by Rusty Nash for HANA Harness
November 16, 2015 – The first big move in the home stretch occurred last week in the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, Hambletonian Society, Isle of Capri Pompano Park, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs.
There were three evenings of competition this last week. Thursday had six races and was the only evening where any significant ground looked like it could be picked up. And picking up ground is just what happened. JoniJosi Verlingieri nailed five of six winners to crush the field. JoniJosi had all four winning chalks plus the big bomber, Storm Point, who won at $36! All totaled, JoniJosi won the evening by more than 300 points over the whole field and even more on some of the others. Dennis O’Hara and Derick Giwner tied for second with 103 points and tied for fourth with 99 points were Sally Hinckley, Rusty Nash and Mark Dezii.
Friday and Saturday had only two races each evening. No one was able to go two for two on Friday night. Six of the handicappers had no problem selecting in Shake It Cerry to beat Bee A Magician. Shake It Cerry was worth 13 HANA points for Derick Giwner, Rusty Nash, Dennis O’Hara, Earl Paulson, Anne Stepien, and Gordon Waterstone. They each understood how eliminations tend to unfold and took the early speed in the short field. Ironically the top score of the night did not include a winner! Bryan Owen has had a knack all season for selecting live longshots. In this case Skippin By was only second best but still returned 17 total HANA points.
Saturday evening was another twofer that did not look like it would produce any scoring fireworks. No one was able to land both winners. Two were able to figure out that Mach It So was the way to go and he was worth 14 total points. It turns out that both Bob Zanakis and Rusty Nash both had the same tie breaker with E L Titan. He finished second and both gents had the identical sum of 19 HANA points. Five handicappers selected Resolve and earned 9 HANA points. They were Mark Dezii, Derick Giwner, Sally Hinckley, Dennis O’Hara, and Earl Paulson.
For the week JoniJosi Verlingieri obliterated the field with 420 total points. An extremely well beaten second was Rusty Nash who landed a mere 132 points. Dennis O’Hara and Derick Giwner tied for third with 126 points. Tied for the last spot on our weekly pentafecta ticket with 109 points were Mark Dezii and Contest leader Sally Hinckley.
Sally Hinckley retains her lead by a slightly diminished 354 points. The balance of the top four remain the same as last week, Dennis O’Hara, Anne Stepien, Mark McKelvie and Gordon Waterstone. With her big move this week, JoniJosi Verlingieri gave Rusty Nash real fright as she zoomed right on by him into sixth place. Six handicappers are still less that one thousand points behind leader Hinckley. Sally has easily fended off all challengers since rising to the top and appears to be under wraps as we approach the wire.
|Standings as of November 14, 2015 - Leg 61|
The HANA handicappers will be back in action with two exciting days of competition this coming week. This will be the last opportunity for any significant movement as there are four races on Friday and six on Saturday. All our action will be at one of our contest sponsors, The New Meadowlands. Only the Courageous Lady and The Progress Pace remain after this weekend.