Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes
Our overnight selections this week produced a winner at Charlottetown. Caliban Hanover won ($8.40, $3.90, $2.80). Our other Charlottetown choice, Isle Of Palms, finished sixth at 11-1. We failed at the Meadows in overnight action, with Broadway Speed finishing ninth at 35-1 and NF Jessica coming home fourth at 9-1.
Every Wednesday night, 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. For Feb. 5’s exotic, we delivered the highest paying horse of the winning quartet for the third week in a row. This horse was Honeybee Hershey ($10.60, $5.20, $2.80). Our selections finished 2,6/3/1,8/6.
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 overnight features appear for the second time in the H2W list, as with Double Dribble, from a Meadows overnight offered last week, listed as a winner below.
Anahar Chase, $27.10, $11.70, $5.60, Flamboro
Green Olives, $21.40, $5.40, $3.70 (Exacta, $63.50), Buffalo
Tigra Seelster, $18.70, $7.70, $3, Flamboro
Track Master D, $14.80, $5, $3.40, Yonkers
Double Dribble, $9.40, $5.40, $3.40 (Exacta * $45.40), Meadows
Ricky O Bay, $7.20, $4.40, $3.40, Buffalo
Tour Guide, $7.20, $3.40, $2.80 (Exacta, $15.70), Cal Expo
Fancy Pants Sandy, $4.60, $3.40, $3.20, Freehold
Mm’s Lucky Boy, $4.30, $3, $2.60, Yonkers
Mr Terror, $2.90, $2.20, $2.10, Buffalo
Cowboy Artist, $12.20, $3.60 (Exacta $46.80), Dover
Dellie’s Jewel, $5.60, $380 (Exacta, $11), Meadows
Forever Just, $5.60, $3.60 (Exacta *45.40), Meadows
Stand Guard, $4.60, $3.20, Freehold
Upfrontoutthedoor, $2.90, $2.40, Buffalo
SJ’s Hottie Won, $2.40, $2.20, Meadows
Ms Luck, $7.30, Buffalo
Avantage, $6.20, Pompano
Handsoffmycupcake, $4.70, Yonkers
Dinner Guest, $4.50, Yonkers
Princess Mcardle N, $3.80, Freehold
Our Girls Chance N, $2.20, Freehold
News And Notes
Ron Pierce, veteran harness driver, discovered recently that he could butter his bread more thickly in New York than in New Jersey. When he scored a few times working at Yonkers last week, it was brought to his attention that he would make more money racing at Yonkers than at the Meadowlands. That was enough to make Ronnie change venues, admitting publicly that he needs to make more money. His decision did not sit well with Meadowlands-mogul Jeff Gural.
“Ron has had a distinguished career and I recognize that he’s at the tail end of a distinguished career and I guess he's trying to make as much money as possible,” said Gural, who added his disappointment. “You would think that there would be some degree of loyalty and appreciation for the fact I spent a hundred-million dollars to keep the Meadowlands open, which is probably one of the main reasons that we haven’t seen a catastrophic collapse of the industry.” Gural was talking to Bill Finley.
Pierce responded by saying “Mr. Gural has to understand that I have a mortgage on my house, car payments, insurance payments [and] I’ve got an ex-wife that I have to [pay] a large chunk of alimony … I have to do what’s best for myself … I am in a predicament where I have to make as much money as I can.”
Speaking of drivers, 52 days after receiving a new hip, popular driver Tim Tetrick got back in the sulky to win. It was Feb.6 at the Meadowlands. At 7-2, Tetrick scored a decisive victory for trainer Eric Mollor. “It feels good [to get the first win out of the way],” he said in a paddock interview with Justin Horowitz. “I’m definitely out of shape a little bit.”
Saturday, Feb. 8, Miami Valley Raceway opened for the first of more than 60 programs scheduled for the opening meet. It was a delayed opening night due to a power outage fifteen minutes into the debut evening of the harness track, the state’s racino replacement to Lebanon. Miami Valley offers live racing Wednesdays through Sundays until early May.
Followers of the TwinSpires harness blog are no strangers to Nuncio, 2013’s outstanding rookie trotting colt that was first supported here and which resulted in a few great exactas and the opinion that he was second best to top frosh trotter Father Patrick. As both of those classy colts enter their sophomore career, Father Patrick is getting Nuncio as a new stable mate. Nuncio is moving into the New Jersey barn of Jimmy Takter. Jim Oscarsson trained Nuncio for most of his rookie season before he moved back to his native Sweden and handed the colt over to Scott Andrews for the colt’s final three starts. In 10 starts last year Nuncio never finished worse than second with five wins and five seconds and $461,000 in earnings (we exploited his finishes as documented in our 2013 blogs. Now, both Hambletonian hopefuls are in the high-rent care of Takter.
The 2014 season at Vernon Downs will begin on Friday, April 11 and conclude with a stakes-laden card on Saturday, Nov. 1. The $200,000 (est.) Artiscape (mare pace), Muscle Hill (mare trot) and $200,000 (est.) Kindergarten Trotting Classic final have been scheduled for the closing night card as a logical springboard to the 2014 Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands. Friday, Aug. 29 Vernon offers the $700,000 (est.) Zweig Memorial soph trot and the new $200,000 (est.) Crawford Farms Open Trot.
Tioga will begin on Kentucky Derby Day (Saturday, May 3). Season highlights include the $200,000 (est.) Roll With Joe Open Pace on Sunday, June 1 and the $350,000 (est.) Cane Pace on Labour Day (Sept. 1).
Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.
Ray Cotolo contributed to this blog
Cartoons by Thom Pye