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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 Friday, December 09, 2016

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 5-10-9-1
H Horse Comment
1 Feisty Love Her stand-side rally last week proved too little, too late, but she shows late progress in both starts this fall. Inside draw can aid; minor option.
2 Falcor Bluestone This is a lateral move for the 17-time winner, but the severity of his late regression last week gives pause. Others boast better fitness of late.
3 Brandos Muscle Man While Sheer Flex drew off at will last week, this one circled four-wide in the straight and gained ground steadily. Closer spot sure to help.
4 Saraboo In two such races locally, she proved no menace. Seems awfully dependent upon trip, and lacks the raw speed others in the field flaunt.
5 Ellen's Streak She was victorious in her first two local tries but couldn't threaten from post 10 last out. That said, she made a brief bid for 2nd in mid-stretch.
6 Landonfitz Kinder midpack draw should work to this one's aid, but current form isn't all that encouraging. Not without potential, noting 1:54.2 line four back.
7 Dream Rocker The 13-time winner stayed on well last week after stalking dueling leaders, only just missing second. Can factor again with similar.
8 Cypress Point After respectable late gains from off the pace 2 and 3 back, he was only able to stay even in passing tired foes last out. Others trend better.
9 Wygant Prince He's steadily out-performed his odds, staying on well for small shares in his last five. Post is his biggest obstacle; good choice for exotics.
10 Count Speed Further class relief is offset by a post 10 draw, but strong efforts at Vernon are encouraging. Third-time Spagnola starter is fastest on paper.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 3-9-10-5
H Horse Comment
1 Bell a Chick He looks to bounce back from a break last out following a respectable qualifier last week. Inside draw should keep him close enough throughout.
2 New York Attitude He labored off third-over cover at this level in his last after weakening in his prior start. He comes back after again missing a week; tread lightly.
3 O'Wow Despite a traffic-troubled journey in his last, he showed ability to advance after wedging between foes in the last 30 yards. Clearer can aid greatly. Trainer: Trained well, should race well if he stays at it.
4 Funny Photo Vernon arrival hasn't come home in under :30 since a first-level Miracle Mile race in August. He's likely to need this one on the class hike.
5 Tarot He stayed on admirably three back, but was too far away to threaten last week. That said, he progressed out of traffic. Can add value to exotics.
6 Twice Too Nice Despite some undisputedly rapid miles at Vernon this summer, she became detached locally last week. Most recent success came two levels below.
7 Magglio He missed last week due to illness after he was overmatched in a G-Notes final on 11/25. Needs ideal circumstances to stay on for a minor, it seems.
8 In Your Room She makes her first start since August of 2015, qualifying evenly last week. She tends to be prominent early; that could be enough for a share in here.
9 P L Icabod His belated gains at 83-1 last week are made all the more impressive by the fact that he overcame dull cover to make them. Drops; can contend.
10 Gambler Springs The 12-year-old veteran boasts a form edge, to be sure, but steps up from $6k events at Plainridge. Post 10 likely to hinder; judge value accordingly.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 1-3-6-2
H Horse Comment
1 Sir Jake's Z Tam After strong pressing efforts to hit the board in three of his last four, he steps down to the $7.5k level. Strong form + step down = contender. Trainer: Lots of changes to equipment, should be competitive.
2 Fox Valley Cupid Second-time Dane starter picks up Callahan after a narrow defeat at Pocono. Should be prominent again from this cozy draw, mind value.
3 Must Be the Bunny Another one enjoying good form of late, his regression on 11/26 can largely be attributed to traffic trouble. Drops; can rebound with clearer. Trainer: Classy old horse; he tries every start.
4 Amped Up In his eighth-place finish against $10k foes last out, he could only find room in the last eighth, and was even from then. Clearer can aid greatly.
5 Believe This Romeo This Pocono invader could provide some hidden value. He raced here three back, but his pressing bid came up empty. Include at right price.
6 Great Soul The 11-year-old emerged up the pegs with decent pace after a mild shuffle in last week's Jersey Strong final. Finds easier, gains Miller.
7 Major Bubbles N He steps below a winning level after he labored to stay even in traffic last week. Despite regression in past lines, raw speed suits. Mind value.
8 Strong Signal Plainridge invader is certainly not lacking for raw speed, showing good staying power of late. Rises from $6k company; needs live flow for best.
9 Hall of Terror He circled off the far turn to win at Philly last week on a second straight drop in class. Despite that, others show stronger late kick. Post 9 hurts.
