Day At The Track

Ice Scraper is apropo favorite at Balmoral Park

05:15 AM 16 Nov 2014 NZDT
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Ice Scraper, harness racing
Ice Scraper in action
David Baum Photo

With last week’s Invite winner Let’s Drink On It racing tonight in a Breeders Crown 3-year-old pace elimination, the ICF speedball Ice Scraper will assume the favorite role in the $15,000 Invitational at Balmoral Park tonight.

It’s not very often we have an Invite that isn’t handicapped by the circuit’s Race Office, at least by groups, but that’s the case in the sixth race headliner. However the 5-2 program favorite did manage to land the outside slot in an 8-horse field.

Brian Carpenter took over the lines on the 5-year-old Mike Brown trainee back in mid-September and Ice Scraper has won twice in 5 starts with the veteran Indiana native, and both times under 1:49 for his Connecticut owner James Behrendt.

On September 27 in a conditioned pace Ice Scraper got down to the three-quarter pole in a sizzling 1:20 flat and carried his speed to the finish wire with a lifetime best 1:48.3 clocking, more than a half-dozen lengths the best..

Two starts alter on October 25 in a high-end conditioned pace Ice Scraper led at every pole, cutting fractions of :26, :53.4, 1:21.2 and coming home in :27.1 for a 1:48.4 victory.

In between those starts Ice Scraper was second best to Al’s Hammered (racing tonight at The Meadowlands for his new barn), clocked in 1:49.4. Last week the Yankee Skyscraper gelding gave way in the late going only to Let’s Drink On It at the end of a 1:50.1 on a chilly evening in the mid-30s.

  “Ice Scraper got beat by a very good horse last week and while I don’t want to make excuses for him, the horse wasn’t on his game last Saturday even though it was a fast mile for a cold night,” said Carpenter.

“Last week was the first time since I’ve been driving him that he never once was on the bit. When he’s at the top of his game I don’t think it makes much difference to him if he gets down the half in 55 or in 53. The horse likes to go out here and roll. All you have to do his put is head on the gate  and he’s off.”

With Al’s Hammered recently sold and now racing out east the last two Invites have taken on a completely different look.

“I though last week’s Invite field was a well-balanced field, making it good race for bettors. This week field looks very competitive, too,” added Brian.

Ice Scraper likely will have to work hard to get command tonight. Time To Roll (7-2, Dale Hiteman), Kanaris (5-1, Dave Magee) and Best Man Hanover (0-2, Todd Warren) all do their best racing up-close.

Fort Silky (10-1, Casey Leonard) is another who can leave the gate in a hurry hen asked. The 2014 Illinois Aged Pacer of the Year has been ducked in his last two starts and finished fifth and sixth, respectively in those starts.

Fort Silky’s stable-mate In Over my Head (8-1, Kyle Wilfong) can uncork at wicked last panel at times and should be charging late along with Ice Scraper’s entry-mate Lennox Blue Chip (Ridge Warren) and the Mike Brink Stable’s 8-1 longshot Fiveknuckleshuffle (Bobby Smolin) who was given the rail a week ago but has the 6-slot tonight.

Also on the Saturday card is the $10,000 Betzotic for ICF 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings and a pair of $11,000 “Winner’s Over” events, one for filly and mare pacers and the other trotters,

The Roger Welch Stable’s Earndawg (Todd Warren) looks like an absolutely “lock” in the first race (No Show Wagering) $10,000 stake against 6 foes. The multi-stake champion with a first season bankroll of nearly $215,000 is 2-5 in the morning line and 1-9 in my line.

Welch also has the favorite in the five-horse fifth race filly and mare co-feature. Always About Katey (Todd Warren) is at 7-5 first flash odds trying to shed her bridesmaid role that now encompasses her last four starts,

Evil Urges (5-2 in my line, Matt Kruger) and Celebrity Hercules (2-1, Casey Leonard) with over a combined $950,000 in career earnings between them, head-up the seventh race “Winner’s Over: Trot.

Justice Jet, another Welch trainee driven by his son Ryan, is my 4-1 third choice. The Indiana bred has a $316,319 bankroll in only two seasons of racing and does possess current sharpness.

by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

  

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