• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Jul 7, 2012
    The sweltering heat turned into dangerous conditions for man and beast, causing some raceways to cancel their July 7 programs—even the night cards. Temperatures in the hundreds from the Midwest to the Atlantic seaboard swarmed over the minds and bodies of all creatures—even bettors! 

    At the Meadowlands all eyes were on the glamour-boy pacers in the Meadowlands Pace elims on Saturday. The return of Sweet Lou was productive, as he beat our choice, the entry of Bettor’s Edge and Allstar Legend, in 1:49.1. “Legend” finished fourth, earning a spot in next week’s final. 

    New York champ Heston Blue Chip took the second elimination in 1:49. A wall of colts closing late sucked up our first choice, Time To Roll, leading into the stretch. Our other contender, Pet Rock, finished third and made the final as well. 

    At Pocono Downs there were three sophomore colt trotter divisions of the Pennsylvania All Stars. These Hambletonian eligibles offered some value, as it turned out. In the first division we gave you Fashion Astral at $13.80. In the first division we were second with Frost Bites K, losing to the favorite, a $4.40 pay. In the third split we were right about Uncle Peter but everyone agreed with us; he won and paid $2.10.

    We hoped for a speed duel that would take out Googoo Gaagaa in the Yonkers Trot so that Stormin Normand could close on a dueling trio. But “Googoo” broke as Archangel set the fractions and “Normand” got up for second.  

    Friday’s frosh events were not so kind to us, as two of our contenders broke. The closest  we came to a win was Classic Martine finishing second at Pocono.  

    It’s July and our exclusive Hambletonian Trail blog continues to preview races through the weeks for both divisions as Hambo hopes live and die. The reviews of those events and archives of all that has happened since May are at the Hambletonian Society site.  

    Every weekend we offer Balmoral Pick-4-and-win picks at the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program page which includes suggested win bets. Last week we hit with Cinnamon Spider at $9, So Be It at $8.40 and Lady Lakers at $21.80.

    Also, we invite you to enjoy our musings on other standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.  

    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.

    Get onto our mailing list. We’re beginning to contact people with information to help you play for profit. By clicking here you will be added to the list and be secure as a member (we do not share the emails with anyone). Free stuff is coming your way.

    News And Notes

    If you haven’t read the Eric Carlson exclusive interview by Ray Cotolo you can read it by clicking here. Eric won his first Meadowlands race the Saturday after doing this interview.

    This is the best, if not only, time of the year when the issue of sires may be important to harness racing bettors. The freshmen have hit the track and that means new crops from sires expected to be great as well as proven sires are being represented by progeny.

    Among pacers it is interesting to note that Badlands Hanover, who has been siring for some years now and now does so in Canada, leads in two-year-old earnings. “Badlands” was a front-stepping speedball who, when he went to stud, led the new atmosphere of breeding for speed in the standardbred industry. Badlands progeny showed the early foot of their sire and convinced a lot of other breeders and conditioners to definitively alter training methods that once emphasized strength and stamina in standardbreds.

    “It’s all about breeding for speed now,” Joe Thomson of Winbak Farms said to me in an interview when Badlands stood his first season in Delaware.

    So, in 2012 it comes as little surprise that second on the list of money earning sires of freshmen so far is Somebeachsomewhere, the Canadian fireball that went to Hanover Farms to do his stud duty.

    In keeping with speed, frosh-trotting leading sire is Kadabra. He was soph-trotting champ during a year he was not eligible for the Hambletonian and beat most of the classic’s eligibles racing in other major stakes that year. We jumped on his progeny early, documenting his success with fillies, and delivered a good number of winners during our run at YouBet. Poof Like Magic was our winning choice the year she debuted on track and made her mark.

    We will keep you posted if we notice any early season trends in freshmen from new sires, trying to grab an edge the only way we can when it comes to using sires to handicap harness horses.

    Horse-of-the-Year San Pail, a three-time defending Maple Leaf Trot champ, will not be in the 2012 edition on July 21 at Mohawk, according to trainer Rod Hughes. After finishing fifth- in a June 22 qualifier at Mohawk (timed in 1:58.3), Hughes was concerned. He said he noticed that the trotter’s left-hind boot was down “and that’s never a good sign.” Apparently San Pail hit himself in that area at some point in the qualifier. A vet found a slight injury in that area, so he is not going to the Maple Leaf Trot.

    Cartoon by Thom Pye

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