Archives for November 2018

$88,189 Stronach 5 Wager Carryover Today

Since there were no winning tickets in laset Friday’s Stronach 5, the national Pick 5 wager with the industry-low 12-percent takeout will have a carryover Friday, Nov. 30 of $88,189.41.

The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool is carried over to the next Friday.

Winning payoffs in Friday’s Stronach 5, with races from Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park West and Golden Gate Fields, ranged from $25.80 to $6.40.

Friday, Nov. 23 races and sequence

Leg One – Laurel Park Eighth Race: Papacho $25.80
Leg Two –Gulfstream Park West Eighth Race: Heaven’s Humor $11
Leg Three –Laurel Park Ninth Race: Fashion Faux Pas $6.40
Leg Four – Gulfstream Park West Ninth Race: Armonico $22.20
Leg Five – Golden Gate Fields Fifth Race: Anitanewmercedes $17.40

If a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection 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.

The Maryland Jockey Club serves as host of the Stronach 5 Wager Carryover.

Souce: Stronach Group

Handicapping Tip of the Day #46 – When 4/5 is Value

Handicapping Tip of the Day

Handicapping tips from

by Rich Nilsen

Day two of the Tampa Bay Downs winter meeting (Nov. 28, 2018) was pretty chalky with lots of favorites winning.  In the 3rd race on Wednesday a second time starter named Russian Roulette was 3/2 on the morning line.  According to the Ultimate PPs, her trainer Monte Thomas was a dismal 4% with second time starters, but he had plenty of ‘live’ runners among them with one-third finishing in the money.   He is also known for being very good with two year olds, in general, another fact offsetting that low win rate. There is a lot of debate over profits and win-rate in horse race betting. Horse racing fans can use the to wager on the horse they prefer regardless of win rate or profits earned.

Russian Roulette looked like a stand-out in this field for several reasons.  First, she was coming off a nose lose in her debut at the same claiming level of maiden $16,000 but that effort came at Gulfstream Park West, a tougher circuit and one that produces a lot of winners at Tampa.  Secondly, she had earned a 70 BRIS Speed Rating in that performance, which was equal to the BRIS Par for the race. BRIS handicapping information can be found here.

Par represents the average speed rating for the winners at this level of competition for the track in question. When handicapping maiden races, it can be a wise decision to compare the Speed Rating Par to the ratings earned by the entries in their recent races.  In doing so, you can sometimes find opportunities like the one presented at Tampa Bay Downs.

Here was Tuesday’s field for race 3 at Tampa:

#1 My Heart Dominus – best figure of 38 in three starts.

#2 Valley Girl – best figure of 62 in three starts.

#3 Russian Roulette – ran a 70 when second in debut.

#4 Quickandwildcoco  – ran a career best 48 five starts back.

#5 Fooli – firster for 3% trainer with debut runners.

#6 Phyliss Driller – 0 for 6 maiden who ran a 71 on the synthetic track at Presque Isle Downs.  Her best sprint figure was a 60 in four attempts.

#7 My Little Rosie – improved to a 26 in her second career start.

Needless to say, this was an awful field.  The only two horses that looked like they had any type of chance against Russian Roulette were #2 Valley Girl and # 6 Phyliss Driller.  The problem with the #6 was two fold – she was a Presser which is the wrong running style in Tampa Bay Downs’ sprints, and her only good race was around two turns.  The #2 had three opportunities to run at or near Par, and she had not been close.  Eight points off Par is significant.

To make matters worse for her competition, Russian Roulette also figured to be the controlling speed in this field, as none had shown any type of early foot to challenge her.

So here you had a horse that was faster than everyone in the field, and the field consisted mostly of proven, bad horses.  She was the controlling speed over a speed favoring oval.  Despite her low maiden claiming class level, this daughter of Soldat deserved to be no higher than 2/5, and 1/5 would not have been unreasonable given her credentials against this field.

To make a profit in this game you have take the opportunities that are presented to you.  4/5 was a gift on Russian Roulette, and she rewarded her supporters with a 16-length drubbing of her six rivals.

copyright 2018 all rights reserved


Have You Seen Our Other Handicapping Tips?

