More Harness Overnights and a Jackpot Hi-5!


We are now just one week away from the beginning of our adventures through the Standardbred stakes season with the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series. However, we must go through another week of overnights before we can enjoy the excitement a month-long series of half-mile stakes races has to offer.

Friday’s action kicks off with the tenth race from Western Fair Raceway — a conditioned claiming event for fillies and mares. Aside from the actual horses here who are able to walk and thus will receive play, the one probable outsider on paper (as well as in the race) is Daniellas Shadow from the rail. She enters off a decent effort for her first mile in five months, being locked at the pylons, but managing to finish third. In her second start of the season, she should be more aggressive.

After our bundles of fun at Western Fair, we’ll head to the Meadowlands for its tenth race, a conditioned trotting event as well as the payoff leg to the $50,000 guaranteed pick-4. There are two likely overlay contenders for both your multi-race and win-bet enjoyment.

The first is Cantad Kid, stretching out after two races against the open ranks at Saratoga Harness. Prior to his efforts on that smaller oval, he was competitive at The Meadows against slightly weaker competition, but demonstrated an ability to kick home that will be beneficial on the mile track. Following a cover flow, expect to see him rallying towards the center of the track in the final stages of the mile. Whether he’s able to win from there is up to the horse, but he’ll be the right price for the risk.

Also offering value in this leg is Downundermatter, off a third-place finish at this level. In his last few starts, he has displayed sharp ability when racing off cover, kicking home well in his first start at this level two starts ago (his seventh start of the year) to finish fourth of eight, behind, of course, the first, second, and third place finishers.

Technicalities aside, he will likely be ignored for his “weak” closing effort in his last outing when, in reality, trying to gain ground on the night of March 3 was virtually impossible, yet he managed to gain two lengths in the stretch. Also expect Kyle Husted to make this horse even more profitable.

One night’s sleep later and its Saturday!

Miami Valley’s ninth race starts our Saturday shenanigans. A $20,000 claiming event, most of the entrants are of similar ability, but will not appear so on the tote board. Of the possible outsiders, two seem live: Jackson Wyatt and King Harvest.

Jackson Wyatt enters off a fourth place finish at this level after being shuffled out of the mix and caught in a stalled flow. If he doesn’t get stuck in a flow and could instead, perhaps, if possible, when given the chance, sit the pocket from the rail and try to grind his way out once they reach the stretch, he stands a good shot.

King Harvest is the class of the bunch. Parking the mile last out against $30,000 claimers, he demonstrated an ability to leave the gate, which will be vital from post eight, especially considering that, if he tries to come from off the pace, he will likely be caught in lagging cover.

Lastly, we go to Woodbine and its tenth race, a conditioned pacing event that features a mandatory payout for the jackpot hi-5, which has a carryover of $578,231 and a pool that could reach $2.5-million. For those who will chase the inflated payoffs that the jackpot creates, here are five contenders worth considering for your tickets:

Single White Sock – has the capability to pass horses and hit the board. Will likely be riding cover, so will be dependent on a live flow.

Dialamara – may be the most likely winner of this race (and his odds will represent that). He was locked at the rail last out and shuffled out of contention, but has otherwise raced his final quarters strongly.

Champagne Phil – exerted all of his ability in the first half-mile of a mile race last out. He appears to be at his top form and could easily be in the mix as long as he doesn’t have a hankering for some dueling.

The Rev – the lone speed of the race unless Machal Jordan attempts to make a challenge. He could easily walk away with this like he has before (coincidentally, in another mandatory hi-5 race).

Mach On The Beach – likely to be used just for the combination of Richard Moreau and Louis Philippe Roy. Has a lot of class and has shown ability at the higher levels. Could be a pace factor from the outside, or at least position himself to be a threat late in the mile.

Bounce Backs 

The “Bounce Back” list features contenders we touted in the past who did not win in their first outing, but are worth considering a second time. 

I Could Care Less­ – Friday, Mar. 10 | Northville Downs, Race 10
Laser Lucy – Friday, Mar. 10 | Freehold Raceway, Race 10
Petrossian As – Sunday, Mar. 12 | Yonkers Raceway, Race 6
Stayin Strong – Sunday, Mar. 12 | Yonkers Raceway, Race 6

Preview Review

Browner Shuttle ($8.00, $4.20, $4.80 OK) was our lone winner of last week’s features, and unfortunately was supported by the public much more than anticipated.

I Could Care Less (seventh at 7/2 odds) struggled to get into the mix in the other featured race from Northville Downs on Friday night.

Party Jammer (sixth, 32-1) and Laser Lucy (fifth, 14-1) coasted around the track in our Saratoga features to miss the board.

Grandpa Don (eighth, 18-1) failed to kick home as he had in previous outings, finishing off the board in our Saturday feature from The Meadows.

Rock The Town (seventh, 15-1) was not ready to face racehorses yet, missing the board in his debut in our feature from Pompano Park.

And here are the results of our contenders on last week’s Bounce Back list:

  • Mr Protab (Fhld, R5 3/3) – sixth at 25-1
  • Ado Duharas (Wdb, R3 3/4) – 10th, 14-1
  • Honor Above All (YR, R2 3/4) – third, $5.50
  • Make Way (Nfld, R12 3/4) – sixth, 6-1
  • Oh Yeah (CalX, R9 3/4) – eighth, 32-1
  • Power Everywhere (Nfld, R5 3/4) – fourth, 21-1
  • Theoddsarestacked (PPk, R4 3/4) – seventh, 31-1
Ray Cotolo
Ray Cotolo is a seasoned handicapper and harness writer. At 17-years-old, he has worked in the harness racing industry for approaching a decade. Known for his creativity, humor, and eccentric personality, he works to promote harness racing while also entertaining. He is also known as the son of harness-racing guru Frank Cotolo and focuses primarily on the pari-mutuel side of the sport, invested in seeking value.

Ray hosts the weekly radio show “North American Harness Update,” which combines his talents to both entertain and aid the public in discovering overlay contenders from the highest-stake harness races to the cheapest overnights at Truro Raceway. He strives to put on the greatest show possible for all audiences along with his co-host, Mike Pribozie. It airs from 9-11pmEDT on SRN One.

Outside of racing, Ray is a playwright, writer, and, debatably, a comedian. He has performed and written sketch comedy while attending high school, as well as plays and varying side projects. He continually updates his Twitter account, @RayCotolo, with thoughts either pertaining to or not pertaining to harness racing.

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