• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Mar 23, 2013

    With the start of Yonkers Raceway’s stakes season we launched our stakes-review season for TwinSpires. This year, once again, we will offer blogs and tweets that cover the top events in North America with the emphasis on wagering the best value available. Exclusives will be on hand, also, as we use our unique connections in the industry to bring you insider news and information as well as we hope to cover the sport’s major events live, first at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian day and for the elims and finals of the Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs in October.   

    The Levy legs on Saturday, March 23 produced one winner for us and he was the highest paying winner of the six legs. Defeating the mighty Foiled Again, we had Razzle Dazzle, paying $6.10 (pictured left). Of our other choices, Stonehouse Adam finished second and there were two thirds, In Commando and Casimere Jitterbug.   

    On Friday, March 22 at Yonkers, we gave you three of the five Matchmaker winners, though all of them were heavily played. The only winner we gave you that wasn’t the top choice was Krispy Apple, who paid $6.80. The others taking legs of the series were Camille at $2.30 and Feeling You at $3.90.   

    Our horses-to-watch (H2W) list was updated with suggested contenders and will continue through the stakes season. Here are 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:   

    $22.80 Pro Prospect, Meadows
    $21.60 Rocknroll Band, Buffalo
    $19.40 Special Joe, Balmoral
    $16.60 Southern Beauty, Cal Expo
    $10.60 Littlehannasue, Cal Expo
    $10.20 Whirlwindiplomacy, Balmoral
    $5.80 Gypsy Leather, Maywood
    $5.20 Uncle Bud, Balmoral
    $5.00 Jen’s Delight, Cal Expo
    $5.00 Major Monet, Balmoral
    $4.70 Limit The Risk, Fraser
    $4.40 Polar Bear, Maywood
    $4.20 Stan The Man, Meadows
    $3.60 Aqua Artist, Balmoral
    $3.20 All Over The World, Lebanon
    $2.30 Sweet Lite Candy, Fraser  

    The following are the horses that finished second or third along with their post-time odds. Special notes on those finishes 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).      

    Windsun Flirtini (10-1), Northfield; American Bandida (2-1), Northfield; Mr Massie (15-1), Maywood; Hurts So Bad (4-5), Fraser; Tre Bien (8-1), Fraser; Red Star Bogart (2-1), Fraser; Bo Knows Power (5-2), Cal Expo; Sea Bug (6-1), Cal Expo; Imbadimnationwide (35-1), Buffalo; Hes Redhot (5-1), Buffalo; Hebedaone (11-1), Buffalo; Tyler Palko (4-1), Buffalo; Allamerican Dice (7-1), Buffalo; Just Plum Luck (3-2), Cal Expo; Time To Roll (7-1), Balmoral

    Bubs Desire (1-1), Maywood; Revere Hanover (6-1), Maywood; Semper Fortis (5-1), Fraser; Red Star Kermit (20-1), Fraser; Lucky To Live (8-5), Cal Expo; Brother Nick (6-1), Buffalo; Sbd First Blood (9-1), Lebanon; Adrelia’s Prince (11-1), Buffalo; Hitithard (3-1), BalmoralBoo Coo Blush (6-5), Cal Expo; Smiling Major (34-1), Cal Expo; Stamped By Design (4-1), Balmoral

    Ccs Lover N, another H2W pick in the race won by Pro Prospect at the Meadows completed an exacta worth $149.80.
    All adjustments for returnees to the list and additions will be in the Thursday blog.


    News And Notes

    Standardbred horses returner to the seven-eighths mile oval at Hoosier Park recently for the first round of qualifiers in preparation for the 20th season of harness racing. The opening qualifying session featured ten qualifiers filled with horses gearing for the upcoming season along with some familiar names making their 2013 debuts.
    Millionaire trotter and multiple Indiana Sire Stakes champ ABC Mercedes qualified for driver-trainer Trace Tetrick, Hoosier’s reigning leading driver. “I'm excited to be back and start the season,” Tetrick said. “The track held up well today with the weather and I think it will only continue to get better as the season goes on.”  
    Live racing is set to kick off on April 2 and will follow a Tuesday-Saturday schedule with a daily post time of 5:30 p.m.  
    Early in the year we reported that Running Aces harness meet was being challenged by thoroughbred sources at Canterbury Park. That group filed a request that the Minnesota Racing Ccmmission revoke the gambling license at Running Aces because it did not turn over a correct share of simulcast revenues it for thoroughbred races. The commission has given Running Aces the nod to open its harness meet on June 1. The commission voted in favor of Running Aces to the joy of 600 employees.
    Vernon Downs has added a pair of late-closing events. The Catherine Burton Trotting Series has preliminary legs on April 19 and April 26. The Anthony Farina Pacing Series’ legs go on April 20 and April 27. The finals for each will be on Kentucky Derby Day, May 4, with a special 5:10 p.m. first post. Both legs of each series go for $4,000 with $10,000 added to each final. Vernon kicks off its 60th year of racing on Friday, April 12, with a first race post of 6:45 p.m. The meet will consist of 90 days of racing spanning April 12 through Nov. 2.

    On March 21 at Woodbine, Scott Zeron became the youngest driver in the sport to reach 2,000 wins. He was the youngest Canadian driver to hit 1,000 wins, accomplishing that at 22 until Doug McNair beat him. “It feels terrific,” Zeron, son of veteran horseman Rick, said. “I just hope I can keep the streak going and reach 3,000 wins.” Zeron has accumulated over $25 million in purse earnings and currently leads all drivers on the Woodbine-Mohawk circuit in wins and money.

    Speaking of Canadian-based drivers, Marck MacDonald is the latest figure to leave the troubled terrain of Ontario. On March 23 MacDonald began weekend driving assignments at the Meadowlands. He said, “With the stakes races at Yonkers coming up and some of the Meadowlands regulars following horses over to Yonkers, some opportunities have opened up at the Meadowlands. Plus if you are there full time, you tend to get more chances …If I can get things go well at the Meadowlands then I’ll stay.”    

    At 34-years-old MacDonald has over 5,100 victories and lifetime earnings of over $64 million. His two biggest wins came in the Little Brown Jug with Mr. Feelgood (which we called early in the season during the YouBet days) and the North America Cup with Sportswriter.

    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, exclusive to Cotolo's TwinSpires blog
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