About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 16-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the NHC Tour for 2018 with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 16-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the NHC Tour for 2018 with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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New Racing Club at Canterbury Park in 2020

“Our mission is to engage new people with thoroughbred racehorse both active and retired…” ~ Joe Scurto

Lakeville, MN…. The first racetrack in North America to create a racing club for thoroughbred racing fans, Canterbury Park has now teamed up with the Minnesota Racehorse Engagement Project (MNREP) to introduce a new version of their successful club platform for 2020.

The new club will not only offer horse lovers the opportunity to experience the pleasure, prestige, and emotional rewards of owning a thoroughbred racehorse, it will also help horses coming off the track as they transition into new careers. All net profits from the club will be going to support local equine organizations that are working with MNREP and Canterbury Park in transitioning retired racehorses. These organizations currently include This Old Horse, University of Minnesota, Crookston Equine Science Program, and Acres of Life.

Joe Scurto, Executive Director MNREP is excited about the opportunity to have a club that will benefit both members as well as horses. “Our mission is to engage new people with thoroughbred racehorse both active and retired. The new club will be able to offer both. The organizations working with us to transition horses will also benefit. People joining will get more than their monies worth and support equine aftercare in the process.”

Latest 2020 Cheltenham News Updates

We are in the new decade of 2020 and the Cheltenham Festival 2020 is just a couple of days away. Some of the leading horses and jockeys are expected to participate at the biggest world horse racing event in the UK. Top bookmakers are gearing up for the event and luring punters with exciting betting offers for the expected races there. This year’s event is expected to be very competitive as the leading jockeys and top horses are going to participate.

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest horse racing events in the UK that is only rivaled by the Grand National. It is a perfect gift for all horse race fans and punters alike who like to try their luck by placing bets on their popular sport. While the festival is known to be a horse racing event, it does more than just horse racing. It is also acts as a perfect venue for people from different parts of the globe to converge and get to know each other!

A review of the latest betting odds for the Cheltenham Festival 2020

Being one of the biggest horse racing betting events in the national hunt calendar, punters are usually on the look for exciting betting offers from bookmakers. As a punter, you are also perhaps looking to review the latest Cheltenham betting odds 2020. Well, the event features some of the best jockeys and horses that you could select to help you win a bet.

Basically, bookmarkers usually offer lower odds for horses or jockeys that are favorites to win a race. If you wish to increase your chances of winning a bet then the best thing you could do is choose a horse or jockey with the lowest odds. While lower odds may not offer you much of possible win price, your chances of winning remain high.

Conversely, horses or jockeys that are not likely to win a race are usually offered higher odds. This is usually a subtle strategy used by bookmarkers to persuade punters to pick jockeys or horses that are least likely to win.

So, which betting is good – online or brick and mortar betting?

The Cheltenham Festival is just around the corner and if you that punter seeking to try his/her luck through bets perhaps you are wondering what type of bet is best. Is online betting better that the traditional betting at a physical brick and mortar shop? Of course, you will have a variety of horse races that you can opt to place your bets for.

As the prestigious sporting event keeps drawing nearer, you certainly have the choice to select which type of betting to go for. There is the in-shop betting that involves walking into a physical betting shop and pacing your bet on either of your favorite jockey or horse to win a race. You also have the option of choosing a bookmaker and placing your online bet on a favorite horse or jockey to win at the race. The choice obviously is yours but several reports suggest that online betting has got more benefits and advantages over the traditional in-house bets.

Here is a sneak peak at some of the amazing benefits and advantages of online betting:

  • If you are signing up for a bookmaker for the first time, you get offers such as the introductory free bet offer and amazing bonus offers. These are things that lack on in-house betting shops.
  • There are some bookmarkers that do offer ¼ odds offers which are non-existent in-house betting shops.
  • Instant payouts on winnings right on your bookmarker account unlike in-shop betting shops that you need to collect winnings yourself in person.
  • Online betting also offers you important betting information such as a team’s, recent stats and performance so that you can make an informed betting move. This is lacking in in-house betting shops.
  • When you are betting online, you will also have various funding options including debit card, PayPal, mobile wallet etc.
  • You also have the opportunity to watch live sporting action from bookmakers with live stream.
  • Bookmarkers also provide their users with a complete bet slip history thus raising confidence amongst users.

AGOS Horses to Watch and Trip Notes – Jan. 13

track announcer with binocularsAGOS Horses to Watch and Trip Notes for Agameofskill.com visitors

FAIR GROUNDS

HORSE DOCTOR (Race 2 @FG, 12/18/2019) – First time starter had been working lights out prior to debut in this 5.5f turf sprint.  Broke tardily, 1.5 lengths behind, but rallied very well late to be second best behind the logical, gate to wire winner.

