Archives for February 2019

Phenomenal Purses Scheduled for Churchill Downs’ 145th Spring Meet

$5,000 claimers running for $29,000.   Bottom allowance runners going for a $103,000 purse.  That’s the type of purses set for Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby week 2019.   Is horse racing dead?  Not in Kentucky.

Per the Churchill Downs’ press release:

Record prize money for horsemen will be distributed at Churchill Downs’ 145th Spring Meet thanks to early returns from state-of-the-art historical racing machines at Derby City Gaming.

The first condition book, which covers the first half of the 38-day Spring Meet, was released Wednesday, and purses for the 189 offered races total $20.1 million – an unprecedented 46% increase from last spring’s $13.7 million. The daily average is $1,056,842 compared to $722,579 in 2018, or $106,243 per race versus $72,640. All purses include prize money from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

Purses for all six days of racing on Derby Week (April 27-May 4) have been supercharged. In years past, only the purses on Oaks and Derby days were boosted. Maiden special weight races will be $100,000. Allowance races will range from $103,000 to $110,000. Total purses on Oaks Day will exceed $3.6 million, and Derby Day prize money will be worth a record $6.9 million.

After Derby Week, maiden special weight races will be worth $85,000 (up from $53,000 in 2018), and allowance races will range from $87,000 to $94,000 (up from $55,000 to $61,000 in 2018). The daily prize money post-Derby Week will average $525,308 compared to $356,769 in 2018, or $55,975 per race versus $38,016 a year ago.

In a change from last year, the winner’s share of the purse in all overnight races will be 56% (previously 60%) and 1.5% of the purse will be distributed to the sixth- through last-place finishers (previously 0.5%) to incentivize starts and reward owners who run their horses.

More than $30 million in total prize money – $12 million in stakes races and another $18 million in overnight races – is expected to be offered during this year’s Spring Meet. Last year, total purses paid during the 372-race Spring Meet was $22.2 million.

“This is such an exciting time to be a part of Kentucky racing,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “Our investment into Derby City Gaming, which opened just five months ago, continues to pay immediate dividends to Kentucky horsemen. We have reinforced our Derby Week festival concept, solidified our lucrative stakes program and tremendously strengthened our overnight racing product.We truly believe this growth and methodology will benefit all owners, trainers and jockeys that participate at Churchill Downs and make for an extremely exciting and competitive meet.”

With 75 total racing dates in 2019, Churchill Downs will offer more racing opportunities for horsemen than any other racetrack in Kentucky and increase its purses with more than an additional $10 million as a result of handle generated by Derby City Gaming’s initial year of operation. The $65 million facility opened in mid-September at nearby 4520 Poplar Level Road.

Earlier this year, Churchill Downs announced a record 34-race, $12.2 million Spring Meet stakes schedule that included a $1 million boost to the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) on Saturday, May 4, making it worth a guaranteed $3 million. Also among the 15 stakes races that received significant increases were the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), which was raised to $1.25 million, and the Old Forester Turf Classic (GI), which was doubled to $1 million.

Stall applications for the highly-anticipated Spring Meet, which will begin Saturday, April 27 and continue through Saturday, June 29, are due Friday, March 8. The stable area will reopen Tuesday, March 19 and the first scheduled day of training is Friday, March 22.

View the condition book online: https://www.churchilldowns.com/horsemen/racing/condition-book/.

Tickets for ‘The Stretch’ at Saratoga Racecourse Go On Sale Today

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will welcome the general public to purchase full-season ticket plans at The Stretch for the 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course beginning Thursday, February 28 at 1 p.m.

The Stretch – which debuted in 2018 and is located in the grandstand at the Top of the Stretch – is a private hospitality area featuring modern and upscale amenities in a casual environment with breathtaking views of thoroughbreds rounding the final turn.

Reserved seating options at The Stretch available for seasonal plans include middle dining tier tables ranging from six to eight seats; reserved bar seats; and premium reserved seats. Full-season plans can be purchased exclusively through the NYRA Box Office by phone at (844) NYRA-TIX, via email atboxoffice@nyrainc.com or at www.nyra.com/saratoga.

Season ticket holders to The Stretch enjoy exclusive access to a full-service bar, kitchen and concessions, high-definition televisions and video screens, touchscreen tablets, special events, and private restrooms. Guests also enjoy a relaxed dress code at The Stretch.

“The Stretch was tremendously popular in its inaugural season,” said NYRA Senior Vice President and Chief Experience Officer Lynn LaRocca. “Based on the outstanding feedback we received last year and the robust pace of season ticket renewals, we expect this premium hospitality area to be in extremely high demand for the 2019 meet. We encourage fans to act now to secure their spot in The Stretch for the upcoming season.”

