by Jerry Connors
Harrisburg, PA — The Bill Haughton Memorial Final at The Meadowlands on Saturday (July 7) has one easy question attached to it — “Who’s likely to win?” — but also another, tougher question — “What’s the best way to bet the race?”
The most likely winner is, of course, Lis Mara, who has dominated these pacing ranks the last two years. He comes off a 1:47.4 score (after a week off, no less), and probably can make one well-timed move to victory. But is he worth betting to win, with likely 3-10 odds and having lost two of his last three races? Depends on your tolerance of heavy chalk.
Artistic Fella has moved way beyond his (perhaps-unfairly-applied) label of last year as “that 3-year-old at The Meadowlands who can beat less-than-top colts there” by hitting the board in eight of ten starts as a 4-year-old against this very tough crew. He won the other elimination last week.
But in handicapping, if you have Lis Mara making the last move to the top, that may leave Artistic Fella uncovered if he is following Lis Mara early. That seems a risky way to try to cash a $7 Exacta or key a Trifecta. Perhaps the way to bet is to use Artistic Fella underneath with longshots (or if you’re really adventurous and handicap the “trip” the way it is above, leave him out altogether).
J K CU Later raced a giant trip to be second in his elim, second time off Lasix, and if he avoids the shuffle could add some value here. Boulder Creek hasn’t earned $2.9 million without having a nose for the big money races, and man-of-the-hour Tim Tetrick may be hustling him off the gate.
Our pick is Lis Mara, in the low 47’s. But check the board before betting and try to determine where the best value lies.
Editor’s Note: The Haughton Final will be the tenth stop on the USTA’s Cyber Circuit. Be sure to view the race replay moments after the “official” sign is posted. Follow the entire Cyber Circuit by following this link.