• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Jun 16, 2012

    The buzz about Sweet Lou’s loss in the North America Cup began even before a row of colts began to eat up the late stretch after a sizzling three panels. As it turned out, the three sweeping closers taking advantage of the fiery fractions were none of the outsiders we suggested could beat Sweet Lou.

    Thinking Out Loud won at 8-1 with Time To Roll second at 9-1 and Dapper Dude completing the trifecta at 15-1. Sweet Lou dragged home fourth.

    One horseman source we talked to shortly after the race said that Sweet Lou “looked sluggish in the stretch. Sluggish in one-forty-seven and four? The way he has dominated [so far] he should have drawn off and not been in a five-horse photo.”

    In our preview blog we mentioned that trainer Ron Burke had said Sweet Lou had gotten over a virus and we made note that there could be remnants of the bug to the colt. Burke had also shown concern in the elim victory, as we quoted him, because Sweet Lou did not draw off to win the race.

    Our source said, “Time to run blood counts, etcetera.”

    At press time Ron Burke made no comments about how Sweet Lou raced or came out of the race. We will follow up on the condition of the pacer in our blogs and tweets this following week.

    The Mohawk undercard didn’t result in any pacing winners based on our suggestions but we scored well with the sophomore trotters, scoring a big win in the Goodtimes with the colt Beer Summit. The trotter paid $19.20.

    The night before, at Pocono, we also scored with a Hambletonian hopeful when Stormin Normand won a Earl Beal, Jr. elim and paid $16.40. He defeated last year’s Breeders Crown winner Uncle Peter and our other choice, My Mvp, came in third. Our choices along with the big favorite Uncle Peter, resulted in a $121 triple.

    At Cal Expo we scored with two of the four winners that helped result in a $221.10 no-takeout Pick 4. Total Up won the first leg but only at $7. We were two for two when a better contribution to the so-far-a-winning combo, Cherry Tree Nicole, won and paid $15.40. We were second and fifth in leg three and third and seventh in the last leg, beaten by lesser odds. Our projected ticket was at least four times the price of the wining combo.

    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.

    Our Hambletonian Trail blog previews Trail races on weekdays as well as weekends for both divisions and reviews those events at the Hambletonian Society site.

    Every weekend we offer Balmoral Pick-4-and-win picks at the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program page and we invite you to enjoy our musings on other standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.

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    News And Notes

    On June 16 trainer Mark Ford tallied his 3,000th victory as a trainer, making him the third youngest trainer to reach that plateau. It happened at Saratoga Raceway with My Gal Mykenna in a conditioned pace. Virgil Morgan, Jr. is the youngest trainer to reach the mark, followed by Bob Belcher.

    At Maywood Park on June 15, two elims were held to cast the field for next week’s $124,000 Maywood Pace. Uncle Smoothie won the first split, going wire to wire easily. He was the dead-on favorite and paid $3.20. NJ’s Big Deal, also the favorite, won the second split, paying $4.20.

    Rockincam, one of the older pacing division stalwarts, didn’t finish in last week’s Bettor’s Delight event at Tioga. Owner Steve Farrell said the five-year-old was a victim of atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular heartbeat. You might recall that this condition is what put See You At Peelers on the road to retirement.

    Earlier in the season we gave you Rockincam when he upset in the Dan Patch at Hoosier. Richard Norman trains Rockincam, a son of the speedy Cambest.

    Cal Expo’s season ended on June 16 and there is still speculation as to when and if the meet will start again. Ownership of the Sacramento harness meet is still in question. We will keep you posted from sources within about the state of the harness community as reports come in.

    The Meadowlands and Pocono Downs and Harrah’s Philadelphia have agreed to alternate dates for their older division events to keep fields full. Each track will host an Open race valued at $50,000 for the best of the divisions to keep the events competitive and loaded with the finest talent.

    The Open pace schedule includes a race at Pocono on July 7, Meadowlands on July 14 and Philadelphia on July 22. The Open mare paces go at Pocono on July17, Meadowlands on Aug. 10 and on Aug. 31 at Philadelphia. The Open trots are at Pocono on July 8, Meadowlands on July 27 and Philadelphia on Aug. 10.

    Cartoon by Thom Pye
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