Racing at Hollywood Casino at the Meadows rolls on through the month of November with a Wednesday-Friday schedule with a first post time of 12:45 pm daily. The only exception to the schedule is a dark day on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 23rd. However, racing will resume with a bang on Friday, November 24th as nine handicappers from across the racing industry will be squaring off in a special celebrity handicapping contest. The handicapping contestants will be Garnet Barnsdale, Al Cimaglia, Ray Cotolo, Derek Giwner, Bri Mott, Kevin Plowcha, Gabe Prewitt, Mike Pribozia, and myself. There will be a $2,000 “purse” for the contest and fans can follow along all day long on the Black Friday racing card, as each handicapper will have to “bet” 10 races with their mythical bankroll.
I look forward to participating in this handicapping challenge and will be trying my best to secure as much of a donation as possible for my charity, the Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program (PHSAP). The PHSAP is an organization with a base of operations in Oxford, New York that helps retired Standardbreds to find a second career after racing. I’ve pledged my support to the PHSAP in previous, similar charity handicapping contests and I certainly look forward to supporting them again.
As for this week at the Meadows, racing will get underway with a strong opener on Wednesday, November 15th as six top-level trotters will go to the gate for this week’s Open Handicap Trot. #2 SWAN LEGACY comes into the race off of a 40-1 upset last week in the Open and does draw better than the Post 8 he has last time around. #1 JEFFERY P was sent off as the 8-5 favorite in last week’s Open, but wasn’t able to offer enough in the late stages to get it done. He does now get some major post relief in his third start off of an extended layoff, but he likely will be a bit shorter of a price than he should be. As a result, I’ll try his stablemate in the Burke Brigade, #6 TEQUILA TALKIN. TEQUILA TALKIN has been racing well the past two weeks in Opens out at Northfield from very tough Post 8 spots. He gets assigned the outside post here, but has plenty of early gate speed to secure a good spot early. He’ll hopefully be the better of the two prices of the Burke horses and most importantly, will hopefully be in the winner’s circle after the race to get our week off to a good start.
Speaking of Meadows leading trainer Ron Burke, kudos to him and his owners for donating several breeding opportunities for next season to be auctioned off online in order to help the people of Tioga downs after the tragedy they’ve gone through in the last week. While it will take a long time for Tioga Downs to heal from this tragedy, it has been fantastic to see the actions and response of the industry to step up and help out a fellow track during a serious time of need.
As for the Thursday, November 16th card, a horse that I’ll be keying in on for the day is MARLOE HANOVER in the eighth race. She’s won three of her last four tries against Open types in the Midwest and has some strong Stakes class, including from the Breeders Crown, where she made the Final. MARLOE HANOVER won well last time out from Post 9 at Dayton and draws much better for this try tonight. While I’ll be keying MARLOE HANOVER out of this week’s Filly and Mare Open Pace, the race promises to be an exciting one as the seven horses in the field have combined for 54 wins already on the 2023 season.