All season plan holders to The Stretch will automatically be enrolled in the Saratoga Season Perks program, which includes discounts on-track and at participating off-track locations, including local restaurants, merchants, service providers and entertainment venues. Discounts at participating partners are valid from June 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020 with a Saratoga Season Perks card.
Stretch season ticket plan holders will also be guaranteed a Saratoga premium giveaway on the day of the giveaway. Season plan holders must be present at Saratoga Race Course and redeem the giveaway by the designated time.

Weekly ticket plans for The Stretch will go on sale to the general public beginning Tuesday, April 9. Single day tickets for The Stretch will go on sale Tuesday, April 16. Inventory may be limited and is based on availability.

The 40-day meet at historic Saratoga Race Course will begin on Thursday, July 11 and run through Labor Day, Monday, September 2. Following opening weekend, Thursday, July 11 through Sunday, July 14, racing at Saratoga will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays. Closing week will run Wednesday, August 28 through Labor Day, Monday, September 2.

Source: NYRA

The Great Sport Betting Fix

How former ref Tim Donaghy conspired to fix NBA games

IT WAS DEC. 12, 2006, a Tuesday, an hour before midnight, at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott, inside that hotel’s primary restaurant, called at the time the Riverbend Bar & Grille. And it was there, in the otherwise vacant dining area, seated around a table, that Battista and Donaghy, with Martino witnessing, consummated their deal. Battista demanded that Donaghy never bet with Concannon again, and in exchange for providing Battista with his betting “picks,” Donaghy would receive $2,000 per game — but only if the pick won. Much later on he would come to call this meeting “the marriage.”

Accounts of the meeting differ. According to statements Donaghy made to federal law enforcement, Battista’s deal was effectively an act of extortion. You don’t want anyone “from New York” coming to your house, Battista told him. And: You don’t want the NBA to find out about what you’ve been doing with Concannon…

Handicapping Tip of the Day # 48 – A Horse for the Course

Handicapping Tip of the Day

by Rich Nilsen

One of the best ways to find a value play in this game we call horse racing is to find the horse with clouded form.  For whatever reason or reasons, the horse had a legitimate excuse not to run well  in his last start or two.  Finding a legit excuse is not always easy, and the last thing a handicapper should be doing is inventing excuses to justify his or her preference for a horse.

A week ago at Parx Racing (Feb. 19, 2019), the veteran 10 year old runner Bowman’s Beast was returning to Parx off subpar efforts at  both Charles Town and Penn National.  He was well beaten at 3/5 odds last time out at basically the same level as today.  Of course, Charles Town is a step below Parx, so, on the surface, it didn’t look good for the old gelding.

However, there were three good reasons to throw out that dismal 4th place performance.  For starters, that last race was in the mud and Bowman had a career record of 11-1-1-1, showing 8 also-ran efforts.  He was clearly a better horse on fast going.

Also noteworthy was trainer Bernard Dunham’s record with beaten favorites.  According to BRIS data, he was a 57% winner from 7 starters in their subsequent races following a loss as the favorite.

Finally, and most important, Bowman was returning to Parx.   Here were the lifetime, tabulated records in his past performances:

Lifetime: 72-13-8-11, $453,590

Parx: 38-9-4-7, $331,260

Now subtract the two and you have a pretty revealing stat.  At tracks other than Parx, Bowman’s Beast was:

Elsewhere: 34-4-4-4, $122,330

The lifetime record for this 10 year old runner at Parx versus all other tracks was night and day.  Bowman could be expected to improve on the return to Parx, with the return to a fast track for a trainer dynamite with beaten favorites.

The morning line maker at Parx set his odds at 3/1, no doubt because of his familiarity with the Parx horse for the course, but Bowman went off at over 7-1 because of his clouded, recent form.  He cruised to victory, returning a generous $16.60 for his faithful backers.

 

Poker News: Latest Twist in Borgata/Phil Ivey Lawsuit

Win Legally and Lose? That’s the Casino Way

The saga regarding the lawsuit between the Borgata in Atlantic City and poker professional Phil Ivey has been one that has dragged out much longer than anyone figured. Now the Borgata is trying to put an end to the case, getting an assist from the judge …

Fast forward to 2016 and the decision. Judge Hillman, while stating that Ivey and his associate didn’t “cheat” per se, they did use an unfair advantage play with some of their requests of the casino. Hillman then ruled in favor of the Borgata and ordered full payment of the $10.1 million immediately.

