Archives for April 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.

The Everest: The Richest Horse Race on Grass Could Get Richer

“We want to keep innovating, if you don’t innovate you perish,” he says. “If you stay complacent and think people will come, they won’t.

“You’ve got to look for new things and you’ve got to look for things that the younger generation can engage in.

“I think racing right around the world, not just Australia, has missed one or two generations and we don’t want to be making that same mistake again.

The Everest: The richest horse race on turf WTHITV.com Full coverage

Source: The Everest: The richest horse race on turf

China to Expand Horse Racing, Sports Betting

The Chinese government has revealed plans to develop a horse racing industry and expand sports lotteries to boost tourism to the holiday island of Hainan.

According to a report by official news agency Xinhua, horse racing will be one of a number of activities promoted on Hainan alongside beach and water sports as part of a reform agenda approved by cabinet. Hainan would also “explore the development of sports lottery and instant lottery on large-scale international games.”

Hong Kong horse racingChina already allows certain forms of sports betting operated by the government’s China Sports Lottery while a government-run lottery system is also widespread across the country.

It remains unclear exactly how an expanded sports lottery might work, however reports that the initiative might eventually lead to legal casinos in Hainan seem to be both unfounded and sensationalist, with multiple reports of impending casino legislation in Hainan over the years having amounted to nothing. Attempts by some Hainan hotels to launch small gaming operations were quickly shut down in 2013, while China made no secret of its stance when it arrested employees of Korean casino operators Paradise Group and Grand Korea Leisure in 2015 and Australia’s Crown Resorts in 2016 for promoting gambling on the mainland.

Macau-based analyst Grant Govertsen has also been quick to downplay the news, stating in a Sunday note that, “While various media outlets are trumpeting the ‘gaming’ aspects – as if the center point of this PRC policy is gaming – the reality is that the policy in no way approves anything remotely close to casinos, nor does it even suggest this is a future possibility. Rather, what was announced was a free port concept within a special economic zone.

“Buried inside an exhaustive list of policies, it suggests the development of horse racing – but importantly omits any references to wagering. It also recommends that the idea of an international-style lottery be studied, and we highlight that the lottery verbiage says ‘explore’ rather than ‘develop,’ which suggests that even a lottery isn’t a done deal.”

Govertsen also quashed wildly ambitious speculation – first prompted by a recent Bloomberg article pointing to the potential relaxing of rules around online gambling, lotteries and sports betting – about the future of casinos in Hainan.

“It is critical to keep in mind that gambling in all forms (other than a small lottery exception) is illegal within China,” he said. “As part of the anti-corruption campaign the government made it a point that officials shouldn’t even play mahjong given its gambling characteristics.

“While the government is encouraging the development of a horse racing industry in Hainan (as they have in other parts of China) they are not encouraging the concurrent development of a horse wagering industry. We therefore think the legalization of casinos within China remains highly unlikely.”

“Off the Charts” Horses to Watch and Trip Notes – April 21, 2018

Tampa Paddock

Up close and personal at Tampa Bay Downs paddock. Copyright AGOS

GULFSTREAM PARK

VIOLENT WAVE (Race 5 at GP, 4/6/18) – 3yo daughter of Violence closed willingly and sneaky good to just miss 2nd in a race won by the favorite.  Trainer Kathy Ritvo never has her firsters cranked up to win in their debut (5% win rate) so this was a very noteworthy effort by the well-bred filly.  Displayed some talent in the mornings, as well.

KEENELAND

ELECTRIC  FOREST (Race 3 at KEE, 4/7/18) – well bred firster was bet down to 5/2.  She broke slowly from the outside post and raced wide on the backstretch.  That didn’t stop this daughter of Curlin from continuing on in the lane and running down a frontrunner who had a great trip.  Big future ahead.

ANALYZE IT (Race 9 at KEE, 4/6/18) – what a surprise.  Trainer Chad Brown has another superstar turf horse in the making.  This 3yo son of Point Of Entry made easy work of a very good Grade 3 stakes field in his comeback race.  He has now won all three career starts by open lengths.  Total beast.

WHEATFIELD (Race 8 at KEE, 4/6/18) – this six year old mare was well meant on the drop in class and shipping in from Fair Grounds.  Jockey Luis Saez didn’t anticipate the trouble this one would encounter down the lane.  She was badly shut off and lost all chance at the 1/8th pole.  Needs pace to close into but she can rebound in the right spot.  She’s best at 6 furlongs and against non-graded stakes or allowance company.

ALMITHMAAR (Race 7 at KEE, 4/6/18)  – gelded son of Tapit for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin ran a bang-up race second time out and appears to have a bright future for Shadwell Stables.  Wouldn’t be surprised to see this guy in stakes company in the future.

DANCELAND (Race 8 at KEE, 4/11/18) – sneaky terrible trip on this layoff returnee for trainer Shug McGaughey.  This daughter of Tapit had “run” but was never given a chance to get into the clear and unleash her finish.  A winner last summer at Saratoga, she ended up well beaten in an effort that can be easily excused.  Moves forward second start back.

