• Cotolo’s Harness Review

    POSTED Nov 27, 2011
    Strange and obvious are the two words that cover the major stakes action we discussed in our pre-weekend blog. Also, our no-takeout Pick 4 at Cal-Expo was cancelled. Those are the teased headlines and here now is the news.  

    Saturday’s Forest City for pacing mares on the little mile at Western Fair in Canada was a curious affair. It looked odd from the beginning as six of the eight pacers lined up with two in the second tier. You rarely see horses of this caliber get rolling in such a configuration but this is a half-mile that doesn’t often host such class.  

    The field left the gate with some of the gals four and five wide going for spots, with our choice, last year’s champion, Dreamfair Eternal, staying well off the early pace from post 5. That was a wise decision since the huge favorite, Anndrovette, was bothered behind a breaker heading for a sizzling first quarter of :25.3. Although she got back on the pace, Anndrovette never had much of a shot trying to negotiate the remaining three turns. 

    The 13-1 Voelz Hanover cut the fractions, getting a break to a 1:24 three-quarters and in the short stretch Dreamfair Eternal (7-2) flew home to be third.  (Upper-left photo by Mark Hall)

    Obvious things went on at Dover where the soph-colt pacing Matron Final paired Ron Burke-trained favorites (an entry) Westwardho Hanover and Hugadragon. We were backing an upset, of course, hoping these two could cancel one another out with a fiery duel. Little did we know that our suggested contender, Lookingforadventure, who has been notorious for winning off of duels, would go off anywhere near the ridiculous odds the bettors allowed. 

    Lookingforadventure was 1,189-1.  

    The winner was Hugadragon and the mega-favorite entry paid $2.10, which was the only mutuel allowed. 

    Over at Cal-Expo on Saturday evening, charting the races was becoming more and more difficult. According to the National Weather Service’s Sacramento office, fog “thicker than leftover gravy” was covering the Yuba-Sutter area, “reducing visibility to less than a quarter of a mile in some places.” The driver advisory was not just for people on motor vehicles, as harness drivers on the Cal-Expo mile found themselves racing in the clouds while never leaving the ground. Races 10 through 15 were cancelled, siting obvious dangerous conditions for man and beast traveling the mile oval.  

    Our Watch List reported only one winner, and nothing to brag about, with Charlie Beans at $2.90 at Batavia. Of the others that raced (see the Nov. 24 blog for the list or email me through TwinSpires) Key Western finished second (paying $11.60 to place) and Show Me Glory was sixth at Northfield. Morgan Shark was second at Balmoral. Also at Batavia, Rush Of Fools was in a dead heat for fourth and Warners Rambaran was seventh. They all remain on the list for their next starts.  

    Harness News

    Our TwinSpires Hambletonian-pool winner, Broad Bahn, will be retired. He is going off to stud duty. He follows his nemesis, Manofmanymissions, who also leaves the track to help propagate the breed.
    Pompano Park harness launched its MEGA-9 wager on Nov. 26, offering patrons a chance to win a minimum $5,000 guaranteed pool for a base 10-cent wager. The first night's payout was $13.46 for those selecting seven of nine. The guaranteed minimum pool will be offered every race night through the mandatory payout night of May 5, 2012.
    Northfield Park adds a $30,000 guaranteed Pick-5 pool on Nov. 28. It begins with Race 3 and has a carryover this week of $7,779. The Pick 4 that night includes a $10,000 guarantee beginning with Race 8. The track’s “Pick” events offer a reduced takeout of 14 percent, the lowest in the sport, not counting the TwinSpires-Cal-Expo no-takeout Pick 4 on Saturdays.
    (Cartoon by Thom Pye)

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