Archives for February 2017

Larger Fields could hold Key to Future Horse Racing Success

Players Want Larger Horse Fields

LA Daily News – Los Alamitos Race Course just completed a short winter meet that, according to track officials, was a successful eight days of racing with notable increases in all-sources handle and field size.

Source: Larger fields could hold key to future horse racing success

Bill would provide $3 million in funding Finger Lakes Racetrack

News 10NBC — Bill would provide $3 million in funding Finger Lakes Gaming and … more »

Source: Bill would provide $3 million in funding Finger Lakes Gaming and …

AGOS Horses to Watch – Feb. 26, 2017

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Results from recent horse races.

Gulfstream Park

2/18/17

Race #2 – #7 – Gran the Man – 5f turf

Luis Saez in the saddle for Jason Servis (29%). This son of Grand Slam was making his 2nd effort off a two month layoff, and loves the turf going 4/4 ITM on the sod. He was forced to steady early after the break and this seem to stop his motion. He’ll rebound nicely with a better start and be a major player sprinting on the turf.

Race #6 -#4 – Sprindetti – 6f dirt

Solid filly looking to make it two-in-a-row lifetime and exited an impressive win in her maiden break at boxcar odds. She stumbled badly leaving the gate and was sandwiched by her foes. Let’s toss this race and look forward to her next out.

Race #9 – #5 – Take Your Guns – 1 mile dirt

1st time starter by Blame for the Chad Brown barn. He had his go-to rider Javier Castellano in the irons for his first start at the races. He put in a slight bid showing interest but didn’t get his diploma this day. The Chad Brown barn does very well with 2nd time runners and you can bet dollars to donuts he’ll have him ready to roll next up.

Race #12- #9 – Tricked Up – 1 mile turf

Joel Rosario for Chad Brown and they have been winning (38%) as a team the last few months. The son of Distorted Humor made his first start in 50 days, and was caught up in traffic for most of the race and tipped out three wide making a mild bid. He finished 6th and should give a much better effort next out.

Turfway Park

2/18/17

Race #3 – #4 – Forest Warrior – 5f  AW

Gabriel Lagunes aboard this son of Ready’s Image and came in 3rd off the shelf. He was a beaten favorite last out and broke slow on this day. He made a strong rally and went six wide getting second money for this effort.

Race #5 – #4 – Porter Street – 1 mile AW

Alonso Quinonez in the saddle for Wesley Ward. Son of Giant’s Causeway took the lead at the 1/4 pole and was bested down the lane after a furious drive. He’ll get his diploma very soon.

Joe Maddon: Use ‘Moneyball’ Stats to Teach Math

“I’d like to see fantasy baseball in schools and make it part of math class,” he explained. “If you brought fantasy baseball into school and brought in technology such as Skyping, for example. End of January, beginning of February, I would Skype a classroom here and talk about team construction. Theo Epstein does it a day or two later.

ANALYSIS/OPINION — Baseball’s rock star was in town for the baseball winter meetings, and he stopped by a youth baseball event at Gallaudet University. Kids and adults alike flocked to him, asking for autographs and photos, and hung on his every word.

No, I’m not talking about Bryce Harper, who didn’t have the District in his… [Read more…]

Dubai Racing Carnival Analysis – Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017

Dubai World Cupby Steven Molyneux

Meydan Overview

 It hasn’t been a great few days for Dubai. First, the weather has been more akin to that in England and then Donald Trump opened up a new golf course. Oh, and then there is the small matter of another couple of trainers receiving a year ban for the use of cobalt. More significant this time is that one of them is not far off the top of the tree. Mussabeh Al Mheiri has been responsible for 378 winners in the UAE, including a double on World Cup night last year courtesy of AF Mathmoon and Muarrab, with Sheikh Hamdan his main supporter.

There is no defending the indefensible, and far better journalists than me will comment on the worldwide ramifications of the spate of failed drug tests in Dubai this season, but the Emirates Racing Association are at least seen to be doing something and the sniggering from afar regards brushes and carpets can stop, regardless of whether they feel the bans are lenient or not.

