• Ultimate Week Of 2012 Harness Play

    POSTED Dec 26, 2012
    As the first dozen years of the new millennium come to a close, harness players look at the horizon of a another season, including a new era for the Meadowlands, which opens its next standardbred meet just a few days before the year ends. 

    As well, we continue to update and supply more entries to our ultra-powerful horses-to watch list (H2W), continuing to provide TwinSpires players and blog readers proverbial “hot horses” based on our experienced spotters’ evaluations of recent races at various raceways.  

    The Meadowlands resumes live racing on Dec. 28 and 29 and will have a 2013 schedule from Jan. 3 to Aug. 3 plus Nov. 23 to Dec. 28 for a total of 82 dates. 

    The upcoming Meadowlands meet “comes with a few wrinkles,” according to track sources. There is a re-introduction to Classified Racing, known as ABC Racing.  (Photo on left of new Meadowlands grandstand in progress while horses qualify for this meet.)

    ABC Racing categorizes horses into A, B and C rankings, replacing detailed conditions determined by money earnings. The system permits the racing secretary to create races in which the entrants are most competitive and equal in ability. 

    A lot of the pressure for classification falls upon Peter Koch, Director of Racing and Racing Secretary. “We are hopeful this method will yield even more competitive racing for our fans. We will still have non-winners of two races lifetime as well as non-winners of three races lifetime for the younger horses and claiming races at every level … We look forward to bringing the public the great racing product the Meadowlands has always had.” 

    How bettors will react to the return of A, B and C classes will be monitored. Many of us veterans have our questions concerning using the system. Here is what Jay Bergman said about it. “One could say there was nothing wrong with the A-B-C system when employed at Yonkers-Roosevelt and other tracks before the Meadowlands first opened. It served a purpose and was received well by horsemen and patrons. It could also be said that although the Meadowlands in 1976 used the condition system that in theory allowed horsemen to classify their own horses, racing secretary Joe DeFrank’s discretion often modified it.” Bergman expresses concerns similar to our own. “How [will] Koch impose his will upon a stable area that simply doesn’t exist.” 

    Horses no longer stable at the facility and racing will not take place as many times a week as it did when the ABC system worked so well in New York. Koch has to deal with horsemen that can ship to other tracks and return, raising a question as to the class their horses fit. Forty years ago if a trainer didn’t like how his horse was classified, he could place the horse in a claimer. So the system takes on a new form that is yet to be clear in its affect on the competition. All of us in the sport will be monitoring the progress or digression of class distinction as the meet ensues and we will be reporting about it all here. Meanwhile, the New Meadowlands offers H2W horses, as listed below.

    Opening night has a post time set for 7:15 p.m. A new bet makes its debut in the $25,000 Early Pick 4 (Races 3-6). The $15,000 Pick 5 (Races 1-5) and the $50,000 Late Pick 4 (Races 7-10) make their return to the wagering format.

    On Our Watch

    The H2W legend is as usual. Before the horses’ names is the track, followed on the next paragraph by a date it (or they) will be racing, with the race in which they are entered (R and race number). If a + is in front of a horse’s name, it means that horse is appearing on the list for the second and last time because it failed to win the first time it appeared. An “ae” means the horse is on the also-eligible list and needs a scratch to get into the race. It is up to you how to deal with more than one horse on the list that is entered in the same race.  

    If a horse that has appeared on the list but was scratched or is not racing its second week consecutively, you will see a N/R after its name and will appear on a separate line from dated entries. And if a horse shows up at another track in its second week of being listed, it will display the plus sign as indicated above. Freehold has closed, as has Philly.  

    The H2W list displays “live” horses that have shown strict potential in recent events, having been thwarted by traffic or going a trip that sends up a flair to notice fresh form. All of them need to be considered contenders in the races noted, getting two chances on the list Wagering on them is based on your own judgment of value, as well as how to do so (win, place, show or exotic). If you have any questions about the H2W list, send them to us through the TwinSpires blog channel. 

    12/29, Whirlwinddiplomacy R2; Gilly Ho R3; Sporty Gypsy R8; Casino Comp R10 

    Cal Expo
    12/28, Rd Lou R3; Comeshomeearly R6; Ogs Si Bon R6; Racetrack Diva R6; Cherry Tree Luke R8; Cherry Tree Nicole R10; Persuade Me R11; Laugh Away R11; Boo Coo Blush R12; Majestic Lass R13
    12/29, +Precious Few R6; Cheswick R8; +WH Scooter R9; +Ajs Little One R13
    +Komodas Fantasy N/R; +Chevie Balboa N/R; +Little Box Out N/R; +Scootin Higher N/R; +Moody Miss N/R

    12/28, +Manos De Dios R2, Succulent R2; Millbanks Ariel R3; +Call Me Up R3; +Fighter Bliss R4; Another Opinion R4; +Red Star Betsy R5; Cam On Mink R6; Red Star Brooklyn R7; Tap Out R7; Pureform Goodtogo R8; +Rossridge Fortune R8
    +Red Star Dana N/R; Workfortheman N/R

    12/28, Rejoiceandbehappy R3; Georges Ztam R7; Tes Zenyatta R9 ae; Cams Princess Wave R11 

    12/28+Aint Got A Home R1; Three New Dawns R3; Arctic Fire R7; Likeabatoutahell R8; +Stormin Rustler R12 

    12/28, Passionate Gold R1; Perfekjehlmnkalfas R2; Triple G R3; Rd Rustler R3; Cien R4; +Our Mclovin R10; Custers Last Stand R11; She Shell Cruise R12; Harmony Oaks Rebel R13; Macjurcoharry R13
    +Kinnick N/R; +Arts Shadow N/R; +Lee A Bryant N/R; +Sand Latte N/R 

    12/29, Lucky Sniper R1; Lee Wind R2 ae; Dragons Blood R3; Muscles To Spare R5; Jazz Band R6; Kennairnmachmagic R6; +Max Q R9; +Major Najor R10 
    +Desert Hanover N/A


    Cartoon by Thom Pye

    Ray Cotolo contributed to this edition.

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