Archives for September 2019

Industry Profile: Morning Line Maker Jon White

ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2019)–An unmistakable treasure on the American Racing landscape, the indefatigable Jon White is back for his 11th year as Santa Anita’s highly respected Morning Line Maker as the track opened on Friday, Sept. 27.

A proud native of Spokane, WA, White’s affinity for horse racing traces back to trips with his late father to tracks such as Playfair in Spokane and Yakima Meadows, where his dad worked in their pari-mutuel departments.

Upon graduating from Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane (“ESPN’s Neil Everett went there too”), White soon set about a career in racing that has seen him cast in a myriad of roles in a number of different states. (White is also quick to point out that he attended Eastern Washington University, where he noted, the LA Rams’ Cooper Kupp also attended, as did Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd).

Santa Anita San Gabriel

copyright Cheryl Ann Quigley

“I’ve been in racing 45 years now and I’ve been involved in many different aspects,” said White, who is also married to popular racing writer Tracy Gantz, whose stories appear in BloodHorse Magazine and The California Thoroughbred, which is published by the CTBA. “I started out in 1974 as a chart-caller and columnist with Daily Racing Form at Northwest tracks and I got promoted in 1981 to the position of reporter-columnist here at Santa Anita and all the other Southern California tracks.

“The racing during that period of time was incredible, as were the jockeys and trainers that I dealt with on a daily basis. In 1986, they assigned me to be the DRF chart-caller and I worked on this circuit in that positon until 1993.”

In addition to his print career at Daily Racing Form and as a free-lancer for several industry publications, White has also toiled as a racing steward in various locales–Yakima Meadows (1979), Les Bois Park in Boise, ID (1990s) and has been a licensed CHRB steward since 2010. His most recent CHRB assignment put him in the stewards’ stand at this year’s Los Alamitos Summer Thoroughbred Meet in July.

Following the 1993 Del Mar meeting, White hired on with the newly created HRTV, working as an on-air racing personality for some 20 years until taking his current position as Santa Anita’s Morning Line Maker.

With a soft spoken, low key demeanor that belies an intense passion for racing, White’s historical perspective and broad-based knowledge are legendary in racing circles.  Following is a question and answer session with White, who will also be making the official morning line for this year’s two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 1 & 2.

     Q                Who’s your all-time favorite horse?

     A                No question, it’s (Washington-bred) Turbulator.  He didn’t race as a 2-year-old because he became so ill that he very nearly died. He didn’t race as a 3-year-old because he severely injured a knee on a farm. His breeder, owner and trainer, Tom Crawford, then tried to trade the horse for two cows. But due to the injured knee, the swap didn’t take place. Turbulator finally did make it to the races as a 4-year-old in 1969.  He lost his first three starts, but then won seven straight in just nine weeks from six furlongs to two miles at Playfair. In 1970, Turbulator broke three track records, one of those also being a world record. In another of his 1970 victories, he carried 134 pounds. A huge fan favorite, there were Turbulator T-shirts, coffee mugs, campaign buttons and refrigerator magnets, all items I possess to this day, along with two of the shoes he wore when he broke the world record for 6 ½ furlongs.

     Q                Favorite all-time jockey?

     A                Laffit Pincay, Jr., although Bill Shoemaker, Gary Stevens, Eddie Delahoussaye and Joe Baze, Russell’s father, certainly all rank right up there. I’ve said many times that if I ever needed a horse to win a race or I would die, I would pick Laffit to ride the horse. On the last day I was ever at Longacres, in a prime example of Laffit’s sheer strength on horseback, he won the 1986 Longacres Mile by a neck on Skywalker.  I flew back to LA on the plane with Skywalker and his trainer, Michael Whittingham.  Skywalker would go on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic later that year with Pincay aboard.

     Q                Favorite all-time trainer?

     A                It’s a dead heat between Charlie Whittingham and Laz Barrera. I was very lucky to get to know them both quite well. They were incredible horsemen and wonderful people. I miss them a lot.

     Q                Favorite all-time race?

