Archives for March 2020

Santa Anita Derby Postponed Due to Track’s Closure

Source: Santa Anita

SANTA ANITA TO REMAIN CLOSED FOR LIVE RACING THROUGH WEEKEND PER ORDER OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT

Santa Anita Park will remain closed for live racing through this weekend as it abides by the order issued last week from the Los Angeles County Health Department as it relates to essential businesses.  At this time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 at Santa Anita Park.

The prestigious Santa Anita Derby and Santa Anita Oaks, which were set to headline the racing program on Saturday, April 4, will be rescheduled for later in the season after racing resumes.

Boom Time for California Horse RacingAt Santa Anita Park, the health, safety and welfare of every person and every horse in our community remains our top priority.  We are continuing to have constructive dialogue with the LA County Health Department and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and her staff.  In cooperation with our industry stake holders, a proposal was submitted earlier this week which we believe was fully responsive to their requests.  We have yet to receive a satisfactory response to that proposal.

Numerous racetracks around the country are continuing to operate.  They are running for exactly the same reasons that Santa Anita is trying to communicate to LA County officials — because the consequences of closing down the economic engine that fuels the community makes the risks and potential issues significantly worse when racing is closed and only training allowed.

There are over 1,700 horses stabled at Santa Anita who require daily care provided by more than 750 backstretch team members. Most of these team members live on-site and have been operating under stringent new measures for protection aligned with the best guidance from local and international health and government authorities on COVID-19. The track has been closed to the general public and closed to all but essential personnel since March 12, 2020.

We will continue to work with county health authorities to familiarize them with the protocols already in place and our plans to protect the health and safety of the community who works with the horses and calls Santa Anita home.

We look forward to the return of live racing at Santa Anita as soon as approval is received from local regulators.

Covid-19? Australian horse racing and harness racing race on

Horse racing and harness racing continues on after a coronavirus scare, with the industry saying they will continue operating unless explicitly prohibited by health advice. Racing, including greyhound racing, is one of the last organized sports still operating in Australia after shutdown rules …

Thompson said horse racing supports 25,000 direct and indirect jobs in Victoria alone. According to the Australian Skills and Industry Committee, about 11,400 people are employed directly in horse and dog racing in Australia.

Unlike other sports, racing has animal care requirements which cannot be shut down.

“In announcing the resumption of racing, I want to assure the Victorian community that racing will continue to operate under strict biosecurity protocols and where required act decisively, as we did when suspending racing yesterday, should there be any risk to the health of our industry stakeholders and the wider community,” Thompson said.

Get great cash back rates on all Australia racing learn more here.

Click here to learn about earning real cash back with every wager. Enter promo code AGOS for added rebates and signup bonus

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes – March 31

Horses to Watch & Trip Notes for AGOS visitors. Agameofskill.com is an educational website for handicappers.  Thank you for visiting and saving this site to your favorites!

GULFSTREAM PARK

PROJECTED (Race 3, GP 3/18/2020) – Veteran 8yo gelding was boxed in throughout the running of this turf race and never really had a chance under Tyler Gaff.  Fits well at the $30,000 claimer level so give another chance next out vs. similar.

JUNGLE WARRIOR (Race 6, GP 3/18/2020) – This Sid Attard runner went to his nose badly at the start of this dirt sprint but somehow managed to recover and get up for third is a sneaky great performance.  Note that lone win is on turf.   He had been working really well on dirt leading up to his first start in 3 months.

MISS AURAMET (Race 9 @GP, 3/6/2020) – This race was loaded with early speed but this turf sprinter outran them all early en route to a gate to wire victory.  She’s now 8-3-2-2 on the turf, all in 5 furlong dashes.

Handicapping Tip of the Day #51 – Find One Percent More

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

By ART PARKER

If you play this game long enough and if you love it then you will try to figure things a million different ways attempting win. I’ve been playing the horses virtually my entire adult life. I just got my Medicare card in the mail so that will let you know about how long it has been.

Like many of you I have done one study after another, researched no telling how many angles and I have one of the very finest sets of trainer pattern files you have ever seen. Once a month my wife gives me an authoritative lecture on all the stuff in my office in the house. Of course what she really wants to know is when I will dispose of more of the horse racing stuff. I simply say I can‘t get rid of any more right now. When she asks why, I always responded with, “Because there may be another winner somewhere in that stuff.”

I was like everyone else in my early years in racing in that I thought about how to get rich every time I went to the track. I would see a huge Pick Six payout and think I just had to start playing for all of those big jackpots, and I have hit a few in my time. I’m just scared to tally up the losses incurred trying to hit a boxcar payout.

After many years I finally realized that those who hit the big ones and make money in the long run are few and far between. I realized one is better off taking a profit, ever how small, and then achieving the same result the next day.

The difficulty in the “grind it out” approach is that us humans can‘t equate making a weekly profit at the track to getting a weekly paycheck. When we go to work we don’t expect to get rich on Thursday, but we expect that in one afternoon at the track.

I majored in corporate finance in college. I learned all about stocks, bonds, warrants, options, mutual funds, balance sheets, P&L, and all that boring stuff. In that field there is one thing you never forget – the importance of a percentage point; if I had just one percent more return, if cash flow was just one percent better, etc.

Just recently I conducted another study using a few variables regarding speed and class with results below.

 

Win bets only.

Number of races = 526.

Number of winners with method tested = 176.

Winning rate = 33.46 %

Total payoffs = $ 1,080.5

Average payoff = $ 6.14

Total invested at $2 per win ticket = $1,052

Net profit = $ 28.50

Return on investment (ROI) = 2.71 %

 

Many would look at this and see very little money. Well, if you wagered $20.00 per race then your profit would be $ 285.00. Of course, it would still be the same ROI.

Now if the efficiency with this method were increased by only 1% then another five (5) races would be cashed. That would increase the total winnings by $30.70. Again, not much money. But what about ROI? The winnings increase to $59.20 and the ROI increases to 5.62%.

Just think. If you can increase your winning efficiency by just 1%, you would more than double your return on investment.

Does that sound like a good deal?

I believe it would sound good at any business school.

Analysis of Florida Derby, Selections for Full Card and Rainbow Six Races

Expert Selections with Analysis/Wagers for the Florida Derby, a great betting race!

The carryover stands at $1,664,935 for the Rainbow Pick 6 Jackpot. Saturday is Mandatory Payout Day.

Rich Nilsen handicapperRich Nilsen, founder of AGameofSkill.com and one of the top tournament players in the history of the NHC, offers up his Spot Play analysis for the Florida Derby, all the supporting stakes, and the entire Rainbow Six sequence.

The expert analysis provides selections for the full card and commentary on six of the stakes races.  Wagering strategies are included for the 2020 Florida Derby, which includes a price horse on top!

Each race offered includes Nilsen’s detailed pace scenario which explains how the race will set up.  This is one of the most important features of the report.  Learn the pace scenario for all 14 races on this amazing card.

Put an expert on your side as you attack Gulfstream Park on this huge day.

 

Only $11.97 for Full card selections including the Rainbow  Six races.  Analysis with comments on six stakes races, Florida Derby Analysis with Wagering Strategies, 

Portion of the Proceeds will be donated to Acacia Courtney’s Aftercare Alliance Foundation.

Instant download, PDF file – click here

Santa Anita Abruptly Shuts Downs. FL Derby Still a Go Tomorrow

Source:  Santa Anita

March 27, 2020

In accordance with instructions received from Los Angeles County Health Department, Santa Anita Park will temporarily close for live racing effective immediately in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Santa AnitaWe apologize for the late notice affecting today’s racing program, but Santa Anita is abiding by the instructions issued this morning by the California Horse Racing Board to operate under the sanction of the local health authorities.

At Santa Anita Park, the health, safety and welfare of every person and every horse in our community is our top priority. At this time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 at Santa Anita Park. This measure is being taken in response to a mandate from LA County officials.

At Santa Anita Park, there are over 1,700 horses stabled who require daily care. That care is provided by the 750 backstretch team members, most who live on-site and have been operating under stringent new measures for protection aligned with the best guidance from local and international health and government authorities on COVID-19. The track has been closed to the general public and to closed all but essential personnel since March 12, 2020.

We will continue to work with authorities to familiarize them with the protocols which have been put in place to protect the health and safety of those who work with the horses and the horses themselves.

We look forward to the return of live racing at Santa Anita as soon as approval is received from local regulators.

COVID-19 and Horse Racing

Good luck at sorting this out

By ART PARKER

Like everyone else I was disappointed when the Kentucky Derby was postponed. I did a double take when the proposed new date was September 5, the first Saturday in September. My next thought was the scheduling mess that would most assuredly come, especially since the full impact of the coronavirus  (COVID-19) remains unknown.

The new date of the Derby is not too close to the Breeder’s Cup, scheduled for the first Saturday in November at Keeneland. What happens to the other big races could be the real problem.

The latest on Gulfstream Park, the Florida Derby and COVID-19

The first thought I had was the Travers. I think many will agree that the Travers is the most important three year old race next to the Derby. If a horse wins the Derby and the Preakness then the importance of the Belmont is elevated beyond the Travers, but generally speaking I feel the Travers is second only to the Derby.

