Monday, August 3, 2015

McKelvie on Top as Adios Weekend Scrambles the Standings

August 3, 2015 – With the multiplier feature of the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, the potential of the contest standings changing dramatically existed.  At the conclusion of the weekend, those predictions came true. 

After missing Friday night’s contest leg, Mark McKelvie responded with a roar, winning nine of the sixteen legs on Saturday, earning 1,075.9 points, which with his previous 717.6 points thus far has now propelled into first place with a total of 1,793.5, a lead of 126.6 points over Sally Hinckley’s 1,666.9.  Previous leader Bob Zanakis now sits third, with 1,372.3.

Other big movers this week were Gordon Waterstone who moved from seventh to fourth place, Josi Verlingieri (ninth to fifth), Rusty Nash (thirteenth to eighth), Mark Dezii (sixteenth to tenth), and Dennis O’Hara (seventeenth to twelfth).

While McKelvie already had eight winners at the end of the Meadow’s card, his coupe de grace was the fourth race at the Meadowlands where his last and final winner of the day pick in the TVG Trot of Flanagan Memory ($26.40, $9.00, $7.20) earned him a total of 383.4 points.

Standings as of August 1, 2015 - Leg 24
Total Points
Points Earned
Overall
Position
Pos
Handicapper
Prior Week
This Week
Total Points
Last Week
1st
Mark McKelvie
717.60
1,075.90
1,793.50
4th
2nd
Sally Hinckley
1,014.30
652.60
1,666.90
2nd
3rd
Bob Zanakis
1,059.50
312.80
1,372.30
1st
4th
Gordon Waterstone
641.70
442.20
1,083.90
7th
5th
Josi Verlingieri
631.90
450.10
1,082.00
9th
6th
Michael Carter
749.50
275.40
1,024.90
3rd
7th
Ann Stepien
703.00
303.50
1,006.50
5th
8th
Rusty Nash
569.90
436.30
1,006.20
13th
9th
Derick Giwner
618.60
374.30
992.90
10th
10th
Mark Dezii
546.40
416.70
963.10
16th
11th
Brandon Valvo
561.40
395.10
956.50
15th
12th
Earl Paulson
614.20
334.20
948.40
11th
12th
Dennis O'Hara
483.20
446.50
929.70
17th
14th
Garnet Barnsdale
639.00
267.20
906.20
8th
15th
Jay Hochstetler
566.90
322.50
889.40
14th
16th
Bryan Owen
570.00
306.70
876.70
12th
17th
Ray Garnett
693.90
154.70
848.60
6th
18th
Ray Cotolo
362.70
351.70
714.40
18th
19th
Mark Deutsch
203.70
230.30
434.00
19th


This week the contest kicks off on Thursday, with the Whenuwishuponastar early closer final at Mohawk Racetrack and then finishes up on Saturday with the Hambletonian with its minimum of ten contest races.  Handicapper selections, results and standings are available at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Back Attacks in HANA Handicapping Challenge

July 19, 2015 – It was a matter of time until someone in the back of the pack made a move in the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, so perhaps it was apropos such a move by two handicappers would occur on Meadowlands Pace night when eight contest races in addition to the Sheppard at Yonkers Raceway were contested. 

Thanks to four winners, Sally Hinckley leapfrogged from fourteenth to second place with 533.8 points for the week while Mark McKelvie moved from sixteen to fourth place thanks to his 316 points.  Overall leader Bob Zanakis scored 190.6 points this week for a grand total of 1,036.3 but the race has tightened as his lead is down to 48.5 points.

Hinckley and Zanakis both had four winners on the card but Hinckley greatly benefited from longshot Anndrovette whose victory in the Golden Girls FFA for mares earned Hinckley 432 of her 533.80 points.  Hinckley’s other winners were favorites Pinkman, Wiggle It Jiggleit, and JL Cruze.  Zanakis’ big winner of his quartet was Moonlight Dance who earned him 108.8 of his total 190.6 points in the Mistletoe Shalee for three year old filly pacers with his remaining winners being the same trio as Hinckley’s. 

Six handicappers had three winners on the card but while Mark McKelvie had only two winners, he made the best of it thanks to Spirit To Win being victorious in the Delvin Miller Memorial for three year old trotters which earned him 281.2 of his 316 points for the week (his other winner was the result of a scratch which gave him the post time favorite).

