Deep-Freeze Features Selected; Power Plays And Other Exotics Targeted At Six Raceways As 2018 Opens For Business

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

January 4th, 2018

Happy New Year from the coldest place on Earth, which this past week was designated as North America. What were the odds this continent could have its temperatures dipped beneath the zero level? Actually, the odds were worse than the chances. That mathematic proposition brings us to another year of the TwinSpires harness-blog series, where we find the horses most other handicapping “experts” won’t dare to identify with the respect deserved. Coming off another in a series of successful years as a harness-racing investment consultant, Happy New Year—we begin with the same understanding of many wagering decisions that go against the popular opinions, suggesting many that are enough for another season of profitable play.

The first preview of the 2018 season offers the winter overture for the stakes season. These are selected features and rounds of Partners For Picks (PFP) and Power Plays, making these blogs your personal newsletter for plucking unpopular prices from all types of wagers. Do your own handicapping again this year but respect our off-the-beaten-track opinions and don’t fear adding some to your betting agenda. 

Another year for the weekly H2W (the horses-to-watch) list will be available all season. As with our features, do your own handicapping and then consider our H2W selections. Start this year by being fully armed with a plentiful TwinSpires betting account. Check it out along with all of the North America harness action covered below.

Freehold / Race 6
Thursday, Jan. 4

This conditioned pace launches a Pick 3, our first Partners For Picks (PFP) for 2018. t’s a $1.00 base bet that offers contenders in each race, which, of course, can also be considered for win, place, show and other exotic bets per leg.

Leg one, Race 6
Some things never change, like the way the morning line (ML) reflects the behavior of the betting public in this Pick-3 opener. A number of horses are stepping up off of wins, give or take a race, and the tried-and-true class dropper that gets the 1 post is the projected favorite. Those moving up after wins are not given much of a chance. Among them is Super S Yzerman, whose morning line of 6-1 is rated more closely to his chances as one of the stepper-uppers, so to speak. His last races of 2017 are very good, with an excuse for finishing sixth two back and a great trip finishing best-of-the-rest at 31-1 last week. He won a few notches down in class three back and honestly stepped up. This is a prospective winner to start the Pick-3 stream with a thick-enough price to knock some tickets out.

Leg two, Race 7
The trainer change for the ML favorite from post 1 does not explain the projected betting status. Is that why the line-maker made him the most famous here? The 6 has a better reason to be forecast 3-1 but is he also being defined by a trainer change? Outsider Engagedatlexington could go off near his 9-1 ML and that would be a bargain. His year-ending race was a drop to a claimer and he finished on the purse grid. In his two before that he was over-extended at the Meadowlands, though his first race there after coming from Maryland was a sharp early attempt ruined by a tiring ourside move. At Rosecroft and Vernon he was well bet and rightfully so. There is no reason he wouldn’t race more like that in this trot and pump up a Pick-3 price. A Pick-4 stream begins with this race.

Leg 3, Race 8
While the public will feel the rail-leaving Rosiemunn will return to her check-cashing form at this level, we lean into the possibility of she who launches two posts right. Letmetakeyoudancin has decent half-mile-racing speed. Toss out her Dec. 26 Monticello chase and her Dec. 7 Meadowlands fiasco. Consider the change to trainer David Strong more recent, in fact, since just after the Meadowlands loss. Then you have a mare looking for action, based on some early lick that can benefit in this situation and deliver a Pick-3 closing winner paying very well.


Flamboro / Race 4
Thursday, Dec. 4

An exacta, trifecta and superfecta are available in this claiming ($15G) pace, so here is the quartet we feel you should recognize as keys to a plump pay out. They appear in post-position order.

Other than the obvious top three ML favorites that will leave from the first three inside posts, a matter of upsets exists with a few others, starting with Tiguan Seelster. Two of his last three races include interference problems, even though this pacer is no leaver. Before that trio, “Tiguan” finished third at this level, closing significant ground from start to finishing less than a length behind the winner. At Rideau-Carleton earlier, he was sharp at the claiming level just beneath this one, though bettors never respected him.

Mister Godro won from the 8 hole at Western Fair and did it on the outside most of the way. Then, he lost from post 4 but he was productive at Rideau-Carleton as a headquarters and is in a perfect spot to strongly compete with the obvious three ML choices.

Lock N Reload looks for his sixth-straight paycheck from claiming purses at Flamboro and Western Fair. He’s a second-tier type and should get the cover he needs to get into the exotic grid, no less as the top dog.

Six Flags stepped up and came back to Flamboro after his claim, which found his new home with the Hudons. He’s bound to be competitive here, coming from two fourths at Woodbine, where he was claimed. He deserves another chance to do better under new ownership.


Meadowlands / Race 4
Friday, Jan. 5

This is the beginning of a Pick 3 and another Partners For Picks (PFP). Here are our contenders in each race for you to single or add to your ticket and to be considered for win, place, show and other exotic bets per leg.

Leg one, Race 4
Jus’like A Virgin broke in his trip to Freehold for a conditioner. He was not supported strongly but should not be penalized for the event going into this $10G claiming event. At the Meadowlands on Dec. 21 he was a major contender at this level and finished fourth after a brush that kept him outside the rest of the way. Into that race he dropped after cashing minor checks in higher company in Maryland.

Beware of the pacer to his left. Fly’n With Royalty returns to this company after a third here at 7-2 and fits well in this group, as well as he is bound to be a decent price.

