• Cotolo’s Harness Review

    POSTED Jan 29, 2012
    At the Meadowlands this past Saturday we cautiously approached a few winter finals and managed to nail just one. 

    A minor success among the swarm of favorites in the trio of events was our exacta choice in the Clyde Hirt Final. There, we suggested two horses, Special T Rocks and Thebestofjoel. Those two finished first and second, respectively, with a $4.60 win price and a generout $26.20 exacta included. 

    The Presidential and Complex finals were taken by the obvious horses and our suggested upsets were both dead last in each.  

    Our suggestions as we tweeted for all races at Woodbine on Jan. 28 in an attempt to help TwinSpires players to pick up 10X points on successful $10-win bets was a parade of bad breaks.   

    We tweeted only one winner, Quarter Bayama, and he was disqualified and placed second for galloping at the wire. The closest any other pick came was an honest second, per se, as Harnessnitencanada took the place in the seventh race.  

    A few other of our horses never got started, breaking at the gate, and a bad trip or two burned out another few along the way to a disastrous dozen races mostly dominated by public choices.  

    Those of you following the winter series at Woodbine may have picked up DGs Tinkerbell, the filly pacer we liked a few weeks back to win the Blizzard Series Final. She did just that, though only paying $6.20.  

    From the Watch List (H2W) at Pompano, Fox Ridge Banker won, paying $35.60, and Running Ron won, bringing in a poor $4.60. 

    At Cal Expo, the no-takeout Pick 4, a single 10-1 shot managed to combine with three favorites for a $393 payoff.  

    Two of the winners were on our ticket, which cost $8 based on a $2 wager. When handicapping the races (on our Thursday TwinSpires blog also available through espn, we had no idea they would be so heavily bet. We had the first leg with Freedom’s Art ($6.80) and the final leg with Jane The Brain ($5.20).  

    Our second leg participants included two horses: Hollywood Lenny at 22-1 and Asgoodasioncewas at 32-1.  

    The longshot that won the third leg beat our horse that turned out to be the favorite, Komodas Fantasy. So, even with some of our choices going to the public, our Pick 4 with either of our second-leg picks winning would have come in a higher price.

    Harness News

    Northfield Park will increase its Pick-4 guaranteed pools to $15,000 starting Feb. 1. The track’s Pick 3s, 4s and 5s offer a reduced takeout rate of 14 percent. That is the lowest takeout for such exotics in the sport. It is part of the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program which has been a resounding success across America and which includes this writer as a handicapper.

    The famous Prix d’Amerique took place in Paris on Jan. 29 at Vincennes.

    The seven-year-old French trotter Ready Cash, driven by Franck Nivard, won Europe’s biggest trotting race for the second-consecutive year. Ready Cash went to post as even-money favorite.

    Roxanne Grif was second and The Best Madrick was third. Ready Cash goes again in two weeks in the Prix de France as the European Grand Circuit ensues.

    The Miss Versatility series has become a highlight in the thin menu of major events for trotting mares. The good news is the light becomes brighter in 2012 as the event will be bigger and richer. The purses for the series legs have been raised from $25,000 to $40,000 ($30,000 div.) and the number of legs has been increased from three to four.

    For the first time, Woodbine and Mohawk will participate, hosting the first two legs at Mohawk on May 20 and Woodbine on July 1. The Meadowlands will present leg three on Aug. 17 with Tioga Downs has the fourth leg on Aug. 26. The $100,000 (est.) final will again be raced on Little Brown Jug day, Thursday, Sept. 20) at the Delaware County fairgrounds.

    (Cartoon by Thom Pye)

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