Between and during the holiday celebrations left for 2019 we are on the lookout for well-paying wagers. This week we present unique contenders from harness racing tracks on both coasts to compliment single- and multi-race exotics, as well as win, place and show jewels.
Features and Power Plays (PoP) are strewn with contenders, in league with the never-ending TwinSpires horses-to-watch (*H2W) list. Always check out our H2W list before building any major exotic tickets, too.
Meadows / Races 3—6
Thursday / Dec. 26
A quartet of races make up the 50-cent Pick 4, with the first leg’s offerings of a 10-cent superfecta, an exacta and trifecta.
Start a Pick 4 with Starmaker winning and you will be among the lonely alive for the payoff. He has been making money at the Meadows (despite soft support) for trainer Wilbur Yoder before and during performing in this class and a Morning Line (ML) of 20-1 is a miscalculation in our opinion.
Dylan Sam did not like the going last out but was well supported in late November going at his usual productive pace. He could miss being a part of any exotic this day and shines with an inaccurate ML of 15-1.
A 50-cent Pick 3 begins, as well as an exacta, trifecta and 10-cent superfecta are in play.
Art Seeker will get action due to his chauffer, Dave Palone, but aside from that the public may not appreciate his talent at this level (another ML discrepancy have we). In all tickets created, Art Seeker need not seek a spot because he could win but most assuredly will be among the figures creating a good exotic price.
Four Card Major races for a new owner. A claim sends him to Roy Barnhart’s barn. Roy has a remarkable 42-percent win rate and is working with a student coming off of two excellent performances after another claim; he is a must in combos, at the least.
Another 10-cent superfecta joins another exacta and trifecta in this dual-Pick-bet race.
We have backed RN Nate recently with little success but we have to return to him as a contender here, where he drops down among weak foes. It’s a careful drop in class, since he accomplished little stepping up beyond this without winning, but those were decent races where he earned some bucks for his connections. He will be a precious addition to exotics.
The obvious Mister Spot A makes more sense in combos than as a winner since he has been burning money lately. The Thunder Rolls comes in from Northfield and should contribute to combos. “Super” players beware of Beach House regardless of his loose 2019 performances—he is on his way back to making good money.
Exacta-trifecta-10-cent superfecta action completes both “Pick” streams.
We have to give Astra a decent shot at ending the Picks with a big price. Stepping up to this class from pristine wins at Northfield, Astra did her best from the outside post but the Canadian-bred should not be represented by that event. She has speed and class and could surprise the betting majority.
And what is wrong with Beachesbeckonme? A ML of 7-1 is surely not based upon recent performances. Form rules here and driver Dan Rawlings is as good as the rest but will not get the kind of support offered others, giving us a pacing chance.
Cal-Expo / R2—4
Friday / Dec. 27
We mount a PoP on the left coast’s only harness territory—Sacramento’s Cal Expo. Our old hunting ground, California, presents a Pick 3 and various single-race exotics raring for strikes.
A Pick 3 begins here, while an exacta, 20-cent trifecta and 10-cent superfecta are in play.
Special Sauce got into some traffic last week, so toss that race and take his 2-1 third finish to heart. At Running Aces he was on fire and a minor setback made him work back to his form, which should show here.
Timetoplaythegame played too hard last week, trudging through a three-quarters overland journey. The speedy Badlands Hanover six-year-old may try to take this field atop the two turns.
Available single-race exotics include an exacta, 20-cent trifecta, 10-cent superfecta and another start to a Pick 3.
It’s only a six-horse race, but the two-time California failure from Freehold still looks like the best. A better trip can only improve his closing ability, which should be kicking in about now for the two-turn adventures.
Maine-invader Somkinda Hanover should adore the landscape. He has a strong brush which could be ultra-affective in this wobbly class.
An exacta, 20-cent trifecta and 10-cent superfecta accompany the finale of the initial multi-race Pick 3.
Beware the ML 8-1 Kathleen Plested-trained Platinum Time. A marked improvement around this level in his most recent trail need improve only a little to beat these. The Minnesota-bred from a Sportsmaster mare may start and finish this race on the lead and at a very good price.
Cenalta Dragster can keep up with these and deserves a spot in exotics, where he will help boost a payoff since he only appears to be stepping into better company.
Meadowlands / Race 2
Saturday / Dec. 28
TJ Blast is perfectly placed in this wobbling field of conditioners. Forget his recent pair from Dover and Yonkers and count on his third back at Yonkers on Dec. 3. TJ Blast was one of the public choices at 3-1 in a $15Gs claimer. He finished third. This year he scattered his finishes, cashing well where the purses are higher and the racing is tougher.
Meadowlands / Race 5
Saturday / Dec. 28
Bringer Of Rain takes on the two turns after fine trips on the four turns of Monticello and Saratoga. This appearance looks like a step-up move but class does not always reflect in purse sizes on those New York ovals. His Dec. 7 third at Saratoga looks like it could beat any of these.
Steve Said could most definitely accompany Bringer Of Rain to the finish line and may be the best other contender, though we will let the closing odds determine which deserves a win bet and an exacta spot.
Meadowlands / Race 8
Saturday / Dec. 28
Back to conditioners after failing in a claimer here on Dec. 21, Bell I No should race more like he did at Philly when he finished second at this level at 5-2. Trainer Andrew Harris has been doing well sending his students out to tracks other than his home base Yonkers. Bell I No has an across-the-board average this season of 50 percent covering a few levels and some better competition.
And in this event, the two projected top public choices leave from the 8 and 9 hole.
12/27/19, Some Playa R5; +Part Time R5; Gitchie Girl R6; +Panchantedtikiroom R12
12/28/19, China King R9
12/26/19, +Zippy Cowboy R2; +PL Haymaker R2
12/30/19, Cierras Choice R1; Roll With Fred R7
1/1/20, Sheeza Grip N R11; Wisdom Tree R12
12/27/19, Mac’s Secure R4; Hanks Tank R6
12/27/19, +Tyronbettorsella N R13
12/28/19, +Magical Beliefs R12; Tymal Peacemaker R9
12/26/19, +Bettor Scoot N R7; +Major Plans R9; Media Buzz R10; Startimup R13
12/26/19, Cee Cee Panic R2; Moms Crossroads R5; The Catamount Kid R8
12/26/19, +Swan On The Bank R5
12/27/19, +Big Bossman R1; +H-And-N DHO Hailey R7
12/28/19, +Bad Medicine R3; +Song In My Heart R6; +I’ve Got Spirit R6; +Alishas Big Star R10
12/26/19, +Cousin Rickard R3; Expo R3
12/27/19, +Schubie R5