The Guru handicaps the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks
Fearless prognostication from our all-seeing, all-knowing mystic.
by Ron Gurfein
8th Race Hambletonian Elimination #1
GIMPANZEE — Undefeated colt finds himself in, by far, the weaker of the two divisions, with only his stablemate to beat. I always questioned his real speed so I wouldn’t go crazy at 3-5. Melander has done exactly as I did in 1996, kept Brian Sears for the eliminations on both horses.
GREEN MANALISHI — Wouldn’t surprise me to see him overhaul his partner in this field. He has definitely shown me more actual speed and has raced much better competition.
SOUL STRONG — Comes into this race with two bang up races with new driver Dexter Dunn.
SWANDRE THE GIANT — Would have picked him higher if the loss of Lasix wasn’t a factor. He followed the winner in the Reynolds and was beaten by 5 3⁄4 .
SUMMIT IN SITE — Although not worthy of consideration based on recent races, the connections are not the type to throw money away. The Millers obviously see something I don’t and I respect that and place him with the last seat in the final.
CANTAB FASHION — Just never got back to his 2-year-old form.
MR VICTOR — Took money in the Reynolds but made a break. Was 32-1 against Gimpanzee from an inside post at Tioga, and lost by four with a two-hole journey.
OSTERC —Way too erratic, cannot recommend.
9th Race Hambletonian Elimination #2
GREENSHOE — There are few words to describe how much I loved this colt since his first baby race. He will dominate this group. The big mile by Don’t Let’Em will make this colt 3-5 instead of 1-9.
PILOT DISCRETION — His two recent losses after winning his first six were both good performances. He should have been a much more realistic price on the morning line. I don’t think he can win but should hit the board.
DON’T LET’EM — Miracle Mile in last outing. If the good boy shows up he will make the race interesting. Trouble is, that the bad boy shows up too often.
MARSEILLE — In top form, but in a field like this the post can hurt him. He is the only colt to defeat Greenshoe, but the circumstances of that event will not resurface here.
FORBIDDEN TRADE — I wish this colt had a start over the Meadowlands prior to the Hambletonian. The colt has a lot of talent and his connections are not the type to make an appearance unless they thought they belonged. He could be closer than where I placed him.
REIGN OF HONOR — Really surprised Nifty entered this colt and not Chin Chin Hall who seems to be getting on the right track at the right time. This colt is just looking for a check and may get lucky.
SUPER SCHISSEL — Love the connections, but the colt just doesn’t have the speed to trot with these.
GERRY — With all the power in the Melander barn and three legitimate contenders, why is he here? Maybe the top Swedish driver can perform a miracle. Good luck.
Race 11 Hambletonian Oaks 94 FINAL
WHEN DOVESCRY — I loved this filly all last year and kept her on my Road To The Hambletonian for about eight weeks. I never lost hope while she was playing practice at the Downs in Pocono. Now in against some great fillies I still give her the nod. She was awesome last week and will only be better off that effort.
EVIDENT BEAUTY — Last start was a beaut. No shame in losing to an undefeated filly. There will be more action in this race which will set up the come from behind style she is comfortable with. Could easily win it all.
MILLIES POSSESSION — Fabulous filly, hard to pick against but this won’t be the walk in the park she is used to. Showed amazing guts holding off Evident Beauty last week. If they can beat her this would be the spot. Congratulations to Jules Siegel for breeding this great filly.
SOUTHWIND CASHA — John Bax didn’t come across the border for nothing, the consistent Cantab Hall filly gets the fourth check.
QUEEN OF TRIX — Filly’s last two were great. McCarthy finds a way to get her in position to get fifth money.
SONNET GRACE — Never returned to her great 2-year-old form. Top connections have been known to surprise.
SWEET CHAPTER — Simply not fast enough.
ASIAGO — Off form, but Tetrick on a tear, usable long shot.
PRINCESS DEO — Needed an inside post. Not from here.
MISS TRIXTON — Would merit more consideration if she was as fast as her dam.
Race 12 Hambletonian 94 FINAL
GREENSHOE WINS THE FINAL. I would predict a track, stakes, and world record, however the forecast as of this writing is for rain, so we will wait for the Kentucky Futurity.
PILOT DISCRETION — Will be second, although no threat to the winner.
GIMPANZEE — I select for third only because he is an unknown as to the speed factor being undefeated. He could surprise me and win or he could finish back, I really don’t have a handle on his ability against real horses.
DON’T LET’EM — If the horse from last week shows up he will better my prediction, but with this fellow no one knows.
GREEN MANALISHI — Gets the final big check. 6-10 each get one per cent. Great day for “Baby Trainer” Marcus Melander.