• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Nov 25, 2012
    Harness bettors’ consciousnesses are fickle. Sometimes you lose so much you crave a winner at almost any price, mostly because a long string of losers makes one feel as if one will never win again. It’s human nature. Another strange characteristic comes when you have winners that refuse to pay “enough.” You never really distinguish how much is enough, you just don’t feel right when you win a few and you have to share so much of their success with the crowd in the form of a low payoff. 

    All that counts is what the ledger reveals. When there is more money recorded in the “cashed” column than in the “wagered” column, you are ahead. So it doesn’t matter if a string of low-priced horses get you there or a few choice longer-than-long wins get you there. Either way, you get there. 

    Few of us, however, keep running totals in our heads, so a few days tend to stand on their own merit, even if they mean little to the long-run wagering-investment campaign. That being said, let’s look at another weekend of harness action as one piece in this endless stream of playing we hope winds up in the black, when the numbers are crushed. 


    We wound up with two Woodbine favorites in Nov. 23’s Autumn Series elims for the soph-filly pacers. The one of the two that won, Aubession, we figured to be a second choice at the least. But she won and paid $4.50. The other, a filly on a streak that did not seem to want to stop, made the final but lost. That was Drunk And Dramatic.  

    On Nov. 24 our two Autumn Series elim colt pacers did not win. True To Mach wound up third and Machinist was out of the money. 

    During the season we heralded the talents of Hillbilly Hanover, a glamour-boy pacer that showed promise against the top rung of the division. He failed countless times and was winless until two weeks ago when he won a conditioned event against far less productive horses. The week later he comes back and defeats Heston Blue Chip in a Matron Stakes elim and pays $30. 

    That happened at Dover on Nov. 25. “Heston” had a tough trip and defeating nothing last week encouraged “Hillbilly.” So it goes. Mel Mara made the final but finished fourth in the other elim.


    From last week’s Horses to Watch List (H2W), we had two winners.

    At Batavia, we gave you Vintage Fenom ($6.50) and Right Back At You ($3.20) on Nov. 23. These two leave the list but if you like them next out off of the win and they are offering decent prices, you could back them again. The two others on the Batavia H2W list remain another race. One of them, Anastasia Willie was third at 21-1).

    There were two seconds at Lebanon, Request To Win (11-1) and Clem’s Pride (5-2). These two remain listed, along with the other four on the Lebanon H2W list.

    The Cal Expo H2W list gave out Cruisin Inmybeamer, who finished third at 8-1, and two others. Of those two, Delightful Shark scratched, so he gets two more chances.

    At press time only two of three raced from the Balmoral H2W list and they were both off the board.

    In the next blog, later this week, we will update the list and add entries as well as rename those with more chances (non winners).

    News And Notes

    The Meadows released its racing schedule for 2013. The western Pennsylvania track’s 50th anniversary season will feature 208 live cards, highlighted by the Delvin Miller Adios on July 20 and July 27. Generally, the Meadows will race four days each week, Monday and Tuesday at 12:55 p.m. and Wednesday and Friday at 6:55 p.m. The schedule also features 13 Saturday cards, including both Adios programs, in the spring and summer. A two-week summer break from live racing begins Aug. 17.

    Pocono Downs looks to 2013 featuring another hosting platform for the Breeders Crown. Opening night is March 23, the 48th season for the eastern Pennsylvania track. Post time will be 6:30 p.m, with racing taking place on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays through May.

    A special doubleheader program will be featured on Kentucky Derby day, May 4, with the first post time of 11 a.m., and the second post immediately following the 139th running of the prestigious race. In June and July, racing moves to five nights a week, maintaining a post of 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. A special earlier post of 3:30 p.m. on Fridays is a new addition to the race card.

    The Breeders Crown will be held on one night, Saturday (Oct. 19). Eliminations for the huge night of racing will be held on Oct. 11 and Oct. 12. TwinSpires hopes to once again have us on site at Pocono for elims and finals evening, monitoring exclusive coverage of the historic night of world-class racing.

    Racing in August through Nov. 16 will continue on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday (with the early post) and Saturday. A total of 140 race days are scheduled. The track will be closed March 31 and the week of Sept. 8 for the Pennsylvania Oktoberfest.

    Buffalo Raceway, in Hamburg, N.Y., opens its 71st season of harness racing on Jan. 9 with renewed optimism. Structural improvements on the grounds include two new barns and major repairs on existing facilities, with the racing surface “improved” according to officials. Horsemen are also happy about the plan to increase purses by 10 percent daily.

    All of this contributes to better racing as the usual schedule ensues. Programs will be offered with a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday format. The post time for Wednesdays will be 5 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays will be at 6:40 p.m. Thursdays are added in April. Sunday afternoon racing returns in June and July.

    Buffalo is pleased to announce that they have joined with the USTA Strategic Wagering Program, offering a guaranteed $5,000 Pick-4 wagering pool every Wednesday in January, February and March. Also offered, beginning opening day, will be a guaranteed $5,000 Pick-7 payout.

    Extraordinary Extras

    Get onto our mailing list and receive a free copy of a classic horseracing fiction book by clicking here. Check out special podcasts 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. The latest is called “Three Things Every Harness Player Should Know” and you can watch it by clicking http://harnessbettorpodcast.libsyn.com/podcast-04-3-things-every-harness-player-should-know … 

    Podcast download link: http://tinyurl.com/bsgrx5m 

    And there are mini-essays on playing twice a week. Click here for the latest.  

    Indulge in many 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 weekend we had two winners of four in the Nov. 24 Pick 4: Quality Sport ($8.40) and Holdingallthecards ($3). 

    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.

    Cartoons by Thom Pye
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