Hot Harness Picks In The Arctic Cold; Swinging For High Exotics

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

December 11th, 2019

Mid-December means holiday shopping to all but particularly more chances to pay for all the holiday shopping with smart, well-paying wagers. As we do through every season, in mid-December we present the best possible contenders in North America to help you profit from playing harness races. More specialty features like Power Plays (PoP) and special overnight features are posted below.. 

And, stark spot plays and exotic contenders are listed in the never-ending TwinSpires horses-to-watch (H2W) list. Always check out our H2W list before building any major exotic tickets, too.


Saratoga / R3—5
Thursday, Dec. 12

The Pick-3’s first leg includes single-race exotics—an exacta, trifecta and superfecta.

Race 3
Some shippers affect the Morning Line (ML) and that may give some Saratoga regulars an edge for bargain hunters. First, Sea Change N is racing great locally, so at 3-1 (ML) the price is generous. On the outside, beaten favorite Mistress Angelina (6-1) should not offer a double-digit price, nor should Delightful Trysta. Tossing the 1 and 2 horses from exotic combos with the aforementioned trio (your place judgement) should deliver a strong return on investment.

Race 4
Blowing the lid off of the exacta, trifecta, superfecta, win, place and show pools here, as well as canceling many Pick-3 tickets, will take courage, as we include—if not support to win—the 8 horse, Hope Hotspur. The Illinois-bred has been favorably placed in conditioners such as this, finishing well and attracting his Vernon Downs trainer enough to reclaim him. He is a must-use element in many types of bets. The 8 hole, after all, is most against him for the win, not as a partner in exotics, where he is ultra-valuable.

Otherwise, Daily Sports is the next best dancer on this floor for price and purpose. We offer little if you intend on going deeper for trifecta and superfecta strikes.

Race 5
Ditto on the inner-race exotics in the third leg of the Pick 3. In this conditioned event, the 8 horse is the ML choice due to a drop down after some Yonkers rolls. Although he will show some muscle and is well considered for the single-race exotics, he is not our first choice.

A danger here is likely to go to post under the betting radar. That is The Band K. Toss his first start at Saratoga after his Vernon campaign and pay attention to the subtle drop in class and his October form. He is ready to make some noise and to catch him doing it in this event would be a cash coup.

Aberdeen Seelster and IM On Schedule will help exotics’ payoffs, especially with The Bank K anywhere on a ticket.


Dayton / R5—7
Friday, Dec. 13

PoP activity centers on a Pick 3 (50 cents), while inner-race exotics include an exacta, a trifecta (50 cents) and a superfecta (10 cents).

Race 5
Twice-beaten favorite Mannys Too Special should be more attractive in this field where his ML is 6-1. The droppers are on the outside and need to step down, having little to no sparkle in their higher class performances.

Bettor Than You has had some rough trips trying to collect a check in most of his levels of competition, though he has done better at Dayton than Northfield. The crowd may like Ron Burke’s name attached to Lyons Again but the very fact that the one-time stakes performer has to be here at seven with a poor resume only helps our contenders.

Race 6
A bunch of claims leave from the gate in the second leg of the Pick 3. It’s the kind of field where lots of handicappers hit the “ALL” button rather than make a commitment or two. We never hit that button. It costs too much for as little as it benefits a ticket, no less a profit. Instead, we lean into a 10-1 ML outsider that can wipe out most exotic wagers.

That is Heart Crusher.She is one of the claims but shows the kind of recent activity in a slightly higher class that lends itself to a new trainer’s touch. After a big win at the end of October, Heart Crusher stepped up and raced in some tight finishes, until she won at 14-1 (all at Dayton). She scratched in a step-up move, giving her some time off, and was 4-1 in a claimer. That’s where Noah Garrett took over and brought her here, where the crowd is bound to ignore her but we do not.

Race 7
Buckle up for the final leg of the Pick 3, because one of the exotics is a 20-cent  High-5. The others are a 50-cent trifecta and a10-cent superfecta.

More rumblings are expected here, where taking some chances could bury the High-5 number. In this claiming event, Vintage Grand, a dropper, comes from conditioned events, two of which earned him the right to step up. The two most recent are miserable but before that Vintage Grand as enjoying decent earnings with finishes far better than his odds predicted. An outsider that won’t impress bettors, Vintage Grand should race far better than those last two in this dip, good enough to make the exotics explode.

With him in the High-5, we’d use Rolling Thunder, Gold Star Lambeau, Big Pink and Vegas Again.


Meadowlands / Race 3
Saturday, Dec. 14

Trump That was included in our Philly PoP last week, where he finished just off the grid. This is not where he was expected to be racing this week but trainer Ron Burke thought differently. Not only does he put the Somebeachsomewhere four-year-old on a two-turn trip, he finds a multi-condition event where the competition is tighter. We make a similar move, taking Trump That off of the H2W and putting him as a major contender here. 


Meadowlands / Race 5
Saturday, Dec. 14

Decoy comes back after being scratched last week. Our reasons are the same. He comes fitting well in this race after trying to make a larger hike in class. He could have been at this level after his Nov. 23 win, but things changed.

At four, Decoy has settled into a strong earner for trainer Gary Candell. Decoy was a pacing factor for Jimmy Takter once and though a second-tier performer in the division he made his bones. He will surely play a role in the exotics and will be a fine price to settle on across the board.


12/13/19, Priest Man R3; Ticket To Fly R5
12/14/19, Falcons Luke R11

12/14/19, +Mystic Ruler R1; Panchantedtikiroom R3;  Part Time R6

12/14/19, Air Assault R1; Migrate Blue Chip R10; Docdor Friskie R10

12/12/19, +Shadys Shark Bite R3; American Admiral R4; Sweet Rock R6; Southwind Moroccan R8

12/13/19, +Harmony Oaks Quike R3; +You Mach Me Crazy R6; +Caviar Star R7

12/13/19, +Gunslinger Hill R1; +RN Nate R7; +Burning Midnight R8; +Humboldt R11; +Avalanche Hanover R11; +Pond Jumper R12; +Possess The Stone R12
12/12/19, +Drink Whiskey R5

12/14/19, +Cocktail Time R2; Bad Medicine R4; +Northern Fiesta R7; +Mayabelle R10

12/13/19, +Kill The Lights R1; +Maggie Mae Trot R5
12/14/19, +Bound To Score R11

12/12/19, +Audacious R4; +Blutos Diamond R4; Dragon Strikes R5; +Always B Hannyt R11; Beaver Creek Misty R11

12/12/19, New Plymouth R1; +Ideal Gemini R4; +Send A Note R6; Expo R7; Cousin Rickard R7

12/12/19, +Quebec Blue Chip R3
12/13/19, Magical Beliefs R3; Write Me A Song R6
12/14/19, Andy Ray R2; +Obrigado R6
12/16/19, +Campus Queen R5