By Melissa Keith, for NAHUpicks.com
BEST BET – (1) DAY DELIGHT – R9
SPOT PLAY – (3) LOVEMYROCKINBIRD – R5
Pick 5 (R6-10): 5,7,9/2,3,7/2,9/1,3/1,3,9 = $21.60
Early Pick 4 (R2-5): 1,3,6/1,3,5/1,6/1-3,5 = $14.40
Middle Pick 4 (R4-7): 1,6/1-3,5/5,9/1-3,7 = $12.80
Late Pick 4 (R7-10): 2,3,7/2,9/1,3/1,3,9 = $7.20
(1) HUNTING ANGELS lands best Rideau post for pacers last meet (19.4% winners), for top conditioner Mandy Archer and driver Guy Gagnon; dropped back badly April 8, 2022 at Harrah’s Philly–his most recent pari-mutuel start; not gaining on leaders in slowest of the Rideau pacing qualifiers on March 22–finished third because Diehl slowed late.
(5) MIDNIGHT MATTY made 2023 pari-mutuel debut March 16 at Mohawk; spotted rivals 2 lengths at start; caught field; lost ground in three-wide bid down stretch; scratched March 25 at Flamboro (card was canceled–high winds); already a winner of two Rideau qualifiers for Clarke Steacy; late speed.
(9) CATCH THE SPARK is back in line to Jimmy Gagnon, for whom he had best 2022 results here; three March Rideau qualifiers were tighteners for seasonal debut; second tier produced just 9.2% winners at this track last year.
(3) ROSE RUN YOLAE never missed a cheque last year at Rideau Carleton; consistent closer came home in field’s-fastest 30.1 last quarter in March 15 qualifier for Ted MacDonald.
(6) MAJOR MOTION looks like Guy Gagnon’s choice this race; Kathy McBride was 12/1 winner from Rideau trailing post December 18; gradually hunted down pacesetting Ritchie Alpha, who broke at top of the stretch; disappointing March qualifiers were for different driver.
(1) PARTY VIBES closed well in fourth-quickest of this track’s March 22 qualifiers, pacing identical field’s-fastest (29 flat) final quarter as winner Speaker Nancy; back-to-back May 2022 victories here, both on front end with Guy Gagnon in the sulky; debut for Pascal Berube.
(3) ROCKNROLL NATION assembled a three-race Rideau win streak last October, with Guy Gagnon driving in 2 of the 3 victories; no gate speed on display; capitalized on tiring leaders in all three.
(7) OHBABYWEFOUNDLOVE made just three pari-mutuel starts last year; qualified twice here in March for Antonio Vecchio, a driver who was also qualifying; a two-time winner here in 2021, edging out good mares for perfectly-timed victories; adds Pascal Berube.
(1) LACHLANONTHE BEACH wired five rivals (all pacers) in the second-quickest of six March 29 Rideau qualifiers; led by open lengths throughout mile; pari-mutuel comeback with winning driver Jimmy Gagnon aboard–they had four wins here in 2022, despite breaking issues.
(3) SPEAK OF WAR’s two wins here last year were over other 2-year-olds; a going-away front-end winner in his March 22 Rideau qualifier for Guy Gagnon; field’s-co-fastest (29.3) closing quarter.
(5) FULL SPEED STEVE drew tough posts at half-mile Flamboro in all three March starts; gapping last from trailing post there March 23; now reunited with Stephane Brosseau at home track; broke maiden November 24, from rail in gate-to-wire style for tonight’s driver.
(2) GRITTY broke maiden from same post here July 24; front-end-loving gelding finished third of five pacers in March 1 qualifier here (#5 NOBLE ED was fifth in that Q mile); battled Shotgun Jerry for lead, backing down late; first start at age 3.
(1) BATTLE WITH DESIRE’s only 2022 win was from Rideau Carleton post #7 (no scratches) in October 2 lifetime-best, off-the-pace effort for Stephane Brosseau; subsequent class jump did not help chances; drops in from Mohawk after closing through late traffic March 16.
(6) SPORTS ICON looks like Guy Gagnon’s choice this race; pocket ride in winning March 22 Rideau qualifier, beating three trotters in third-slowest of eight qualifiers; a winner from post #7 (no scratches) for GG here May 12, over mares.
(4) SHADOW MARGEAUX: both 2022 victories were from off the pace at this track, in line to Ryan Guy, in March and June; 12-year-old was victim of post position in latest at Flamboro; high-speed class-dropper isn’t showing best form right now.
(8) JON SNOW showed gate speed from mid-pack December 18, soon opting for pocket ride behind Nelsoneddy Hanover; outsprinted for place; joins forces again with Pascal Berube; overmatched in two March qualifiers here with driver Antonio Vecchia.
(3) LOVEMYROCKINBIRD makes an Ottawa appearance after March 20’s front-end victory at Western Fair; beaten by a neck by NATIONAL DEBT in 2022 Rideau debut, he went on to win two Rideau Preferred Handicaps last March; stung THE LIGHT SPEED here December 11, on class hike; strong current form.
(5) NATIONAL DEBT gets perfect post for his hard-charging style; returning to Rideau Carleton after off-the-pace 6/1 upset at Mohawk on February 27…from post #9; back-to-back Preferred (Handicap) wins here last February, from post #6 for Pascal Berube.
