• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Aug 12, 2012
    In the way we offered a win wager on the Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs, Aug. 12, you should have had Pet Rock. We mentioned that if the colt would be worth a price it would be in the elim heat, not the final. As it turns out we were on the money there, as hometown choice Michaels Power was the big favorite in the short field and Pet Rock won as second choice, paying $7.30.

    We warned you against a Pet Rock bet if he won that and made the final, so if you followed us you passed, because Pet Rock was bet down to a prohibitive choice and he finished third to Michaels Power. All in all, that was a pretty good hit, since 5-2 was very fair odds and we can feel good about the prediction and pass to have stayed in the black.

    At Tioga in the Empire Breeders Championship finals, we were nosed out by a favorite and beaten by a longshot. Top-choice Heston Blue Chip won the colt division, with our 10-1 shot, Breakin The Law second. If you so cared for an exacta using the big choice on top you were handed only $8.60 for the combo. The filly division, however, saw an 18-1 shot, Better B Lucky, defeat the giant entry of Romantic Moment and American Jewel. We liked Romantic Moment best of the pair and that is who battled it out at the wire with the longshot. It was a thin nose, a hair, a nano-inch [sic] with “Lucky” on the winning side.

    Friday night the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for freshmen at the Meadowlands saw every one of our suggested contenders in play but only one winning.

    Frosh-filly trotter Shared Past won, paying one of the best price of the eight NJSS events at $9. In order of best finish, our other selections included seconds from Hilarious Hayley (5-1), Rockmyjeans (6-1), Don’t Ya Know (3-1) and Deadliest Catch (7-1), a third by Miss Lauren (4-1) and two fourths, Viva De Vie (7-1) and Rocky Mountain Guy (11-1).

    In three Bavaria Downs New York Sires Stakes for frosh-filly trotters, we had only a second, Crazy Grigio (5-1). Proclaiming Artist (big favorite) broke and was eliminated and Palm Beach Chic (4-1) was fifth.

    News And Notes

    The Sobeys Gold Cup & Saucer is set at Charlottetown Driving Park for Saturday, Aug. 18. Watch our blog Thursday for comments on the event.
    Rebounding from her Hambletonian Oaks debacle, Check Me Out won at the Meadows in a Pennsylvania Sires Stake (PASS) division. It was a stake-record mile of 1:53.4. In the “Oaks,” Check Me Out was in front when, said driver Tim Tetrick, she brushed and spun a knee boot, which eventually dropped to her foot. She began to run, got back on stride and finished third but was placed eighth for interference. In 25 races and 21 victories, she never finished worse than second.

    “That was a freak deal,” Tetrick said. “She just took a bad step.”

    She was unchallenged in the PASS, drawing off to win by more than 6 lengths. Ray Schnittker trains Check Me Out, now a winner of over $1.5 million.

    San Pail, the 2011 Horse of the Year, sidelined due to injury this season, will be returning to the races in a couple of weeks, according to trainer Rod Hughes. “He got a clean bill of health. He’s never missed a day of jogging but we need to get some fast miles into him, so we’ll likely ship him into Mohawk a few times then qualify him. I also plan to qualify him twice and then go from there.”

    We may see San Pail at the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile, where he can race in the Allerage and then, if all works out, he is scheduled to return to the Breeders Crown for his division.

    Googoo Gaagaa also returned to the track victoriously when the pacer-sired trotter captured a $20,555 Maryland Standardbred Race Fund event in 1:57.4 at Ocean Downs. With Corey Callahan driving for trainer Richard Hans, “Googoo” won easily on the half-mile over Windshield, an undefeated Maryland-based colt. Googoo was making his first start since breaking stride in the Stanley Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands.

    The Zweig Memorial for glamour-boy trotters and its filly version will have both a new location and format this year. Raced on Sunday, Aug. 26 at Vernon Downs for the first time, the race is expected to attract the top sophs in the division.

    This will be the first “Zweig” where the conditions dictate that only the top money earners of 2012 can compete in the main events. This year, too, consolations are available for the others.

    As August dips into September, people are already talking Little Brown Jug fields. It seems fairly obvious to anyone following the sport which colts should be involved. So far, the top contenders have not committed to being in Ohio for the event but if any of them are there we may be looking for some of the event’s fastest heats. Among the possibles are A Rocknroll Dance, Hurrikane Kingcole, Michaels Power, Sweet Lou, Bolt The Duer, Dapper Dude, Thinking Out Loud, Bettors Edge, Time To Roll and Allstar Legend.

    The clock is ticking to start the countdown for the Breeders Crown. Click here for the foreword to the exclusive Breeders Crown Countdown blog.

    Extraordinary Extras

    We invite you to enjoy our musings on other standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances. Every weekend as part of that blog we 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 Captain Obvious at $20.20, BP Giant Fool at $7, Ice Scrape at $3.60 and Brooklyn's Desire at $3.60.. 

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

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    Cartoon by Thom Pye
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