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Track Handicapper James Witherite Bio

 

James Witherite, a lifelong fan and follower of harness racing, has made a career of it since 2006.  Following studies in music composition at Duquesne University and a seven-year stint as the racecaller at Harrah's Philadelphia, he moved his base of operations to Tioga Downs (and its sister track Vernon Downs) in 2014, where he not only is the lead broadcaster, but also the program handicapper and oddsmaker.  When not on the mic or calling the horses to post in a more musical fashion, the 30-year-old Pennsylvania native is an accomplished jazz organist. 

 

 

RACE REVIEWS by James Witherite


 

 

Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment makes every  effort to post Race Reviews 48 hours before scheduled post time.  

Race Reviews For Thursday, January 31, 2013

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 2-5-9-4
H Horse Comment
1 MARION MANHATTAN Made his first start in a year and a half last time, but tired badly. Improvement will come in time.
2 MAJESTIC STONE Looms a big favorite in this field based on his Super Bowl efforts. He catches a field that he just looks faster than.
3 RAPSCALLION Neither qualifier inspires much confidence in here. He will need to improve his lifetime mark by 8 seconds or so to win this.
4 LUVALADY Stayed flat and showed improvement in that last qualifier. Three year old filly against colts and older. See how she looks.
5 CAMP SPEEDY Had too much ground to makeup in that last Super Bowl try. I like the driver change to a more aggressive Simon Allard.
6 CLASSIFIED ACTION Clearly needed that first start back. That being said, this colt didn’t show much in his other starts. I need to see more.
7 TWIN TOWERS Showed up with a much improved effort last time at Freehold. Aside from the favorite, this field didn’t come up tough.
8 MISS CONNOR Not a bad final quarter in that last qualifier. She will need to step up her game though as well. Watching for now.
9 CASHCO Added Lasix for that qualifier and responded well. If he is ready off the layoff, then he is a certain contender in this group.
10 MAJESTIC MIDNIGHT Did not factor in The Super Bowl and despite this field being softer, I can’t see him contending from here.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 8-10-7-3
H Horse Comment
1 MC GILLACUDY-HENRY Last pair of starts have been a bit better with the addition of Lasix. Still, just 1 for 27 and loses Gingras.
2 PEBBLEBEACH DE VIE Only one start under her belt. She has every right to improve off that mile. Watch the tote board closely.
3 IDEAL PORTRAIT I liked the late burst she showed at the end of that qualifier. Is she ready off this layoff? Top 2 chalks will be tough.
4 IT’SALL YOUR FAULT Exits the same qualifier as ‘Portrait, but that filly went by this mare in the stretch. Watching this time around.
5 SHARK LIGHTNING Did not factor at 153-1 in her first start of the year. She had some good races at Philly last year. Needs to step up.
6 SUMMER SUNLIGHT Earned a check while out-racing her odds last time. Feel a minor award is her ceiling again against the favorites.
7 CRAZY EIGHTS Not a bad effort at all for her first start. I don’t think she is up to the top two just yet, but she is an exotics player in here.
8 LIZ’S LIL K K Cut the mile after being stretched to the quarter, giving a perfect trip to ‘Ginny. Post and speed edge. Tough to catch.
9 ROCKNROLL RHAPSODY Floated away and sat along the pylons, but didn’t offer any punch in the stretch last time. Must improve.
10 IDEAL GINNY Worked out a perfect trip to beat ‘Liz last time. She will have to be used a bit more from this draw early. Formidable foe.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 8-7-9-10
H Horse Comment
1 OLIVER KISS Well-beaten last time at the $15,000 level. Last few starts have not been too promising. Must step it up from here.
1A JEDRIK HANOVER I can’t believe he stayed trotting in the stretch last week. Has a very awkward and rough gait. Risky play from post 10.
2 WHATNBLAZES Geldings form went in and out at Freehold. Earned almost $50k last year despite just two wins. He can earn a share.
3 GUIDING LIGHT Making his 2nd start back off a 6-week layoff. Coming off a light year as well. Needs to step up his game here.
4 ORDER BY CORLEONE Loomed up on the outside before flattening out in the stretch. Effort was better than anything he did in 2012.
5 SAM’S HONEYBEE Mare had a decent year last year but appeared overmatched in a C-1 trot here earlier. Coming off a break as well.
6 CUZZIN ROB Qualifier was not what I was looking for and he is coming off an 0 for 24 season as well. I need to see a start first.
7 TREMENDOUS HIT Enters this in better form than most of these and shows 8 wins last year as well. Expect Heckoff to be aggressive here.
8 ZOT Hoover has won here before and this looks like the horse to beat off his last win from post 11. Hard not to like in this spot again.
9 PERMANENT JOY Was a fast closing 3rd last time and the post probably cost him the win. Will the same happen here? Still a major threat.