10 Falcon Justice Another wide draw is bound to trouble this one after he only managed to stay even off excess cover last week. Too far from inside contenders.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 8-3-9-7
H Horse Comment
1 Andovers Touch While he gained late last week, he had the power to advance more strongly if only he had the room to do so. Post relief lands him closer.
2 Sweet Justice Extreme post relief compounds the class relief this 30-time winner gets, but Ginsburg opts off. Will a more prominent spot help in this fast field?
3 Nowucit Nowudont He looked a winner until he broke in deep stretch in his last try. Beat $15k types three back, worth another chance at this easier level. Trainer: Coming off a break, but in a class he has been competitive in.
4 March Awareness Further class relief can aid the 23-time winner, but he has been off for three weeks. Stalking efforts in October encourage; live cover can aid.
5 Ulster He failed to sustain a pressing bid on the rise to this level last week, but he hit the board thrice prior. Can rebound if able to avoid the breeze.
6 Surface Tension This 26-time winner returns to two turns after missing the board in his last three over 1m2f. Variables abound with this one; watch and assess.
7 Detroit Rapper He's back down to a competitive level after gapping third-over cover in a third-level race last week. At his best when in play from the outset. Trainer: Working his way down the ladder. Everything seems good, just has a negative attitude on racing. Hoping class will jumpstart him back.
8 Onda di Mare She hit the board in 3 of her last 4 local tries, most recently against tougher. Step down, proven versatility help to alleviate wide draw.
9 Gianni He pushed strongly off stalled cover last week and sustained good progress to the line. Can surely work into exotics from well back.
10 A J Destiny While he missed his last due to sickness, he steps down and cuts back from 1m2f here. Post 10 hinders, regression last out gives pause too.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 1-6-5-10-2
H Horse Comment
1 Four Hour Nap She returns to a winning level and draws cozily after fast enough miles yielded her little in three straight. Can press or stalk alike; Marohn's call. Trainer: Drops, draws the inside. Trained great.
2 Royal Engagement Good minor option noting post relief and consistent staying and mild closing efforts at this level and slightly tougher. Closer cover can help. Trainer: Finally draws well. Tough mare should give her stablemate a good run.
3 Mojarra Hanover She's back to two turns tonight, but can she regain the raw speed she demonstrated this winter? A fairly stout group for this level awaits.
4 Victoria's Munky Philly invader held sway to wire much easier three back, but was even at best twice since. Others appear sharper and certainly faster.
5 Carobbean Pacetry This mare closed off fourth-over cover to make up over seven lengths in the last half of a tougher race last week. Drops; draws better. In play.
6 Jarnac This mare rises amid form and versatility, tracking and closing from far back to reach the board in three straight. Gets over the course well. Trainer: Trained well, expecting a good result.
7 Freetime This Plainridge shipper won for Heidi Rohr at the Spa five back, but has tailed off since then. Drops; gets Tetrick. Can she rebound?
8 Pancakes Massachusetts invader returns to two turns after only mustering even finishes in her last couple. Variables abound; watch and assess. Trainer: Coming off a good effort and in a good spot.
9 Flick a Fly Capable pressing type was engulfed off cover last week, but she stayed on for third. Raw speed suits; post and potential for traffic concern. Trainer: Trained well, draws outside.
10 Lookout Stokk Zone The Buckeye picks up the drive on the 15-time winner who rallied into fourth at this level in her last two. Good gains from far back encourage.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 6-9-4-2
H Horse Comment
1 Explosiveday He moves laterally following a near pillar-to-post win at Philly, but those last quarters of late give pause. Others seem sharper of late, to be fair.
2 Market Share The champion rallied off cover to just reach a softer group last week, and Tetrick remains aboard. Can the kinder draw keep him sharper late?
3 Keystone Ace After pouncing from the pocket to beat $20k types at Plainridge, he invades for 150% the price. Best when prominent; stout foes await.
4 Opening Night The 20-time winner has been no worse than fourth in his last five, doing his best when close to the action. Second straight step down helps.
5 Buddy Hally He sustained mild gains steadily on debut last week, proving no match for Aldebaran Eagle. Fits well in this group despite three dropping down.
6 Fashion Creditor He tries two turns after weakening at 1m2f in his last. Those sub-1:54 miles at Pocono two and three back encourage, and Brett opts on, too. Trainer: Big closing kick. This is a very competitive race for this class.
7 Waiting On a Woman The 57-time winner returns to a winning level tonight, and is reunited with Bongiorno. Draw biggest hurdle noting he's best when close.
8 Panamanian Hanover Tetrick opts off the Philly invader who repelled pressure to beat similar in his last. Outside draw, time off since that win both give pause.
