• Cotolo’s Harness-Weekend Review, 10-31-11

    POSTED Oct 30, 2011
    Last week, after the Breeders Crown eliminations, I suggested that there might be people who wish to enter rehab based on an “addiction to wagering on promising horses that the public rejects.” It is a condition that swears people off of prohibitive favorites, under-lays or whatever you like to call horses backed vigorously by the majority of bettors. If you were one of those people and you were successful in rehab, returning to wagering with an undiluted respect for the most probable winner, you cashed tickets in the 2011 Breeders Crown program at Woodbine on Oct. 29.  

    The Breeders Crown program, 12 races with most of the divisions’ best horses, produced an average win price of $7.50. If we eliminate the highest win price and the lowest, a usual ploy when attempting to calculate an accurate average, that price becomes $6.86.  

    If you won with every horse, that pick-12 cost $24 and returned $90.40. If you only played the favorites, your $24 got you back $25.60, a profit less than 2 percent.  

    The highest prices of the evening were 18.90, 12.90, 11.40, 11.00 and 10.60.  

    The first Pick 4 paid $53.10 and the second paid $196 for dollar tickets.  

    This was not the kind of card under any circumstances that would find me, as a player with an “addiction to wagering on promising horses that the public rejects,” turning a profit. The best, mediocre or the worse horses offered in any dozen races, I would not be playing all the races and I doubt very much if I would have profited from the few I played.  

    So, our work to discover those horses in the finals that would, in our opinion, go to the gate with odds better than their chances, was unproductive, which in the scheme of any dozen races, is not uncommon. With that explained, let me review what happened to our suggested contenders in all of the races, including how we dealt with the closing odds. 

    It began strangely, as the horse we chose to win became the race favorite. We could not flatter ourselves and think our published choice affected so many bettors but we had no idea why Jersey As went to post as the public choice. Our three “exotic material” choices, which we added in each race as horses you should consider using in exotic combos, included the three that made the race’s $183.70 triactor—Frenchfrysnvinegar, Action Broadway and Autumn Escapade. Jersey As raced in the rear and found that spot so comfortable she resided there until the mile’s end. We did not bet this race. 

    Our choice defied the dead-on favorite, going off around 5-2. She had a tougher trip, fanning three wide in an attempt to catch the favorite but finished second behind the favorite, which paid 2.90. We did not bet this race, which resulted in an exacta worth 5.30.  

    Our choice, Pirouette Hanover, went off a hard 5-1. She had to negotiate an outside trip, getting into a deadly duel in the stretch, contributing to suicide fractions which allowed the favorite to sweep pass those two late to win. We played to win; she finished third. 

    Hurrikane Kingcole went off a hard 7-1 and got a good position early. However, the favorite was monstrous. This freaky two-year-old colt made a three-wide brush to the top and ate up real estate to the tune of becoming the fastest two-year-old standardbred ever, winning in 1:49. We played to win; he finished third.

    Royal Shyster got rolling at 18-1 and looked fabulous getting the lead from the 8 hole right off the gate. He stayed there until the half, when the favorite took the lead from him and stayed there until the 7/8ths, when the third choice, on our exotic-material list, at 4-1, closed to win it. We played to win; he finished fifth. 

    On Sept. 3 we suggested you play Anndrovette. She won and paid $19. In this race, she was the celebrated public choice. We liked Maureen Rocks and so did a lot of other people, sending her off at an unappetizing 3-1. She raced on the outside as she had the week before but could not catch the favorite. The horse finishing second was on our exotic-material list, paying $13.10 to place, having gone off at 29-1. We did not bet this race; she finished third. 

    We had two conditions for this one. First our choice, Lucky Jim, had to go off at juicy odds. The second condition was out of our hands. He had to at least give us a shot by racing without breaking. The first condition was satisfied at 8-1 but he broke making a three-wide move only 4 lengths off the leader, who was the favorite and probably locked up Horse of the Year honors by winning. We played to win; he finished seventh (never regaining his gait).  

    Here we expected a favorite to win. In fact, we thought we would be looking at a world-record mile considering Drop The Ball blew away her elim field and was in the best of shape. However, the co-second choice (on our exotic-material list) was far better, passing her and strolling away with the win. We did not bet this race; she finished second. 

    As we have most of the second half of the season, we figured Manofmanymissions would win if he did not break stride. Still, he went off the second favorite to the colt that won the other elim for this division. In front at three-quarters, he broke, and the favorite soared on to win. We did not bet this race; he finished seventh. 

    This was to be the race that made history for us. We had to beat a monster of a filly, the prohibitive choice. On the toteboard, our choice, Pantholops, was 99-1. Her actual odds were 152-1. She was disadvantaged having to come from post 10 but that did not stop us because her odds were way better than her chances. As it turned out, she raced well, mostly on the outside with cover, though she, like the rest of the field, were powerless against the big favorite. We played to win; she finished fourth. 

    Here we were simply wrong about how our choice would race. We expected far more from Fashion Delight than he delivered. He was 60-1. However, we were right to think the highly touted favorite would lose. He lost to the third choice, though only by a nose. If our choice came out of the race all right we stand by our opinion he will return for a strong four-year-old season. We played to win; he finished eighth (by only 3 lengths; a mere 6 lengths separated the 10-horse field at the wire). 

    The public thought as we thought they would think, making our choice, We Will See, a solid choice, close in the wagering to the second choice. We expected a powerful mile by this guy, who at four, dominated older horses most of the season. But he surrendered  to a pair of horses we cashed in on this year, the winner being the longest shot of the evening at 8-1. We did not bet this race; he finished third. 

    Each of the races above are linked to review stories by Ray Cotolo, a contributor to our causes for harness racing success. 

    Do not despair. The major stakes season still has some gas in its tank and we did not wager so foolishly as to be damaged by the less-than-generous public. We will return to the stakes and overnight wars in our Thursday blog and never consider rehab. 

    We thank everyone for following us live the night of the Breeders Crown and we thank the Hambletonian Society, handlers of the magnificent series, for all of its cooperation and support for the wagering side of the audience, as we addressed through TwinSpires.

    (Cartoon by Thom Pye)

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