• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Aug 26, 2012
    If you are one of “the crowd” then you cashed a few tickets this weekend, though most of the returns were pale and paltry. 

    You may have, however, zeroed in on one of our choices, Prestidigitator, from our Breeders Crown Countdown blog, and beaten a big choice as the ex-Hambo contender won and paid $11. That is a top price for this weekend’s big events. With the favorite, the other horse we mentioned, Knows Nothing, also from the 2012 Hambo field, the exacta came back $19.80.

    Our obvious choice of the week, Captaintreacherous burned up Mohawk in a Metro Pace elim as the big choice and was followed by exactly who we thought would follow him, as did everyone, Johny Rock. That exacta paid $7.40.  

    We were correct, as everyone was too, with Check Me Out in the filly Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs. She didn’t break stride, which always means a win against anyone in her division. Her 1:51.3 mile equaled her own world record for a sophomore filly. She paid $2.20 in the win-betting only affair. 

    In the other Metro elims we handed out huge plays, Bigrisk at 68-1 (finished seventh) and Teresas Beach at 48-1 (finished sixth). We admit that during our handicapping we gave these horses far better chances than the public. Don’t worry, however, because the crowd choices won these races, so no other outside contenders did any good to play, either. 

    In the two She’s A Great Lady elims we faired better, with a favorite that wound up third (Parlee Beach) and a second with Cult Status.

    We gave Uncle Peter, the Hambo favorite, one more chance in his attempt to win the Zweig for glamour-boy trotters but he was every bit as miserable on the track as he was in the Colonial, finishing seventh at 7-1. Market Share won it, however, and the Hambo champ was an overwhelming public choice to do so.

    The Canadian Pacing Derby elim at Mohawk also went to the chalk as Betterthancheddar won at 4-5. Our swing at the fence with Allthatglitrsisgold, hoping he was returning with some spunk, was a fan; the 54-1 shot finished 10th.  

    Another favorite wiped up any chances for our second-choice pick when Heston Blue Chip (photo above left) defeated Pet Rock in the Cane Pace elim at Tioga Downs on Sunday evening.  

    News And Notes

    For the umpteenth time, California harness racing was saved from extinction. Recently, the state racing board unanimously approved a license application of a new harness operator for a meet at Cal Expo in Sacramento. W & W signed the management agreement with Golden Bear Racing LLC for the day-to-day operation of the race meet.

    The next meet kicks off on Friday, Nov. 2 and will go through May 11, 2013, with Friday and Saturday programs until Dec. 22. At that time Thursday, Friday, and Saturday racing is added through the remainder of the meeting.

    Colonial Downs will open its 15th harness racing season on Wednesday, Sept. 5 with a six-week campaign over only one-turn mile in harness racing. The meet goes through Oct. 14.

    Colonial offers a 10-race program every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. The annual $400,000 (est.) Day of Champions will close the meet with Virginia-bred freshman-and-sophomore pacers and trotters of both sexes in eight divisional championships.

    Director of Racing Craig Andow has put together a number of late-closer series spread over the six weeks. Most of the multi-leg events feature two preliminary legs and a final. Six of the 10 series feature races ranging from 5/8ths of a mile sprints to 1¼-mile marathons.

    Wishing Stone, a multiple-stakes-winner, including the 2010 Kentucky Futurity, is coming back to the states. The trotter has been racing in Europe since the end of his sophomore campaign. Dewayne Minor, who co-owns the horse, said Wishing Stone left Sweden last week and is shipping to The Red Mile after several days in quarantine.

    Minor said, “To have a horse like that in the barn … gives you a great incentive to continue doing what you do.”

    Wishing Stone’s final appearance in Europe on Aug. 15 resulted in a second in the Jubilee Trophy in Sweden. In June, Wishing Stone won the Copenhagen Cup. In 2011, Wishing Stone won the French Grand Prix du Sud Ouest at 1-5/16 miles and also the Kings Trophy in Sweden. He was second in the Gran Premio Continentale in Italy.

    Minor said the horse should be coming back in pretty good shape, adding he would have to “bring him back up to speed again, get his muscles going again where he’s speedy. There is way more speed here than [in European harness racing].”

    The last time Wishing Stone raced in the U.S. he won the Matron Stakes at Dover Downs, one of six of his final eight starts in the states, including an American-National Stakes at Balmoral Park. He was second to Break The Bank K in the Breeders Crown for soph trotters, covered live by us for TwinSpires at Pocono.

    Minor hopes Wishing Stone will race in the Pride In Progress Trot at Indiana Downs on Sept. 22. If not, the Allerage Farm Trot at the Red Mile on Oct. 7 is his next challenge. He also has the Breeders Crown and American-National on his schedule.

    “There is a possibility we might race him again next year,” Minor said. “We’ll see how it ends up this year and go from there.”

    The Breeders Crown is the next target for all the top horses in their divisions. Click here to get 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 Blueridgevalentino at $6.80.

    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.

    Get onto our mailing list and receive a free copy of a classic horseracing fiction book by clicking here. And listen to the podcast now available for beginners and veterans of harness betting, a new series available free so you can learn more to bet more and win more at TwinSpires. Click here.
    Cartoon by Thom Pye
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