Archives for July 2019

Here’s what you need to know about Colonial Downs Live Racing Return

Live horse racing returns to Colonial Downs in August 2019 for the first time since the racetrack was shuttered in 2014.

There will be live thoroughbred horse racing on the track every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from Aug. 8 to Sept. 7, including a daytime race on Labor Day and the Virginia Derby on Aug. 31.

Renovations on the turf and dirt tracks at Colonial Downs began last April, according to a past Tidewater Review report. Crews worked to burn all existing turf left on the track and resurface it with new turf. They also revitalized the stable areas, race offices, clubhouse and suites.

Daily purses will average a minimum of $500,000 throughout the 15-day race schedule, according to a news release from Colonial Downs Group, which took over the property last year. The Virginia Derby, a long-running racing meet, will feature a $250,000 stakes purse, the release states.

On Aug. 10, the first Saturday of the racing schedule, you can expect to see four stakes races on the turf course, each with a $100,000 purse, according to the release.

More about Live Racing at Colonial Downs:

Is Horse Racing Like the Wizard of Oz?

This Writer Thinks So

by J. N. Campbell for The Sports Haven

L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” can be likened to many facets of sport.

Today, the state of horse racing is allegorically connected to L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” It’s a landscape that is brilliant on the surface, full of diverse and fascinating characters. However, if we drill down a bit and look hard enough, there’s negligence, mismanagement and nothing short of a decentralized state.

Running through our Oz is, of course, the Triple Crown trail. Like the ‘Yellow Brick Road,’ it’s bright, shiny and seems to link the country behind the sport. After Belmont, however, we become lost and lose interest. The state seems minor, even irrelevant to a larger audience.

Certainly, local ovals are well-attended on major race days — but on a regular basis for the most part, patrons are like Baum’s munchkins (no jockey jokes here, mind you!) — well-meaning, but cogs in a larger mysterious wheel. Problems arise stealthily as take outs fluctuate, odds change after the gates open and officials shave pennies off winnings called breakage, like licks from a lollipop.

Thus, bettors feel diminutive and under-served. Track leadership is like that munchkin mayor, unsure of the future now that the Wicked Witch of the East is dead.

Speaking of those that fly on brooms or cast spells, they remind me of our super trainers. Regionally, they  …

Enable may go straight to Arc and Career Finale, says Trainer John Gosden

There might be just one race left in Enable’s career, following what seemed a significant hint from John Gosden that the great mare might not run again before the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October. The Newmarket trainer reported early signs that she is recovering well from Saturday’s […]

“She’ll tell us what she wants to do,” Gosden said in a phone-in interview on Racing TV on Sunday morning. “She’s very expressive. We talked about it yesterday, actually, with Teddy Grimthorpe as well, whether we go to York or whether we just go straight to the Arc. I think we’ll start making those decisions in the next week.

“I think the key thing is whether she goes to York or whether we do the other thing, just freshen her up, and she runs well fresh, and bring her up to the Arc without having taken any risks in going anywhere else.”

The allusions to risks and to Enable running well when fresh suggest that Gosden is minded to skip a trip to York, which would require the mare to race again less than four weeks after her Ascot exertions. Cutting out York and going straight to Longchamp would allow her 10 weeks between races. William Hill was the first bookmaker to react, pushing Enable out to a top price of 11-8 for the Juddmonte International, while other firms still have her at odds-on…

More about Enable and Trainer John Gosden’s plans:

Concerns about Suffolk Downs’ plans for Horse Racing at fairgrounds

Great Barrington — A controversial horse-racing bill pending in the state Legislature has aroused concerns among town officials about a proposal from Suffolk Downs to bring racing back […]

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, the company that operated the now-closed track at Suffolk Downs in East Boston, has reached an agreement with the fairgrounds owners to bring thoroughbred racing back to Great Barrington for up to 30 days of racing in the months of September and October starting in 2020. The company expects to spend between $15 million and $20 million, according to town manager Mark Pruhenski, who recently spoke with Chip Tuttle, Suffolk’s chief operating officer.

But in order to accomplish that feat, Suffolk needs a change in state law to permit it to hold races in Great Barrington while at the same time allowing it to maintain its simulcasting and betting operations back in East Boston. Racing at the fairgrounds would also require permits from the town.

