Best Bet – (2) GOLD STAR DIABLO – Race 5
Spot Play – (3) STEELMEATREASURE – Race 4
20-cent Early Pick 5 – Race 1 – ALL/2,6/2,3,5/3/2 = $9.60
20-cent Late Pick 5 – Race 6 – 1,3,4,6,7/1/1,3/4,5/1,3,4 = $12.00
20-cent Early Pick 4 – Race 4 – 2,3,8/2/1,3,4,6,7/1 = $3.00
20-cent Late Pick 4 – Race 8 – 1,3,8/2,4,5/1,3,4/1,5 = $10.80
Race 1 – (8) HARD ROCK starts from second tier with latest catch driver Bruce Richardson; slow start to the season for successful half-mile track closer; a gapping second-over from fourth at the Flamboro half March 25, he simply could not keep pace with the advancing first-over Mohegan Blue Chip; finished sixth after tiring trip, yet showed interest in the stretch with minimal urging; often gets his best results from tough post positions, like his place finishes last October at both Flamboro and Western Fair, each time from post #7 for Scott Coulter (who drives his own #7 Savannah Splendor here); lone 2020 victory was also for Coulter, from off the pace Sept. 10 in Flamboro 7000clmcd company; late speed. (1) MACHAPELO won 6 of 32 starts last year; the rest of this field collected a total of 7 wins in 153 starts last year; Austin Sorrie stays with class-dropping veteran pacer who disappointed at Flamboro 7000clmcd level March 25; underway first over from seventh in the second turn, he was gapping and tiring on the outside by the third turn of overland journey; newly Lasix-free last week, most recent victory was Dec. 17 with stalking trip at Flamboro. (3) SECTIONLINE ROCK makes third consecutive start with Lasix; trainer Ondrej Gois drives gelding who hasn't won since 2019, yet has shown mild late gains in his two recent London races with Gois in the sulky; could be even better tonight, in a tough-to-figure race.
Race 2 – (2) SHADOW WARRIOR and Alfie Carroll qualified well from the same London post March 25; three-year-old gelding made two starts last year, winning his Prospect Series leg at Sarnia on the front end; while this is his first pari-mutuel effort on a half, we predict he'll make front easily and carry his speed the full mile. (6) BETTERHIDEYOURHART was carefully handled by Austin Sorrie in his March 23 pari-mutuel debut; three-year-old colt finished fifth in London Nw5000lcd company, closing from seventh in a field's-fastest last quarter (29 flat); this post position produces many more winning pacers at Western Fair than at Flamboro (10.6% vs. 6.3%), boosting chances tonight. (1) KATYS BOY BLUE closed for place in Dec. 21 Western Fair Nw5000lcd effort, his most recent race; Tyler Borth stays loyal to lightly-campaigned maiden four-year-old making seasonal comeback; up in class.
Race 3 – (3) DADDY DEVITO finished fourth in two recent tries at this track's 15000clmcd classification; he gets class drop tonight and retains Nick Boyd for return to 7000clmcd level where he found success late last year; wired NW25000LCD pacers at The Raceway Jan. 6 of last year, from same post position, former connections. (2) TOWNSHIP WILLY was claimed after March 29 win at Western Fair; he retains trainer (former owner) Doug Currie/driver Garrett Rooney, however; going-away victory last start, in mile cut by tonight's #4 Sunshine N Shade; solid recent form. (5) ROCK AND TWIST improved in each of his three March starts, most recently on the class drop to 7000clmcd at Flamboro; Brett MacDonald drove the Richard Moreau trainee to March 27 place result behind runaway winner Kataparka, and is back in the bike this race; unmanageable early in March 10 added-distance 15000clmcd effort at this track, breaking at the start and rough-gaited into the first turn, the four-time 2020 winner finds easier spot tonight; beaten fave in that last London race.
Race 4 – (3) STEELMEATREASURE qualified in gate-to-wire winning style March 24 at Rideau Carleton March 24, pacing a 1:57.2 mile that made her the fastest three-year-old filly pacer on a Canadian 5/8-mile track in 2021; winless in 12 races last season, this filly seems to be gearing up for better in OSS action this year; Vic Puddy trainee makes 2021 pari-mutuel debut for catch driver Lorne House, who apparently chose her over... (8) SHADOW ONE, who improved in every start last month; all were at London, for Lorne House; Austin Sorrie catch drives three-year-old filly starting from second tier in her fourth lifetime race; she finished third here from same post March 12, travelling second-over in fourth at the half and closing well for show; she won't, or shouldn't, be 35/1 again this race. (2) STORMY BEACHGIRL came home in 28.4 in her career debut, March 25 at Flamboro for tonight's driver Tyler Moore; Shawn Steacy-trained filly stalked to finish second to the now-absent Bochneezba, capitalizing on a backpedaling early pacesetter (Lucky Town) who called it quits by the stretch drive; incidentally, Bochneezba is the fastest three-year-old filly on a Canadian half-mile track (1:55.4) so far this season.
