Steady, Solid Bets To Light Up Harness Tracks’ Toteboards

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February 12th, 2015

Freezing mid-February weekends are wonderful to harness bettors, since there are so many ways to apply themselves to pari-mutuel play. With a laptop, a mobile phone or pad or plain old tower-run computer to connect to the Internet, you are never denied access to your TwinSpires account for the best harness racing action in North America.

While the season’s stars are yet to surface and the frosty storms cover the map, the overnight and winter-series miles are served hot with wagering opportunities. So, again this week, we will focus on the “ordinary” races we feel are worthy of exploring. Our analysis’s begin with a Pick 3 at the Meadows, a Pick 4 at Buffalo and continue through 15 programs, including specially selected feature races and the popular horses-to-watch (H2W) list.

Arm your TwinSpires accounts and ready for some great harness action with win, place, show and exotics in play, so that along with your handicapping skills and our suggested contenders, we get all of the bang for our bucks. To start the weekend, we look at the three legs from the Early Pick 3 at the Meadows and give you plenty of time if you want to indulge in the Pick 5 at Buffalo. All of the horses suggested can be used as additions to your Pick-3 and Pick-5 tickets. As well, judge each of the go-to-post odds for win or across-the-board wagering.

Early Pick-3 (50 cents)
Feb. 13, the Meadows

Prada Spur has worked hard in her most recent three races. Leaving from tough posts in tracks graded below “fast,” she made as many moves as necessary, even when dueling wide or hanged first over. She got into this level after winning at 46-1, so she cannot read the toteboad, so to speak, and is very dangerous in this bunch.

Also taking some knocks in her four-year-old season so far is TSM Soul Sister. Though she has the 8 hole she could find a spot early and save her speed for a profitable charge to the finish line. Track hero Dave Palone won’t be driving so the crowd won’t be supporting her chances, which remain the same even if I show up to drive her.

Race 4

Palone will suck in the bucks, even from post 9, and that will present us with some fine possibilities to raise the price of this exotic with other inclusions. Tune In, for instance, needs another chance against the tree that beat her in this class last week. And the race before that saw her out-classed and weighed from post 8, that coming off a win in a conditioner against tough foes.

A bothersome possibility is Black Silk Jammys, who steps up off a claim after a terrific place two back at the claim price. The new connections will be all out with this gal and the majority will not support her,

Race 5

The last leg is a tough level to judge by any standards, The Not-Listed Preferred Handicap (NLPH) can present a field with many arguments to win. The three outside entries should be the best here, though only 8 and 9 drew against those posts. R Marie Hanover is the failed favorite last week in the NLPH, finishing seventh but only 1 length behind the place horse, Macharoundtheclock (the 8 horse here). Two back, “Marie” was awesome in a class more like this one (many of these are stepping up). If she races back to that and there is no reason she cannot, the Pick 3 will pick up some extra value.

Pick 4 (50 cents)
Feb. 13, Buffalo

Race 5

Though it is hard to believe the public would let Burton Blue Chip go off a third choice, enough of the public may be wary about his fresh start as a six-year-old and let him go. Popular driver Billy Dobson is set to take the reins and that also could bring the price down but it may still be worth it to have him aboard the ticket, especially since his final race of 2014 would chase this group across the Canadian border.

Race 6

Two probable outsiders deserve attention in this conditioner. Here Comes Thunder need only get a good start to charge out of the gate and be ready to lead the whole way or tuck for a close around the last turn. The other possible upset goes to I Saw Red. She is getting better and going off at longer odds as she improves. Surely the betting will shy from her this time, too, but if there is too much speed up front for two turns, she may knock a lot of players out of the pool.

Race 7

Winbak Glory is fresh and ready to start off his four-year-old campaign with victory. This son of the great Malabar Man is still honing his early foot but can be forgiven for not shaking loose at the Meadowlands after a huge but unsuccessful trip outside at Batavia. That was a level just below this and the fact that trainer Megan Wilson finds these conditions available leads us to believe the colt is hot to trot.

Race 8

This is a tough closing leg with an inconsistent bunch, which is why we urge adding Jazzmarazz, who is 12-1 on the morning line. Off of a qualifier that is not required, even after a bad finish (we are lost for details), the gelding may have a slight edge on his foes here. That qualifier was a good leg workout, for what that may mean, and shows he may be able to rate a pace on top. Certainly, it looks like he can get there easily enough. There is too much to dislike about the probable favorites in this field of dreamers, so add the most likely improver.

Burning Points

The second leg of the winter-series Burning Point ($17,500) at the Meadowlands is worth a look, considering one of our H2W list members, Empress Deo, won the first leg at $30.00. Empress Deo is present for leg two but another H2W candidate leaves from the wood and should be raring to mix in at a big price. That is Just Fine, a mare from the Nifty Norman stable. She lost to Empress Deo in leg one and it remains a mystery why Just Fine was 43-1 in that fray. Here, with the sharp Witch Dali on the outside and “Deo” now getting the attention she deserved last week, we may see Norman’s mare once again going off well above the rate of her chances. This is the one to take seriously.

Feature Race
Feb. 14, Yonkers
Race 7

There is nothing like taking on a huge favorite from the 1 hole at Yonkers, so enjoy this call. Classic Gent comes down from two Opens, neither of which he tanked. Before that he won on this oval in a Preferred, a wire-to-wire effort that was well supported. His morning line of 9-1 would be delightful to lock in now.

Feature Race
Feb. 14, Yonkers
Race 11

Ron Burke brings back Theraputic after a successful qualifier at the Meadowlands. The fie-year-old Crazed gelding is always fighting and has been doing so collecting checks against classier sets than these. He is fresh and could get a good trip at a good price from post 7. If you become excited at something in Race 12, this one is a great Late Daily Double single to strike a great pay off.

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.


2/13/15, +Joltfromtheblue R1
2/14/15, +Keystone Reactor R2; Dash N R2; Shaolin Master R3; Bakken R4; Freaky Flyer R5; Mach Stockn Barrel R9; Enzo Seelster R12

Cal Expo
2/13/15, La Madawna DeRosa R1; +Silence Sun R3; Early Boy R8
2/14/15, Hello Sevens R4; Emery Vern R6

2/12/15, +Dreamfair Epic R3
2/15/15, Sir Global Z Tam R3

2/15/15, Charmbro Orbit R1

2/12/15, +Josting Jack R5; Playgirl Interlude R6; +Cee Cee’s Delight R8; Anightwithwilma R9
2/13/15, Innocent Victim R10; Yes Indeedee R12

2/12/15, +Rage N Ryan R9
2/13/15, +Jimmer R4

2/13/15, +Americangirlfriend R9; +Richerthanray R9; Nutmegs Yankee R10; Mandella Blue Chip R12

2/12/15, +Watch Me Too R1; +EZ Go Lavec R5; +Swift Blizzard R8; +Lcb Artist R11

2/12/15, +Riverdancer R7; Jettin Jamie R8; Nirvana Gear R10; +Sea Danser R12

2/14/15, Pacific Cyclone R2

2/14/15, Credit Refusal R3

2/14/15, +Rolls Blue Chip R2; Grand Master R3; +Orange Bigi R9

Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition.