Storm Scourges Schedule; Cal-Expo Rules Weekend With $36 Winner Topping $73 Cold Exacta

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January 7th, 2018

As we explained in our blog addendum, neither man nor beast was able to carry on with the normal tasks of racing in Winter Storm Grayson. We adapted with late reviews of Cal-Expo harness on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 as every raceway with races we presented (except for one, Cal-Expo) cancelled its programs from Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 6.

We lost action at Freehold, Flamboro, the Meadowlands, Charlotteville and the Meadows. The horses from those events will be monitored for their next races, perhaps as soon as next week since the storm’s frigid temperatures are expected to rise by Monday, Jan. 8.

Aside from the selected features, the cancellations affected many on the horses-to-watch list (H2W). Those left in the cold, so to speak, will be added to the next H2W list on our Jan. 11 preview blog.

In chronological order, then, let’s review how we held up with the eight races we selected at Cal-Expo. 

On Friday, Jan. 5, the one selected feature remaining on the preview blog produced a big score when our selections resulted in a cold exacta (no pun intended). We won with Blue Star Maverick ($36.20, $15.80, $9.20) and picked up second with the late-addition of Swagasaurusrex ($8.60, $7.00). The exacta paid $73.40.

Next best was a fourth from Itzazian (4-1) and two sixths from Windsong Lindsey (5-1) and Miss Banjolina (47-1).

Saturday, Jan. 6, the second favorite beat our Scary Harry (7-2) in our first Cal-Expo feature, while in another we were third with Musician ($4.80), beaten by the public choice. Finally, Cowboys Dirtyboots (7-1) finished sixth.

All losers in our selected features appear the following week in the H2W list.


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 21 active horses (a 24-percent win hit rate and a 43-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


Ajessia, $14.00, $7.80, $4.60, Miami
Holiday Spirit, $7.80, $4.40, $3.60, Pompano
Alexas Princess, $5.00, $3.70, $3.00, Northlands
Elite Awards, $4.40, $3.20, $2.40, Hawthorne
Caitlins Romance, $3.20, $2.10, $2.10, Pompano

Upto A Dream, $10.60, $4.60 (Exacta $44.00), Pompano
Drawing Dragons, $8.20, $4.00, Meadows
Falcon Justice, $7.10, $6.10 (Exacta $21.60), Western Fair

Soap Suds, $2.80, Hawthorne

News & Notes

The industry made a big story of driver Anthony Morgan’s 16,000th driving win and rightfully so. That raw number of wins is among the top few in the sport. Tony’s career has been plentiful through 43 years in the bike. As players, however, we are always holding the drivers accountable for raw numbers because raw numbers rarely mean plentiful success when betting on specific drivers. We did deep research to discover Tony’s value for the bettor by using statistics covering the 43 years he raced to get to 16,000 wins. Here are those results:

When hitting the 16,000-win mark, Tony Morgan had 84,899 starts (he finished second and third a combination of 23,643 times). He had a winning average of 19 percent. That is, Tony won a race from every five he drove. Using only Tony in the sulky as a reason to wager ($2.00 base as the flat bet), it would have cost a bettor $169,798, a bettor would have lost money if any of Tony’s winners paid less than $10.60. Of course that was not the case, many of Tony’s winners were favorites, paying much less than 4-1. Congratulations to Tony Morgan’s personal achievements but he is not a flat-bet profit for harness bettors.

Dayton Raceway finished its meet with a 52-percent increase in total all-source wagering. Because there were 76 days in the track's fourth annual meet, six more than in 2016, the average daily increase was 42 percent. Total purses at the 2017 meet exceeded $8.5 million, for an average of $112,000 per program, an 18-percent increase over 2016. Dayton will try to exceed that success when the 2018 meet which opens on Sept. 10, with both the Dayton derbies featured on Sept. 28.

As promised, Yonkers Raceway’s 2018 season begins without the passing lane.The New York State Gaming Commission approved the change and the track crew removed the homestretch pylons to where they were before passing-lane racing began. Management said it was done “to produce earlier movement and make the races more exciting. It should eliminate horses sitting in and change the strategy for drivers and handicappers.” It was a change that management said fans requested. Jan. 8 debuts an evening first post of 6:50 p.m. That first post goes for all night programs, which in January are Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.

Running Aces released the dates for its 2018 harness-racing season. The Minnesota five-eighths-mile oval’s action will kick off on May 19 and continue through Sept. 15. Racing will be offered on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday evenings at 6 p.m.—all times are Central Daylight.

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 ~