Saratoga canopy walk throughThe Travers is scheduled for August 29, just one week before the rescheduled Derby. It can’t happen that way. It just can’t. To make matters worse the Alabama is scheduled for August 22, less than two full weeks for the new Kentucky Oaks date of September 4. To me the Alabama is the premier race for three year old fillies. Having the Alabama that close to the Oaks? Again, it can‘t happen that way.

The Saratoga problems begin with the rescheduling of the Derby, but it could be worse depending upon what happens with the Preakness and the Belmont. I read the other day that someone suggested we start with the Derby on September 5 and then wait two weeks for the Preakness and then wait three weeks for the Belmont – the usual intervals between Triple Crown races. If so, that would put the Belmont on October 10 four weeks before the Breeder’s Cup. Some may think this is workable but it would place the better three year olds in a whirlwind of activity in a very short period of time. I believe it will provide the older horses in the Classic Division a big advantage over the sophomores.

Unless the Preakness and Belmont are run before the Derby then the Triple Crown will cause problems for the Breeder’s Cup, unless those races are cancelled. If the Preakness and Belmont are run before the Derby then huge problems are created for the Saratoga meeting, and possibly others.

Added to this is the difficulty of planning a path for a three year old. Trainers will have a difficult time finding appropriate prep races if the racing world remains in its current state. One major issue that has a guiding hand over the timing of races is television. Racing cannot afford to lose the airwaves for the huge races. Even if television goes along for fall racing broadcasts then there will be a fight with college football early in its season – a fight guaranteed to result in cuts and bruises.

How much leadership does the American racing industry have? We will soon know the answer.

New Zealand Horse Racing Shut Down

From horsebetting.com.au

All racing in New Zealand is to be shut down for four weeks as the country moves to level four of the Covid-19 alert system.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing New Zealand, Greyhound Racing New Zealand and the TAB, have met to discuss what steps the industry needs to take to protect the livelihoods of participants..

“While the country will effectively be in lockdown, the welfare of our animals remains as an essential service during this time,” NZ Thoroughbred Racing said.

“Horses and dogs will still need to be fed, exercised and cared for during this time.

“People caring for our animals will need to look at stringent procedures around staffing levels and any contact between staff members.

“We recognise that these are challenging times for everyone within our industry and we will be working closely with those impacted to help them through the coming weeks.”

New Zealand has been on level three alert and will move to level four from Wednesday which means:

  • People instructed to stay at home
  • Educational facilities closed
  • Businesses closed except for essential services (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics) and lifeline utilities.
  • Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities
  • Travel severely limited
  • Major reprioritisation of healthcare services.

Handicapping Tip of the Day #50 – Just Say No

Eliminate these types of races from your playbook

These races are written for losers and they make for easy losing at the windows.

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

By ART PARKER

Like everyone else it took me a while to understand that playing every race is not a good idea. You have to pick your battles. You need to develop expertise and stick to what works best for you.

For me, I strongly prefer dirt sprints. Those at least three years old. On the main track. No maidens. No stakes. That’s my preference.

But there is one of those races I immediately toss out even if it meets the initial qualifications. It is the race you are more likely to see at the cheaper tracks and at the lower claiming levels.

It is the non-winners of two lifetime. I would almost play two-year-olds in April instead of the NW2L. It’s not all races in that class, just those where the field is packed with losers.

I was taking a look at a card recently of one of the cheaper tracks. Eight races were carded that day, three were sprints as I described earlier. The first race I examined looked to be worth closer study. The next one was marginal. The last one was quickly one of those, “Don’t even think about it” races.

This particular NW2L met the perfect description of a race to avoid. There were nine entrants. Three had over 30 lifetime starts. All but one of the others had more than 20 lifetime starts. The horse with the best winning percentage was one for 19. I think the collective field was nine for 193.

These horses haven’t figured it out, or they are in horrible physical condition or have no desire to compete. It could be anything – they just will not run. Yes, one of them will win not because of a solid performance but because the performance of the winner is just not as sorry as the others.

These races are written for losers and they make for easy losing at the windows. When you see these races, just say “No.”

Rory McIlroy shows great strength to return as golf’s world number one

A fresh-faced McIlroy during his early emergence in the world of golfNorthern Irish golfing superstar Rory McIlroy has returned to the top spot in the golf world rankings for the first time in almost five years. Golf’s complex points system, which calculates the position of the sport’s top players based on recent results and performances, placed McIlroy a full point ahead of American Brooks Koepka who has held the number-one ranking for 38 weeks.

