Untitled Page


Race Reviews

  • Week Of 10/16 - 10/22
  • SU16
  • MO17
  • TU18
  • WE19
  • TH20
  • FR21
  • SA22
Track Handicapper James Witherite Bio


James Witherite, a lifelong fan and follower of harness racing, has made a career of it since 2006.  Following studies in music composition at Duquesne University and a seven-year stint as the racecaller at Harrah's Philadelphia, he moved his base of operations to Tioga Downs (and its sister track Vernon Downs) in 2014, where he not only is the lead broadcaster, but also the program handicapper and oddsmaker.  When not on the mic or calling the horses to post in a more musical fashion, the 30-year-old Pennsylvania native is an accomplished jazz organist. 



RACE REVIEWS by James Witherite



Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment makes every  effort to post Race Reviews 48 hours before scheduled post time.  

Race Reviews For Friday, October 21, 2016

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 7-3-1-8
H Horse Comment
1 Inspiration View This 6-time winner made an admirable first-over push into a :27.3 third quarter at Philly against stakes company on Sunday. Versatile sort finds welcome relief.
2 War-N-Munn Stakes-placed stalker-closer returns stateside after 2-1/2 months off. Qualified well 16 days ago, but could very well need the race. Watch and assess.
3 Ghost Pine The step down and a more insulated trip can both help this Yonkers invader. Despite traffic, stalking trips two, three, and four back all yielded good staying power.
4 Dune Dude While a solid mid-level contender through the winter meet, he's come up a bit short against easier at Yonkers of late. Will wait for better circumstances.
5 Stay Up Late He's certainly not lacking in terms of raw speed, but has been too far out of contention to be a threat in recent tries. Closer cover is a must; minor option.
6 Alexie Mattosie Despite good showings against just lesser last month, he tailed off badly up the far side in his last after early exertion. That paired with 20 days off gives pause.
7 Clear Vision The richest entrant in the field has simply sparkled from off the pace of late. Should #1, #3, and #6 force a contested pace, things could shape up perfectly. Trainer: Rounding into form.
8 El Bloombito He brushed from the pocket and evaded similar at Philly two back, but could only muster mild gains to pass tired foes since. Underlay potential concerns a touch. Trainer: Has raced well his last few; always liked the big track. Post may hurt.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 1-6-2-7
H Horse Comment
1 Ariana G The Muscle Hill filly has been nothing short of dominant thus far in her career, posting a remarkable 1:51.4 win at Lexington. Simply sensational. Trainer: Came out of races in Lexington great.
2 Broadway Idole While only once a winner in her career, she's demonstrated good staying power on the PASS circuit and on the national scale alike. Draws well; solid minor option.
3 Magic Presto This OSS Gold winner mounted belated gains at triple digits to take third from post 10 in the Peaceful Way. Toronto invader figures to be closer to the action tonight.
4 Voxy After hitting the board in her first two career outings, the best she's been able to muster has been a fourth-place finish. Others present much stronger rallies.
5 Temple Ruins Her 14-1 upset in the International Stallion Stakes came off a cozy stalking trip, but she was three whole seconds slower than Ariana G, who won the other division.
6 Chezatter The daughter of Explosive Matter kept up strong gains through the middle half at Lexington. As solid a presser-stalker as any in this field; logical in exactas. Trainer: She's been good and healthy after Lexington, but faces the divisional leader.
7 Princess Aurora While she reeled off three straight favored wins off strong middle moves, she finds a tougher group in tonight's elimination. This outside draw may hinder as well.
8 Sunshine Delight Despite live cover from Chezatter in Lexington two weeks ago, she came up empty upon cornering. Also, the extreme outside post is bound to keep her too far early.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 1a-5-2-1
H Horse Comment
1 Rock N Blue One of three maidens in the field, yet a colt with demonstrated staying power in Kindergarten events. Could potentially save a minor if close and clear.
1a Mike's Z Tam He sustained steady progress through the last 3f of his first race back from a layoff. Consistently strong closing bids encourage significantly. Trainer: Acting good.
2 The Wall While off the board since his third career start, he's managed minor checks against arguably some of the toughest fields in the division. Relief bound to aid.
3 Hypothetical Wins from textbook pocket and live second-over trips have been against kinder fields than many in this group exit. Be wary of speed-driven underlay potential.
4 Braley Hanover Gait issues and even finishes of late have kept him off the board in minor stakes. Seems a cut below the top group in this field; will need a lot to go his way.
5 Chip Walther The $18k Harrisburg purchase swept to the fore at 41-1 in Lexington a couple weeks ago, posting a :26.1 closing split in the act. Steady improvement a plus. Trainer: This colt has had a summer of bad luck, but seemed to put it together at Lexington. Should be just as good at the Big M.
7 American Schnapps Of nine career starts, his best results--a pair of runner-up finishes--came in Excelsior B events in New York. This group shapes up a good bit heartier.
8 Sounder Hanover He's posed no threat in four recent minor stakes after making steady gains into a slow pace in a local qualifier. Others are better suited to the task at hand.
9 Andy's Ideal While no match behind a fast pace at Lexington last week, he stayed on from the pocket in a local Kindergarten split four back. Post 10 presents a major obstacle.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 6-1-5-3
H Horse Comment
1 Treviso Back-to-back stakes wins at Lexington are no doubt a plus, but they both came from cozy pocket trips. While post relief should keep her sharper late, be mindful of value.
2 Evelyn She was no match twice at Lexington, rallying late to take third well behind Ariana G in the International Stallion. Reynolds division winner needs a lot to go her way tonight.
3 Ice Attraction After two Tioga stakes wins off pocket trips, she brushed early and held sway for a Lexington win off a layoff. She held grittily there; can she control the terms here? Trainer: Races well all the time, has found an extra gear of late. Trained great after Lexington.
4 Feed Your Head She just missed from first-over at Lexington in her last, and she stayed on strongly on a consistent basis in prior assignments. Can leave strongly; good minor option.
5 Hillarmbro After making most of the pace in her last, she was just collared by Treviso. Strong first-over pushes in local Kindergarten splits encourage, especially noting dearth of closers.
6 Thats All Moni The only filly in the field to hit the board in all of her career starts kept up a first-over bid to win two back, and she was a no-match second to Ariana G in the Peaceful Way. Consistency, versatility, and strength all unite. Trainer: Was just OK last start; trained very well going into this race.
7 Cameron Hill While she enters off back-to-back wins, she's been largely overmatched in open stakes company. Others are significantly faster and more battle-tested.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 6-3-7-4
H Horse Comment
1 Major Bubbles N While his last local effort was a respectable one from post 9, he returns to the Big M against tougher following lackluster tries. Waiting for a more suitable spot.
2 David's Dream The only horse to enter this race off a win rises roughly three levels in doing so. Despite a cozy inside draw, he still figures to be outmatched tonight. Trainer: He returned to my barn a few weeks ago, and he's getting better every start. He had an easy win last week at Freehold and he'll be even better on a bigger track.
3 JK Patriot He showed good staying power off prominent trips against similar at the Spa 2 and 3 back, but was no threat for $40k across the river. Back to a suitable spot. Trainer: Dropping in class, expecting good things.
4 Great Soul The 11-year-old veteran reached for his third top-three finish in four tries last week. While he steps up on arrival from Freehold, first-over bids encourage.
5 Our Jerry Lee N Even finishes against just lesser yielded him little at Freehold. He rises on his return to two turns; watch and assess for next time. Trainer: Has been racing poorly. The big track will help.
6 Broadies Song Recent wins at the $12.5k level came from on the lead and off live second-over cover. Pocono $15ks proved too tough; he's back to a winning course and class. Trainer: Had a good week; loves this track.
7 Urbanite Hanover Strong minor option seeks his first win of the year on the drop after staying on for minor shares in $25k events last out and four back. At best when prominent. Trainer: Needs the big track, and Yannick.
8 Card Shock Poor draws have hindered him of late. While he draws outside again, the switch to two turns and drop in class can both aid. Trainer: Has been drawing poorly at Yonkers. Should be good tonight.
9 Alex Bullville While he left well for position in his last local try, traffic trouble compromised his ability to compete. He draws farther out tonight; a live and clear trip is a must.
10 Woodmere Ultimate The 32-time winner rises after mustering an even finish from an easy pocket at Freehold last week. Post 10 is bound to hinder significantly. Trainer: Drew poorly this week. May need the start to re-acclimate to the big track.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 10-6-5-7
H Horse Comment
1 Bettor's Edge While the millionaire seeks a fourth straight win, he's been squaring off against the softest company among these rivals. How much can his back class carry?
