Archives for September 2018

Emerald Downs President states Horse Racing is Alive and Well

Is Horse Racing Dead?  Not in Washington
“Horse racing might be struggling in many locales, but Emerald Downs in Auburn continued to buck that trend in 2018.
There was a healthy increase in the amount of money bet on races at Emerald Downs, which finished its 67 days of racing for 2018 on Sunday. Attendance was essentially the same after slight growth the past few seasons.
“It was a good year,” said Emerald Downs President Phil Ziegler. “I want to thank the horsemen for supporting the races. We had some really exciting races. I think we are all optimistic.”

Emerald Downs horse racing is thriving

The average daily handle (the amount of money wagered) from all sources was $1.107 million, up 14.5 percent from last year. The amount wagered at the racetrack on Emerald Downs races was up 1.5 percent.
Average attendance was 3,741, Ziegler said, with season highs of about 14,000 on July 3, which featured a fireworks show, and more than …”

Source: Emerald Downs president: ‘We are all optimistic’ after a horse-racing season with increase in daily handle

Breeders’ Cup 2018: Veteran Runner Pay Any Price heading to Turf Sprint

Averill Racing and Matties Racing Stable’s Pay Any Price withstood top weight of 130 pounds and a bold stretch challenge to capture the $75,000 Tamiami Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Sunday 9/16, taking huge strides toward a planned start in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs Nov. 3.

The 8-year-old gelding, who set a world record for five furlongs on turf (53.61 seconds) at Gulfstream last year, carried between 12 and 15 pounds more than his six rivals in the five-furlong turf handicap while winning his fourth straight race and 11th of his last 16 starts.

“He’ll get one more race and then we’re planning on going to Churchill,” said trainer Georgina Baxter following her first career stakes victory.

Pay Any Price broke alertly under Edgard Zayas to show the way while being pressed by Phantom Ro past fractions of 21.64 and 43.94 seconds. Turning into the homestretch, Phantom Ro pulled alongside the gelded son of Wildcat Heir, but the 2-5 favorite fought back under strong urging and pulled away to a 1 ½-length triumph.

The Breeders' Cup horse racing“He handled the 130 pounds well,” Zayas said. “I was a little worried because that’s a lot of weight. But he handled it well and when the other horse got to him he was game like he always is and kept on going and fought back.”

Phantom Ro, a stakes winner making his first start on turf, finished second while carrying 115 pounds, including jockey Tyler Gaffalione. Tenacity Zip and jockey Paco Lopez finished a head third.

Pay Any Price, who ran five furlongs in 55.57 seconds, was making his first start since capturing the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint on the June 30 Summit of Speed program at Gulfstream.

“I was kind of worried because he was coming off a bit of a layoff and carrying a lot of weight. He was giving 15 pounds to some of the horses,” Baxter said. “He dug in good today. He’s dug in before, but today he surprised me. He really dug in. He was training really well.”

Pay Any Price has overcome chronic foot issues and behavioral issues to establish himself as a star stakes performer and fan favorite in South Florida.

“That’s my project,” Baxter said. “I get on him every day. It’s no secret he’s a hard horse to train.”

Source: Gulfstream Park

Low Takeout on New Stronach Pick-5 Wager

New Wager Begins Friday

The Stronach Group officially announced on Sunday that it will begin offering a new national Pick 5 wager – the Stronach 5 – beginning Friday, September 28.

The first week will offer a guaranteed pool of $50,000 on the multi-race, multi-track wager with an industry-low 12-percent takeout.

The minimum wager on the Stronach 5 will be $1. The Stronach 5 will feature races from Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.

Pegasus statue at Gulfstream ParkThe Stronach 5 will be a fun, action-packed wager that will take less than 60 minutes. The Maryland Jockey Club will serve as host of the Stronach 5 and offer the multi-race bet as a separate wagering program. Past performances for the Stronach 5 will be available in programs at all Stronach Group tracks and in the Daily Racing Form.

