• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Oct 27, 2013

    We began the first post-Breeders Crown-season weekend on Friday, Oct. 25, at Vernon Downs with freshman stakes, the Kindergartens, for colt-and-filly trotters.

    From the Breeders Crown frosh-filly trot as our pick there and in the Vernon stakes, Goddess won. She, we suggested, would beat the obvious favorite, Yoga, and she did, with Yoga finishing second for a $26.60 exacta. Goddess paid $8.50 to win. In the single colt trot, our choice, Odds On Amethyst (18-1) broke and was eliminated.

    Saturday, Oct. 26 kept us in New York, as Yonkers held eliminations for next week’s Messenger Stakes. No one was fooled and the most obvious results ensued. We didn’t go against either of the probable favorites in the elims and they won, presenting minor awards. Sunfire Blue Chip paid $3 and Lucan Hanover $2.70. These two glamour-boy colts were also coming off of Breeders Crown performances, both losing to Captaintreacherous in the final.

    The soph-filly Lady Maude also offered elim divisions. We went one for two here, with Scandalous Hanover ($3.20) and a third for Parlee Beach. Those two also were coming off of Breeders Crown performances. The trend is obvious and reflects what we wrote about in the parting essay of our Breeders Crown Countdown blog. If you have not read that yet,
    click here. 

    Hoosier Park was busy on Saturday night with legs for two of its popular series, the Madison County for froshes and the Circle City for sophs. We had only two winners here but were in the hunt and provided a strong place finisher.

    Frosh-colt trotter EL Titan won for us, paying $3. Soph-colt trotter Punxsutawney won for us, paying $5.80.

    In the second colt split, our choice, Show Ticket was second, paying $15.80 to place and $9.60 to show. As the other half of the exacta in that race with the favorite, the pay off was $61.80. Also contributing to an exacta was Monkey Man ($4.20, $3.20), second in an exacta for the frosh-colt trotters. Along with the favorite, that exacta paid $11.60. Another choice was second, as Longwell was just beaten by the favorite in the second soph-colt trot to produce a $7.60 exacta. Two others that we chose finished second but neither My Lady Day nor Jk Endofanera assisted in favorite-related exactas. Both of our filly trotter choices broke and were eliminated and That Friske Feelin finished third. The other two were off the board.

    News And Notes

    For the first time, the $400,000 (estimated) Progress Pace will not be held on the first part of Dover Downs month-long “Novemberfest of Stakes,” which opens the track’s 45th season. The track’s signature event becomes the final showcase on the month-long stakes schedule.

    Dover’s six-month campaign begins on Sunday, Nov. 3. On the second Sunday, Nov. 10, all eight divisions of the Matron Series will feature eliminations with the top eight finishers returning on Nov. 17 for lucrative finals.

    The Progress Pace, the last outpost for glamour-boy pacers, is scheduled for $35,000 elims on Sunday, Nov. 24, with the top-eight finishers racing for an estimated $350,000 final on Sunday, Dec. 1.
    In addition to the Progress Pace and Matrons, the freshman division of the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) is also on the Novemberfest program, starting on Nov. 11. The DSBF colt-and-filly pacers and trotters race in two preliminary legs and eight $100,000 finals.

    Sunday races begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday post time is 4:30 p.m. There is no racing on Fridays and Saturdays. The meet begins on Sunday, Nov. 3 and continues until April 10, 2014.

    Jimmy Takter is now the leading trainer of Breeders Crown champs. After the 2013 series ended, Takter wound up with 18 wins, the most in the series’ history. From team Takter comes the announcement that two of this year’s champions, Father Patrick (one of the
    Four Horses of the Apocalypse) and Uffizi Hanover, are through for this year. Father Patrick will arguably become the winter-book favorite to win the 2014 Hambletonian after a sterling year of division domination. “Uffizi” was one of the two winners of a Breeders Crown final this year that paid double digits. He was our choice, you may, remember.

    Coming back to the track in Canada are 2011 Canadian Trotting Classic champion Daylon Magician and 2007 Breeders Crown colt-pace winner Santanna Blue Chip. They both won qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack last week as they readied their next campaigns. Daylon Magician hadn’t raced since October of last year and was standing his first season as a stud in Canada. But now he returns to the mile battles. Santanna Blue Chip, who retired after the 2008 Matron and the 2007 Governor's Cup, is also giving up stud duty.

    Multiple world champion and 2012 Meadowlands Pace winner A Rocknroll Dance has retired from racing and will begin a stud career in 2014 in Pennsylvania. A Rocknroll Dance won $2,429,441 and was the first horse in history to take three consecutive sub-1:48 wins. Those scores came this year in an invitational at Pocono (1:47.4f) and then the elim and final of the $651,000 Canadian Pacing Derby (1:47.3-1:47.2).

    You may remember we backed him at his prime, winning the “Pace” and more at three. He was never the same dynamo at four until late in the season when he splurged from the doldrums and established world records at four on five-eighths and half-mile tracks. His 1:49.1 world mark on a half was taken winning the Battle Of Lake Erie at Northfield over Foiled Again and his 1:47.4 world mark on a five-eighths came in the Invite at Pocono. In addition, he set the pace for world record miles for Bolt The Duer as a three-year-old (1:47.4f in the Adios Final) and Pet Rock as a four-year-old (1:47.2f at Scioto). He would later defeat all three of those horses in the Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk in track and Canadian record time.

    Extraordinary Extras

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

    Ray Cotolo contributed to this blog.



    Cartoons by Thom Pye


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