10 SOME KINDA SPUNKY Goes from the Super Bowl to an amateur race. I honestly haven’t seen that before. Wouldn’t shock me here.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 6-7-3-9
H Horse Comment
1 STARGLOW HALL Had trot in the stretch last time, but this field came up a bit tougher from top to bottom. Leads off wide open race.
2 BIG SKY DOMINO Owns a class edge on many of these, but has been off for four weeks and his recent form has been dull.
3 PAISLEY Raced very well at this level last time, but Miller chose off. Gingras picks up a very live drive in this wide open affair. Contender.
4 AEQUITAS Not a bad qualifier from post 10 at all and this was Tetrick’s choice. Showed more speed there than usual as well. Player.
5 NEW ZION Raced very well last time and just got beat by a very good horse when he trots. Steps up and loses Simpson too. Tricky call.
6 DECK THE HALLS Made a bold move to the lead last time and had a right to get tired. He will improve here and looms a big contender.
7 BOINGA She was a dominant winner last time and is a deserving favorite despite the class bump. That being said, I’ll try to beat her.
8 STREAKIN STAR Certainly shows good form and that is a nice looking qualifier too. It’s safe to say we can expect speed. Another player.
9 DASH FOR THE CASH Recent form has been just fair, but he is getting some class relief. Might have a long way to come but will factor.
10 UP FRONT STRIKING Showed his speed making an easy lead from post 6 at YR. There is other speed in here. Does Andy gun? Tricky.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 3-5-4-2
H Horse Comment
1 LEXUS ARTIST Has been racing pretty well lately and wasn’t bad on the step up at Yonkers last time. This will be a test though.
2 CAMMI PLACE Raced well last week finishing behind a sharp mare. Tetrick did choose off in here, but Miller got along fine with her.
3 LIZZIE’S DREAM Tetrick gives this mare another look at his level following a no chance mile. I expect a rebound effort here. Don’t dismiss.
4 TANNED FOR LIFE This is one of the few from this barn yet to fire. Made a big move into headwinds last time. Figures to improve.
5 NUTMEGS YANKEE Mare has been showing good speed in her last two starts and this is a touch of class relief from last time. Interesting.
6 K J HANNAH Did not factor last time and was not Gingras’ choice. Raced well on the 4th though, so I can make a case for a rebound.
7 ELODIE Not a bad effort last time, but not great either. She seems to be a perfect fit to continue to toss underneath on your exotic tickets.
8 JACK’S MAGIC JEWEL She has been picking up checks lately, but has been lacking the winning punch. Her 1/17 effort was disappointing.
9 OBSESSIVE ARTIST Raced with broken equipment last time, so toss that race out. Barn has been cold, but don’t sell too short.
10 MATT’S SMOKIN LIL Earned a confidence builder last time, but she was not a factor at this level prior. Tough to recommend from here.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 7-9-10-3
H Horse Comment
1 NEW YORK MUSCLE Made a nice move in that qualifier on the backstretch. But he has been off 3 months and Tetrick chose off.
2 CHOCOHOLIC Bongiorno was aggressive with her and she picked up a check. A win may be a stretch, but is a dime super candidate.
3 SOUTH JERSEY BUGSY At this point I feel he will need to catch a softer group to wire the field. He just is light on stamina right now.
4 PILATUS Was not bad in that qualifier, but his inability to stay flat in race miles is a concern at this point. See how he looks on the track.
5 PRECIOUS METAL That was on OK qualifier and he showed some decent races at Freehold. Draws a good post here. Tricky call.
6 MCATTEE Responded to the Lasix on 1-3. Has been off since then and qualifier was just fair. Seems to have speed. Pace factor.
7 NO FROSTING That is a pretty good looking mile at Dover and now gets the hottest driver at the track. I expect him to be a handful in here.
8 LADY AT BAT Added Lasix in that qualifier and raced better. Is this mare ready to jump up with a big effort? It’s a possibility.
9 VOLARE DE VIE Responded to Lasix last time and was finishing with trot. Catches a good group here, but he should be a factor now.
10 GOOD SOUND ADVICE Thoroughly dominated in a softer spot last time. We’ll see speed from this wide draw. Don’t want a short price.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 3-4-8-2
H Horse Comment
1 STONEBRIDGE ROCKET Did not factor at this level two starts back. Post improves and I like the move to Miller. Has some upside now.
2 EVERGREEN POWER Total wild card in this field. Was overmatched in the Hirt and made a break at this level. Not was just 5-1 in there.
3 CORKY BARAN This might be the class relief he needed. The winner of that last race would be 1/5 in here. Looms a legit contender.
4 TERRYANG FRA Broke through with a solid effort last time. Moves into the classified system now, but I don’t think this is tougher. Like.
5 ARSENAL Gets some class relief following the miscue last time. Has not been very sharp, but does have a class edge on some of these.