     A                It’s another dead heat, this time Secretariat’s spectacular 31-length Belmont Stakes victory to sweep the Triple Crown in 1973 and Zenyatta’s sensational win in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, which I saw in person…As I stood in the mass of humanity during Zenyatta’s furious late charge to become the first female Thoroughbred to ever win the Classic, I was so overcome with emotion that I had tears in my eyes.

     Q                You’ve had so many great moments in racing, I know Justify’s Kentucky Derby win last year ranks way up there?

     A                As we all know, Justify didn’t make it to the races until Feb. 18 here at Santa Anita. I managed to get a one hundred dollar future book wager on him at 100 to one to win the Kentucky Derby, so that was pretty incredible. But my biggest score was hitting a Pick Six at Santa Anita that paid $45,981.  It was on Dec. 28, 2003, and I did it on a $120 ticket.

     Q                If you retired tomorrow, what would you do for kicks?

     A                I honestly don’t know. My feeling is I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

FL Court rules that Calder can switch from horse races to Jai Alai and retain slot machines

Slot Machines Seduce, Then EntrapAn appellate court upheld a decision by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and said Calder Race Course could continue offering casino slot machines if it switched from horse racing to jai alai.

A state appeals court Wednesday (9/25/19) said Miami-Dade County’s Calder Race Course can continue operating slot machines if it discontinues horse racing and offers jai alai games instead.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a decision by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and rejected arguments by thoroughbred breeders and owners, who had appealed the agency’s decision.

The case was rooted, in part, in a 2004 constitutional amendment that allowed pari-mutuel facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to operate slot machines. Calder, which has run horse races for decades, obtained a permit to operate slot machines.

In 2018, Calder asked the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering whether it could continue to operate slot machines if it shifted from offering horse races to jai alai. The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association and Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co., Inc. opposed the proposal.

Wednesday’s ruling said Calder obtained its slot-machine license as what is known as an “eligible facility” under a section of state law…

More:

Breeders’ Cup Turf the Target for Old Persian

…The four-year-old disappointed in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on his return to European action, and was then a beaten favorite in a Group One in Germany last month.

However, he was back in the winning groove when dominating the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine last Saturday – and Appleby feels his charge has earned himself a trip to Santa Anita in early November.

He said: “We were delighted with Old Persian, and he’s come back home in good order.

“The Breeders’ Cup is in our sights – that was the pencilled plan going into the Northern Dancer, and I think he deserves a crack at it now.

“A mile and a half on the turf at Santa Anita should suit him well.”

A few days after the Breeders’ Cup has been run, Appleby will chase a second successive victory in the Melbourne Cup, with last year’s winner Cross Counter set to be joined by stable companion Ispolini.

Read the rest about this Breeders’ Cup Turf contender:

Santa Anita Promotional and Event Calendar

SANTA ANITA PARK 23-DAY AUTUMN MEET OPENS FRIDAY, SEPT. 27

ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 20 2019)–With its 23-day Autumn Meet opener just one week away on Friday, Sept. 27, Santa Anita Park has unveiled its Marketing and Promotion calendar that includes a record 10th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 1 & 2.

2019 Autumn Events & Promotions Schedule

(Every Thursday & Friday Free Club House/General Admission & General Parking)

Fri – Sept. 27

Opening Day

Farriers Package

Turf Terrace Package

$3,000 Football Pick ‘Em (Entries – Sironas Sports Bar)

S2 Beers/$6 Specialty Cocktails (Offered each Friday except Nov. 1)

The Stronach 5 Pick 5

ShowVivor Begins (online contest)

Sat – Sept. 28

Breeders’ Cup Challenge Day

Oktoberfest Trackside – Day 1

Win & You’re In Handicapping Challenge

Chandelier Room Party

Brunch in the FrontRunner

Turf Terrace Package

Golden Road Pub

$3,000 Football Pick ‘Em (Entries – Sironas Sports Bar)

