Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes
Here they are from the highest paying to the lowest paying winners from the list on our blog last Thursday:
$6.80, Cien, Northfield
$6.00, Red Star Brooklyn, Fraser
$4.20, Harmony Oaks Rebel, Northfield
$3.60, Majestic Lass, Cal Expo
$3.20, Cruisin Inmybeamber, Cal Expo
TE’s Zenyatta (3-1), Maywood; Chevie Balboa (3-2), Cal Expo; Little Box Out (7-1), Cal Expo; Armbro Billow (14-1), Meadowlands; Mousseline Hanover (7-1), Cal Expo; Laugh Away, (7-2), Cal Expo; Succulent (8-5), Fraser; Milbanks Ariel (6-1), Fraser; Marlene’s Angel (4-1), Cal Expo
Don’t Point At (16-1), Meadowlands; Cannes (10-1), Freehold; Komodas Fantasy (4-1), Cal Expo; AJ’s Little One (48-1), Cal Expo; Racetrack Diva (2-1), Cal Expo; Bring It On Kaajay (5-2), Balmoral; Pureform Goodtogo (37-1), Fraser; Bring The Rain (7-2), Maywood
At Dover Downs, weekend racing shifts to a 1 p.m. start for January and February. Monday through Thursday racing remains a 4:30 p.m. post time.
Canadian horse racing is going through some very tough times as the government divorces financial input from the casino business. To read a story on the current perils of pacers, trotters and thoroughbreds in the Great White North, click here.
For the fourth consecutive year, Ron Burke led all trainers in North America in wins and purses. He did it with record-breaking totals again as well. Burke won 906 races in 2012, breaking harness racing’s training record of 842, established by his stable in 2010. He saw his horses win $19.69 million in purses in 2012, breaking the record of $18.54 million set by his stable in 2011.
He was not prominent as a driver on the stakes schedule this season but George Brennan has scored again as Driver of the Year, according to Harness Tracks of America. For the second year in a row Brennan is HTA’s choice. It is an achievement that remains the most difficult award in the sport of harness racing to win.
The 45-year-old Brennan won over 3,438 drivers who competed for purses in North America in 2012. Under the HTA formula, points are awarded on the basis of 25 for first down to one for 25th in the standings in money won, races won, and UDR, with a 25-point bonus for finishing in the top 25 in all three categories.
Brennan, who works mostly at Yonkers, took the title with most wins in overnights at the New York half-mile. He received 622 points over Dave Palone, Tim Tetrick, Jim Morrill, Jr., George Napolitano, Brian Sears and Trevor Henry. Raw finishing power makes the HTA award an audience pleaser, highlighting drivers in their ordinary campaigns, which far outnumber stakes performances. This is why you see contenders on the list who rarely show up for the high-profile races.
Northfield Park, Ohio’s premier racetrack, offers live harness racing four nights a week in 2013. January through June 7, Northfield will be race every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evening with a 6:30 p.m. post. There is no live racing on Memorial Day Monday, May 27. From the middle of June through the end of July, the track will add Saturday night racing and be dark on Wednesdays except for a special edition holiday card on Wednesday July 3. Beginning in August, Northfield returns to the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evening racing schedule through October. The only exception is that there will be no live racing on Labor Day Monday, Sept. 2.
A five-night a week schedule, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, will be in effect during the final two months of the year. There is no live racing on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, although the Northfield oval will offer two special Sunday holiday cards on Dec. 22 and Dec. 29.