Archives for February 2020

Kentucky Derby: Is the Time Right for Dennis’ Moment?

“He’s just a good horse,” he said. “He’s only going to improve.”

Dennis’ Moment hasn’t raced since stumbling badly at the start of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 1 and finishing last after going to the gate as the 4-5 favorite. He earned favoritism over Eight Rings by virtue of a 19 1/4-length maiden victory at Ellis Park on July 27.

The son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow followed up that monster victory with a 1 3/4-length win in the Grade III Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs on Sept. 14, prompting some to believe he was a potential star. He’s been working well for his return, according to trainer Dale Romans.

“He hasn’t missed a beat. His progression has been great,” Romans told Gulfstream Park publicists.

Romans hasn’t lost any confidence in his colt, whose return is being highly anticipated in South Florida.

Get Art Wilson’s Top Six Derby horses:

Horse Races with No Spectators?

Coronavirus Strikes Horses Races in Japan

The Japan Racing Association said on Thursday that it will hold its horse races without spectators for the time being starting Saturday.

The association says the decision was made to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

The horse races are the latest in a number of sporting events to be canceled or postponed as a result of the outbreak.

Maximum Security Headlines World’s Richest Horse Race

The $20 million Saudi Cup to become world's richest horse race$20M Saudi Cup this Saturday

Eye-watering amounts of money are on offer in Saturday’s Saudi Cup as the brand new horse race takes the crown as the sport’s richest event.

The race is offering an incredible $20 million prize purse — with a staggering $10 million going to the team behind the winning horse.

It will overtake the Dubai World Cup — with a purse of $12 million in 2019 — as racing’s most lucrative prize as the kingdom continues its big-money push onto the global sporting stage.

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“This is headline-grabbing stuff and it’s more about making a statement about Saudi Arabia to announce itself to the racing world and create something that’s a statement of intent,” said Alastair Donald, of global race promoter the International Racing Bureau.

The nine-furlong dirt race will be contested at the King Abdulaziz racetrack in the country’s capital and comes after a number of recent sporting spectacles in the region.

More about World’s Richest Horse Race:

Don’t Raid the Horse Racing Fund in Pennsylvania

Opinion Piece

“In his 2020 state budget, Governor Tom Wolf has proposed student debt forgiveness for our PA state system graduates when they agree to stay in PA for 6 years after graduation. This is a bold initiative and worthy of exploration. The second oldest state in the US needs these skilled, eager young people to stay, work, and make a life in PA. On the surface there is not much to object to; however, the Governor’s proposal would be paid for with $200 million from the PA State Horse Racing Development Fund.

This fund was created by Act 71 of 2004 and uses proceeds from slots to support breeding of top-level race horses, to further strengthen our agricultural economy. In this budget scenario, the issue of addressing PA student loan debt now quickly becomes swapping futures, those of hard-working families and business owners for the futures of our kids. The film Sophie’s Choice comes to mind.

I strongly reject the perception that the horse racing industry in our state is run exclusively by wealthy horse owners and that the only ones who benefit economically are owners. Many owners form partnerships in order to share costs, and the cost to breed, train and care for a race horse is steep. It’s also a well- documented fact that this industry supports our local, regional, and state economy.

The list of direct and downstream businesses includes breeders, owners, trainers, farms that lease space, the breeding and training facility owners and workers, mechanics, manure haulers and composters, small and large animal veterinarians, veterinary pharmaceuticals, grain and hay farmers, feed and supply businesses (a business my family was in for nearly 100 years), shipping and transport, hotel and restaurant, software and many more. At this point…”

World’s Richest Horse Race, Saudi Cup, this Saturday

With a prize pot of $20m (there is $29.2m across the eight-race card), it will become the richest race in the world, surpassing the Pegasus World Cup in Florida, which was the world’s richest race in 2018 before deciding to split its $16m fund across two races in 2019 (PWC further slashed the prize purse this year to the $3m Pegasus World Cup and $1m Pegasus Turf World Cup). It even trumps the $12m Dubai World Cup by some considerable margin.

The prize for the winning horse will be $10m, with horses down to 10th place sharing another $10m between them.

And it has the potential to be part of the greatest horse racing meeting of the year, according to Tom Ryan, Saudi Jockey Club’s director of strategy and international racing…

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Belmont winner, top sire A.P. Indy dies at 31

A.P. Indy was retired and returned home to Lane’s End in 1993, where he began to dominate the North American sire ranks. He was the leading sire in 2003 and 2006 and stayed in the top-10 for 10 straight years, siring 88 graded stakes winners including 2000 Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Status; 2006 Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini; 2007 Kentucky Oaks and Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches; and 2015 Met Mile and Whitney winner Honor Code.

