Archives for July 2020

Covid-19 and Horse Racing. No Fans as Colonial Opens

Colonial Downs planned to welcome folks back July 27 under Gov. Ralph Northam’s Phase 3 plan. With an extensive plan in place, Marshall said it would only allow 1,000 spectators at the track at the time and changed the regular weekend racing schedule to a Monday through Wednesday schedule.

“Our horsemen fully support the decision to conduct racing without fans at Colonial Downs this summer, otherwise the public risk is too great,” Executive Director Frank Petramalo Jr. said in a news release. “There is a bright spot. All of our races will be televised live on the TVG network and people can wager on TVG or on other online sites.”

A Look Back at the History of Colonial Downs Racetrack

Less than a year later, on May, 5, 2001, Scanlan had Borislow’s Talk Is Money in the Kentucky Derby. It was, to say the least, a temperamental horse that had been purchased for $2 million as a yearling. Scanlan originally referred to it as “Hanging Tree” because “if it doesn’t do too good, I may have to find a tree and hang myself from it.”

The horse quickly developed a knack for throwing jockeys. At Churchill Downs, prior to the 127th Run for the Roses, hall of fame jock Jerry Bailey withheld Talk Is Money from the post parade “for good reason,” said NBC’s Tom Hammond. “He’s tossed riders three times during parades.” That was about all the network had to say about the 47-1 longshot. If Hammond and friends mentioned Borislow, or Scanlan, we missed it.

Talk Is Money started 11th and finished last (17th), having suffered what was diagnosed as a heat stroke. Bailey walked the horse across the finish line. Scanlan later said, “Bailey was scared to death of him.”

Earlier, Scanlan told us off-the-record Talk had no business being in the Derby, but Borislow wanted to be there “to sit with the other owners.” Borislow died in 2014 at age 52….

More about the history of Colonial Downs and the people there:

2020 West Virginia Derby Cancelled due to coronavirus

Mountaineer racetrack

Mountaineer Racetrack officials had planned to run the Aug. 1 races without spectators, but concerns about bringing in owners, trainers and jockeys from out-of-state to the Chester track ultimately proved to be untenable, he said.

Jim Colvin, manager of racing operations at Mountaineer, said the rescheduling of the Kentucky Derby to Sept. 5 was another factor, with at least two thoroughbred horse owners opting out of the West Virginia Derby to prepare for the Triple Crown race.

Colvin said it would not be feasible to push the races back to a later date, or to substitute other stakes races this fall.

“At this time, we would have no makeup dates,” he told commissioners during the meeting, conducted telephonically.

Ellis Park’s 2-year old program continuing to produce winners

Ellis Park’s 2-year old program continuing to produce winnersHENDERSON, KY. (WFIE) – Ellis Park’s 2-year-old program has gone from being one of racing’s best-kept secrets to becoming common knowledge as a launching pad for stakes horses. Less heralded, but extremely productive, is the Riverside Downs training center right across the Ohio River in Henderson.

The latest poster child: Stonestreet Stable’s Hopeful Princess, winner of the first 2-year-old race in Kentucky this year and in her next start third in Saratoga’s opening-day feature Thursday, the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes.

Where to watch the horse races in Saratoga Springs, NY

Ellis Park mainstay John Hancock partnered with breeder Jackie Huckaby to race Hopeful Princess after the $27,000 high bid on the filly at Keeneland’s September yearling sale last year failed to reach Huckaby’s minimum sales price. Hancock then brought in Imaginary Stable’s John Guarnere as another owner in January…  more about Ellis Park’s 2-year old program:

Handicapping Tip of the Day #60 – Watch ‘em and Learn

Watch ‘em and Learn, even If You Don’t Bet ‘em

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

By Art Parker

We are hitting that time of year when we see frequent two-year-old races. I don‘t care to play juveniles unless there seems to be something unusual.

For a good example of finding something unusual with a juvenile, I go back to August 2013 at Woodbine. In the first race of the day, a two-year-old debut filly by the name of Unspurned stalked a hot early pace and slipped past in mid-stretch for an impressive victory. The race at 7/8 miles had the following fractions: 22 4/5, 45 3/5, 1:10 3/5, and a final of 1:24 1/5. That seemed to be much better than average for baby fillies that time of year. I made a note about the young filly with the cool name.