The first 100 fans who buy a program Sept. 28 at Gulfstream, Santa Anita, Maryland or Golden Gate will be awarded a Quick Pick ticket on the Stronach 5.

While The Stronach Group had a similar cross-country wager in the Magna 5 from 2004-2010, there are significant differences with the Stronach 5. The Magna 5 had a 22 percent takeout, and if there were no winning tickets 75 percent of the pool was carried over.

For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection in that race on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.

Source: Press Release

2018 Belmont Stakes Handle Hits This Huge Number

Belmont Park crowd


The blockbuster 2018 Belmont Stakes Day card, which of course was highlighted by Justify’s Triple Crown triumph, generated all-sources handle of $137,954,895, the second-highest one-day handle in NYRA history behind Belmont Stakes Day in 2014.

With attendance of 90,327, on-track handle was $16,159,584.

All-sources handle for the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival was $168,975,295.

All-sources wagering on the 150th Belmont Stakes itself, carded as Race 11 of 13, was $72,702,815 with on-track handle totaling $6,884,907.

In 2015, the previous year with a Triple Crown on the line, all-sources handle on Belmont Stakes Day was $135,790,321.

The one-day record for all-sources handle was $151,109,373 on June 7, 2014, when California Chrome was bidding for the Triple Crown.

2018 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival Handle (ALL SOURCES ON NYRA RACES)

Thursday, June 7: $10,180,697

Friday, June 8: $20,839,703

BELMONT STAKES DAY, June 9: $137,954,895

Belmont Stakes Racing Festival all-sources handle: $168,975,295

Belmont Stakes all-sources handle: $72,702,815

2017 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival handle (ALL SOURCES ON NYRA RACES)

Thursday, June 8: $10,309,890

Friday, June 9: $20,763,470

BELMONT STAKES DAY, June 10: $93,666,837

Belmont Stakes Racing Festival all-sources handle: $124,740,198

Belmont Stakes all-sources handle: $47,163,773

2015 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival handle (ALL SOURCES ON NYRA RACES)

Thursday, June 4: $7,082,133

Friday, June 5: $18,150,169

BELMONT STAKES DAY, June 6: $135,790,321

Belmont Stakes Racing Festival all-sources handle: $161,022,623

Belmont Stakes all-sources handle: $82,437,629

source: NYRA

2018 Breeders’ Cup: Distaff Duel Looming

Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff Looks Exciting

A scintillating matchup between divisional leaders Monomoy Girl and Abel Tasman makes the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff one of the most compelling of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races to be held November 2-3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The $2 million Distaff, run at 1 1/8 miles, figures to serve as the perfect supporting act to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic as racing’s signature championship event is run under the Twin Spires for the ninth time.

Breeders' Cup Trophy, Churchill Downs

copyright All Star

Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stable, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stable’s Monomoy Girl rates as the undisputed leader of the 3-year-old filly division off a 5-for-5 record this year for trainer Brad Cox. The daughter of 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar has won four straight Grade I’s; Keeneland’s Ashland in April, the Kentucky Oaks Video at Churchill in May, Acorn at Belmont Park in June and Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga July 22, to seize control of the division and will put her 8-for-9 record on the line Saturday’s in Parx Racing’s Cotillion (GI). Monomoy Girl tuned up for the 1 1/16-mile race when she worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 September 16 at Churchill, giving Cox plenty of confidence for the Cotillion and beyond.

“We’ve faced a lot of these contenders before and we’ll probably have to face them again in November for the Breeders’ Cup,” Cox said. “She still has to perform to her top level, even though she’s beaten them before. Just like Monomoy is doing, these horses could be getting better as time goes on.”

