Thursday, 01 August 2013 10:00

Weekend Preview

Written by Jason Beem
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Commander and jockey Jorge Espitia 'reunited' to win the Spangled Jimmy Commander and jockey Jorge Espitia 'reunited' to win the Spangled Jimmy Coady Photo/Ryan Haynes

Commander headlines the Fred Jones Handicap on Saturday at Northlands Park

Commanderturned in one of the best performances of his career when he dominated the Spangled Jimmy Handicap.  Well he’s back to prove it was indeed no fluke on Saturday when he headlines a group of five runners who will be competing in the $50,000 Fred Jones Handicap at a mile and a sixteenth.  Commander drew the inside post and Aaron Gryder will be flying up from Vancouver for the mount.  Commander if 5 of 6 career at Northlands Park, with his one defeat being a loss to Silver Baubles in the Journal Handicap.  Silver Baubles is back again to take on Commander, as is Senor Rojo, who was second in the Spangled Jimmy and then turned in a very strong win against allowance/optional claiming runners last time out.  Dougs Buddy looks like he should have the front end all to himself again, but you can be sure Commander will give him pressure once they reach the backstretch the second time.  Last year’s Canadian Derby hero Toccetive completes the field, but he hasn’t been anywhere near his form from last year in his first three starts this season. 


Madeira Park takes on two new shippers in the Madamoiselle on Friday Night


Madeira Parkgot back on track last time out with a big win against allowance/optional claiming runners.  She’ll carry 119 pounds and the burden of the 8/5 morning line favorite role on Friday night in the $50,000 Madamoiselle Handicap.  Madeira Park is a multiple stakes winner at Northlands and the wake up call last time could be just the confidence booster she needed.  She’ll have to take on two Hastings shippers in this spot though, Terlani and Saturday Nite Ride.  Terlani is a stakes winner from Hastings and was most recently second in the Vancouver Sun Handicap, and followed that up with a win against open allowance runners.  Saturday Nite Ride was a Southern California based runner and stopped by Hastings to pick up a quick


Weekend Preview 8/2-8/3


allowance win before heading up to Northlands Park for this race. 


Stakes winners Tempered Sapphire and

Awesome Planreally add to this intriguing field that should be a tremendous race.  The Madamoiselle Handicap is the 7th race on the Friday night card and post time for the race itself is at 9:00pm.  First post time on Friday Night is 6:00pm. 



Simulcast Weekend Action at Northlands Park


Hambletonian Day is Saturday, harness racing’s biggest day!


The Meadowlands in New Jersey will be the center of the harness racing world on Saturday afternoon, as the Hambletonian eliminations and final will be run.  For the first time since 1996, the eliminations and the final will be run on the same card.  Twenty three horses have been split up into three elimination heats, with the top three from each heat advancing to the finals, along with the top money earning fourth place finisher from the three heats.  The three elimination heats are carded as races 7,8, and 9 with the Hambletonian carded as race 12 and featuring a $1,000,000 purse.  Royalty for Life is the 8/5 favorite in the first heat, but drew a tough outside post.  He took the Stanley Dancer earlier on this month and has won two in a row coming into the Hambletonian Day card.  Wheelin N Dealin drew the rail in race 8 and is 2/1 on the morning line, but is lightly raced with only three starts so far this season.  He was last season’s champion 2 year old trotter though, so back class is certainly in his corner.  The third and final heat features Corky and Spider Blue Chip, both of whom have nearly double the earnings of any of their competition in this spot. 


The $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks will go as Race 11 and Bee A Magician will look to continue her perfect campaign, and she’s 2/5 to do so.  She’s 8 for 8 this year with over a half million dollars in earnings and will again have Brian Sears in the bike. 


The Hambletonian Day gets underway at 9:50am local time on Saturday and will also feature the $100,000 Guaranteed Hambletonian Day Pick 4, which will cover races 12 through 15. 


Northlands Selections for the Hambletonian Final (horses must qualify)

  1. Corky
  2. Royalty For Life
  3. Dontyouforgetit

                Longshot: Aperfectyankee


Northlands Selections for the Hambletonian Oaks

  1. Bee a Magician
  2. Frau Blucher
  3. Classic Martine

                Longshot: Mistery Woman


West Virginia Derby heads up huge card at Mountaineer


Mountaineer is known for offering full fields and great night time racing.  Well Saturday is the one afternoon card of the season, and it’s going to be a special one as the Grade 2 $750,000 West Virginia Derby headlines a stakes only card that gets underway at 12:00pm.  Grade 1 winner Overanalyze will look to rebound from two lackluster performances in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont for trainer Todd PletcherRosie Napravnik will get on board for the first time and Overanalyze drew the far outside post and he shortens up to a distance he’s a perfect 2 for 2 at.  He’s going to take lots of money because of his early season success, but he’s going to have to be some up and coming, late blooming three year olds.  Departing is coming off a sixth place finish in the Preakness Stakes, but that was a race where nobody closed at all, and he’s been rock solid in almost any race that he gets a little pace to run into.  Robby Albarado will take over the mount on Departing for the first time.  Another horse to look out for is Betweenhereandcool who just barely was beaten in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby last time out.  He’s become a very solid runner for Steve Asmussen and is still lightly raced enough to expect some continued improvement. 


Northlands Selections for the West Virginia Derby

  1. Betweenhereandcool
  2. Departing
  3. Overanalyze

                Longshot: Ruler of Love


Nine line up for the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes


The Grade 1 action continues at Del Mar on Saturday as nine runners will line up to go in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes.  Defending champ Include Me Out drew the far outside post-position and will look to cement her status as the leader of a wide open division in So. Cal.  Include Me Out won in her seasonal bow last time out at Hollywood Park and should be cranked up for trainer Ron Ellis and jockey Joe TalamoLady of Fifty and Byrama drew the two inside spots and both always seem to have a say in these big races.  Lady of Fifty always seems to make a run and is dependable to be in the trifecta, as she’s done so 12 of 15 starts in her career.  Byrama took the Grade 1 Vanity two starts back and cut back to a sprint in the A Gleam Stakes last time, and was closing late to grab third.   More Chocolate seems to be a step or two behind the top ones in this spot, but she’s trying Del Mar for the first time, and if she takes to the track, she could make some noise at a bit of a price. 


Northlands Selections for the Clement L. Hirsch

  1. Include Me Out
  2. More Chocolate
  3. Byrama

                Longshot: Sisterhood



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