• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Jun 15, 2013

    The top news for the weekend is some of the biggest news of the season, as we called it, with Captaintreacherous winning the $1-million Pepsi North America Cup. We call your attention to a blog I wrote for the standardbred industry two days before the “Cup,” which is everything I have to offer about this great colt. Click here to read.  
    Aside from the accolades, we told you that at 1-1 or up Captaintreacherous would be an overlay. He paid a remarkable $4.80 to win. The buzz horses were all zapped by the stretch to the point where the longest shot on the board—Twilight Bonfire—who got into the race on the random draw, closed on the inside to be second at 96-1. He paid $44 to place and ignited a $213 exacta. We cannot take any credit for that exacta. In fact, our best second choice, Odds On Equuleus, raced badly. Trainer Tony Alagna’s other entry, Wake Up Peter, got up for third.
    Alagna was understandably ecstatic.  “Indescribable, it’s profound,” Alagna said after the race. “[Captaintreacherous] elevated himself to the great pantheon of horses tonight … Every time this horse gets a question mark he comes back with an exclamation point.” 
    In the filly version, we missed the triple by one position but gave you the $20.10 exacta as I Luv The Nitelife blew the field away in the stretch to win and pay $3.20. Belle Boyd was second in that combo. 
    We lost the Armbro Flight to the favorite, Maven ($2.80) with our 22-1 shot that finished seventh. One of our two selections in the Mohawk Gold Cup won; second choice Warrawee Needy paid $7.10 while first choice Fred And Ginger suffered a bad journey as the favorite and finished sixth. 
    The night before the Cup we could only hit with a strong choice at the Meadows, as Lonewolf Currier paid $2.80. 
    For result stories and our winners on soph-colt-and-filly trotters’ stakes, visit the Hambletonian Society’s special archive page for the Hambletonian Trail stories.   
    $10.60 Purple N Gold, Running Aces
    The following are the horses that finished second or third along with their post-time odds. Special notes on those finishes follow. 
    Dolly Howard (25-1), Running Aces; Eradikate (1-2), Northfield; Debsgirloffortune (12-1), Buffalo 
    Fiorenza (1-1), Scarborough; Camp Counselor (20-1), Pompano; Young American (1-2), Pompano 
    Dolly Howard finished behind Purple N Gold at Running Aces for an exacta worth $278.80. Only 22 horses went to post.  
    All adjustments for returnees to the list and additions will be in the Thursday blog. 
    News And Notes

    The Hambletonian will remain at the Meadowlands through 2018 and hopefully TwinSpires will be able to report on it and all of the orbiting stakes live, as well as all the races leading to the classic trot. The Hambletonian Society, the race sponsors, and the Meadowlands have extended the existing contract three years. The Meadowlands has hosted the event since 1981. The $1.2 million renewal takes place on Aug. 3.

    The Hambletonian, first contested in 1926, was presented at five different tracks, including a 25-year run, until 1980, at the harness meet in DuQuoin, Illinois. 

    Here is a driver’s update. At Vernon Downs, on June 13, driver Roman Lopez became the first driver to post five wins on a single card at the 22-program meeting. The track was sloppy and the 53-year-old horseman managed to bring home enough winners for a flat-bet profit of $22.70 (it cost $20 to play each horse he drove on the program and the total return on five winners was $42.70). Lopez lost five drives on the same program.

    I was not only lucky enough to have witness the great trotting mare Peace Corps race, I was fortunate enough to meet her in her stall when former owner Hans Enggren housed her at Kosmos Breeding Farm in Pennsylvania. Recently, it was confirmed that Peace Corps died in Mallorca, Spain, last November at the age of 26. Her current owner, John Bootsman, confirmed the mare’s demise. He said she had a “good life” on the island in the Iberian Peninsula. 

    Peace Corps (pictured left) was a five-time (1988-1992) divisional trotting champion, who earned $4,137,737. She raced from 1988 to 1994, and was the top money winning female standardbred in the world. Early in her career, she was trained by Tom Haughton and started in the 1989 Hambletonian, which was won in a dead heat by Park Avenue Joe and Probe. Peace Corps was third. Peace Corps also won the Breeders Crown four times, in 1988, 1989 and as a mare in 1990 and 1992.

    The undefeated Wheeling N Dealin, a top Hambo contender got onto the track for the first time since winning the Breeders Crown last October. Wheeling N Dealin won his qualifier at Mohawk in 1:55.3. Trainer Dustin Jones said last week that the colt will qualify at least once more and then try and get a few overnight races before the Hambletonian. 

    Also qualifying on June 12 was last year’s North America Cup winner Thinking Out Loud and his talented stablemate Dapper Dude, as well as Little Brown Jug winner Michaels Power. Thinking Out Loud won his qualifier in his first appearance since December. His stablemate from the Bob McIntosh stable, Dapper Dude, finished second to Michaels Power in a qualifier won in 1:52.3. For Michaels Power  it was the second winning qualifier of the 2013 season.  

    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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