Archives for May 2020

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes – May 31

AGOS Free Horses to Watch & Trip Notes, compliments of Agameofskill.com.  Put these runners in your stable mail notification service.

GULFSTREAM  PARK

PLEASANT ORB (Race 10 stakes @Gulfstream, May 15, 2020) – Another bonehead ride from Jersey Joe Bravo.  He ran this 3yo daughter of Orb right up on the heels of horses on the far turn, causing her to steady and lose precious momentum.  She altered course, swinging out but her finish was too late.

Tampa Paddock

Up close and personal at Tampa Bay Downs paddock. Copyright AGOS

TAMPA BAY DOWNS

PALACES DIAMOND (Race 4 @TAM, May 20, 2020) – 2nd time starter finished well against the grain of the track that was kind to early speed.  It was also her first start in a couple of months, so she can move forward and into the winner’s circle next out.

CELESTIAL ORB (Race 8 @TAM, May 27, 2020) – This was the lone dirt sprint on the card, which is kind of unusual at Tampa or any track.  This 3yo filly got off to a rough start and raced wide but rallied well into the prevailing bias to get up for 2nd.

Keeneland Gets Approval for Short Summer Meet

“We are all in this together, and Ellis Park is pleased to work with Keeneland on a plan that benefits our horsemen and Kentucky racing,” Ellis Park General Manager Jeffrey Inman said. 

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Race Dates Committee has approved Keeneland’s request to conduct a spectator-free, five-day Summer Meet, to be held Wednesday, July 8 through Sunday, July 12, 2020.

copyright Rich Nilsen

Keeneland paddock (copyright All Star Press)

“Keeneland appreciates the quick response of the Commission to our request, and we applaud all their work on behalf of Kentucky racing during these unprecedented times,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “We also thank Ellis Park for their cooperation in this process and for making these non-traditional dates available to Keeneland. We look forward to sharing more details about the Summer Meet in the coming weeks.”

The latest news on the Del Mar Summer meet

Keeneland plans to host 9-10 races each day of the Summer Meet, and feature 10 graded stakes traditionally run during the track’s Spring Meet, anchored by the $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2) and $400,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), preps for the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1), respectively.

Source: Keeneland

New Opening Date and Schedule for Del Mar Meet

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club announced today its intention to begin the 2020 summer race meet on July 10 and employ a three-day-a-week race schedule pending the approval of the California Horse Racing Board at its June 11 meeting.

Further, following guidelines issued by San Diego County public health officials, California state officials and in consultation with other public health experts, the track’s traditional summer meeting is preparing to operate without spectators, but will continue to work with state and local officials to adopt any changes as they happen. In all cases, Del Mar will follow similar COVID-19 protocols that have enabled racing to be conducted safely in California and throughout the country.

“We’re coming back and we’re going to put on the most unique show in Del Mar history,” said Del Mar’s CEO, Joe Harper. “It’s going to look different, it’s going to feel different, but it’s going to be first-class horse racing at Del Mar and in these unusual times that’s something to look forward to.”

What’s the latest on the situation of horse racing in Pennsylvania?

Originally scheduled to open its 81st summer season on Saturday, July 18, Del Mar is planning a schedule change to start Friday, July 10 with racing on a Friday-Saturday-Sunday basis throughout the summer, closing with a four-day week on Labor Day Monday, September 7. The track will offer 10-race cards on Fridays and Sundays and 11-race cards on Saturdays. Opening Day will be an exception to the schedule with an 11-race program and Labor Day will offer 10 races.

The new schedule calls for 291 races over nine weeks. The track carded 297 races over its eight-week 2019 summer meeting.

“We want to begin the meet earlier and offer horsemen the same number of opportunities to run as we have for the last several summer seasons,” said Tom Robbins, DMTC’s executive vice president of racing. “We’ve had inquiries from new trainers from across the country who are interested in sending horses to Del Mar, which is encouraging. And because the San Diego Fair was cancelled this year, our track maintenance team will be preparing our racing surfaces earlier and we’ll be able to have horses on-site sooner than in the past. It will be a little different, but we’re confident we can present the same high caliber racing that fans, owners and trainers have come to expect.”

