New Year, Same Competitive Standardbred Action


Time has advanced, as it will, into a new year according to the Caesarian calendar, carrying us into a new round of harness action. All horses are now one year older, but otherwise not much has changed. Conditioned stock rules the tracks while winter is on duty, forcing us to focus on lower-tier tracks in America and Canada.

We will first venture to Fraser Downs, a 5/8-mile oval located in Surrey, British Columbia. Its program on Friday, Jan. 6 includes a competitive claiming event, which concludes the early pick-3.

The obvious contender in this group is Outlaw Goodnready, as he starts for the second time following a month layoff. Entering off a second-place effort in a field lacking form, he appears to be the public’s go-to choice.

His neighbor, Youllseemeupfront, is an interesting outsider in this weak bunch. Struggling in his last few starts against this competition, his last decent race came on Nov. 13, when he was second to tougher horses at odds of 4-1. He has since dealt with poor posts, poor health and poor track conditions, which might explain most of his recent miles. If his last few efforts were the result of poor luck, then he might pull off a major upset here, though he is a contender of creative conjecture.

Running alongside the late Friday evening harness programs is Cal-Expo. Race 10 on its card begins the $40,000 guaranteed pick-4. Favored on the morning line at 7-2 is Allmyx’sliventexas, who is a cash stove as his previous lines depict. However, there are two classier horses that, if dismissed at higher odds, will provide major value to begin the sequence.

Bestnotlie Hanover is making his return to this company, where he won as the 7-5 favorite going wire to wire. While he exits a poor mile against tougher horses, he could easily bounce in his return to a class that he has already dominated. So, if he somehow approaches the starting gate remotely close to his 10-1 morning line, run for the windows.

Dontdoubtthelakers is making the exact move Bestnotlie Hanover is into this race. Last racing at this class level on Nov. 26, he has put in stronger miles against classier horses compared to Bestnotlie Hanover, but enters off a sixth-place finish against open-caliber pacers. He nonetheless has the ability to compete and defeat these. The uncertainty we face is the price — hopefully, he’ll be around his 7-1 morning line.

Our travels this week cease with Charlottetown Driving Park in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Its pick-4 starts with an open handicap trot, which could provide us value with Howmacs Pride. She starts here off of two straight wins, as she climbed the class ladder, beating several of her competitors in her most recent effort. Yet, classier foes start to her outside, which should inflate her odds given the crowd jumps for them.

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.

Amigo Loco — Sunday, January 8 | Flamboro Downs, race 4

G Ts Selene — Saturday, January 7 | Northlands Park, race 7

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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