Day At The Track

"Mid-term" reports on trotting divisional leaders

02:38 AM 13 Aug 2013 NZST
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Royalty For Life, harness racing Bee A Magician, harness racing Sevruga, harness racing Maven, harness racing
Royalty For Life heads trotting colt mid-term report
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Bee A Magician heads the Mid-Term report in her division
Sevruga beat out Market Share in the Mid-Term Report
Maven was ranked top in her class in the Mid-Term Report
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Stakes racing-wise, we're around the halfway point of the 2013 harness racing season. We've also just transitioned from the "Meadowlands season"
to the "post-Meadowlands season."

Here's one man's assessment of where the various trotting divisions stand. Where cited, speed marks, starts, 1-2-3 finishes and earnings are for this
year only. Rankings are strictly for 3-year-olds and older. We'll let the frosh guys and gals sort themselves out some more before ranking them. They're still in diapers this time of year!

Okay, with the Hambletonian still fresh in everyone's mind, we'll start with the 3-year-old trotting colts ...

Three-Year-Old Trotting Colts (and geldings)

Royalty For Life 3, Q1:51.3 ($694,850); 7 starts, 4 wins, one second, no thirds

Finally, the 3-year-old trotting colts have a pro tem leader. Ross, Campbell Jr. & Fontaine's Royalty For Life, by virtue of impressive wins in his elimination, and the $1 million final, of the Aug. 3 Hambletonian at the Meadowlands, moves to the head of this class.

There are other good colts here, including the Corky, who won the rich Beal Memorial at Pocono Downs in June, the two other Hambo elimination winners, Spider Blue Chip and Creatine, the early season standout Smilin' Eli, and Yonkers Trot winner Dewycolorintheline. But it's Royalty For Life, who also won last month's Stanley Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands, who currently rules the roost.

In all honesty, last year, the "leaderless" situation going into the Hambletonian was similar. Eventual division champ Market Share, who similarly won the Hambo, went into the big race as a contender, but wasn't yet the star he became with his very successful second half of the season. In fact, Market Share wasn't the betting favorite in the 2012 Hambo (that was Uncle Peter), nor even the second-choice (Knows Nothing).

In keeping with the 3-year-old trotters, here is the top female ...

3-Year-old Trotting Fillies

Bee A Magician 3, 1:51 ($845,956); 10 starts, 10 wins

What can't she do? Bee A Magician, owned by Hartman, Liverman & McDuffee, may well be the best 3-year-old trotter in all the land, of either sex. But
her connections, to this point, have elected not to take on the colts. She won the Hambletonian Oaks two Saturdays ago, and is still undefeated this
year, though she just narrowly won this past Saturday's Ontario Sire Stake event at Mohawk. Maybe she was racing with a post-Oaks hangover?

Those colts mentioned earlier, with the exception of Royalty For Life, who has a 1:51.3 qualifying record this year and a 1:52 race record, all seem
to have a "speed limit" of 1:52 and change, or even 1:53 (the Hambo final was clocked in a pedestrian 1:52.1). Bee A Magician, on the other hand (or
hoof), won the Oaks in 1:51.4, and also won last month's Del Miller Memorial at the Meadowlands in an even faster 1:51.

So she seems to be about five lengths faster, in theory anyway, than the colts. Does that mean she's better, and can beat them? We'd sure like to
find out, but it appears we'll just have to speculate right now, and see how the rest of the year plays out.

And for the older, free-for-all trotters ...

Older Trotting Horses (and geldings)

Sevruga 1:50.3 ($410,275); 16 starts, 9-4-2

Going into the Aug. 3 John Cashman Jr. Memorial, raced on the Hambo Day undercard, tops in this division seemed to the the streaking 2012
Hambletonan winner, Market Share. He's come back well this year, entered the Cashman (a race formerly known as the Nat Ray) 3-for 3 in '13, and was fresh off a win in the rich Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk in Toronto.

But the odds-on Market Share uncharacteristically finished fifth in the Cashman, and we lean, for now at least, in the direction of Sevruga, who won the Cashman in 1:50.4, and who also shows a win in the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial in May. Sevruga is owned by Howard Schneidler's KDM Stable Corp.

Head-to-head, Sevruga and Market Share have raced each other twice, and have each one once. Yet a third top FFA trotter in the picture is Wishing
Stone, who won the rich Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia in May. Uncle Peter (yes, last year's Hambo favorite) and Guccio (second in last
year's Hambo), are also in the picture. So is Mister Herbie, last year's Maple Leaf winner and second in the Cashman.

Finally, in the trotting category, are the FFA mares ...

Older Trotting Mares

Maven 1:52 ($203,370); 7 starts, 5-1-0

There isn't much out there exclusively for older trotting mares to race for, but the biggest prize offered in this division thus far in 2013, the Armbro Flight (Memorial? All these races we've been mentioning seem to be named for famous deceased horsemen. Well, Armbro Flight is deceased, too), raced at Mohawk in June. She's owned by William Donovan.

Maven, last year's Breeders Crown 3-year-old filly trot champ, has lost but twice this season, and they do happen to be her last two starts, but she's
won twice as much money as any other older trotting mare, so far. She was upset by her own barn mate, D'Orsay, in the Ima Lula (might as well call it
Memorial, too) on Hambletonian Day, as the crowd's favorite.

Last year's champion 3-year-old filly, Check It Out, is racing, but has yet to win this season. Another nice mare in this division is 2012's Hambletonian Oaks winner, Personal Style.

All in all, it looks like a good year for the trotters in all their various divisions, although if pressed for a Horse of the Year right now, it would be the pacer Captaintreacherous. But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. The Captain, as well as the other top pacers, will be covered separately.

By Pete Lawrence
 

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