• Cotolo’s Harness-Weekend Review, 4-18-11

    POSTED Apr 17, 2011
    I am going to begin the update this week with thoughts for players, then review the weekend’s action. The focus for players is the National Harness Handicapping Championship (NHHC), which begins this Friday, April 22.

    TwinSpires is participating by giving players three chances to qualify for two seats in the final round, this July, currently scheduled at the Meadowlands (which everyone hopes will be open and in business for live and simulcasting at that time; see story below).

    For three Fridays, players place wagers at a pair of designated tracks, following the rules (click here for contest details). Next Friday the tracks are Cal-Expo and Woodbine. There are five levels of prizes for participants, so the incentives are plentiful, even if you don’t win a seat at the NHHC final.

    The TwinSpires “harness think tank” is here to help you all, as well. Between our dual weekly blogs, the Facebook page and my live tweets (updates at the designated tracks on the three Fridays), you will be privy to any and all of our experience while you make your decisions on wagers. This will be the hands-on information that has presented many double-digit winners since we carried the shop to TwinSpires from YouBet. 


    This could have been a better weekend in the cashing department but it was not a shutout.

    The watch list at Woodbine struck on Friday, with Mustang Art winning at $16.10 and Bold Barry at $6.

    Friday’s “Matchmaker” brought a lucky strike, as the losing part of an entry resulted in a cold exacta with the other part of the coupling. Up Front Kellie Jo was in league with the winner, her stablemate All Spirit, paying $9.40 to win. Our exacta offering was to use Hula’s Z Tam, which finished second and ignited a $30.80 exacta.

    In the “Levy” series, all five divisions drenched from a Saturday rainstorm, our blog choices were reiterated with a live tweet we delivered before the Pick 4. We offered an inexpensive combo that could not deny the heavy choices. We took these low-priced winners and made our combo worth a bit more than 5-1. Our $6 ticket won and paid $34.60.

    Friday night we also presented a few winners via the Twitter account. We remind you again to follow us live at the track on most Friday and Saturday evenings.

    One of our Cal Expo Pick-4 horses, the single in the last leg, scratched. That turned us off to the entire ticket, which turned out to be a good decision, as none of our suggestions in the first three legs produced.

    Harness News

    It’s odds-on, as I write this, that the Meadowlands will survive the current crisis, according to Jeff Gural, the engine behind the privatization of the sport’s flagship track.

    Mr. Gural was on Sirius XM radio on April 16, after an official shutdown of the track was announced due to the refusal of the tellers’ union to aver to conditions for returning to work. Gural said he thinks the track will survive because the union could wind up cooperating.

    Their refusal, he told Harness Racing Update, “had nothing to do with the issue on the table. This all goes back 10, 15 years to, apparently, something Christie Whitman did to them when she was governor and these guys got a raw deal then.”

    What is up in the air is the extent of the facility’s presentations. It could be open for simulcasting only or the union can come to some agreement with Mr. Gural and his group and the transfer to private ownership would continue. At that point, the state has allowed for only 75 days of live harness racing in 2011.

    Thus, the designated tracks in the NHHC could be altered. Stay up to date at Facebook and via my tweets on the details and where to go on the TwinSpires site for contest changes.

    (Cartoon by Thom Pye)

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