6 SHEER DESIRE Nice effort last time and was Tetrick’s choice of three in here. Perfect post, gives Tetrick options too. Contender.
7 DANA’S SHARP SMART Been a long time since he won, but I like the speed he showed from post 10 last time. Was not Tetrick’s choice.
8 DOUBLETROUBLE Gelding is rather sharp right now and gets tested on the move to M1 now. He is proven on the big track in Illinois.
9 DIGGERS REST N Qualifier was not bad at all and shows a couple of decent races at Freehold. Off the layoff, I will watch this race.
10 PALM’S BEACH Nice win last time coming with a wide rally. This will be much tougher and he catches the worst of the draw.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 3-5-12-1
H Horse Comment
1 CASH MCCOY Exits the Super Bowl series where he didn’t make much of an impact. This looks softer on paper. A minor share, maybe.
2 RED ROCKET CHIP Has not won in a while. Is getting some class relief and shows some decent races in Philly. Minor award possible.
3 DW’S EASTER Won a leg of the Super Bowl last year. Appears to be in pretty good form and I like the move to Andy Miller. Contender.
4 ZEITGEIST Was not involved at all last time and it’s hard to recommend off that last mile. Doesn’t pack much early zip either.
5 TWIN B NAVIGATOR Raced OK against a better group from post 10 last time. Gets the tepid call as the favorite in a wide open race.
6 LUCERNE DE VIE Making his 2nd start back off the 4 week layoff. Didn’t get involved from a tough spot last time at YR. Could improve.
7 THROUGH THE NIGHT Made his first start off a 5 week layoff last time and did not factor. Another that can improve, but it’s tricky.
8 BAILEYS PHOTO This is his 2nd start off an 8 week layoff, but his prior form was dull. I need to see another start with this mare.
9 WESTERN CREDIT Did not factor despite taking some play last time. Moves outside and is another that I need to see improvement.
10 GEORGIAN DIABLO Added hobbles last time and made a first over move before tiring badly in the stretch. Gets a class drop now.
11 TUSCAN LINDY Gets caught in a tough spot and didn’t make much of an impact at this level last time. Appears up against it.
12 COUNT SPEED This is a class drop as he is coming out of some good races at Woodbine. Is he ready off this 4 week layoff? Tough call.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 4-7-5-8
H Horse Comment
1 ANDY BARAN Has not raced badly in either start since coming here. This field is wide open on paper and he is someone to be included.
2 MASTERS CHAMPION Has not gotten off the gate well lately and is form is lacking. I need to see some improvement before playing.
3 BETTERTHANLYNX Both starts here have not been up to bar. Gets his 3rd different driver in as many starts. Maybe Miller figures him out.
4 YA GOTTA GO This is a move down in class and the driver change here is going to attract attention. Watch the tote board. Things to like.
5 PRINCE SHARKA All things considered, he didn’t race badly in the Clyde Hirt series. Obviously, this will be softer. Looms a win candidate.
6 THANKS FOR STOPPIN Pulled off a mild upset at this level on 1/11, but his subsequent start was not as good. Which gelding shows up?
7 FOOL OF IDEAS Didn’t race too badly last time and gets some class relief too. Has speed which Yannick will lose. Should be tough.
8 GET JAZZED He has been racing pretty good since coming here. Might have too much to do in this spot, but I can see including him.
9 DOMITIAN HANOVER Shows a couple of even efforts in his last pair of starts. If Simpson can keep him closer, he has a chance.
10 CULLENS BLUE JEAN Exits a very fast qualifier, but he is coming off an 8 week layoff and has post 10 too. This looks tough.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 5-7-8-9
H Horse Comment
1 HANKS KID Qualifier hinted at some improvement and this race didn’t come up that rough. Just 1 for 37 last year. Bottom of exotics?
2 PRO MATTIC Made two moves last time and tired in the stretch. Loses Miller here. Price will be big for believers. Looking elsewhere.
3 DRAGON KING Raced well at this level but is coming off a 1 for 31 season as well. He should fit in this spot. Using underneath.
4 YANKEE DEVIL Gets some class relief but his form has been rather dull. Miller goes elsewhere too. I will be watching this time.
5 ATTACK MODES BILLY Added Lasix and raced better. Good post and was Miller’s choice of three. I will take a shot in this spot.
6 DOIN TIME TOGETHER Did not factor at all from post 10. I suppose he can improve this time but I will be looking elsewhere for the winner.
7 ROCKNROLL JEWEL Cannot knock his recent form, and Berry is driving only this one (who he co-owns). I think he has a big shot here.
8 ZEN MAJOR Made a bold move early in that mile and raced extremely well, losing to a classy horse. He fits in this spot. Contender.
9 SECTIONLINE BLAST Nice effort last time, losing by just a neck when favored. This race may be tougher, but he is sharp lately.
10 TSM GABBY WARBUCKS Had a bit too much to do last time, but fear that may be the case again from here. Underneath for a share.