• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Dec 16, 2012
    There were winners again from our exclusive horses-to-watch list (H2W) but also this weekend we were reminded the importance of being accurate with our records. We made a mistake with a horse that we accidentally omitted from the H2W and that error came back to bite us in our pocketbook. No one is a perfect, even veteran players and record keepers can make mistakes. Still, we owe our readers an apology as well as we need to forgive ourselves for the error. 

    The need for accurate records is imperative; mistakes cost money and sometimes a lot of money. This mismanaged fact cost us all money. So before we go over what we did right this weekend with the H2W, let us explain what happened for the worst.  

    Two weeks ago, when we began to emphasize the H2W as our main attraction since the stakes season ended, we were watching for the return of a horse at Cal Expo—Delightful Shark. He scratched. He was not entered the next week, so we didn’t add him to the next H2W. Still, we should have kept him in the queue, so to speak, to add him when he next raced. Instead, we missed adding him to the H2W when he was entered again.  

    Murphy’s Law, a horse player’s curse, was enforced when Delightful Shark won his comeback race and paid $21.40 this past weekend. We missed hitting him and if you did, also, we apologize. The H2W continues to provoke profits but we cannot afford to miss any edges it presents, so there is no excuse for the mistake. 

    Now let’s see what happened for the good sans the omission.  


    Here they are from the highest paying to the lowest paying winners from the list on our blog last Thursday:

    $12.90, Imherefortheparty, Fraser
    $12.80, Alotta Crackers, Fraser
    $9.00, Liveandinconcert, Northfield
    $6.40, Terror Time, Cal Expo
    $4.80, Cinderella Story, Northfield
    $3.80, Richie The Clown, Northfield
    $3.40, Dots Bigboy, Pompano

    Here are the horses that finished second and third that will return to the H2W list next week and how they finished, along with their post-time odds. Special notes on their affects in those positions follow.  

    Cinnamon (10-1), Cal Expo; Quite A Lady (2-1), Fraser; Exotic Sparkle (3-5), Fraser; Sweet Reunion (5-1), Fraser; Call Me Madam (15-1), Freehold; Country Fresh (6-5), Freehold; Stormin Rustler (6-5), Freehold 

    Call Me Madam was second to the race favorite at Freehold, bringing back an exacta worth $47.40. At Cal Expo Cinnamon was second to the race favorite, igniting an exacta worth $22.70.  

    Precious Few (12-1), Cal Expo; Country Hideaway (15-1), Fraser; Princess Darleans (42-1), Fraser  

    All adjustments for returnees to the list and additions will be in the Thursday blog.

    News And Notes

    Jim Pantaleano reached the 6,000-win mark with two victories at Freehold Raceway on Dec. 14. His win in the 11th Race with Devine Filly got the 50-year-old Ohio native to the milestone.

    Pantaleano drove in his first race when he was 16 at a matinee fair in Ohio and won his first pari-mutuel race at Northfield in 1985. His career best win total of 436 was reached in 2002, 2003 and again in 2010, while his best money won total of $5,659,812 was reached in 2011.

    The harness situation is shaky in Ontario, with government actions to dismiss slots-earning shares to horse racing, so a few horsemen are moving their tacks south of the border.

    Dan Gassien took a huge plunge, going south and west to now be among the new faces at Cal-Expo. He currently has six horses on the grounds with at least three more set to arrive. The 48-year-old horseman was literally born into the sport, growing up around standardbreds thanks to his father Paul, while his brothers also make their living at the racetrack.

    “I always knew this is what I wanted to do and I left school at 15 to start working full time with my dad and my older brother Reg. I drove my first race at Flamboro Downs when I was 18 and got my first winner with my third drive.”

    Working at Cal Expo is Gassien’s first time competing on a regular basis over a mile racetrack.

    “When it comes to driving,” he said, “there are adjustments I’ve had to make as opposed to driving over half-mile and five-eighths tracks, where you have to be more aggressive.”

    Dutchess Seelster, with Wally Hennessey up, scored in 1:54.2 at Pompano Park, tying the track record for mares set by Peace Corps in 1990 and equalled by Three Little Words in 2006. Trainer Don Glowacki handles the lightly raced six-year-old mare that has banked over $215,000 this year.

    One Canadian has already been contacted for a role in the upcoming harness racing movie Johnny Longshot. Trot Insider has learned that Meadowlands announcer and TV host Ken Warkentin has been approached by Emilio Estevez to contribute to the feature film set for production and release next year.

    Estevez wrote the script and will direct the movie about second acts and taking chances; a story of a retired thoroughbred jockey who begins a career as a harness driver.

    Extraordinary Extras

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    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.  

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     Cartoons by Thom Pye

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