• Cotolo’s Harness Review

    POSTED Mar 24, 2012
    Winners came from all over the map last week, even with the concentration of top events in the first legs of spring’s top-notch Yonkers’ series.  

    On March 23 in the Matchmaker’s quintet of miles, we scored with one of the trio we suggested were contenders as Mystical Diva won with Breakheart Pass second. The former paid $11.20 to win and the latter completed a $107 exacta.  

    Three others in the series took second or third spots, one of them, Arctic Fire N, was third at 54-1. Unfortunately it was the race where See You At Peelers returned, finished in a dead-heat with Chancey Lady and show betting was barred.  

    The following night the George Morton Levy series began with the seniors of male pacing and we scored with Art Z for the second straight week. This week he only paid $12. We had two other seconds and a third. If you were following Ray Cotolo’s tweets during the program you would have been alerted to another winner, Real Nice, who paid $10 in a “Levy” split. 

    At the Meadowlands, where Ray was also tweeting contenders, he rewarded followers with Touch The Rock at $31.40. Ray’s March 18 tweets, which we did not report in our last update due to press time, were also productive. At Fraser Downs, Ray offered three winners, one of them with a cold-exacta call. Promise Me Kash paid $27.10 to win and Pretty Promised paid $24.80 to win. That one, with Ray’s exacta choice, Spoons, ignited a $144 exacta. The last winner was Call Me Up at $12.20. 

    At Cal Expo, our no-takeout Pick 4 had a scratch, which was a single for us in the third leg. We did not hit winners in either of the other three legs. 

    Saturday evening at Lebanon some horses from our H2W list came back. Royalness was the lone winner at $6.40. 

    Connect with our Twitter team for late suggestions you can use for win, place or show and in all exotic. Follow Frank and Ray Cotolo at Twitter and wager from TwinSpires. 

    We passed on Horse of the Year San Pail, who returned with a 6-5 win at Woodbine and then we were consistent with our choices for the two Spring Pacing Championship miles. That is, we finished seventh in both. Duh.

    Harness News

    Problems with equine illness are at the center of the news in New York harness racing. Saratoga Raceway had to cancel programs due to cases of “strangles” found in horses in the backstretch.  

    Strangles (strepococcus equi) is an acute respiratory infection characterized by a fever, lethargy, nasal discharge and swollen lymph nodes. Saratoga is taking all the necessary preventative measures to ensure the infection does not spread to other horses. Live racing is expected to return April 11. 

    Meanwhile, Buffalo Raceway has banned any horse that has raced at Saratoga in the month of March or later. “For any trainer who has raced [there during this time] that trainer’s horses will be restricted from entering the grounds,” read an official Buffalo statement. Yonkers, Vernon and Tioga are also taking precautions. 

    In New Jersey, Freehold has banned any horses from shipping from Saratoga. In Maine, Scarborough Downs is implementing specific policies regarding Saratoga standardbreds racing there.   

    He shook up the complex talent of last seasons hot glamour boy trotting division and he is poised to return at four. Millionaire-trotter Daylon Magician is about to return racing, according to Ontario breeder/owner/trainer Dave Lemon. The four-year-old prepares for a return by prepping in three or four races before becoming a part of the field of the Earl Rowe Memorial at Georgian Downs on May 26.

    Dan Noble, who won driving titles at Northfield Park, Scioto Downs, The Red Mile, Lebanon  and 25 different Ohio fairs, is among the colony at the Meadowlands now.

    Noble has been driving at The Meadows, Buffalo and Saratoga, prepping for his debut in the historic atmosphere of New Jersey.

    “I’m really anxious about driving with the top drivers at the Meadowlands,” Noble said. “It’s a lot easier to have a game plan work out and not make as many mistakes. It just makes you better compared to driving against average drivers.”

    “First of all, I think I have to change up my driving style because I’m so used to being on a smaller track. I remember driving at Balmoral, you’re always making speed, yet not all the speed you can make early on a smaller track.”

    Noble won his sixth drive at the Meadowlands on a horse that paid $9.60.

    (Cartoon by Thom Pye)
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