Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes
$4.60 Peaceful Prince, Pompano
Blueridgevalentino (26-1), Maywood; Shark Waves (7-1), Maywood; Mach Made Her (11-1), Pompano; Prince Of Desire (9-2), Scarborough; Zindelight (2-1), Scarborough
Mr Abundance (4-1), Scarborough; Bombay Away (7-1), Buffalo
News And Notes
A joint venture of Churchill Downs Inc. and Delaware North Cos. Gaming & Entertainment plans to open its Ohio racino in December. VP/CFO Bill Mudd said the project is a $272-million investment. The track, for harness racing, is under construction. It will include a five-eighths-mile oval. Louisville-based Churchill currently operates casino-style gaming at its racetracks in New Orleans and Miami and at two facilities in Mississippi.
Trainer Dustin Jones is talking about the 2013 Hambletonian Winterbook favorite, Wheeling N Dealin, undefeated at two and unraced so far at three. There have been three undefeated freshman trotters in the past 11 years with serious Hambletonian aspirations—Broadway Hall, Cantab Hall and Dewycheatumnhowe—and only “Dewey” kept his string alive, becoming the first undefeated Hambletonian winner. He won in 2008, making his streak 15 in a row. “Wheeling” ended his frosh winning streak with a Breeders Crown victory at Woodbine.
Reports are that Wheeling has gone through “a smooth transition into his sophomore season” for Jones as he readies for his debut at three sometime this month. He has been schooled (1:57.3 at Mohawk) and Jones said, “He’s been training back real good. We gave him three months off after the Breeders Crown. We started jogging him again in January … He’s going to qualify at Mohawk. We’re not sure if we’re going to qualify him two or three times. Our plan is to race him in a few overnights at Mohawk, then maybe race him the week before the Hambletonian in a [soph] Open.”
Wheeling is eligible to the Stanley Dancer and the Yonkers Trot but Jones said the colt’s connections have “decided he’s definitely not going to the Yonkers Trot.” This is common for colts with a Hambo path, as trainers and owners fear the half-mile race. Jones said, “it’s all about peaking and timing it just right. If we get him ready too early, how are you going to keep him sharp all season? There’s that big carrot out there, which is the million-dollar bonus for winning the Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial, the Colonial and Breeders Crown, but that’s awful tough. We’re obviously going to key for the Hambletonian, then the Colonial, the Canadian Trotting Classic, the Kentucky Futurity and the Breeders Crown. Hopefully, we can keep him good for all of those races. That’s tough enough.”
With the return to heat racing for this year’s Hambletonian, Jones is confident he has the type of horse that can handle it. “He trucks good, so the travel is not a problem, and the heats shouldn’t bother him. He’s a very relaxed horse. Heats wouldn’t have been good for Prestidigitator [Jones’ entrant in 2012] because he’s so hard on himself on the track. On the other hand, [Wheeling] is like two fingers to drive.”
Cartoons by Thom Pye