Standings as of July 18, 2015 - Leg 20
Total Points Points Earned Overall Position
Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week
1st Bob Zanakis 828.30 208.00 1,036.30 1st
2nd Sally Hinckley 454.00 533.80 987.80 14th
3rd Michael Carter  701.80 40.60 742.40 2nd
4th Mark McKelvie 371.90 316.00 687.90 16h
5th Ray Garnett 657.90 18.20 676.10 3rd
6th Ann Stepien 555.20 74.10 629.30 6th
7th Garnet Barnsdale 566.00 47.50 613.50 5th
8th Gordon Waterstone 567.30 37.20 604.50 4th
9th Derick Giwner 517.70 77.70 595.40 9th
10th Josi Verlingieri 523.60 71.10 594.70 8th
11th Earl Paulson 499.10 60.80 559.90 11th
12th Bryan Owen 508.80 43.40 552.20 10th
12th Brandon Valvo 529.00 23.20 552.20 7th
14th Mark Dezii 457.90 73.70 531.60 13th
15th Jay Hochstetler  476.90 43.80 520.70 12th
16th Rusty Nash 428.10 87.50 515.60 15th
17th Dennis O'Hara  364.60 87.70 452.30 17th
18th Ray Cotolo 294.10 28.00 322.10 18th
19th Mark Deutsch 183.10 10.50 193.60 19th

This week, Saratoga Raceway is Saturday’s contest track with the $260,000 guaranteed Joe Gerrity Memorial while Sunday features the Zweig Memorial Trot and Zweig Filly Trot as well as their corresponding consolation races at Vernon Downs.  Handicapper selections, results and standing are available at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Barnsdale Biggest Mover in HANA Handicapping Challenge

July 5, 2015 – Legs 16-18 are in the book for the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, and it finds Bob Zanakis remaining on top for the second week with a total of 797.1 points, 105.4 points ahead of his nearest competitor.  However, the handicapper of note this week was Garnet Barnsdale who leaped from tenth to fifth over three of contest dates, earning 168.1 points for the two week period.

Last week’s (June 26) leg of the TVG Trotting Series at the Meadowlands was a challenge to the roster of handicappers as only one handicapper was able to correctly select the winner, Obrigado.  Perhaps it was fitting Maine resident Sally Hinckley was the sole handicapper to pick the Maine trotting sensation who has gone on to the big leagues.  Hinckley’s loyalty was rewarded, earning 18 points in the single event evening.

Friday (July 3) featured a trio of events, the inaugural Cleveland Trotting Classic, the Graduate Pacing Final, and the Ms. Versatility.  A dead heat between Mark McKelvie and Bryan Owen was the result of each handicapper correctly selecting Daylon Magician to win the Northfield event and Doo Wop Hanover in the Graduate Final with their handicapping efforts arning them a score of 75.1 for the evening, contributing to McKevlie’s 133.8 and Owen’s 102.9 weekly total.

Saturday (July 4) featured a combination of eight stakes and consolation races on Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs’ Sun Stakes card and it turns out the magic number was three, the most winners any of the handicappers had selected which seven contestants can lay claim to.  One of the septet, Bob Zanakis, scored 167.4 of his 186.2 points for the week, while Barnsdale earned 152.3 of his 165.3 weekly total with only two winners.    Zanakis correctly selected Badiou Hanover (Max Hempt Memorial consolation), Habitat (Earl Beal Jr. Memorial consolation) , and Wiggle It Jiggleit (Max Hempt Memorial final) while Barnsdale  correctly selected longshot Bettor Be Steppin (James M Lynch Memorial) in addition to Pinkman (Earl Beal Jr. Memorial).  Other handicappers who broke the century mark for the weekend were Michael Carter (107.2), Gordon Waterstone (101.9), Josi Verlingieri (110.6), Bryan Owen (102.9), Rusty Nash (101), and Mark McKelvie (133.8).



