• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED May 12, 2012

    Winners are coming from here and there in the busy harness racing schedule. With the Grand Circuit in motion and so many tracks open for business, it is extra important to target your plays. We are assisting you every week through these blogs and on Twitter, so follow our leads even if you don’t follow our picks. 

    The Hambletonian Trail moved another step closer to ground zero at the Meadowlands with two John Simpson stakes featuring Hambletonian eligibles and other divisional competition. For the results of these races, as previewed on our spin-off blog, and to follow results of all the stakes involving eligibles of the August classics, go to the Hambletonian Society site.  

    There are many events coming each week along the “Trail,” so check in often for weeknight and weekday action involving colts and fillies that may star in the big dance. 

    Throughout the weeks of the summer leading to the Hambletonian and “Oaks” elims, the Trail blog features wagering suggestions, race previews and event news, in league with the society and TwinSpires.  

    Also, connect to Twitter and follow Frank and Ray Cotolo for up-to-the-minute suggestions on wagers at many harness raceways. Then, wager from TwinSpires.  

    Sunday, May 6, tweets for Flamboro Downs were productive, presenting the following winners: MTL Maple, $33; Prom Mister, $16 and Ucallthatnexcuse, $21.10. In the latter, the exactor horse was also suggested (Stonehouse Baran) to complete an exacor worth $309.30.

    Other winners that day included Cowgirl Hall ($7.40) and Pacific Chief ($4.30) at Harrington.

    Get onto our mailing list to learn more about playing for profit by clicking here.

    In the May 12 Meadowlands finals, we were second with Bettor Sweet (9-1) and both Big Rigs and Magnum Kosmos hit the board.

    At Cal Expo, the no-takeout Pick 4 on May 4 produced one winner—Mighty Fine Hi Ho—paying $11.40 in leg one. Leg two’s duo finished second and seventh; leg three’s single was eighth and leg four’s single placed. .

    News And Notes

    There were 12 qualifying miles on May 12 at the Meadowlands featuring a good number of horses launching the 2012 season. The Jimmy Takter barn is steaming with promise. Team Takter’s Little Brown Fox, a three-year-old trotting colt won in 1:55.3 with Takter driving. Little Brown Fox, a Hambletonian eligible, earned just over $103,000 at two.

    Takter was up behind another Hambo hopeful, Uncle Peter, with the colt winning in 1:55.3. Uncle Peter won $347,955 last year, including his mild upset against Promise The Will in the Breeders Crown.

    Guccio gave Takter three qualifying wins in arow as trainer and driver with another Hambo student. Guccio earned $59,585 as a rookie.

    Takter’s pacing star, American Jewel, qualified in 1:50.3 with Tim Tetrick at the lines. She won eight of nine starts last year and banked $669,291. Takter’s big morning concluded as See You At Peelers bounced back from a dull effort in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Final at Yonkers with a 1:52.4 mile for driver Brian Sears.

    Trainer Sam DePinto sent out older pacer We Will See in a qualifier and the defending Canadian Pacing Derby champion won in 1:51.4. We Will See is five now and has earnings of over $2.1 million.

    Another qualifier featured early season star Breakin The Law against a couple of well-fancied colts in Simply Business (our Metro-pick longshot special from 2011) and Heston Blue Chip. Breakin The Law won in 1:51.

    Another qualifier went to pacing filly Handsoffmycookie, now three, in 1:52.3 with Tetrick for trainer Scott DiDomenico. Handsoffmycookie earned $575,651 in 2011.

    On May 15, yhe Meadows hosts a $250,112 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) leg for soph- filly trotters. One division will be a showcase for two top contenders for the Hambletonian Oaks, one with a shot at the boys in the main event.

    Check Me Out, last year’s freshman filly Trotter of the Year, and Sand Violent Blu, Pennsylvania’s 2011 divisional champion, make seasonal debuts in the PASS event.

    Sand Violent Blu will leave from the rail in Race 4, the second division, while Check Me Out goes from post 4 in Race 9, the fourth division.

    Check Me Out had a fabulous year for owner-trainer Ray Schnittker, winning 14 of 16 starts and finishing second twice. The wins include the Breeders Crown championship, the finals of the Merrie Annabelle and the Matron and a division of the International Stallion Stakes. She is a daughter of Hambo-champ Donato Hanover and has earned $900,619 coming into her sophomore season.

     “If she looks like she can handle the boys, we’ll probably take a run at them,” Schnittker said about the filly dismissing the Oaks. “She’d have to look like she could really crush them. . . She’s come back a little more relaxed, a little more focused”

    Sand Violent Blue earned $212,552 at two, most of it in Pennsylvania races. She’s qualified three times, most recently in 1:55.2 at the Meadows.

    She fought off sickness at two in between wins.  She was a handful off the track, according to connections, kicking her walls so violently at times that her stall was lined to with protective padding.

    PASS action for 2012 kicks off at the Meadows on Monday, May 14, with five divisions of a $100,000 PA Stallion Series event for soph-filly trotters. Watch the Hambletonian Trail blog for previews and the Hambletonian Society website for result stories.

    Exclusive cartoon by Thom Pye
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