Anyway, on to the action taking place on the track this week, and a classic looks in store for the feature Nad Al Sheba Trophy, a prep for the Dubai Gold Cup on March 25. It may well be a prep, but two of the highest-rated stayers in Europe will lock horns in the form of Vazirabad, the winner of the Dubai Gold Cup last year, and Sheikhzayedroad who took this corresponding event. The preparation for Sheikhzayedroad will be the same, literally straight off the plane and running whereas Vazirabad has been here for a few weeks now, but that certainly didn’t hinder work companion, Zarak, who was so impressive last week. My gut feeling is that Sheikhzayedroad will just be the straighter and David Simcock will be hoping for a change of luck, having had just one winner from 46 runners here over the past three years.

Many of the same fillies that took part in the UAE 1000 Guineas will contest the Oaks, and the market hasn’t missed the fact that Complimenti, drawn 13 and 11 on her last two starts, has now struck lucky with a pitch in stall 2, and that could be enough to see her reverse form with the three that finished ahead of her. There is obviously the extra distance to go as well, on paper perhaps only Melesina guaranteed to be suited by it but she seemed completely ill at ease on the surface in the Guineas so couldn’t be supported. Another race to leave alone.

As also is the newly-created Curlin Handicap, a race won by California Chrome last year with Mike de Kock hoping that his Mubtaahij can complete the Curlin/World Cup double. As mentioned last week, it hasn’t been a great Carnival for de Kock, and it will turn into a miserable one if Mubtaahij can’t defy top weight. He hasn’t won since the 2015 UAE Derby but he has plenty of high-class form both here and in America, and the cream usually rises to the top in this type of uneven handicap.

Godolphin could well dominate the Meydan Classic with Fly At Dawn and Really Special likely to be popular. Both are switching from the dirt, surprisingly so in the case of the former who landed the UAE 2000 Guineas trial but missed the Guineas itself due to a facial injury sustained in his box at home. The Al Bastikiya had been mentioned, but with Thunder Snow stepping up to the plate last week, Godolphin presumably feel it is best they don’t lock horns.

It hasn’t often paid to look too far beyond the obvious throughout the Carnival, particularly where Godolphin are concerned, but the each-way value looks to lie with Grey Britain who was far better than the bare result in the trial. He got shuffled back into a poor position before staying on late despite meeting trouble, his jockey Martin Harley picking up a ban and missing out on Sheikhzayedroad for his troubles. It is worth remembering he wasn’t beaten far by the likes of Rivet and Blue Point last season and that form will see him involved.

 Oh This Is Us was an unlucky loser last time and he can hopefully make amends in the concluding handicap over 7f. Dropped in from a wide draw on that occasion, he got going too late having met trouble, eventually closing to within a head of Salateen and off the same mark his case is obvious. Largely progressive throughout his career, stall 1 will make things easier for Pat Dobbs and the presence of Bravo Zolo does at least ensure Oh This Is Us is a decent price.

Stephen Molyneux’s Dubai World Cup Carnival tips:

10.05am (ET) Meydan: Grey Britain

13.00pm (ET) Meydan: Oh This Is Us 

AGOS Horses to Watch – Feb. 21, 2017

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes and Horses to Watch for AGameofSkill.com visitors.  Put some or all of these runners in your Stable Alert account.

Tampa Bay Downs

2/11/17

Sam F. Davis Stakes – Tapwrit – 1 1/16 miles dirt

Up and coming three year old colt raced inside and then, just when about to make a move, he got blocked by favorite McCracken’s winning move. Altered course in the stretch and finished well, actually galloping out past the winner in track record time.

 

Gulfstream Park

1/28/17

Race #3 – Genre – 7f dirt

John Velasquez in the saddle for Todd Pletcher as they brought a daughter of Bernardini to post. 2nd start off the shelf and was cutting back from the one mile distance. She stumbled at the start and was carried out wide down the backstretch. She got her action back and made a strong late rally to settle as the bridesmaid this day.

Race #5 – Madefromlucky – 1 1/8 dirt

Javier Castellano in the irons for Todd Pletcher and they were making his second start off an 8 month layoff. He was travelling wide down the backstretch and at the 5/16th’s he clipped heels losing all action. Jockey Castellano helped him rebound and displayed a quick turn of foot down the lane finishing 3rd.

Race #8 – Blind Ambition – 7f dirt

This son of Tapit was a first time starter from the Pletcher barn. John Velasquez had the call and owned a solid clip of morning works at Palm Beach Downs. He was sent off the odds-on favorite and stumbled badly leaving the starting gate. No worries here as Team Pletcher owns a solid record with second effort runners.

