• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Mar 17, 2013

    There were only two minor features in the sport this week, both at the New Meadowlands and both dominated by public choices. Our picks, Yo Cheyenne Rocky finished third at an astounding 51-1 and Volare De Vie watched all of his foes make it over the finish line before him.   

    Next week Yonkers’ stakes season gets going, so check in with us on Thursday for the weekend preview.  

    Our abbreviated exclusive horses-to-watch (H2W) list was updated (as we studied more trips from raceways around the continent) last Thursday and even with a smaller dose of suggested contenders it performed well. We will add more to next week’s list. Let’s catch up with the results of all the wins, places and shows from this extraordinary list.    


    Here they are from the highest paying to the lowest paying winners from the H2W for March to date:

    $51.20 Bubba Mcgee, Cal Expo
    $9.00 Hesagreateclipse, Lebanon
    $8.60 Lutetium, Buffalo
    $7.40 Love To Rock, Freehold
    $6.60 Sterling Chris, Lebanon
    $6.00 Jimmy Rip, Maywood
    $4.20 Monet’s Lily, Freehold
    $4.00 I Think Im Dreamin, Northfield
    $3.40 Worker C, Lebanon
    $3.20 Zapata, Freehold

    The following are the horses that finished second or third along with their post-time odds. Special notes on their affects in those positions follow (where two sets of odds appear it reflects two races in as many weeks). 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).   

    Whats Your Fantasy (5-2), Northfield; Hot Cha Cha (3-5), Freehold; Big Sky Bats (7-1), Freehold   

    Windy City Paige (2-1), Cal Expo; In Good Hands (9-1), Buffalo; Redford Hall (22-1), Buffalo; Urban Art (11-1), Buffalo; Buddy Lou (6-1), Lebanon; Cute And Cruising (9-5), Northfield; Lennox Blue Chip (6-1), Balmoral

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


    News And Notes

    Rocknroll Hanover, one great racehorse that turned into one of the best pacing sires of modern time, is dead. The 2005 Horse of the Year winner earned more than $3 million in on the track and in the breeding shed, last year alone, and his offspring won $17 million, which was number one among all harness racing sires. Rocknroll Hanover was standing at Perretti Farms of Pennsylvania.

    The 11-year old son of Western Hanover was euthanized last week at the Mid-Atlantic Equine Clinic after suffering from irreparable colic. Brett Pelling trained the champion pacer during his racing career, where the colt won many of the top stakes.

    As a sire, Rocknroll Hanover (pictured left) has six millionaire performers to date including Rock N Roll Heaven ($2,774,478), Put On A Show ($2,459,903), A Rocknroll Dance ($1,926,152), Rocklamation ($1,193,315), Ticket To Rock ($1,131,163) and Pet Rock ($1,010,236).   

    “He’s made a hell of a contribution to the breed,” said Bob Marks, the marketing manager for Perretti Farms. “I think it was remarkable what he did last year [as a sire]; he was the leading money-winning stallion even though his oldest foals were only five. He’ll be remembered as one of the great stallions; a stallion who was done too soon. Certainly he’s left some sons who will carry on.”  

    To die at 11 is very young for any racehorse and yet death came before the age of 20 to many great harness horses, including Taurus Dream, Bonefish, Malabar Man, Nihilator, Merrie Annabelle and Tyler B to name a few. 
    The New Meadowlands announced that the Nat Ray Free For All trot has been re-named the John Cashman, Jr. Memorial. The event is traditionally on the Hambletonian program the first Saturday in August. 
    First raced in 1981, the event counts among its winners many of trotting’s greatest champs. Moni Maker won the Nat Ray three times and Lucky Jim set his 1:50.1 world record in the race.
    John Cashman’s distinguished career included several high-profile positions, including his tenure at Castleton Farms and in the launching of the Breeders Crown championships.

    Grand Circuit President John Campbell announced that all open stakes raced in North America that were not previously considered as Grand Circuit (GC) would now carry that designation, beginning with the 2013 season. Several racetracks that had not previously been GC members and a few that lapsed have agreed to join and consider their non-state restricted stakes as GC races. Those tracks include Yonkers, Northfield, Saratoga, Hazel and Red Shores Racetrack. Dover and Harrah’s Philadelphia will return after a brief absence.   

    “We hope to help create better awareness of our top races and provide the tracks with a more promotable [sic] product,” Campbell said. “I recently read an account of Dan Patch’s career and many of the stakes he won held the Grand Circuit designation at tracks now long gone. It added to the excitement of those races. We hope to help recreate the some of the enthusiasm of those times in our modern product.”  

    A brand new GC logo has been created in the hope that it will be included in the program for GC events and on any trophy coolers presented to those stake winners. A formula has been devised to monitor the success of all horsemen in GC races. More information will be made available as the details are finalized.

    Buffalo Raceway will begin racing four days week in April. Thursdays will be added with a first post of 5 p.m. (EDT) starting April 4. This is in addition to the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday schedule. This is one week earlier than originally scheduled, to make up for a cancellation due to winter weather. The 71st year of racing at the New York oval continues with racing on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday afternoons will be added in June and July.

    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.

    Cotolo blog cartoons by Thom Pye

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