China Horse Club International and Clearsky Farm’s Abel Tasman herself won the Oaks last year at Churchill before ultimately finishing second in the Distaff at Del Mar to cement a 3-Year-Old Filly championship for trainer Bob Baffert. The 4-year-old daughter of Quality Road has picked up where she left off this year and has won back-to-back Grade I “Win and You’re In” automatic qualifiers for the Distaff in Belmont’s Ogden Phipps in June and Saratoga’s Personal Ensign August 25. Abel Tasman is 8-for-14 lifetime and figures to train up to the Distaff.

Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s homebred Elate is the wildcard in the Distaff, should she start, as trainer Bill Mott has indicated he may run her in this year’s Classic. The 4-year-old daughter of 2010 Classic winner Blame was second, beaten just a neck in a roughly run Personal Ensign and won her only other start this year in the Delaware Handicap (GII) at Delaware Park in July. Elate, who is 5-for-12 lifetime, will prep for either the Distaff or Classic in Belmont’s October 6 Beldame (GI), a race she won last year before running fourth in the Distaff.

Merriebelle Stable’s Blue Prize (ARG), who earned a Distaff berth with her win in Churchill’s “Win and You’re In” Fleur de Lis (GII) in June and won Saturday’s Locust Grove at Churchill for trainer Ignacio Correas, is also pointing to race, as are standout 3-year-old fillies Eskimo Kisses, Midnight Bisou and Wonder Gadot, who have combined to win seven stakes this year. Chocolate Martini, Farrell, Ivy Bell, La Force and Mopotism could also start in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Source: Press Release

1863 Club to Debut at Saratoga Racecourse in 2019

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced that it formally broke ground on the 1863 Club at Saratoga Race Course on Tuesday, September 4, one day after the conclusion of the 2018 summer racing season.

The 1863 Club is the official name of the new permanent building to be located at the site of the current At the Rail tent at Saratoga Race Course. The name recognizes the year of the first organized thoroughbred race meeting in Saratoga, which took place over the course of four days in August 1863.

“Following this year’s introduction of The Stretch in the Grandstand, we are excited to announce plans for the 1863 Club which will be located at the end of the Clubhouse and will add another chapter to the enhanced guest experience at Saratoga. The three-story, air-conditioned building will provide new and different options for guests, including a banquet area on the first floor and a bar and dining club on the second level, which will be connected to the Clubhouse via a walkway. The third floor will feature true luxury boxes offering outstanding sight lines of the entire track,” said NYRA CEO & President Chris Kay. “The 1863 Club, named after our first racing meet in Saratoga, continues our commitment to providing racing fans with upgraded amenities while honoring the look and feel of this historic venue.”

The 1863 Club will replace the seasonal tent and trailers located immediately adjacent to the end of the Clubhouse with a 36,000-square foot, three-story, climate-controlled building featuring differentiated hospitality options and modern amenities. In addition to the three floors of usable space for guests, a basement level will provide space for a fully appointed kitchen to service the building.

copyright AGameofSkill.comFans interested in being a part of the inaugural season at the 1863 Club are invited to contact the NYRA Sales Office by phone at 518-693-7655 or online at

The 1863 Club is the latest in a series of capital improvements at Saratoga Race Course designed to enhance the guest experience and provide amenities that are consistent with those available at first-class stadiums and arenas.

Saratoga’s newest hospitality area called The Stretch made its debut on opening day of the 2018 season. Located in the grandstand at the Top of the Stretch, The Stretch features modern and upscale amenities in a casual environment with breathtaking views of thoroughbreds rounding the final turn as they enter the dramatic stretch drive. Highlights of the area include new social boxes available in multiple configurations, a dining tier, reserved bar seats, and approximately 200 premium reserved seats. Guests at The Stretch enjoy exclusive access to a full-service bar, kitchen and concessions, state of the art technology, high-definition televisions, special events, and private restrooms.

The 40-day meet at Saratoga Race Course concluded Labor Day, Monday, September 3. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit

Source: NYRA

Is Horse Racing Dying? Not in New Mexico (Albuquerque Downs)

Albuquerque Downs registered a 24-percent increase in total wagering handle during the 11-day New Mexico State Fair portion of its 2018 Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse race meet.

