• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Aug 3, 2014
    The new Meadowlands is a compact, convenient, clean and carefully measured facility for fans. The house that Jeff Gural built used the same racetrack as its out-dated predecessor, which is still standing. The old building sits like a giant, aging tombstone over what is now the backstretch.

    Those of us visiting the new plant for the first time were impressed with it and the many places to view the show, including the roof, which hosts more than the media and in-house racing staff—there is room for wagering, watching the races from the farthest point north without a helicopter and comfortable space for guests.

    This was the first Hambletonian day in the compact theater, which will also host this year’s Breeders Crown over two programs this fall. On Aug. 2, most of the greatest horses of the current season were flying, with the main features at the end of  The Hambletonian Trail. Our annual essay on the main event is currently available for your inspection. Archives of the races that paved the trail are available at the Hambletonian Society site.

    The Hambletonian was not a winning race for us, nor was it for the majority of the wagering public as super favorite Father Patrick broke at the gate and was unable to regroup his gait and get back into the fray.

    The Hambletonian Oaks was also a loss for us, since Shake It Cerry was passed in the stretch and finished fourth. The filly the crowd adored, Designed To Be, did not beat her; another Jimmy Takter filly, Lifetime Pursuit, beat her. “Cerry” (also trained by Takter) has beaten that one all season. Takter told us that Cerry’s driver, Ron Pierce, was extremely upset at how he handled the race and blamed himself for Cerry’s loss. Takter said that Pierce felt he “misjudged the [fractions]” and moved too quickly and too soon, causing Cerry to tire while giving Lifetime Pursuit cover.

    Pierce could do no wrong with our choice and everyone else’s choice, Sweet Lou ($2.80, $2.20, $2.10) in the US Pacing Championship. He was awesome and never asked while winning. Captaintreacherous, wide for the first turn and into the backstretch leaving from post 8, finished fifth in front of our other triple-element Bettor’s Edge.

    Next year’s Hambletonian favorite as of Aug. 2, was our choice Centurion Atm ($4.20, $2.80, $2.40). He gets the title for winning the Peter Haughton Memorial for frosh-colt trotters.

    Sebastian K ($2.60, $2.20, $2.10) beat our first choice for an upset, Uncle Peter, in the John Cashman Memorial. Another favorite we tried to beat was our second choice in the Miss New Jersey,  Gettingreadyto roll ($3.20, $2.20, $2.20 ok). We finished fourth with Cut A Deal (63-1).

    In the Merrie Annabelle we were second with Jolene Jolene ($8.80, $4.40) in league with our other choices, Mission Brief and Lock Down Lindy. That triple paid $76.40.

    Another triple we nabbed by using an outsider was the Ima Lula. Though favorite Classic Martine beat Bee A Magician, our outside contender Nf Happenstance was third ($5) at 81-1 for a $36.60 triple.

    We hope to be back at the New Jersey racing arena for the Breeders Crown finals. All of the top horses in each division will be covered starting next week in races that will decide their “Crown” status and which will be great betting affairs en route to the championships in the Breeders Crown Countdown blog, in cooperation with the Hambletonian Society, which organizes the events, and our headquarters at TwinSpires.

    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.


    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). This week, there were 29 on the H2W list.


    Deadhead Royalty, $9.60, $4.60, $4.30, Vernon
    Putnams Attack, $7.50, $3.50, $2.50, Yonkers
    Luck Be Withyou, $5.20, $3.40, $2.20, Pocono
    Josie’s Joy, $4.60, $4.20, $5 ok, Meadowlands


    Guilty Man, $8.50, $5.10
    King William, $5.20, $4.50, Batavia
    Sweet Thing, $3.40, $2.40 (Exacta $8.60), Meadowlands
    Baximum, $2.60, $2.40, Philadelphia
    Bullseye, $2.40, $2.20 (Exacta $6), Scarborough


    Oaklea Winfrey, $6, Georgian
    Amigo Ranger, $5.20, Saratoga

    News And Notes

    Bad weather in the East did not affect New Jersey’s afternoon of classy racing but in upstate New York the rain caused flooding and traffic problems. Batavia Downs could not finish its evening program on Aug. 2. Rain caused cancellation of the card after Race 2. The next day Batavia delivered a 15-race program on a very sloppy track. Also on Sunday, the two top glamour-boy colt pacers, Jk Endofanera and He’s Watching, battled at Tioga in the soup. He’s Watching won the Empire Breeders Championship elimination by a nose over Jk Endofanera. The triple, with an 18-1 shot coming in third, paid $3.45, which was 55-cents less than the exacta of $4.

    Another Meadowlands Pace character (along with the two glamour-boy colt pacers mentioned above), second-place Always B Miki, won at Hoosier on Aug. 2 in an Indiana Sires Stakes elimination. Always B Miki is a son of Always A Virgin, who is having a profitable stud career in the Midwest. “Miki” trounced the field in 1:49.

    Sweet Rock, the 92-1 New Jersey Classic winner, was Brett Miller’s first win on the first Hambletonian day program where he competed as a driver. The shockingly priced winner is not on the eligible list for this year’s Little Brown Jug. He defeated four others that are “Jug” hopefuls—Dancin Hill, Doo Wop Hanover, Beat The Drum and Western Village—all New Jersey-breds.

    The 140th season of live racing action kicked off on Sunday, Aug 3 at The Red Mile. Sunday nights feature a $5,000-guaranteed Pick-4 pool in Races 6–9, in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Program. The $1.4-million Kentucky Sires Stakes Super Night comes up on Sunday, Aug. 31, and will feature a $15,000-guaranteed Pick 4-pool. The popular 10-cent superfectas have returned and will be available on every race with the exception of the start of the Pick-4 and the final race of the evening. A 20-cent Super Hi Five will be part of the wagering menu on the last race of each card, where 100-percent of the net pool will carry over if no one selects the top five finishers. Live racing continues on Sunday and Thursday evenings with a first post of 7 p.m. Grand Circuit racing begins on Thursday, Sept. 25, with live racing Thursday–Sunday for the two week meet.

    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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