Racing at Santa Anita is scheduled to conclude June 21. Los Alamitos will offer Thoroughbred racing from June 26 through July 5. Both tracks have been operating live racing without fans and with only essential personnel under strict protocols in response to COVID-19.

“Over the past several weeks Del Mar has joined with other racing industry leaders to develop extensive operating procedures to permit horse racing in a way that ensures the safety of all employees, stakeholders and our horses,” said Josh Rubinstein, DMTC’s president and COO. “A number of medical experts throughout the country have provided guidance and helped us develop a comprehensive plan. DMTC’s planning has benefitted from additional direction and aid from local experts such as Scripps Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, and her colleagues.”

Rubinstein praised local health and elected officials.

“San Diego County’s Health & Human Services Agency and its elected officials, working in concert with state officials, have done an incredible job ensuring San Diego stays safe during this difficult time,” he said. “We are grateful for their leadership, guidance and positive feedback as we implement our safety guidelines that follow the stringent protocols that have been successful at California’s other Thoroughbred racing facilities.”

Even without spectators, Del Mar’s racing season is important to the continued economic viability of California’s horse racing industry. The regular care and training of racehorses in the state supports thousands of jobs, housing and health care services for workers, as well as hundreds of local small businesses and family farms.

Wagering on Del Mar’s races will continue remotely via on-line platforms like TVG and at off-track betting locations around the world. In 2019, 90% of wagering on Del Mar’s races took place off-track and during the recent “Safer At Home” guidelines in many states Internet wagering has surged.

Del Mar will present its traditional stakes schedule with some minor modifications. The full stakes schedule will be released May 29.

The track’s broadcast partner – TVG – will provide enhanced Del Mar coverage throughout the summer. NBC Sports is currently broadcasting TVG on its popular NBCSN channel. Discussions are on-going for including Del Mar in these future national broadcasts.

First post daily throughout the summer will be at 2 p.m.

Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

What’s the Status of Horse Racing In PA?

When can horse racing resume in Pennsylvania? Even the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission hasn’t a clue.

And that’s not because they haven’t asked PA Gov. Tom Wolf. The governor suspended racing right along with casino operations in mid-March to stem the onslaught of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

And there is no target date for racing to resume in PA, yet.

Late-breaking news updateA face-to-face meeting between Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration and members of horseman’s groups is now scheduled for Thursday [5/27], PlayPennsylvania has learned exclusively.

Churchill Downs Stock Rising Amid Resort Re-openings

The Race Must Go On

On May 20, the company said it’s reopened two casino resorts in Mississippi. Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said in a news release the company has “worked diligently” to put in place health and safety protocols to protect guests from coronavirus.

Churchill Downs has also started horse races again at its Louisville, Ky., track and plans to hold what would be the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race. It’s been rescheduled for September 5th.

Carstanjen said in a news release announcing the rescheduling, “As the situation evolved, we…

Belmont Park’s Opening Can Begin June 1

Belmont Park’s spring/summer meet can officially begin on June 1, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at his daily news conference on Saturday.

“There’ll be guidelines for the actual participants — no crowds, no fans,” he said. “For the industry itself, for the televised viewers, that could still work.”

New York Racing Association and local officials said they were pleased with the announcement. Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Beach who urged the state to reopen the Park, said the decision was “welcomed news,” and NYRA President David O’Rourke called it a “reasoned and responsible decision … that will enable horse racing to resume in a way that prioritizes health and safety.”

Last month, NYRA officials announced that they had plans in place to “prioritize the health and safety of employees, horsemen and the backstretch community.”

More about Belmont Park’s Opening:

NHC Tour $10,000 Summer Challenge Begins Friday

NTRA NHC logoLEXINGTON, Ky. (May, 2020) – The second NHC Tour $10,000 Summer Challenge, a bonus challenge that rewards participants who accumulate the most NHC Tour points on HorsePlayers.com over a three-month period, will kick off Friday, May 29. The NHC Summer Challenge will consist of 40 direct qualifiers into the 2021 $3,000,000-estimated National Horseplayers Championship as well as low-priced feeders starting at $15. The top finisher in the Challenge will win $4,000, with second through fifth-place dividing the remaining prize pool (2nd- $2,500; 3rd- $2,000; 4th – $1,000; and 5th – $500). The Summer Challenge leaderboard will be updated weekly on www.nhctour.com.