9 Opulent Yankee While odds-on at this level last week, he was rebuffed by Aldebaran Eagle after pulling pocket. Underlay potential less severe from post 9. Trainer: Post 9 is the challenge.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 4-9-2-6
H Horse Comment
1 Sheeza Shark N Last week, she battled for the pocket and stayed one-paced while boxed at fives-on. Her stand-side push two back encourages, but mind value.
2 That Woman Hanover Callahan opts off after this one lacked from the pocket last out after chasing a rapid pace. Kinder pace much likelier tonight, can rebound.
3 Pan Luis Obispo After an odds-on win at Philly, she rises and ships in. The 20-time winner loses Gingras amid improving form; traffic greatest concern.
4 Candy Styx N She rises off two straight wins, most recently pressing on after losing cover and drawing away with authority. Clear form edge; Corey's choice. Trainer: Ready to go, all is well. SheÕs sharp.
5 Go For Sand In her debut effort last week, she stayed on well while four-wide, missing by 1-1/2 lengths at 90-1! We won't see that price tonight.
6 Blush Hanover She had plenty of pace while six-wide in the straight last week, but was too far away to pose any threat. Stalker-closer draws much better.
7 Cherry Bliss Andy opts to stay with this mare following her three-wide push off live cover to stay on last week. Her 1:50.4 mile two back came up the pegs.
8 Elm Grove Inarush This mare held her own for minor shares at long odds among top groups at Plainridge and Saratoga. Trip is bound to play a big role for her.
9 Shutthefrontdoor Solid pressing type proved closing ability from far off the pace in her last two tries against tougher. Drops, picks up Tim. Lots to like tonight. Trainer: Honest mare. Drops, but draws post 9. Can overcome with some racing luck.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 4-7-9-6
H Horse Comment
1 It Really Matters He's back to two turns after hitting the super in four of five. He held his own at Pocono against similar foes; can factor if close and clear.
2 I C Caviar He rises after making mild gains to save third, hooking out of traffic in upper stretch. Class hike gives pause, especially noting form of others.
3 Midfield Magic Powerful wins off close tracking trips were three levels below this one. While he figures to be prominent yet again, I fear he's in too tough.
4 Wing Flash Yonkers invader kept her first-over bid alive to the end over added distance last week. Second-time Lasix; back to a mile amid strong form. Trainer: First time on the mile track.
5 Naughty III Two back, she narrowly missed while in the clear, but more recently failed to sustain a first-over bid. Could the bounce theory factor in?
6 House On Fire Solid enough presser-stalker in $30k events at Yonkers steps down and cuts back to a mile after missing last week. Can reach for a share.
7 Promise Delivered New arrival to the McDermott stable qualified well last week after kicking cover to beat N5L in his last appearance. Miller's choice; seems to fit. Trainer: Could not be any happier with this purchase. Bought off top connections and came in top shape. Qualified very well.
8 Stitch in Time She's lacked in three starts at this level despite strong front-end wins over softer 4 and 5 back. Outside draw hinders; wait for a better spot.
9 Never Ever Clever A couple things encourage here: she was put in play from post 10 last out and stayed even late, and Corey opts on. Strong minor option.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 8-3-4-5
H Horse Comment
1 Simple Saver N Cleveland invader circled to win a series final at 27-1 last week after holding her own in much softer at Freehold last month. Class concerns.
2 She's Heavenly Miller opts off after this mare failed to progress out of traffic in her last try at this level. She shows better two and three back; demand value.
3 Right Stuff While she drops back to a level she dominated in three back, she was struggling late last week. She can rebound, but be most wary of value.
4 Joyful Game Last week's local effort was a respectable one--she chased the winner's cover to work into second. Working her way back up; capable stayer.
5 N Angel Among Us She brushed and edged clear of N3L types at Pocono two back, but that 1:55 mile only fits in mid-division here. That said, Miller opts over two.
6 Kelli Rachelle The 8-time winner was suitably fast in tougher events this summer, but she's been off since August. Capable on drop, but may need the race.
7 Bettor Jus Wing It Another Pocono invader was even while rearward in a N3L event last out. McCarthy takes over the lines; variables abound. Watch; assess.
8 Change the Rulz N Tetrick opts on this Yonkers invader who steps down after hitting the board from off the pace in three of four. Form and class both encourage. Trainer: First time Lasix. Been racing well at Yonkers, should enjoy Big M.
