• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Mar 31, 2013

    The Levy legs at Yonkers on Saturday, March 30 testified to our success in this series over the years as our choices bombarded the toteboard. Four of the five divisions were spot on target in our blog’s coverage last Thursday.  

    Best of the bunch were the second and fifth legs. Electrofire and Forever Just, our two choices, combined for a great score. The former won and paid $11, while the latter came in second, a teaming that produced an exacta worth $48.80. The fifth leg resulted in a win for Casimir Jitterbug with a $26 mutuel over the popular favorite Foiled Again.  

    Our other two winners were no surprise to anyone. Rockincam was in a dead heat for the win in the first leg, paying $2.10 and Something For Doc won the third division at $2.50. Our only loss could have been due to a break, as Bet On The Law was surging for top contention when he broke and finished eighth.  

    On Friday, March 29 at Yonkers, only Royal Cee Cee N came through for us in the Matchmaker legs and she shared that win to pay only $2.30. We has a close call as Feeling You finished second at 30-1 in the fifth leg.    

    Our horses-to-watch (H2W) list had more leftovers from last week than new suggested contenders but there was a good rate of winners. 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:
    $36.80 Sign Of The Moment, Freehold
    $17.60 Artability, Cal Expo
    $7.20 My Best Man, Freehold
    $7.00 Ge’s Jody, Freehold
    $6.40 Boot Scootin Bow, Cal Expo
    $3.50 This American Life, 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).   

    Chariots Of Fire (17-1), Meadows; Guts N Glory (7-2), Maywood; Kentucky Freeze (4-5), Freehold; Yukons Luck (7-2), Buffalo; Kiawah (7-2), Fraser; Stamped By Design (3-1), Balmoral; Larry Horse (6-5), Cal Expo; Nicoleta (12-1), Cal Expo

    Lil Miss Snowflake (13-1), Meadows; Wes Mantooth (14-1), Maywood; Schooner Or Later (3-1), Buffalo; Allamerican Dice (14-1), Buffalo; Willow Gram (6-1), Balmoral; Sbd First Blood (13-1), Lebanon; Bo Knows Pow3er (35-1), Cal Expo  

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


    News And Notes

    The best news of the week in the harness world has to be the saving of Kawartha Downs, which was set to close its doors for good as the Canadian standardbred landscape continues to host a torrid new atmosphere.

    The track moved from a privately owned racetrack to a not-for-profit operation and that saved live racing, according to Elmer Buchanan, a member of the horse racing transition panel. Shortly before midnight on March 29 a deal was struck to keep racing at the Fraserville, Ontario five-eighths mile oval. Due to the lateness of the agreement no dates are available for April but it is anticipated that the track will race 20 to 25 programs starting in early May.

    Vernon Downs prepares for its 60th season of harness racing beginning Friday, April 12. Post time is 6:45 p.m. The schedule features 90 race days on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday schedule through Nov. 2.

    A stakes schedule worth more than $2.3 million is planned for 2013, including the $700,000 Zweig Memorial Trots, usually featuring the season’s Hambletonian and “Oaks” characters. The End of Summer Showdown returns on Sept. 6 with a pair of $200,000 races for older trotters, the Credit Winner for the boys and the Muscle Hill for the girls. 

    It’s almost time for Dover Downs to turn over the action to Harrington. The raceway’s 67th year gets under way on April 21. Racing will be conducted Sunday through Thursday until June 9 when the remaining month’s schedule will be trimmed to four days weekly (Sunday through Wednesday). Racing will resume on a four-day schedule on Aug. 12 through Oct. 24.

    Temple Of Doom (pictured below)  is back on the racetrack, this time with driver Andy Miller and trainer Julie Miller aboard. The trotter was sidelined nearly all of 2012 due to injury. After he won a qualifier over Arch Madness in on March 23 at the Meadowlands,  the six-year-old trotter’s first action since winning his only two starts of 2012, both at the Meadowlands last March, he won a B-2 trot as the dead-on favorite on March 29 in New Jersey.  

    Temple Of Doom has been in the stable of Julie Miller, Andy’s wife, since last year. “It’s hard to say how far he’s going to go,” Julie said, “but he’s done everything we’ve asked for coming back.” For his career, Temple Of Doom has won six of 36 races and earned $696,317 for owner Robert Rosenheim. At three, in the stable of Jonas Czernyson, Temple Of Doom set the world record for soph-colt trotters on a five-eighths-mile track by winning a division of the “Zweig” in 1:52.4 at Tioga. He earned checks in the Hambletonian, Canadian Trotting Classic, Colonial, Historic-Dickerson Cup and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial.  

    Although he had an unsuccessful turn in the breeding shed at four, Temple Of Doom won twice that season in the conditioned ranks before heading to the Miller stable in 2012. “I don’t think he’s staked to much this year,” Julie told USTA reporter Ken Weingartner, “but hopefully he can work his way through the conditions and up to the Open. Maybe he could be a free-for-all trotter.”  

    Look at the trotters looking at a 2013 campaign: Little Brown Fox and Guccio, returning at four the Jimmy Takter stable, won their qualifying races on March 30 at the Meadowlands. Little Brown Fox, who our readers cashed in on at three, won $940,000 last season. Guccio, less productive than his stablemate but pulling off some fine upsets for our readers last year, captured his second-straight qualifier this season for Takter. Guccio banked $748,000 last season.
    Check Hambletonian Trail eligibles at the exclusive blog.

    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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