• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED May 18, 2014
    The Grand Circuit stakes results have been strewn with favorites but we managed to scrape together a number of exactas with suggested contenders that finished behind the public choices. We have also not denied some of the obvious dominators and, as in the A.J. Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands on May 17, our scenario with a public choice teamed perfectly with another choice to satisfy our prediction.

    The scenario involved Modern Family, a trotter in the “Cutler” field that took the lead and burrowed through the stretch to remain second ($7.20, $4.60) to the top pick, Sebastian KS ($4, $2.80, $2.60). We did not predict the second choice, Market Share, would step out of line and break stride but we did offer the possibility that he could finish behind Modern Family, even on stride. The other wonderful result here is that the exacta paid a whopping $38, huge considering the scope of talent in the field.

    Later that night, another top choice, Western Vintage ($4.40, $3, $2.80) made his sophomore debut in a New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) a winning introduction to a glamour-boy pacer we feel will be the main foe, if not the downfall, of He’s Watching, who is getting more buzz than a case of Tinnitus. Meanwhile, both of our filly NJSS choices in divisions finished off the board.

    We were creamed at Pocono Downs that same night in three glamour-girl pacing divisions of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes. Our best showing there was third-place Seventh Secret ($15.40). Our other four mentions in the two other divisions were off the board at humungous odds.

    High-5 Attack

    We were happy that TwinSpires choose to give players a shot at Woodbine's must-pay High-5 carryover on May 17 with a Players’ Pool capped at $25,000. We put together powerful tickets that covered the possible five finishers (in order, of course). Our analysis of the race included emphasis on the winner, Drain Daddy ($10.70, $6.20, $4) and the place horse Rock Me Amastreos ($7.70, $5.80), which formed an exactor worth $107.50).

    However, the second longest shot in the race, Junior K (22-1), took advantage of some bad trips by Keeping Optimistic (21-1) and Secretsoftheknight (2-1, the surprising race favorite), resulting in a third-place finish for Junior K, who was not anywhere in third on any of our tickets. Replace our 21-1 shot with the 22-1 shot and we nail the High-5 a number of times. This is not to present excuses for losing, this is to analyze the result and understand the loss at an objective level.

    The High-5 paid $8,000 plus per 20-cent wager.

    We thank all of the participants in the Players’ Pool and share in their disappointment that we were not as successful as we have been in other Players’ Pools for harness racing. Such is the plight of all wagering, as so many of you understand, but it is always sad to lose at such a close range, so to speak. We hope to involve you in future Players’ Pools through the season and do far better. Your loyalty to our organization of wagers in the efforts is humbling and appreciated, allowing us to do our best in your interests.

    Along the Hambletonian Trail (blog now active) in cooperation with TwinSpires, you can read the results of our soph-colt-and-filly stakes choices at the Hambletonian Society archives for 2014.

    TwinSpires and Hoosier continue a three-pronged power-packed program 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 H2W list.

    Our horses-to-watch list (H2W) was active again, with some bright winners and healthy prices in place and show, with some exacta hits (using public choices in tandem with our picks) as overnight action continues to be the focus of the list for TwinSpires harness players.


    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).


    Brew, $17.60, $10.80, $6.60, Saratoga
    Fun N Pleasure, $16.60, $7.40, $5, Meadows
    Major Way, $14.80, $6.30, $5.20, Saratoga
    BL Class Act, $10.60, $5.20, $5.20 ok, Pocono
    Flash’s Camilla, $8.80, $4.40, $3.60, Scarborough
    Prince Ponder, $7, $3.80, $2.40, Maywood
    Royal Heart, $5.20, $2.80, $2.40, Hoosier
    Wishful Desire, $4.20, $2.20, $2.10, Plainridge


    Hilarious Halo, $8.20, $6 (Exacta $20), Meadowlands
    Tiza Mojo, $4.60, $3.40, Maywood
    Word Power, $3.80, $3.40, Meadowlands
    Zumba, $2.80, $2.40, Maywood


    Geared To Win, $6.60, Hoosier
    Cheyenne Patti, $5.20, Freehold
    Big Better Best, $4.60, Hoosier
    Josting Jack, $3.20, Maywood
    Clementine Dream, $2.80, Meadowlands
    Makena Cat, $2.60, Maywood

    News And Notes

    Captaintreacherous returned with a scorching qualifier in preparation for his four-year-old debut. He, looked calm and poised and sprinted to finish in 1:51.3. He was followed by 2013 Adios winner Sunfire Blue Chip. Team Treacherous said that the June 13 Meadowlands Maturity Pace will be his first money start at four for Captaintreacherous.

    He’s Watching was an open-lengths winner in his qualifier over the weekend at Mohawk, rolling to an impressive 1:52.1 victory. He’s Watching is set to make his three-year-old pari-mutuel debut at Yonkers Raceway in the Art Rooney Pace. The 23rd “Rooney” has 34 eligible soph-pacing colts. Eliminations (if necessary) are scheduled for Saturday, May 24. The $300,000 final is set for Saturday, May 31. As far a 2014 schedule, after the Rooney, there’s the North America Cup, “but we’re going to let him dictate that to us,” said their connections. After the Rooney program on May 31, Yonkers will be dark until Friday, June 13. Until then, Yonkers’ five-night-per-week live schedule continues with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 p.m.

    Harness racing's richest performer of all time, Foiled Again, will be making his sixth appearance at The Raceway at Western Fair District for the track's signature event, the Molson Pace. Slated once again as an invitational, the race, worth $150,000, will be on May 30. A prep race will be held the week before. Foiled Again won back to back in 2011 and 2012. He was a very close third in last year’s final. In his first appearance, in 2009, he won his elim but finished fifth in the final after a locked-in trip. The following year he was a close second in both his elimination and the final. Track officials promise a strong undercard for the Molson Pace program.

    The first sophomore crop of Well Said puts the pacer, as of this writing, third in the standings for three-year-old earnings. Though it is early in the season and many of the projected soph stars—frosh heroes of 2013—of hot sires have not hit the track yet, Well Said products have earned $544,550. Well Said follows Rocknroll Hanover, with Somebeachsomewhere still reigning.

    As for trotting sires this early in the season, Donato Hanover is the top earning sire of sophs, with Explosive Matter second, followed, in order by veterans Yankee Glide, Andover Hall, Cantab Hall, Broadway Hall and Muscles Yankee.

    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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