We began our adventures here at US Racing with four harness racing events celebrating the conclusion of 2016. Our initial escapades brought us to tracks across the continent, from the ice rinks of Alberta to the “Jersiest” of Jerseys, New Jersey.
The Auld Lang Syne Invitational at the Meadowlands was our first race, the one that would make or break all opinions of me and my handicapping. City Hall ($5.00, $3.00, $2.10), a contender whom I thought would go off at a fair price because of his move up in class, was recognized as the sharpest of the bunch by the bettors, leaving the gate as the 3-2 favorite.
City Hall received a covered trip which carried our other contender, Lucan Hanover ($10.80, $4.40), into the mix. Sent off at 20-1, Lucan Hanover chased home City Hall to complete a $72.00 exacta on a $2 play.
Western Fair’s Auld Lang Syne events for both pacers and trotters were the next races on the card. In the Pace, our contender, Born With Class (11-1), was never allowed to take the front and, as a result, was parked the mile and finished sixth. Red Leaf Morgan, the 5-2 third choice starting from the rail, grabbed the lead from him and maintained it to the finish line.
In the Trot, Amigo Loco (4-1) sat a second-over mile to the 1-5 favorite Incredable Frank, but lacked enough stamina to rally. He finished fifth.
Our last attempt at profit in 2016 was at Northlands Park in their nightcap. We were faced with a decisive favorite, Eliseuinthedust ($3.20, $3.20, $3.50), and tried to upset her with G Ts Selene (9-1) from post eight. The latter swept to the lead before the first turn, but was overtaken by the favorite moving into the final turn and could not recoup enough ground to claim victory. However, G Ts Selene ($5.30, $3.60) completed a $20.50 exacta on a $2 ticket.
Beginning with next week’s preview, we will include a “Bounce Back” list, which will mark when our past contenders are in to compete again. On many occasions, we are beaten out by serendipity, happenstance or serenstances of happendipity. The Bounce Back list excuses them of any errors in their initial performance for us, and instead recruits them to compensate in their next start.
As always, if you have a question about harness racing handicapping, email me at email@example.com and I’ll answer in a future column.