Archives for June 2022

Life on the Backside of a Racetrack

“There’s a lot to be said about doing what you love to do,” Johnson said. “You’re not exactly doing it out of necessity, you’re doing it out of passion.”

Bob Johnson, 64, was born into the life he found passion for. His father trained race horses and he said his grandfather trained thoroughbreds for the government, way back when, in whichever World War the cavalry needed horses for.

Many of the people cleaning stalls and exercising quarter horses behind the track have their own family history in the sport. Some lineage runs as deep as the bloodlines that define the horses they dedicate their lives to.

Horse Racing picks for Saratoga race track on Saturday, July 30: Put Early Voting on your ballotThat life has given Johnson plenty of memorable days on the race track but even more days spent in the backside of the track, putting in the hours and committing to the lifestyle that leads to the races themselves, and the feeling those moments can bring…

Tyler Gibbs, a trainer from Logan, Utah, is his family’s third-generation in the horse racing industry. He’s worked with horses his whole life, which is common among those who make the tending to and training of horses their life’s work.

He sees a similar sense of community among those who contribute to the ecosystem of the backside. Most — not all — get along well. But they look out for each other nonetheless.

While circuiting tracks across the country during the season, many will cross paths at different tracks or even find themselves traveling a similar schedule throughout the season….

More on Life on the Backside of a Racetrack

Horse racing in Nebraska?

Atokad Park holds first horse races of the year and looks ahead to future plansHorse races are regularly held in only two spots in Nebraska, and the tracks in Grand Island and Columbus are usually pretty quiet apart from the rumble of thoroughbreds that stomp past the half-empty grandstands.

Suddenly, though, communities throughout the state are clamoring to revive mothballed tracks and build new ones.

Why the surge in interest in a sport that for decades has waned throughout the country?

In a word, casinos.

“All of a sudden you have a bunch of communities who don’t give a darn about horses saying, ‘Hey, we love horses!’” said Pat Loontjer…

For an industry that for years has struggled to attract any interest, the sudden embrace of the sport has led to plenty of eye-rolling and more serious concerns about even finding enough jockeys, exercise riders and veterinarians to hold races, never mind whether spectators will actually show up.

Nationally, the sport has been in decline for decades. The number of race days has fallen by almost 40% in the last 20 years. Omaha’s once-popular Ak-Sar-Ben (“Nebraska” spelled backwards) racetrack closed in 1995. Given that, proposals for nearly a dozen tracks has annoyed even some racing supporters…

More on horse racing in Nebraska

Horse Racing Returns to Arizona Downs Starting Today

The majesty and excitement of horse racing will return to Prescott Valley this weekend as Arizona Downs opens for the season.

With new amenities and live racing scheduled twice a week through September, general manager Mike Weiss said he is excited to get fans back out to the track.

“Mondays and Saturdays through September 5th, fans will be able to enjoy live racing events at Arizona Downs,” he said. “We spent the off-season getting ready. I am sure everyone that comes out will be thrilled with the additions as the action begins Saturday.”

Weiss said special activities will mark the event along with nine races on opening day. Gates open at 10 a.m. local time…

The facility incorporates a mile-long racetrack alongside spacious venue features, including concession stands, a restaurant and bar with scenic 360-degree views, more than 150 in-house TV screens and mutuel and self-bet machines

More on the opening of Arizona Downs

New Data Collections and Applications in Horse Racing

ProfitDuring a presentation at Wednesday’s Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, Duff Gordon presented a chart showing the acceleration and speed of a horse during the race, and how it was impeded by the winner.

“You can see how that horse in blue, how much its velocity was cut off,” said Duff Gordon, pointing to the marked deceleration of a beaten runner at the time of The Ridler’s antics.

“That’s a much better way of telling the story rather than running the replay 700 times, which is what the TV companies have done to date,” said Duff Gordon. “The stewards can’t yet use that information,” he added, “but hopefully they will soon.”

“This is a new frontier,” said Scott Palmer, equine medical director for the New York Gaming Commission, about the StrideSAFE sensor, which TDN has written [in the past].

Nevertheless, the panelists emphasized how, in many regards, the stamp from data collection on the racing world is still very much a fresh one.

More on new data collections and applications in horse racing:

Data, Data, Data: The “New Frontier” for Horse Racing

Industry Profile: RIP Trainer Alec Head

Frankie Dettori: Enable will have to bring her A-game to beat MagicalAlec Head, one of the key figures in French racing for more than 70 years, has died at the age of 97.

