (7) ANGELS KID has class relief this week, following disappointing seventh-place finish Oct. 18; he had same post and driver (Tyler Jones) as tonight, but at higher Nw2800l3cd level; with only one of his six seasonal victories over anything but a half-mile track, he seems safest for lesser shares.
Race 9 – (3) REDDIT HANOVER was completely boxed in second-last going to the half Oct. 18 in leg of competitive Brian Jerome Fall Claiming Series; he finished last, unable to close the gap between himself and better-positioned/faster rivals; this race, he's back down to Nw420psl10 level and reunited with Stephane Brosseau, who reined him to both his 2020 victories. (1) MORTGAGE MY VILLA stalked and ended up third to State News here Oct. 15 on a track rated "good"; blitzed Rideau Carleton Nw400pscd pacers Sept. 3 in 1:55.1, only to be set back from first to last later on; mildly up in class but retains Clarke Steacy; thrives on inside post positions. (4) SAULSBROOK PEACH is slightly up in class; tired Oct. 15 and lost ground late, finishing fourth; six show finishes from 29 starts this year at varied classifications make this a logical probability for the 11-year-old who hasn't returned to the level of accomplishment (speed, wins, class) he reached in 2019.
Race 10 – (3) RUB ME has been strong closer/stalker getting consistent results at Nw7500lcd classification and similar; class climb may not mean much to the late speed in this field; apparent choice of Rodney Laframboise over #6 Mach Tie Son and #9 Keystone Nolan. (8) DOUBLE DOWN DUKE races for powerful Mandy Archer/Guy Gagnon partnership; three consecutive wins over similar group, but never from this far out. (6) MACH TIE SON surprised with an impressive dead heat for win in his Rideau return Oct. 11; Quebec stake winner took lifetime-best 1:56 mark in that Ottawa Nw1r7500lcd victory. (2) G A SPEED JOEY is back to a post position where the possibility of making front early is better; he could not sustain that favoured front-end style Oct. 15, but that was over a track that was rated two seconds off, so judge accordingly; he won gate-to-wire Sept. 10 and August 27 for Pascal Berube, who drives #9 Keystone Nolan this race. (9) KEYSTONE NOLAN starts from second tier, regains Pascal Berube; they were second together Sept. 24, closing behind winner P H Impulse in personal 1:54.4 performance.
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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