• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED May 11, 2014
    As has been our policy since we started the first harness-wagering blog so many years ago, we admit to weeks when very little accounts for our failures but to say, “It was a rotten week.” So, here we are after a number of successful weeks, surrendering to our misfortunes after a weekend of harness betting where many of our overnight place-and-show wagers were the best rewards offered.

    In our defense, but not as excuses, for some dismal results, a few of our suggested contenders in features were victims of breaking stride and interference, though their odds reflected poor chances anyway. As well, the horses-to-watch (H2W) list was thin, with a lot of entries waiting in the queue (four tracks had no horses racing and two tracks ended their meets, even though we added a few venues).

    Our second choice in the Diplomat Series Final at Woodbine won. Somewhere in LA paid $8.60, $4.20 (no show wagering), while our first choice, National Debt, broke at the start and was eliminated. Our second choice on Friday in the “Reynolds” stake at the Meadowlands, Rockingcam Park, finished second ($3.20, $2.60) but not to our choice, Blixtra, who finished ninth. In the Meadowlands Open Pace Saturday,k Dovuto Hanover suffered position-ruining interference to finish 10th-placed-ninth.

    The best we could do was an $8 show price for Undercover Strike in the second elim of the A.J. Cutler at the Meadowlands on Saturday, while in the first elim DW’s NY Yank skipped a step or two early and could only recover well enough to finish fifth at 7-1. Artful Image, in the Princess Series Final at Woodbine, was fifth, meanwhile, at 47-1.

    Along the Hambletonian Trail (blog now active) in cooperation with TwinSpires and the Hambletonian Society (where you can read reviews of all the races), we were beaten in the sires stakes events, while our third choice in a “Simpson” stake, Trixton, won as a clear public choice ($4.20, $3.20, $2.80) and our second choice, Flyhawk El Dorado, was third ($4.80). Our first choice, Deweykeepumnwhy (15-1) broke at the start and was eliminated.

    TwinSpires and Hoosier now have three power-packed programs for harness players. Tuesdays, wager all you want and earn 10 TSC Elite Points per dollar bet. Click here for details. Every Thursday night, there is a 20-percent bonus on hitting the Pick 4 starting at Race 3. Click here for details. And the ongoing 10-percent Pick-4 bonus every racing night on Pick-4 hits continues through the meet. Click here for details.

    In between published harness blogs, follow @FrankCotolo and @TwinSpires on Twitter to get tips on Hoosier contenders you can use in your tickets. Other possibilities appear in exclusive horses-to-watch (H2W) list.


    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).


    Famous Image, $18.60, $6, $3.20, Plainridge
    Allamericanvixen, $7.80, $4.20, $3.60, Scarborough
    Ana J, $5.40, $3.40, $2.40, Meadowlands
    Chip Chip Mac, $5, $2.40, $2.40 ok, Meadows
    Muy Caliente, $2.60, $2.20, $2.10, Maywood
    Sectionline Yankee, $2.60, $2.20, $2.40 ok, Scioto


    Pure Smoke, $13.80, $5.20, Maywood
    Terlinqua, $4.10, $3, Buffalo
    Moon Lake, $3.60, $2.80 (Exacta $14.80), Freehold


    Dojea Ballcap, $6.80, Hoosier
    Madiba, $5.60, Rosecroft
    Josting Jack, $5, Meadows
    Tiza Mojo, $5, Maywood
    Ideal Choice, $2.40, Hoosier
    Windsong Jack, $2.10, Meadows

    News And Notes

    Sunshine Beach, who broke a world record with 1:47.4 while defeating Captaintreacherous by a whisker in the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine at Pocono in 2013, is set to return at four with new connections. Blue Chip Farms has become partners with Canadian owners Tony Infilise, Diane Bertrand and Conrad Leber, suggesting a lot of confidence in the winner of nearly a million at three. He could not surpass his victory over the great Captaintreacherous as the season ensued. Tom Grossman, the owner of Blue Chip, said, “We looked at them all, but not since Art Major have I seen a horse at this level with all the other requirements met and where there are several very legitimate reasons to believe in genuine improvement from three to four…We are unbelievably excited to go out with our new partners and prove it against any and all competition.”

    Last year’s frosh-colt Breeders Crown pace winner Luck Be Withyou was a dominant winner in his 2014 debut during qualifiers this morning at Mohawk. With James MacDonald at the lines the three-year-old Western Ideal colt grabbed early control and steadily paced away from his rivals through fractions of :28.3, :57.3, 1:26.2 and was home with more than 28 lengths to spare in 1:53.1. Bill Cass trains the colt for owner John Craig of North York, Ontario. Luck Be Withyou had five wins from 11 tries last year for $363,000 in earnings. His final start of his rookie campaign was his 1:52 victory in the Breeders Crown final at Pocono Downs.

    Maven made her 2014 debut and Shebestingin won her second start this year and they each established track standards in distaff features at Miami Valley. In the $50,300 Sam Noble Memorial for pacing mares Shebestingin began her drive for the front mid race by three-quarters and she caught Yagonnakissmeornot, pulled away and won in 1:50.4, a track record regardless of age or sex. The fastest female pacer of all time by virtue of her 1:47 win last year as at three, Shebestingin was making her second start for trainer Joe Holloway. Shebestingin is the only mare nominated to Canada’s most prestigious race for free for all pacers, the Canadian Pacing Derby. In the $60,000 Miami Valley Distaff for trotters it was Maven, though parked from the start, who took over control well before the half and pulled away from her rivals in 1:53.3, a track record.

    Extraordinary Extras

    Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.

    Ray Cotolo contributed to this blog

    Cartoons by Thom Pye

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