TwinSpires Harness Blog reports on its feature races this weekend. Plus we share the shape of our horses-to-watch list (H2W) from last week’s choices. Check our News & Notes section for reporting and remarking on the states of our sport.

Friday, Nov. 20

Woodbine/Mohawk has not been our mark this season. For the second week in a row we were battered in a autumn-series final, losing with the favorite, Moon Bridge to a 10-1 shot in the Harvest Series Final for soph-colt trotters. Then, in the colt pace, the race favorite beat our choices, Cold Creek Cabo (8-1) and Machpheus (28-1).
 
Saturday, Nov. 21

The Meadowlands’ stakes sweep varied in returns.

In the Final Four frosh paces and trots we were off the grid with most picks. Trotter Jack Fire (9-1) finished 10th  to a 14-1 shot in the Valley Victory. Classicist (125-1) finished ninth to a 4-1 shot, and May Karp (58-1), was beaten by the public choice.

Two horses we scored with while following over the past few weeks, Always A Miki and Exploit, finished first and second, respectively in the Governor’s Cup, while we finished fourth with Captain Fancy (17-1)

The older set’s stakes were chalky. We were third to the public’s second choice with When Dovescry ($2.10) and fourth with Caviart Ally (17-1) to a big favorite. Bettors Wish won his last pari-mutuel race as a favorite, while Springsteen (56-1) will have to wait to pay off for trainer Bret Pelling and us, finishing fifth.

H2W LIST RESULTS

The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Exactas listed include a H2W horse finishing second to a race-favorite or if the first two finishers are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses are listed—a cold exacta). The note “ok” determines that prices are correct (even when a show price exceeds a place price or all prices are the same).

Please note that some results reflect horses racing after the blog posts (they appear the following week).

This week, there were 27 active horses (a 15 percent win hit rate and a 44-percent ATB [across-the-board] hit rate).

Winners

Better Bangbang, $18.00, $6.40, $3.00, Monticello
Lets Get Real, $8.40, $5.80, $3.60, Freehold
Cals Hope, $8.20, $4.60, $3.00, Cal Expo
Karefree Kara, $3.20, $2.40, $2.20, Hoosier

Seconds

Salt Life, $10.40, $5.20, Saratoga
Humble N Kind, $3.20, $2.90, Monticello
Caribbean King, $3.00, $3.00 ok, Hoosier
Sweet Shirley Mae, $2.10, $2.10, Plainridge

Thirds

Waitin Ona River, $4.20, Cal Expo
Lion Safari AS, $3.20, Meadowlands
Ethan T Hanover, $2.40, Philly
Full Deck, $2.20, Northfield


NEWS & NOTES

Beset by financial hardship in recent years, Scarborough Downs will bring down the curtain on 70 years of pari-mutuel horse racing later this month. The racetrack, located just south of Portland, Maine, conducts its final racing program on Saturday, Nov. 28, after opening in 1950 and conducted harness racing since the 1970s. After riding the wave of harness racing’s heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, Scarborough Downs largely ended up lost in the shuffle of full-card simulcasting and has suffered financial losses for the better part of the current century.

Cal Expo added a third low-takeout wager to its menu from last season. In addition to the reduced 16-percent takeout rates on the 20-cent Pick 4s and 20-cent Early Pick 5, the 20-cent Late Pick-5 now features a 16-percent takeout rate. The Pick 4 comes with a $25,000 guaranteed gross pool.

Another season at Pocono Downs is over. As usual, George Napolitano Jr. took the drivers’ championship. It is his ninth straight and the 14th of his career at the Pennsylvania mountain track. Ron Burke won his first training title in Pocono annals, with a winner on the closing card that boosted his 2020 total to 67 during the 86-day meet.
Julie Miller, a trainer closely monitored and supported at TwinSpires’ harness blog celebrated her birthday on Nov. 20 at Freehold Raceway, earning her 2,000th training win. The 2,000th horse is Keystone Orion, driven by her son, Tyler. Julie got her first training win in 1993 at the now-defunct Quad City Downs. Her career took off in the late 2000s, when she and her husband, Andy, relocated to the east coast from Illinois. Her stable cracked the $1-million mark in earnings in 2007 and won more than 100 races for the first time in 2009.

A positive COVID-19 test on an employee on the racing side of operations, Dayton Raceway suspended harness racing, on Nov. 13, “acting out of an abundance of caution,” officials said. No date was announced for a return to harness racing.

Extraordinary Extras

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