Archives for April 24, 2018

Upscale Seating Area, The Stretch, Planned for Saratoga

Saratoga canopy walk throughThe New York Racing Association has announced a major capital improvement project at Saratoga Race Course designed to create an enhanced hospitality area for racing fans and revitalize the section of the grandstand near the top of the stretch.

According to the Blood-Horse, The Stretch will offer a total of 32 new modern boxes, each offering unique configurations accommodating parties ranging from four to 12 guests, in comparison to traditional clubhouse boxes which each seat five guests. The options include tiered boxes, which each feature a halfmoon table and total of eight seats split evenly on two levels. The lounge boxes offer comfortable couch-style seating and accommodate four to twelve guests. Lastly, the flex boxes contain three tables which each seat up to four people, and can be configured to host four, eight, or 12 guests, depending on availability and the size of the party.

Source: Upscale Seating Area, The Stretch, Planned for Saratoga

Aidan O’Brien Looks To Win His Seventh Epsom Derby

Doncaster horses racing

Doncaster via twitter

Irishman Aidan O’Brien had a record-breaking year in 2017 as he broke the world record for the number of Grade/Group One victories around the globe with 26. One of those successes came in the Derby at Epsom where Wings of Eagles prevailed in the 2400 metre contest.

The Irish Champion trainer will fancy his chances of making it win number eight in the Derby this year with Saxon Warrior who is the ante-post favorite with the bookmakers at 4.5 in the betting. The three-year-old won all three of his races in his debut season last year, with the highlight coming at Doncaster in the Group One Racing Post Trophy last October.

It could be a big year for Irish horses around the world as they have had the ante-post favourites for the Grand National, 2000 Guineas, Kentucky Derby and Derby. Saxon Warrior has been backed to come out on top at Epsom ever since his debut victory at Curragh where he looked very professional, scoring by just over three lengths.

Saxon Warrior is also likely to be joined in the British Classic by The Pentagon. The son of Galileo won the Group Three Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown last season. He had to settle for third place at Doncaster though in the Racing Post Trophy. Given his breeding, he is expected to improve when he does step up in trip to 2400 metres later in the campaign.

O’Brien will have been disappointed with The Pentagon’s opening start in 2018 as he went off as the favourite for the Group Three Ballysax Stakes. That contest featured three runners from the Ballydoyle stable and he was unable to finish ahead of his stablemates Nelson and Delano Roosevelt, who came home first and second respectively.

UK Epsom DownsMasar is the leading British-trained horse in the Derby this year who recently won the Craven Stakes at Newmarket. Owned by the Godolphin operation, the colt thrashed his opposition by nine lengths in a field which included the highly regarded Roaring Lion.

The Derby is one of the few major international flat races on turf that Godolphin have yet to win. This son of New Approach produced a career-best performance on his latest start, as his record before then was less than average.

The 2018 Derby at Epsom takes place on June 2 and will be preceded a day earlier by the Oaks, which is the leading Classic for fillies at the same course in Surrey, England.

2018 Kentucky Oaks Thoughts According to Dew

by Justin Dew

It seems pretty clear that Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou, both of whom’s names trigger my iPad to tell me that I misspelled a word, are going to be your favorite and co-favorite in the Kentucky Oaks. They’ve done impressive things on the racetrack, and bettors will wager on them accordingly. But the key to betting on any race is to find value, and I think there are reasons to take a stand against one of them while using the other with perhaps a bigger price in the exotics.

First, Midnight Bisou. My gut tells me she will be at her best around one turn. I realize she is a dual-graded stakes winner at 1 1/16 miles, but those wins came against questionable competition. And I’m also not a huge fan of taking a short price on a daughter of Midnight Lute at 9 furlongs shipping east for the first time, especially when I suspect she’ll try to come from behind. She’s good. But I don’t think this will be her best game.

Monomoy Girl confuses me a little. She has two wins coming from way back, and four other wins going wire-to-wire. My guess is she will be part of the Oaks pace, and the way she drew off in the Ashland suggests that she won’t have a problem with the additional 100 yards. The question with her is the price. She’ll be favored. Additionally, she won’t be able to coast alone like she did at Keeneland. So she’ll need to really be the best filly to win this, because I don’t see her stealing it.

As for who are the most logical alternatives, I think there are a few ways you can go. For one, I think it’s interesting that Kieran McLaughlin is pointing the very promising Sara Street to another race Derby weekend. Is that because he thinks Take Charge Paula has a big shot? And what about Coach Rocks, who just beat Take Charge Paula? Does she have another move forward in her? Or do we need to look to the Oaklawn and Fair Grounds preps? Or the Gazelle?

I can probably make an interesting case for five or six of the alternatives to the top two. And since I just don’t love either‘s chances, the key to cashing big on the Oaks, for me, is to figure out who is prime for her best effort at a big price.