There will be three dates on the Summer Challenge schedule offering five NHC qualifiers at a 20% lower ratio than the traditional pricing offered on NHC contests held on HorsePlayers.com:

Friday, May 29 – $75 contest awarding a minimum of two NHC seats at a one berth per 115 entries ratio;

Saturday, July 4 (two contests) – $165 contest awarding a minimum of two NHC berths at a one per 52 entries ratio, and a $500 contest awarding at least one NHC berth at a one per 17 entries ratio; and

Monday, September 7 (two contests)- $75 contest awarding a minimum of two NHC berths at a one berth per 115 entries ratio, and a $500 contest awarding at least one NHC berth at a one per 17 entries ratio.

In addition to the $10,000 Summer Challenge prize, this year’s NHC Tour prize pool will award $340,000 in cash prizes and $15,000 to first-time NHC Tour members. The winner of the 2020 NHC Tour will be eligible for a $5,000,000 bonus if he or she were to win the 2021 NHC.

Participants must join the NHC Tour ($50) to be eligible for NHC Tour prizes and to be eligible to participate in the NHC. Tour Membership includes eligibility to participate in four free NHC Tour member contests in 2020. These contests are set for June 6, August 29, and September 26. There is also a free contest for first-time Tour members scheduled to be held on September 19. For more information on NHC Tour membership go to www.nhctour.com or contact Michele Ravencraft at mravencraft@ntra.com.

About the NHC
The NHC is the most important tournament of the year for horseplayers and is the culmination of a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities and horse racing and handicapping websites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. There are no bye-ins to the NHC. Each year, the NHC winner joins other human and equine champions as an honoree at the Eclipse Awards. For more information on the NHC, visit NTRA.com/nhc.

About the NTRA
The NTRA, based in Lexington, Ky., is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA owns and manages the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance; NTRA.com; the Eclipse Awards; the National Horseplayers Championship; NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program; and Horse PAC®, a federal political action committee. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).

Saratoga horse racing without fans in the stands. Town concerned about income loss

COVID-19 and Horse Racing.  Economic Fallout is Huge

SARATOGA SPRINGS NY (WRGB) – Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly says the Governor’s announcement that horse racing can resume on June 1st without fans is good news for the city.

“The city needs the horses. Without fans, that’s one way to start,” said Mayor Kelly.

NYRA says they have prepared operating plans for the Saratoga Race Course that follow Belmont Park.

“I think that is huge because they do bring people to work up here and they do spend money in Saratoga Springs. The horses don’t just come alone, they come with staff,” Kelly said.

More Saratoga horse racing without fans:

Keeneland Five-day Summer Meet?

Keeneland Green LogoKeeneland has requested to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s race dates committee to allow it to race July 8-12, a meet that would include the $600,000 Grade 2 Blue Grass – a popular Kentucky Derby prep race – on Saturday, July 11.

Ellis Park currently holds the July 8-12 race dates, and a switch must be approved by the KHRC.

“We are excited about the return of racing to Keeneland and know this will be welcome news for our horsemen, fans and the Central Kentucky community,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “This purse money represents significant income for horsemen, and while the races will be spectator-free, the Keeneland team is hard at work on creative ways to involve fans watching at home and to enhance our simulcast product for handicappers.”

5 Racetracks Every Horse Racing Fan Should Visit

Don’t Miss # 4

 

  1. Saratoga Springs

Opened in 1863 in Saratoga Springs, United States, this racecourse has seen many top horses in history win and register losses as well, hence the nickname “graveyard of champions.” Saratoga is one of the few old sporting venues still standing and in good shape in the United States.

Saratoga is famous for its mineral spring, and this iconic bell that is rung by hand every 17 minutes before the races begin, as a way of signaling the jockeys to move to the paddock. The racecourse holds three famous races, namely Whitney Handicap, Alabama stakes, and the Travers Stakes.