With the major success in the Saturday, Jan. 7 personal features, here is a review that goes backward to Thursday, Jan. 5.

At the Meadowlands on the first Saturday of 2017, we blasted a big winner mid-program with Stratocaster ($63.60, $20.00, $9.40). Last year, including personal features and entries on the H2W (horses-to-watch list), it took us four months to hit with any winner near $60.00 (on the week of May 9, 2016, we hit a winner worth $73.00), so this is a first for an early preview blog, no less the first of a year.

At recently opened Miami Valley on Jan. 7, our first choice Blooming Genius ($8.80, $5.80, $4.00), scored a win a personal feature. We hoped for an exacta with our second choice, Buff’s Image (31-1), but he finished ninth.

A flat-bet profit from those two Saturday features was accomplished, as the two days before our choices were straining to see the finish line.

Friday, Jan. 6 we lost to a 54-1 shot in one of two features at the Meadowlands. Our choice, Nerida Franco N (10-1) took fifth. In the other suggested event, Givemeyourheart (43-1) was sixth at the finish line, as the race was won by a 12-1 shot.

We began the first preview blog of the year onThursday, Jan. 5, where we offered a pair of overnights at Freehold. We lost both races to public choices, with Sonic Ivy (40-1) finishing seventh and Pei Pei (21-1) getting into the purse grid, finishing fifth.
 
All horses that did not win in our personal features (if not scratched) appear in the following week’s H2W list as second-time (noted: +) entries.

On various Wednesday nights we tweet for TwinSpires Twitter members from @FrankCotolo –retweeted by @twinspires—and the raceway involved. Losers from each week will appear on the next week’s horses-to-watch (H2W) list unless they race before that blog is published, so watch for them returning to the races on days in between blogs. Watch for special tweets from raceways on various Wednesdays.
 
H2W LIST RESULTS

The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas listed are included when a H2W horse finishes second with a race favorite or the first two finishers making up the exacta are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete a cold exacta). The note “ok” determines that prices published are correct even when a show price exceeds a place price or any or all of the prices are the same. This week, there were 43 active horses (a 16-percent win hit rate and a 40-percent ATB [across-the-board] hit rate).

Please note that some H2W results reflect win, place, show and exotic results occurring by press time but some horses race after the blog is posted (we list them the following week) It is up to you to follow horses that have not performed before this weekly review is posted.

Winners

Poacher N, $12.00, $6.20, $5.00, Freehold
Scarlet Saphire, $9.60, $3.70, $3.20, Charlottetown
Jet Passing, $8.20, $4.00, $2.20), Charlottetown
Bupa Brusier, $7.00, $4.40, $3.00, Monticello
Galyns Gift, $6.80, $3.80, $2.40), Meadows
Crown Isle, $5.00, $3.30, $2.60, Monticello
I’m Sid The Kid, $3.60, $2.40, $2.20, Freehold

Seconds

Rollin In Paris, $8.70, $4.20, Fraser
Snoz, $8.60, $8.50 (Exacta $48.60), Monticello
Audreys Dream, $5.90, $4.20 (Exacta $46.20), Woodbine
Alacrity, $5.60, $3.20, Flamboro
Chester Hanover, $5.60, $6.60 ok, Monticello
Hare To Eternity, $3.40, $2.20 (Exacta, $10.40), Cal-Expo
Real Attitude, $3.40, $2.60 (Exacta $7.50), Cal-Expo
 
Thirds

Bold Arrow, $5.10, Charlottetown
Wizard Of Art, $3.00, Monticello
Tie Your Shoe Ed, $2.50, Monticello


News & Notes

Woodbine Entertainment Group today a $10-million-plus harness-racing stakes lineup for 2017. The schedule is highlighted by the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup on June 17) at Mohawk. Beginning this year the $700,000 Metro Pace and $500,000 She's A Great Lady will be moved from Labor Day weekend to Sept. 23. The $350,000 William Wellwood and $350,000 Peaceful Way also have new spots on the calendar: Sept. 18. The $550,000 Canadian Pacing Derby remains in the Labor Day weekend slot as the feature on Sept. 2, while the $650,000 Canadian Trotting Classic and $600,000 Maple Leaf Trot hold their spots on Sept. 16.

 Yonkers Raceway began its 238-program for 2017 season on Jan. 8 at 11:30 a.m. broadcasting in high-definition (HD). Yonkers also altered its presentation from post parade/statistical information to prices to driver head shots. The long-awaited movement of the finish line will be finalized early in the 2017 season, leading to other upgrades. Yonker’s January schedule is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings (first post 7:10 p.m.), with the two other Sundays (Jan. 15 and Jan. 29) to be announced.

The Meadowlands announced its $12-million 2017 stakes program. Grand Circuit stakes represent the majority of features, with the $1.5-million Hambletonian and “Oaks,” $1.25-million Fall Final Four and the $750,000 Meadowlands Pace among the events. The Aug. 5 Hambletonian Day program offers more than $3.5 million in purses, including important stakes for every division. Meadowlands Pace night is July 15 this year. The $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity serves as a co-feature. The Freshman Fall Final Four returns to New Jersey, kicking off the Fall Meet on Nov. 25. The $200,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial Open Trot has been moved to Kentucky Derby day, May 6. The winner gets an invitation to compete in Sweden’s Elitlopp. The $1 million Graduate Series also begins on May 6, travels to Mohawk for leg two on June 3, and then on to Tioga for the June 11 third leg. The $250,000 finals will be raced at the Meadowlands on July 8.

A documentary about Roosevelt Raceway is in production and the trailer has been released. The film will be released in the fall of 2017. The goal is to have the documentary aired onPBS or the History Channel. The film is being produced by Trade Martin Productions with assistance from Billy Haughton, Mike Lizzi and Fred Hudson. Trade wrote the featured song you will hear in the trailer. The story focuses on how modern harness racing flourished at the Long Island, N.Y. half-mile oval until its tragic end. The preview/trailer with an introduction can be viewed at www.rrtrotting.com/documentary.

Extraordinary Extras

Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.

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