Manitoba Province Working on Three-Year Plan For Horse Racing Industry

“The government’s support is very important, adds Mason. “It’s not a grant that we get from the province, but we get a portion of what is bet at Assiniboia Downs. So it’s actually coming from horse racing in the province,” as roughly $336,000 came in to the organization. The funds go towards operations, town expenses, and hiring workers, etc…”


Manitoba Province Announces Three-Year Plan For Horse Racing Industry Province Announces Three-Year Plan For Horse Racing Industry

Jockey Luis Saez Seeks Another Gulfstream Title

Somali Lemonade Wins The Diana Stakes with Saez up

From the time he first set foot in South Florida as a teenage apprentice nearly a decade ago, Luis Saez’s humble, easy-going nature has contrasted with a competitiveness and talent that has seen him develop into one of the best jockeys in the country.

Shy and soft-spoken off the track, the now 26-year-old Saez prefers to let his performance speak for him. Last winter at Gulfstream Park, Saez had plenty to say.

Already one of only four riders to reach 100 wins during the elite Championship Meet, Saez established a single-season record of 137 victories – including a pair of seven-win days – while coasting to his second consecutive title.

Starting with Saturday’s Opening Day program featuring the 20th edition of the $1.11 million Claiming Crown, being hosted by Gulfstream for the sixth straight year, the Panama native can join another exclusive club.

Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who won a record five in a row before being unseated by Saez in 2016-17, Jorge Chavez (1999-2001) and Jeff Fell (1977-79) are the only jockeys to lead Gulfstream’s jockey standings three consecutive years.

“It’s not easy over there. It’s pretty tough,” Saez said. “I just want to work hard and see what happens and try to do my best, like always.”

Saez rode three winners his first day at the 2017-18 Championship Meet, setting a tone that would continue throughout the winter. He would register 39 days of two or more wins including seven on both Jan. 24 and March 29 to equal the standard set by Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey in 1996 and matched by Tyler Gaffalione in 2017. He also had a six-win day Dec. 20.

“That was amazing. It was unbelievable,” Saez said. “I just kept riding and winning. I can’t believe I did that great.”

Saez won nine stakes during the Championship Meet, three of them coming on Florida Derby (G1) Day – the Pan American (G2) with Hi Happy, the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) with Coach Rocks and the Sanibel Island with Figarella’s Queen.

Among Saez’s other winter stakes wins were the Swale (G2) aboard Strike Power, the Sugar Swirl (G3) with Rich Mommy, the Fred Hooper (G3) atop Tommy Macho and the Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) on Classic Rock.

Saez’s 137 wins were five more than Castellano’s previous mark set in 2013-14, and 36 better than runner-up Irad Ortiz Jr. His $5,776,741 in purse earnings ranked second behind Florent Geroux, whose victory on Horse of the Year Gun Runner in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) was worth $7 million.

Huge 2018 Season

His success at Gulfstream served as a springboard to a 2018 season that has seen Saez surpass $16 million in purse earnings for the first time while winning at least 200 races for the fourth straight time and sixth in 10 full years riding in the U.S. He won his 2,000th career race Nov. 9 aboard Y’allcomenow at Aqueduct.

“It was amazing. I’m very proud of that. It was not easy but we did it. It was great,” Saez said. “It’s been a good year. Hopefully we can do the same and keep doing good.”

Jockey Luis Saez came to the U.S. in 2009 and was a finalist for that year’s Eclipse Award as leading apprentice. He has won 75 career graded-stakes and purses approaching $95 million, rising to national prominence as the regular rider of Will Take Charge, the champion 3-year-old male of 2013.

Once again, Gulfstream’s Championship Meet jockey colony will include the best collection of racing’s top riders including Castellano, fellow Hall of Famer John Velazquez, Ortiz and his younger brother Jose Ortiz, Gaffalione, Julien Leparoux, Paco Lopez and Edgard Zayas.

Saez is looking forward to the challenge.

“I’m just going to try and work hard again,” he said. “[Last year] was magnificent. I had a very good meet and won a lot of races. The first thing was I was safe. We’ll be back to see what happens.”

Source: GP

Thoroughbred Idea Foundation on Panel at 2019 National HBPA Convention

In an effort to continue supporting and promoting Thoroughbred racing and the encompassing industry, the keynote address at the National HBPA’s annual convention in March of 2019 will be a panel of representatives from the recently established Thoroughbred Idea Foundation.

The non-profit Thoroughbred Idea Foundation (TIF) was formed earlier this year to create an active forum for the exchange and curation of ideas with the mission of “improving the thoroughbred racing industry for all stakeholders, especially its primary customers — horseplayers and owners — through the exchange, curation and advocacy of sound, data-driven ideas shared with and implemented by the sport’s existing entities,” according to the organization’s website,

The panel is scheduled for March 13, opening day of the three-day Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association Convention at the Sand Key Sheraton Hotel in Clearwater, Fla. Panelists will be board members Craig Bernick, Jack Wolf and Corey Johnsen, along with TIF executive director Patrick Cummings.

Other convention speakers will include Dr. Jennifer Durenberger, founder of the consulting company Racing Matters; economist Dr. Steven Vickner from the University of Louisville College of Business’ equine industry program; Jen Roytz, executive director of the Retired Racehorse Project; as well as a panel discussion led by prominent racing talk-show host Steve Byk on the topic of how the industry can best utilize statistical information in the future.

Details on registration and agenda will be available soon at

“There are a lot of good things going on in horse racing, a lot of good buzz,” said Eric Hamelback, chief executive officer of the National HBPA. “We want to accentuate positive developments in horse racing, and the purpose of both the HBPA Convention and the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation is to spark dialogue on how to improve our sport.

Thoroughbred Idea Foundation“The Thoroughbred Idea Foundation is committed to putting out productive, well-thought-out ideas that we can all back to make our industry better. There is so much going on that it made sense to have a panel of their representatives — who come from different horse and business backgrounds — rather than just one keynote speaker. This promises to be a can’t-miss session, and I know I can’t wait to hear their thoughts and how we can all work together for positive change that benefits every aspect of our sport.”

TIF does not take money from industry organizations but rather is funded by individuals from a cross-section of the sport. The core belief is that everyone benefits by taking care of owners and bettors.

“Having been on some other industry boards, they can be so large with such large agendas that sometimes it’s hard to focus on specific areas to improve the economics of the business,” said Bernick, TIF’s founder and a prominent owner and breeder through his family’s Glen Hill Farm. “A group that advocates for the financial drivers of the business — owners and horseplayers — to try to improve the sport from an economic standpoint is necessary. They’re just ideas until you can get them implemented. We hope by speaking to the National HBPA that people understand what we’re about, and we’ll be looking to push some of that stuff forward when it makes sense for horsemen. I don’t think we’ll advocate anything that doesn’t make sense for horsemen.”

Bernick is president and chief executive officer of Glen Hill Farm, the Ocala farm founded by his grandfather, the late Leonard Lavin. He’s also managing partner in Elevage Bloodstock, which invests in stallion shares and broodmares, and launched the Breeders’ Cup wagering committee while on that organization’s board. In addition to supporting many thoroughbred charities, Bernick is an officer of the Lavin Family Foundation. He was a business development and marketing executive at Alberto-Culver before going into the thoroughbred business full-time.

Wolf and his wife, Laurie, began Starlight Racing with six yearlings in 2000, one of which developed into Grade 1 winner and major stallion Harlan’s Holiday, and ultimately turned the stable into a partnership that participates at the highest level of the game, including being a minority owner in Triple Crown winner Justify. Wolf, who retired from his work as a hedge-fund manager to concentrate on racing, was the driving force behind launching the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, the industry’s first broad-based initiative dedicated to helping retired racehorses.

Corey Johnsen has earned a reputation as one of the country’s premier and most innovative track executives, who with partner Ray Reid turned Kentucky Downs into a major-league player by taking a gamble on instituting historical horse racing to not only help the track but to strengthen the Kentucky circuit. Johnsen also is a horse owner and breeder who started out as a $2 bettor and groom while attending college in Arizona. He was fundamental in the opening of Remington Park and Lone Star Park and currently is involved in the re-opening of Arizona Downs, formerly Prescott Downs. Under Johnsen’s leadership as track president, Kentucky Downs has been named the Horseplayers Association of North America’s top-ranked track for three straight years.

Pat Cummings has been an executive with the Hong Kong Jockey Club and racing technology and data-provider Trakus, as well as a media and communications specialist. An expert in international racing, Cummings covered Dubai for a decade for various media outlets. He also is a partner in racing syndicates in both America and South Africa.

TIF already has issued two white papers: advocating for “penny breakage,” where payoffs are calculated by rounding down to the penny instead of to the dime in most jurisdictions, and adopting nationwide an interference philosophy where a horse or rider who impedes another horse won’t be disqualified and placed behind the impacted horse if the stewards believe the impeded horse would not otherwise have finished ahead of the horse causing the interference. (The paper recommends stiffer jockey sanctions for careless riding in instances where there’s not a DQ.)

Source: Press release

Frank Mirahmadi Named Santa Anita Track Announcer

Frank Mirahmadi, a well-known figure in racing circles from coast to coast, has been named Santa Anita Park’s permanent announcer and will assume his duties beginning opening day, Dec. 26.

Source: Frank Mirahmadi Named Santa Anita Track Announcer

43rd Holiday Race Meet at Turfway Park

Kentucky’s year round Thoroughbred racing circuit makes its annual stop at Turfway Park (“Turfway”) beginning Wednesday, Nov. 28, the start of the Northern Kentucky track’s 43rd holiday meet.

Turfway will offer eight races nightly, Wednesday through Saturday, with first post at 6:10 p.m. ET. Racing is also scheduled for New Year’s Eve, a Monday, with post time at 1:10 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

The schedule is topped by two $50,000 black type stakes: the six-furlong Holiday Inaugural for fillies and mares Nov. 30 and the 1 1/16-mile Prairie Bayou Dec. 28.

National trainers Mike Maker and Wesley Ward will again maintain strings at Turfway, as will leading regional trainers Jeff Greenhill, Bill Connelly, Bill Helmbrecht, James Jackson, Susan Anderson and racing’s top female trainer by wins, Kim Hammond. Trainer Jason Barkley, who opened his own stable this fall at Keeneland after serving as assistant to both Ward and Nick Zito, also has stalls at Turfway.

Weekend Specials, Equine Guest Stars, Food Drive Highlight the Meet

Turfway’s popular Dollar Fridays return, with regional rockers Naked Karate Girls, Doghouse, DV8 and other bands providing the soundtrack for one-dollar draft beer, soda, hot dogs and win, place and show bets.

Turfway Park logoThe season’s first Dollar Friday, Nov. 30, is also Welcome Back Night. Turfway extends a very special “welcome back” not only to fans but also to the legendary Budweiser Clydesdales. Weather permitting, a full eight-horse hitch will pull the iconic red wagon over Turfway’s Polytrack and greet fans on the track apron. Clydesdales weigh as much as 2,300 lbs., more than twice the weight of a typical Thoroughbred.

At the other end of the scale, two other equine stars will delight fans, especially children, on Welcome Back Night: Petey and Tater Tot, both from Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship (CTRH). Petey is a Medicine Hat Paint pony who is this year’s Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International Region 4 Horse of the Year. Tater Tot is a miniature horse used in outreach. Located in Milford, Ohio, CTRH is a non-profit that serves children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional challenges.

Welcome Bank night also offers free racing programs to the first 750 fans who stop by the program booths beginning at 5:30 p.m., a drawing for a 55-inch Insignia LED HDTV and music from The Menus.

Saturdays this season are newly designated Ladies’ Nights, featuring drink specials, giveaways and acoustic music; up first is Matt Cowherd from 4th Day Echo. The first Saturday, Dec. 1, also offers the first of several special events planned during the season, a murder mystery dinner presented by Studio Rho Entertaining of Union, Ky.

Celebrating the holidays, Turfway is holding a canned food drive titled “You Give. We Give.” For every canned good or other non-perishable food item fans bring in, Turfway will match it with another. Items collected will be donated to Master Provisions of Florence. The collection begins opening night and continues through Dec. 22.

The holiday meet ends Dec. 31. The meet is followed without interruption by the winter/spring meet, which begins New Year’s Day and continues Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through March 30.

Source: Turfway Park

AGOS Horses to Watch and Trip Notes – November 25, 2018

Your “Black Friday” horses to watch from AGOS.


INVIGOROUS (Race 8 @LRL, 11/16/18) – this was a deep and contentious field of good juvenile runners at Laurel Park, but this son of Congrats made easy work, drawing off to an impressive score.  Under-the-radar trainer Miguel Vera appears to have a talented colt that could go through his conditions this winter.

BACCARAT FASHION (Race 7 @LRL, 11/16/18) – This 3yo daughter of the speedy sire Old Fashioned lost all chance when she was steadied hard on the backstretch.  Toss this performance and get better odds next time out.  Fits at the 1x level where she can get the lead early.


GRAN SAMAN (Race 7 @GP, 11/16/18) – Owner/Trainer Steve Klesaris had this 4yo in a good spot going 5 furlongs on the grass in Florida, but a wide trip in this short race cost the son of Candy Ride.  Won previous start with Samy Camacho up, but this wasn’t one of Camacho’s smartest rides.

Manitoba trots out support for horse racing industry

The province says more money upfront will improve the industry’s sustainability.

After the next three racing seasons, the province would continue to finance the sport, agriculture minister Ralph Eichler said.

“We have to support in some way or fashion. It’s a $34-40 million income tax return for government. It creates about $112 million a year … through tourism and raising revenue, 1,100-1,200 jobs,” he said. “It’s a big business for Manitoba.” Full coverage: Manitoba trots out support for horse racing industry

Santa Anita Sees Rise in Handle – Autumn 2018 Meet

With a staggering $6,746,114 in “new money” wagered, Santa Anita’s closing day 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot amounted to a total of $7,888,308 by fifth race post time, ensuring a massive all sources pari-mutuel pool of $18,948,679 on Sunday, which helped the track post increases in both on-track and all sources handle for the 22-day Autumn Meet.

With 22 racing days producing $206.7 million in overall pari-mutuel handle, all sources average daily handle was up seven percent compared to last year. A total of $23.7 million was wagered on-track, which marked a three percent average daily handle increase over 2017. (With 19 racing days last year, all sources handle was $167.3 million, while last year’s on-track take was $19.8 million).

A parade of short priced horses on closing day resulted in 10,466 winning tickets in the 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six, with each ticket returning $601.10.

The Breeders’ Cup results in Kentucky once again underscored the depth of equine talent at Santa Anita, as no less than five Southern California-based horses tasted Breeders’ Cup glory over the two-day World Championships on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, Gary and Mary West’s Game Winner, trained by Bob Baffert, won the $2 million Juvenile, which followed a win here in the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes Sept. 29.

On Saturday, Peter Miller pulled off an incredible year-to-year double, as Stormy Liberal and Roy H each won their respective races, the Turf Sprint and the Sprint, for the second year in a row while based at San Luis Rey Downs. Both horses are owned by Gary Hartunian’s Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen, LLC. Stormy Liberal used a win in the Grade III Eddie D Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course Sept. 28 as his final Breeders’ Cup prep, while Roy H again struck Breeders’ Cup gold following a win in the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Oct. 6.

Trainer Michael McCarthy, a graduate of Arcadia High School, took Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with the Santa Anita-based City of Light. Owned by Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren, City of Light won last year’s Grade I Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26 as well as the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes here on March 10.

John Sadler put an exclamation point on the day Saturday, as Accelerate, owned by Hronis Racing, took the $6 million Classic. Based at The Great Race Place, Accelerate won three out of his five Grade I victories this year in Arcadia; the Santa Anita Handicap on March 10, the Gold Cup at Santa Anita on May 26 and the Awesome Again here on Sept. 29.

Flavien Prat, who scored a stakes double by winning both the Grade II Goldikova Stakes and the Twilight Derby on closing day, finished as the meet’s leading rider with 20 wins, two better than a resurgent Rafael Bejarano. In the trainer’s division Jerry Hollendorfer and Peter Miller dead-heated atop the standings with 15 Autumn Meet wins, one clear of Doug O’Neill’s 14.

On-track attendance figures for the 22-day season totaled 158,000, compared to 137,000 attendees in the 2017 season, which had three fewer racing days.

Santa Anita’s traditional Winter Meet will kick off the day after Christmas, on Wednesday, Dec. 26. For additional information, please visit or call (626) 574-RACE.

Source: Santa Anita