Sun – Sept. 29

$500 Opening Weekend Challenge

Farriers Package

Brunch in the FrontRunner

Turf Terrace Package

Golden Road Pub

Sat – Oct. 5

Oktoberfest Trackside – Day 2

Wine & Spirits Dinner Series

Farriers Package

Brunch in the FrontRunner

Turf Terrace Package

Golden Road Pub

$40 Handicapping Contest

$3,000 Football Pick ‘Em (Entries – Sironas)

Sun – Oct. 6

Farriers Package

Brunch in the FrontRunner

Turf Terrace Package

Golden Road Pub

$40 Handicapping Contest

Sat – Oct. 12

Hot Wings & Craft Beer Festival – Trackside

Farriers Package

Brunch in the FrontRunner

Turf Terrace Package

Golden Road Pub

$40 Handicapping Contest

$3,000 Football Pick ‘Em (Entries – Sironas Sports Bar)

Sun – Oct. 13

Road Kings Car Show – Infield

Farriers Package

Brunch in the FrontRunner

Turf Terrace Package

Golden Road Pub

$40 Handicapping Contest

Mon – Oct. 14

Columbus Day

Dollar Day – $1 Beers, Sodas/$2 Hot Dogs

Farriers Package

Turf Terrace Package

Sat – Oct. 19

Guerra de Michelada’s featuring Live Music- Infield

Pumpkin Patch & Fall Fun Fest – Infield

Farriers Package

Brunch in the FrontRunner

Turf Terrace Package

Golden Road Pub

$40 Handicapping Contest

$3,000 Football Pick ‘Em (Entries – Sironas Sports Bar)

Sun – Oct. 20

Pumpkin Patch & Fall Fun Fest – Infield

Farriers Package

Brunch in the FrontRunner

Turf Terrace Package

Golden Road Pub

$40 Handicapping Contest

Sat – Oct. 26

Pumpkin Patch & Fall Fun Fest – Infield

$500 Betting Challenge

Brunch in the FrontRunner

Turf Terrace Package

Golden Road Pub

$3,000 Football Pick ‘Em (Entries – Sironas Sports Bar)

Sun – Oct. 27

Pumpkin Patch & Fall Fun Fest – Infield

Wiener Dog Races/Costume Contest – Infield

CARMA Aftercare Awareness Day

Farriers Package

Brunch in the FrontRunner

Turf Terrace Package

Golden Road Pub

$40 Handicapping Contest

Fri – Nov. 1

Breeders’ Cup World Championships – Day 1

Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge

The Stronach 5 Pick 5

Sat – Nov. 2

Breeders’ Cup World Championships – Day 2

Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge

Sun – Nov. 3

Closing Day

Mandatory Payouts

Closing Day Betting Challenge

Brunch in the FrontRunner

Turf Terrace Package

Golden Road Pub

For additional information on the 2019 Autumn Meet and/or the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 1 & 2, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

5 Types of Sportsbook Regulars: The Mush And More

From Sportshandle.com, the 5 types of bettors we meet in the sportsbook or track.

THE MUSH

This is the guy who picks losers more than winners. Just like Eddie Mush in A Bronx Tale. If he makes a play on your team, you get that sick feeling in your stomach knowing it’s going to take a miracle to win your bet. Ideally, you want to get his play beforehand and go the other way.

Let it Ride movieMy Mush was Patty Snaps. One of the nicest guys I ever met in the book. A former casino host originally from Ohio, he was a character, and he had great stories. He always had a tip on a horse that couldn’t lose, but did. And when he bet a game, he had it all lined up why it would win.

I called him Patty Snaps because he had the best snap I’ve ever seen when he watched a race or game. You could hear it from a mile away. Impressive really.

But Snaps was the guy whose horse would win then get taken down by an inquiry. And his teams would either lose in epic, last minute finishes or get blown out by 50. His favorite line was “If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”

Post Times for the Two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita

Source: Breeders’ Cup

ARCADIA, Calif. (September 24, 2019) – The Breeders’ Cup today announced post times for the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 races with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, which will be held on Nov. 1-2, 2019 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.

