• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Aug 4, 2013

    The big weekend is over and we are happy to say it was a terrific theater for racing and wagering as we covered the sport’s huge features on site at the Meadowlands. 
    In league with Hambletonian Society’s press and public relations corps, my son Ray and I were embedded in the press box at the historic track for Friday and Saturday’s programs. In our usual spots the first weekend of August (this was Ray’s fourth visit as the youngest working journalist in harness; he came first at 11-years-old) we worked alongside some veteran harness writers and publicists, many whom I connected with during the ‘90s as an editor of an industry magazine. But for the last decade I have been reporting on the big weekend for the bettors, through YouBet and then TwinSpires. This year we enjoyed our most munificent string of race successes, some which rattled the traditional writers on the scene, and all of which were well appreciated by our harness bettors at TwinSpires. 
    The TwinSpires Players Pool was developed only 24 hours before it was sold out, capping at $10,000. We set out to hammer some big bets and get some big prices on Saturday. But first, we covered Aug. 2, mostly through last week’s blog, and we had a decent evening of profits based on the pre-Hambletonian features. 
    We struck first with Exemplar, a trotter we thought would offer a larger price than what developed. He turned out to be the even-money choice, won and paid $4. However, we offered two contestants as exacta partners and one of them, Deadliest Catch, took second at 39-1, igniting a payoff of $88.20. 
    Of the three contenders we offered in a filly trot, Cupcake won and paid $9.80, followed by another suggested exacta partner, Silver Credit, and that combo came back with a price of $30.80. 
    Saturday’s program began before noon and the Players Pool (PLP) was launched from the starting race. We urged everyone to follow our tweets at TwinSpires for any alterations in the blog text on the Hambletonian-day card. The blog hit the first winner, I Luv The Nitelife ($2.80) with Ms Caila J Fra second (exacta $7.20), while the PLP went for Jerseylicious, who finished fourth. 
    The second race was a disappointment for PLP and blog-followers as Heaven’s Door made two costly breaks at 9-2 and was eliminated. The blog’s second choice, Lifetime Pursuit (2-1) finished second to the huge favorite. 
    Then, the PLP exploded with its and the blog’s choice winning Race 3 at 17-1. D’orsay (photo on right by Ray Cotolo), predicted to put in a big winning mile, broke the World Record for sex, age and gait, smashing the powerful mare-trotter field in a stunning 1:51.4 victory that left her foes shuddering. She paid $36.60 to win ($13.40 to place and $7 to show, wagers included in PLP). PLP investors were also treated to the trifecta, which paid $181.20 (which we had multiple times [mx]).
    Rocklamation was third in the next event (PLP picked up the $32.80 mx). The next race got PLP a $14.60 favorite-full trifecta (mx) with Southwind Spirit, the blog choice, third. Take My Picture, as our choice, lost in the next race, souring our exotics. 
    The Hambletonian elim heats followed and Smilin Eli was second, with PLP cashing on place and show. Tweeting the next elim, we went with Creatine for the PLP and he won, paying $13.80 and $5.80 for our place wager. We nailed that exacta for PLP with Wheeling N Dealin second, paying $44 mx. We were out of all bets in the last Hambo elim. 
    Twitter followers then got the word that the horse to go with in the John Cashman, Jr. stakes for older male trotters was Sevruga. Our blog choices contributed to the exotics as Sevruga won, paying $21.60. The exacta paid $152.80 mx and the trifecta came in $479 mx. 
    We nailed the Hambletonian Oaks Final with Bee A Magician and 15-1 shot Classic Martine, adding to the PLP profits. 
    We did not win the Hambletonian Final. The dead-on favorite, Royalty For Life, which we admittedly played down as a major contender in the Hambo fields, won the conclusive heat easily at 4-5.
    Finally, place and show on our PLP choice, Malak Uswaad N, in the season’s finale race, completed a highly successful run of winning tickets for the PLP participants. We thank everyone that put their confidence in our PLP selections through the afternoon and hope to take part again in another harness Players Pool. 
    Remember that the Hambletonian Society web site has archives of all stories from the Hambletonian Trail and coming in the next few weeks we will begin the Breeders Crown Countdown into the elims and finals this October, where we will be on site at Pocono Downs for harness bettors through TwinSpires. 
    News And Notes

    Our stay in the Meadowlands press box was poignant as well as productive, since the main structure of the facility will meet its doom in early 2014. The press corps peered at the new grandstand building from the large glass windows of the press box, knowing it was our final visit to the original building. The new grandstand, being constructed on the backstretch, is nearly completed.

    Turning the composition of the Meadowlands facility around also eliminated the stable area, so when the track opens in November with its new face, competing horses will be ship-ins.

    On Friday morning, Aug. 2, the last of the qualifiers for the 2013 season and the final to be held in front of the old grandstand, featured a mile by the sport’s current well-deserved superstar Captaintreacherous. The monstrous pacing machine put on a display by presenting an easy but dazzling 1:50.1 mile, closed by a 25.4 final quarter. 

    The pride of Captaintreacherous Racing, trained by Tony Alagna and managed by Myron Bell, is reportedly going back to Pocono for his next stakes appearance. It should be as a part of the track’s Super Stakes Saturday on Aug. 17, in the Battle of Brandywine. 

    In Ontario, friends and workers at Flamboro Downs are more concerned than ever, as the facility remains empty and the slots continue to operate. An insider said, “The only people who have been hurt is the horse people.” This is the first summer in many years that Flamboro has not held harness racing and Brian Tropea, president of the Ontario Harness Horse Association says that has greatly affected horse people.

    An Ontario news report indicates that former Agriculture Minister Ted McMeekin, who established a horse racing transition panel many months ago, is still attempting to finalize a plan to help keep the horse racing industry in the province from being completely decimated. To read the full story, please click here.  

    Extraordinary Extras

    Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.

    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.  
    Cartoons by Thom Pye

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