Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes
There was a storm and it traveled through the East to cancel racing in the north on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15. However, Northlands Park weathered the Alberta chills to race its two biggest soph-pacing events on Dec. 14, after being postponed the week before due to extreme weather (is there any other kind that would cancel outdoor activities in the Great White Northwest?). For TwinSpires harness followers, it was well worth the wait.
The Western Canada Pacing Derby on Dec. 14 was a strike-it-rich event for our fans as we handed you the winner, Bettor In The Bank. The colt paid $37.80, $10 and $13.30 (ok). That same night we gave you two horses in Northfield Park’s Cleveland Classic. One of them, Word Power, turned out to be the 6-5 favorite, making our other choice the bet at 3-1. That was Apprentice Hanover, paying $8, $3.60 and $2.80.
Let’s go back to Canada. On Dec. 13 at Northlands held its Northlands Filly Pace for soph fillies and our blog gave you the third-place finisher. Cenalta Fireworks was quite a longshot, paying $11.80 to show. Followers of Ray Cotolo, who contributes to the Thursday blog weekly, broadcasted the winner of the filly pace on his North American Harness Update show (Fridays at 9 p.m. with Garnet Barnsdale and Ray). That would not be such a great feat were it not for the fact that his pick was Contesta Hanover, who paid $61.40, $19.30 and $8.30.
It was another good week for the horses-to-watch (H2W) list, which is still growing as our feature races for review wind down to naught this season. In Thursday’s blog we are pumping the list up and replacing the recently closed raceways with others available to TwinSpires players. We will also feature a few special paragraphs on some overnights that we feel may deserve more attention that the others at selected tracks.
So don’t let the lack of daylight hours and year-ending chores and celebrations stop you from hitting the computer or mobile device. We are as dedicated to finding great value wagers during this darker time of the season than every other season. Remember the only place on the Internet where harness racing is a priority for bettors is here at TwinSpires.
The H2W results list across-the-board prices.
King Cat Anvil N, $18.80, $10.40, $5, Saratoga
Rio Sweet, $9.80, $4.60, $3.60, Meadows
Willie Boots, $7, $4.60, $4, Freehold
Redestrian, $6, $2.80, $2.10, Scarborough
Bold Fresh, $3.40, $2.20, $2.10, Scarborough
Galactic Star, $2.80, $2.20, $2.10, Maywood
Foof, $11.40, $3.60
Phoenician Gal, $4.40, $3.40, Northlands
Bo Tox Hanover, $3.40, $2.40, Meadows
Princess Mccardle, $2.60, Freehold
News And Notes
Woodbine Entertainment Group will have special post times over this holiday season. With the thoroughbred meet concluded, the oval will conduct harness racing on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until Dec. 28. Post time remains 7:25 p.m. Woodbine will also hold a special Boxing Day matinee card (Thursday, Dec. 26) with post time scheduled for 1 p.m. The Valedictory and Niagara Series finals will headline the afternoon program. In the New Year, racing will switch to a schedule that offers racing on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. There will be no live racing from Dec. 29 to Jan. 5.
Yonkers Raceway has announced its 2014 live harness schedule. The track’s 236-night season begins Monday, Jan. 6. The usual five-nights-per-week harness program schedule remains in effect, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 p.m. Included in the calendar are 15 Tuesday matinees (Sept. 2 to Dec. 9), with first post at 12 p.m. These are not doubleheader Tuesdays, but single programs. The 2013 season ends Dec. 21.
Classified racing is coming to Freehold Raceway in 2014. The Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ) and Freehold Raceway have announced the change. Designating the conditions of races by ABC classification will begin in the 2014 meet that starts on Jan. 2. “Our faith in the switch to classified racing at the Meadowlands yielded fuller fields, more competitive racing and increases in wagering,” said SBOANJ’s chief, Tom Luchento. Director of Racine Karen Fagliarone says she is I excited for the change that she feels will make racing better for patrons. The ABC system returned to the sport after a long hiatus when the new Meadowlands opened. It classifies horses based on their performance and no specific conditions. The jury is still out on its positive affect on the fan base. Fagliarone will continue to write claiming races, maiden and non-winners of three pari-mutuel races for the younger horses. Freehold’s current racing season ends Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. When the track opens for its 2014 winter meet on Jan. 2 it will continue with a Thursday, Friday and Saturday schedule through May 17. Additionally, the track is open for live racing on two holiday Mondayss—Jan. 20 and Feb. 17. Post time is 12:30 p.m.
Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.
Ray Cotolo contributed to this blog.
Cartoons by Thom Pye