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Race #9 – #3 – Long on Value – 5f on the turf

Joel Rosario in the driver’s seat for Bill Mott. He was making his first start in two months and was far back in the field. He unleashed a furious rally late in the lane getting bested a 1/2 length. There are good things to come from the Bill Mott barn.

Race #11 – Sadler’s Joy – 1 1/2 on the turf

Julien Leparoux for Thom Albertrani. This son of top turf stallion Kitten’s Joy had been off for two months and was forced three wide gaining rapidly. He was under a full head of steam and was beaten a head for the whole prize. This turfer needs a play right back for the winning score!

Pegasus World Cup – Shaman’s Ghost – 1 1/8 dirt

The $12 million dollar Pegasus World Cup focused on the battle between Arrogate and California Chrome. The race did not disappoint with a strong effort by the winner and offered up some runners for future races. Jose Ortiz was aboard for James Jerkins and Ortiz ran a winner’s race but caught a real monster with Arrogate. Give him a little class relief taking on anyone but Arrogate, and we’ll have another runner who’ll have a strong 2017 campaign.

Aqueduct

1/21/17

Race #4 – Carthon – 1 mile on the inner track

Antonio Gallardo was the rider, and this was the first time his mount had blinkers. Trainer Gary Sciacca may have been looking for some changes as he switched riders and made an equipment change. He was stretching out in distance and broke awkward fighting his rider down the backstretch. This colt is on target to reward his backers and get his diploma at a price.

Turfway Park

1/21/17

Race #6 – #12 – Hollywood Talent – 6 1/2f on the AW

Presque Isle invader shipped in on a cutback in distance. This was his first start in 7 months and top jock Albin Jimenez was in the irons. This was the Forego Stakes, and a good payday was on the table. Down the lane he was closing in high gear and was bumped soundly twice by eventual winner Crewman. There were three objections and still no change to the order of finish. Rule this race to bad luck, and he’ll reward his backers at a handsome price as he was 19-1 this day and just missed.

Race #7 – #5 – Miss O’Meara – 6f on the AW

Perry Ouzts in the drivers seat and just missed last time out. Ouzts was in perfect position against the rail down the backstretch and was forced to steady sharply. He shifted out four wide and came up a little shy. Come right back with this gal and she’ll make amends.

Disqualifier for Kentucky Derby? One Streak Has Stood the Test of Time

Disqualifier for Kentucky Derby ? One Streak Has Stood Test of Time America’s Best Racing Previously, that streak dating back to 1882 Kentucky Derby hero Apollo was just one part of a veritable rulebook for glory on the first Saturday in May.

churchill downs ky derby day“It’s not really about experience, it’s about being far enough along to be good enough to win at a mile and a quarter on the first Saturday in May. That development usually takes some time; it’s just really hard to compress it all within four or five months and then not have any setbacks along the way. And then you have to be good enough on that day. Curlin was good enough — he had been before and he was afterward — just not that day,” explained Jerry Brown.

Source: Disqualifier for Kentucky Derby? One Streak Has Stood Test of Time (read the full article)

Santa Anita Cancelled for Thursday Feb. 17

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 16, 2017)—With more than five inches of rain, local flooding and high winds predicted for the San Gabriel Mountain foothills, Santa Anita Park officials have announced that Friday’s eight-race card has been cancelled.

The National Weather Service has predicted Friday’s storm will hit pre-dawn and that it could be the strongest in recent years, with the prospect of local flooding throughout the day and wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour—this coming on the heels of more than 20 inches of rain for this season.

Additionally, due to the prospect of unsafe road conditions, Santa Anita will also be closed for simulcast wagering on Friday.

Santa Anita will be open as planned for live racing over the three-day Presidents’ Day weekend as the projected storm moves eastward overnight Friday and into Saturday.

First post time for live racing on Saturday, Sunday and Monday is at 12:30 p.m PT. Admission gates will open on all three days at 10:30 a.m PT.

For track condition updates, scratches, changes and complete morning line information, fans are encouraged to visit santaanita.com.

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Is Horse Racing Dead? Maryland Jockey Club Reports Spike in 2016 Handle

The Maryland Jockey Club continued growing its Thoroughbred product and handle in 2016, announcing last month that total handle was up 19.7% from 2015 and in-state wagering was up 18.4%…

Source: Maryland Jockey Club Reports Spike in 2016 Handle

Dubai Racing Carnival Analysis – Thurs., February 16, 2017

Meydan Overview:

Just three weeks to go, and for some the Dubai World Cup Carnival is coming to an end barely before it has started. Horses are running out of opportunities and are perhaps forced to punch above their weight.

