Profit Potential Enormous in Final February Harness Weekend


The weeks keep rolling and we keep grinding through many harness races in pursuit of value. Our opportunities this time around are just as alluring, with this week’s analysis including contenders going on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Without any more hesitation, let’s get previewing with the harness preview.

We’ll start our weekend on Friday, Feb. 24, at Freehold Raceway, which holds afternoon programs. Its eighth race, a conditioned trot, is constructed almost entirely of horses coming off layoffs or horses returning to the races after putting in miles showing the last thing they want to do is head back to the races. In layman’s terms, it’s a “bad field.”

Layman, whoever he is, would also think Petrossian As is a valuable contender in this unpredictable affair. Entering off a sharp qualifier from Yonkers, he makes his first pari-mutuel outing with Lasix and does not possess any previous running lines that would make the public jump into the sulky. However, most of his poor miles over at Yonkers were the result of bad draws, such as posts six and eight. Competing against weaker and appearing to be improving, I think he has a better shot than his morning line odds suggest.

Also worth watching in this race is Mr Protab, who will be a better contender in the exotic spectrum. He’s dropping from the preferred ranks after finishing a distant fifth, but won his start before against slightly weaker going wire to wire from post six. If he leaves the gate for positioning, he should have enough to at least hit the trifecta.

Next, we travel to Cal-Expo for its tenth race, the second leg of the $30,000 guaranteed pick-4. The most probable value in this race should come from Oh Yeah, who is exiting a distant tenth-place effort against the top open level. However, he catalyzed the pace by leaving for the top, losing the lead, and pulling outside in attempt to reclaim the lead before faltering. This will also be his second start since being claimed, so he should bounce back dropping to the open III.

On Saturday, Feb. 25, we will try two races from Northfield Park. The first is race three, which kicks off the pick-5. Dropping in class, the public should be supporting Make Way the most. Yet, Hoosiers Fantasy, while starting from the second-tier, has a much better shot than her 25-1 morning line shows. She finished third against this group last week from post six after parking the mile and dueling with the leader for the front. Trailing a mare that is likely to forwardly place herself, she should have little issue getting involved from the nine-hole.

The other race we’ll focus on is the eighth, a filly and mare open pace. Performing the best in last week’s rendition of this event, Safe From Terror and Beyonces Rockn should take the majority of the play, but the public will be neglecting Power Everywhere, who has sharpened over four starts this season. She debuted against the open ranks from post eight, failing to put herself into the race. Though, dropping in class next out, she came from off the pace to finish fourth; and followed that mile with an off-the-pace win as the favorite. Moving up in class from a second against the open II, she should be positioned well enough to be able to come from off the pace, but will, of course, need the right setup for her ability to be fully utilized.

Yonkers Raceway, after a three-week hiatus, is back with their French racing cards on Sunday, Feb. 26. The second of the French trots, race three, could be a profitable venture if Honor Above All is ignored. He finished third against this level last week after a three-week layoff as the favorite, shipping down from Woodbine . He was sharp at Woodbine and likely needed a start over this surface to get acquainted with the oval.

Then, after all the features we have witnessed, and hopefully cashed tickets on in multiple currencies, this weekend will end with the sixth race, a non-winners-of-six trotting event. From post two, Stayin Strong returns to Yonkers after a decent race against similar competition, finishing third off a first-over trip.

In his starts against this bunch, he was disadvantaged with outside posts, but was always involved, closing to finish fourth three starts ago and faltering to fourth after pressing the pace from first-over in the final quarter. With a stalking trip and the added distance, he should be a bigger factor than his odds depict.

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.

Delite Debettor – Friday, Feb. 24 | Fraser Downs, Race 10
Gable Blue Chip – Friday, Feb. 24 | Fraser Downs, Race 9
Limitless – Friday, Feb. 24 | Buffalo Raceway, Race 2
Prodigal – Friday, Feb. 24 | Fraser Downs, Race 10
Shanghai Jack – Friday, Feb. 24 | Buffalo Raceway, Race 4
Vegas Rocks – Saturday, Feb. 25 | Woodbine, Race 5
Makinitnotfakinit – Sunday, Feb. 26 | Fraser Downs, Race 5

Preview Review 

At Buffalo Raceway, Shanghai Jack managed to get the lead from post eight, but faltered to third at 12-1, returning $6.80.

Limitless, racing from post eight, missed hitting the board as he closed to finish fourth at 54-1 at Buffalo Raceway.

Our attempt to snag a decent trifector at Fraser Downs was ruined by chaos. Delite Debettor, who was sent off at 54-1, missed hitting the triple by a neck, while Gable Blue Chip ($8.50, $5.20) managed to finish second to a long shot and Prodigal, sent off at 7-2, parked the mile, fading to ninth.

Vegas Rocks was one of the pacesetters in the feature at Woodbine, only managing a third at 4-1, paying $3.30 to show.

With the scratch of Somesizesomestyle from our feature at the Meadowlands, Alberto Contador N ($3.80, $2.60, $2.20) was sent off the public choice and won easily.

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

  • Chipps Lake (YR, race 3, 2/18)  – 5th, 10-1
  • Makinitnotfakinit (FrD, race 5, 2/19) – 6th, 64-1
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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