The 15-race card at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian day gets under way at 11 35 AM Eastern time. Meadowlands racetrack is located in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It hosts the biggest harness meeting in North America. There is a 10-week thoroughbred campaign in the fall. The long card will end about 4 30 PM and some of the more important races are being carried on network television.
The Hambletonian trot carries a purse of $1,500,000 and is over a mile and is restricted to three year-olds. There are ten trotters going postward. Lucky Chucky is the 5/2 morning line favorite and will be driven (not ridden) by John Campbell, a Hall of Famer. Cassis is the second favorite at 7-2 and will have the services of Tim Tetrick, the young talent who is blossoming into a top class driver. Pilgrims Taj is the 9-2 third choice. The incomparable Mike LaChance, a man of many accomplishments, gets the driving call. The Hambletonian is the tenth race.
The smallest purse on Saturday is $25,000. The biggest purse is $1,500,000. The Hambletonian Oaks, for sophomore girls, is the ninth race and has a $750,000 purse.
The Meadowlands card starts at 11 35 AM Eastern Time. I will be at Maywood Park, a harness track, by 10 30 AM. Chicago is in the Central Zone Time and an hour behind Eastern Time. It will be 9 05 PM Saturday India time. Here is my suggestion. Please go to thebigm.com and click on live racing and follow the prompts and you will be able to see the action. You will enjoy it. Take my word for it.
Let us look at news coming out of Del Mar. Zenyatta will go for her 18th consecutive win in the $300,000 Grade I Clement L Hirsch this afternoon. The Street Cry mare has drawn post five in the six-runner field. She will be seeking her third consecutive win in the 1700-metre Clement Hirsch and incidentally, it will be her (only) third start on Del Mar’s polytrack. Saturday is ‘Zenyatta Day’ at Del Mar and there is a special pint glass set giveaway. The glasses will have the images of Zenyatta and jockey Mike Smith.
The Clement Hirsch is the ninth race and will be at 6 PM Pacific Time. There will be no show wagering in the race. Zenyatta is the 1/5 morning line choice. In show wagering, you get paid if your horse is first, second and third. There is a mandatory five percent payoff on a wager. There are fans who would bet 100,000 to make 5.000. A wager of one million will get you 50,000. The track has to pay out of its pocket. To eliminate that possibility, Del Mar has decided to abandon show betting.
Zenyatta has won 11 Grade I races and the Clement Hirsch provides her the chance to win her twelfth. She has $6,074,580 in earnings and is going after Ouija Board who retired with $6,334,296. NTRA.com will have a live feed and make an attempt to watch it.
Saratoga has the Grade I Whitney Stakes on Saturday. The race carries a $750,000 purse. Six run and Quality Road is the 2/5 favorite and carries 126 pounds in the 1800-metre contest. A Todd Pletcher trainee, Quality Road comes off an impressive win in the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 31. Blame has 121 pounds and was the winner of the Grade I Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs in June. Haynesfield, winner of the Suburban Handicap, is another runner. Musket Man, second in the Metropolitan, takes his chances. Who else is in? Mine That Bird, winless since that shocker in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, tries to resume winning ways. The winner of the Whitney gets a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The Grade I Test Stakes is another high profile event on Saturday at Saratoga. The 1400-metre race has a $250,000 prize. Franny Freud, the early favorite, has been withdrawn because of an injury. It has been reported that Franny Freud suffered a ligament tear in her left front ankle and would be retired. She won eight times from 11 starts and won the Prioress Stakes last time out. The Test stakes is now a wide open affair. Franny Freud’s defection has made more news than the runners.
The West Virginia Derby will be run at Mountaineer Park today. It is a Grade II race over 1800 metres. Concord Point, a Tapit colt, comes off a victory in the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows. There are those who doubt Concord Point’s staying prowess. Exhi, successful in Keeneland’s Coolmore Lexington, is in. The Maria’s Mon Colt is yet to prove himself on dirt. Skipshot, winner of the Swaps Stakes, is in the line up.