About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 12-time qualifier to the National Handicapping Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He recently won a $24,000 package into the 2016 Kentucky Derby Betting Championship. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is also a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program. He is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 12-time qualifier to the National Handicapping Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He recently won a $24,000 package into the 2016 Kentucky Derby Betting Championship. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is also a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program. He is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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20 Cents Jackpot Wager Reaches $1.3M for Wednesday at Gulfstream Park

Post Parade Gulfstream Park maiden race

Post Parade at Gulfstream Park.
Copyright Agameofskill.com

Press Release

The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 23th consecutive program at Gulfstream Park Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot of $1,354,776.50 for Wednesday’s program

Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $885.34.

The Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot is paid out only when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.

There was a carryover of $1,239,713 heading into Sunday’s six-race sequence that spanned Races 6-11 and generated a handle of $479,499.

The Rainbow 6 was last solved Feb. 23, when a unique ticket was worth a $324,179.78 jackpot payoff.

Great Horse Racing Video Series – Arrogate Last to First Dubai World Cup

 

Arrogate breaks dead last in the full field of the 2017 Dubai World Cup on Saturday, March 25, 2017.  Jockey Mike Smith decides it is time to ride him like he rode his old mount Zenyatta, and Arrogate proceeds to put on a show.  Gun Runner, hand ridden to the top of the stretch, is no match for the one of the all time greats.

Video courtesy of Meydan Racing.

Last to First Arrogate Takes Dubai World Cup in Breathtaking Fashion

Arrogate Dubai World Cup 2017 winJuddmonte Farms’ Arrogate broke last, but rallied to easily win the $10 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline.  It was a breathtaking performance  that had the racing public buzzing, especially on social media.

Source: Arrogate Last to First in Dubai World Cup

2017 Dubai World Cup Card Analysis

by Steven Molyneux

The haters will always hate but even the professional whingers will surely struggle to criticise the quality on show in Dubai on Saturday evening.

Sand racing may not be for everyone, and it is arguable the dirt track at Meydan has proven to be even more one-dimensional than ever this season, but the best horse in the world, Arrogate, will be stepping on it at 12.45pm (ET) and for the credibility of the meeting, that was vital. Listening to Bob Baffert, you do get the feeling it was not exactly at the top of his wish list, and previous quotes such as “we bought the horse to race in America” back that up, but they are here with seemingly everything running smoothly, and it is hardly stating the obvious that he will be very difficult to beat. There is no point trying to oppose him, and I cannot even come up with anything worthwhile for place purposes, so on we go.

UK racing is still very much in jump mode, but such as Aidan O’Brien, John Gosden, Roger Charlton, Henry Candy and many more will be using Dubai as a springboard to their spring/summer campaigns. O’Brien sends over his biggest team of runners, nine to be exact. His son, Donnacha, describes the raid as being reflective of the strong team of older horses at their disposal this year.

Dubai World CupAs with any big meeting, rumours can spread like wildfire and a possible injury to Ertijaal seems the biggest non-story. Well, we assume and hope it was a non-story. The favourite for the Al Quoz has proven nigh-on unbeatable down the straight track, albeit over 5f, and the only question mark that hangs over him is his ability to be as effective over 6f. He was before but is undoubtedly quicker now. I think he will be. He fits the brief of many of the favourites on the card: solid but at a price that isn’t going to pay for the wife’s birthday, but perhaps one of the more vulnerable market leaders is Vazirabad in the Dubai Gold Cup.

He won the race last year, but a shallower version, and many in the field are closely matched through various pieces of form. He was also beaten in the trial and looking through his record, he has hitherto largely bypassed all the main staying contests, the Group Ones in France not comparing to those in England in my opinion.

So with many of these on a par, where does the extra edge lie? Tactics are the obvious starting point and for that reason I am siding with Big Orange, who ran second to Vazirabad 12 months ago. He seems the only sure to go from the front with Frankie Dettori (his sole ride on the card) a master at the waiting ride in front. He was softened up a touch last year by Certerach, which left him vulnerable come the finish but hopefully that will not happen again and he looks the value.

On to the UAE Derby and Thunder Snow will need to be a very, very good horse to win from stall 13. We already know he is a very good horse but there is enough against him to suggest he won’t achieve that extra very here. The dirt didn’t seem too much of an issue when he won the UAE 2000 Guineas on his reappearance, but that was a nine-runner race and this will be a different kettle of fish. Bee Jersey has the best part of six lengths to find with him, and indeed he has a similar distance to find with Fawree, but I am quite happy to believe he can. Firstly, Bee Jersey has only had three starts and can/will still improve, while he made a big move at halfway in that Guineas and it left him empty for the finish. He was also drawn in stall nine of nine on that occasion and is in seven now, so at the very least should bridge the gap.

Zarak looks banker material in the Dubai Turf such was the impression he made when landing the Dubai Millennium Stakes during the Carnival. He was still someway short of fitness that day, both in appearance and at the suggestion of his trainer, yet he won on the bridle beating Earnshaw by a length and three quarters, that horse getting to within a length and a half of Decorated Knight in the Jebel Hatta. His form behind Almanzor last season is top drawer stuff and he very much strikes as a horse that is about to come of age.

One more selection and that is Jack Hobbs in the Dubai Sheema Classic who, in a similar vein, has form behind Almanzor and strikes as the type to fulfil all his potential as a five-year-old. No horse has impressed more in appearance than Jack Hobbs, very much confirming the opinion of John Ferguson when he bought the horse, that he would be one that blossomed with time under his belt. That time was rather enforced following injury, but it should prove to be a blessing in disguise and this long-striding sort should be well suited by the Meydan track.

Stephen Molyneux’s Dubai World Cup Best Bet selections:
8:50am (ET) Meydan: Big Orange
9.25am (ET) Meydan: Bee Jersey
11:30am (ET) Meydan: Zarak
12:05pm (ET) Meydan: Jack Hobbs

AGOS Horses to Watch – March 24, 2017

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes and Horses to Watch

Gulfstream Park

3/18/17

Race #7 – Illmatic – 6f dirt

Nik Juarez in the driver’s seat and was coming off a 55 day vacation from the races. He was bumped soundly leaving the gate and far back in the field. He moved off the rail at the 1/4 pole for clear sailing and was wide making an eye-catching run for next time out.

Race#9 – Casby’s Kid – 1 1/16 turf

Luis Saez in the irons for Jorge Navarro (22%). Son of Girolamo was making his first start in 59 days. The barn wins (35%) with maiden claimers and scores (20%) with turf runners. – He was rank and hard to control on this day and forced to check off heels while making a bid. We’ll excuse this effort as he was working out the bugs for good things to come next out.

3/11/17

Race #6 – Milbra – Claiming 6f dirt

Jermaine Bridgmohan was aboard the three-year-old filly who broke her maiden two races back. She had a bad trip last out, and was ready to make good. Claimers can have a short cycle of being ready to roll. She was 14-1 today, and showed a glimpse of good things to come next out. If she gets anywhere near this price she’ll reward her backers handsomely at the windows.

Race #11 -Sweet Ella – 7 1/2f turf

Luis Saez in the irons for Todd Pletcher as they brought a daughter of Scat Daddy to post. She was cutting back from 1 1/16 – 7 1/2f and was making her second start of the year. She was 5 wide in the final turn and splitting runners with great interest as the odds-on favorite. Maybe some added ground or a cleaner trip has her in the winner’s circle next out.

Tampa Bay Downs

3/11/17

Race #3 – Road Guard Post – 6 1/2f dirt

Daniel Centeno in the saddle as he was aboard the first time starter by Unbridled’s Song. The barn has a strong win clip of 45% with first timers. She broke well setting a blistering pace only to settle for the show dough this effort. She is bred to be something special and her work tab is solid. Second time out may be just what the doctor ordered.

Race #4 – Alum – 7f dirt

Jose Ortiz in town for Todd Pletcher, and the son of Bodemiester was a beaten chalk over the track last out. Pletcher’s usual rider John Velasquez was aboard the eventual winner Egyptian Hero. Alum was bumped soundly at the start and had to check at the 1/8th pole uncorking a rally. He’s bred to be a player and next out may be a good shot at redemption.

