• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Jul 20, 2014
    It was a poor weekend of harness racing feature wins for us. However, we have added something extra to the horses-to-watch results below, which deserves everyone’s attention, since the wins, places, shows and exactas have been calculated for your benefit to record total investment data.

    Before any good news, however, we offer a sad story concerning one of the weekend’s features to open the review.

    The Maple Leaf Trot, Mohawk’s feature on July 19, featured a major upset, with superstar Sebastian K beaten a nose by local Intimidate, who was over 30-1. Worse than the fact that we called for an upset but our choice, Mister Herbie, lost, is the story that followed the race on the “sloppy” surface.

    Modern Family, a horse familiar to our blog readers due to our cashing on him in exactas this season with Sebastian K, finished fourth in the race, strolled to the paddock and dropped dead. Reports indicate that the five-year-old simply collapsed. The trotter was owned by his trainer, Daryl Bier and co-owned with Charles Dombeck and Richard Poillucci. Modern Family was a winner of 19 of 51 lifetime starts. At three, Tony Alagna trained him. Bier bought him at four for $110,000.

    As an elder, Modern Family won nine of 16 starts and took a mark of 1:51 at the Meadowlands with his “Cutler” elim win. The week before, he knocked off some of the best four-year-olds in the $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity. In 2014, Modern Family had six wins, six places and one show in 15 starts. Three of those second-place finishes had come at the hands of Sebastian K, all projected cold to our readers. His lifetime bankroll was $575,925. We offer our condolences to the connections.

    In the wake of that tragedy, losing a few bucks this weekend seems moot. Still, here is the damage: On the Hambletonian Trail blog, we gave you a non-surprising winner in one Canadian Breeders Championships (CBC) soph-colt trot—Harper Blue Chip ($2.70, $2.20, $2.10). In the second, there was no success defeating Nuncio. Then, at the Meadowlands’ Reynolds soph-colt trot, we were second with 6-1 Datsyuk ($2.40, $2.10) to the obvious Trixton (the exacta paid $4.40).

    We share the results of our soph-trot analysis’ 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. Soon it will be Hambletonian day. We hope to be at the Meadowlands for the spectacular program and the first Hambo at the new facility.

    Friday at the Meadowlands we suggested the favorite, Handover Belle ($4, $4 ok, $2.10) in the first leg of the Ima Lula (see paragraph on Perfect Alliance in “News” below).

    The Adios elims were strewn with favorites, one which we called. Lets Drink On It ($3.20, $2.40, $2.20) won the second elim, while we were second with Bushwacker ($5.60, $3.60) in another.

    At Northfield in the Battle of Lake Erie we were second with our tied-first-choice Night Pro ($4.60, $3.80) while Apprentice Hanover finished off the board.

    Our third choice finished third in the Lawrence Sheppard Final at Yonkers, doing so at 83-1. Parklane Eagle paid $14.20.

    In the CBC soph-colt paces at Mohawk, we had only a third with Victor Bayama ($5.90).

    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.


    For the first time in this blog, we offer the stats for the H2W’s past week. We do not suggest you play any or all of the horses we list weekly; the list suggests live horses for which you may want to use in any wager of your choice. However, now and again we do the math to see how the list would result if every horse was played across the board ($6) and every horse was boxed in an exacta with the public choice ($4), using a $2-base bet.

    This week, inventory of such play reveals that the total cost would have been $220. The return would have been $276.20. That is a profit of $56.20 (25%).

    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).


    Astarisontheway, $15.20, $5.80, $4.60, Hoosier
    Talbot Redneck, $11.20, $4.80, $3.40, Ocean
    Donna Party, $9.80, $3.60, $2.60, Philadelphia
    Fox Valley Shannon, $9.20, $3, $2.80, Scarborough
    Stage It Right, $5.60, $3, $2.40, Yonkers
    The Wizard Of Odz, $4.40, $3, $2.60, Running Aces
    Luck Be Withyou, $2.80, $2.10, $2.10 ok, Pocono
    Dancin Yankee, $2.80, $2.10, $2.10 ok, Pocono


    Midas Blue Chip, $6.20, $3.70 (Exacta $39.20), Vernon
    Chocouture, $5.60, $3.20 (Exacta $35.00), Vernon
    Bunkerhill Bill, $3.80, $2.60 (Exacta $17), Running Aces
    Carson City Road, $3.30, $2.70 (Exacta $19.40), Buffalo
    A Major Impuse, $2.80, $2.10
    Swingin Beauty, $2.80, Philadelphia
    Mattacardle, $2.40, $2.20, Meadows


    King William, $5, Buffalo
    Malak Uswaad N, $4.20, Philadelphia
    Sir Lehigh Z Tam, $3, Yonkers
    Eat Your Enemy, $2.20, Scarborough

    News And Notes

    Drivers on a win skein during a single program often make the headlines but rarely prove they are worth the support of bettors. Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. won nine of the 15 races on July 16 at Northfield Park. The raw number sounds impressive but once again we have a case where following a driver’s streak is rarely the road to riches for a bettor.

    Ronnie’s win prices on the nine wins (high to low) were $6.80, $6.40, $5.00, $4.60, $4.00, $3.00, $3.00, $2.40 and $2.20. He had a drive in all 15 races, losing six. It would have cost a player $30 (base price, $2 a bet), to cover all of his rides. His total win pay off was $37.40, leaving the Wrenn supporter with a profit of $7.40. To make a comparison on the matter of playing drivers as your main handicapping element, consider the Keith Kash, Jr. supporter. On the night Wrenn won nine, Kash won a single race (he drove 11 horses). His sole winner paid $123.80. It coast a Keith Kash bettor $22 to make a profit of $101.80. Once again, we rest our case.

    Perfect Alliance won her first 11 races this year and then there was a kaboom. She finished seventh in the third round of the Miss Versatility Series on July 12 at the Meadowlands. Afterward, it was discovered she bled, and she scoped sick. She was put on Lasix in July 18’s $20,000 first round of the Ima Lula Series for four-year-old female trotters at the Meadowlands (see above, where we won with Handover Belle). She finished sixth in the field of six, never making any threatening moves. Julie Miller trains perfect Alliance. The second round of the Ima Lula is July 25 and the $55,000 estimated final is Hambletonian day, Aug. 2, at the Meadowlands. We’ll be inquiring as to the mare’s health and report as soon as facts are public.

    Casie Coleman, Canada’s five-time trainer of the year, nearly quit the game at the height of her career, according to a report from Standardbred Canada. The 33-year-old’s students have won many of the sport’s biggest races but she says she nearly walked away from the game at the height of her career. Despite her success, her stable was too big, her health was suffering and she says she was miserable.

    “There were times I would say ‘I’ve had enough, I want to get out. I don’t like it.’ I didn’t like going to the barn,” she said. Regardless of what happens on the track, Coleman says her biggest victory came this winter when she lost 57 pounds and worked herself into peak shape in Florida as part of a number of major life changes. “I hired a personal trainer. I worked with him all winter. Basically, I was doing anywhere from two to four hours every single day. I never took a day off,” she said. “The diet thing was a huge. All I drink is water and green tea now, whereas before I would drink about four coffees a day, Grey Goose and Sprite …  I was drinking about 3,000 calories a day, I figured out. Now, all I have is a thousand calories a day …  I couldn’t be any happier. I’m glad I’ve finally seen how out of shape I was and I wasn’t training my own horses and a million different things that I was doing wrong. I got them all corrected and back on the right path now … I feel awesome.” 

    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 ~ For more Thom Pye cartoons and products, click here

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