Race 5 – (2) GOLD STAR DIABLO wired Western Fair rivals in his last appearance at this track, his Feb. 17 added-distance season opener; Team Cullen gelding gets class/post relief this week for his return to The Raceway; with three wins already in 2021, the March 28 beaten 3/2 fave (fourth in 8500clm company at Flamboro) is in perfect spot for revenge win. (1) EAS IDEAL finished fourth for latest catch driver Brett MacDonald March 25 against Flamboro 7000clmcd pacers; the 1:57.1 personal mile was by far his best of three seasonal starts, the other two for different drivers; MacDonald was aboard Mohegan Blue Chip (#4 this race) in that gelding's last two races at Western Fair, possibly choosing this improving rival with whom he wired Flamboro 7000clmcd company Dec. 10. (4) MOHEGAN BLUE CHIP was sent off as 1/2 fave at Flamboro March 25, coming first-over at the half and narrowly overtaking leader Arsenal De Chafra at the top of the stretch; an untimely break at the wire saw him set back 1p2; Austin Sorrie stays loyal to five-time 2020 winner who showed stamina from post #7 in spite of misstep. (3) KEATON is in his last year of pari-mutuel racing; showed no signs of slowing down last year in a 10-for-27 season; he's back in front-tier post position, but might not have the late speed of top trio; Garrett Rooney stays aboard dependable 14-year-old who only missed board eight times in 27 tries in previous season. (6) REACH FOR INFINITY has closed to collect a cheque in every race this year; all were at Western Fair, all were with Scott Wray in the bike; winless in four seasonal trips behind the gate, yet a must-use in Hi-5 tickets.
Race 6 – (4) DINNER AT THE MET is trainer Patrick Shepherd's only starter on the card; the class-dropping gelding hasn't replicated his March 3 near-gate-to-wire London 7000clmcd victory, however he is reunited with catch driver Austin Sorrie tonight; winless since being claimed March 10; taken back to fourth early in March 28 start at Flamboro, only to get covered up, shuffled, and show little late with his trainer in the bike; this race could be a turning point for the 10-year-old. (7) TELL US MORE began his season with a Flamboro 7000clmcd victory for J Harris, bottoming out the field in a 1:57.1 going-away performance; he's down in class following a less-successful try at Mohawk March 22; Paul MacKenzie drives class-dropping pacer with toughest post in this field, who doesn't seem as likely to bottom out the field here. (1) WILD EYED YANKEE's lone start this year at The Raceway was perhaps his least successful: he was sixth March 3 at 7000clmcd classification, for Nick Steward, from the rail; that's two important variables in common with tonight's start, however his recent form has been strong at Flamboro (except when parked March 21), so he's a contender here.
Race 7 – In (1) CHUCK HEATON LOVE's last Western Fair start for Paul MacKenzie, they wired 15000clmcd company...from post #7; front-end-loving four-year-old is back in line to MacKenzie tonight, for 2021 pari-mutuel debut; fourth of eight pacers in March 27 qualifier at Flamboro, he paced a 29.2 last quarter in that tightener. (3) EPIC PROPORTION's four victories last year were all at Flamboro, all for trainer Isabelle Darveau and driver Robert Shepherd; no top-three results since Nov. 24 win, but he's got class relief from Mohawk this race, in second consecutive start for Scott Coulter. (4) LIVIN ONA DREAM and Tyler Borth trailed throughout their March 24 Western Fair 15000clmcd effort, the four-year-old's first pari-mutuel race of the new year; class-dropper last won Oct. 14 at London, facing 15000clmcd pacers with Brett MacDonald aboard; MacDonald has possibly opted to catch drive Catch My Contrail (#2 this race), yet Amber Guse's gelding was a top-two finisher in 6 of his 13 starts last season, with victories at Dresden, Hanover, and Western Fair.
