Stop, Look And Win

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

January 31st, 2013

We are in between major stakes action again. February stakes-and-series offers will be presented at the Meadowlands in February but in the meantime, even though this winter weather is unpredictable by and large, we have other tracks and action to address.

A special TwinSpires promotion for players of the Feb. 2 Woodbine harness card is on the docket, so check out the ways and means of that by clicking here.

We won't handicap the entire Pick 4 at Woodbine but below we offer one horse in each of the legs we feel you should have on your ticket.

Our exclusive horses-to-watch list (H2W) has been reeling in successful horses and we continue this week sans the cancellations last weekend’s bad weather provoked. First, let us answer some questions that have crossed our desk about the horses that earn their ways onto the H2W.

The most asked questions concern the lack of information we include with H2W inclusions. All of these inquiries can be answered simply. We do not take into consideration any of the usual elements people place weight upon when handicapping a harness race. Hot drivers or trainers don’t matter to us; class plays little-to-no role in the selection; track size and the track itself are moot points.

We are concerned with trips, which in our decades of experience have always been the primary predictors of which horses would contend in their next two or three outings. Other elements so not matter to us, including speed, which is always a debatable factor. With this in mind, it would only clutter the text to add those tired, brief comments that handicappers have attached to picks for as long as there have been tip sheets.

Suffice it to say that H2W horses have raced impressive recently and must be considered “live” now, regardless of morning-line or post-time odds. Our experienced eyes watch races objectively and notice the trips that send up flares that horses may be ready to fire and hopefully pay well.

The proof of this is in the results of our H2W candidates. Our larger double-digit successes so far this season have not appeared as picks in any other blog or pick sheet; they have been exclusive to TwinSpires’ readers. Always review the legend, published again below, to authenticate the choices and learn to judge how you will use the information.


Before the horses’ names is the track, followed on the next paragraph by a date it (or they) will be racing, with the race in which they are entered (R and race number). If a + is in front of a horse’s name, it means that horse is appearing on the list for the second (and last time) because it failed to win the first time it appeared. An “ae” means the horse is on the also-eligible list and needs a scratch to get into the race. Sometimes up to three horses are listed in the same race; it is up to you how to deal with the situation (note that in the past this situation has resulted in exacta and triples).  

If a horse that has appeared on the list but was scratched or is not racing its second week consecutively, you will see a N/R after its name and will appear on a separate line from dated entries. And if a horse shows up at another track in its second week of being listed, it will display the plus sign as indicated above.

There is a margin of error, of course, so we encourage you to keep your own list along with our list to be sure our H2W is free of mistakes.

All members of the list need to be considered serious contenders in the races noted. Wagering on any of them is based on your own judgment of value, as well as if you wager to win, place, show or in exotics. If you have any questions about the H2W list, send them to us through the TwinSpires blog channel.


 Woodbine contenders for TwinSpires Feb. 2 promo:
Race 4, Yackety Yak
Race 5, Whippet Good
Race 6, Duke Of Donegal
Race 7, Coach Cal

Ray Cotolocontributed to this edition.