• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Dec 2, 2012
    Enter December and the waning race days of Y2K plus 12. Before we review the weekend, here is a bit more about the horses-to-watch list (H2W).

    We list many horses from a host of tracks. We suspect that every one on the H2W list has shown potential for winning in their next two races. But that is where the directions for play end. We do not suggest any specific play, nor do we expect followers to play every horse each time it races. The H3W list is a powerful row of tips for horses you should heed. Then, how you play them is your call.  

    When we review the list we note winners because they will leave the list. We also note the odds on all horses and ask you to pay attention to H2W horses that assist in exotics. Because most of the horses we list are “alive,” you can judge how to play them. Followers have told us the H2W list has been helpful for hitting well-paying exactas and triples. You can see from some of the odds we post after horses’ race off the list that many are involved in exotics beyond being winners.

    Use them as you decide to use them but take them seriously because they are valuable, having been chosen by experienced race-watchers who are veteran bettors. And now, what happened this weekend: 


    Right out of the box, the H2W produced some hearty winners on Friday, Nov. 30. Here they are from the highest paying to the lowest paying winners:

    $78.20, Kommander Hawk, Pompano
    $17.60, Cody Cobraski, Fraser
    $14.40, Cherry Tree Luke, Cal Expo
    $5.40, Upncoming Prospect, Cal Expo
    $4.80, Romeo Star, Batavia
    $3.40, Gold Device, Cal Expo

    Here are the horses that will return to the H2W list next week and how they finished, along with their post-time odds (check track results for the exotics involving them).

    Just Frank (2-1), Batavia; Buckeye Beauty (7-1), Lebanon; Cash Poor (22-1), Pompano; Fighter Bliss (12-1), Fraser; Sweet Reunion (9-5), Fraser.

    Western Mandy (7-2), Lebanon; Machine (3-1), Lebanon; Major Najor (4-1), Pompano; Franco Smoothie N (6-1), Cal Expo; Cruisin Inmybeamer (30-1), Cal Expo; Princess Dorleans (26-1), Fraser.

    Goldstar Raider, Pompano; Fox Ridge Banker, Pompano; Delightful Shark, Cal Expo; Panic At The Disco, Fraser.
    All adjustments for returnees to the list and additions will be in the Thursday blog.


    Our two possible upsets in the soph-colt pacing Autumn Series final were beaten by another longshot at Woodbine, while we lost the final for filly pacers to the dead-on favorite. Heston Blue Chip, as expected, won the Matron Final for glamour-boy pacers at Dover on Sunday. That race completed the division’s stakes season. The late surge of “Heston” further clouds top honors for soph-colt pacers this season.

    There are a few stakes remaining in the waning days of the year, which we will cover in our Thursday blog. These include Northlands’ Filly Pace and its Western Pacing Derby. Also pending is the Cleveland Classic at Northfield.

    News And Notes

    Ray Cotolo, who works with us on all harness projects and has been the youngest reporter of Hambletonian and Breeders Crown races in the history of the sport, is one of six nominees of the Lew Barasch Breakthrough Award for 2012. He is being recognized for his highly visible contributions as a journalist in the industry while only 14-years-old.

    Opening night for the Meadowlands meet is Friday, Dec. 28. The track will race Thursday, Friday and Saturday through March 16. Racing will then change to a Friday-through-Saturday schedule for the duration of the winter meet and the championship meet, which concludes on Hambletonian day, Saturday, Aug. 3. In 2013, the Meadowlands will offer a fall meet that begins on Saturday, Nov. 23 and will race on Friday and Saturday through Saturday, Dec. 28.

    A significant pari-mutuel development at Pompano was the debut a 10-percent take-out on their Pick-4 wager—by far the lowest in the industry—beginning on Monday, Dec. 3. The only Florida harness track offers racing on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays with a 7:05 p.m. post time.

    After a 35-year career as a harness driver, John Gilmour has retired. The Ontario native, who spent the vast majority of his life racing in New York State, won his last race last week. It was his 4,492nd victory from 28,655 starts. He amassed just over $9.5 million in purses. Gilmour is one of four brothers who left Ontario for harness racing in the USA. His other brothers included George, the late Buddy, and Lloyd.

    Break The Bank K, a millionaire and winner of the 2010 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colt Trot, is also retiring, though his work in the industry will continue; he will stand his first season at stud in 2013 at Midland Acres in Ohio. 

    Break The Bank K campaigned for trainer Trond Smedshammer as a three year old, when he was covered extensively on the TwinSpires-Hambletonian Society Hambletonian Trail/Breeders Crown Countdown blogs. Break The Bank K is a son of Revenue S, who also sired this year’s Hambletonian winner, Market Share.

    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. 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.

    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.


    Cartoon by Thom Pye

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