The official race order and wagering menu for both days of the Championships will be announced on Wednesday, Oct. 23.

Get the latest Breeders’ Cup news from AGOS here.

The 36th Breeders’ Cup begins on Friday, Nov. 1 with Future Stars Friday, featuring all five Breeders’ Cup World Championships races for 2-year-olds, which comprises half of the 10-race program. There will be four undercard races preceding the first Breeders’ Cup race, with first race post time at 10:45 a.m. PT.

Friday’s first Breeders’ Cup race will be Race #5, which will have a post time of 1:12 p.m. PT. The $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile will be the ninth race on the card, with a post time of 4:03 p.m. PT. Post time for the 10th and final race will be 4:43 p.m. PT.

There will be 12 races on the Saturday, Nov. 2 program, featuring nine Breeders’ Cup World Championships races. The day begins with three undercard races with a first race post time of 10:07 a.m. PT. The first Breeders’ Cup race will be Race #4, which will have a post time of 11:55 a.m. PT.

Post time for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, Race #12, will be 5:44 p.m. PT.

2019 BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
POST-TIMES
ALL TIMES PACIFIC

Friday, November 1
Race 1 10:45 AM
Race 2 11:20 AM
Race 3 11:55 PM
Race 4 12:32 PM
Race 5 1:12 PM
Race 6 1:52 PM
Race 7 2:32 PM
Race 8 3:12 PM
Race 9 4:03 PM TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
Race 10 4:43 PM

Saturday, November 2
Race 1 10:07 AM
Race 2 10:42 AM
Race 3 11:17 AM
Race 4 11:55 AM
Race 5 12:33 PM
Race 6 1:10 PM
Race 7 1:54 PM
Race 8 2:36 PM
Race 9 3:20 PM
Race 10 4:00 PM
Race 11 4:40 PM
Race 12 5:44 PM Breeders’ Cup Classic

ALL POST-TIMES ARE PACIFIC TIME

About Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 championship races (13 Grade 1 events and one Grade 2 race) with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held on November 1-2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Horse racing on the decline? Not in this state, according to local industry leader

The Massachusetts Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (MTHA) became the third group to enter the race to re-establish the sport, partnering with an investment group in pursuit of a $60 million race complex in Rowley that seeks to hold at least 60 live racing events each year, the Boston Globe reported. Other projects include a $300 million pitch from the Notos Group to develop a multi-purpose complex around a new track and a $15 million initiative from Suffolk Downs’ former owners to revitalize the Great Barrington Fairgrounds.

The three projects seeking approval will have to overcome the financial difficulties that doomed Suffolk Downs as well as sagging fan interest, participation and horse safety concerns that have plagued the sport in recent years. MTHA President Bill Lagario argues that Suffolk Downs’ issues were due to mismanagement rather than a sign of a dying industry.

“We don’t feel as though we’re coming into a market that’s dead, but we feel as though we’re coming into a market that the perception around everybody was that it was pronounced dead a long time ago,” Lagario told FOX Business. “You don’t have to go back too long ago to see 35,000 people at the Massachusetts Handicap.”

Wagering on U.S. horse racing events experienced a significant decline in recent years to roughly $11.2 billion in 2018 from $16 billion in the early 2000s, according to Equibase. A recent New York Times report that 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify failed a drug test ahead of his history-making run reignited calls for stricter, uniform standards for the treatment of horses.

Local race horse owners hoping to have Breeders’ Cup runner

The recent Saratoga Race Course meet was a solid one for local race horse owners Ralph Durante and John Buckley, both of North Haven, as they hope for the success to continue in the upcoming Breeders’ Cup.

“The meet was great, a million people were in attendance (entire season) for the fifth straight year and the racing overall was exciting,” Durante said. Durante and Buckley are horse-race owners as part of the Donegal Racing syndicate. “Our Donegal Racing group had horses in nine races during the meet. Most of our horses were 2-year-olds and we had one winner, two thirds and a fourth place.