Race 8 – (3) SHARE THE MOMENT is down in class for Western Fair debut; paced a personal 1:56 mile in her show finish behind the now-absent Flossie N in her March 25 season-opener at Flamboro, nearly a second faster than her lifetime best 1:56.4; owner/driver Travis Cullen's filly showed versatility in four wins last season (two at Flamboro, two at Grand River); only one rival had more 2020 victories than this field's lone three-year-old: (1) JOES BEAUTY has trainer Shawn Steacy in the bike to figure her out after a pair of disappointing Flamboro results for Preston Shaw; a five-time winner last year, she is this field's-fastest on a half (1:56.1 at Charlottetown), yet so far hasn't translated her Maritime success into Ontario; taken back to second-last early March 25 at Flamboro, she advanced and picked up cover in second turn, only to stall on the outside, finishing seventh for Shaw; expecting turnaround soon, possibly this race. (8) LITTLEBEARCAT is always giving her best at the end of the race, even when the race is a mile-and-1/16, like March 19 London distaff Nw20500l event, where she closed for show at odds of 13/1; her three victories last season were at Clinton (two) and Sarnia; should be gaining ground late for owner/driver Mike Horner, despite landing the London trailing post from which they finished a wide-closing fourth on March 5.
Race 9 – (4) HOLD THUMBS N is Jean Rene Plante's only owned/trained/driven horse on the card; they successfully went gate-to-wire at Flamboro March 25; that was the gelding's second of two Flamboro 15000clmcd victories for Plante this year; tonight, is Western Fair debut for front-end-loving five-year-old who wired Meadowlands pacers Jan. 9. (5) SIRJAMESTHEGREAT's best recent results have been with Travis Henry in the sulky, so it's a risk to put him ahead of Henry's apparent choice here, #2 Blakes Chip; even so, this four-year-old's three 2020 victories were all at London, at various 15000clmcd classifications and distances; Paul MacKenzie handles former Dagfin Henriksen-owned/trained/sometimes-driven pacer for trainer Mark Winacott; the question is how the "horse for the course" responds to latest catch driver. (2) BLAKES CHIP remains winless in five tries this year; progressively better every race in March, he and Travis Henry stalked for second March 25 in Flamboro 15000clmcd company; closed in field's-co-fastest 29.1 against a short field where two horses took themselves out of contention and were distanced.
Race 10 – (3) DREAMFAIR MOXY is trainer Bobbie Jo Weinholdt's only starter on this card; his last win was Dec. 23 on the class drop to Mohawk Nw5200l5cd level; Nick Boyd picks up drive on three-time 2020 winner dropping down again after finishing seventh at Flamboro Nw3300l3cd level March 28 for J Harris; a going-away 1:55.2 winner for Team Cullen June 15 at Grand River, he was strong on the front end, and may try similar strategy at speed-favouring Western Fair tonight. (1) MO BETTOR drops in class, draws rail, and gains catch driver Brett MacDonald because Austin Sorrie appears to have selected #4 Fern Hill Breeze over Mo Bettor; London regular with its winningest post for pacers closed in field's-fastest 28.1 to finish third behind uncatchable winner A Positive Hanover March 24. (4) FERN HILL BREEZE's five wins last year is the best record of anyone in this field; his latest victory was from London rail Feb. 22, with Travis Henry in the bike for the front-end, mile-and-a-1/16 win at Nw3000l3cd classification; better result in each of three March efforts for Austin Sorrie, he looks to be closing in on a win, although being up in class doesn't help chances here.
Race 11 – (1) ROLLWITHITANNIE makes second consecutive start at The Raceway's mile-and-1/16 distance, where she finished seventh for Colin Kelly at 15000clmcd classification March 22; while she hasn't been leaving fast, that could change with the rail and Scott Coulter driving; both her PEI victories were front-end trips in non-stakes company; will need to step up here, but she's shown how she likes to win and lands ideal opportunity. (5) RETICENT HANOVER and Austin Sorrie were distaff 7000clmcd winners at Flamboro March 20; down in class following a disappointing off-the-pace effort together March 27, this mare is one of the fastest closers here. Class-dropping (7) SADIEMAESONHERWAY has late speed too, although she and Preston Shaw wired Flamboro's 7000clmcd distaffers for her most recent win, March 6; has not raced since March 20; Fred Bourgault-owned/trained mare retains catch driver Travis Henry; challenging post. (9) LITTLEANNIEOAKLEY has trailing post; show finish for regular reinsman Garrett Rooney at same distance March 9, from more-helpful post position; will stalk for minor shares. (4) EATAAMS PRINCESS is winless in four tries this season, but has a pair of place results in Flamboro distaff 7000clmcd competition last month; mild closer to round out the Hi-5.
Photo by John Watkins
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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