Across North America’s northlands, weather forecasts call for a bitter-cold weekend and snowfalls. Our harness-racing forecasts call for more personal race features—hand-picked overnight events from raceways on the TwinSpires track menu. Of course, there is also the TwinSpires’ exclusive, productive horses-to-watch list (H2W).

Another reminder—On Dec. 29 we will release our year-end blog, which will include our TwinSpires Players Horse of The Year. As is the tradition, the horse chosen will be the highest paying winner from our 50-some-odd- posts in 2016.

Also in that edition, we will list all of the winners from the year that have paid at least two digits (4-1 and up) in the order of their win prices (while including their place and show prices). There were many more winners during the year but we’ll reduce the list to the best double-digit paying victors. There will also be an expanded H2W list.

F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S

Meadowlands/ Race 4
Thursday, Dec. 15

This race, though a challenge, could produce a high-priced winner. The 10-horse field of conditioned trotters is sprinkled with shippers from Philadelphia, Saratoga, Mohawk and Dover; some are contenders that will be dismissed by the betting public.

The most fascinating public toss-out may be Oh That Girl. On the five-eighths at Philly last week, she handled a tough trip from post 8, leaving to mid-pace, brushing a few lengths to get third in the second tier and stay there to get second and winding up in a dead heat for fourth—at 50-1. In her trip the week before, she was only 5-1 and led the field after dueling to get that lead, also finishing fourth. She doesn’t step up in this week’s effort at the Meadowlands and must be considered.

From post 2, Perfect Road is in a terrific spot to win after two “place” efforts at this level. He won a qualifier at the Meadowlands just before those two races at Philly and is apt to get a better trip this time, the kind that he needed to win those two recent close calls. This race is the beginning of a Pick 3, which also offers an Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta, so consider these two in any exotic tickets you create.

F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S

Meadowlands/ Race 7
Thursday, Dec. 15

Here is a horse that can start a winning Pick-4 combo, hopefully as a third or worse choice on the board. Icommandmyspirit lost as the favorite on Nov. 11 at the Meadowlands, stepping into this class and racing outside for two strenuous calls to finish fiffh. She has been a productive conditioned pacing mare this season and should find an easier path to victory here, where the crowd could embrace Linda Toscano’s two-for-one-bet entry and two outside-post-leaving class-droppers.

 F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S

Yonkers/ Race 2
Friday, Dec. 16

A few weeks back we supported a shipper to Yonkers from Ohio, Caviart Caterina. She was scratched (reasons unavailable) and re-entered in this race. At Dayton she raced wide yet close to the lead at 8-1. She finished fourth. Caviart Caterina may offer a terrific price against this bunch and the one-week-off scratch could up her odds. She debuts in New York that should go under the radar by local bettors. 

F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S

Meadowlands/ Race 7
Friday, Dec. 16

Mr Hasini N leaves from post 9 after a win at this level, which as an easy suck-along ride from post 4 shipping in from Philly. He was 10-1 coming off a win at 13-1 and has been performing better than his odds in the past few months. There is no reason to think he can extend his winning streak to three with a win here, no less winning by again racing better than his odds. The win pool may be spread a bit but the inside-post horses, including one from the Ron Burke barn, should wind up favorites.

F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S

Yonkers/ Race 5
Saturday, Dec. 17

This conditioned pace could produce a winning trip from Democracy N, though it is difficult to believe he will match his 7-1 ML odds. His recent race on Dec. 16 featured better foes than he faces here, where he drops a bit and gets post 3. It is not a stretch of the imagination, either, that he could launch quickly and try to take this wire to wire, though the ML favorite, leaving to his left, may fire quickly. That would give Democracy N the catbird seat and  a ground-saving route, hopefully, to win easily somewhere near his ML odds. This race is the first leg of a Pick 4.

F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S ~ F E A T U R E S

Northfield/ Race 12
Saturday, Dec. 17

Last week in a similar, though a bit cheaper, filly-and-mare conditioner, Fly Me Courageous was sent hard at even money and held the top all the way to her first victory in a spell. Two races before the win, she was well bet but stuck with a pair of Northfield’s ugly outside posts. Though she steps up here, she reportedly loses the heavily bet driver, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. Knowing how bettors love him, the even-money price was backing him probably more than her. In any event, she steps up here and, leaving from the same post 5 that Wrenn scored with her, she could take this on the engine or close to it on the wood. Her ML 12-1 is juicy.

Also in the mix and perhaps at a fair price, will be Stirling Cordelia. She went around the long way last week at 30-1 but in the same class the week before at 8-5 she was caught late after leading the pack around the Flying Turns. Her ML is 10-1. These two could conspire to blend into some bulging exotics.
 
H2W Legend

Review our choices and follow the wagering at the prescribed track. These are possible contenders we have judged from reviewing races. The horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track after the date they will be racing. The race in which they are entered (R and race number) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name it means it is appearing on the list for the second (and last) time because it failed to win the first time it appeared. An “ae” signals the horse is entered on the also-eligible list. If a horse is listed twice, refer to the entries on the night of the race since a horse may enter in more than one race. Types of wagering on any of the H2W listed horses are based on your judgment. If you have any questions, email us at TwinSpires.

H2W LIST

Batavia
12/17/16, +Raylan Givens R5

Cal Expo
12/17/16, Tornado Henry R3; Get Down Tonight R6; Centalta Diamond R10; Anderlecht R12; +Smoke Eater R13;  +Caress Of Steel R14

Charlottetown
12/17/16, +CJ Bluefin ae R3; +Beachwood Tiger R10

Dayton
12/16/16, Lindys Possessed R4; JDs Courage R7

Dover
12/15/16, +All About Rusty R2

Flamboro
12/18/16, +Little Anna Mae R7

Fraser
12/16/16, Rollin In Paris R3; Andy The Manager R5; Starface R8; +Now Playing R10

Meadowlands
12/15/16, Jacks To Open R6; Truth And Liberty R9; +Nowucit Nowudont R11

Meadows
12/17/16, +All Star Energy R1; +Gold Coast Muscle R13

Monticello
12/15/16, Xactly Mike R1; Tricks Of Terror R8

Northfield
12/17/16, Starnight Dancer R6; +Beckys Giftedangel R10; +Rulers Best R11; +Happy Feet Too R14

Northlands
12/16/16, Double Loop R3; Brendon Ridge R8
12/17/16, Somewhereinmexico R3; +Run And Tell R9

Rosecroft
12/15/16, Bismark R2; A Storm Is Brewing R4; +Nuclear Ease R5; +Girlfriend Bash R7

Saratoga
12/15/16, +Muscles And Spice R9; +Dexter Jolt R10
12/17/16, +Code Word R5; +Dexter Jolt ae R1; +JK Panache R11; +Dexter Jolt ae R13

Woodbine
12/15/16, Archery R2; Levy Taylor R5; Alacrity R8; Blue Fox R10
12/16/16, +Steppin Out R1

Yonkers
12/17/16, High Joltage R1; Rural Art R3; PH Supercam R6; Class Six R9


Ray Cotolo contributes to this blog