9 Perfect Truth In her last five Massachusetts races, she pressed and stalked to hit the board each time. Outside draw, further class hike present obstacles. Trainer: Tied up last week.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 2-1-8-7
H Horse Comment
1 World Cup His strong first-over ascent last week was outdone only by Market Share last week. He was a narrow second at this level 3 back, too. Fits well. Trainer: Up a notch off a good finish.
2 Can Do An Open winner at the beginning of the year, the 7-year-old picks up Tetrick on this step down. Cozy inside draw surely helps staying power. Trainer: Great post, down in class. Feels good.
3 Winwood Scout He rises after chasing for second in last week's GSY event. He worked into third while all-out at the pegs two back; minor option here if clear.
4 Downundermatter David opts on over two others despite the class hike this one faces. He gained belatedly off fourth-over cover last week; better cover can aid.
5 Jacks to Open The Billings championship race winner lacked late in two tries at this level. While Marcus opts on, I'm still waiting for clear improvement.
6 Hyway Marcus He rises after overcoming a break and circling the field last week. A cleaner start is bound to put him more directly in play; mind value.
7 Fox Valley Steffen He upset at 21-1 last week, hooking three-wide off the far turn and just reaching. Rises off two solid efforts, but draws significantly worse.
8 Big Expense Developing presser-stalker type rises for the second straight week and picks up Brett Miller after a narrow defeat last week. Momentum a plus.
9 Karets After an early push to secure the pocket in his last, he weakened over extra distance. Another outside draw, time off give pause.
10 Orange Bigi This mare's been out of action since July, when she struggled with tougher Pennsylvania fields. Despite the drop, post 10 looms. Assess.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 3-9-8-6
H Horse Comment
1 Paris Princess N She weakened off rearward trips in two local starts. While this inside draw can aid, lack of staying power of late still concerns. Wait for better.
2 P L Houdini He's back in action after four months off by way of a single qualifier. I'm bound to watch and assess on the switch to two turns given variables.
3 Master of Excuses This 23-time winner performed solidly on debut for Rick Dane, sustaining gains to second despite being outkicked by Big Expense. Faces similar. Trainer: One classy dude. Loves his job, heÕs ready.
4 Montalbano Bi Gait issues have troubled this one under the lights and in qualifiers alike. While he's fast enough one his 'A' game, I'm inclined to wait for better.
5 Pegasus Point Further class relief can aid this one after second-level fields and traffic issues got in his way. Needs a close, clear journey for absolute best.
6 Bossy Volo Solid $10k contender at Philly debuts after mounting mild gains from off the pace in his last two. The veteran is best when prominent, it seems.
7 Windsun Fireball His early push from post 9 in the GSY last week was outdone only by Ellen's Streak. Crosses over, Brett opts on. Form encourages.
8 Doc While Tetrick opts off, this one drops back to a more suitable level noting top-three finishes in $10k races at Pocono. Post remains biggest hurdle.
9 Expressive Action Draws in from the reserve list following a pair of fourth-place finishes off midpack cover. A similar trip puts him in the mix for a share again.
10 Windsong Illusion While he gets a kinder group this time, breaks in his last two outings discourage. Post 10 only presents more difficulty.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 8-6-10-4-9
H Horse Comment
1 Anty Entity Saratoga invader gained well from off the pace in her last, draws inside, and Brett opts on over two others. Class hike becomes less daunting.
2 Fat Lady Returns She made decent ground on debut last week, finding room to rally mildly in mid-stretch. Kinder draw should keep her closer; traffic yet a concern.
3 Cheekie She steps down on arrival from Massachusetts, but has lacked in terms of late pace in recent tries. Can the switch to 2 turns help her rebound?
4 My Spring Fling Like Anty Entity, she rises on arrival from Saratoga, but she does so off a more strenuous journey. Minor placings against tougher encourage.
5 Play Again She posed no threat in two tries at this level after just reaching at Monticello three back. Last week's break gives pause.
6 Let Her Rock Two back, this mare rallied strongly to save third against tougher, but she weakened after chasing more recently. Mind value on step down. Trainer: Drop in class may perk her up. Early speed was costly in her last.
7 Temptation Queen This Monticello invader reached the board three times in her last four, with an outside draw the culprit two back. Watch and assess on arrival.
8 Sportsmuffler She stayed on admirably out of traffic to save third on debut last week, and she's back with similar. Seems amply sharp; let the board decide. Trainer: Coming off a good effort and in a good spot.
9 Gentle Janet While she overcame a rearward trip to take fifth last week, she's faced with an outside draw. I wouldn't rule her out for a share in exotics.
10 Relentless Spirit Traffic hindered most in last week's effort, and this outside draw is alleviated in part by class relief. Clearer journey can surely aid.