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

    POSTED Nov 6, 2011
    A parade of eliminations highlighted our Saturday-and-Sunday action (Dover Downs and Chester Downs), along with a stakes double for soph-colt trotters and FFA pacers at Indiana Downs.  

    We tackled Cal-Expo’s no-takeout Pick 4 last Saturday night and came up with two winners (remember, we urge you not to pass up win best on our higher odds picks from the ticket). Our big score was with Thouartthegreatest in the third leg. He won and paid $63. Another of our choices in that race, Axelrod, completed a $123 exacta. We also scored with a single from the second leg as RW Island Spirit won and paid $8.40. The ticket resulted in a third, a win, a first and second, and a third.  

    On Saturday at Dover, Matron elims featured frosh pacers and trotters with few surprises. We offered two passes, the first for the Matron elim featuring filly trotter Check Me Out. We thought she would be the dead-on choice since winning the Breeders Crown but we had no idea the others in this race would be so highly ignored.  (Photo top right by Mark Hall)

    Check me out went off five cents to the dollar. Her foes’ odds were astronomical (here they are in order of favoritism): 232-1, 342-1, 370-1, 424-1, 425-1, 430-1 and 450-1. The 430-1 finished second, creating an exacta of $21 as she won by 16 lengths, breaking a world record for her division on a five-eighths mile track. 

    Our second pass (filly pacers) featured a win by Destiny’s Chance, which we refused to take as the probable favorite here after giving her out and winning at Lexington to the tune of $63. She won, paying $2.20.  

    Delano (colt trotters) was the surprise—not because he won but because he paid $6.40. Forever Just (colt pacers) lost to the pair we thought would be the choices, Hurrikane Kingcole and Heston Blue Chip, respectively. 

    The second elim for filly trotters was not won by our choice, Chocolatte De Vie; she finished sixth. 

    At Indiana Downs, what’s left of the soph-colt-trotter crop went in the Oliver Trot Classic. We liked Live Jazz for the Campbell brothers. He went off at 7-2 and was making a go of the top into the stretch but was beaten by another 7-2 shot, Mr Web Page.  

    The FFA pacers for the Indiana Pacing Derby left us no choice but to call a pass since Foiled Again was tons better than all the foes in the field, especially coming from his terrific mile at Woodbine where he just lost the Breeders Crown Open Pace. Foiled Again won the “Derby,” paying $2.10.  

    Similar results spanned the Chester card on Sunday, Nov. 6 in elims for the Valley Victory, Goldsmith Maid and Governor’s Cup, all freshman stakes.  

    A pair of “Victory” elims (colt trotters) saw super-favorite Vic Smith jump and lose. That’s okay, we called that a pass anyway. In the other Victory elim we finished third with Quit Smoking Now to the obvious choice, Possess The Will ($2.40).  

    In the Goldsmith Maid (filly trotters), Our choice, Win Missy B won but we stayed clear of the race since she went off at such low odds, paying $2.40. In the second elim for this event, Fancy broke and finished off the board. 

    Another suggested pass was A Rocknroll Dance in a Governor’s Cup elim. He won, paying $2.10. Then a surprise to us, as our choice for the second elim, Escape The News, won as the even-money choice. Paying $4 from what we expected to be at least $6.  

    Dover hosted sophomore Matron elims. Filly trotters started the card with Cedar Dove winning off of her Breeders Crown victory; Pantholops was off the board. Filly-pacer Drop The Ball came back and won after a disappointing “Crown” affair but only paid $2.60. Chapter Seven is suddenly the best glamour-boy trotter in action (see news below), winning his split over our 76-1 shot, Magnum Kosmos.  

    Progress Pace elims for soph-colt pacers included a win for Alsace Hanover over one last shot we gave to Powerful Mist. Then, our 80-1 shot from the Breeders Crown, Fashion Delight, won the second elim paying only $5.40.    

    Harness News

    One of harness racing’s most reveled figures, Stanley Bergstein (photo left), passed away this week. Mr. Bergstein was as dear to the sport as any one personality, having shared his talents in many roles over decades of service. I was fortunate enough to be his editor for many years at the ill-fated TIMES: magazine and was proud to be considered a friend. I was on TV with him during the Little Brown Jug some years ago. It was a thrill considering I learned about him during his local OTB-harness TV show (Racing From Roosevelt/Yonkers) in the 1970s. We mourn his passing and are forever in his debt for things he taught us and contributed to the sport.  

    Manofmanymissions has retired. The unevenly performing yet smashingly speedy sophomore trotter was his own worst enemy, breaking stride many times during a commanding charge. When he trotted smoothly he was clearly the best of this division. He will go to stud in Indiana. 

    Whatever It Takes, another sophomore colt, one that we backed here a few times along the Hambletonian Trail, had to be put down last week due to illness. He never got going in the mainstream of the division but took some fields down at good prices when he was at his best. 
    (Cartoon--dedicated to Stan Bergstein--by Thom Pye)


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    johnblaze21 said...

    Great insights into the recent harness racing events, especially the Matron elims and stakes results. The passing of Stanley Bergstein is a significant loss to the sport, and your personal connection adds depth to the tribute. Well done.
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