Two bills that would accomplish that feat …

Del Mar Feature Stakes on Wednesday

Stamina will be the order of the day Wednesday when Del Mar Thoroughbred Club presents the 69th running of the Grade III $100,000 Cougar II Handicap at a mile and one-half over the main dirt track.

Del mar chantal billboardWoodford Racing’s Campaign, proven at the distance via an easy triumph in the Grade III Tokyo City Handicap last April at Santa Anita, tops a seven-horse line-up in the mid-week headliner. His opposition includes likely second choice For the Top, an Argentine-bred horse trained by Bob Baffert;  veteran grass runner Itsinthepost, a winner of more than $1.2 million in his career competing on a dirt track for the first time, plus Zestful, Premium Forest, Original Intent and Morse Code.

Rafael Bejarano has the call on Campaign, who is highweighted at 123 pounds. Most recently, the Curlin colt was a good fourth, beaten less than a length, in the Brooklyn Invitational at Belmont Park in New York at the Cougar distance.

Other rider assignments and weights are Joe Talamo aboard For the Top at 119 pounds, Drayden Van Dyke aboard Itsinthepost, 121; Edwin Maldonado, Morse Code, 116; Kyle Frey, Premium Forest, 115; Abel Cedillo, Zestful, 115, and Assael Espinoza, Original Intent, 115.

Source: Del Mar

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes – July 22

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes for Agameofskill.com visitors

SARATOGA

MORNING GOLD (Race 1 @SAR, July 14, 2019) – Ken McPeek firster came in off a solid work pattern and ran a big race when 2nd to the Pletcher-trained favorite.  5 lengths clear of the show horse in a rock solid debut.

BLAME THE CAKE (Race 4 @SAR, July 14, 2019) – Firster for Ian Wilkes (7% win, 19% itm) was a $190,000 Ocala purchase.  Made a big run to take the lead and looked like a winner in deep stretch when he got run down by a sharp Jason Servis firster that was given a brilliant ride by Irad Ortiz.

CATCH A BID (Race 8 @SAR, July 14, 2019) – This is a rising star for Chad Brown.  Her career debut was awesome and then she ran a big 2nd here to a Grade-3 placed runner in Varenka, while well clear of the show horse.   Could be a very solid multi-race key next time she runs.

WINIFRED J (Race 2 @SAR, July 13, 2019) – Ed Barker filly likely needed race in her first start since early February. This was a tough spot but she ran a good third.  She’s a half to one winner, who was a grass horse.  Look for this Blame filly back on the turf, sprinting or on the stretch-out.

DECORATED INVADER (Race 6 @SAR, July 13, 2019) – Looked sharp when finishing 2nd in debut for West Point and partners.  Clement runner is a half to two turf winners and he was up against it facing a very slow pace in this race.

CHURCHILL DOWNS

BASIN (race 1 @CD, June 14, 2019) – This talented 2yo from the Steve Asmussen barn ran a strong 2nd in a key race field, losing by a nose to G3 Sanford winner By Your Side.   Was 3-4 wide throughout but finished strong.

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Thanks to Sports Betting, New Jersey Horse Racing Is Looking Up

Monmouth Park by Rich Nilsen

copyright 2016 AGameofSkill.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Last Friday, the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) hosted its annual Day at the Races event. The meeting, designed to focus on legal issues in the state horse racing industry, was held at Monmouth Park.

Last year, Monmouth Park made headlines by taking the first legal sports bet in New Jersey, when Gov. Phil Murphy put $20 on Germany to win the FIFA World Cup.

The NJSBA event was moderated by Monmouth Park CEO Dennis Drazin, who was recently inducted into the Sports Betting Hall of Fame for his role in bringing the industry to New Jersey.

Along with Drazin, former New Jersey senator Ray Lesniak was on hand to discuss the status of horse racing in the Garden State.

“Less than one year [after the PASPA overturn], sports bettors wagered more in New Jersey than in Nevada which had a virtual monopoly on legal sports betting for more than 20 years. It took New Jersey less than a year to overcome that more than 20-year advantage,” said Lesniak.

Playing Saratoga – Get  this 9 Keys to Winning

Can This Technology Get Racehorses Off Drugs?