The next race told me even more. Just 28 minutes later a field of three-year-old Maiden Special Weights males battle at the same distance, 7/8 miles. The fractions for the sophomore males were: 23 2/5, 46 4/5, 1:12, and a final of 1:25.

This is when Unspurned got my attention.

For the record, Unspurned went on to a very successful career with several stakes victories and ran behind the great filly and future Queen’s Plate winner, Lexie Lou, on a couple of occasions.

The boys in the other race were far from remarkable. The winner was C.C. Mobil, who finished a career with two wins from 46 starts. The second-place horse, Jobber Bill, finished his career with two wins from 34 starts.

One may not play juvenile races, but paying attention to them can be very worthwhile. Not only may one discover a good young ‘un, but it can help sort out some others.

Did you miss this Handicapping Tip of the Day?

Horse Racing Tip of the Day – the Fewer this the better…

 

Where to Watch the Horse Races Live in Saratoga

Great Offtrack Places To Watch Live Racing At Saratoga Race CourseRacing City Brewing has the largest projection screen in the area at 23×14 feet along with several TVs, and their spacious building is excellent for social distancing. The kitchen is currently closed, but they will allow guests to bring food or order takeout. They will have beer, wine, cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages, and small snacks available.

There is a $25 deposit to reserve the table, which is put towards the final bill. They will open at noon on all race days and plan to host watch parties on the weekends. Guests will be able to buy the Daily Racing Form, enroll in an online wagering account and fund their accounts for immediate use.

The Parting Glass

The Parting Glass opens daily at 11am ET and you can watch horse racing on their big screen while enjoying food and beer specials. Reservations are not necessary.

Horse Races Live At Saratoga:

Indiana Horse Racing Commission Approves Eldorado-Caesars Merger

The $17.3 billion merger between Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment was approved by a second Indiana regulatory agency.

The Indiana Horse Racing Commission approved the pending merger Monday, just three days after the deal also gained the green light from the Indiana Gaming Commission. With the Indiana agencies giving their consent to the deal, only New Jersey remains as the last state that has yet to approve the merger, as reported by Reno Gazette Journal.

The Indiana Gaming Commission is requiring Eldorado and Caesars to sell three of its gaming properties in the state as a condition for its approval. On Monday, Eldorado CEO Thomas Reeg confirmed it will sell the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond to a new operator by the end of the year. He told members of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission that … more:

Is Horse Racing Dead? Belmont Park Sees 42% Increase in Average Daily Handle

The New York Racing Association Inc. today announced that the Belmont Park spring/summer meet generated $15,466,198 in average daily handle from all sources, a 42 percent increase over the 2019 spring/summer meet.

Abbreviated to 25-days and held without spectators in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opening of the spring/summer meet on Wednesday, June 3 marked the return of professional sports in New York and was conducted with strict health and safety protocols in place.

Despite running 23 fewer days than in 2019, a 48 percent decrease, all sources handle during the spring/summer meet totaled $386,654,955.

Average field size over the 248 races carded was 8.61, a 23 percent increase over 2019. Five races were taken off the turf due to weather, and all five came on July 10 with the impact of Tropical Storm Fay.

More about Belmont Park Handle:

Del Mar Jockey Colony Hit with Covid-19. Track Cancels

Del mar chantal billboardWith caution its primary concern, Del Mar has preemptively canceled its next three days of racing, July 17-18-19, after 15 jockeys tested positive for COVID-19. All of Del Mar’s jockeys and jockey room personnel were tested on Tuesday by San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency staff as requested by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

“Assuming these individuals continue to show no symptoms, they will be isolated for a total of 10 days and should be able to resume their usual activities, including riding after that time,” said Dr. Eric McDonald, Medical Director, Epidemiology & Immunizations Services, County of San Diego.

