The weekend was quiet; we hope you all had terrific holidays.
Then, as the shopping madness ensued through the world on Dec. 26, Woodbine’s Boxing Day program presented two stakes.
In the Valedictory Final we talked of two horses and they were the two that finished first and second. Our choice, Audreys Dream, was the place horse and the winner was Itrustyou, paying $5.90. If you took the boxing seriously, a hum, you got yourself a meager exacta return of $12.50 on $4.
We loved DG’s Tinkerbell in the Niagara Final but the 7-5 favorite took control in the deciding steps of the race and left our choice to finish second at 6-1. With the favorite and our choice second, the exacta came back $33.90.
The no-takeout Pick 4 at Cal-Expo returns next weekend as harness continues its programs on Dec.30. We will have our analysis of the New Year’s Eve Pick 4 in this Thursday’s blog.
Also on Thursday’s agenda will be some 2012 schedules as planned for some power-packed players’ programs at various tracks as the new season launches with familiar faces taking on new divisions and a look at some of the highly touted horses that will have to meet their expectations in the glamour divisions.
Christmas at France’s historic Vincennes offered the $155,000 Criterium Continental. The crowd, always loud and ready for action at the harness kingdom, was there to see if Timoko (photo right by Gerard Forni) could top his four-year-old trotting foes (there is no pacing in France) after a three-month layoff. With Rich Westerink in the bike, Timoko returned to beat the horse that got him last October in the 1 5/16ths-mile stakes. That nemesis is the Swedish-bred Kadett CD. With the win, Timoko aims at the classic Prix d’Amerique in January, 2012, attempting to be the first five-year-old to win since 2007, when Offshore Dream took the classic.
Our good friend, harness correspondent Ken Weingartner, talked to George Brennan, named Driver of the Year by the harness writers group. Brennan won 754 races and earned $14.5 million in purses from them. They included the Hambletonian—which we hit big with the TwinSpires Players Pool—with Broad Bahn.
“It’s really unbelievable,” he told Ken. “You always hope to win it one time and to get lucky enough to win it … in consecutive years is a really great achievement.”
Welcome to the TwinSpires Blog. Our contributors will be continually updating posts to offer commentary, insight, advice and expert opinions on horse racing and wagering. The goal is to help you win more and become a better all around horse player.
TwinSpires' horse racing author, handicapper, and podcast host, Derek Simon of Denver, Colo. offers his insightful, humorous and sometimes controversial take on the horse racing industry. He even publishes the ROI on the picks he gives out.
TwinSpires' harness racing expert, Frank Cotolo follows all of the big North American circuits throughout the year, providing the best value picks and latest news from the sulky.
The Director of Marketing for Bloodstock Research Information Services (BRIS) and a lifelong Thoroughbred racing enthusiast and astute handicapper, Ed joined Churchill Downs Inc. following nine years as a writer and editor with Thoroughbred Times.
A writer and editor who has been following horse racing for fifteen years. Peter has written books for the Daily Racing Form Press; Crown; and Simon and Schuster; among other publishers, and regular features in The Horseplayer Magazine.
A television racing analyst for Churchill Downs, Jill has earned acclaim and a loyal audience throughout Thoroughbred racing.