• Cotolo’s Harness Review

    POSTED Mar 3, 2012
    There was a little success inside of the big picture of play this weekend and enough of it to toss a profit. We continue to emphasize the importance of win betting, even when you are investing in exotics.  

    On Friday night we accurately called two feature races at the Meadowlands, though we promoted a pass on one.  

    The sophomore-colt trotting division opened its long, dramatic season in the Charles Singer Memorial Final and we gave you the winner, Not Afraid, paying $6.40. We thought we might get a better price but the power of the connections kicked in during the betting (Jimmy Takter, trainer). He was the second choice, as a three-horse entry went off at 70 cents to the dollar.  

    The win was strong, as we suggested it could be, with a wire-to-wire mile. We also like the gelding’s a sire, SJ’s Caviar, because he has a legacy of speed and a record for producing strong sophomore colts. 

    We cannot take credit for Rocklamation winning the Overbid’s first leg but we mentioned that he was one horse that we could make a case for winning, since the field was packed with talent, including the return of Put On A Show and Anndrovette. It was a smart pass, as those two hardly fired and the winner, part of an entry, did not offer as much as it should have to win.  

    If you bought the hot-pace theory we presented, however, and you liked the 9-2 offered on Rocklamation and his two Ron Burke stable mates, you scored. We watched it and made notes. This division will be in action weekly, aiming at some of the large purses it presents through the long season, and there will be plenty of situations to find strong overlays.   

    The same division went at it north of the border as Woodbine presented the Damsel Pacing Series leg with two divisions. We split decisions here but were correct about the public’s minor dismissal of DGs Tinkerbell, as that one won and paid $9. We lost the second Damsel split. 

    At Cal Expo, the no-takeout Pick 4 moved to Fridays and we gave you half the winning combination.  

    Our single in the first leg, Attitude Rules, was a big favorite, winning to pay $3.80. In the second leg we had two choices and one of them, Devilish Donnie, took the race to pay a whopping $20.60. Again, this is testimony to complementing exotic play with win bets on the members of the ticket that you can deign overlays. Our ticket, costing only $8, was paid for by that single win bet, which was the best value of all our choices. This is a plan you should always follow, especially with multi-race exotics, which constantly stack the odds against you hitting.

    Harness News

    Freehold Raceway has reopened. America’s oldest pari-mutuel harness track launched its 39-day spring meet on March 1.  

    The meet will be highlighted by the $160,000 (est.) Dexter Cup Trot on Saturday, May 5 and its companion filly event, the $80,000 estimated Lady Suffolk Trot on May 4. These races mark the beginning of the Grand Circuit and the Hambletonian Trail 

    Freehold races three days a week, Thursday through Saturday, with a 12:30 p.m. post. 

    Chicago harness racing continues to show signs of growth. Balmoral Park had strong handle gains in February. There has been competitive racing with no dominant trainer or driver in action. The track created the lowest percentage of favorites in the nation at 32.01 percent. 

    The Pick 4s, with a minimum of $20,000 guaranteed every night and a low takeout of 15 percent have averaged $27,893 with an average winning payout of $2,646.26 on a $1 ticket. The Pick 4 is on the final four races of the program. 

    Balmoral races on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday nights with a first post of 7:10 p.m.  Central Time. 

    Laneside Lexus (pictured while winning racing on the turf) is a rare breed in that she is a pacer bred in England. The United Kingdom is barely known for the harness racing it presents, no less horses it breeds and sends to North America. This one, an eight-year-old mare, is the progeny of Hopping High, who obviously stands in England.

    Racing at Woodbine, Laneside Lexus won in 1:50.3, giving her a three-for-three streak in Canada. The race was a $42,000 fillies and mares open.

    Corey Johnson trains Laneside Lexus, who now has 26 career victories and lifetime earnings of $79,949.

    (Cartoon by Thom Pye)
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