Mike de Kock is probably quite thankful it is coming to an end, as, by his own admission, he just has not been able to compete this year with his tally of winners standing at just five for the campaign, a mere two in what you would class as Carnival races. The travelling, quarantine, injuries, a reluctance to run on the dirt are all viable reasons for a sub-standard season, but there is time to turn things around, and De Kock is double-handed in the feature Zabeel Mile on Thursday in a bid to do just that. Noah From Goa is pretty much the star of the stable in terms of what he achieved in South Africa, a Guineas win no less, and plenty of heart will have been taken from his third to Championship in the Al Fahidi Fort on his reappearance. Noah From Goa is now 3lbs better off with that one whilst fitness alone could see him bridge the four-and-a-quarter lengths that separated them that day.

The counter argument is just how quickly is Championship progressing. There is every chance this race plays to his strengths and he can defy his penalty. I maintain he will be an even better horse with a lead, and Gifted Master should ensure he gets one, while he will also ensure an even tempo given he is an enthusiastic type who is keen to get on with things. It will also suit the entire field, but with Championship expected to be the first one to make his bid for glory, it is enough to swing it in his favour.

The Group race action kicks off with the Balanchine, essentially a re-run of the Cape Verdi in which Very Special scored for a second year in succession. It certainly wasn’t in the same fashion as 12 months earlier, and she is now penalised, so there are grounds for believing she is opposable bearing in mind her odds-on status. Anahita aside, all the other runners should improve for that outing and are good enough to win this. Muffri’Ha looks the pick to me, given she was keen enough in the Cape Verdi and will be stronger at the finish with that run under her belt. She impressed on the Meydan turf on Wednesday morning under big-race pilot Pat Cosgrave and was successful the sole time she tackled nine furlongs, while tactically you can’t help but feel she will give herself every chance.

The Meydan Sprint looks ripe for Ertijaal once again, despite the fact he is yet to win a Group race even though he has looked unbeatable at times here. Only rain (yes it is possible over here and is actually forecast) could upset matters but it would take a downpour just before the off to change things such is the speed in which the turf dries out. Jungle Cat could threaten and will be fitter for his reappearance when second to Baccarat but on various form lines Ertijaal does hold enough in hand over all of his rivals.

In terms of quality, the Dubai Millennium Stakes probably contains the best horse on the night, particularly if, as expected, Zarak develops into a better four-year-old. He was pretty good at three, despite not being the finished article, but you have to feel it is only a matter of time before he breaks through at pattern level. He will have bigger targets, but main challenger Promising Run needs to raise her game, whilst Sanshaawes will run his usual honest race if ultimately coming up a touch short.

In terms of bets, best to stick to the handicaps, and probably best to stick with Adrie De Vries, who could do little wrong last week with four Carnival winners. The 7f contest due off at 10.40am (ET) is weak. Favourite Wild Dude is dropping in class but I haven’t exactly been blown away with either of his third placings this season (behind Reynaldothewizard and Cool Cowboy). To my mind they were cheap placings at the expense of tiring rivals and Ross makes more appeal in the hands of De Vries. He will be fresh after just one start, that run a fair fifth to Heavy Metal having covered ground from stall 10. Alabaster (third) has come out and won since and expect Ross to strip fitter on Thursday. His previous attempt at 7f at Meydan resulted in him finishing two and a half lengths behind Cool Cowboy. Indeed he has twice finished closer to Cool Cowboy than Wild Dude did last time.

De Vries will aim to maintain his fine record for Saeed bin Suroor in the 1600m handicap when getting the leg up aboard American Hope. While that horse has never been one for maximum faith, his form does look good enough to take this. Messed around on his reappearance last time, American Hope was keen in front and set things up for Cymric, who runs in the Group Two Zabeel Mile, and on a surface he handles (he hit the frame twice off this sort of mark last season) so expect him to keep on rolling and defy a mark that is 5lb lower than his turf one.

Stephen Molyneux’s Dubai World Cup Carnival week eight tips:

10.40am (ET) Meydan: Ross

12.25pm (ET) Meydan: American Hope