Top-Pay Scores In Meadowlands Stakes; What The Hill Shines At $12; Four Exacta Partners Complement Favorites

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

November 26th, 2017

The Fall Final Four, plus older stakes (some three-year-old and up eligible), at the Meadowlands on Nov. 25 produced some winners and some hardy competitors to hit the board from our weekly blog suggestions.

We did best with the older stakes, scoring first with What The Hill ($12.80, $5.80, $3.60) and picking up third with our second choice, Pinkman ($4.40).

In the mares final we nabbed Pure Country ($9.00, $4.80, $3.00).

In the horse pace we finished third with All Bets Off ($2.40), who was beaten by the top two race choices.

We called for a passed in the mare trot because Hannelore Hanover ($2.40, n/p, n/s) had only three to beat and it wasn’t worth the effort. She won.

We won only one of the Fall Final Four features. In the Governor’s Cup we supported Lost In Time ($5.40, $3.60, $3.00), though the two exotic partners we proposed were off the board. Nutcracker Sweet (4-1) finished fourth and Closing Statement (24-1) ended in sixth place.

The three other freshman stakes contests resulted for us with only one second, Reign On Me ($5.40, $4.20) in The Three Diamonds. She was beaten by the public’s second choice. In that race we were seventh with our first choice, Alexa’s Power (19-1) and our third choice, Python Blue Chip (104-1) finished sixth.

In the Goldsmith Maid the race favorite was an easy winner, while we were fifth with Smoke And Mirrors (59-1). Lastly for the freshmen, we were fourth in the Valley Victory, backing Tito (14-1).

Our Partners For Picks (PFP) attempt this week sent us out west to a Pick 5 at Cal-Expo on Friday, Nov. 24, because our usual weekend start on a Thursday was changed due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. The $134.00 Pick-5 payoff seemed a bit low since only one top public choice won any leg. In fact, two of our choices turned out to be beaten favorites.

We won leg four with the public’s second choice, Centela Eclipse ($5.40, $2.40, $2.20).

In three of the legs we finished third, with Mucho Macho Mon ($2.60), A Tributeto Kate ($2.10) and Silverlode ($2.60), respectively. Other suggestions resulted in Itsgoodtobeking (4-1) finishing fifth, Skyway Jade (7-2) taking sixth and Deweydiddonegood winding up sixth.


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 39 active horses (a 10-percent win hit rate and a 28-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


Halton Hanover, $8.80, $5.70, $2.50, Batavia
Sharpshooter Finale, $6.20, $4.60, $2.80, Dayton
Captain Dragon, $2.20, $2.10, $2.20 ok, Rideau-Carleton
Jerseylicious, $2.20, $2.10, $2.10 ok, Dayton


Nuclear Ease, $9.00, $10.20, ok (Exacta $47.20), Rosecroft
Lady Edith, $5.20, $4.40 (Exacta $22.80), Northfield
Vegas Secret, $5.20, $2.60 (Exacta $15.00), Northville
Mickeys House, $2.60, $2.20 (Exacta $19.80), Dayton
Pointsman, $2.40, $2.10, Pompano


Carlos Mittana, $15.20, Pompano
Gene Eugene, $5.60, Cal-Expo

News & Notes

It’s all over for the 2017 harness racing season at Plainridge Park. The125-day meet was considered outstanding from all aspects. Greg Merton was the leading driver with 230 victories and $1.5 million in purses. Both numbers were track records, smashing the same records Merton set last year. Jim Hardy was second with 109 tallies and $745,663 in the bank. Monique Cohen was the meet’s leading trainer with 71 wins. The track’s recent filing to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for next year’s racing dates indicated that from 2015 through 2017 purses have more than doubled and handle has gone up 34 percent.  The 2018 meet will kick off in April and run through November with 110 racing days.

Western Fair offers a busy December of harness racing, featuring 14 race programs. There’s a special afternoon program on Saturday, Dec. 23, beginning at 1:15 p.m., an opportunity to wager prior to the short Christmas break. The Boxing Day afternoon program on Dec. 26 has a 1:15 p.m. post. The raceway celebrates New Year’s Eve with a race program getting underway at 7:05 p.m. and features the annual running of the Old Lang Syne Trot and Pace for veteran performers. Among the expected starters this year will be 14-year-old trotter Weskey and 14-year-old pacer Pacific Oak. The raceway is currently operating on a three-day-a-week schedule—Mondays and Tuesdays at 6:15 p.m. and Fridays at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night programs will be added in 2018 with a 6:15 p.m. first post.

A familiar name around what’s left of the California harness-racing community is Grundy. This is due to the achievements of the now departed Jim Grundy, who was a major force in driving and training on the West Coast circuit when it was three-to-four harness meets strong. The name is appearing again in the community as the current Cal-Expo meet ensues because Jim’s great nephew, Ryan Grundy, is in action. Ryan shipped a group of his performers from Canada to participate in the meet. Jim Grundy’s brother, Art, was Ryan’s mentor. Ryan started in the sport in his early 20s on the fair circuit in Manitoba. Jim Grundy passed away in 2009 at the age of 74. He made 2,617 trips to the winner’s circle as a driver, many witnessed by TwinSpires’ harness editor. Jim earned around $10.3 million.

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 ~