According to figures reported to Equibase, a total of $3,010,221 was wagered on The Downs’ 104 live races from September 6-16, compared to $2,427,891 bet on 103 live races during the 2017 State Fair meet. On-track handle rose 7 percent to $637,030, compared to $595,655 in 2017, and off-track handle increased 24 percent to $2,373,191, compared to $1,832,236 a year ago.

Live racing resumed at Albuquerque Downs with a nine-race program on Wednesday 9/19. The track closes its 55-day season with a 10-race program on Sunday, September 23, featuring five stakes, topped by the 440-yard, $300,000 Albuquerque Fall Quarter Horse Championship (G1), and New Mexico’s longest horse race, the 1 13/16-mile, $25,000 Con Jackson Claiming Stakes.

Source: Albuquerque Downs

New OTB Opened near Washington D.C.

Handicapping past performances PPsThe Maryland Jockey Club unveiled its seventh off-track betting facility with a soft opening Wednesday 9/12 at the MGM National Harbor, a luxury resort, retail, dining and entertainment venue and casino just minutes from Washington D.C. on the banks of the Potomac River in Oxon Hill, Md.

The grand opening of MJC’s newest OTB facility is tentatively set for Saturday, Sept. 22, to coincide with the Fall Festival of Racing at nearby Laurel Park, a program of seven stakes worth $900,000 in purses topped by the 27th running of the $250,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3).

Poker Also Offered

Located on the second level of the casino floor along with a 46-table poker room, the MGM OTB’s approximately 1,500-square foot simulcast facility offers 21 carrels for guests, who can also use the adjacent bar area for seating. There will be two tellers, two self-bet terminals and personal Microsoft Surface tablets available for patrons.

The MGM OTB joins previous off-track locations in Maryland at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Greenmount Station in Hampstead, Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, GBoone’s Events Center in Boonsboro and Hollywood Casino in Perryville, as well as the Riverboat Restaurant in Colonial Beach, Va.

Eleven Sires Dominate at 2018 Keeneland Fall Sales

copyright DarbyAmerica

With 26 yearlings selling for $1 million plus in the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, 11 sires with three or more sold in Book 1 accounted for 465 yearlings or 47% of the number cataloged in Book 1.

Is Horse Racing Dead?  Apparently not if the Keeneland sales in Lexington KY are any indication.  Check out the full Blood-Horse story below.

Source: Eleven Sires Create Book 1 Surge at Keeneland

Underrated Jockey Scores Milestone at Arlington Park

Racehorse Booked Up owned by Rich Nilsen

Booked Up won back to back races with Emigh at AP in 1997

Jockey Chris Emigh became the third-winningest rider of all time at Arlington International Racecourse when taking Saturday afternoon’s seventh race aboard Sea Diva ($8.80).

Emigh, 47, captured win number 1,079 at the Chicagoland oval when guiding the 4-year-old daughter of Midshipman to victory to surpass Carlos Silva (1,078) for the title. He now trails only Hall of Fame riders Earlie Fires (2,886) and Pat Day (1,330) as Arlington’s all-time winningest jockeys. Later on the card, Emigh added Arlington victory number 1,080 to his record when taking the $75,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie aboard Into Trouble ($30.40).

“It’s an honor and very humbling,” Emigh said. “I was always told that when I first came here that it would be tough to catch some of the guys that have been doing so well. It’s a great feeling. To be in the same sentence as two Hall of Famers is pretty nice.”

Emigh, a native of Portsmouth, Virginia, resides in Wheaton, Illinois, a suburb of the Chicago area. He began riding in 1989 and has captured 16 graded stakes events in his career, eight of which took place at Arlington. Emigh was Arlington’s leading rider in 2006 and has secured a total of seven riding titles at Hawthorne Race Course.

A big shout out and congratulations to jockey Chris Emigh.