New Year Looms Boldly With Selected Features, Power Plays; Countdown On Pick 3s And Pick 5s

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

December 28th, 2017

This is our final preview of 2017. Before we return for the 2018 season there will be our annual review for the year, featuring our TwinSpires Harness Players’ Horse of the Year and double-digit-winners recap. Because of how the calendar falls this year, that will be available on Sunday, Dec. 31 (Pacific Time), along with the last 2017 update.

Below we offer more selected features and rounds of Partners For Picks (PFP) and Power Plays. Once again we are varying the venues. 

Our weekly H2W (the horses-to-watch) list is here for New Year’s Eve weekend, as most tracks are active while the 2017 calendar runs out. Do your own handicapping and then consider our H2W selections when playing your bets. Of course, remember to be fully armed with a plentiful TwinSpires betting account. Check it out along with all of the North America harness action covered below.


Freehold / Race 2
Thursday, Dec. 28

Leg one, Race 2
The beginning of a Pick 4 with a Pick 3 included from leg two on, the racing lines of post 1’s Just That explain clearly why the majority and the math will be on his side. But we could knock a bunch of tickets out of the loop early by backing (or adding) Tattle Tell Teen, who leaves to the favorite’s right. Toss out the Dec. 16 race, where he was 129-1 leaving from post 8. The week before that he won as well as Just That’s recent affair, yet his morning line (ML) is 7-1. He isn’t the probable favorite’s only threat, either, but he has the most favorable post to get him the best position early and beat the 1 horse.

Leg two, Race 3
Bettors will be impressed by shippers from the Meadowlands, Philly and Yonkers but the ML choice, Don’t Press Send, will be far too popular to add dollars to a Pick-3/Pick-4 price. From post 7, Future Flight is bound to be an overlay, giving him a good chance to win off of his Freehold credits, as well as he cashed checks before that at Philly.

Leg 3, Race 4
A shipper from Rosecroft that did better at the low-ranking Bangor earlier, is the ML choice from post 1, closely rated with the local beaten favorite leaving from post 4, Magical Telf N. That one would be best for a well-shared pot, especially if one or both of our other leg contenders has already one in either “Pick” stream. Other than that, Debt Of Honor, from post 2, could beat them both and as a second- or third-choice there will be value for tickets featuring less than the other choices.

Leg four, Race 5
Here comes a brave move, featuring the addition of the post-8 positioned Fat Boy. The post alone causes the track handicapper to give him a ML of 30-1, since it’s obvious the crowd will hold the post against Fat Boy dearly. Certainly in a good spot condition-wise, Fat Boy has raced well on Freehold’s half mile


Pompano / Race 4
Thursday, Dec. 28

Here are three single-race exotics, the usual exacta and trifecta, along with a pentafecta (otherwise known as a Hi-5). With that available, the field expands to 10, so we add one contender to our usual Power Plays and give you five from the field that we feel could be involved. They are listed in post-position order.

Skyway Priss drops into this class and gets a great spot to suck along. He’s getting used to Pompano after winter at Batavia.

Celebrity Lover has galloped in two of three races since coming from Pocono, where the money was better and he raced some good halves. The single good Pompano race, on Dec. 6, was one of the track’s higher classes. He’s being punished on the ML at 12-1 and should boost any exotic payoff.

Upto A Dream was ignored in a compatible claimer last out at 75-1 while cashing in finishing fourth, gaining at the end. He fits well here and should be one of the public’s top three choices.

Holiday Spirit steps up after two thirds at odds unreflective of those finishes. He gets on the purse grid a lot and if you are going for the five you should consider him one of the characters.

Also stepping up after three Pompano miles, Prayer Session could overcome post 8 on his Saratoga class alone. He has early lick and can place himself well early to be in the top five.


Fraser / Race 4
Friday, Dec. 29

The focus is on Fraser Downs and a race that presents three Power Plays single-race exotics: the exactor, triactor and superfecta. Here are the four contenders we suggest you choose to use at your own discretion in any of those exotics, as well as paying attention to them for win, place and show bets.

Lildudepurrfection has been one of the first three finishers at this track and at this level in his most recent miles. A battling local, “Lildude” has been confrontational most of the season in this company and although he has not recorded a win in 2017 he has played a role in many exotics and at good prices.

Wabash Cannonball should be the favorite after failing as one with a trip that empowered a 58-1 shot to win. He’s a must on any ticket since we are dealing with exotics and especially if a ticket is shooting at selecting to the fourth-finishing power.

Tito Santanna has been a Fraser fireball since dropping to this level. He had a long time off this year and came back with speed and fashion for trainer Jim Marino. He is four, with a great bloodline being a son of purse-productive Santanna Blue Chip, who excelled as an older pacer.

