• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Jan 6, 2013
    It was another weekend with horses-to-watch (H2W) success, which, if you are following closely, is defined by more than the winners listed. Within the lists for second and third are live horses that have contributed to exotics as well as some handed out nifty place and show prices, if you are playing those mutuels or across the board.  

    We intend to keep the list going as the stakes season creeps in because we want to continue to publish the most valuable harness-betting blog on the Internet through TwinSpires. We want to stack wagering information here for you, stakes or no stakes.  

    You might say it is our New Year resolution. This season we won’t simply cover the high-profile events, we will make it our business to help your wagering business by keeping the H2W going, allowing you to evaluate overnight racing at many of the tracks carried by TwinSpires and hopefully, helping you strike more wins, places, shows and exotics in 2013.


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

    $16.40, Dan Lowe, Maywood
    $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

    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.

    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 Cal Expo, the pair of Cruisin Inmybeamer and Marlene’s Angel created a $5.90 exacta. At Fraser, Millbanks Ariel and Pureform Goodtogo were the second and third elements in a $2,770 triactor.  From this week’s win list, four of the six winners were second-timers on the list.  

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

    We always suggest you follow Ray Cotolo @RayCotolo on Twitter as he tweets harness picks on Sundays. Last week he had a fiesta with winning horses. At Dover he had Rusty’s Gamble, $6.80, Littlebitofthunder, $7.80; Timmylynn, $6.40 (plus $90.60 exacta) exacta, and Fill My Pockets, $7.00. At Fraser he tweeted Boom Shazam, $6.30 and Im Dynamite, $7.10 ($37.40 exacta). At Flamboro he won with Lynos Regalo, $4.40, Gothic Crusader, $3.00, Machnazetrois, $4.60, Bronte Wine, $6.50 and Machal Jackson, $2.20.  

    News And Notes

    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.

    Here is some driver and trainer news from the Delaware track. Corey Callahan is off to a fast start in quest of a fourth-consecutive leading driver title. Through the meet’s first 100 days Callahan reached three figures in winners. Ross Wolfenden is second and Allan Davis is third. Ron Pierce is fourth and Jim Morand completes the top five. 

    It has been a long time since Josh Green was not atop the meet’s leading trainer standings (he has seven-consecutive trainer titles). Now, Mike Hall of the Doug Lewis Stable, has vaulted into first place. Green is second, Wayne Givens is third, Joe Hundertpfund is fourth spot and Ben Stafford holds fifth.

    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.  

    Extraordinary Extras

    Here’s a free ride for my column in Hoof Beats (the analog mag). My January, 2013 column offers a way to become an organized harness racing investor. Check it out my clicking here. It’s the featured article of the issue and the best advice you will get all year about your wagering campaign. 

    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. On Saturday, our fourth-leg single, Catmando, won and paid $37.20.  

    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.  
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