• Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes

    POSTED Aug 31, 2014
    Mohawk shared this weekend’s highlights with Vernon and featured some of the biggest names of the season from divisions young to old. However predictable the outcomes turned out, one surprise stuck out prominently on the Canadian menu. –Please note that this review will not include the Monday, Sept. 1 Cane Pace at Tioga (we will mention that in next week’s review).

    Make a note—and we will post this news on Thursday, Sept. 4—that the TwinSpires harness blogs are moving to a new address—the official TwinSpires website, hopefully by Sept. 4. As soon as the move has been established (we have to move all of our tech furniture there) we will guide you to the page from this residence and our personal pages on Twitter and Facebook.

    The Breeders Crown Countdown blog will stay at its current location and we will be linking to it for coverage of races connected to “Crown” eligibles leading to the championship events in November. Don’t miss one episode and look for archived race reviews at the Hambletonian Society site.

    We were on board for everyone’s choices on Aug. 29 at Vernon when Sebastian K ($2.30, $2.10, $2.10) took the Crawford Farms event; Father Patrick ($2.10 n/p/s) won the Zweig for colts; and Shake It Cerry ($2.40, $2.10, $2.10). won by the Zweig for fillies.

    On Aug. 30 at Mohawk, more easily forecasted results ensued for the stakes program, with Artspeak easily winning the Metro Pace (our two possible upset candidates were off the board) and our choice, in league with the public, Jk Shesalady ($2.90, $2.50, $2.10), won the She’s A Great Lady Final. The filly we liked third in that race finished third and Shakai Hanover paid a shocking $9.90 for that spot.

    Amid the clouds of chalk, though, came the latest episode of The Sweet Lou Show and the dramatic twist in this week’s episode was unexpected by all. Finally coming up short, a winded “Lou” was severely pressured in the stretch and faded and 66-1 Modern Legend came from a usually beaten position (in other episodes of the Lou show) to win pacing away. Foiled Again ($8.90, $12.70 ok) managed to hold second.

    We heard from sources that Lou was “not himself” due to an alleged “bug” going around the Burke barn. We could not confirm that as fact, though our source was reputable. Modern Legend has raced consistently with the same horses and has never gotten close to Lou but for passing tired ones and it seems that is what happened in this race. Foiled Again, of course, is an in-and-out competitor that causes no surprises when, after a few dull races, he wakes up to be a force in the mix. But Modern Legend took advantage of a steaming pace (1:20.1 for Lou at three-quarters) and a possibly ill super-horse. Time will testify to all of this.

    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 30 active horses on the H2W list.


    Lookingforadventure, $12, $6, $4.40, Scioto
    Upfront Billy Boy, $9.80, $4.80, $3, Meadows
    Red Star Fiona, $8.50, $3.30, $2.50, Batavia
    Toni’s Affection, $7.60, $4.60, $3, Hoosier
    Creatine, $3.60, $2.40, $2.10, Scioto
    Rockin Roxanne, $2.80, $2.80 ok, $2.40, Ocean


    Ge’s Alex, $7.60, $4.40, Ocean
    Good Win Earl, $5.90, $3.10 (Exacta $12.60), Saratoga
    Whowhohoosier, $4.20, $3, Scioto
    Golden Big Stick, $2.80, $2.40, Hoosier


    Impersonal, $4.20, Maywood
    Man He Can Scoot, $2.40, Yonkers
    Curly’s Son, n/s, Saratoga

    News & Notes

    Colonial Downs looks ahead to its 17th season of pari-mutuel harness racing, starting Sept.17 and continuing with a six-week fall campaign thru Oct. 26. This is the only one-turn mile track in harness racing and it offers handicappers and bettors great opportunities for all types of wagers. The action will take place every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.  The highlighted program of the meet is the annual $350,000 (est.) Virginia Harness Day of Champions on closing day, when Virginia-bred frosh and sophs of both sexes compete in eight championship races.

    The Colonial Downs stable area opens Sept. 10 and training begins the following morning. The first qualifying races are Saturday Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. and the opening day draw will be held that morning. A total of eight late-closer stakes series have also been announced and nominations are currently being accepted. The slate of pacing only stakes includes the Horace Martin Memorial, VHHA and the U Gotta Win One Now series events. Trotting only stakes include the Parkers’ Memorial and the We Redeem Our Fallen Soldiers. The Good Ole USA, Juniors and Delmarva series all feature separate pacing and trotting divisional legs.

    I Luv The Nitelife, one of 2013’s Four Horses of the Apocalypse, has been retired early in her attempt to return to the races at four after surgery. Owners Richard and Joanne Young made the decision to retire “Nitelife,” a daughter of Rocknroll Hanover. For her career, Nitelife won 17 of 27 races and $1.94 million. No female pacer in harness racing history has won more money at ages two and three. Trainer Chris Ryder said, “She will be impossible to replace.”

    With two world records and multiple stakes under her belt, one of her losses stands out to her co-owner as the race that shows her guts and determination. “Her last race [at three] in the American-National,” Richard Young said, “She should have lost by ten and just got beat. [It was] one of the most memorable races of my life and more than likely the race that ended her career.”

    Trainer Ron Burke has two hot soph colts that are not eligible to the Little Brown Jug. JK Endofanera could be supplemented to the “Jug” but it will cost $45,000. Burke said it is not going to happen. “The owners have no thought of going,” Burke told harnessracing.com. His other colt, All Bets Off, doesn’t have a shot either. Burke said, “He's a big horse and I don't know if he'd even get around [the half-mile track]” and Burke isn’t ready to invest $45,000 for the chance to find out if he is wrong. “I don't think he's going.”

    The Little Brown Jug conditions provide that if not eligible, the winner of the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, Cane Pace and Messenger could be supplemented. Driver Matt Kakaley, who drives All Bets Off, expressed disappointment that his colt was being considered for the Jug. “I wish he was [Jug eligible] as he gets around a half great,” said Kakaley, who disagrees with Burke. “[All Bets Off] won the ‘Rooney’ at Yonkers this year and he did that pretty handily.” The colt also won the Carl Milstein as our choice, at 7-1.

    With JK Endofanera and All Bets Off on the sidelines, that leaves Burke with At Press Time and recent purchase Limelight Beach as Jug possibilities. Limelight Beach, Burke said, can be competitive [in the Jug].”

    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 cartoon, informative harness history and products, click here ~


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