Dover In December

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

December 4th, 2014

December draws the curtain on another year and as all racehorses’ birthdays approach, December delivers the dawn of another season. Meanwhile, racing aplenty adorns the winter months across North America, leaving the active player with enough to keep busy handicapping before stars return to stakes.

But there are two classy events left. This weekend is the penultimate stakes of the 12th month. On Sunday, Dec. 7, Dover Downs presents the glamour-boy pacers’ last stand for the season, the Progress Pace. Surprises? We hope so.

While the down-and-dirty, bread-and-butter overnights take over for the holidays, we expand our exclusive horses-to-watch list (H2W), keeping you abreast of live contenders in the bread-and-butter racing around the continent. We will also analyze some races from the common track programs each week; races that we feel will offer extremely good opportunities for profits across the board and in exotic pools.

Follow tweets at @FrankCotolo, @Twinspires and @HarnessRaycer all the time for great late-minute action from harness ovals everywhere.  

You can still check out our epilogue to the Breeders Crown Countdown, which includes exclusive photos of Breeders Crown action taken by Ray Cotolo.

Progress In Progress

All that is left to shine are six glamour-boy pacers that charge after the lion’s share of $301,560 in the Progress Pace Final at Dover on Sunday, Dec. 7. The purse has been stuffed with the supplement cash for McWicked, a price rapidly paid when the colt won the Breeders Crown Final for the division.

Of course, as you read here in review and on the night of the race live from the Meadowlands, McWicked won when two other major rivals reduced the field. Limelight Beach scratched lame and Always B Miki was in surgery the next day for being so anxious to beat McWicked and the others, he stomped on his paddock stall’s wall too hard.

McWicked is a fast horse, for sure, but through the season he has been supported far too much to please a serious bettor. On these blogs through the season we have beaten him for better priced winners. In fact, we managed to beat McWicked with both of the horses that scratched in the “Crown” final (Limelight Beach when he won the Little Brown Jug elim and final and “Miki ” whenever he raced against him). So it will come as no surprise that we feel, even in a six-horse race we support an upset of McWicked. Not only an upset but one from the same horse he defeated in last week’s preview for this stakes.

Ron Burke’s All Bets Off is a winner of 11 races in this highly competitive soph-colt pacing series because he is highly competitive and has worked each mile to win rather than collect second-on checks. Aside from Jk Endofanera, who is consistently better than McWicked all around, the race has nitpickers, colts that are worn from battles that earned them money as professionals, so to speak, but no glory and many defeats by the three aforementioned. Burke’s “Bets” should offer better odds than his chances and that is enough for us to toss out his preview mile as a mere workout. On Sunday he will be pacing on all six cylinders so as to end his season with a dozen wins in 18 starts, which trumps McWicked’s season, just as he enters the race with a better win percentage.

Delaware Colts

On the same Dover program, frosh-colt pacers go for $100,000 in a state-bred final. Speedy and wealthy Remember Me Vk comes out of post 8 with a sparkling resume, though it covers only a quartet of races. Smoking Joey has twice as many battles this season and has won five of them, putting him in full view of chalk players.

But another contender, Sonofa Sizzle, may not earn as much attention and allow for a strong price to backers. Seven of his nine races during his first campaign have resulted in big checks. He is a strategic type, so raw speed from a competitor may only increase his chances. Take him seriously, as his win price should be quite a bargain against these soon-to-be sophomores with mediocre breeding.

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.


12/6/14, Shadow Baran R3

Cal Expo
12/6/14, +Thetoadamdme R2; The Evictor R8
12/7/14, +Afaceinthecrowd R1; +Fox Valley Salsa R4; +Gentle Dragon R12

12/5/14, Cyclone Sweetheart R4; +Lucky Amy R11
12/4/14, Heaven Is For Real R3; Only The Lonely R9; Cambassador R11

12/4/14, Uncharted Speed R1
12/4/14, +Fancy Pants Gram R2

12/5/14, Blocking The Way R5
12/6/14, +Sid Rock R6

12/5/14, TT Tucker R12
12/8/14, +Northern River R8; +I’m Feelin Good R9; +Shemma Star R10; Artista K R11

12/6/14, +Fly’n With Royalty R5; +Avantage R6; +MG Home Run R8

12/4/14, +Lcb Artist R10
12/5/14, Master Act R7
12/6/14, + Speed Hanover R6

12/6/14, Oh Gee Ding Ding R1; Dragon Power R4; Claremont Hanover R8

Sports Creek
12/5/14, Crown Glory R5
12/6/14, Lucky Yim R7; Money To Burn R13

12/5/14, Time Stood Still R1; White Sportscoat R1; +Campanile R2
12/6/14, +Good Day Mate R8; +PL Fighter R9;
Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition.