Archives for August 2020

Born into slavery, He won the Kentucky Derby three times and became the richest American athlete

Born into slavery in Clark County, Kentucky, in 1861, he moved to Lexington with his mother after the end of the Civil War. In 1874, his mother, perhaps due to ill health or the loss of her savings in a bank crash, apprenticed the teenager to James T. Williams, a horse breeder. He learned to care for and exercise the horses. Eli Jordan, a friend of his mother’s, took a special interest in the boy and taught him the intricacies of pace and horse racing. Since he was small, he was an ideal jockey.  Who is he?

Source: Born into slavery, this man won the Kentucky Derby three times and became the richest American athlete


Are the Kentucky Derby Points a good selection tool?

Are Kentucky Derby and Oaks Points a Useful Selection Tool?

by Art Parker

In 2013 the criteria for being able to enter the Kentucky Derby was measured by graded stakes earnings accumulated during the career of a three year old. The idea was to award those that performed well in certain races known as “Derby Preps.” These races are the traditional big races in the spring when racing eyes are beginning to envision the first Saturday in May.

While this year has been quite a bit different due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Kentucky Derby points system is still the measurement used to determine who gets into the gate on September 5, the Derby Day of 2020. The actual races may have changed a bit but the point system is still the determinant.

On the Derby Leaderboard the clear favorite for the race, Tiz the Law, has 372 points after embarrassing competition in several outings this year, most notably the Travers, which was his last start.

Churchill Downs Stock UpgradedThe second horse behind the leader is Authentic, one of two Bob Baffert charges. Authentic has 200 points which puts him slightly above half of what the Tiz the Law has accumulated. Comparing the point differential from first to second in prior years tells us that Tiz the Law is in a league of his own – at least based on points. This has been the difference in other years: zero, one, 13, 16, 18, 21, and 30. The number that looks so big, 30, was Derby winner’s California Chrome’s number over Vicar’s in Trouble in 2014. By the way, only one other point’s leader that has won the Derby was in 2013, when Orb romped home on a muddy track.

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Since California Chrome no point’s leader has won the Derby. The winner in 2019, Country House, was 17th in points in a Derby we all wish to forget, except the winner’s connections. In 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify was ninth sporting only his Santa Anita Derby win. In 2017 Always Dreaming was seventh in points. In 2016 Derby winner Nyquist was second in points to eventual great Gun Runner. When American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015 he was fourth on the points list.

Should you select a Derby winner based upon on points? According to this, the answer is no, based on history. However, no other horse has held such a colossal amount of points over the competition.

The points leaderboard for the Kentucky Oaks looks similar. Swiss Skydiver has been on tour winning four major races in four different states. Her point total for the Kentucky Oaks is a whopping 450. In second is Speech with only 160 points. The difference of 290 points is hard to imagine. Like the Derby, let’s look at the point differential between the leader and second place. The only Oaks winner that led in points was Untapable in 2014. The point differential between first and second on the leaderboard has been, zero, zero, 6, 10, 19, 20, and Untapable’s 40.

In 2019 Serengeti Empress won the Oaks and was eighth on the points list. In 2018 Oaks winner Monomy Girl was second on the points list to Midnight Bisou. Abel Tasman won the Oaks in 2017 and was seventh on the points list. In 2016 Cathryn Sophia captured the Oaks while finishing sixth in the points race. Lovely Maria won the 2015 Oaks and was fifth in points. Before Untapable in 2013 Princess of Sylmar finished seventh on the points list and won the Oaks.

Like the points question asked earlier about the Derby, should you select an Oaks winner based upon on points? According to this, the answer is no, based on history. However, just like the point differential in the Derby, no other horse has held such a colossal amount of points over the competition in the Oaks.

A major consideration in the Oaks points this year is Bob Baffert’s filly, Gamine. The superstar is ninth on the points list but has raced in only one race with points – The Acorn at Belmont.

For a final, up to date listing of points for the Derby and the Oaks.

Industry Profile: Racehorse Owner Jack Knowlton

From Fairy Tale to Triumph

In 1995 Jack and five pals of his formed Sackatoga Stable. The name was a play on words. A combination of letters from the crew’s hometown of Sackets Harbor along with Jack’s residency in Saratoga Springs creating an amusing name for the enterprise. They chose the staid checkered colors of maroon and gray that matched those of their high school for the stable’s jockey silks.

They liked the name so much that they named their first horse Sackets Six. Little did they know that eight years later lightning would strike them in the form of a three-year-old gelding with the name Funny Cide…

Meet the Owners of the Kentucky Derby Contenders

You’ve probably heard of some of the horses running in this year’s Kentucky Derby , but how much do you know about their owners? Here’s your chance to meet the people …

12. Enforceable

About: John Oxley founded Oxley Petroleum, an oil and gas exploration firm based in his native Tulsa, Okla. in 1962. He sold the company in May of 2003 and has since started Oxley Resources LLC, a smaller scale oil and gas exploration and production venture.