Leg two, Race 5
This is a conditioned trot presents a couple of competitors that were received well in their last outings but may be very obvious to the common handicapper and priced below their interests, even though they drop into this. From those comes one that has no resume of being backed enough, no less as well as he should. That’s Its Chocolate Time. We supported this guy in some of his other seasons and his only true fault is his hereditary malady of galloping. He’s a son of Chocolatier, a dynamic trotter who has passed on some gait problems. However, when his progeny race smoothly they are super and that can be seen clearly in the past-performance lines. We pick up our support for It Chocolate Time here, where he takes a small dip in class after racing with a tad tougher at Philly.

Leg three, Race 6
This is a mishmash of trotters that unfortunately pops up as the final leg of this multi-race exotic. That being addressed, we find value in a hopefully unsupported 10-horse leaver, Purity. After winning at the level below this group and again with the 10 hole, Purity flew to the front and had to duel a bit before others rallied late to pass her by 7 lengths. We wish to suppose the early strain was the only reason she lost. After all, she deserved to step up and the public knew it, sending her off at 7-2. The trip will tell the story but be sure she will go off higher than her last five starts in 2017.


Cal-Expo / Race 3
Friday, Jan. 5

Blue Star Maverick stepped up and was “used hard” to the half, dueling for the top twice in the mile. That condition was a tad higher than this. Before that he was strapped badly in the 10 hole at this level and tried to close late far too wide. He won at this level in early December at 3-1 at this level and could put that kind of performance in this race and beat the obvious public choice.


Charlottetown / Race 3
Saturday, Jan. 6

Charolottetown’s specific condition races deserve their own definitions, considering their meager amounts of earnings necessary, which makes the track’s class system volatile. This race exemplifies that and draws attention for us to Yankee No More. The veteran mare raced wildly well last week at 2-1 and gets a ML of 10-1 here and a mysterious stepping-up arrow. From post 9 she was third, following a win at this level the week before that. The measure of class is out-and-out coo-coo at Charlottetown, so let’s take advantage of Yankee No More, who will certainly be involved with the single-race exotics and has a terrific shot at winning over so-called classier kinds.


Meadows / Race 4
Saturday, Jan. 6

Two races back, Gold Savage was 5-1 in this class at the Meadows and even after a strenuous brush, which included a duel to take first, he was beaten by only a nose. He raced in this company following that place and was fifth with no visible signs of the trip—because the snow was blinding. Two horses in this field beat him in that race but Gold Savage shouldn’t lose any ground if he takes off immediately from post 3, while those foes will do some extra traveling from the outside. This trot begins a Pick 4.


Meadowlands / Race 9
Saturday, Jan. 6

A Jackpot Hi-5 is featured among the common three single-race exotics in this conditioned pace for mares. Here are five contenders that may not look so obvious to the public, which you may add to whatever exotics you choose (and win, place and show). They appear in post-position order.

Lady Of Heaven has been racing better than her odds and fits well into this category after a few check-cashing experiences at the Meadowlands. She just turned four and comes from the Rock N Roll Heaven bloodline, owned by that sires owner and looking for a big season among her new division.

UF Dragon’s Queen was very good against older late last year in Pennsylvania and deserves a bigger chance than, we feel, expected by the public. It’s difficult not to figure her in the mix of exotics based on her Pocono experience and her first mile in New Jersey.

Sassa Hanover is bound to get more play than the others suggested here, due to Ron Burke’s name as trainer and the driver, Gingras. She, too, is a Rock N Roll Heaven product and she takes a drop here that also will account for some play. It makes sense to keep her in exotics, though maybe just the “super” and the “jackpot.”

Carobbean Pacetry steps up and down in accordance to recent earnings that meet conditions and here her class should show prominently, though it is difficult to forecast the crowd’s opinion. She seems very sharp now and we can only hope her 9 post turns off some bettors for the sake of a higher price.

Bronze Over N has taken a liking to the Western Hemisphere. She won here after a third at Freehold, which was her first race since arriving from New Zealand. The 10 post is no concern to us but others may dismiss her for it. As a Down Under pacer at longer distances through her five-year-old campaign, we doubt very much if outside posts on two-turn miles at least, have hampered her performances. She could pump some bills into the exotics here.

H2W Legend

Review our choices and follow the wagering at the prescribed track. These are possible contenders we have judged from reviewing races. The horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track after the date they will be racing. The race in which they are entered (R and race number) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name it means it is appearing on the list for the second (and last) time because it failed to win the first time it appeared. An “ae” signals the horse is entered on the also-eligible list. If a horse is listed twice, refer to the entries on the night of the race since a horse may enter in more than one race. Types of wagering on any of the H2W listed horses are based on your judgment. If you have any questions, email us at TwinSpires.


1/5/18, +Cadet R7
1/6/18, Deweydidonegood R5; Chantholdmebackmack R6; Santanna Sam R10

1/6/18, +American Captain R1; +Political Crisis R4

1/4/18, +Fool With Joe R3
1/7/18, +Miss Mnikela D R1; +Play Dance R9

1/5/18, Prodigal R8; Wabash Cannonball R12; Tito Santanna R12

1/4/18, +Ralbar R2; +Tattle Tale Teen R3; +Future Flight R5; +Fat Boy R9
1/5/18, +Noras Tandt R10

1/5/18, Elite Awards R3; Soap Suds R4; Fox Valley Eli R5

1/6/18, +Express stride N R4; +Fox Valley Caded ae R14

1/6/18, +Southwind Warsaw R6
1/8/18, +Warp Factor Three R5; +Artache Hanover R6

1/6/18, Southwind Scorpion R2; Ajessia R6; Smokey Joes Café R8

1/5/18, +KJ Dale R6; +Rockinsangria R8

1/6/18, +Queen Ann M R13

1/6/18, +Alexas Princess R8; +Golden Echo R8; +Odds Western Three R8

1/6/18, +Caitlins Romance R1; Ey Cowboy R6
1/7/18, +Wishingonadragon R1