LADY APPLE (Race 2 at KEE, 4/12/18) – 2yo daughter of star Curlin, out of a Clever Trick stakes placed mare, ran a winning race but was second best behind the well-meant Wesley Ward firster Dragic.  Great pedigree and solid barn.  Should be very tough in second career start, pretty much anywhere.

 

Turf Racing a Main Ingredient in this spectacular Woodbine of the future

Tommy Massis relaxing back home at Woodbine

Sandwiched between Pearson International Airport and an industrial area north of Toronto sits Woodbine Racetrack, a 700-acre property of sprawling, green paradise. It is easy for frequent visitors to take the landscape for granted, but Woodbine’s sheer size dwarfs even that of its closest North American rival, Belmont Park.

Source: Turf racing a key ingredient in this spectacular Woodbine of the future

The Derby Choices of Javier Castellano and John Velazquez

he now has the option to ride [him] in the Derby, and he’s passing.

by Justin Dew

My initial reaction to the news that John Velazquez was going to ride Vino Rosso in the Kentucky Derby, and that Javier Castellano had chosen Audible over Bolt d’Oro was probably the same reaction that many others had; JV thinks Vino Rosso is better than Audible and Javy thinks Audible is better than “Bolt.”  And it may just be that simple. But the more my mind wanders (as it always does during Derby Season), I’m wondering if JV [and his agent] simply chose to stay close to Mike Repole and the other partners in Vino Rosso who were also part of Always Dreaming last year.

As for Javy, maybe he spent a quarter mile trying to get past Justify on Bolt d’Oro and realized there is no way Bolt d’Oro or any other horses is going to beat Justify in the Kentucky Derby, so he chose to be loyal to Todd Pletcher and landed on Audible after Vino Rosso earned the requisite Derby points and won the services of JV. Or maybe he thinks he got the best that he could out of Bolt d’Oro, and thinks that one isn’t noticeably better than Audible, so why not ride for Pletcher?

Another early reaction I had was that all of this meant Vino Rosso was a Derby contender that needed to be taken seriously. This ran counter to my initial inclination, which was that the Wood Memorial wasn’t a strong race and none of the runners from that prep were Derby threats. For the moment, I’ve decided to split the difference. I don’t like any of the Wood runners as prime Derby contenders, but I can see Vino Rosso appearing at or near the bottom of my superfecta tickets.

Audible and Bolt d’Oro are both going to cause me some restlessness between the hours of midnight and 6am in the coming weeks. On one hand, I think both will be overbet in the Derby. But on the other hand, there is no denying that both have a major talent advantage over the vast majority of the prospective Derby field. As I mentioned in a previous post, Audible had a perfect setup in the Florida Derby, and really would have needed to throw in a total dud of an effort to lose. But that can’t be held against him when gauging his talent, can it? And if we assume that JV jumped on Vino Rosso for reasons unrelated to ability, then we are dealing with a Derby contender in Audible who really hasn’t done anything wrong.

Ok, now for Bolt d’Oro. Every year, there is at least one horse in the Kentucky Derby that I dismiss, and then hold my breath with a slight amount of regret and fear. I can’t remember a time that I have been wrong about one of those decisions. We know there are 20 horses, and we know we can’t use all 20. So some difficult decisions have to be made, and this year, it’s looking like Bolt d’Oro might be one that I don’t use. In three straight races, he has failed to run down the eventual winner. That’s the reality. Make whatever excuses you want, and I’d probably be hard pressed to argue with you. But Bolt d’Oro brings a fair amount of hype and low odds with him to the Kentucky Derby, and as I’ve said in countless articles and blog entires over the last decade or so, we have to draw the line somewhere.

handicapper Justin DewOne more thought about “Bolt” and Javy. Javy took the mount on him with the intention of HAVING THE OPTION to ride him in the Kentucky Derby. I think we can agree on that, right? If he always planned to stay loyal to Pletcher, I can’t see him even getting aboard in the first place. And he now has the option to ride Bolt d’Oro in the Derby, and he’s passing. That alone, in my opinion, is reasonable justification for dismissing Bolt d’Oro in the Kentucky Derby. But that doesn’t mean you have to be confident about the decision.

Gronk and Gronkowski Team Up for Kentucky Derby 144

“This horse is a winner and I love a winner,” Gronk (the person) said.

by Rob Gronkowski (for Gronk Nation)

There’s gonna be at least one Gronk at the Kentucky Derby next month — and probably a whole lot more now that the human Gronk has a stake in his namesake racehorse.

Rob has partnered with Phoenix Thoroughbreds Ltd. to get a substantial stake in three-year-old colt Gronkowski, who recently galloped his way to earn a spot in the biggest horse race of the year and the first leg of the Triple Crown.

One of the fastest tight ends in the NFL owning a racehorse (or least part of him), what could be more perfect than that?

