Harness Racing’s Farewell Features

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Let us begin at the end, my friends. This year provided us some great harness races, all of which we couldn’t experience together, but we will hopefully witness next year. However, as the year winds down, horses will keep pounding miles from coast to coast and across all borders.

The Meadowlands and Western Fair Raceway will be hosting “Auld Land Syne” events on Saturday, so if all acquaintance shall be forgot, there are many opportunities to catch them.

At the Meadowlands, a group of ten aged pacers compete in a $35,000 invitational. Trainer Ron Burke sends out the probable favorites with the coupled entry of Limelight Beach and Clear Vision, as they move to the mile track after competing in the open ranks at Yonkers and Saratoga, respectively.

Lucan Hanover, starting from post six, is also shifting to two turns after three goes around the four-turn ovals. He will be an overlay considering he has the class to be the favorite and will likely be ignored due to unappealing lines that can be easily excused.

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Trainer Ron Burke sends out the Limelight Beach and Clear Vision in the featured race at the Meadowlands Saturday.

City Hall promises to be a price as well. Neighboring Lucan Hanover, the Amber Buter trainee has ascended the class ladder at the Meadowlands with increasingly authoritative miles. While he doesn’t have the early speed of Lucan Hanover, he compensates with a swift kick in the final quarter of a mile. The move into the invitational ranks isn’t a steep jump, so he can be used either on the win end or in exotics.

Western Fair hosts the Auld Lang Syne Pace and the Auld Lang Syne Trot. The Pace, a $6,000 event scheduled for the middle of the program, gathers the oldest $6,500 claiming horses on the grounds.

With low-level competition such as this, the horses that show any kind of form usually take the most money. In this race, the two trailers — Stir And Serve and Sandys Candy — demonstrate enough form to hold favoritism. Between the past performance lines, however, we can discover possible value from the otherwise valueless.

Born With Class could be the hidden gem of this race. Starting from post six in his most recent mile, he was resigned to the back of the pack and, sitting off a slow pace, failed to recoup any lost ground. Two starts ago, he managed to track cover and gain five lengths in the stretch to finish fifth as a 6-1 choice off a move up in class. He appears to be a horse that requires an easy trip to get involved — and he could receive just such a trip with an inside post.

The Trot, going as the last race on the card, includes Incredible Frank, who will be the decisive chalk after being claimed by Richard Moreau, one of the top trainers on the Ontario circuit. Given an uncontested lead, he will likely coast away with the race, but, as he demonstrated in his last start, he is vulnerable when challenged.

In the event Incredible Frank is pressured, Amgio Loco will have a chance to upset. He has the speed to position himself in a stalking spot behind Incredible Frank, which then leaves him with the lone task of capitalizing off a smooth trip. Worse to worst, he could provide a decent exacta with the favorite.

Northlands Park will hold the final harness race of 2016. Its 11th race, a $4,000 filly and mare claiming event, appears to be a one-sided contest favoring Eliseuinthedust in her return at this price tag off a third-place finish as the 8-5 favorite.

Being a standout on paper, she will inflate the odds of G Ts Selene, who has the most speed of this group. From post eight, early positioning is vital, especially since Northlands tends to favor those towards the front. If she secures the lead or at least a spot somewhere close, she has a great shot to win at a price.

Have a question about harness racing handicapping? Email me at ray.usracing@gmail.com and I’ll answer in a future column.

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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