Harness Racing: Picks for Dec. 30 through Jan. 3

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

December 30th, 2021

Here is the last TwinSpires Harness Preview for 2021, which sneaks into 2022 with some action on New Year’s Day (see H2W). Selected features, Power Plays and the never-ending TwinSpires H2W (horses-to-watch list) ensues with across-the-board cashing opportunities.

Check the Racing posts on New Year's Eve for The TwinSpires Harness Review for 2021.

Thursday, Dec. 30


Each week we highlight some probable longshots from Mohawk Park in this features section. If they do not win at first crack we add them to the H2W the following week as a bet-back while adding new possibilities to this Mohawk Miles section.

In Race 6 – Rose Above It — a good qualifier prepped her for this.
In Race 10 – Emmy Lou Hayes — returns off of a win from a hot barn.


Thursday, Dec. 30

Northfield - Race 10, 12

Race 10

It’s difficult to make a case for a horse that has a single win in 17 starts because handicappers frown upon it. For decades I have always insisted that a horse that is 1 win for 17 starts can easily be 2 for 18 in its next start. Enter Payara from the fruitful barn of Ray Farmer. Hitting the board eight of 17 times sounds better than 1 for 17 because it is better and adding the horse’s recent race — a second in a slightly higher event — makes a solid case for a strong contender, no less at a price for the common miscalculations of wins versus starts.

Race 12

We were impressed by Blacktree when he qualified at Yonkers and since then he headed west and wound up in a conditioned event at Northfield’s four-turn mile. He was a huge overlay finishing second on Dec. 21 at 48-1, best of the rest in a race where the favorite drew away by 7 lengths. Blacktree’s finish boosted the return of the exacta. He may not meet the exorbitant odds of last time but his chances are still better with the winner of that race missing this event. The race ignites a Pick 3.


Thursday / Dec. 30

Meadows - Race 3

This simple conditioned event offers probable favorites that hover in this class or step up a bit and which are all farther and farther away from one another at the gate. It leads us to the 1 horse, Ron Burke’s Snap Call. On the Morning Line (ML) the pacer is 5-1, falling in as the fourth choice. However, his recent pair of races at the Meadows were at 40-1 and up each and he raced to the numbers. However, he came to this class after a win a notch below — at 9-2 from post 7.
The ML favorites look well enough to raise the value of Snap Call. Winless at two, he improved at three but becomes four in two days (say that sentence five times fast). At 5-1 he is still worth it against these but we see him going off higher, giving him outsider status to our liking.


Friday, Dec. 31

Meadowlands - Races 3, 4, 5

Race 3

Crowded in the Yonkers stretch, Venier Hanover lost position late but finished sixth only 2 lengths off the wire. With that as his most recent effort and an outside post here, he won’t be praised at the windows. Still, the move from the half to the mile has been used successfully by trainer Edwin Quevedo and this one will pay well winning or hitting the board.

Race 4

Parklane Jet was tired in the stretch after an overland journey that included his best brush. Previously trained by Ariel Alvarez, here the pacer is under the supervision of Andy Adamczyk and a new strategy may be in play as well as a price better than the hard 7-1 offered last time.

Race 5

A troubled early duel left Waves Of Fire A humbled by three-quarters at Monticello, so the ride here may be exceptional at a good price. He is the penultimate earner of the claiming event who has to beat, like the rest of them, Way To Close, but a hair better will do it, no less at a great price to dismiss exotic ticket holders missing his number 6.


Saturday, Jan. 1

Cal Expo - Races 1, 2

Aside from the Daily Double the first three races usually offer a Pick 3. However you put together exotic tickets, take our suggested contenders in races 1 and 2 into consideration.

Race 1

The James Wilkinson—James Lackey combo is a high-percentage winner and just getting started with this meet. Here they offer California Rock returning to the same conditions as he raced on Dec. 19. He made up some ground late, barely racing much for three-quarters. He was well-supported at 5-1 finishing sixth. Looked like he needed that one and should be on his toes here, racing better and maybe enough to challenge Marced Magic, a beaten favorite on Dec. 12 much due to a strained outside trip.

Race 2

Gerald Longo, the West Coast veteran of western harness racing, has been dynamic training and driving in his silver years, handling some fine horses among the delicate crops bred on the Left Coast. He has piled up the cash with Mandeville, who should command this field all the way. He was one of the top choices as the meet began recently and here he steps up to meet tough Open trotters. He has a post advantage over probable class favorite, Pridecrest, who won the Joe Lighthill Memorial as a huge choice.


H2W Legend

Review our choices and confirm the wagers available at the prescribed track. H2W offers possible contenders researched from reviewing races. Horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track with the date of their race and the race number (R6). If a "+" is in front of a horse’s name, it appears on the list for the second time (horses are listed twice only if, at first, they fail to win. An “ae” signals also-eligible. Types of wagers to make are based on your judgment.


Cal Expo
1/1/22, Gene Eugene R6; Dance Traveler R8; Shes A Showstopper R9

12/30/21, +TJ's Indy Pacer R5; +Run Oneover N R6

1/3/22, +Gaazilla R6; +Wise Image R9

12/31/21, Holy Grail N R2

12/31/21, Greenhill Hanover R1; +Juxta Cowgirl R1; Jackamino R6; Rockin Rambaran R7; San Domino A R10; +Deerfield Beach R12

12/30/21, +The Funk R2; +Validus Deo R7; +Captainfabulous R11

12/31/21, +L Dees Patrick R3

12/30/21, Marianangel R6; Pay Later R7
1/3/22, Whether Or Not Fi R3; Shadownthetwilight R4

1/1/22, Solosos Rock It R1; Your My Secret R3; Douwantobldasnoman R11; +Delight Kate R 13

12/30/21, +In The Night R2
12/31/21, Moonlightandroses R6; +Shadrack Hanover R8; Ideal Chip R11