A Freehold Winning Trio; CalX $37 Score; Meadowlands $21 Upset

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

January 16th, 2021

Here is the TwinSpires Harness Blog Weekly Update.

Thursday, Jan. 14

Freehold’s Pick 4 came close to cashing, finishing 1, 1. 1, 3. Within the stream, we picked up some hits with single-race exotics as well as the trio of winners.

In leg one we finished first and second, respectively, with Nomeisinthehalter ($8.00, $2.80, $2.10) and Brightside Kelvin ($2.20, $2.10), completing a $14.60 exacta.

In leg two we also finished first and second, respectively, with Vergeofgreatness ($17.00, $3.80, $2.10) and Issa Horse ($2.10, $2.10 ok). That exacta paid $32.00.

In leg three we did it again, first and second, respectively, with Exuberance ($6.20, $3.20, $2.40) and Caviar Star ($2.60, $2.10). Rare Muscle (11-1) finished seventh.

In the last leg we finished third with Foolish Version ($4.20), and Runaround Sue (25-1) was sixth.

Friday, Jan. 15

Following the early Miami season for productive-trainer Adam Short with our exclusive Short List, we won with the only horse he entered, Frano ($3.60, $3.20, $3.60 ok).

At Yonkers we were one for two features. Winning was Stormy Kromer ($4.40, $4.00, $2.60) in Race 4. The Race-8 feature was won by the favorite, while we finished fourth with Griffon Hanover (3-1).

Saturday, Jan. 16

One feature at the Meadowlands gave us second with Dealers Table ($4.00, $2.60), defeated by a 7-1 shot. Albergo Hanover (7-2) finished eighth.


The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Exactas listed include a H2W horse finishing second to a race-favorite or if the first two finishers are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses are listed—a cold exacta). The note “ok” determines that prices are correct (even when a show price exceeds a place price or all prices are the same).

Please note that some results reflect horses racing after the blog posts (they appear the following week).

This week, there were 34 active horses (a 18-percent win hit rate and a 44-percent ATB [across-the-board] hit rate). Horses with asterisks before their names were tweets @FrankCotolo. Follow for all late choices.


Mikis Magic Ride, $37.00, $8.80, $5.00, Cal-Expo
Acting Out, $21.60, $10.60, $6.80, Meadowlands
Captain Keen, $13.40, $4.80, $4.20, Pompano
Rural Art, $6.40, $4.60, $3.60, Pompano
Lets Have Another, $4.60, $3.20, $2.40, Dover
Im Sid The Kid, $4.00, $2.80, $2.10, Freehold


Burning Desire, $3.20, $2.90, Monticello
Silas Seelster, $2.40, $2.10, Yonkers


DGs Elsa, $7.40, Miami
Galactic Galleon N, $6.10, Yonkers
In The Huddle, $4.40, Yonkers
Prince Baynard, $4.00, Miami
Whats The Word, $3.80, Meadows
In For The Chase, $2.60, Cal-Expo
Kandy Sweet, $2.10, Yonkers

The Meadowlands absorbs four Grand Circuit stakes for older horses that were hosted by Tioga and Vernon. The Roll With Joe, Crawford Farms, Artiscape, and the Joie De Vie will be raced at the Meadowlands as part of a celebration of Independence Day weekend on Saturday, July 3. Each stake has an estimated purse of $175,000. These events are a part of a $20-million stakes program for 2021 at the Meadowlands with nearly $5 million of that total being directed to older horses.

Driver Jim Devaux won five of 10 drives at Monticello on Jan. 14, tossing a flat-bet profit (FBP) of $18.30 to anyone ignoring every other handicapping element but his driving assignments. Though three of the win prices were low, $14.00 and $12.20 payoffs made the gimmick worth it. Devaux’s drives cost $20.00, returning $38.30.

Aaron Merriman turned over a FBP on Jan. 13 at Northfield. Merriman drove 11 times on the 13-race program, winning seven miles for a gross return of $30.60. Anyone ignoring every other handicapping element but his driving assignments invested $21.00 to make $8.60. As usual, Merriman’s horses were bet well, with his highest win price coming back at $7.20. Merriman streaks often but is not as consistent with strong payoffs as he is winning. 

Arguably one of the best trotting sires in modern times, Kadabra, is through breeding. After sustaining an injury to his right hock late in 2020, personnel at Tara Hills Stud — where Kadabra stood —sidelined the 22-year-old stallion from duty. Then it was decided that the prolific sire retire permanently. The Illinois-bred, who did not race in the Hambletonian due to a technical oversight, was a monster on the track anyway at three, earning nearly $1.6 million. He raced briefly at four, then took to breeding. Kadabra sired over 1,300 horses, with 926 making it the races, 147 taking marks of 1:55 or faster, and eight earning at least $1 million.

Tall Dark Stranger, a three-year-old colt pacer who was harness racing’s lone millionaire in 2020, is Horse of the Year, named by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Trained by Nancy Takter and driven all season by Yannick Gingras, Tall Dark Stranger won 11 of 13 races and $1.30 million.

Four-year-old trotter Gimpanzee was named 2020 Trotter of the Year. Trained by Marcus Melander and driven all year by Brian Sears, Gimpanzee won eight of 11 races and $980,964 last season. His earnings were second to Tall Dark Stranger.

Extraordinary Extras

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