Cotolo’s harness-weekend review, 1-17-11Let’s recap the Jan. 14 weekend, which covered high-and-low profile races for the early season, including the series and stakes for older pacers. Once again we nailed some horses that we suggested were ready to go and some of them were overlooked enough to get our money.
At Woodbine, where the older pacers that raced best in the Snowshoe elims met in the $60,000 final on Friday, Jan. 14, the horse we thought best went off at 7-2, a reasonable price in this field. Premier Intel won and paid $9.90. We mentioned using Web Cam in exactas and though he raced well at a shocking 11-1, he finished third.
Friday at Cal-Expo, Kikiskissinkousin made the most noise, paying $30.60, while Code Blue looked great in the stretch but was passed, finishing in a dead heat as the final element in the trifecta.
The Meadowlands has been a bit of a circus so far during its latest incarnation. It seems like a variable track, favoring no one and yet not especially kind to any particular type of pacer or trotter. Some might consider that a level-playing field but I don’t know how to evaluate it correctly. I have to watch more races and make a decision whether it is the track or the nature of the competition so far this season.
Meanwhile, on Friday we were right about Definitely Mamie on Jan. 14, she won and paid $13.40. Diablo Seelster was second at 5-1. AB’s Attack, a part of the favorite entry, had a miserable first half and tanked, while Whybabywhy never took a step at 40-1.
On Saturday at the Big M, McClelland took his second straight, as we thought he would, at a great price, $11.80. Windsong Gorgeous was second to a 1-9 shot (a horse that won his 21st-straight race). Mark Ford’s horses, River Shark and Handsome Harry, were not productive in the Presidential divisions.
At Pompano on Saturday, DVC Givemeatitude won, paying $6.40 (we liked the price). Mai Tai Guy was third, Goodnight Goodluck was off the board and Bo Bernie, an also-eligible, did not get into the race).
Finally, on Saturday at Cal Expo, we liked Awesome Deal N in the first leg of the no-takout Pick 4. He was third, beaten by a horse from our watch list, Peter Hot Tail. This pacer had won once off the list, had a tough next out and then came back here and won, paying $17.20. Earlier that night, another watch-list horse, Anelectricmachine, won and paid $14.20.
The standardbred press seemed shocked about the Saturday, Jan. 15 Dover card, where the public showed every flaw it could, handicapping with less aplomb than usual. This resulted in monstrous overlays, all of them explainable and all of them from strategies and observations we have made at TwinSpires since the Harness Page launched.
First and foremost, we touted the talents of driver Victor Kirby over the public’s love for Tim Tetrick and Kirby continues to deliver winners worth far more than their odds. On the Jan. 15 card two of his three winners paid $23.40 and $10.40. The program before, on Thursday, Jan. 13, two of his three winners paid $23.40 and $10.
Back to Saturday, where the night began with a winner paying $28.60, getting there by a neck over a 69-1 shot while the public choice was hung badly and faded. The public doesn’t realize that such tactics are available to aggressive drivers like Corey Callahan (now leading Ron Pierce in wins at the track).
Next, Occasionally Bad, coming off a terrific trip, though hidden to those who look for the obvious in past performances, wins out of the 8 hole at 35-1, decisively defeating the public choice. Mind Eraser wins next and with such grace that it is impossible to say that the Brian Burton trained-and-driven mare was greatly assisted by the favorite breaking stride early. She pays $60.80. A few races later Besmitten By A Vet pays $90.60 over the public choice that can offer no excuse. A strong overland journey by Awesome Blue Jean lights up the toteboard at $21.20, Southbound Joey pays $12.80 and Drivin Miss Rudee offers $10.20.
Watching trips and keeping a watch list and paying attention to the players’ side of wagering harness, which we exclusively offer at TwinSpires, are only a few ways to be ready to profit on winners as were delivered at Dover on Jan. 15. The great prices may not always come on a single card or at a single track but the arrive and you should not be so surprised. Leave that feeling to those who follow the chalk.
The 2011 stakes, the Nadia Lobell for soph-filly pacers and the Moni Maker soph-filly trotters, move from The Red Mile to be raced at The Meadows.
The Moni Maker will be raced on Friday, Aug. 19 and the Nadia Lobell will go on Monday, Aug. 29, with estimated purses over $200,000. There will not be eliminations; the events will be limited to the nine richest femmes of this year at time of entry.
The Nadia Lobell was first raced at Garden State Park in 1990, then went to the Meadowlands in 2001. After a one-year hiatus, the race was moved to The Red Mile, which created the Moni Maker in 2005.
So, for the first time in the history of the stakes, there will be three turns to negotiate. More on these races as the season ensues.