2019 Thoroughbred racing season at Woodbine

Woodbine via WO FB pageWoodbine Entertainment has unveiled its stakes schedule for the 2019 Thoroughbred racing season highlighted by the prestigious $1 million Queen’s Plate and the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile, which will kick off Woodbine’s championship fall turf season. The grand opening of Woodbine’s new inner turf course this spring will add a new level of excitement and competition to the mix.

Strengthened by the previously announced purse increases for 2019, the $16 million-plus stakes schedule consists of 95 stakes to be contested over the course of the 133-day meet, running from April 20 to December 15.

The 160th edition of the Queen’s Plate, the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing starring the finest Canadian-bred three-year-olds, will be contested on Saturday, June 29. Woodbine will also host the final Triple Crown leg, the $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes, on Saturday, Aug. 17.

With an increased purse guaranteed at $1 million for the 2019 running of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile, the Grade 1 stakes event will mark the start of Woodbine’s championship turf season. One of three Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ events on the stakes calendar, the Ricoh Woodbine Mile is set for Saturday, Sept. 14 with a strong undercard including the $300,000 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (Grade 1).

Great Woodbine Stakes on Tap

The $250,000 Natalma Stakes and companion Summer Stakes, both Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races for two-year-olds, will follow a stakes-filled Ricoh Woodbine Mile day on Sunday, Sept. 15. With the highly anticipated opening of the inner turf course this year, Woodbine will offer a pair of new $100,000 stakes for two-year-olds on the September 15 undercard called the Ontario Racing Stakes and the Woodbine Cares Stakes for fillies, both to be run over the pristine green at five furlongs.

The $800,000 Pattison Canadian International (Grade 1), another premier race that annually attracts top international turf talent, will be contested at the height of the fall stakes season on Saturday, Oct. 12. The E.P. Taylor Stakes (Grade 1), with a purse increased to $600,000, is among the usual supporting features that day and will serve as the final leg of Woodbine’s new Ladies of the Lawn Series, which offers $75,000 in bonuses to the top performers based on points accumulated in the designated graded turf routes for fillies and mares. The series also includes the $175,000 Nassau Stakes (Grade 2), $175,000 Dance Smartly Stakes (Grade 2) and $250,000 Canadian Stakes (Grade 2).

The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser will headline the track’s first signature race day of the meet on Saturday, June 8 as Canadian-bred three-year-old fillies begin their bid for the Triple Tiara. The Woodbine Oaks will be accompanied by the Plate Trial Stakes in addition to a 6-1/2-furlong stakes race to be held on the turf for three-year-old fillies, which will be named in 2019 in honour of the late William D. Graham, a long-time Woodbine Entertainment Director and Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame breeder who passed away in January.

Canadian Millions Night is another annual highlight of the season that will showcase the top Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Yearling Sales graduates over six stakes with a total of $750,000 in purses up for grabs on Wednesday, Aug. 28.

With the early season Jacques Cartier Stakes upgraded from Listed Status to Grade 3 by The Jockey Club of Canada’s Graded Stakes Committee, Woodbine’s stakes schedule includes a total of 41 graded stakes.

The Charlie Barley Stakes, Grade 3 Ontario Colleen, Eternal Search (formerly called the Victoriana), Vice Regent and Ontario Damsel will shift over from the E.P. Taylor Turf Course to the new inner turf course.

The Achievement Stakes has been retitled the Greenwood Stakes to celebrate the second annual trackside social affair hosted by The Social Concierge.

Woodbine’s popular Turf Endurance Series will return this year with $40,000 in bonuses available for the top performers competing in the four legs from July through October. New competitions this year include a Turf Sprint Series on the new inner course with qualifiers and semi-finals before culminating in a $75,000 final under the lights on Wednesday, Aug. 21. Woodbine will also present a $50,000 Early Bird Starter Handicap on Wednesday, May 29.

Woodbine will again be offering its Graded Stakes Bonus Program in 2019 with increased bonuses up to $75,000 for incoming graded stakes winners. Horses that have won a Grade 1 or Grade 2 stakes race in the current year will receive a $50,000 bonus for winning a Grade 2 stakes race at Woodbine and $75,000 for winning a Grade 1 stakes race at Woodbine.

To view the complete stakes lineup for Woodbine’s 2019 Thoroughbred racing season, visit Woodbine.com.