“Everyone showcases their horses at Saratoga at a track where the competition is the best in the world. All the owners want their 2-year-olds to be be viable 3-year-olds to become potential Triple Crown prospects.”

The last day of the Saratoga meet was on Labor Day. A week after the Saratoga meet, Donegal Racing entered Arklow in the $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky Downs. Arklow won the race in 2018…

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes – Sept 19

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes –  free feature for Agameofskill.com horse racing fans and handicappers.

CANTERBURY PARK

WHY GOD (Race 10 @CBY, 9/14/19) – Broke from an impossible tough post going two turns and consequently went very wide into that first turn.  Flew home late on the rail, belatedly, but galloped out in front of the winner in a sneaky good performance.

GULSTREAM PARK

HEAR MY PRAYER (Race 5 @GP, 9/5/19) – 2nd time starter from David Fisher loved the move to the grass.  The half sibling to 2 grass winners went quickly to the front in this 5 furlong dash and never looked back.  2yo filly is by The Big Beast who was very fast.

GAMBLA (Race 6 @GP, 9/5/19) – Debut runner from Hess barn that usually doesn’t fire first time out.  3yo filly broke poorly from the rail but finished sneaky well in a good performance.  Sports a nice pedigree.  Can move forward.

KENTUCKY DOWNS

TALAALAH (Race 7 @ KD, 9/12/19) – This 4yo Candy Ride filly has some good figs at the maiden special weights level on the grass but was given a tough task stretching out to 1 mile in this good field.  Look for the cut back to 6 furlongs or thereabouts.

ARCHIDUST (Race 9 @ KD, 9/12/19) – Undefeated turf runner broke dead last from the rail in this full field feature event.  Sophomore colt rallied sneaky well to a respectable finish in a race that is much better than it looks.

 

Handicapping Tip of the Day #49 – Why I Passed on $326,599 in Free Money

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

by Rich Nilsen

Tuesday night, September 10, 2019, featured a mandatory payout of the Jackpot Pick-5 wager at Prairie Meadows.  This jackpot wager had been building for months and, with closing day on tap, it was time to pay it all out.  This equated to $326,599 in free money in the pool.  Those funds, plus whatever was wagered (minus the 15% takeout), would be distributed to all the winners.

Despite the slow Tuesday of racing, and the fact that Prairie Meadows had recently been hosting quarter horse racing instead of Thoroughbreds, it seemed like everyone knew about it.  Major ADWs were sending out emails.  People were posting all over social media.  It seemed like if you were a horseplayer, especially one who liked horizontal wagers, you were playing it.

I was among them and was planning to participate.  My first concern was the notice that Des Moines, Iowa and the racetrack had been pounded with rain overnight.  How that might affect the track, even though it figured to be dry by post time, was anyone’s guess.

The second and more important issue was the entries.  The fields were large and with not knowing the track very well, that gave me pause.  If I could find one or two standouts, or a couple of races where I could easily narrow the field down to, let’s say, two major players, then this could be an affordable ticket.

However, that was not the case.  I was having trouble narrowing down the contenders in all five races.  Consequently, this sequence looked like it could pay gangbusters.  Of course, that’s the type of Pick-5 I want to be a part of.  I went back through it again, looking to narrow the races down to even 4-5 plays in most races.  I found it very difficult, regardless of the 2.57% edge as indicated by expert Marshall Gramm.*

Pick-5 Cost

A 4 x 4 x 4 x 5  x 5 partwheel is 1,600 combinations.  With the large fields there were 62,370 possible combinations.   At the $.50 base wager, this type of ticket would cost $800.  This was more than I wanted to spend when I wasn’t confident I would hit.  If I was wrong in just one race, I was toast.

The wise decision was to pass despite the six figures of “free” money.   The winning combination ended up returning $1,737.05.  This was a generous payoff considering the results, but it was hardly a life-changing score.

Recognizing when the situation isn’t right for you and passing on the so-called opportunity is very important.  Another big carryover is right around the corner.

Best of luck!

 

*If you want to learn more about the game, follow Marshall’s tweets.