Race #7 – Profiteer – 1 mile turf

Jose Ortiz in the driver’s seat for Shug McGaughey. This was 2nd time lasix for the son of War Front and his second start of 2017. He was a beaten favorite, and bested in the shadow of the wire. This turf runner will give them fits next time out.

Race #10 – My Impression – 1 1/8 turf

New York-shipper for the McGaughey barn with Jose Ortiz in the saddle. The daughter of Sky Mesa was making her first start of the year. She made a stout charge at the 3/16’s pole three wide making a solid bid to be fifth this day.

Get Art Parker’s book “Keeneland Winning Trainer Patterns” with details on the 51 best horsemen that race in Kentucky.  One hit will pay for this book many times over.

Turfway Park

3/18/17

Race #3 – Bell by the Ridge – 1 mile on the all weather

Richard Bracho in the irons for trainer Kim Hammond (27%). They brought a 10-year-old gelding to post who is 11/13 ITM over the TP oval. Bracho tipped off the rail looking for clear sailing at the 1/4 pole and took over the lead briefly before getting nailed on the wire by Twice Mike who loves the course.

Race #5 – Jersey Chaser – 5 1/2f on the all weather

Eric Reed sent a good looking daughter of Drosselmeyer to post. She had been off for 7 months shipping in from Arlington Park. She made a fast closing effort and may have needed one. – She loves sprinting and is 3/5 ITM at this distance.

Race #6 – Infinite Midnight – 6 1/2f on the all weather

Son of Giant’s Causeway had not been out in a year after shipping in from Aqueduct. First time gelding previously trained by Chad Brown won impressively on this day. He was dropping from allowance company to condition $25k claimers. Play him right back if you have time before the end of the meet on 4/1/17.

Oaklawn Park

3/18/17

Race #10 – The G-2 Rebel Stakes – Silver Dust – 1 1/16

Corey Lanerie in the irons for Randy Morse and the field of 11 three-year-olds got a bit tight around the far turn. At the 3/4 mark this deep closer had to tap on the brakes and wait for room. The son of Tapit was making his second start of the year and appears distance should not be a problem moving forward.

Fantasy Horse Ownership a Big Hit at Laurel Park

Press Release

Access to the paddock and winner’s circle, as well as a total prize pool of $50,000, were among the features that awaited registered participants for the inaugural Fantasy Owners Day Saturday at Laurel Park.

Designed as an introduction to prospective Thoroughbred owners, Fantasy Owners Day was presented jointly by the Maryland Jockey Club, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Maryland Horse Breeders, and attracted nearly 300 prospective owners.

“The attendance blew us away,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “We were expected maybe 100 people, so 300 was incredible.”

The event began with an optional morning training session on the Laurel apron, followed by a 10 a.m. sign-in period where participants were randomly paired with a horse for the day. A prospective owner’s seminar held at 10:30 a.m. featured a Q&A session with top racing partnerships, racing officials and horsemen, followed by a luncheon in the Terrace Dining Room.

horses racing Before going to the luncheon, Maryland Jockey Club President and General Manager Sal Sinatra surprised the participants by telling them they would be competing for cash prizes totaling $50,000 at the end of the year.Sinatra announced all fantasy horse earnings in U.S. races would be tracked from Saturday through Dec. 31, 2017, with $30,000 awarded to the participants assigned to the first-place fantasy horse, $10,000 for second, $5,500 for third, $3,000 for fourth and $1,500 for fifth.

If multiple participants are assigned to the same fantasy horse, the share of the prize will divided equally among the number of participants. Published earnings by Equibase.com will be the source of determining earnings for each fantasy horse.

“This was our way of giving people the experience of being an owner without any expense,” Sinatra said. “It will now be our job to treat them like owners, inviting them to events and making them feel a part of our group. This day was a success, and it couldn’t have been done without the help of horsemen and breeders.”

Participants will be invited to the paddock for the saddling of all starts of their fantasy horse at Maryland tracks between Saturday and Dec. 31, 2017, as well as being part of the winner’s circle photo should their horse win. Final awards will be distributed during a luncheon at Laurel in January 2018.