A.P. Indy was the grandsire of Tapit, a three-time North American leading sire who is known for producing Belmont winners, meaning that 2014 Belmont winner Tonalist, 2016 winner Creator and 2017 winner Tapwrit count A.P. Indy as an ancestor. Others in his sire line include 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome; 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb; and a slew of Breeders’ Cup and other major stakes winners.

Through his daughters, A.P. Indy …

British Horseracing Authority to Monitor Betting Trends on Irish Racing

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) has signed a deal with the British Horseracing Authority to monitor the betting trends on Irish racing.

The four-year commercial package was estimated at the time to cost €350,000 and the British Horseracing Authority has ultimately emerged successful.

“We will be working together in different areas of intelligence. It’s just a stronger link between the two of us,” an IHRB spokesman said.

The tender replicated other sports organisations around the world which have employed sports betting monitoring companies in recent years.

“We are outsourcing an element of our function. It’s the same as using a third party service provider to provide the laboratory, or to provide camera pictures. This will be a monitoring service,” IHRB’s chief executive Denis Egan said.

PA Governor proposes using Funds from Horse Racing to help with college tuition

“Three years ago the governor signed a bill to create that trust fund that couldn’t be touched, and now three years later he’s coming back and taking $200 million out of 250 dollars. All those jobs would be lost, all these horses would have to be re-homed, the economy would be devastated.” ~ Kim Hankins, the executive director of Meadows Standard Bred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, Pa. — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is proposing to cut $204 million from the Race Horse Development Fund and moving it to help college students with tuition.

The governor says the money would support the Nellie Bly tuition program, which provides financial assistance to targeted full-time students who agree to stay in Pennsylvania for the same number of years for which they receive the benefit.

Governor Wolf tells Channel 11′s Cara Sapida that the legislature would need to approve the transfer of the tax dollars going to purse winnings for owners, trainers and jockeys, and redirect them to this scholarship program.

Pete Peterson, executive director of the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition, told Channel 11 that money in the Race Horse Development Trust Fund comes from an assessment paid by casinos on their gross terminal revenues from slot machine gaming. The legislature noted in the 2017 Race Horse Industry Reform Act that the money isn’t funds of the Commonwealth and that the “Commonwealth shall not be rightfully entitled to any money” in the RHDTF.

Guaranteed pools of $100k and $400k on Saturday’s Fair Grounds card

New Orleans (February 12, 2020) – Guaranteed pools of $100,000 (races 7-10) and $400,000 (races 10-13) respectively will be offered on the final two Pick Four wagers on Saturday’s “Louisiana Derby Preview Day” card at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Race 10, the Fair Grounds (G3), is a part of both of these Pick Fours. The minimum Pick Four wager is 50-cents.

$100,000 Guaranteed Pick Four Pool – Races 7-10 (48 total betting interests, average of 12 per race). Scheduled post time for race seven is 2:59 p.m. CT (3:59 p.m. ET).

  • Race 7 – Maiden special weight, 3yo’s, 6 furlongs. 11 horses entered with ten betting interests. Verb is the 7-2 morning line favorite with seven others installed between 4-1 and 10-1.
  • Race 8 – The Albert M. Stall Memorial, f&m, 4yo & up, 1 1/16 miles turf, 16 horses entered including two also eligibles. The 5/2 morning line favorite is defending champ Mitchell Road followed by Zofelle at 9/2 and Quebec at 6-1.
  • Race 9 – The Mineshaft (G3), 4yo & up, 1 1/16 miles, 11 horses entered (Captivating Moon is cross-entered in the Fair Grounds). Defending champ Silver Dust is the 5-2 morning line favorite with seven others installed between 4-1 and 10-1.
  • Race 10 – The Fair Grounds (G3), 4yo & up, 1 1/8 miles turf, 14 horses entered (Captivating Moon is cross-entered in the Mineshaft). Two-time defending champ Synchrony is the 3-1 morning line favorite with five others installed between 9-2 and 10-1.
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$400,000 Guaranteed “All Graded Stakes” Pick Four Pool – Races 10-13 (44 total betting interests, average of 11 per race). Scheduled post time for race ten is 4:32 p.m. CT (4:32 p.m. ET).


  • Race 10 – The Fair Grounds (G3), 4yo & up, 1 1/8 miles turf, 14 horses entered (Captivating Moon is cross-entered in Mineshaft). Two-time defending champ Synchrony is the 3-1 morning line favorite with five others installed between 9-2 and 10-1.
  • Race 11 – The Rachel Alexandra (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton, 3yo fillies, 1 1/16 miles, seven horses entered. The morning line favorite at 8-5 is Eclipse Award Two-Year-Old Filly Champion British Idiom and the close second choice at 2-1 is three-time stakes winner Finite. None of the other five are higher that 12-1.
  • Race 12 – Division one of The Risen Star (G2) presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln, 3yo’s, 1 1/8 miles, 11 horses entered. Lecomte (G3) winner Enforceable is the lukewarm 7-2 morning line favorite, with six others installed between 4-1 and 10-1.
  • Race 13 — Division two of The Risen Star (G2) presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln, 3yo’s, 1 1/8 miles, 12 horses entered. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) runner-up Anneau d’Or is the 9-5 morning line favorite with seven others installed between 9-2 and 10-1.

There are seven total stakes on the 13-race “Louisiana Derby Preview Day” card. The split divisions of the Risen Star (G2) presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln are each worth a total of 85 points (50-20-10-5) on the Road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve and the Rachel Alexandra (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton is worth 85 points (50-20-10-5) on the Road to the Longines Kentucky Oaks.

Bookies braced for Cheltenham betting bonanza

UK bookmakers are bracing themselves for a record breaking Cheltenham Festival this year. The meeting runs from March 10th to 13th with punters expected to gamble in excess of half a billion pounds over the four-day meeting.

The Cheltenham Festival is the highlight of the jumps racing season in Great Britain and Ireland with 28 top class races totalling over £4.5 million in prize money. The festival accounts for more than half of the top forty betting races in the UK in terms of turnover. So where can we expect to see the smart money go at Cheltenham 2020?

Epatante favourite for Champion Hurdle

The Champion Hurdle is the feature race on the opening day with leading owner J.P. McManus chasing a record ninth win in the race. Trainer Nicky Henderson is only one behind him and they team up with ante-post favourite Epatante. She was a 33-1 outsider at the start of the season but those odds were slashed following her impressive win in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

There has also been a very strong market move for Henderson’s Shishkin in the opening Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He put an early season fall behind him to register easy victories at Newbury and Huntingdon and will probably start even shorter than his current odds of 3-1.

Ireland has won 10 of the 12 renewals of the Mares’ Hurdle and has the two market leaders this year in Benie Des Dieux and Honeysuckle. Connections of both horses are considering a tilt at the Champion Hurdle as an alternative so punters should make sure they bet only “with a run”.

Altior aiming for fifth Cheltenham Festival win

Henderson will also be the focus of attention on day 2 with star chaser Altior going for his third successive Champion Chase and fifth festival success. His record unbeaten run of 19 races came to an end over a longer distance at Ascot in November. The ten-year-old successfully reverted to his optimum trip of two miles at Newbury in February.

Steeplechase scene black whiteAltior faces stiff opposition in Defi Du Seuil and Chacun Pour Soi but is certain to attract huge public support.You can get a comprehensive guide to every race at the festival and free Cheltenham Tips at the OLBG website. This long-established site hosts a thriving racing forum as well as providing interesting statistics, betting trends and pointers.

Henderson has yet another leading Cheltenham contender in Champ, as short as 7-2 favourite for the RSA Chase despite falling on his last start. Envoi Allen is rated by many as the Irish banker bet of the meeting in the opening Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. Many punters will be keen to double him up with the Willie Mullins-trained Appreciate It in the Champion Bumper, a race the trainer has won a record 9 times.

A spectacular day’s racing could be capped by Tiger Roll, the winner of the Aintree Grand National for the past two seasons. He is favourite to win the Cross Country Chase for a third successive season.

Paisley Park expected to dominate Stayers’ Hurdle

Paisley Park is the shortest priced favourite of the weekin the Stayers’ Hurdle on day 3. He is unbeaten in seven races and has won his prep races with the minimum of fuss.Sire Du Berlais landed one of the biggest gambles of the week in the Pertemps Network Final 12 months’ ago. He caught the eye when qualifying at Warwick this season and it would be no surprise to see him start shorter than his current odds of 8-1.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday is the climax of the meeting, won last year by 12-1 chance Al Boum Photo. He is a general 4-1 favourite to become the first horse since Best Mate (2002-2004) to retain his crown. Delta Work and Kemboy, first and second in the Irish Gold Cup, give the raiding party a very strong hand again this year.

On a cautionary note, the final day of the meeting in 2019 proved to be a bonanza for bookmakers with winners at 66-1, 50-1 and 20-1. Only Hazel Hill in the Foxhunter Chase prevented a whitewash for favourite backers.

By Harvey Mayson