Grand Circuit Challenge: Dan Patch 2016 Handicapping

Week Two of the 2016 Grand Circuit Challenge features the 23rd running of the Dan Patch Stakes, featuring harness racing’s “Big Three” or is it “Big Four” now after last weekend’s US Pacing Championship? If you’re still trying to figure out who to pick, handicappers from the Horseplayers Association of North America share their advice.

Rusty Nash’s Selections

Dan Patch Pick to Win: WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT

Hoosier Park has assembled a wonderful field for this year’s edition of their classic.  We again find the trio Of WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT, FREAKY FEET PETE AND ALWAYS B MIKI. After the US Pacing Championship last week SHAMBALLA has joined in to make it a foursome.

Last week SHAMBALLA had a little bit of help. He is very likely to receive some of the same help this evening. He is a top contender.

ALWAYS B MIKI draws the far outside. After tiring last week and missing the trifecta it may be time to look elsewhere on the top of the ticket. You still have to admire what this horse did in the last few weeks and keep him in your exotics.

FREAKY FEET PETE returns home and draws well. I suspect the locals will give him a little more action than he deserves.  He certainly could trip out but all things being equal I have never believed that he was better than WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT or ALWAYS B MIKI. It is real close but those two are very special.

WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT battled early last week and then came again at the end of the mile when he was clear. He gets the slightest of calls here given a three length projection advantage off of my worksheet. Team Teague is certainly a great squad to root for. With all the horse’s success, George Teague’s greatest training job would appear to be sitting in the sulky and not between the shafts. WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT is my rooting and HAHA selection.

From a live action perspective I am very intrigued with MEL MARA. This guy has danced many of the big dances this season and acquitted himself quite well. He is second back off of a sick scratch where he raced very strong in his return. That looks like a perfect prep for him to step up in this spot. His win prior to getting sick threw a huge figure. That Philly performance would be very tough to beat here. He does not need the front and if SHAMBALLA got the trip last week, perhaps MEL MARA can get the trip this week. He is a must use value number in any of your exotics. I plan to use him in all my exotics.

Given this draw, it should be one of the best races of the season so far.  Good luck to us all!

Don’t forget to make your pick here by 7pm tomorrow, Friday August 12, 2016 to be eligible for this week’s prizes!


Sally Hinckley’s Selections

Dan Patch Pick to Win: WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT

WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT is the horse that won the draw and so the edge over the other two thirds of the big trio. Expect tremendous bids from FREAKY FEET PETE and ALWAYS B MIKI. It’s a nifty box, but I am going to key WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT on top.


Bryan Owen’s Selections

Dan Patch Pick to Win: Mel Mara

I like a live long shot in MEL MARA. He was closing like a freight train in his last and after the tough trips many of the others in the race had last weekend, I think he’s got a good shot at what should be a very nice price.

Jay Hochstetler’s Selections

Dan Patch Pick to Win: ALWAYS B MIKI

Toss out the last race with the layoff and being on the front end where no one wanted to be that day at the Meadowlands. He should be sharp this week.

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