• Cotolo’s Harness-Weekend Review, 3-7-11

    POSTED Mar 6, 2011
    It was a productive, profitable weekend for TwinSpires harness followers (plus you are still getting free past performances throughout March)..

    The biggest news of the week is that we gave out a winning ticket combination for the Cal Expo non-takeout Pick 4 the past Saturday, March 5. 

    The $48 ticket (included all of our choices and no others you may have added to a ticket) returned $767.

    The individual scores for the winners were generous. Long Last Look, coming off of a win, paid $7.80; Haggin Oaks, off of a loss after two-straight wins, paid $9.20; Bo Knows Power paid $12.20; and Gorgeous Forever, a beaten favorite the week before, paid $10.80.

    On the same program, a returnee from our watch list, Star Time Kid, won, paying $7. And at Pompano that night, another watch-list horse, Daley Deposit Only, won and paid $9.40, while Bay Lightning paid $8.80.

    Best of all from the watch list for March 4 at Buffalo was Catch The Yank, who won and paid $42.40. We had another horse in that race on the list, Bankers Dream, and he was second, completing an exacta worth $155.

    Our Meadowlands Pick 4 from March 5 produced the winners of two legs. Code Word was second but part of a three-horse entry, paying $3.80. In the final leg, Touch The Rock paid $11.40 to win. On Friday, in the Overbid, we wound up with only one winner, a dead-on public choice, Cuz She Can, at $4.80.

    Drivers Deliver?
    Australian expatriate Billy Dobson settled into the fresh Saratoga harness meet and reeled off 17 wins in four programs. In keeping with our scrutinizing of drivers’ productivity related to the betting public, we did the statistics for what the industry called Billy’s “incredible” performance.
    Billy’s winners produced a flat-bet loss of $6.30. It would have cost you $88 to play all of his drives in the four programs. The winners returned $81.70. The investment cost you 7 percent.
    On the March 5 card at Northville, Eric Carlson did better than Billy. Playing Eric that night only cost $28. Eric won eight races and because two of them paid over $15 the run was worth $33.60 to the good. That is an 83-percent profit. The anomaly here is the pair of winners that returned over $15. If you add the night before, when he had 13 drives, you lost money.
    Beware of “hot” drivers, they rarely deliver profits when their performances are isolated, as they should be, in order to lessen the importance of the driver as a handicapping element. 
    ‘Victory’ Done

    Valley Victory may have turned out to be one of the greatest racing trotters of all time but fate was the hunter, as ill health followed him to a mediocre sophomore season that ended his career. However, he became a breed-shaping sire, changing the face of trotting in North America.

    Last week the 25-year-old Valley Victory was euthanized “after complications from what appeared to be kidney failure,” according to Art Zubrod, manager of Brittany Farms  and the Valley Victory Syndicate.

    Zubrod said the stallion was put down because “You certainly don't want to see any horse suffer unnecessarily.”

    Valley Victory stood at Walnut Hall Ltd. in Kentucky since 2001. Bred by Bill Weaver’s Valley High Stable, Valley Victory was owned during his racing career by Arlene Traub and trained by Steve Elliott. He won the Breeders Crown at two and the Yonkers Trot at three and was syndicated at the conclusion of his sophomore campaign, standing stud at Southwind Farms in New Jersey in 1990.

    His first crop raced in 1993 and he became North America’s leading sire of two-year-old trotters with nearly $1.7-million in earnings. His first four crops produced a trio of Hambletonian winners: Victory Dream, the filly Continentalvictory and Muscles Yankee.  He began to have fertility issues but “passed on terrific qualities to his youngsters,” Zubrod said.

    His progeny earned  $35 million and included successful sires Muscles Yankee, Yankee Glide, Donerail and Lindy Lane, while daughters of Valley Victory on their own have produced six millionaires and the winners of over $53 million.

    (Cartoon by Thom Pye)

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