Monday, September 28, 2015

Anne Stepien Earns HANA Jug Week Win, Closes Gap on Hinckley and McKelvie

by Rusty Nash for HANA Harness

September 28, 2015 – The Little Brown Jug Week results are now in for 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.

The week kicked off with two days of great fair racing from Delaware Ohio.  Day one featured the Jugette and day two was the Little Brown Jug.

Ray Cotolo jumped out to the early lead selecting two winners on Wednesday.  He scored with Bettor N Better and Classical Anne for 87 HANA points.  Ray was the only handicapper to select two winners on a day where the front end was collapsing for most of the day.  Ray Garnett was a solid second when he landed Speak To Me for 43 HANA points.  The $29 win price was the best of the day.  Mark McKelvie earned third without a winner.  That is certainly a rarity but the 19 HANA points earned when Bedroomconfessions and Smexi both finished second stood up to be third best on the day.

On Little Brown Jug day we had four handicappers successfully select three winners.  Gordon Waterstone and Earl “Super Computer” Paulson each won with French Laundry, Lost For Words and Wiggle It Jiggleit.  They also ran second with Classic Martine to earn a top score of 76 HANA points.  Dennis O’Hara clicked with the same three winners.  Dennis had Rocking With Dewey in the fourth race to collect show money and earn 73 HANA points.  Coming off a strong performance last week, the voice of Buffalo Raceway Michael Carter was a very close fourth with the same three winners but missed in the final tie breaker race.  With eight races down and seven to go after a day off, Ray Cotolo had elbowed his way to the front in our weekly friendly competition.

After a needed day off all the handicappers reassembled to battle it out in six races from Hoosier plus the Milton from Mohawk.  Anne Stepien earned the win and the honors as the only one to select 4 winners.  There were two races on the evening where only two handicappers came up with the winner.  In both cases Anne was one of those two.  First was Anne’s selecting Sunset Glider to win the Kentucky Stallion Management 2 year old filly trot with Sunset Glider.  Anne followed that up with American Passport in The Elevation 2yoCG pace.  Anne’s four winners earned her 219 HANA points on the evening and propelled her to the nightly win by more than 100 points!

The top five handicappers were all able to hold onto their positions this week.  Sally Hinckley still has her two hundred plus point lead over Mark McKelvie.  Anne Stepien remains third but she is much closer now to both Mark and Sally.  Bob Zanakis and Earl Paulson were not put under any pressure this week and retained their fourth and fifth place positions.

Standings as of September 26, 2015 - Leg 43
Total Points Points Earned Overall Position
Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week Points Back
1st Sally Hinckley 3,019.10 139.30 3,158.40 1st
2nd Mark McKelvie 2,796.20 131.40 2,927.60 2nd 230.8
3rd Anne Stepien 2,529.10 256.10 2,785.20 3rd 373.2
4th Bob Zanakis 2,418.10 50.80 2,468.90 4th 689.5
5th Earl Paulson 2,293.70 119.80 2,413.50 5th 744.9
6th Gordon Waterstone 2,285.20 107.80 2,393.00 6th 765.4
7th Dennis O'Hara  2,130.00 134.20 2,264.20 7th 894.2
8th Josi Verlingieri 1,975.50 114.60 2,090.10 10th 1,068.3
9th Bryan Owen 2,018.50 64.90 2,083.40 8th 1,075.0
10th Rusty Nash 1,997.40 67.70 2,065.10 9th 1,093.3
11th Michael Carter  1,818.10 78.50 1,896.60 11th 1,261.8
12th Derick Giwner 1,671.00 152.10 1,823.10 13th 1,335.3
13th Ray Garnett 1,678.30 100.20 1,778.50 12th 1,379.9
14th Mark Dezii 1,665.40 109.40 1,774.80 14th 1,383.6
15th Garnet Barnsdale 1,657.30 51.80 1,709.10 15th 1,449.3
16th Jay Hochstetler  1,542.40 62.30 1,604.70 16th 1,553.7
17th Ray Cotolo 1,207.50 134.70 1,342.20 18th 1,816.2
18th Brandon Valvo 1,261.20 38.00 1,299.20 17th 1,859.2
19th Mark Deutsch 819.20 91.50 910.70 19th 2,247.7

With Jug week over we turn to the anticipated final two weeks of action from The Red Mile.  Wednesday through Saturday will hold eight different sets of Bluegrass divisions.  In addition we will also be making a rare but enjoyable visit to Dayton Raceway for the Dayton Pacing Derby and the Dayton Trotting Derby.