Racing returns to Far Hills Saturday with 6 steeplechase stakes and a $100K 2 mile flat race. The flat race was moved to the last race 7 because of sun and shadows at the end of the day that obstructed jumps on the backside. The ground will be soft. Trainer Keri Brion reported that there was standing water next to the on track temporary barn area Friday morning and with more rain on the way, the track will not dry out.

This year all betting is online with trifectas on all races, superfectas on all but race3, rolling doubles and pick3s, pick 5 starting race1 and race 3, pick 6 starting race 2, pick 4 starting race 4, and a cross country pick 5 with Belmont at Aqueduct (NYRA) starting with race 5. The cross country pick 5 has 15% takeout, includes FH R5, AQU R7, AQU R8, FH R6, FH R7. Races 5 & 6 at Far Hills are jump races and the rest are flat races. Post time for the cross country pick 5 is 3:35pm EST and post time for live races at Far Hills is 12:50pm EST.

For those lucky enough to be in New Jersey or are part of the 25,000 in attendance, fixed odds wagering is available so I’ll give a fixed odds bet for each race.

European invaders are well represented and the soft ground will enhance their chances. The track has a few dips and slight inclines but the last ¼ mile run to the wire has a jump at the bottom of a hill that rises about 15 feet that will separate the contenders from the pretenders at the wire.

Race 1 is the Gladstone for 3YO at 2 1/8 miles around 4 turns over 11 fences. The Europeans #8 Kyogo for trainer Gordon Elliot and #7 Our Boy Wes for trainer Keri Brion are both experienced over jumps and soft ground and will dominate this race. #2 Clifton Down ran well at Middleburg in a flat race prep, is experienced on soft turf and will be making his first try over jumps for leading trainer Leslie Young. #3 Lightening Ridge galloped wire to wire in his only jump try at Shawan, only 1 second slower than a 115 rating handicap hurdle race the same day for trainer Brion.

A) 8 WON ($8.60)7 (2nd) $2EX $44.20

B) 2 (4th)-3

Fixed odds bet #2 Clifton Down at 10/1 or higher

Race 2 the Harry Harris for 4YO at 2 1/8 miles around 4 turns over 11 fences. #3 Calico for trainer Gordon Elliot has a 132 hurdle rating in Ireland which makes him the 6th best steeplechase runner when compared with US rankings of all steeplechase runners. #3 Calico like it soft gets 1st time Lasix and has hit the board 15 times in 22 jump starts with 4 wins. #5 Total Joy ran away to win by 10 lengths in his last at Shawan over yielding turf running the best time of the day by 5 seconds for trainer Young. The maidens #4 Just Another One and #7 Active Duty do not like it soft. #1 Chosen Judge (2nd) ran well at Shawan and can run underneath in tris and supers.

A) 3 WON ($5.20) $2DD $15.00 5-lost rider 3rd from last fence

Fixed odds bet #3 Calico (WON) at 3/1 or higher

Race 3 the Foxbrook for novice or never won 3 runners goes 2 ½ miles around 5 turns over 13 fences for only 5 runners. #4 The Hero Next Door fell over the last jump at Nashville while in front by 6 lengths and passed the victory off to #2 Cool Jet and both like soft going. #5 Awakened hates soft turf and may scratch. #1 L’Imperator just missed on good turf in the Lonesome Glory and will try to close off the front runner #4 The Hero Next Door. #3 Abaan has the fastest flat track Beyer at 100, broke his maiden on yielding turf, is a grade 3 winner on the flat and easily won his 2nd try over jumps with the fastest maiden time of the Colonial meet while beating 3 next out winners over jumps. Husband and wife team Kate and Bernie Dalton upset the Gr 1 Sheppard at Saratoga a few years ago and #3 Abaan has all the credentials of an upset winner.

A) 4 (2nd) – 3 WON ($5.60) $2EX $30.80 $2DD $39.00 $0.50P3 $25.55 -2

Fixed odds bet #3 Abaan (WON)at 8/1 or higher

Race 4 the Peapack handicap for fillies and mares goes 2 1/8 miles around 4 turns over 11 fences. #1 Say Goodbye is 163 pound high weight spotting the field 12-23 pounds. The only thing that will prevent this runner from winning is the weight. #5 Gold Charm has 2 jump wins, a powerful closing kick, almost beat the boys in her 1st jump start and gets leading win rider Harrison Beswick. #2 Right Tempo runs well late and was close to #3 Met in Miami at Nashville.

A) 1 (WON) $3.40 $2DD $27.40 $0.50P3 $6.55

B) 2 (2nd) -5 (3rd) $2EX $21.80 $2TRI $73.00 -3

Fixed odds bet #2 Right Tempo at 7/1 or higher
Race 5 the Appleton handicap goes 2 5/8 miles around 5 turns over 14 fences. #3 Redicean gets class relief, won this race last year and likes it soft. #1 Gordon’s Jet 158 high weight will be forward but will get used up by the soft turf. #6 Restitution had an operation to improve his airway after 2 dismal jump efforts and ran OK in a Middleburg flat race after the operation and runs OK on soft. #5 Fast Vision likes it soft and has a strong closing kick and will like the distance. This race is a little bit of a head scratcher for underneath runners.

A) 3 (3rd)

B) 5 (2nd) -6

Fixed odds bet #3 Redicean at 6/1 or higher

Race 6 the Grand National goes 2 5/8 miles around 5 turns over 14 fences. The Euros #2 Seddon and #6 Salvador Ziggy tower over this field in class and wins on soft going. #2 Seddon beat 23 runners at the Cheltenham festival this year and #6 Salvador Ziggy ran 2nd of 23 at Cheltenham going 3 miles later on the same card. #4 Snap Decision is the highest rated US runner but does not like it soft. #3 Jimmy P likes it soft and won easily at Nashville.

A) 2 (3rd) -6

Fixed odds bet #2 Seddon at 5/1 or higher

Race 7 the John Forbes flat race at 2 miles around 4 turns closes out the card. #6 Agitare won this race last year and excels over soft turf. Don’t worry about lack of performance this year because he did not care for the jumps and firm turf. #3 Cibolian has run 91 Beyers over good turf and was only 4 lengths back in the Gr 2 Belmont Gold Cup at 2 miles. #8 McLovin runs well on soft turf with a 90 Beyer over a yielding course and won 2 times over the undulating Kentucky Downs course. #1 Who’s Counting ran well at Foxfield and can hit the board underneath.

A) 8 WON ($3.80) -6-3

Fixed odds bet #6 Agitare at 10/1 or higher

For the cross country pick 5 at AQU the races are on the dirt at 1 mile and are not easy. Not knowing the track condition and moisture content makes it very difficult. Look for a potential track bias leading up to the 7th race at AQU.

AQU race 7

A) #9 Thunderian (WON) $11.60, #10 Brooklyn Diamonds (2nd) $2 EX $25.20, #5 Ice Road

AQU race 8

A) #4 Cascais, (2nd) #5 Macallan (4th)

B) #2 Paddington, #7 Rocco Strong, (3rd) #8 Signator WON ($11.00) $0.10 super $148.10