TAMPA BAY DOWNS

ZIGGY BARCELONA (Race 6 @TAM, 1/11/2020).  This first-time gelding was coming off a long layoff but was well prepared by trainer Robert Dobbs, Jr.   If he hadn’t been pressured by another huge longshot, this 4yo may have lit up the toteboard.  He held well for 4th in a sneaky good effort.

MY COTTON CANDY (Race 6 @TAM, 12/18/2019) – This filly got a new rider and responded with a powerful late finish to just miss catching the favorite at the wire.  She galloped out lengths in front in a good performance.  Loves Tampa and 7 furlongs.

Is Horse Racing Dead? Stagnant Last Year

Purses Up, Pari-Mutuel Handle Down in 2019 – according to The BloodHorse

This year’s U.S. purse total is the highest since 2007, a pre-Great Recession year with more than $1.18 billion in purses. Compared with 2007 this year’s purses were recorded at a time of reduced racing—down 42%. Considering that reduction in racing, the average purse per race in 2019 compared with 2007 is up 40.2% to $32,256.

While purses improved in 2019, the rash of breakdowns at Santa Anita Park that forced the Southern California track to halt racing after its March 8 card before reopening March 29, likely impacted pari-mutuel wagering. Wagering on U.S. races in 2019 was down 2% to $11,038,790,395 compared with last year.

More about 2019:

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Horse Racing in New York. An Annual Financial Recap

Source: NYRA

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced that its 2019 race meets conducted at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course generated all-sources handle of $2,108,126,369.

For the first time in history, NYRA generated more than $700 million in all-sources handle during the 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course, which was conducted over a five-day race week.

Wagering from all-sources at Saratoga totaled $705,343,949, a figure that eclipsed the previous record set in 2017 by nearly $29 million or 4.2 percent. The milestone record was achieved despite the cancellation of a full racing card on the second Saturday of the season due to extreme heat, in addition to the cancellation of the final seven races on July 25 due to severe storms.

Belmont Park crowd

copyright Agameofskill.com

Inclement weather forced the full cancellation of seven race days and partial cancellation of six cards during the year. As a result, there were 217 race days in 2019 at NYRA tracks with average daily handle of $9,714,868.

Total all sources handle in 2018 was $2,113,408,494 with average daily handle over the 219 days of live racing in 2018 of $9,650,267.

2019 featured 2,000 races at NYRA tracks, or 38 fewer than were contested in 2018. 125 races were taken off the turf in 2019 compared with 193 in 2018.

2019 Belmont Stakes

The June 8 Belmont Stakes Day card, highlighted by Sir Winston’s victory in the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, generated all-sources handle of $102,163,280, a NYRA record for a non-Triple Crown year.

All-sources handle for the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival was $131,858,886.

In total, the 48-day Belmont Park spring/summer meet generated all sources handle of $524,051,257 with on-track handle of $62,499,109. Average daily handle during the spring/summer meet was $10,917,735.

The 2019 Belmont Park fall meet generated all-sources handle of $274,929,718. Average daily handle over the 37 days of live racing was $7,430,533 with on-track handle totaling $32,523,572.

The 25-day 2019 fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack generated all-sources handle of $205,249,710, and on-track handle of $20,712,645. Average daily handle during the fall meet at the Big A was $8,209,988.

Total on-track handle across all NYRA meets in 2019 was $310,053,754, a 5.2 percent decrease from the 2018 total of $326,893,963.

Remington and Woodbine Report Solid Handle Figures

Woodbine All-Sources Handle Second-Largest in History

Woodbine Entertainment announced Dec. 18 that the 2019 Thoroughbred meet produced an all-sources handle of $516,189,880.80—the second-largest in its history and the third consecutive year the Ontario track exceeded half a billion dollars.

The 131-day (with two cancellations) meet included 1,212 races, 45 fewer than last year, which contributed to the all-sources handle being down 3.2% compared to 2018. Average field size per race was also a contributing factor; it was 8.2 in 2019 compared to 8.3 last year.

Remington Park

The 2019 Remington Park Thoroughbred season concluded Dec. 15 and again experienced increases in total pari-mutuel handle for the 67-date schedule, the track announced Dec. 19.

Total handle on Remington Park racing was $76,885,108, up 7.1% compared to 2018 when the Thoroughbred season generated $71,798,190. It marked the third consecutive season the Oklahoma track’s handle increased over the previous year.