“This horse is a winner and I love a winner,” Gronk (the person) said. “When I heard about the racehorse being named after me, I started watching and got really stoked when he started winning. He’s won his last three races and is now headed to the Derby. I’m all in: Welcome to the Gronk Family, Gronkowski the Horse!”

We sure hope this thoroughbred likes to party …

“I really can’t think of anything cooler than having a top-class thoroughbred named after me,” Rob added. “Except maybe having him win the Derby.”

Gronk and his entourage will be at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 5 for the 144th Kentucky Derby, and you can guarantee that all bets will be going on Gronk.

“We are very excited to have this talented racehorse running in the Derby and to have Rob Gronkowski join our team,” said Tom Ludt, who directs Phoenix’s global racing and bloodstock operations. “His involvement only adds to our growing credentials worldwide and can help us introduce the best of horse racing to a whole new audience.”

The pair actually share some similar traits as they are both fierce competitors and strike imposing poses on their respective athletic fields. They stand nearly the same size: Gronk the man is 6-feet, 6-inches tall, while the horse is 6-feet, 5-inches (although horses are officially measured in hands and inches).

While Gronkowski (the horse) is considered a “wild card” in this year’s Run for the Roses, so was Tom Brady when the Patriots picked him 199th in the NFL Draft 18 years ago, so never underestimate an underdog especially with a name like that.

The colt is a son of champion Lonhro, Australia’s Racehorse of the Year in 2003-04, and he was bred in Kentucky as the first foal from the mare Four Sugars, a daughter of twice champion American racehorse Lookin At Lucky. Phoenix purchased Gronkowski in 2017 as an unraced 2-year-old in training at the Tattersalls Craven breeze-up sale in England.

Trained by British-based Jeremy Noseda, who is well known in American racing as the trainer of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Wilko and European classic winners Araafa and Sixties Icon, Gronkowski will be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by his regular jockey, Jamie Spencer. The colt will be shipped to Churchill Downs from Noseda’s stables in Newmarket, England, a week before the Derby, and soon thereafter the football star will be introduced to his equine namesake for the first time.

It may be the horse’s first time at the Derby, but who can forget when Rob partied there over mint juleps in 2015 wearing this epic suit …

copyright Gronk Nation

What Dictates How Fast You’re Paid Out on a Bet?

When it comes to betting on the horses, there’s no doubting that the rise of online gambling has ensured it’s never been easier. Whereas once we were limited to bookies alongside the track, we now have access to dozens – if not hundreds – of betting outlets right at our fingertips.

It’s led to a situation where there’s more information than ever before, better odds than we’ve ever seen and more control than we’ve had in previous decades. It’s great, but one area where online gambling falls behind though is in how you cash in your winnings.

copyright Pixabay

With a physical bookmaker there’s rarely an issue, simply wander up with your ticket and collect your winnings. For larger sums, there may be a small delay but in general, you can expect your money within a few hours – at the very most.

Online gambling, however, typically sticks you with a pretty frustrating delay – often up to 72 hours before your withdrawal hits your bank account. For those of us who regularly flit between multiple bookmakers in search of the best odds, the process of waiting multiple days to receive our winnings can be a real killer.

But what is it exactly that slows down your withdrawals and is there a method to reliably improve the speeds? Let’s take a look.

What Affects Withdrawal Time?

While it’s true that some websites are better than others when it comes to withdrawal times, the biggest factor in how fast your withdrawals come through is actually the payment method you opt for. We all know that fast payouts are important, but how fast they are is often not up to the bookie but to the payment processor.

By far the most common payment method used is bank transfers and card payments, but this also the slowest thanks to the large numbers of transactions banks complete every day. Checking the validity of payments isn’t too quick on their end, and so payments typically take between one and three days to complete.

copyright Pixabay

However, if you’re using the likes of Skrill or another e-wallet like Neteller, payments are almost instant following approval from your bookmaker. It’s why we always recommend making the shift to an e-wallet when you’re gambling online.

Another major element which can slow down your withdrawal time is the details linked to your account. If any information is missing, like age verification, the bookmaker will halt your withdrawal until you can sort the details out. As such, it’s always worth making sure your documents are up to date and you’ve supplied your bookie with whatever information they require.

Perhaps the most common reason for your withdrawal being halted though comes from the strong anti-fraud measures in place at online bookmakers. By tracking the IP addresses you use to access their website, they can get an idea of where and when you access their services.

If your account is spotted doing something suspicious, like betting from a completely new location and device, the bookmaker may well put a halt on your account. It’s a similar sort of protection method that your bank undertakes, so it’s not particularly out of the ordinary.

How to Avoid Withdrawal Delays

Here are our top tips for avoiding withdrawal delays:

  • Make use of an e-wallet for deposits and withdrawals to cut out bank processing times and enjoy almost instant withdrawals
  • Ensure your details are up to date with your bookmaker, with valid ID and details supplied
  • Try to avoid making bets on computers and phones which are unfamiliar, as this can raise red flags with bookmakers.

And that’s it! Get out there and enjoy your ultra-fast withdrawal speeds.