A weekly blog with updated news, entry information, results, race video, photos, current standings and more will allow participants to track their horses at www.fantasyownership.com. Participants will also receive regular e-mails and be invited to a fantasy challenge group on Facebook.

Also on Saturday, all fans will take home a long-sleeve Maryland Jockey Club T-shirt free with purchase of a racing program, while supplies last.

Handicapping Tip of the Day #38 – Does the Favorite Make Sense?

by Rich Nilsen

Claiming races have often been compared to poker games.  The crafty trainers are making moves and hoping that their competition guesses wrong.  Recently at Laurel Park, red hot trainer Linda Rice (43% winner on the meet) had the overwhelming favorite Cheering On Al.  On the surface and with a cursory glance, the four-year-old filly look near unbeatable.  She had been very competitive at claiming levels more than three times the price of today’s race.  But therein lied the rub.  Why in the world was she in for only a nickel ($5,000) given her recent form?  Also, why had she not run back within two or three weeks off the claim?

Laurel past performances PPs

copyright 2017 Equibase and Brisnet.com

Her last race gave a clue as to why.  Bet down to odds of 7/5 she failed to hit the board, fading quickly in the final 1/16th of a mile.  Still, the fourth place finish beaten just over four lengths was a performance that should crush today’s competition.  Right? That disappointing race, however, came for trainer Rudy Rodriguez, who is difficult to claim off of, and she had been shelved since the race in late December.  Red flags were popping up.

Does the betting favorite make sense?  If you had just claimed this filly, would run her in this spot?  You would only do so if her soundness was less than 100 percentage, and you were not happy with your $16,000 purchase.  That apparently was the case in this spot, as the connections were willing to unload her for $5,000.  She was a sucker bet at odds of 0.60 to 1, and she ran accordingly.

These opportunities don’t come along every day but they do appear frequently enough.  I just happened to be on 5-1 shot Weatherurnot, who looked like a winner in deep stretch, only to be nailed by a big longshot with improving form.

Laurel race chart

 

Arrogate in a different class to Dubai World Cup rivals

IT was Super Saturday at Meydan last weekend, but the only market mover for the Dubai World Cup was standing in his box.

The RACING POST (UK): World Cup: Arrogate in a different class to World Cup rivals

Inside Horse Racing’s ‘Hunger Games’ in Las Vegas – Rolling Stone

NHC18 Champ Ray Arsenaul

NHC18 Champ Ray Arsenault

RollingStone.com: Inside Horse Racing’s ‘Hunger Games’ in Las Vegas

The NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas brings together an assortment of horseplayers from all over the world. and more »

Source: Inside Horse Racing’s ‘Hunger Games’ in Las Vegas – Rolling Stone

Is Horse Racing Dead? Tampa Bay Downs Reports Huge Day

Tampa Paddock

Up close and personal at the Tampa Bay Downs paddock

Press Release

When you put more money up for grabs than ever before in track history, it’s logical to expect top-quality racing.

Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner Tapwrit and the other four stakes winners more than delivered.

The Festival Day card on March 11, 2017 produced a track record and three stakes records (four if you count the Columbia Stakes, which was being run at a distance of a mile on the turf for the first time).

A crowd of 10,079 more than did its part to make the day memorable, contributing to total wagering handle of $12,123,021.60, the second-largest figure in Tampa Bay Downs annals.

“We’re extremely pleased and proud to see our biggest day receive such tremendous support from the Tampa Bay community,” said track Vice President-General Manager Peter Berube. “We wish all the participants the best of fortune going forward, and naturally we’re hopeful Tapwrit will move on to compete in the Kentucky Derby (Presented by Yum! Brands).”

The striking gray colt Tapwrit was the unquestioned standout of the afternoon, launching a powerful move approaching the far turn and going on to a four-and-a-half length victory from State of Honor in the Grade II, $350,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby. His time of 1:42.36 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth is a new stakes record, and would have been a track record had not his stablemate, 5-year-old Stanford, won the $100,000 Challenger at the same distance three races earlier.

Both horses are trained by Todd Pletcher, who won his third consecutive Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, fourth in five years and fifth overall.

Also setting a course record was the 3-year-old filly Fifty Five, who won the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the turf in 1:41.60 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth.