Cotolo’s Harness-Weekend Review, 1-31-11The last weekend of the first month of 2011 worked well for us at three of four venues and our watch lists have been productive, complete with repeat performances.
In Paris, however, at the big show at Vincennes, the favorite, Ready Cash, was dominant over the second choice. This ignited one of the lowest combos for the event in recent memory.
At the Meadowlands on Jan. 29, among our three Presidential Final contenders, our second choice won, paying $10.60. Our 8-1 shot, last year’s champ, Blatantly Good, was not at his best, finishing seventh at 8-1 (an entry for trainer Don Campbell with Real Celebration, the shocking winner of the first leg).
When Summer Camp tanked in the Clyde Hirt Final, both of our choices over him completed the $27.60 exacta. Meirs Hanover won, paying $6.40, with Sniper Seelster second.
No one could beat St Elmo Hero in the Complex Final as he rolled out his 23rd-straight victory, paying $2.40. We’ll keep an eye on cracking that code, because “Elmo” will have to begin facing much stronger horses as the season ensues.
At Cal Expo we made a bit of noise, even when one of our Pick-4 singles scratched. In Race 14 we warned of a big price, awaited win from Awesome Deal N, with Anelectricmachine right behind him. That is how it resulted, with a $19.60 win price for the former and a $30.90 exacta for the combo.
In the first leg of the non-takeout late Pick 4, Mad River Hanover scratched. Race 12 was a stinker with Code Blue and Elegant Emma out of it and Race 13’s single, Exit Hanover, broke at the gate and was never in the race. We encourage wagering on the individual contenders when the price is right, so if you caught Race 14 to win and/or as an exotic, you sensationalized brilliantly on a Pick-4 ticket gone awry.
Also on Saturday night in Sacramento, Snowmurs won for us, paying $10.40 and a repeater from our watch list, Sandra Hotspur, returned to the winners’ circle at a remarkable price of $10.80. The night before, Myra’s Hiho came through as a big choice, paying $3.40.
On Friday at Maywood, we gave you three winners: Fox Valley Ruler at $15.80, Prime Minister at $5 and Triggerfish at $3.20. At Northfield that night we were shut out of the top spots.
Yonkers Raceway, track publicist Frank Drucker write, rings in the shortest month with longer distances. Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 1, all of Yonkers’ overnight races will be contested at the distance of 1 1/16th miles.
GM Bob Galterio said, “It’s something we've been discussing for a while. We think it’s going to get more outside horses into the race earlier.”
This distance remains in effect until further notice. It had been implemented any number of times before but never over a long period. All series and stakes races will remain at the mile distance.
Rosecroft Raceway may not be defunct for harness racing, as Penn National Gaming (PNG) became the new owner. PNG agreed to pay $10.25 million in cash for the harness track in an auction. It previously bought a share in the thoroughbred tracks at Laurel and Pimlico.
Rosecroft has struggled for decades to stay om business. Now, PNG plans to work with standardbred horse owners and the Maryland Racing Commission to develop a plan to resume live racing at Rosecroft.