Our suggested contenders were very much in the thick of all the exotic action this week. Here is how the week panned out: Thursday, Dec. 20 This week’s selected features began with a Power Plays Late Daily Double (DD) at Pompano. Each race also offered single-race exotics. We took the first half of the DD with, unfortunately, the race favorite, Mister Special T ($6.20, $3.80, $3.20), though he paid more than we thought, making him an overlay. We also had the exacta partner, Jay Jay ($3.20, $2.40) and picked up a $27.60 exacta. Our other two contenders were Roundtable (8-1) and All Net (9-2), which finished sixth and seventh, respectively. The second leg of the DD went to a 24-1 shot that went wire to wire from post 8 (most unpredictable without a bad post), which beat our Charlie Call Home ($8.20, $4.80). We were fourth with the favorite, Bobs Fella (2-1) and our other two contenders, Virgin Chaser (3-1) and Casey Hanover (4-1), broke and were eliminated early. Friday, Dec. 21 Late-afternoon Power Plays action at the Meadows presented strong support from our contenders. We lost only one leg, the first P-3 leg, as a 6-1 shot beat our Starmaker ($4.20, $2.80). We had the show horse with Lemonaideshine ($2.60), delivering two of three for the trifecta. Our other contenders, Hit It Maestro (15-1) and Bikini Tina (20-1) were no help, finishing fifth and seventh, respectively. Leg two had a winner from us with Levitation ($23.40, $9.40, $6.40). Our other two, Penniman (10-1), was fifth, and What A Hunk (11-1) finished sixth. Another favorite came from our contenders to win the third P-3 leg—Art Of Norma ($5.20, $2.80, $2.80 ok). Finishing sixth, seventh and eighth were our others, Black Ruby (21-1), Imasharktoo (35-1) and Boniello (23-1). Saturday, Dec. 22 We tried to come back with Quandra Folium, a horse we liked in last week’s feature at Northfield but it was a poor move. Quandra Folium (26-1) was beaten by the favorite—the same favorite that beat her in last week’s Power Plays where she finished fourth at 87-1. Also-eligible Roberts New Life did not make it into the race (see H2W for his next race). At Western Fair’s selected feature we scored with Maritime Girl ($7.10, $5.60, $3.30), with our second choice, Wonwhitesockwoman ($2.30), finishing third. Our other exotic prospect, Shanghai Noodle (27-1), was fourth. TwinSpires Harness Blog: Severe Handicapping For Harness Bettors 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 27 active horses (an xx-percent win hit rate and a xx-percent ATB [in the money] 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 Winners Surprisingly Sweet, $19.20, $9.20, $4.40, Cal-Expo Fashionatthebeach, $3.80, $2.40, $2.30, Mohawk Lima Moonshine, $3.20, $2.60, $2.10, Meadows Seconds Dream All Night, $6.40, $4.10 (Exacta $31.70), Western Fair Dog Gone Lucky, $3.50, $3.30, Yonkers Fritzie Pic Up Man, $2.60, $2.20, Pompano Fusion Power, $2.60, $2.10 (Exacta $9.40) Thirds Atomic Rei, $6.40, Meadowlands Fire Light, $2.50, Monticello From Me To You, $2.10, Meadows News & Notes Make a note that if you are itching to get back into action after holiday shopping and meals, Canadian raceways will have lots of betting opportunities on Dec. 26. In Canada, that is Boxing Day, an annual national holiday stacked with raceway programs, including those at Mohawk, Flamboro, Western Fair and Charlottetown. Check the schedules on the TwinSpires racing calendar. One of the sharpest eyes for breeding standardbreds for years is Dr. Kenneth “Doc” Walker. Through the years your TwinSpires harness editor has spent as a journalist, Doc Walker was a supportive, press-friendly insider. A longtime USTA Director, Doc has retired from the USTA Board of Directors after 36 years. Walker, along with his wife, Pat, is the founder of Walker Standardbreds in Illinois. Bettors know him best from the swell of horses with the “Fox Valley” title. Of course that includes this year’s giant soph pacer, Fox Valley Gemini. Doc is a Korean War veteran and former practicing veterinarian who started in harness racing in 1964. The 67-night session of harness racing at Batavia Downs for 2018 is history. It did not complete, however, without certain distresses. The oldest lighted harness track in America had to offer fewer races due to a lack of available horses. That affected the handle for the meet. It remains odd that the prolific harness community of New York State was shy so many entrants at the classic raceway. In 2018, only 672 races were filled compared to 806 in 2017. The 134 lost races represents a 16-percent deficit that is being blamed for a handle down 11.2 percent. The $6-million Breeders Crown year-end divisional championship series will be raced over two nights when the events return to the newly renovated Woodbine Mohawk (WoMo) in 2019. The Hambletonian Society and Woodbine Entertainment management have chosen the last weekend in October for the “Crown” showcase, with the four freshman races held Friday, Oct. 25 and the eight three-year-old and open events raced Saturday, Oct. 26. Crown eliminations, if necessary, would be raced the prior weekend, with two-year-olds on Friday, Oct. 18 and sophomore and open eliminations scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19. The Dec. 31 blog will present the TwinSpires harness-racing annual analysis of winners from all of our 2018 weekly harness blogs. We categorize only winners that have paid off at 4-1 and up in the order of highest win prices. One list includes winners from only feature races; the other list includes the H2W list winners. Also in that extended blog we award for the TwinSpires Harness Players’ Horse of the Year. Each season the horse earning the title comes from either our features lists or the horses-to-watch lists (H2W) and is given the title by being the highest paying winner from all our posts of the year. This year’s annual roundup will be in the Dec. 31 blog (coincidentally the last day of 2018). Extraordinary Extras Indulge in my monthly column, Alternative Actions, at Harness Racing Update