2 Art History Like Bettor's Edge, he comes in from mid- to upper-level conditioned events to face open and stakes types I fear he'll be more overmatched than he was 2 and 3 back.
3 Americanprimetime His 1:50.1 win over top 4-year-olds at Yonkers was simply impressive, but he couldn't maintain the pace in his most recent try. In extremely tough tonight.
4 Artistic Major His last two wins came in first-over fashion in 4-year-old events at Yonkers. This 15-time winner could end up the catalyst for a well-contested pace and stay on.
5 Dealt a Winner Sub-:27 last quarters yielded him minor checks in three of his last four top-tier stakes efforts. Capable enough presser-stalker can add value to exotics.
6 Mach It So The runner-up to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Quillen just missed Bit of a Legend N in his most recent try at Yonkers. Tries two turns; company lines are suitably strong.
7 Luck Be Withyou After staying on for third in the Ewart and the Quillen, he was worn down on the lead at Dayton. Strong enough for a minor, but time off due to sickness concerns.
8 Split the House He only labored a little bit in the Red Mile stretch, turning in a 1:46.4 mile behind Always B Miki. Recent sickness gives pause regarding this Oakes trainee, too.
9 Bushwacker Most recent wins came in upper-level Pocono races, but he was a force in Open events here and at Dover this winter. How will he return off a sharp 1:48.3 effort?
10 Always B Miki The fastest pacer in the sport's history boasts 3 wins and 2 runner-up finishes--both to Wiggle It Jiggleit--in his last 5 tries. His success speaks for itself. Trainer: Very happy with him in his last training.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 2-1-6-7
H Horse Comment
1 Katie Said Steady first-over gains through a :26.4 third quarter earned her a runner-up finish to Lady Shadow 3 back. Versatile mare has done more than OK in Open events of late.
2 Solar Sister Her defeat of Lady Shadow in the Artiscape came via steady first-over gains--and from a second-row dispatch! Easily the best proven distaffer in this division. Trainer: Had trouble getting her healthy. Issues should be behind her now; I like her chances.
3 Imagine Dragon While a winner in three of her last four and narrowly missing three back, she's largely faced significantly softer company. That said, she can stay even for a share.
4 Sassa Hanover Like Imagine Dragon, she enters off back-to-back wins via vastly different tactics. She hasn't faced as stout of company as she did at 3; how will this hike affect her?
5 Divine Caroline She used a :26.3 closing sectional to round out the superfecta in the Allerage at Lexington a couple weeks ago. Clearer trip can help her reach a minor share easier.
6 Yagonnakissmeornot Yes, she makes the most pronounce rise of any in the field after a scant nose win at the Spa, but she was a chasing runner-up to Lady Shadow in the Milton three back. Trainer: The mare was sick after her last race. We gave her an easy week hoping she'll be healthy and ready to go. Big track should help her.
7 Frost Damage Blues After steady first-over gains into a fast pace at Lexington, she's worth a second chance for a minor. Closing effort from off cover in the Milton elim encourages.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 1-6-8-4
H Horse Comment
1 Dayson New York standout won two of his last four against stakes company, and stayed even behind Southwind Frank and Marion Marauder in the Colonial. Tough when on task. Trainer: Loves this track; ready to roll.
2 B Yoyo He won both of his races during the September meet, pushing forward off stalled cover in his last. Class hike, stakes contenders present obstacles.
3 Flying Isa N The New Zealand-bred stayed on fairly well with tougher across the river in 2 of 4. He draws favorably, yet faces faster and sharper on the switch to two turns.
4 Aldebaran Eagle While his Lexington wins account for the fastest miles on the page, he was defeated by B Yoyo in both local September appearances. Pace pressure biggest concern.
5 Thats a Bad Boy While he won convincingly in a N5L event at Pocono two back, he's broken stride in three of five. Watch and assess on this switch to two turns.
6 Celebrity Pegasus Front-end and pocket wins of late came against similar competition at Philly. He makes a lateral move; stakes-proven foes, contested pace toughest challenges. Trainer: Has been very sharp of late; has done well here in the past.