A hugely successful trainer with four wins in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe to his name, Head was also an influential owner and breeder, while his children Freddy and Criquette and his grandson Christopher have continued one of the most remarkable dynasties anywhere in the racing world.

In the post-war era Head dominated the French training ranks alongside Francois Mathet and enjoyed huge success in Britain and Ireland, with Lavandin’s victory in the 1956 Derby the highlight…

In 2013 his homebred Treve won the Prix de Diane, the Prix Vermeille and the Arc for Criquette, the last-named success being repeated 12 months later….

More on the passing of Alec Head from The Racing Post

What You Need to Know about HISA

The Horseracing Safety and Integrity Authority, HISA for short, is set to take effect on July 1 when racetrack safety standards begin. That will be followed by the anti-doping and medication control component on Jan. 1, 2023.

Combined the two are a monumental step forward for an industry finally under one governing body thanks to the HISA act backed by Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Andy Barr, R-Ky., and signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020.

Finally, thankfully, the sport will no longer be undercut by competing jurisdictions with different rules and regulations. No longer will there be confusion brought about by inconsistent guidelines and messaging.

Lisa Lazarus is the new person in charge. An attorney from New York, HISA’s chief executive officer boasts an impressive international sports background, most recently as chief counsel for the Fédération Equestre Internationale and before that a decade with the NFL where she was involved with strategy and development as well as collective bargaining negotiations…

Horses and connections — including trainers, jockeys and owners — must be registered with HISA by July 1. If the deadline is not met, horses could be scratched from races. The registrations will result in daily records of a horse’s conditioning and medications for review.

The body is also building a database of detailed injury reports on horses and jockeys. It is also in the process of reaching agreements with state racing commissions, who will enforce HISA rules. For example, accreditation will be required for tracks wanting to participate in interstate simulcasting.

Horse Racing History in Montana

The men of Montana had an image problem. Many had arrived from the Eastern seaboard seeking fortune, whether earned through raising cattle or mining ore. But when the luckiest among them struck (or ranched) it rich, they still seemed to feel a sense of inferiority—too rough, too tumble—when compared to the businessmen back home. One way to counteract this feeling was to meet Eastern interests where they stood, which, in the late nineteenth century, was very often at the racetrack.

As historian Catharine Melin-Moser explains, in the 1880s and 1890s, “horseracing was the dominion of wealthy industrialists and financiers, who unstintingly supported the region’s tracks and owned the breeding farms.”

Western entrepreneurs like Noah Armstrong, who made his fortune managing silver, gold, copper, and lead mines, believed Eastern supremacy at the track could be undermined with tough Thoroughbreds “nourished by bunchgrass and toughened by high altitude.”

Montana-raised horses “would be endowed with superior lung capacity, strength of bone, and endurance. Pitting the horses against the East’s finest, and winning, would prove legitimacy of the breeding operations. The state itself would benefit. To Montana’s most prominent industries—agriculture, mining, and timber—would be added a fourth, horse breeding.”

Armstrong certainly put his money where his mouth was, sinking thousands of dollars into developing his Doncaster Ranch and filling it with notable bloodstock. His most significant investment was a Thoroughbred colt sired by Hyder Ali out of the mare Interpose. Though bred in Illinois, the colt was foaled in Armstrong’s barns, re-rooting its lineage in Montana Territory…

Complimentary Full-card Pace Chart for 2022 Belmont Stakes Day

Pace Makes The Race!  Here is your complimentary Pace Chart for today’s Belmont Stakes card, 13 races in all.  Best of luck!

Looking for longshots for today’s Belmont Park card?

Belmont Park, June 11, 2022
Race 1 Expected Pace Leaders Stalkers Mid-Pack Closers Unknown
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Fast 7-8 6-2 1-3-4 5
Race 2
8 Furlongs / Dirt Honest 1 8-1A-3 6-7 2-5
Race 3
8 Furlongs / Dirt Honest/Fast *5 4-2 3 1
Race 4
8 Furlongs / Turf Fast 1 4-2 3 5
Race 5
12.0 Furlongs / Dirt Honest *5 7-3 1-4-6 2
Race 6
7.00 Furlongs / Dirt Honest 1-6 4-2 3-5
Race 7
8.50 Furlongs / Dirt Modest 1 5-3 4 2
Race 8
6.00 Furlongs / Turf Modest 3-5 11 6-9-7-12-2-10 1-13-8-4
Race 9
8 Furlongs / Dirt Fast 2-1 4 3 5
Race 10
10.00 Furlongs / Inner Turf Honest 7 10-9-8 1-6-5-2 3-4
Race 11
12.0 Furlongs / Dirt Slow/Modest *1 3-5 2-7-6 8-4
Race 12
8 Furlongs / Turf Honest 12-7 6-9-8 2-1 10 4
Race 13
6.00 Furlongs / Inner Turf Fast 10 12-3 1-2-5 4-13-6-7-8-9-11