Standings as of July 4, 2015 - Leg 18
Total Points
Points Earned
Overall
Position
Pos
Handicapper
Prior Week
This Week
Total Points
Last Week
1st
Bob Zanakis
610.90
186.20
797.10
1st
2nd
Michael Carter
584.50
107.20
691.70
3rd
3rd
Ray Garnett
597.20
26.20
623.40
2nd
4th
Gordon Waterstone
463.00
101.90
564.90
5th
5th
Garnet Barnsdale
386.40
165.30
551.70
10th
6th
Ann Stepien
449.20
74.80
524.00
6th
7th
Josi Verlingieri
410.80
110.60
521.40
8th
8th
Brandon Valvo
487.90
33.40
521.30
4th
9th
Derick Giwner
437.60
70.00
507.60
7th
10th
Jay Hochstetler
396.70
72.50
469.20
9th
11th
Earl Paulson
366.00
99.70
465.70
11th
12th
Bryan Owen
362.40
102.90
465.30
12th
13th
Mark Dezii
363.70
81.90
445.60
13th
14th
Sally Hinckley
355.90
88.00
443.90
14th
15th
Rusty Nash
319.20
101.00
420.20
15th
16th
Mark McKelvie
230.20
133.80
364.00
17th
17th
Dennis O'Hara
315.20
41.50
356.70
16th
18th
Ray Cotolo
160.60
83.70
244.30
19th
19th
Mark Deutsch
167.20
15.90
183.10
18th



This week, Saturday night features three events at the Meadowlands; the $250,000 Graduate Final for trotters, the $65,000 (est.) Reynolds for three year old colt and gelding trotters and the $60,000 (est.) Reynolds for three year old filly trotters.   For further information on the contest, you are invited to visit the contest website at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.  

Sunday, June 21, 2015

New Leader in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Challenge

 June 21, 2015 – After the three latest legs of the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, another handicapper stakes his claim to the top slot as Bob Zanakis trades places with Ray Garnett, taking the lead with 610.9 points to Garnett’s 588.2.

Leg 14 was pretty uneventful as the only race in the contest was the Battle of Lake Erie with two handicappers maximizing the opportunity provided by the veteran Foiled Again winning resulting in Earl Paulson and Gordon Waterstone earning 24.2 points for the leg.

In leg 15, Mark McKelvie earned top honors, earning 51 points, the result of selecting JL Cruz and Doo Wop Hanover to win their respective legs of the Graduate series for four year olds.  Several others correctly selected the winner of one leg of the Graduate.

Leg 16 contained the stakes races of North America Cup Night and with a number of favorites going down to defeat, those who relied on the favorites to come through were disappointed.  On the other hand, Sally Hinckley (75.8 points for the night) took advantage of the implosion of the top two favorites in the Goodtimes Trot, earning 54.5 points with her selection of The Bank who finished second in the race.  Due to the failure of many of the favorites, the best some handicappers could accomplish was selecting two winners out of the six races, with Bob Zanakis, Garnet Barnsdale, and Dennis O’Hara earning between 66 - 64.8 points

Standings as of June 20, 2015 - Leg 15
Total Points
Points Earned
Overall
Position
Pos
Handicapper
Prior Week
This Week
Total Points
Last Week
1st
Bob Zanakis
528.40
82.50
610.90
2nd
2nd
Ray Garnett
539.70
48.50
588.20
1st
3rd
Michael Carter
509.70
74.80
584.50
3rd
4th
Brandon Valvo
453.80
34.10
487.90
4th
5th
Gordon Waterstone
434.80
28.20
463.00
5th
6th
Ann Stepien
409.10
37.30
446.40
6th
7th
Derick Giwner
383.00
51.80
434.80
7th
8th
Josi Verlingieri
365.80
36.00
401.80
9th
9th
Jay Hochstetler
374.50
22.20
396.70
8th
10th
Garnet Barnsdale
302.30
81.30
383.60
13th
11th
Earl Paulson
321.00
45.00
366.00
12th
12th
Bryan Owen
333.30
29.10
362.40
10th
13th
Mark Dezii
329.80
24.90
354.70
11th
14th
Sally Hinckley
242.70
95.20
337.90
15th
15th
Dennis O'Hara
237.30
75.10
312.40
16th
16th
Rusty Nash
257.20
53.00
310.20
14th
17th
Mark McKelvie
170.20
51.00
221.20
17th
18th
Ray Cotolo
152.80
7.80
160.60
18th
19th
Mark Deutsch
152.10
6.10
158.20
19th


This week, only one event is on the contest calendar with the Meadowlands hosting trotters for a leg of the TVG series on Friday evening.  The Fourth of July weekend features seven races giving handicappers a chance of improving their position in the standings.   For further information on the contest, you are invited to visit the contest website at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.