Incredible, Short-sighted Kentucky Tax Change Hurts the Average Player

“On April 14, 2018, the Kentucky General Assembly passed a sweeping tax reform bill (HB 487) that officially became law on April 27, 2018. In addition to many other changes, HB 487 created a new section of Chapter 141 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes—KRS 141.019,” Coffman wrote in an email to BloodHorse. “Effective for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2018, KRS 141.019(2)(c) specifically prohibits individuals from including any deduction allowed for losses under Internal Revenue Code section 165 when calculating their net income for Kentucky tax purposes.

The state government’s Ky.gov website on changes to Kentucky tax law for 2018 also is seemingly straightforward. Under a question-and-answer section of the site where it’s asked, “Am I allowed to claim gambling losses as an itemized deduction?” the answer reads, “No. Kentucky no longer allows gambling losses to the extent of gambling winnings for tax year 2018 and thereafter. If you are reporting gambling income you received from another state, you may be allowed to credit for tax paid to another state.”

Add Age Discrimination to the Long List of Offenses out of Saudi Arabia

Hall of Famer Prado deemed too old to ride in Saudi Arabia

Most people are not aware and it’s hard to believe but the country of Saudi Arabia is head of an important part of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council.  No, that’s not an Onion story, that’s reality.  Well, here’s their latest offense …

Per HRN, Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, 51, posted to his Twitter account a copy of Saudi Arabian rules saying licensed riders must be no younger than 16 and no older than 50 — something he didn’t know until making a recent move overseas.

“I wish I could be more informed about (this rule) before I left USA and my business,” Prado tweeted, “to ride here under contract.”

returned back to america after i find out i can’t get license here in saudi arabia from the jockey club, because of my age, anyway thank you so much to mr Adelal Almazroa, i wish i could be more informed about before i left USA and my business, to ride here under contract, SAD ! pic.twitter.com/3HkZ0E1yu6

— edgar prado (@edgarp5361997) February 21, 2019

The native of Peru began 2019 riding at Gulfstream Park, where he won one race from 10 starters. He last took a leg up in the U.S. on Jan. 26, when he rode Something Awesome to a 10th-place finish in the Pegasus World Cup (G1).

By Feb. 1, he was riding overseas, at least until discovered to be too old for it.

Prado’s news comes amidst a golden age for older jockeys, as Mike Smith (53) won …

Book Review: Taking Shergar tells tale dark side of horse racing

Milton C. Toby’s true mystery novel, Taking Shergar: Thoroughbred Racing’s Most Famous Cold Case, has everything to offer to every level of reader and horse fancier. Loaded with history, suspense, grand theft, mystery, conspiracy, murder, and twisting side stories bound to captivate even the shortest of attention spans. The author takes you to 1980’s Ireland where the thoroughbred industry was experiencing heights never imagined while also coinciding with the most tumultuous and dangerous political period in Ireland’s history known as “The Troubles” of Northern Ireland.

Shergar himself had become the apple of many racing fans’ eyes worldwide. He was owned and bred by prolific global racing enthusiast, His Royal Highness the Aga Khan IV, the Imam of Nizari Ismailism, a denomination of Islam whom your reviewer has met personally. Shergar earned himself the title as one of the greatest racehorses to ever live by winning both the Epsom and Irish Derbies along with the King George VI stakes and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes all in his three year old campaign under the masterful eye of trainer Sir Michael Stoute in emphatic fashion (a feat not achieved by many)…

Tennessee Bill Aims to Resurrect Horse Racing Commission

Is Horse Racing Dead in TN?  Maybe Not Forever

Tennessee has a rich equine history, but the legislature banned horse race gambling in 1905.

According to The Tennessean, in 1987 lawmakers approved the Racing Control Act, which legalized pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing and created the Tennessee State Racing Commission to oversee tracks. Several venues were proposed, but they either couldn’t survive local referendums or got knocked down in the courts by litigation, and none were built.

Without any tracks to license or regulate, the racing commission–which consisted of just one individual for a number of years–was disbanded in 1998. In 2015 lawmakers repealed the Racing Control Act. In 2016 they launched an advisory committee to try and bring a version of it back.

Horse racing in Tennessee currently consists of the non-profit Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville, which runs a well-attended, one-day, non-betting meet at Percy Warner Park each May. Farther beneath the radar, non-sanctioned Quarter Horse match races exist at Carril de Memphis, an “outlaw” track west of Memphis that openly advertises its schedule of race dates on Facebook.

The money flowing across state lines to gambling venues in bordering Mississippi and Arkansas was cited as an impetus to resurrect horse racing in Tennessee.

“What I’m trying to do is reactivate the horse racing commission …

Learn About Horseplayer Marshall Gramm