3 Price horses for today’s Belmont Park card

Nilsen’s Spot Plays and Belmont Stakes with Wagering Strategies

Rich Nilsen handicapperWagering Strategies & Spot Plays for 2022 by Rich Nilsen

This is Rich Nilsen’s home track and the results have showed in recent years. Nilsen gave out $34.80 winner Creator as his top pick as well as the huge exacta with Destin that returned over $260.  He followed that up the next year with top selection $12.60 Tapwrit and the exacta and trifecta!  Nilsen has picked the winner of the Belmont Stakes four of the previous five years (there was no play in 2021).

Founder of, Nilsen is the winner of 8 major handicapping tournaments and an 18-time qualifier to the multi million-dollar National Horseplayers Championship (NHC).

There are a lot of pretenders out there charging ridiculous prices. Get affordable, expert advice for this year’s amazing Belmont Stakes card.

NEW! New Spot Plays Report in 2022

  • 3 Spot Plays on the Card – three price horses on the card including a bomber in the Jaipur Stakes
  • The 3 races include wagering strategies
  • One of the 3 races is the Belmont Stakes with a longshot on top!

Get all 3 spot plays including the Belmont Stakes.  Download now for only $9.97 to any device.


If you end up doing well on Belmont Stakes day, please consider giving a donation to one of the following great organizations:

Belmont Child Care Association which supports Anna’s House and the families and children on the New York backside (  Another is Acacia Courtney’s Racing For Home, which supports ex-racehorses.


CREATOR lost his best chance when he broke from an inside post in the field of 20 and encountered a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby.  Prior to that he was ultra impressive, sweeping by the field in the G1 Arkansas Derby.  If you want to see an incredible maiden win, just go back and what this colt’s Feb. 27 score at Oaklawn, and you’ll again see the type of late kick this guy possesses.  Trainer Steve Asmussen has the son of Tapit working well for this rebound race, including a blowout 4f drill over the Belmont training track. Bred to run all day, Creator will drop back under new rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. and come rolling late at a big price. 

Testimonial from the 2017 Sheet:

“Hey Rich.. Thanks for putting me on Tapwrit !! I liked him and Gormley and Irish War Cry.

I think  #9 meantime had enough speed to compromise Irish War Cry. Have feeling that if he wasn’t in the race, Irish War Cry might have been loose on the lead ,and had enough to win.  I had Tapwrit straight & the exacta.  Tapwrit & Gormley both had “dream trips”, But Gormley didnt want to go that far… Hey !! let’s give some love to Disco Partner for his new North  American record for 6 panels. I had him straight  and also knocked down the exacta of 2-4 for $42.00… Hope you had a good day & made some cash !!
Thanks Again, 
Wayne M.

Get THE WIZARD full-card sheet for Belmont Stakes Day – click here for more information

Wizard Full-card & Betting Strategies – Belmont Staes 2022

The one and only Wizard is here for the Belmont Stakes card on June 11.  The Wizard for Belmont Day has extensive trip notes, track biases & horses to bet back from recent weeks, including horses who ran over Preakness and  KY Derby weekend.  He crushed the Preakness, hitting the Trifecta for nearly a $500 return on only $68 in wagers.  The Wizard tabbed top choice EARLY VOTING who won at over 5-1!  Can he strike gold at his home track?

In his Full-card Analysis with Betting Strategies, you receive:

Expert Selections for ALL races, including a value play in the feature race!

Comprehensive information and analysis on every horse selected on the card.

4 Crystal Ball Best Bets for Saturday, including in the big race.

Wagering Strategies for ALL races

Exactas, Trifectas, Pick 3s, Pick 4s and more!

Only $45 for the Full-card analysis with wagering strategies from America’s top public handicapper.  Every issue is a handicapping lesson!  Get the Wizard for Belmont Stakes Day: