Show Serenade Topped With $22 Score; Pair of $13 Winners Share First For Features

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

January 15th, 2017

Six personal features spread across Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 12—Jan. 14. This weekend we were day-program oriented, starting with Freehold, moving to the Meadows and finishing at Charlottetown.

At Freehold, both public choices gobbled up the win pools and won. In the first feature we finished fourth with Nigel Tufnel (5-1). In the second feature Thursday afternoon, we took third with Magnum Mike ($2.20).

On Friday afternoon at the Meadows, our first feature choice was beaten by the race favorite, too. We were third with Wahine ($3.00) and our suggested exacta companion, Love You Bad (22-1) finished a poor seventh. Then, our second feature choice, Queens Lonely Earl (20-1), finished fifth in a dead heat, losing to a 4-1 shot.

We headed to Canada on Saturday afternoon for two features at Charlottetown. We had a strong second in one of them with Onehotvett ($6.10, $7.90 ok). The other was not a shocking loss but the odds raised our eyebrows. Finishing seventh was Fleurje (71-1). The horses we suggested for expanded exotics did not do well, even though one of them, Lexis Mandy, went off the favorite. Gascoigne Dickie (167-1) made the superfecta but because he finished fourth and was so unpopular, no one had a winning ticket.

All horses that did not win in our personal features (if not scratched) appear in the following week’s H2W list as second-time (noted: +) entries (see below).

On various Wednesday nights we tweet for TwinSpires Twitter members from @FrankCotolo –retweeted by @twinspires—and the raceway involved. Losers from each week will appear on the next week’s horses-to-watch (H2W) list unless they race before that blog is published, so watch for them returning to the races on days in between blogs. Watch for special tweets from raceways on various Wednesdays.

The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas listed are included when a H2W horse finishes second with a race favorite or the first two finishers making up the exacta are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete a cold exacta). The note “ok” determines that prices published are correct even when a show price exceeds a place price or any or all of the prices are the same. This week, there were 36 active horses (a 11-percent win hit rate and a 47-percent ATB [across-the-board] hit rate).

Please note that some H2W results reflect win, place, show and exotic results occurring by press time but some horses race after the blog is posted (we list them the following week) It is up to you to follow horses that have not performed before this weekly review is posted.


Goodnight, Goodluck, $13.80, $5.80, $3.40, Buffalo
Nerida Franco N, $13.40, $5.90, $5.10, Yonkers
Rock N Row, $7.80, $4.80, $3.00, Pompano
Acesandeuces, $5.40, $3.60, $3.10, Northlands


Opulent Yankee, $7.60, $4.20 (Exacta $27.10), Meadowlands
Silver Spir, $3.20, $2.10, Pompano
Wrangler Magic, $2.60, $2.10, Yonkers

Quality Sport, $22.40, Cal-Expo
Serious Art, $5.60, Cal-Expo
Jacks To Open, $5.20, Yonkers
Lets Go Places, $4.60, Fraser
Mass Appeal, $4.60, Freehold
Chester Hanover, $3.80, Monticello
Beechwood Tiger, $3.30, Charlottetown
Roll With Josie, $3.00, Yonkers
Gram Rules, $2.80, Cal-Expo
Abreathofreshart, $2.40, Pompano

News & Notes

The biggest horseman news of this year is happening as you read this. Brett Pelling is returning to North America harness racing after 11 years. Pelling left the scene just after campaigning Rocknroll Hanover to a Horse-of-the-Year season. Pelling’s talent with sophomore pacers was yearning for action and, he told Dave Briggs, Brett wants “to come back and do what I was good at . . .training three-year-olds.” You can read the entire interview by clicking here for the Jan. 8 edition of Harness Racing Update..

Through his rise to fame, this blogger has reported on the adventures of the Pellings, Brett and his father Brian. This journalist defended Brett in the press when his “unorthadox” training methods were misunderstood and investigated when his horses began to win top stakes and Brett became the dominant conditioners at the Meadowlands and Grand Circuit. Other allegations fell short with support from this journalist, who was the only U.S. reporter to applaud Brian Pelling when he returned from a long suspension due to a controversial race in Illinois. We hope to reconnect with Brett and follow his new stock, giving our TwinSpires harness bettors the inside scoop on his 2017 barn. 

The lone harness-racing license in Pennsylvania is being courted for Freedom Township, in south central Adams County, which is near the Maryland border. That could become the new home for aharness track and a casino in about two years, according to sources in Gettysburg. A local businessman said if the licensing and regulations go through, Mason-Dixon Downs could become a reality. The last Pennsylvania harness racing license will rely first upon the decision of the State Horse Racing Commission, which meets Jan. 26. Then investors would apply for a category 1, gaming license through the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. We’ll keep you posted.

New York’s Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs will have unveiled a “new-look stakes schedule” for the 2017 season, with more than $3.7 million in purses. Top Grand Circuit and New York-sired pacers take center stage on a pair of Sundays at Tioga. The Aug. 20 card features the $175,000 (est.) Roll With Joe Stakes for older pacers and both $250,000 (est.) Empire Breeders Classics for soph pacers. On Aug. 27 distaff pacers contest the $175,000 (est.) Artiscape Stakes on the program with the $175,000 (est.) Crawford Farms Trot and the $175,000 (est.) Joie De Vie (formerly the Muscle Hill) Mares Trot, both of which move from Vernon Downs. Other stakes highlights at Tioga include a Graduate Series prelim, the Tompkins-Geers Stakes, the W. N. Reynolds Stakes and a Miss Versatility prelim.

At Vernon Downs, the marquee event remains the Harry M. Zweig Memorial for soph trotters, though it has moved from late July to two weeks after the Hambletonian, on Aug. 18. The main event for top colts and geldings carries a $370,000 (est.) purse, while top fillies vie for a $150,000 (est.) purse.New York-sired soph trotters compete in the $250,000 (est.) Empire Breeders Classics on June 18 and froshes go for an estimated $600,000 in the Kindergarten Classic finals on Nov. 3.

Extraordinary Extras

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

For Thom Pye cartoons, informative harness history and more, click here ~