7 Ginny Weasley The lone filly in the field drew off convincingly in her Bluegrass division after a similar push clear against N5L types at Pocono. Gait issues concern mildly; mind value. Trainer: She's raced in tough races this year; feels okay after Lexington. She's in with a few good horses this race.
8 Stonebridge Combat He boasts an 80% ITM strike rate, having reeled off 4 straight third-place finishes against upper-level and stakes company. Abundance of inside speed may hinder.
9 Uva Hanover The veteran is fairly well proven at this level, provided he can be on or near the lead. Given a host of potential leavers, he's bound to have to work extra hard.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 2-5-9-1
H Horse Comment
1 Ever Again Pocono wins two and four back were awfully powerful. While he draws far more favorably tonight than in his last, he's been off for a month. Could need the race. Trainer: May be a little short.
2 Spicebomb He returns to action following some late-summer sickness, having posted a respectable Philly qualifier this past Tuesday. Local efforts in July show grit and raw speed alike.
3 Skip Jive While able to control the terms for Vernon wins two and three back, this is quite the step up for the 6-time winner. It may be asking too much; watch and assess for later.
4 Sapient Hanover Excuse his Philly line from Sunday, as he was caught in traffic after early exertion and shuffled out of contention. A clearer journey is bound to aid; minor consideration.
5 All Down the Line This N3L winner at Pocono just missed from the pocket against slightly tougher across the river on Monday. Fitness no concern; midpack draw suits just fine. Trainer: Nice horse, trained very well, been racing well on 1/2 and 5/8, should improve on the mile.
6 I'm Some Graduate After 2-1/2 months off, this 5-time winner raced respectably despite inability to threaten on Sunday. He figures to be sharper, and circumstances likely better.
7 Misty On the Beach He's consistently earned checks in N5L events at Philly, but he's also been out of action for nearly three weeks. Can he work out an ideally cozy stalking trip?
8 Its Just Too Much While he drops from N6L events across the river, his even finishes from rearward trips have yielded little. Outside draw does no favors; assess for next time.
9 Concur Deep closing bids two, four, and five back encourage a great deal. If he can avoid first-over on this step down, he's proven he can add value to exotics from off a helmet.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 2-3-7-5
H Horse Comment
1 Muscles On Fire Prior to a lackluster effort in the Simpson at Philly, he posed no threat against N2L types at Yonkers. Despite post relief, I'm inclined to watch for improvement. Trainer: Raced much better last start. Should be OK in this group.
1a Labatt Hanover Like his entrymate, he wasn't a threat in the Simpson, but he rallied well out of traffic for a win two back. He stayed on OK locally on 9/16; mild leaving ability can aid. Trainer: Tough field last start; bigger track should improve him.
2 Trot Commander Changes in circumstances abound for this 6-time winner: he cuts back to a mile, draws more favorably, and steps down in class. He wired N4L foes four back; capable.
3 Twill Be Done The raw speed edge goes to this filly by way of good stakes efforts early in the summer. She closed mildly for minor stakes placings in her last two; drops here. Trainer: PA stakes are over for the year; this is her first time on the mile track. Consistent filly; if she matches up OK, she'll give you what she has.
4 I Luv Blackhawkred While she passed tired foes for a minor check in the Simpson last week, she's lacked late in Rosecroft lines. Others have shown much better staying power of late.
5 Luv at First Site Pocket trips in Green Acres races have worked well for him, but he broke in his last and lost all chance. Can the switch to two turns make for a cleaner start?
6 Asta La Pasta While not impressive in terms of raw speed, he did show strong fight from first-over in his N3L win at Philly. He'll still need to step up his game to reach stakes rivals here.
7 Rock the Bones I'm inclined to forgive his effort in the Simpson, noting an extended wide push from post 8. He draws no better here, but it seems gait issues are alleviated. Mind value.
8 Stick of Butter She seemed to peak in June on the New York Sire Stakes circuit, but has since been plagued with gait issues and lackluster finishes. Can share, but volatile of late.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 4-2-5-1
H Horse Comment
1 Venus Delight One of two millionaires in the field, she rebounded well from a failed post-10 effort in the Milton with a mild close to take third in the Allerage. Post relief should aid.
2 Bedroomconfessions Her sustained bids from well off the pace in the Allerage and Milton make her a true threat should a pressured pace ensue. Extremely logical choice for exotics. Trainer: Great effort to be second in her last start. She's been very consistent this season, and another similar effort puts her close.
3 Devil Child Outside posts have been her greatest obstacle in recent Open events across the river. She figures to be closer to the pace tonight, and she stays on better than most.
4 Lady Shadow The 1-1/8-mile world record holder has been simply dominant this season, although she gave way under pressure at Lexington. Every chance to rebound here. Trainer: Trained well Tuesday. Clearly wasn't herself in latest. Made changes to training and daily routine; looking for a bounce-back effort.
5 Regil Elektra Staying power from the pocket and a steady close off cover have done her well in Yonkers Opens. She rises amid good form; versatility a definite plus. Minor option.
6 Bettor Be Steppin Others seem far better suited, noting class hike and a winless season. Assess Imagine Dragon--whom this mare lunged after at Lexington--in race 7.
7 Skippin By This mare has primarily been campaigning in the Midwest, but she passed the tired for a small share in the Allerage. Live cover could well be her key to the final.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 1-1a-5-4
H Horse Comment
1 Planet Rock Strong New York Sire Stakes contender faded after exertion in the final, but fared well on the non-half-mile ovals. Can control the pace or press alike; strong as they come. Trainer: Benefits from the big track. Last start at Red Mile was very good.
1a Robin J She labored mildly at Lexington after clearing and yielding, but still held third in that stakes event. Consistent stayer in NYSS; this Jacobs one-two punch is awfully tough. Trainer: Just a nice filly. Been very consistent all year.
2 Sky Fulla Star She only mustered mild gains from far back in the International Stallion, yet closer trips 2 and 3 back yielded better at long odds. Could share, but needs a lot to fall her way.
2a Lady of Heaven One of three maidens in the field, she managed minor checks on the NY Sire Stakes circuit with regularity. That said, others in this group seem sharper right now.
3 Gypsy Rose She steps up markedly from Freehold maiden events. I'm inclined to watch for improvement, considering lackluster stakes tries at Tioga and the break in her last.
4 No Chaser Her push clear out of the pocket at Lexington impressed, but she's been out of action since. She seems to be sharpening up of late; cozy inside draw can aid.
5 World Apart Her closing splits have been among the strongest in the field, staying on well from pressing and stalking bids at Lexington. She held her own in NYSS races; could reach. Trainer: Raced well twice in Lexington. Should get a good trip; likes to race off cover.
6 Bullvillestephanie While this filly has enjoyed good form of late, she's done so against Excelsior-level fields. This step up into stouter stakes company is asking a lot.
7 Chillin It de Vie The second-time starter recovered well from a break to just miss in her debut. There's potential, no doubt, but she faces some rather tough competition. Watch; assess.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 8-4-10-3
H Horse Comment
1 Miss Defiance This mare has failed to earn a check in each of her last five races, most recently unable to convert a first-over push against similar at Philly. Others more consistent.
2 Exotic Beach She returns to action off a brief layoff, but only mustered mild staying power against slightly tougher at Yonkers in September. Draws well, but may need this one.
3 Bullville Maggie She's been OK on three-turn miles of late, earning minor checks in four of five at Pocono and Tioga. Draws favorably, seems fit. Minor option.
4 Mercedes Lorene This filly closed well from far off the pace at Philly last week, doing so after two months off. She has every chance to be sharper yet on this mild step down.
5 Bettor Out West While she passed horses late at Philly last week, she was outkicked for second from farther back as Virgin Mary drew off easily. Dependent on an ideal trip for a minor.
6 Macy Blue Chip N While last a quarter from home at Yonkers last week, she benefitted greatly from a live third-over trip. I'd like to see what adversity she can overcome.
7 Jarnac That break at Freehold concerns, but she stayed on well in her last local try after chasing live three-wide cover off the far turn. Value play in exotics with best.
8 Sunnynseventyfive Excuse her last effort at Philly, as she was forced to chase Sail the Beach's blistering pace and tired badly. She's back to a winning course and level tonight. Trainer: She's reunited with Tetrick. That's bound to help her finish better. In great shape.
9 Out West Somewhere This 5-time winner drops to a winning level as well, having wired similar at Philly five back. This outside draw is the greatest concern, given only mild staying power.
10 Royal Knockout She draws worst of any in this group, but she drops down and shows respectable staying power against those recent mid-level fields. Every chance to play a part. Trainer: If she can get involved in the race, she can win.