(1) BEST HONEY HANOVER arrives from Mohawk following strong performances against mares, most recently on March 24; she got away second-last, but closed wide for place in field’s-co-fastest 27.2.
(2) THE LIGHT SPEED makes 2023 pari-mutuel debut; closed for place behind Major Hill in April 3, 2022 Rideau Preferred; front-end winner in back-to-back Rideau tighteners.
(5) HES GOT A VENDETTA’s last win was November 20 at Rideau Carleton; prevailed from rail in two-move battle with Day Delight; subsequent class jump and outside posts didn’t agree with him; back after impossible March 23 trip at Flamboro; post/class relief.
(9) SHADOW WARRIOR starts from second tier; recent claim makes second start for Mandy Archer; fast-closing runner-up from outside post at Mohawk March 16, in the fastest individually-timed mile of his career.
(7) PERPETUAL ROCK’s four 2022 wins were all at Mohawk; second in second-fastest of six March 29 qualifiers here; field’s-quickest (29.4) closing quarter; class-dropping Yves Tessier trainee looks like Pascal Berube’s choice over class-climbing stablemate
(4) BS TYRRIFIC, who led early and closed late for narrow place finish in slowest of six March 29 qualifiers here, also for Berube.
(1) WOO SHARK won by open lengths in March 15 Rideau Carleton qualifier, for driver Antonio Vecchio; Jimmy Gagnon catch drives frequent runner-up who had two Rideau wins last year for different drivers, at lower classifications; rounds out Hi-5.
(3) ALWAYSYOURWAY was a gate-to-wire, going-away Rideau Carleton winner from same post on December 4; regular driver Samuel Fillion remains at Mohawk; Pascal Berube catch drives in gelding’s 2023 comeback following unremarkable March 22 qualifier.
(7) BIG PETES STYLE won just twice in 2022; post doesn’t help in 2023 pari-mutuel return of Guy Gagnon trainee; could surprise: front-end qualifying victories from better posts last month.
(2) TWOMACSONEMACH has occasionally upstaged Ottawa rivals for Drew Smyth, most recently on December 11, overtaking pacesetter ALWAYSYOURWAY from along the inside at odds of 45/1.
(1) TAHUYA BREW finished off the board as beaten 8/5 fave at Western Fair March 20; trailed throughout mile; occasionally rough-gaited; closed in field’s-fastest (30 flat) final quarter in fourth-quickest of six March 29 Rideau qualifiers; Jimmy Gagnon stays aboard.
(9) ROCK N ZEUS is winless since his 18/1 upset here October 30; first-over move carried him past Ys Mathis and pocket-sitting Montysgonemarble in deep stretch; Robert Robinson’s apparent pick over the #4 and #8 this race, despite trailing post.
(2) MONTYSGONEMARBLE won but ended up disqualified at December 18 at Rideau Carleton; stalked Sporty Deal from pocket, interfering with two horses on final turn; class drop on return from March 23 show finish at Flamboro.
(8) KWIK TALKIN lands statistically-worst post for Ottawa pacers (just 4.8% winners last meet); strong front-end winner in fourth-quickest of six March 29 qualifiers here; class drop from Flamboro.
(3) PANTHEON SEELSTER gets driver upgrade and returns to Lasix program; 2023 pari-mutuel debut.
(1) DAY DELIGHT’s eye-catching victory margins in both March qualifiers at this track suggest Vic Puddy’s class-dropper is ready for 2023 homecoming; his last five wins of 2022 were here (one via placing), from inside posts (#1-3) for Jimmy Gagnon; class relief.
(3) JITTERBUG FLIP was second as beaten even-money fave March 24 at Mohawk; edged out in final stride; strong March 8 Rideau qualifier in second start since claim and joining trainer Macy Cassell Smyth.
(6) MAKE IT COME TRUE missed by a neck from same post in March 15 Rideau qualifier for trainer/driver Guy Gagnon; three-wide late move, pacing field’s-fastest (29 flat) last quarter; 2023 pari-mutuel debut at level where ended 2022 here.
(5) ROLLIN WITH ROCK loses Guy Gagnon to his own trainee this race; third-fastest winner from eight March 29 qualifiers here, in going-away style; Pascal Berube picks up catch drive.
(1) ICENEEDSWHISKEY moves to Yves Tessier barn in Rideau Carleton debut; class relief from Mohawk, where he was caught inside fourth March 20; loose late; ran out of racetrack.
(3) FLASH CUBE finished third as beaten 3/5 fave March 23 at Flamboro; parked first over early, chasing front-end winner Major Hill; caught in pocket late; edged out for place; back with trainer Guy Gagnon, for whom he had five 2022 wins here (four with Gagnon driving).
(9) BETTIM AGAIN starts from second tier; third to Preferred regular The Light Speed in March 15 qualifier; 2023 pari-mutuel comeback; closed impressively in last 2022 start here, from post #8, for Robert Shepherd.
(7) MAYHEM LIKE ME gets same post he had March 29 at London, which is slightly better on a ⅝-mile track; a post #8 winner here (no scratches) August 8 for Jimmy Gagnon, at lower classification.
(6) TRION DE VIE won second-slowest of six March 29 qualifiers here on front end, beating three pacers for Pascal Berube, now driving the #1; rounds out Hi-5.