Seasonal Series Launch
Four-year-olds and up (a few fresh sophomores included) on both gaits will be featured in the season’s traditional winter series’ legs leading to lucrative finals at the Meadowlands and Woodbine. It’s January again and in what some poets have labeled “the darkest month” we will attempt to light up the tote board with great prices (the higher the prices, the more lights needed to display them).
So our blog begins with Thursday this week, as Jan. 8’s Meadowlands program hosts the first leg of the Super Bowl Series. The program begins with the series’ first division and three other $12.500 legs are on tap for conditioned trotters. Then on Friday there are two $15,000 divisions of the Worldly Beauty series for pacing sophs and mares. Depending upon available information, we will cover what we can from Woodbine. We also include analysis of a few of our own feature races from various tracks.
Our exclusive, popular horses-to-watch list (H2W) cuts through the bitter winds of winter with more suggested contenders for your win, place, show and exotic considerations. Once again we will keep the list going through the year, covering overnights all over North America in 2015.
Follow tweets at @FrankCotolo, @Twinspires and @HarnessRaycer all the time for great late-minute action from harness ovals everywhere.
Super Bowl Buds
In the opening leg, a mixture of outside entries confound the handicapping process, including the return of Royal Ice, the Muscle Hill gelding from the 2014 Hambletonian. Oneida, who raced only twice in 2014, returns and Illinois-campaginer Donnie Darko ties to extend his speed on these two turns. But we like the Philadelphia invader, Charleston Springs. His Pennsylania efforts are consistent coming into January (only his age changes) and he fits these conditions.
Division two may not offer an upset, since Teach Me To Bucky seems to tower over these, moving recently from Saratoga to enjoy the loss of two turns. The Crazed gelding did not race at two and was productive at three with five wins in 11 starts taking on the best at Saratoga. Judge the odds offering for yourself.
In division three there are a few good reasons to back Patonus, who has only qualified twice since winning two of five through last September. First, the crowd won’t give the just-turned-three-year-old a decent shot against all of these four-year-olds. Next, his two recent qualifiers won’t impress most handicappers (we like the first one, where he broke on the move because he was on the move and the second one is even enough to show he can stay flat). The Lucky Chucky soph has talent and if he gets better and better, we may only be able to catch him now at a great price.
The last division of the night has us supporting Big Money Grip, another Philly invader. Though he tanked in his first Meadowlands performance, let’s give him that one, since his Dec. 11 race at Philly is very good against similar (he was 5-2). This is the kind of series where he can pick up enough dough to get back to the lower ranks and fit in with top-line overnight conditioners and be a true battling contender through the season.
There are two $15,000 divisions for the first leg of the Worldly Beauty at the Meadowlands on Friday, Jan. 9.
In the first split, Witch Dali comes south with a four-win streak with the Ron Burke insignia (he also has Safe From Terror in the field). There will be no room for more bets on her, so we look for a reasonable upset in the form of Pretty Girl Swag. Her recent form was great at Dover and she has not taken off for her birthday, rolling from Delaware to this series.
At the end of the program, the second split we may want to support the up-and-coming Hex. How good is this first-time sophomore that after only two races at two, trainer Misty Miller brings her into this series after breaking her maiden at Philly? She may be special and having raced well against Witch Dali, the first division’s probable top choice, she has every right to improve, as well as she may be dismissed by the crowd for lack of experience. Let’s get her now, when she still may offer a great price.
Jan. 9, Meadows
Shucked raced very well last week at 9-1, gaining ground all the way after a slow start. It was his second race after a qualifier he needed after being off a month. He was doing well at the Meadows coming far off the pace late before meeting the probable choice here, Tune In. But that one has to deal with an outside post, as does another public-supported favorite, Richerthanrayno. This should be Shucked’s mile at a decent price over the choices.
Jan. 9, Yonkers
The action is on display for the opening of the 2015 season at Yonkers and in this race we have a great play with Know It All. The crowd will be punching in on the class droppers from the outside in this conditioned affair but we will take Know It All, a claim three back with an excuse in the race following the purchase (hanged for two calls). Know It All stepped into a B-2 at the Meadowlands, where she tried too hard early, lost ground, tried to come back but never got her hooves into the action. She is back on the four-turn mile and may try to steal the race from post 4. We can only hope for the morning line of 12-1, far greater than she deserves.
Jan. 10 Charlottetown
There appears to be a kink in the morning line as far as we are concerned because A Fiesty X Ample belongs at this level and not at 6-1. A defined step-up from a loss as the odds-on choice last week and hopes for Cheyenne Ford and Mcjestic keep her from the line-maker’s top three but that is all right with us. She continues to be a major contender of types like these and to get a price on her would be considered a gift.
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.
1/9/15, Firstforthegirls R2; Cowboy Cold R8; Ahh Panama R10
1/10/15, Twentyoneguns R8; Lexi’s Delight R10
1/11/15, +Blue Gem R4; Oompa Loomba R6; Mousseline Hanover R7; Looks Don’t Count R9
1/10/15, Hereintherealone R2
1/8/15, +Von Ryans Express R2; Alexis Style R3
1/10/15, +Excellence R11
1/8/15, Muscles Princess R7
1/9/15, Wygant Princess R3; Rocketpedia R7; Twin B Bikini R8
1/8/15, +Chocoholic R5
1/10/15, Rockstar Stride R3
1/9/15, +Stakes N Plates R6
1/12/15, +Ballistic Tip R6
1/8/15, All Marks Go R2
1/8/15, +Kelly Blue Chip R3; Star Studded Gun R6; +Up Front Kellie Jo R9
1/10/15, Insider Access R2
1/7/15, +Dontcallmebaby R2; +Laura Mae R3; +Jamigo R4
1/8/15, +Dazzling Rockette R4; +Walks Of Life R10
1/10/15, +Flipper J R9
1/11/15, +Hunkofburninlove R5; +Backstreet Hanover R8; +Stonebridge Tonic R11
Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition.