‘Pandora’ Pounds Tracks; Winter Winners Roll Over Frozen Ground

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

February 22nd, 2015

This time around, a storm called Pandora (winter storms are named these days) comes barreling through the south and flows up the eastern seaboard with snow and sleet. It gets intense mid-Saturday, Feb. 21, and harness tracks begin to cancel.

Before Pandora picks up steam, the 2015 winter is delivering record-low temperatures. Ohio has been frigid. Miami Valley cancels on Thursday, Feb. 19. Northfield, usually offering harness through most kinds of unsavory weather, cancels Friday, Feb. 20 due to wicked cold.

Gallantly, the Meadowlands doesn’t cancel on Saturday but once the program begins only one race is presented and then the rest of the evening’s events—which include the winter series finals—are dismissed. Across the river, Yonkers cancels for Saturday.

Canada gets temperatures in the minus double digits through the week but the Ontario Boys and Girls finals are raced Feb. 21. Both go to prohibitive favorites. We tried to beat the obvious favorite Artistic Fusion ($2.90, $2.30, $2.10) in the fem final with P L Hurricane (46-1) but she came in fourth. We were unable to beat the public choice in the male version with Regal Babe (8-1), who finished ninth.

In Friday’s Early Pick 3 at the Meadowlands, we tagged the third leg with Fox Valley Legend ($10.80, $4.40, $3.20). In leg one, Four Starz Roe (15-1) finished seventh to the public choice and in leg two, Wickedwitchothewest (8-1) finished sixth to a 9-1 winner. Over at Yonkers, a feature for us on Friday night got into a lot of trouble early and wound up sixth. That was Electric Cruiser (56-1), who lost to a 4-1 shot that stayed out of the way of the three horses interfered with at the start.

The horses-to-watch list (H2W) was productive, even with a lot of its members on cancelled programs. Our biggest winner of the week is on the list.

The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas are included when a H2W horse finishing first or second completes the result with a race favorite or another H2W horse listed in the same race (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete the exacta). If listed horses were active after press time, the date they won, placed or showed will appear in the next week’s update. This week, there were 40 active horses.  


Doctor Carter, $26.00, $9.00, $4.80, Miami
Lcb Artist, $11.40, $3.50, $2.10, Monticello
Blended Whiskey, $8.60, $5.40, $3.20, Pompano
Gramps Girly, $6.70, $4.10, $2.60, Western Fair
Shaolin Master, $5.50, $2.90, $3.30 ok, Buffalo
Carsons Cashin, $5.00, $3.80, $3.00, Western Fair
Rolls Blue Chip, $4.00, $3.00, $2.60, Meadowlands
Yesindeedee, $3.40, $2.60, $2.10, Maywood

Emery Vern, $5.00, $4.00, Cal Expo
Bakken, $4.80, $4.20, Buffalo
Freaky Flyer, $4.10, $5.70 ok, Buffalo
EZ Go Lavec, $2.90, $2.40, Monticello
Little Amos, $2.80, $2.20, Northville
R Marie Hanover, $2.60, Meadows
Royal Assassin, $2.60, $2.40 (Exacta $9.00), Northville
Lansdowne Road, $2.10, $2.10 ok, Northville


Enzo Seelster, $14.20, Buffalo
Comeback Hero, $5.80, Miami
Mach Stockn Barrel, $5.20, Buffalo
Defective Sham, $3.60, Miami
Early Boy, $3.20, Cal Expo
Elite, $3.10, Buffalo
Swift Blizzard, $2.70, Monticello
Hello Sevens, $2.60

News & Notes

Corey Callahan continues to be the top driver at Dover Downs and will have no problem taking another driver’s crown and this past week he has become our subject of monitoring drivers with streaks. Corey got a lot of industry press from Feb. 17 through Feb. 19 because he won 20 of the 45 races on those programs. Congratulations, Corey, for making a good living. However, bettors should be aware of what all of those wins mean to them. So here we are again for a driver’s review of success aimed at bettors.

Callahan’s 20 wins included 25 losses. Some of those failures were aboard dead-on public choices; others were on promising win prices. In 20 wins, none of his horses paid more than $8.80. Four paid $6.00--$7.00. Five paid $5.00--$5.40. His lowest paying win was $2.10. It would have cost a player $42 to play all of Corey’s drives over those three programs. The $42 investment would have returned $55.90, a profit of 7 ½ percent. That is a fine return (a flat-bet profit) considering no handicapping was necessary, except for finding Corey’s drives. How Corey has faired over the entire season is the true judge of his value to bettors. After all, any of the horses he won over those three programs could have been won by any professional driver, since they were all wagered upon strongly by the public, which used more than Callahan to handicap their chances.

Last season we led TwinSpires harness players to a $44.00 win price with trotter Master Of Law in September, after having him in various well-paying exotics through a tough season that included seven-straight losses. This year he is again under the rule of Jimmy Takter and the trainer’s persistence shows that the older trotter could be a lot stronger this season. He was second on Feb. 20 as an entry with the winner at the Meadowlands in a $30,000 Open Handicap. The pair went off at 4-5.

Colonial Downs may see harness action again after all. The Virginia legislature passed two bills last week that are encouraging to the state’s desperate horse-racing industry. Senate Bill 1097 allows monies to go from online race wagering into the promotion of racing in the state and it opens the opportunity for agreements with tracks in the state, including harness racing’s only one-turn mile, Colonial Downs.

Extraordinary Extras

Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.

Ray Cotolo contributed to this blog ~ For Thom Pye cartoons, informative harness history and more, click here ~