Longshot Harness Plays


Now that we have reached the second week of the New Year, harness tracks around the continent are awaking from their hibernations to resume hosting races.

Our journey this week initiates at The Meadows and its Friday, Jan. 13 program. The sixth race on the card, which resides in the middle of the pick-4 and at the start of a pick-3, is a low-level trotting affair gathering only the most readable and non-troubled trotters possible.

Listed at 20-1 on the morning line, Bloomington could be the value play both vertically and horizontally. In the multi-race wagers, he’ll benefit the probable payoff with both his high morning line odds and trainer-driver Rodney Bolon, whose name does not resonate with the public as much as David J. Palone™. He’s destined to go off at a high price — one that will not reflect his chances of winning.

After an afternoon at The Meadows, we can cap our evening at Yonkers Raceway with its eighth race, a mid-level conditioned pace which starts a pick-3.

Sapphire City is the obvious contender here. Starting from an inside post after many starts towards the grandstand, he also drops in class and is thus poised to bounce. He deserves to be the favorite here and would be an overlay if not.

Alongside Sapphire City is Machs Beach Boy, a probable long shot. He has the ability to win here if he receives a trip that suits his opportunistic abilities. Drawing an inside post and having the speed to establish positioning early, he could get the opportunity he needs.

Then, on Saturday, we will conclude our feature adventures with Miami Valley Raceway, focusing on its ninth race, which caps the pick-4.

From the rail, Smoke Up Johnny should carry most of the public’s monetary hopes as he drops in class and moves inward on the gate off of sharp efforts against tougher. However, classier and pricier horses will start to his outside.

Freedomformysoul is the first of two possible value contenders. He was second against similar competition after parking the entire mile uncovered. Prior to that, he was competitive from outside posts at higher levels, demonstrating ability that could shoot him into the winners’ circle.

Achilles Blue Chip is the second value option. Making his second start since shipping from Pocono, he slides down the class ladder from a third-place effort against the Open II ranks. He’s bound to improve in his second start off a layoff, and will be more of a threat in the class drop.

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.

Born With Class – Friday, Jan. 13 | Western Fair, Race 8
Dontdoubtthelakers – Friday, Jan. 13 | Cal-Expo, Race 14
Youllseemeupfront – Friday, Jan. 13 | Fraser Downs, Race 5
Bestnotlie Hanover – Saturday, Jan. 14 | Cal-Expo, Race 11
Lucan Hanover – Saturday, Jan. 14 | Yonkers Raceway, Race 10
Howmacs Pride – Saturday, Jan. 14 | Charlottetown Driving Park, Race 4

Preview Review 

We covered three features last week, including from Fraser Downs, Cal-Expo, and Charlottetown.

At Fraser Downs, the obvious choice, Outlaw Goodnready ($7.20, $4.20, $3.10), won easily. Our price contender, Youllseemeupfront, finished seventh at 29-1.

Both of our contenders in the featured event at Cal-Expo missed the board. Bestnotlie Hanover rode a pocket trip and faltered the seventh, while Dontdoubtthelakers rallied to finish fifth.

The Open Trot at Charlottetown was claimed by the favorite, while Howmacs Pride was fifth at 25-1.

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

Amigo Loco (FlmD, R4 1/8): $14.60, $7.30, $3.70
G Ts Selene (NP, R7 1/7): $3.70, $3.80 —


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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