Ring Out The Old, Bring In The New With Harness Action

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December 31st, 2015

First, happy birthdays to all racehorses everywhere, as Jan. 1 officially makes them all one year older. Next, let’s keep our records straight—all the plays before Jan. 1 go into the 2015 ledger. We hope you have been keeping records, even the simplest in-and-out ledgers. If you haven’t, then start keeping records of all of your wagers, beginning on Friday, Jan. 1. You won’t ever be sorry that you have a record of what you have won and what you have lost in a single season.

We are going to go heavy on our own features for the last day of 2015 and head into 2016 with more from selected tracks’ harness races carried by TwinSpires. All of our choices are explained below. Keep our suggested contenders in mind for win, place, show and as exotic participants with your own handicapping evaluations.

As well, peruse the unique H2W (horses-to-watch list) for horses we expect to excel, straight from our personal research of races across North America. Extended H2W coverage will continue in 2016.

Watch for our TwinsSpires Players Horse of the Year and 2015 Review blog, which will be posted separate from next week’s main blog. The special blog is set to be on line just before midnight, Eastern Time, Dec. 31. Along with the Players Horse of the Year we will list all of the blog’s winners from the past season that paid 4-1 or higher, as presented by us as features and in the H2W.

F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S


Charlottestown/Race 5
Thursday, Dec. 31

The public should love the 1 and 2 horses due to their morning lines and most recent races, which both show promise for better performances after class drops. Even the 3 horse should take some money for a top effort after some excuse-filled races. That being true, we have only to look at Just A Professor, who may be ignored in his first race in these conditions where he had a perfect excuse to lose as the 9-5 choice. The longest fall from class here is the 8 horse, Million Teen, who failed twice in the H2W in lower company. Both of these could contribute bucks to exotics.

Northlands/Race 3
Thursday, Dec. 31

Kumu has had three good races coming from two steps higher in company and deserves another shot if she is anywhere near her morning-line (ML) odds. On the outside with another contender, Wine N Mcroses, Kumu could get the probable favorite that is leaving from the rail. Both of these in exotics would upset the pool in the favor of those supporting them, even if neither wins or if the public choice is in themix.

F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S


Northfield/ Pick Four /Races 8-11
Friday, Jan. 1

Northfield’s $10,000 guaranteed Pick 4 begins with a $6,000 claiming event for fillies and mares, highlighted by Steppin Hanover off a wire-to-wire effort in a claiming stakes event. However, he is still vulnerable enough to be nipped at the end despite his talents on the lead and with that, Desperate Crowds and K J’s Foxy Lady could spark an upset. Desperate Crowds enters off a third against Steppin Hanover but she achieved this finish after being shuffled to last and circling around horses in the final quarter. Her only issue will be getting a position from post 8. As for K J’s Foxy Lady, she’ll likely assume a stalking position with her post being in the second tier. She has displayed an ability to recoup ground in the final stages of a mile but has been too far off the pace for that ability to produce a win. By sticking closer to the pacesetter, she could pounce off an easy trip.

Leg two’s prohibitive favorite will probably be Zumba, starting from post 3 after a tough trip from post 7. Yet, the post relief for Zumba could mask the potential value on Shell Bell and High Flyin Sara. Racing from post 2, Shell Bell stalled in her off-the-pace effort last week. If she shows speed this time around, the improved early position should compensate for her “iffy” closing skills. Towards the center of the gate will be High Flyin Sara, dipping into this company off a seventh in the Open. She has raced well against this stock in the past, with her only problems coming from poor trips. She, too, could benefit from a good position early in the mile.

Conditioned claimers congregate in the third leg of the sequence, with possible value from American Grace and Allie Oakley. American Grace failed as the favorite in her latest outing, finishing second against this group. If she doesn’t have to circumvent roadblocks in her trip she should have more in the stretch. Allie Oakley’s last few starts appear unappealing due to her off-the-board finishes but she has been the victim of frequent first-over miles. With a rail trip, she should be able to at least hit the board.

Making her second start off a claim, C G Satin is the one to beat in the final leg. Leaving from post 1, this on-the-lead type has displayed vulnerability in her stamina recently, which could allow someone sitting behind to pop by in the final portions of the race. Two mares that could potentially sweep to victory are Real Joy and Eternal River, who neighbor the potential favorite. Real Joy moves into this race off of two first-over efforts, missing the board in both. She last raced at Northfield two starts ago in the Open, parked the mile after attempting to leave from post 5. She should be able to slide behind C G Satin and shoot by in the stretch. Eternal River moves up in class off a dominant performance against $6,000 claimers. She possesses speed that can be useful in orchestrating a pocket trip or even a wire-to-wire performance.

F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S


Meadowlands/Race 3
Saturday, Jan. 2

Mullet Blue Chip takes to the older ranks, having just turned four, and comes from some tough trips with younger stock. He has a good spot to catch cover in the second tier and save ground while some of these others battle through three-quarters. His Dec. 12 race proves he can fire a big brush and he could make a good showing in this new category while paying well. Note this is the start of a Pick 5. .

Meadowlands/Race 11
Saturday, Jan. 2

Perhaps the public will shy from Caviart Luca merely because of low-profile driver Lucas Wallin, since its penchant for brand names practically forces them to toss out a horse due to an unknown driver. But Noel Daley’s gelding has some good credentials and every right to be in this for the top spot. On Dec. 13, “Luca” raced a great mile in this class (one he has cashed in for purses before). He came from the 9 hole, made up significant ground to three-quarters to be third before six late chargers took advantage of Luca’s performance. Wallin and Luca may team up for a terrific winner and exotic spoiler.

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.


Cal Expo
1/2/16, Endeavors King R3; Midnight Destroyer R9; Place At The Beach R11
1/3/16, Yankee Flyer R7

12/31/15, +Mattadors Rose R3; +Honor Roll R4; +Leaveitwithme R6

1/3/16, +Allstar Man ae R2; +Rlii Sons R4; +Csardas R13
1/4/16, +JK Hall ae R3; +Mister Truth ae R13

1/2/16, +Maritime Girl R8
1/3/16, +Meabhrach R3; +Neversaidiwassweet R5; +Carimir Lucky Ladt R6

1/1/16, Hook Line N Minker R1; Fast Lane Firebolt R4; Yanotherhos R5; Fast Lane Ferrari R6; Remember Terror R7
1/3/16, Big Magick R1; Steal The Diamonds R5; Mister Hat R6; National Interest R9

1/1/16, +Overgrown R11

1/2/16, +Benjaminbanneker N R10

1/5/16, +Mister Bs Way R10

12/31/15, Viper Hanover R9; Clubber Lang R10

12/31/15, Mystic Sign R5; Beauty Of Nature R7; Karate King R10

1/2/16, Beach Blast R6; Body Double R7

1/2/16, +Cold Certified R6; Bringhome Theblue R9
1/4/16, Hubby Number One R8


Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition