Archives for August 1, 2017

Handicapping Tip of the Day #41 – Millions of Ways to Lose

Sad but True Reality for Everyone in the Horse Racing Game

Handicapping tips from

Thirty yards out of the gate, Saturday’s $300,000 Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes [July 29, 2017] went from high expectations to high anxiety.

When 2016 Eclipse Award sprinter Drefong suddenly shot to the left at the gap where the chute meets the main track, sending Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith flying, the race was changed and so were the thoughts of fans and the connections of the horses speeding down the backstretch.

“There’s a million reasons to get beat and that was one of them,” Bob Baffert, trainer of Drefong, said Sunday morning. “He (Drefong) could just as easily have hit the rail and broken his shoulder. But everybody came out of it fine, and that’s all you can hope for.”

Drefong put himself back into the race and completed it without a rider. The 4-year-old colt’s position among the front-runners caused concern among the other riders and it affected the outcome when Drefong forced eventual runner-up Roy H. six paths wide turning into the stretch and created an inside route that Ransom the Moon and Flavien Prat took to victory.

Drefong came out of the race unharmed. Smith was checked at the track first aid station after the race and released, saying he was fine with no reports to the contrary coming from Baffert or Smith’s agent Brad Pegram on Sunday.

“I would have liked to have seen (Drefong) relax and rate himself behind horses,” Baffert said. “But he’s pretty light on his feet and he recovered and bulled his way through on the rail. He’s a competitor and he was still trying to win.”

Phil D’Amato, trainer of Ransom the Moon, was there with Baffert, observing Sunday morning workouts. D’Amato had celebrated exuberantly, just outside the winner’s circle, with his crew and owners Mark Martinez of San Antonio, Texas and Jeffrey Wilke of Omaha, Nebraska, when Ransom the Moon crossed under the wire.

But in his post-race comments he was careful to praise Prat’s skill in assessing the situation on the fly, follow behind Drefong, and be in the right spot to move inside when others were being carried out. “Hat’s off to Peter Miller’s horse (Roy H) who ran a really good race.”

Ransom the Moon came out of the race “in good order,” D’Amato said. Miller, contacted by phone at the San Luis Rey Downs training center in Bonsall, said Roy H “got clipped” in a close encounter with Drefong but the injury didn’t appear to be serious.

“I felt like we were much the best, we just got unlucky,” Miller said. “With a smooth trip, he wins by two lengths. But that’s racing.”

Miller will wait to make a decision on the next start for Roy H. D’Amato indicated that Ransom the Moon would have a race in the fall at Santa Anita and then return here for the $1.5 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint on November 4.

The Bing Crosby was a “Win and You’re In” challenge series qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Baffert said the Grade I, seven-furlong Forego Handicap on August 26 at Saratoga was a possibility for Drefong. The Grade II $200,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes, also at seven furlongs, is here the same day. The Pat O’Brien is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $1 million Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile here on November 3.

The major stakes races of the first two Saturdays of the meeting have been upsetting, in more than one sense of the word, for Baffert. In the TVG San Diego Handicap on July 22, world leader Arrogate finished fourth and Saturdaybrought the Crosby misfortune.

But exasperation doesn’t seem to be an option for the 64-year-old Hall of Famer.

“I don’t have any control of those things,” Baffert said. “As long as everybody is OK you just shake it off, laugh it off and go on to the next one.”

Source: Del Mar

Pegasus World Cup Invitational for Horseplayers Debuts in January

$300,000 Purse Guaranteed

The Stronach Group announced today the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship, a handicapping tournament that will offer a prize pool guaranteed at $300,000 but estimated to be more than $500,000.

Pegasus World Cup 2017The two-day contest will be held at Gulfstream Park on January 26-27 with satellite locations being offered at Santa Anita Park, Laurel Park and Golden Gate Fields.

The tournament will coincide with the second running of the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), the richest horse race in the world, Saturday, January 27.

The buy-in for the live money contest is $12,000. There is no entry fee for on-track players. A $1,000 entry fee for satellite locations will go directly into the prize pool. The prize pool will be comprised of $100,000 each from both The Stronach Group and, 50 percent of net Gulfstream contest commission (estimated at 3.5 percent), and five percent of total contest wagers at Gulfstream and five percent of non-contest wagers from Gulfstream’s Sport of Kings Theatre (contest room).

Cash prizes will be paid down to the top 10 finishers, while the winner will also receive Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) seats. A $1 million bonus will be awarded to the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship winner who goes on to win the 2018 BCBC or NHC.

“The Pegasus World Cup Invitational is an incredible weekend of world-class racing and spectacular events,” said Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer of The Stronach Group. “The Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship builds on the vision of The Stronach Group to reinvent and reimagine racing. Last year’s inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup was truly memorable. We have no doubt the 2018 Pegasus World Cup will be even bigger and better.”

Players will bet their entire $12,000 bankroll on win, place, show, exacta and trifecta wagers on Gulfstream Park races, with a required minimum bet of $3,000 on The Pegasus World Cup Invitational. Players must also bet a minimum total of four races and $4,000 on Friday and a minimum of four races on Pegasus World Cup Day not including the Pegasus World Cup Invitational.

Players will receive two complimentary VIP tickets in Sport of Kings with lunch.

Players can qualify at and Rules and registration available at