• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Feb 3, 2013
    A banner weekend for our horses to watch list (H2W) includes carpet-bombing cashing at the Meadows and a more-than-usual list of double-digit winners from other tracks that also contributed to some mighty exotic prices.

    The weather agreed with the tracks involved as February 2013 debuted but regardless of ill climates and upcoming stakes schedules we are continuing our H2W for use by our TwinSpires blog readers.


    Here they are from the highest paying to the lowest paying winners from the H2W on our blog last Thursday:


    $45.80, Loco For Cocoa, Cal Expo
    $20.20, Wizkey Road, Meadows
    $19.00, Bs Surgin Dan, Meadows
    $18.00, Western Dakota, Yonkers
    $17.60, Aks Living Large, Meadows
    $14.20, Taylor C, Pompano
    $10.00, Townline Debbie, Buffalo
    $9.60, Abundasas, Meadows
    $7.80, Rocknroll Jewel, Meadowlands
    $6.90, Live Jazz, Yonkers
    $5.60, Wardog Hall, Meadows
    $5.40, A Fool For Mark, Pompano
    $5.00, Sweetie Sue Cam, Northfield
    $4.60, It’s A Sham, Northfield
    $4.20, Hf Thanks Will, Fraser
    $3.60, Chesca Girl, Freehold
    $3.60, Redmeansgo, Northfield
    $3.40, Morwyn Hanover, Cal Expo
    $3.40, One Lucky Dragon, Pompano

    The following are the horses that finished second or third from Thursday’s list along with their post-time odds. Special notes on their affects in those positions follow. Be aware that some of them were second-timers on the list and will not return next week (you may continue following them on your own, using them as you see fit).

    Dontgetbyme (3-2), Maywood; Coupon Lady (9-1), Northfield; Chang Dynasty (4-5), Yonkers; Hello Linda (4-1), Freehold; Ashton Seelster (4-5), Buffalo); Paisley (2-1), Meadowlands; Mighty Kicker (29-1), Cal Expo

    Wands Tumbleweed (12-1), Maywood; Stoney Interlude (4-1), Maywood; Macho Lindy (11-1), Yonkers; Sammy L (4-1), Freehold; Straight Jack (4-1), Pompano; Hidden Dragon (10-1), Buffalo; Grayland Becky (5-1), Buffalo; Charles Ray (6-1), Meadows; All Day Pass (8-1), Meadows; Bloomington (3-1), Meadows; I Hear Voices (5-2), Fraser; Cody Cobraski (3-1), Fraser; Anasazzi Road (70-1), Fraser; Mystical Victress (6-5), Meadowlands; Barona Destiny (15-1), Cal Expo; Boot Scootin Bow (16-1), Cal Expo

    Though he left the list last week after two failures and we cannot take credit for him in our format, Looking For Jack won at Maywood, paying $48.20, with our choice in that race, Dontgetbyme (see seconds) completing a $217.80 exacta. Again, you can follow our horses after they leave our list; it is not uncommon for them to win the third or even fourth time since appearing on the H2W.

    At the Meadows, our winner Bs Surging Dan (see list above) beat the favorite, which got second (exacta paid $110.20) and our other choice, Bloomington, was third, presenting a trifecta of $465.40. 

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


    News And Notes

    Driver Ron Pierce (right) is closing in on several major career milestones, according to Dover Downs’ master PR man Marv Bachrad. Pierce recently surpassed the 8,500-win plateau, and is now closing in on a major earnings event. Pierce is approximately $5 million away from becoming a member of the $200-million club. Horses driven by Pierce have won more than $5 million in earnings in each of the last 16 seasons. Two weeks ago, Pierce came within two wins of the track all-time record for wins on one program with seven winners on Jan. 17 (we reported on this situation, which was more profitable for Pierce than for bettors). Tim Tetrick set the record of nine wins in February, 2011, with Tim also leaving bettors with little to brag about. As always, we congratulate the drivers for their accomplishments while we try not to let their success get in the way of our success wagering.

    Nick Salvi at the New Meadowlands reports that Brice Cote will “lead the effort to detect and deter the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs [PEDs] and any other unscrupulous practices that affect the racing product.” Cote will do the same at Jeff Gural’s New York harness facilities, Tioga and Vernon Downs.

    Mr. Cote said, “We will follow the facts in our efforts to protect the integrity of racing. The goal is to provide the customer a legitimate, dependable product upon which to wager and the horsemen a fair chance to compete within the rules.” 

    Gural has been committed to the anti-drug campaign throughout his tenure at these tracks and as a breeder and owner. He said that “I want the good guys racing at my tracks so that our customers can handicap the races without having to guess who is using what. I think one of the reasons that our handle has increased this year is the fact that we make a major effort to keep the bad guys out.”

    PEDs have been a concern in horse racing, especially harness racing, long before the Lance Armstrong scandal or the controversy over baseball players. In fact, we uncovered the trend in the early 1990s through sources that confirmed the use of EPO (the chemical associated with the Armstrong case) in horses. In a series called “Better Racing Through Chemistry,” published in a major industry periodical, it was revealed that the idea of using EPO came from the sport of cross-country biking.

    The follow up article, the award-winning “Bloodbath,” brought professional sources to the argument years before the subject became popular. Though the topic has simmered in the context of horse racing, Gural is smart to continue monitoring the PED climate.

    Woodbine Entertainment Group today announced their 2013 stakes schedule with significant reductions in purses. The 30th renewal of the Pepsi North America Cup will go for $1 million, down $500,000 from last season.

    The Metro Pace for two-year-old pacing colts and the Canadian Trotting Classic for three-year-old trotting colts, which in past years offered a one million dollar prize, will be contested for $700,000 this year.

    Woodbine Entertainment Group’s (WEG) signature harness race, the North America Cup will guarantee a purse of $1 million on Saturday, June 15 (eliminations scheduled the week prior on June 8) regardless of the recent problems within the province concerning casino money support. 

    The huge program on June 15 will also boast the $400,000 Fan Hanover Stakes for soph-pacing fillies, the $380,000 Elegantimage Stakes for soph-trotting fillies, the $250,000 Goodtimes for soph-trotting colts and the $265,000 Armbro Flight for trotting mares.

    “Although there are inevitable reductions to purses as a result of operating in a changed environment, [WEG] remains committed to offering the premier stakes program with the best value for owners in North America,” said Bruce Murray, WEG’s VP of Standardbred Racing.

    WEG’s Mohawk will play host to several other major events during the campaign. On July 20, the 61st edition of the $550,000 Maple Leaf Trot will take place and to complement the event will be the $340,000 Roses Are Red Stakes for pacing mares. Eliminations are scheduled for July 13.

    The annual Labour Day weekend extravaganza returns on Saturday, Aug. 31 headlined by the $700,000 Metro Pace for frosh-pacing colts. Co-featured on the card is the $600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, along with the $430,000 Shes A Great Lady for juvenile pacing fillies.

    The Canadian Trotting Classic, for the sport’s best three year-old colt trotters, will take their positions behind the starting gate on Saturday, Sept. 14 for an estimated purse of $700,000. Also that evening, the $365,000 Peaceful Way final for two year-old trotting fillies and the $385,000 William Wellwood Memorial for rookie trotting colts will be a part of the card.


    Extraordinary Extras

    Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.

    Every weekend as part of that blog 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.

    Ray Cotolo contributed to this blog.


    Cartoons by Thom Pye
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