• Cotolo’s Harness Review

    POSTED Dec 11, 2011
    This weekend began with success from the Watch List (WL) at Freehold. On Friday, Dec. 9, five entries showed up in four races with two of them winning right out of the box, as they say (this was the first WL for Freehold this winter). 

    Art Paper was the highest price, winning the eighth race at $22.20. Before that, in Race 3, Luke’s Nathalie won, paying $9. Even with two from the list losing on Saturday at Freehold, the $2-flat-bet profit (disregarding passing any due to low odds) was $17.20.  

    It was a big Saturday, Dec. 10 at Northfield for TwinSpires players. They were awarded 10x club points for playing any or all races on the Cleveland Classic card. Due to this, we offered a number of horses from the WL the week before, as well as some new entries. 

    Two of the three winners came right away as Winter Cruise ($3.40) won the first race and Awesome Andrea ($13.60) won the second. That was a Daily Double worth $37.20.  

    The other winner out of eight (there was one scratch) from the list was A Little Crazy ($7.60). 

    As for the Cleveland Classic, we handed you the triple with our analysis, as Westwardho Hanover won, Mystic Desire was second and Audreys Dream got third. That triple paid $54 for $2 and a profit came from any way you played it (straight, crisscrossed, boxed, et al).  

    In the no-takeout Pick 4 at Cal-Expo on Dec. 10, our $8 ticket (for $2) did not produce any winners. We were in the thick of each race, however, finishing 4th, 3rd / 4th, 6th / 2nd / 3rd .  

    This Thursday the WL expands to other tracks and we work on more Pick 4s around the ovals as the year wallows through the winter of its final fortnight.    

    Harness News

    The battle for the most wins by a driver remains close between George Brennan and Dan Noble. You can take sides if you want but don’t be quick to start betting on their horses because that is what everyone is doing. Instead, check out the odds on the second and third and fourth choices in races where Brennan and Noble are getting all the win money based on this duel.  

    Brennan is racing with as many horses as he can at Yonkers but is not bringing home many outsiders. The guy to watch at Yonkers these days is Eric Goodell. The ex-Michigan chauffer has been underbet on a number of winners in races where the public went to Brennan mounts simply because Georgie was driving.

    Noble is the leading driver at Northfield Park and also drives at Lebanon Raceway and has recently picked up rides at the Meadows. He also was the top driver in wins at Scioto Downs and at Lexington’s Red Mile.  

    At Lebanon, especially, the bettors swarm his mounts in the win pools, so it is much like the Brennan case. Leave Noble alone at Lebanon and look for value plays with second, third and fourth choices. Some of those have been monstrous lately. 

    Big Rigs will return to the track at four to battle older trotters. He is the only horse so far from the 2011 crop of glamour-boy trotters to be aimed at a season past four.  

    His victory in the $174,940 Matron Stakes last month at Dover Downs (we called it here) provided high expectations for his return to the races in 2012.

    “All along I knew he was as good as anything out there,” trainer Kelly O’Donnell said. “He’s just one of those trotters that is kind of like a rotten little kid. He doesn’t care if he gets in trouble or not. He doesn’t care when he makes a break or what kind of race it is or even if he’s going for a lot of money.

    “[Next year] he should be bigger, stronger and more mature. After the way he raced in his last start at Dover, he should come back really strong as a four-year-old. Right now we are going to give him some days off, then jog him every other day and turn him out every other day for a month. Then we will get him ready again and he will be eligible to all the big ones.”

    (Cartoon by Thom Pye)

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