Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes
Our successes this past weekend were from overnight action. The Meadowlands series presented only mild upsets while it turned out we offered selections with huge-to-moderate odds that lost, broke and had no chance, were scratched and/or beaten by favorites.
The successes came at the Meadows, where we are enjoying a very strong return on investment through the winter using specific races as our features. In the fifth race on Friday, March 14, we nailed the winner, Elian’s Ponda ($16.60, $8.80, $4). Our choice in Race 7, Hawaii And Son was seventh at 49-1). We offered horses for the Pick 5 that night, which began with Race 7 and delivered two winners, TSM Warhol T ($8.60, $4, $3) and D Mac ($4.20, $2.60, $2.40).
The Horse & Groom Series leg at the Meadowlands on March 14 began with our choice, Crosbys Clambake, being scratched. Then in the second leg, Cajole Hanover (15-1) broke stride right off the gate and was eliminated.
Saturday, March 15, we offered suggestions for two of the three Clyde Hirt Series divisions and both finished sixth: Nathaniel B (54-1) was the victim of a winner at 6-1 and Brees Creek (7-1) was defeated by the public choice.
The horses-to-watch (H2W) list results are below, featuring the win, place and show and exacta successes. We endorse across-the-board and the exotic plays you can find through the H2W, which is exclusively for your TwinSpires harness bankroll. Use your own judgment and handicapping but of course, consider the H2W horses, as they prove to be in league with good paying exotics and deliver healthy place and show cash when they don’t pick up the top spot.
What was probably and hopefully the last run of winter weather that could cause a racetrack to close took down the Wednesday, March 12 Buffalo Raceway-TwinSpires-bonus Pick 4. Remember that every Wednesday night TwinSpires’ 10-percent-bonus Buffalo Raceway 50-cent Pick 4 wagers are offered from the fifth to the eighth races. We assist with suggestions for your ticket via Twitter -- @FrankCotolo, @TwinSpires and @BuffaloRaceway and have delivered some major contributions to the winning combinations.
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).
Real Yankee Fan, $24, $7.90, $3.90 (Exacta $79), Saratoga
Ethan Hanover, $22.60, $8.30, $5.60, Yonkers
RD Elegant Yankee, $8.20, $3.20, $3.20 ok, Meadows
Blue Fin, $5.80, $4.20, $3.60, Meadowlands
Sand Summerfield, $8.90, $3.30, Saratoga
Sturdy As A Hall, $6.40, $4.20, Meadowlands
Waldy Jimmy, $4.20, $3.80, Pompano
Nuclear Standoff, $4, $4.20 ok, Rosecroft
Caviart Lindy, $3, $2.60 (Exacta $22.20), Rosecroft
Woop D Do Bazzle, $14.60, Miami Valley
Canbec Fridolin, $6.50, Yonkers
Alluring Art, $5.20, Miami Valley
Lemon Drop Hall, $3.20, Freehold
Steady Pulse, $2.10, Dover
News And Notes
Bill Perretti’s death at 87 didn’t shake the betting population of the harness world because few players are well versed on the standardbred industry’s integral personalities, the owners, breeders and millionaire movers and shakers. Bill Perretti was certainly a member of that ilk, responsible for some of the sport’s pacing and trotting champions during the reign of the Meadowlands in the 1970s.
Bill was a gas station owner in Hackensack, N.J. who expanded his business horizons to car dealerships and then to the cattle business in Texas cattle ranch and wound up with one of the most prolific standardbred farms in pastoral New Jersey. Perretti Farms was a thousand-acre spread with a stallion roster that included Muscles Yankee, Matt’s Scooter, Presidential Ball, Malabar Man, McArdle, Revenue S, Artiscape and Rocknroll Hanover.
Having a visible, colorful profile in public, Perretti was dubbed “Wild Bill.” He was boisterous and animated, determined and demonstrative, making the space he occupied on the planet undeniably his own. I wrote his biography in the ‘90s when he was named Owner of the Year by a major industry publication, allowing me to testify that Bill was a remarkable case study of success. Bill was larger than life with a brazen vocabulary and a two-fisted approach to business. For the standardbred business, his death and the deconstruction of his farm are sad metaphors about harness racing in the Garden State.
It’s almost spring, for sure, since the next round of seasonal series is poised to launch. Yonkers Raceway’s Free For All events, the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series and the Blue Chip Matchmaker get started on March 21. Leading the list of 47 “Levy” jousters is two-time champion Foiled Again, now 10 when the series gets underway March 22. As is custom, the Levy offers five $50,000 per-race preliminary rounds, leading to a $200,000 (added) final, set for April 26. Those 47 nominees, 10 of which, including Foiled Again, are trained by Ron Burke, and their requisite $5,000 entry fee add another $235,000 to the final.
Companion event for the Levy, the Blue Chip Matchmaker, attracted 39 pacing mares, led by Anndrovette and last season’s victress, Feeling You. The Matchmaker, begins March 21 and also consists of five prelim rounds, with each race going for $40,000. The final also goes April 26, with $125,000 added to the $156,000 in entry fees (39 times $4,000), plus the new $800 per horse-per race starting fee. Full coverage of both series is presented in our blogs, also a tradition of the series that has been very kind to our contenders through the years.
More qualifiers at the Meadowlands featured more stars from 2013. Sevruga made his second appearance for the new year and continued his return to form with an easy 1:54.2 win. Heston Blue Chip made his seasonal bow, plodding along through slow fractions and winning in 1:55. Ron Burke sent out a bunch of good older horses that took over for the second half of the qualifying card. Foiled Again won again, this time with a 1:51.1 mile. Camille, Rocklamation and Charisma Hanover came together on the wire in 1:51.4 with Rocklamation and Charisma Hanover right there. Sweet Lou looked the best of the lot today. He ripped out of the pocket and won the 1:51.1 mile on his own.
Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.
Ray Cotolo contributed to this blog
Cartoons by Thom Pye