• Winter Watch In Progress

    POSTED Jan 29, 2014

    This week, again in the throes of the Polar Vortex (unaware at press time if any of the tracks involved in our choices have cancelled), we cover the aptly titled Blizzard Series Final at Woodbine on Jan. 31. It’s an early season highlight as we roll into February. There is plenty of racing this weekend, however, weather permitting, and regardless of the sports’ world’s focus on the Super Bowl on Sunday.

    Our overnight events, specially chosen races, present highly probable profit-producing fields and our horses-to-watch (H2W) list, both which have been productive as 2014 heads for its second month. Please note that horses from our featured overnight events the week before appear on the H2W list as second-time members if they did not win when we highlighted their previous race.

    ’Blizzard’ Conditions

    It should come as no surprise that the second leg of this two-leg series for three- and four-year-old filly and mare pacers was raced in a sheet of falling snow so strong that it clouded the call of the races. Now the $34,000 final field leaves the gate at Woodbine on the last night of January, hopefully, as the weather dictates.

    The short series has been packed with entries and the first or second favorites have won all but one edition, which was taken by a 4-1 shot. Looking for an outside contender here, however, appears simple. Not one of the choices in all the prelims repeated a victory, so it is possible that one that has been abandoned may be the key. We see that one as Zip Car.

    In the second division of leg one Zip Car was sent off a little more than 3-2 and finished second as the public choice. It was a fertile trip as she left, dueled wide, got the top, extended her lead and lost by a mere neck to the second choice at the wire. The next week, in leg two, from post 9 she was sent off at 68-1. She hardly participated in that event and yet she shows up in the final, drawing the outside again. Whatever the strategy her trainer and driver decide to use, she is going to be a factor in this race and the kind of factor that can upset a field that comes to the final with no dominant femme.

    Also taking a shot in the final after a few tough trips is Stoneridge Classy. She made a huge brush in the snow, gaining 5 lengths and unable to find the wood afterwards and was MIA with the rest of the group with the snow at the three-quarters. She should play a role in the exotics and is also in a good spot to upset. Together, these two, with forms of success, will storm the toteboard in the Blizzard final.

    This week’s overnight offerings:

    Jan. 31, Race 4

    Friskie Pants was active on our H2W list a few back and though he was competitive he didn’t win. However, he comes back to his most successful level of late and goes into the 4 hole while dropping down. He has the kind of speed that can make a front-pacing win possible and he has the ability to sweep and go the distance late. Here he may take the first option and if he makes it we should be looking at a great price.

    Jan. 31, Race 7

    The first two morning-line (ML) choices, coming from posts 1 and 2, will find a challenge from outside-contender Wild Ride. His ML is 15-1 for reasons unexplained to us. This Ontario-bred has made a good home in Ohio and raced lightly towards the end of last year, not doing badly against better horses than this group. Given his probable odds, which may make him the third choice at best, he is the bet here to be on top or close enough to spook the first two choices (certainly the 1 horse), resulting in a firm win price for us.

    Jan. 31, Race 8

    It’s time to play “Beat Palone” again at the Pittsburgh-area track and this is a great race to do it, considering he will be driving the top choice, the ML favorite from post 4, and sucking in the majority of win-mutuel dollars. You may be able to beat the popular driver’s mount with obvious-second-choice D Mac but a better price should be available for Double Dribble. This gelding will go under the betting radar and perform far better than the public allows its chances. You can toss out his sloppy mile dropping into this class and the race before that where he stepped up two levels after winning in the one below this. In other words, he belongs here after his win on Jan. 10 and is positioned to make Palone slayers happy with a great win price. A quick note: Schoolkids, once a viable sophomore in the top level and now eight, is looking for a level to suit him and is, oddly enough, trained by the other Palone, Mike. Don’t hesitate to put this guy in exotics if you are looking for a pumped up price because once he finds a spot he may find it in him to make a few more bucks for his connection before retiring (notice he is a winner of almost $1 million).

    H2W Legend

    Review our choices and follow the wagering at the prescribed track. These are possible contenders we have judged from reviewing races. The horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track after the date they will be racing. The race in which they are entered (R and race number) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name it means it is appearing on the list for the second (and last time) because it failed to win the first time it appeared. An “AE” signals the horse is entered but on the also-eligible list. Types of wagering on any of the H2W listed horses are based on your judgment. If you have any questions, email us at TwinSpires.


    1/31/14; Cole Diddy R1; Bagel Man R3; R A’s Shakenbake R5; Green Olives R7; Upfrontoutthedoor R7; Del Cielo R8; Diditagain Hanover R11
    2/1/14; Trojan Seelster R1; Yorkster R2; Ricky O Bay R4; Sand Savage R7; Naked News R7; Sundowner Bob R8; Elite R9; Literate Hanover R10

    Cal Expo
    1/31/14, +Perfect Pitch R8; I’m An Athlete R10; Castle Oaks R13
    2/1/14, +Hi Ho Hi Ho R6; Skyway King R10; +Melboy R12; +Big Guy Two Win R12; Hot Cowboy R13; Yank My Missle R14

    2/1/14, +Flag Of Honor R1; +Lexis Mandy R3; +Honeymoonisover R4; +Trustmeonemoretime R5; +Artners In Crime R6; +McMaverick R7; +Bakardi Arti R11;+Capitalism R12

    2/3/14, Cowboy Artist R6

    2/1/14, +Sullys Guide—AE—R6; Stonebridge Adore R7; Tigraseelster R7; Anahar Chase R9; NJs Trick Pistol R10

    1/30/14, +No Tears Here
    2/1/14, +Tulfra R2; +Cyclone Cully R11; +Youth Uprising R11

    1/31/14, Ciro’s Pride R1; Tallerthanwoody R3; Genuine Star R8; Whitewater Delight R10; Oh Whata Guy R12

    1/31/14, Amazing Quest R4; SJ’s Hottie Won R5; Eddie Sweat R6; Forever Just R10; Dellie’s Jewel R13

    2/1/14; + Mc Kelvie R2; +Dreamnwillie R7

    Western Fair
    1/31/14, +Hazy Lady R2; Arnies Kick Start R4

    1/31/14; All Star Dragon R4; The Northern Dude R11
    2/1/14; Eighteen R2; Safe Harbor R7; Dinner Guest—AE—R7; Lightning Strike R12.

    Ray Cotolo contributed to this edition.      
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