6. Max Player

Owner: George E. Hall

About: A graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, George Hall is president of the Clinton Group, Inc., a Manhattan-based investment company which manages over $6 billion in capital. He was awarded the Sir Harold Acton Medal from New York University in recognition of his philanthropy, and he established the George E. Hall Childhood Diabetes Foundation at Mount Sinai Hospital after his eldest niece’s diagnosis when she was just 6 years old. Additionally, Hall has helped establish the Head and Neck Cancer Research Laboratory at NYU as well as the endowment of a chair for its Department of Otolaryngology.

Nilsen's analysis

Appeals Court Upholds Arizona Horse Racing Signals Law

A federal appeals court won’t block enforcement of a law that requires companies that provide off-track betting signals to sell them to anyone who will buy then.

In a unanimous ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by the attorney for Monarch Content Management that the Arizona Legislature had no right to enact the 2019 law. The judges said nothing in the state’s regulation of OTB signals conflicts with federal laws regulating horse racing and wagering.

The judges also rejected claims that the statute interfered with the company’s First Amendment rights and its right to contract.

But it still does not mean that the owners of Arizona Downs in Prescott Valley, who had pushed for the law, are getting the signals they want for its seven OTB sites. Instead, Monarch, faced with the all-or-nothing choice simply chose the latter.

Co-owner Tom Auther said that’s a victory…

CHRB’s Baedeker Wants Late Odds Changes Addressed

copyright“After a staff report and presentation by California Horse Racing Board executive director Rick Baedeker on his concerns about computer-robotic wagering, specifically late odds changes, the regulator decided to form a committee to examine the issue….”

Editor’s Note: So this article is from 2018.  Where are we at 2 years later?  No where.  Nothing has been done at any track in the country.

More about Late Odds Changes: CHRB’s Baedeker Wants Late Odds Changes Addressed

French Two Year Old Runners to Watch

French horse racing blurrAGOS Horses to Watch.  With Sunday’s Group 1 Prixy Morny in the books, here are some French juveniles to watch according to the PMU.

Tiger Tanaka

Trained in France by Charley Rossi, Tiger Tanaka made a surprising step up in grade after four consecutive victories in claiming company. After placing third in the Group Two Prix Robert Papin (1200m), the filly took advantage of rain-affected conditions to record a first Group success in the Group ThreePrix Francois Boutin over 1400m last Sunday at Deauville. It is difficult to know how good Tiger Tanaka is, but she cannot be ignored if ground favours again.

Handicapping Tip of the Day #61 – improve your handicapping with this expert advice.


Livachope extended her unbeaten run to three with a success in the Group Three Prix du Bois (1000m) at Longchamp on 2 July. The filly was asked to quicken by jockey Anthony Crastus in the closing stages and ran out a comfortable three-quarter length winner. A first Group winner for sire Goken, Livachope looks ready to step up against tougher competition and has an entry in the Prix Morny.

Cairn Gorm

Cairn Gorm added a third consecutive victory when scoring by one length in the Group Three Prix De Cabourg (1200m) at Deauville on 2 August. Trained in the UK by Mick Channon, Cairn Gorm will follow the same route as the 2019 Prix de Cabourg winner, Earthlight, when seeking Group One success in the Prix Morny.


Plainchant appeared to appreciate the step up in distance when scoring over 1200m atLa Teste de Buch in early June, having placed third on debut over 1000m. The Gregorian filly completed a double when winning the Listed Criterium Du Bequet over the same course and distance and holds an entry for the Prix Du Calvados (1400m) at Deauville on 22 August.

Midlife Crisis

Midlife Crisis showed plenty of promise when scoring by five lengths in an unraced conditions event over 1400m at Deauville on 4 August. Sired by Wootton Bassett, recently purchased by Coolmore as a future Champion sire prospect, connections will be hoping further success will be on the cards.

Ventura Tormenta

A surprise winner of the Group Two Prix Robert Papin (1200m) at Chantilly on 19 July, Ventura Tormenta may be looking to return to France following a disappointing run in the Group One Phoenix Stakes (1200m) at the Curragh. He’s won twice from five racecourse starts and trainer Richard Hannon is not adverse to travelling his juveniles.


Sealiway is trained by Frederic Rossi and has been kept busy with three victories and one placing from four career outings. The colt impressed many with a five-length success in the Listed Prix des Jouvenceaux et des Jouvencelles (1400m) at Vichy on his latest start and is expected to excel over 1400m.

Poker is not gambling, it’s a game of skill

Poker is rapidly gaining popularity in India. And it is not just because a host of celebrities are trying their hands at a game that a certain section of the population still relates to gambling. The reason for its growing acceptance comes from the fact that a lot of sports-loving fans are realizing that the game isn’t just about luck. It is much more than that.