For sure, the 30-year-old may have taken advantage of Koepka’s recent injury issues in the back-end of 2019 due to a troublesome knee problem, but McIlroy has taken full advantage of Koepka’s loss of fitness and form. After Koepka won the PGA Championship in May 2019, he has won just one tournament on the PGA Tour since and only one additional top-ten finish. By contrast, the four-time major winner has been a regular feature towards the top of tournament leaderboards.

Impeccable consistency the key to McIlroy’s world ranking resurgence

For sure, one of the main reasons for McIlroy’s resurgence in world golf has been due to his rock-solid tournament results, securing regular high finishes without winning events outright and capturing the media spotlight too much. Many wondered whether McIlroy’s career was heading for a downward spiral after the Northern Irishman failed to perform at his home Royal Portrush course in The Open last year, missing the cut in heart-breaking circumstances.

Brooks Koepka has struggled for form in recent months

However, following a much-needed period of self-reflection, McIlroy was able to recharge the batteries and hit the courses once again – and hit them he has. Since that ill-fated 2019 Open appearance, McIlroy has only finished lower than sixth place twice in the 11 tournaments he has entered. Self-reflection is something that most skill-based sport professionals should engage in more. It’s important to be self-critical and review flaws or leaks in technique as well as strategies to improve and develop for the long-term.

Even though Brooks Koepka insisted he wasn’t looking in his “rear-view mirror” at the likes of an ever-improving McIlroy, the Northern Irishman has gone about his business with calm precision. His Tour Championship success last September was backed up by victory in the Shanghai World Golf Championships, which well and truly laid down a marker for Koepka and co.

No-one can argue that McIlroy is a streaky golfer any longer

Even after the Christmas season, McIlroy showed no signs of letting up. He featured at Torrey Pines, where he finished tied for third place. It was a result that would prove enough to help him leap-frog Koepka into top spot in the world rankings for February and beyond. Such is his form that it was no surprise to see him rated as the rated as the favourite by the sportsbooks for the currently postponed PGA Championship.

But despite his recent reliability on the courses, McIlroy has found it almost impossible to shed the tag of being a somewhat ‘streaky’ golfer. At face value, you can understand the tag to some extent. After all, it’s been over five years since McIlroy’s last of his four majors. However, you really need to dig a little deeper to realise that McIlroy has been one of the top performers in world golf for over a decade now, despite an inability to build on his major successes.

Since the end of the 2009 season, when McIlroy entered the top ten of the world rankings, the Northern Irishman has dropped no lower than 13th since then. It’s a remarkable feat made even more impressive when you acknowledge that even the likes of Jordan Spieth and Jason Day have dropped to 49th and 38th in the rankings of late. The harsh reality of professional golf is that each tournament can have only one winner, but multiple players can play well each event without getting the silverware they deserve.

A laudable commitment to his body as well as his golf game

Not only is Rory McIlroy a mercurial golf talent, he is also an exceptional athlete too. There is no better proof of McIlroy’s commitment to looking after his body than his recent metrics posted on his Peloton bike. The home-based cycling craze has been adopted by McIlroy, who admitted recent impressive statistics posted via Peloton were attributed to him. The figures showed that McIlroy was capable of riding almost 20 miles on his Peloton bike at an average speed of more than 26mph. It placed him 11th out of the total 9,240 active riders on the Peloton leaderboard.

McIlroy revealed that while he owns a Peloton bike at home, he does his best to hop aboard a Peloton bike two or three times a week when he’s away on tour. McIlroy’s figures have created a sense of competition among professional golfers that use the subscription-based Peloton service. Billy Horschel is one such player from the PGA Tour to try and pit their physical attributes against McIlroy’s figures. Unfortunately for Horschel, he only managed 17 miles at an average speed of 23mph.

McIlroy throws his weight behind the PGA Tour

Despite being one of golf’s box office players, Rory McIlroy has also recently given the PGA Tour a much-needed vote of confidence in the face of a potential Premier Golf League being established. A breakaway circuit has been recently mooted, with a $240 million proposal recently rejected by McIlroy in favour of being “on the right side of history”.

An unknown consortium is reportedly keen to create a new competition format for the sport’s top 48 players in the world rankings, who would compete in an 18-event campaign. Every tournament would feature a highly lucrative $10 million purse, with winners picking up $2 million. McIlroy admits “the more he’s thought about it the more he doesn’t like it”. He prefers the “autonomy and freedom” of the current PGA Tour.

Whether many of McIlroy’s counterparts feel the same remains to be seen, with the likes of Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose yet to rule out taking part. The consortium will also be holding its breath and hoping the iconic Tiger Woods throws his weight behind the project, but McIlroy believes Woods’ family commitments and the gruelling 18-event schedule proposed may rule him out already. One thing is for sure, McIlroy remains a fantastic ambassador for the traditions of professional golf.