• Cotolo’s Harness-Weekend Review, 2-28-11

    POSTED Feb 27, 2011
    This week, once again, our strength with the Cal Expo watch list lifted our profits and saved us from our loss of value at the Meadowlands, with only minor success at Northfield and Pompano.

    The star of the list was Freedomize, a winner at the California mile track on Saturday, Feb. 26, after our endorsement over the weeks, twice as a single in the no-takeout late Pick 4. Waiting for an opportunity to suit his style, Freedomize failed until last weekend when he won and paid $42.40.

    Also returning for victories from the Cal list were Satire ($16) and Haggin Oaks ($13.40).

    Two winners appeared in the Pick 4: Star Time Kid ($3.80) and Myra’s Hiho ($8.80). Smartly, we went with a simple $8 ticket, losing as the payoff came back a measly $86.20.

    At Northfield, Gordie How won ($7.40), while Gramma’s Guy and Blueridge Tooquick were second, Cherokee Ryder third, and the other two off the board.

    Pompano presented us with our old pal Daley Deposit Only at $5.

    Our Meadowlands Pick 4 contenders raced miserably. But we had the right idea in mind as most of the public choices failed and the winning ticket came back at almost three grand.    

    Horse Of The Year
    To no one’s surprise, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced that Rock N Roll Heaven is the 2010 Horse of the Year. “Heaven” received 123 of 131 votes for the honor.
    The fabulous sophomore was also named Pacer of the Year.
    Heaven completed his career with a 10-race winning streak that included a world-record performance in the Little Brown Jug. The colt was driven primarily by Daniel Dube, was trained by Bruce Saunders and is owned by Frank Bellino. Heaven won 16 of 21 races and earned $2.15 million. 
    In addition to the “Jug,” which he won in consecutive heats with back-to-back world-record-equaling 1:49.2 miles, Heaven’s victories included the Breeders Crown (pictured), Tattersalls Pace, Battle of the Brandywine and Messenger Stakes. 

    Track News

    Georgian Downs opens on March 1 for 105 days of harness racing. The track will feature a $2.5-million stakes season, including the Upper Canada Cup, Masters Stakes and Earl Rowe Memorial Cup.

    The season spans 10 months and will include the popular Xtreme Horsepower program in late August. Racing is presented Tuesday and Saturday evenings through the end of the year. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Eastern. Wednesday evenings will be added in October through December and Sundays will be added solely for October.
    At Balmoral Park on Feb. 26, St Elmo Hero (photo by David Baum) won his 24th-straight race, adding the Illinois track to his roster of territories. It was never a contest as “Hero” took the lead and stormed down harness racing’s longest stretch to win in 1:50 on the surface rated “good.”
    Robert Smolin drove the son of Western Hero, getting to three-quarters in a blistering 1:21.4. “We were going faster than I wanted,” Robert said, “because he was so revved up.”
    The small field was nowhere near talented enough to take on the five-year-old pacer, trained by Charles Eustis III. Hero continues to chase the immortal Bret Hanover, the stalwart pacer that began his career with 35-straight victories.
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