Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes
First there was too much snow and then there was too much water, which was the snow before it melted. Mother Nature is certainly more consistent than a lot of racehorses. So it was this week as higher temperatures dissolved mountains of snow and ice in many U.S. states, provoking bad conditions on the tracks that were, a week before, frozen.
Cancellations before and during race programs nixed a few schedules. Buffalo Raceway’s TwinSpires bonus Pick 4 was cancelled on Feb. 19 when the surface became unsafe. Every Wednesday night, weather permitting of course, TwinSpires’ 10-percent-bonus Buffalo Raceway 50-cent Pick 4 wagers continue. We assist with suggestions for your ticket via Twitter -- @FrankCotolo, @TwinSpires and @BuffaloRaceway.
Other schedules affected included the Meadows and Yonkers. All horses we are watching that were to participate in the various programs cancelled, will appear in next week’s watch (H2W) list. Check below for the wins, places and shows that did materialize last week.
Our overnight features’ choices included two winners but not on top, as the huge favorite (our second betting choice) Keep The Dream ($3.10, $2.20, $2.10) won the Miss Valentine Final at Fraser over our upset choice, Yanotherhos. Our other Fraser choice, Red Star Tyson raced horribly, finishing ninth of nine at 11-1.
Feb. 23 at Dover on Race 3 our second choice, Steady Pulse, won ($4, $2.40, $2.10), and our first choice, JR’s Midnight Cry, scratched, leaving us with the favorite. Our first choice in Race 2, Occasionally Bad, was never a threat, finishing eighth at 13-1. The second contender for us in that race finished second—RD Elegant Yankee ($3.60, $2.60).
The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas are included when a H2W horse finishing first or second completes the result with a race favorite or another H2W horse listed in the same race (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete the exacta). Failed choices from our previous week’s overnight features appear for the second time in the H2W list.
That’s My Girl, $24.60, $6.40, $4.40 (Exacta $56.20), Miami Valley
Ringside Winner, $13.20, $6.20, $4.80, Freehold
Ideal In Vegas, $6.90, $4, $3.10, Yonkers
Dora Des Rivieres, $5.80, $3.20, $2.60, Miami Valley
Rare Beauty, $5, $4.20, $3, Cal Expo
Itsabouttonight, $3.40, $2.80, $2.40, Cal Expo
All Star Dragon, $3, $2.40, $2.10, Yonkers
Late For Work, $11.80, $9.40, Miami Valley
Screen Saver, $11.10, $6.60, Meadows
Eddie Sweat, $7.80, $4, Meadows
Bad Angel, $7.40, $4.30, Miami Valley
Cash Poor, $7, $3.90 (Exacta $26.20)
Last Luck, $6.90, $7.80 (ok), Fraser
All On My Own, $6.80, $5.40, Freehold
Luna Hanover, $3.60, $2.40, Miami Valley
Stiletosilverheels, $4.80, Cal Expo
Sparticus Jim, $4.60, Flamboro
Juntique, $4.40, Miami Valley
B Good Lexi, $3.60, Miami Valley
Mr Salming, $3.20, Freehold
TT Tucker, $2.60, Meadows
News And Notes
As we go to press, the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) held its annual awards dinner at Dover Downs. Most of the divisional winners have already been announced and a few categories were held for the evening’s ceremony. These were not, however, surprises. We congratulate the connections to all of the winners, including Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician, and our choice for the top horse in 2013, Captaintreacherous, who won Pacer of the Year. Both of these horses have a history with this blog that goes deeper than public opinion. Bee A Magician is a filly trotter we supported before anyone in the business or sport gave her the respect she deserved, going back to her frosh year. Captaintreacherous was heralded here early this year when he began his soph campaign and we stuck with him as many journalists knocked him regardless of his stunning performances.
World Champion trotter Guccio, a winner of $1,021,809, has been retired to stud in Indiana. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Guccio became one of the top contenders of his generation as a three-year-old and missed winning the $1.5 million Hambletonian by a neck. At 4 he trotted to his personal best of 1:51.1f, a World Record for four-year-old trotters.
Takter said, “It was our plan to race in Europe in 2014 had this opportunity for him to enter the stud not developed. Indiana clearly has one of the most attractive regional programs and we do plan to breed to Guccio as I believe he has every quality to become an outstanding trotting sire.”
Horse racing in British Columbia has been saved for at least five years now that a new deal has been negotiated. “The major component of this for us is the five-year deal. We’ve been told we have government backing for five years. We have race dates for five years,” said Jackson Whittup of Harness Racing BC. The new deal assures racing at the two tracks in the province, Fraser Downs (harness) and Hastings Park (runners). Both tracks are owned by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which also owns Flamboro and Georgian Downs in Ontario. The agreement will see 71 race dates at Fraser this year but that number will be reduced throughout the life of the deal. To read the full story in the Cloverdale Reporter, please click here.
Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.
Ray Cotolo contributed to this blog
Cartoons by Thom Pye