It is a craft that involves skills and mastery over various techniques and needs an air-tight strategy. And when five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand says he finds …

Source: Poker is not gambling, it’s a game of skill: Chris Gayle

Wesley Ward 2yo Competes Sunday in France

Frankie Dettori: Enable will have to bring her A-game to beat MagicalSource: French PMU

The top juveniles from France, UK and Ireland will clash at Deauville in the Group 1 Prix Morny on Sunday, the first two-year-old Group One of the season in France. Her Royal Majesty The Queen is represented by Tactical, who successfully stepped up from listed success at Royal Ascot with a victory in the Group Two July Stakes (1200m) at Newmarket. More Royal Ascot form is on offer with Group ThreeAlbany Stakes (1200m) heroine Dandalla and Group Two Queen Mary Stakes winner Campanelle taking on mixed sex company for the first time. Frankie Dettori has chosen to stay in France to ride the Wesley Ward trainer runner Campanelle instead of riding at the York Ebor Festival.

France is represented by Fabrice Chappet’s Acapulco Gold and Jane Soubagne’s Livachope. The former was a listed winner at Vichy over 1000m and steps up in class whilst Livachope was successful in the Group Three Prix Du Bois (1000m) at Longchamp. Trained in Ireland, Ventura Tormenta will be looking to bounce back after a below-par performance in Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh and has already been victorious in France this season, winning the Group Two Prix Robert Papin (1000m) at Chantilly.

The other Group One on the Deauville card is the Prix Jean Romanet for fillies and mares aged four years and over. Although an open contest, it is interesting to note that John Gosden brings over Group One Falmouth Stakes (1600m) winner Nazeef to face a large field of French contenders. Dariyma and Romanciere re-oppose after finishing first and second in the Listed Prix de la Pepiniere at Chantilly and remain unexposed at Group One level.

Breaking News! No Fans at This Year’s Kentucky Derby

Empty row of seats at racetrackLOUISVILLE, KY., (August 21, 2020) – Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) (Nasdaq: CHDN)
announced today its decision to run the 146th Kentucky Derby on September 5, 2020 without fans. CDI issued the following statement:

The Kentucky Derby is a time-honored American tradition which has always been about bringing people together. However, the health and safety of our team, fans and participants is our highest concern.
Churchill Downs has worked diligently over the last several months to plan a safe Derby with a limited number of spectators in attendance. We were confident in that plan, but dedicated to remaining flexible using the best and most reliable information available. With the current significant increases in COVID19
cases in Louisville as well as across the region, we needed to again revisit our planning. We have
made the difficult decision to hold this year’s Kentucky Derby on September 5 without fans.

Churchill Downs and all of our team members feel strongly that it is our collective responsibility as citizens of
Louisville to do all we responsibly can to protect the health, safety and security of our community in these
challenging times and believe that running the Derby without spectators is the best way to do that. We
deeply regret the disappointment this will bring to our loyal fans.

The decision comes with the support of Governor Andy Beshear who said, “The virus is still aggressively
spreading in Kentucky, and the White House has announced that Jefferson County and the City of
Louisville are in a ‘red zone’ based on increases in cases. This week alone the county had more than
2,300 new cases,” Gov. Beshear said. “I applaud Churchill Downs for continuing to monitor the virus and
for making the right and responsible decision. I am asking all Kentuckians to take action to stop the
spread of the virus so we can get back to the many traditions we enjoy, like the Kentucky Derby.”
Since early May, decisions regarding this year’s Kentucky Derby have been made in consultation with
public health authorities including data provided by medical experts at Norton Healthcare. Positivity rates
in the more than 70,000 patients tested at Norton have gone from as low as 2% in June to a rapid
escalation of 10% in recent days.

“This is a critical point in time for our community,” said Russell F. Cox, president and CEO of Norton
Healthcare. “This remains a very fluid situation and every event should be evaluated based on the data
available as close to the date of the event as possible. We appreciate and support Churchill Downs’

“This year’s Kentucky Derby was never going to be the celebration we’re used to, but I could not be more
grateful to our tremendous team members and community partners for all of their efforts. We’ve left no
stones unturned and reached the right decision,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “We hope our fans,
the Louisville community and our country find an opportunity over the coming weeks to reflect on the
challenges we have faced this year as a community and as a nation, and work together toward a better and
safer future.”

Additional information about Kentucky Derby 146:
 The decision to run without fans includes Kentucky Oaks on Friday, September 4 and all live
racing at Churchill Downs Racetrack for Derby week (September 1-5). Only essential personnel
and participants will be permitted on property.

 Ticket holders for all Derby week race dates and related programming, including Dawn at the
Downs, will be automatically issued a refund.

 NBC will televise coverage of the Kentucky Derby and undercard racing on September 5 from
2:30-7:30 p.m. ET. The 146th running of the Kentucky Oaks will be televised Friday, September 4
on NBCSN from 3-6 p.m. ET.

About Churchill Downs Incorporated
Churchill Downs Incorporated is an industry-leading racing, online wagering and gaming entertainment
company anchored by our iconic flagship event – The Kentucky Derby. We own and operate Derby City
Gaming, a historical racing machine facility in Louisville, Kentucky. We also own and operate the largest
online horse racing wagering platform in the U.S.,, and we operate sports betting and
iGaming through our BetAmerica platform in multiple states. We are also a leader in brick-and-mortar
casino gaming with approximately 11,000 slot machines and video lottery terminals and 200 table games
in eight states. Additional information about CDI can be found online at