• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Jun 22, 2014
    Sun Stakes Saturday at Pocono Downs on Saturday, June 22, was a speed showdown, with elimination miles that were decided after blistering three-quarters, duels for the lead and whiskers.

    The headliner was the first Ben Franklin elim, where we supported Captaintreacherous against four-year-olds and older for the first time in 2014. He was tremendous racing on the outside after being forced to the lead early and burrowing through the stretch, having already put away Foiled Again (10-years-old), Bettor’s Edge (five-years-old) and four-year-olds Sunshine Beach, Sunfire Blue Chip and Beach Memories. At the wire, however, 29-1 Domethatagain nudged a quantum-nose ahead down the passing lane after having an extremely easy trip sitting behind the champ. Captaintreacherous ($3, $2.10) meets “Dome” again in next week’s final.

    The second Ben Franklin elim went to the ever-improving Sweet Lou, now five. Our choice, Allstar Legend made the final by finishing fourth. The final will be a fascinating battle between “Lou” and “Captain,” as opposed to the projected duel between Captain and Foiled Again, as Lou is racing a hole in the wind in this division.

    The week’s results from the Hambletonian Trail blog presented an upset and some easily predicted victories by soph-trotting mainstays. In elims for the Earl Beale, Jr., also at Pocono on Saturday, everyone’s favorite Father Patrick ($2.10, $2.10, $2.10) was an easy winner. So was Nuncio in the second of the two affairs, with our choice Datskyk ($2.10, $2.10) completing the $3.60 exacta.

    We nailed both of the colt winners Saturday at Saratoga on the Hambletonian Trail with Gural Hanover ($5.90, $3.10, $2.10) and Lukas Hall ($3, $2.30, $2.30 ok).

    Wednesday, June 18 in Pennsylvania Sires Stakes for fillies on the “Trail” at Pocono, the stunning defeat of Shake It Cerry ($2.10) was the work of Desgined To Be, who, strangely enough, was an 8-5 second choice. Our other choice, Donella Hanover finished fourth at 7-1.

    We share the successes of soph-trot endeavors here with our weekly update. The Hambletonian Trail comes to you in cooperation with TwinSpires and the Hambletonian Society. You can read the recap race stories and data on the history of the August classics at the society’s archives.

    In the Max Hempt elims, also on Sun Stakes Saturday at Pocono, our choice and the public’s choice in the first round, Always B Miki, suffered a tough outside trip, finishing third but placed fifth and not earning a berth in the final. Our second choice finished second—Limelight Beach ($3, $3.40 ok)—and our third choice finished third—Allstar Partner ($20.80).

    In the second of three splits, Sometimes Said ($2.20) was third at 4-1, while top-rated Doo Wop Hanover (4-1) was skewered on the lead, finishing seventh (no final for him) and Western Vintage (7-1) put in a terrible effort, finishing eighth; neither, of course, make the final.

    The third elim was taken by North America Cup choice-gone-bad Mcwicked, with our choice, Stratos Hanover seventh at 39-1.

    Soph-filly pacers went in a trio of elims for the James Lynch final’s field. In the first split we were second with our second-choice Gallie Bythe Beach ($5.80, $3.20), with our top choice, Someislandsomwhere, finishing fourth at 5-2. Nothing went well for us in round two, as Allstar Rating (2-1) was paced down badly in the stretch and Katie Said broke from interference at 61-1.

    More unpredicted antics served the results of the third split, with huge choice (and our choice) Uffizi Hanover ($2.20, $2.10) nipped at the wire after a scalding first half and our second choice, Also Encouraging ($5.80) getting third.

    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.

    A reader/bettor sent us an email when he noticed something odd about our H2W (horses to watch list) this past week. Over the course of a few weeks (we are in week 24 of the list this year) a great number of horses returning for their second and last entries on the list (notated with a “+” before their names) are coincidentally drawing tough, outside posts. It’s unfortunate and sometimes moot but it has resulted in many loses for second-timers. You may want to create a spin-off list of such horses and follow them when they come back for the third time. We will still only keep horses twice on the list, regardless of their posts either time.


    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).


    Rock Out, $22.20, $7, $2.80 (Exacta $64.80), Meadowlands
    Lindys Real Deal, $18.60, $6, $3.20 (Exacta $51.50), Vernon
    Muscles To Spare, $10.40, $5.80, $4, Tioga
    The Real One, $6.20, $3.80, $2.40, Yonkers
    That Friskie Feeling, $5.40, $4, $3.60, Scioto
    JJs Jet, $4.60, $5 ok, $2.80, Scarborough
    Dune Dude, $4, $2.80, $2.40, Maywood
    H-andharleythejet, $4, $2.20, $2.10 (*Exacta $12.60), Plainridge
    The Maniac, $3.80, $2.20, $2.10, Buffalo


    CJ Crystal, $4.40, $2.80 (Exacta $30), Ocean
    Always Wearable, $4.20, $2.10, Hoosier
    Geronimo Fame, $4.10, $4, Tioga
    Pretty Place, $3.40, $3, Maywood
    Miss Defiance, $2.60, $3.20 ok (*Exacta $12.60), Plainridge


    Clearly Possessed, $10, Buffalo
    Milliondollardad, $5.60, Buffalo
    Nothinbutanallstar, $5, Hoosier
    Milliondollartouch, $4.80, Saratoga
    What About Brian, $4.40, Tioga
    Team Edward, $4, Vernon
    Zampano, $3.40, Buffalo
    Big City Jewel, $3, Yonkers
    Sassy Sarah, $3, Scarborough
    Winbak Wildfire, $3, Scarborough
    Forty Carrots, $2.30, Saratoga

    News And Notes

    Northfield Park has added a $10,000-guaranteed total pool for a Pick-5 bet on Monday, June 23’s racing program. The pool includes a carry-over amount of $1,946.92. The wager begins with Race 3 that evening. Northfield’s Pick 3s, 4s and 5s offer a 14-percent take out rate.

    Batavia Downs’ 68th harness season is poised to begin. The 2014 season features 72 racing programs beginning July 23 and going through Dec.6. The racing days are Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons in July and August. After Sept. 1, Tuesday nights replace Sunday matinees. The evening post time is 6:35 EST and afternoon post time is 1:15 p.m.

    Some feel it is about time and considering Bee A Magician’s losing season thus far at four it may be a way to show that her connections still have plenty of confidence in her. What this is all about is Bee A Magician racing for the first time against males. Last Saturday at Mohawk, “Bee” finished ninth in the Armbro Flight Final. It was a performance that raised questions since the only time that she ever missed the board in her career was in her second start at two. Trainer Nifty Norman told Trot Insider that she scoped sick after the “Flight” final. Norman said she is “feeling better already.” Bee has lost her first three starts of the 2014 season after never tasting defeat at three in 17 starts (remember, we gave you D’orsay who beat her and paid over $100 to win). Norman said she will race next on July 5 in the $400,000 Hambletonian Futurity for four-year-olds at The Meadowlands. ‎That race is open to all four-year-old trotters and it means she’ll skip the second leg of the Miss Versatility for trotting mares on Monday, June 30 at Mohawk.

    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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