Thoroughbred horse racing in the US is addicted to drugs. It runs so deep that it has become the norm. And worse, because it is legal, it is seen as beneficial. Instead of a health-first approach to …

These image scanners add a significant diagnostic advantage, as traditional CT scans require the patient to lie down with the anatomy un-weighted, depriving the clinician of the ability to analyze the stressed areas of bone while under loading pressures.

Until this equipment was developed, horses needed anesthesia in order to have a CT scan performed. The inherent risks associated with general anesthesia, the need to go to a hospital for a test, and the cost of this procedure prevented widespread use of CT in the majority of racehorses in training and eliminated its use as a screening tool by racing regulators and track practicing veterinarians…

Horse racing in Iowa doing well despite overall industry declines

Economic Impact Nearly $200M

University of Kentucky researcher Alison Davis conducted a study which shows the economic impact of horse racing on Iowa is nearly $197 million. “I was impressed with the overall impact. For a state like Iowa to have an economic impact of about 200 million dollars was pretty significant,” Davis says.

Davis says some of the economic impact may be under reported due to a lack of data. She says in the report that $143 million of the output was generated by the thoroughbred racing industry — with $29 million of that from the Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona.

“To see how Pairie Meadows Casino and their parimutuel activity compared to the actual thoroughbred racing and their expenses, I said certainly indicated the importance of the equine component of horse racing and also the support of the casino,” Davis says. The report finds the industry supports 2,961 fulltime jobs. She says the horse industry is doing well in Iowa, but members of the industry need to be aware of the issues they face.

“Even though those are impressive numbers, horse racing as an industry is facing challenges, not just here, but in other places. But certainly we saw the numbers where horse farms were decreasing, number of horses (decreasing). To think about those types of challenges where it is because of alternative competition or changes in business model is something to think about. What might happen if it declines more?,” Davis says.

 

Only 5 to Face to Star Racehorse Catalina Cruiser

Cruiser to be Big Favorite in 2019 San Diego Handicap

Hronis Racing’s Catalina Cruiser, primed for his title defense in Saturday’s Grade II $200,000 San Diego Handicap will face five challengers in the 1 1/16-mile event that is the main stepping stone to the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on August 17.

“We had him (Catalina Cruiser) out this morning, he’s looking good and we’re excited to have him running here again,” trainer John Sadler said early Wednesday morning.

Post positions were to be drawn in the afternoon, but the field beyond Catalina Cruiser will consist of, alphabetically, Core Beliefs, Dr. Dorr, Draft Pick, Higher Power and Mongolian Groom.

Del Mar racingCatalina Cruiser won the 2018 San Diego as a stand-in for stablemate Accelerate then came back to take the Pat O’Brien Stakes to secure the Top Sprinter title of the meet and set his Del Mar record at 2-0. The chestnut 5-year-old son of Union Rags made his 2019 debut with a stretch-rallying win in the True North Handicap on June 7 and has had four workouts since then at Santa Anita.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, whose only San Diego Handicap win came with Fed Biz in 2014, nominated standouts American Anthem, McKinzie and Dr. Dorr to the race and opted to go with Dr. Dorr somewhat surprisingly after sending both McKinzie and Dr. Dorr through workouts Wednesday morning.

McKinzie, second in the Met Mile at Belmont on June 8, went five furlongs in a bullet :59 flat under Joe Talamo. Del Mar clockers had McKinzie galloping out to six furlongs in 1:12.0. Dr. Dorr went four furlongs in a bullet :47.20 under Drayden Van Dyke.

Dr. Dorr, owned by Baffert’s wife Jill, has five wins from 17 career starts and earnings of $512,320. The 6-year-old gelded son of Lookin At Lucky chased Catalina Cruiser home in last year’s San Diego, finishing 6 ¾ lengths behind.

In Saturday’s other major stakes, the Grade II $200,000 San Clemente Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, a field of nine was entered. In alphabetical order, with trainers in parentheses consists of: Apache Princess (J. Keith Desormeaux), Devil’s Dance (Craig Lewis), Harmless (R.B. Hess, Jr.,), Keeper Ofthe Stars (Jonathan Wong), Lady Prancealot (Richard Baltas), Maxim Rate (Simon Callaghan), Mucho Unusual (Tim Yakteen), Over Emphasize (Michael McCarthy), Seranitsa (Neil Drysdale) and Stillwater Cove (Wesley Ward).

Source: Del Mar