• Cotolo’s harness-weekend review, 2-7-11

    POSTED Feb 7, 2011
    First and foremost, we hope you became lucky enough to sensationalize on the massive mistake we made presenting our suggested contenders for the Feb. 5 no-takeout late Pick 4 at Cal Expo.

    What happened was this: I misread the program dates and delivered choices for races nine through 12 on Friday, Feb. 4. These were legitimate choices for the races involved but these were not the quartet of events making up the no-takeout late Pick 4.

    We apologize for that, however, we do not apologize for the choices, especially the one of three horses we suggested in Race 12, Blissful Kassie.

    She won and paid $114.80.

    Here’s what we wrote about her, our first choice in that race: “Blissful Kassie was filled with fire early dueling for the top last out. She got there with a fight and that cost her, fading at 52-1.”

    Those of you who discovered the error but paid attention to the choices in the context of the correct race were rewarded. Again, we did not intend for that to be a mystery; we were sloppy or tired when we read the date. We did not discover the error until we checked for Saturday night’s Cal Expo results and could not find the horses we wrote about for Feb. 5.   

    On the Saturday program, though, we had two horses return from the Cal Expo watch list to win. Mad River Hanover took his race, paying $8.20 and Bullet Tooth Tony was the choice in his victory, paying $4.20. Also returning from the watch list, from Maywood, was Odds On Emanuel, who paid a hefty $15.80.

    At the Meadowlands, Feb. 5, we scored decisively in the second division of the first leg of the Cape & Cutter Series. Symphony In Motion won, paying $11.80 and our other choice (barring the favorite), Go On BB, was second. That exacta paid a pleasant $81.40.

    From the latest watch list, Island Tiger won at Maywood, paying $6.60 and Dirty Devil won at Dover, paying $8.20.

    Places from that blog included OG’s Si Bon and Red Star Gilda (Cal Expo), Lee Ave (Maywood), Shacked Up and Meirs Hanover (the Meadowlands).

    Please check and double check all of the dates, which we usually get correct. Our suggested contenders and watch-list horses need your attention, as they are very often overlays, even those in the single-digit pay categories. Your judgment is essential in how you play them but as you can see by following our blogs, as many have over the past six years, we deliver some mighty prices. As well, 99 percent of the time, we direct readers to the races with the correct dates.

    Track news
    New York harness tracks Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have released their 2011 schedules. Vernon opens Friday, April 15, while Tioga opens Kentucky Derby day, Saturday, May 7.

    This year, the Empire Breeders Classics will be offered at both ovals over the Memorial Day holiday. Restricted to state-bred sophomores, trotters have elims on May 21 and a $250,000 (est.) final for each sex on May 30 at Vernon. The pacers race elims at Tioga on May 22 and hold a $250,000 final on May 29.

    Yonkers overnights have begun racing at the 1 1/16-miles distance. That means on the half-mile oval the starting gate opens mid-stretch. This is important, handicappers, because that extra real estate allows more horses from the outside posts to find a spot when leaving without having to negotiate the turn.

    Aside from that obvious distinction is the fact that early duels can have the same negative result they have on five-eighths, seven-eighths and mile tracks. As you can see watching these races, even the outside horses taking back early are in a better position than they were at the mile distance on the four turns. Now, they have more of a chance to close late on speed that has burned through three-quarters.
    Watch for pacers and trotters to make big moves before the final turn; they will have the ability to make that previously dire move productive. Read the charts and watch the replays. Trips will be more important than ever to find overlays in the overnight races.
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