Whatkindofchance should defy the weight of post 8 (he has done well enough in outside posts at Fraser this year) and be able to pick up a piece of the purse with an exotic finish, so to speak, though it would be no surprise if he won this.


Meadows / Race 3
Saturday, Dec. 30

It’s time to play “Let’s Beat Palone,” a fun and sometimes profitable game at the Pittsburgh-area track. The sport’s winner of more races than any other driver, Dave Palone, will drive a reasonable contender that will be bet far too heavily than necessary simply due to the fact that, although he is a career flat-bet loss to bettors, Dave will be a bigger factor in the wagering than his horse. So, let’s not bet him on those facts this Saturday afternoon.

We’re interested in Special Blend, with an ML of 20-1. Coming from a few races in this claiming class, Special Blend has hit the board three of four times, one of them in a slightly higher company. Last out he went off at 3-1 and should worry anyone emptying their pockets for Palone. This is a claiming handicap, so since Special Blend has dropped from the class racing from the outside posts here, which will also get some play, Special Blend is in a perfect spot to show his speed (he is a son of The Panderosa, after all) and ability racing against the so-called “higher class” in this field, which launches a Pick 3.


Meadows / Race 9
Saturday, Dec. 30

Starting a Pick 5 with a big number would certainly knock out many tickets and in this conditioned trot there is a horse that may offer that possibility. Southwind Warsaw, with a ML of 12-1, is in a great spot to upset (he won’t be a top public choice). Stepping up after a conditioned win a level below this one, he was weighted with post 8 and yet he made the purse grid with a decent finish of fifth, using one late move.

Tossing his 8-hole loss out, he steps up after an easy-trip win, though he did not need an easy trip to take it. In his race before that he showed speed but used it dueling to the half, where he began to fade. That was his first race since being claimed. He showed the same audacity in the first half of a $20G claimer when Rick Beinhauer claimed him. From post 3 he will be firing with all five cylinders—unless he has six. 


Meadowlands / Race 3
Saturday, Dec. 30

This race launches a Pick 5, with its second, third, fourth and fifth legs starting individual Pick 3s. Here are suggested contenders for your tickets in any or all of the multi-race exotics and available for other single-race exotics, as well as win, place and show bets.

Leg one, Race 3
Deepfave Hanover comes out of that crazy race here last week, in which the choices were stuffed by bad trips, surrendering the pools to a choice few at huge prices. “Deepfave” was stuck on the outside and then dueled for the top late, passed by a few pacers that did nothing to earn their finishing positions. Deepfave may easily blow this group away, though a high price is doubtful.

Leg two, Race 4
Sky Is The Limit didn’t live up to his Yonkers’ form in his first at the Meadowlands. We will forgive him for that and hope the crowd dismisses him so we can get anywhere near his 33-1 failure when the recent performance turns up moot.

Leg three, Race 5
Noel Daley’s Ever Again has won at the Meadowlands and was sharp after that at Philly, where his Dec. 17 effort was a one-brush failure at 7-2. This is the class where he should be now and most of the foes here are questionable contenders.

Leg four, Race 6
Vanquished N drops another notch at the Meadowlands and may be forgiven for the sake of trouble at Yonkers in his two before, though the third back found him third at 67-1. He has won 10 of 19 this season and needs to be taken seriously in this group.

Leg five, Race 7
We were all over Chevals Clivesdale when he was at Yonkers and it showed in the betting. He came to the Meadowlands, got stuck in post 10 and failed, even though he was still among the contenders. He’s in the pink if he leaves from post 1 and controls the pace. Even with only two turns it is highly likely he can wire this group.

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.


12/29/17, Cadet R6; Fire Dance R9

12/28/17, +I’ll Have Another R6

12/28/17, Play Dance R3; Tenor Duharas R7; Miss Mikela D R10

1/1/18, Prodigal

12/28/17, Noras Tandt R8; Ralbar R9; Prana R10
12/29/17, Bye Bye Michelle R7
12/30/17, +Reach For Infinity R1; American Flight R3

12/28/17, +Duluth R4; +Whataorse R9
12/30/17, +Cuz I’m Happy R2

12/30/17, +Boy Meets Girl K R13
1/2/18, +Drawing Dragons R3

12/29/17, Busy Doing Nothing R1; Granite State R5

12,29/17, Steuben Cindy R3
12/30/17, +Misevil R9

12/31/17, +Golden Echo R4

12/30/17, +Bar Wine R2; Caitlins Romance R4; +Blue Zombie R5; Ey Cowboy R6

12/28/17, +Can Art R9