Read the Full Article:
http://www.dmtc.com/media/news/del-mar-cancels-this-weekends-racing-after-jockeys-test-positive-1592

Horse Racing Fans Will Talk about 2020 for a Long Time

Handicapper Art ParkerBy Art Parker

My, how the Triple Crown trail has changed. It wasn’t that long ago we had a system that was based on Graded Stakes earnings, either as a two-year-old or a three-year-old. That led us to one memorable muddy day at Churchill Downs in 2009. Mine That Bird, a gelding that came from a no-name trainer and a no-name barn, won the Kentucky Derby closing from the Heavens at 50-1. Before the race, there was only one thing anyone could relate to regarding Mine That Bird, and that was his rider Calvin Borel who wasn’t even planning to ride the virtual unknown.

So, how did Mine That Bird get into the Kentucky Derby? He won the Grey Stakes at Woodbine as a two-year-old. That’s how. The graded earnings got him high enough on the list to gain Derby entrance. Mine That Bird cost a whopping $9,500 at auction, and for the most part, he looked to be a disaster as a three-year-old. However, he made it to the Derby and won.

Shortly after Mine That Bird won the Derby a point system was devised. Since 2013 various races have been assigned point totals for the top finishers in the designated events. The points assigned to the races designated is pretty much in line with prestige and purse.

Things changed dramatically in 2020 due to the Coronavirus. With the racing season and Triple Crown turned on its head, the designated races have been juggled to accommodate a new Kentucky Derby date of September 5. Most of the usual major Derby preps will figure into the point system even though some races are yet to be run.

The last few Derby prep races in a normal year usually come as follows: (A) Four to five weeks before the Derby we have the Super Saturday with the Blue Grass (Keeneland), The Wood Memorial (Aqueduct) and the Santa Anita Derby (Santa Anita) all on the same day, and (B) the final “biggie” is the Arkansas Derby held a week later.

This year all the big races are in the books except for the Wood Memorial, which was canceled by the New York Racing Association (NYRA). The Arkansas Derby moved its date up to the usual Kentucky Derby date, and that was easy to do since Oaklawn Park was one of the few tracks running. Santa Anita was able to squeeze the Santa Derby in the first week of June. That leaves us with the Blue Grass as the last traditional biggie before the Derby.

Keeneland was able to hold the Blue Grass Stakes on July 11 after the powers-to-be managed to give Keeneland a few days for a spring meet a couple of months later than usual.

The July 11 Blue Grass leaves a long gap before the new Kentucky Derby date of September 5. It was important to do something to replace the Wood Memorial and a few other lesser races that faded into the Corona wind.

Furthermore, some additional opportunities are needed to establish contentious competitors since Bob Baffert’s duo of Nadal (retired) and Charlatan (injured) are off the trail and out of the Derby after sweeping both parts of the divided Arkansas Derby.

Churchill Downs made a smart move by establishing the July 18 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth as a major points race. Then, Churchill did the right thing and included the rich and highly prestigious Travers Stakes as the last major points race, which will be run at Saratoga August 8. The Haskell has a great tradition and history and one of the truly great three-year-old events. The Travers is right up there with the Derby itself in almost all regards.

Churchill Downs seemed to have forced NYRA’s hand when it decided to run the Derby September 5, which was just one week after the usual Travers date of the last Saturday in August. NYRA waited quite a while before the Travers date but it would have been a disaster had they run at the normal date. Either the Travers or the Derby, or most likely both, could have been damaged had the two races been only a week apart.

Not only is the Travers to be the last major points race for Kentucky Derby qualification but it will add another spicy dish to the Triple Crown Buffet. Tiz the Law could change the history books forever. After winning the shortened Belmont stakes, Tiz the Law will aim for the next biggest prize – The Travers. A victory at Saratoga positions him for about a month in between both of the remaining Triple Crown races, a schedule much easier to tolerate than the normal three races in five weeks.

Only one Triple Crown winner has also taken the Travers and that was Whirlaway in 1941. It could be called the Three Year Old Grand Slam. Some have used that moniker for American Pharoah’s feat of winning the Triple Crown and the Breeder’s Cup Classic in the same year.

And what if Tiz The Law wins the Triple Crown and the Travers, then takes the Breeder’s Cup Classic? Just what will we call that? I’m sure someone will think of something and, Tiz The Law may have more asterisks by his name than any horse in history.

Whatever happens, we will be talking about 2020 for a long, long time.