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Harness Weekly Update: Mild Reynolds Success; Chalk Rules

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

May 10th, 2021

The TwinSpires Harness Blog Weekly Update covers our successes and failures from selected features and the horses-to-watch list (H2W).

Thursday, May 6

In our analysis of the Charles Hill Memorial at Scioto, we mentioned the “now horse” in the field - It’s Academic - who became the favorite at 2-1 and won. We backed veteran Guardian Angel AS (7-1) in his season debut, but he finished fifth.

Friday, May 7

The Grand Circuit action at Yonkers was a trail of chalk we supported in Reynolds S. action.

We won the first colt pace with Whichwaytothebeach ($2.40, $2.10, $2.10 OK), while Mullinex (10-1) did not complement an exacta, finishing a disappointing seventh.

In the second colt mile, we finished third with Shakesspeare ($2.10).

In the first of two filly paces, our winner was Heart Of Mine ($2.50, $2.10, $2.10 OK). In round two we were second with Carrington ($4, $2.60) and third with DC Batgirl ($4.60).

Saturday, May 8

A Miss Versatility division for mares of each gait was on the Meadowlands docket. We finished second in the trot with When Dovescry ($4.40, $3.20), completing a $13.20 exacta with the favorite.

In the pace, No Mas Drama (9-2) finished seventh in a tough outside trip, though she faded badly from three-quarters.


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 29 active horses for a 7% win hit rate and a 21% ATB (across-the-board) hit. Horses with asterisks before their names were tweets @FrankCotolo. Follow for late choices.


RSVP, $4.60, $3.20, $2.80, Hawthorne
Bolt Of Luck, $3, $2.60, n/s, Monticello


Sheeza Shark N, $5.80, $4 (Exacta $26.20), Freehold
GW Show Faith, $4.20, $2.80 (Exacta $17), Plainridge
Zenith Stride, $3.20, $2.40, Meadowlands
Leave And Roll, $2.40, $2.10 (Exacta $4.20), Plainridge




On May 7, harness racing returned to the Chicago area when Hawthorne Race Course began another season. Illinois’ surviving harness raceway hosts racing every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night beginning at 7 p.m. (CT). Capacity is currently limited to 50%.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand for live sports entertainment and with harness racing you can get so close to the action,” said Tim Carey, president and GM of Hawthorne.

Illinois was once a teeming harness racing territory. Balmoral Park, once the home of the American-National series on the longest stretch in racing, was the last to face the bulldozers. It was also the home of the historic Sportsman’s Park, which was originally bankrolled by Al Capone before it turned into the harness racing hub of the Midwest. As well, Maywood Park became a stop on the Grand Circuit and greeted thousands of Chicagoans over many years. Illinois was also once the home of the Hambletonian.

Trainer Ron Gurfein passed away at the age of 80. Training Standardbreds was his second successful career. His first was owner of a women's clothing company, which he sold in 1965 and became an owner of several racehorses. Then he tried his hand at training them. He began at Monticello Raceway, then moved to The Meadowlands, where his trotter Franconia set a world record in 1987. By the 1990s his trotters made headlines. Victory Dream won the Hambletonian. More Gurfein-trained trotters became champs, including Continentalvictory, a Hambo-filly winner. Another Hambo winner was Self Possessed, a son of Victory Dream. And the great sire Cantab Hall went undefeated at two.

The Meadowlands announced adding Graduate and Miss Versatility legs previously scheduled to be raced at Woodbine/Mohawk (WoMo). Also added are races for three-year-olds to the Championship Meet schedule, accommodating horses left with reduced racing opportunities due to stakes schedule changes at WoMo. At the time of this post, WoMo is still in lockdown from COVID-19 complications and many Canadian horsemen and horses are making their livings for now at U.S. raceways.

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