DraftKings to Go Public

Sports bettingBOSTON and LOS ANGELES – DECEMBER 23, 2019 – DraftKings Inc., a digital sports entertainment and gaming company known for its industry-leading daily fantasy sports and mobile sports betting platforms, has entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: DEAC) (“Diamond Eagle”), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, and SBTech, an international turnkey provider of cutting-edge sports betting and gaming technologies.

The combined company will become the only vertically-integrated pure-play sports betting and online gaming company based in the United States. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2020. In connection with the closing of the transaction, Diamond Eagle intends to change its name to DraftKings Inc., reincorporate in Nevada and remain Nasdaq-listed under a new ticker symbol.

Santa Anita opening day moved to Saturday

“The combination of DraftKings’ leading and trusted brand, deep focus on customer experience and data science expertise and SBTech’s highly innovative and proven technology platform creates a vertically-integrated powerhouse,” said Jason Robins co-founder and CEO of DraftKings. “I look forward to building significantly upon our goals of continuing our state-by-state rollout and creating the most entertaining and engaging customer experiences for sports fans globally.”

The new DraftKings will continue to be led by co-founder and CEO Jason Robins and will retain DraftKings’ highly experienced management team, including co-founders Paul Liberman and Matt Kalish. The SBTech management team who bring a wealth of international markets, trading and risk management experience will also be integrated into the organization.

Institutional investors (including funds managed by Capital Research and Management Company, Wellington Management Company and Franklin Templeton) have committed to a private investment of $304 million in Class A common stock of the combined company that will close concurrently with the business combination and, subject to any redemptions by DEAC stockholders, there is $400 million currently held in Diamond Eagle’s trust account. It is anticipated that the combined company will have an equity market capitalization at closing of approximately $3.3 billion and have over $500 million of unrestricted cash on the balance sheet.

“We are pleased to bring DraftKings and SBTech together as one public company,” said Harry E. Sloan, Founding Investor of Diamond Eagle. “DraftKings is already a premier online fantasy sports and betting platform. With the full integration of SBTech’s technology and innovative product expertise coupled with the right capitalization, DraftKings will be in a great position to continue its ambitious expansion plans in the United States. I have known Jason Robins for four years, and consider him a true entrepreneur. I believe our investors share my utmost respect for his vision and leadership.”

DraftKings Brand Highlights

Since becoming the first mobile operator to launch in New Jersey in August 2018, DraftKings has consistently maintained greater than 30% online market share, and for the nine months ended September 30, 2019, the company recorded 8.5x year-over-year revenue growth in the state. DraftKings currently offers mobile and online sports betting in Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and retail locations in Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey and New York.

DraftKings’ daily fantasy sports product is available in 43 states and 8 international markets including Australia, Canada and the U.K., has approximately 60% market share and leverages its customer acquisition and cross-selling model for its sportsbook and iGaming offerings.
DraftKings established a “one-platform” model by launching features like single sign-on, an integrated wallet and universal user profile, that allows a user to move seamlessly between a DFS contest, a sports wager and a hand of blackjack, enabling the company to quickly bring to market new offerings without reinventing the wheel of an entirely new back-end infrastructure.
SBTech Highlights

SBTech is a premier global full-service B2B turnkey technology provider with omni-channel sports betting solutions, trading services, and marketing and bonus tools powering some of the world’s most popular sports betting and online gaming brands.
50+ partners in 20+ regulated markets and jurisdictions including Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and U.K. and Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oregon and Pennsylvania in United States.
Awarded exclusive contract offering mobile and retail sports betting for the Oregon state lottery with their Oregon Lottery Scoreboard brand.
“The combination of DraftKings and SBTech brings together two tech-native companies with the customer at their cores,” said Gavin Isaacs, SBTech’s Chairman. “SBTech will maintain its core business and continue its B2B focus. We are excited about the opportunity to join a company with a similar innovation DNA and create a unique and differentiated player in global sports betting and online gaming.”

Conference Call and Webcast Information

Investors may listen to a pre-recorded call regarding the proposed business combination at 11:00 am EST on December 23, 2019. The live call may be accessed by dialing (877) 451-6152 for domestic callers or (201) 389-0879 for international callers. Once connected with the operator, please provide the conference ID of “13697668.”

A replay of the call will also be available from 2:00 pm EST on December 23, 2019 to 11:59 pm EST on December 30th 2019. To access the replay, the domestic toll-free access number is (844) 512-2921 and participants should provide the conference ID of “13697668.”

Please visit Diamond Eagle’s website http://eagleinvestmentpartners.com/ to access the webcast.

On the call, the presenters will be reviewing an investor presentation, which will be available on Diamond Eagle’s website and filed with the SEC as an exhibit to a Current Report on Form 8-K prior to the call, and available on the SEC website at www.sec.gov.

Additional Information about the Business Combination and Where to Find It

In connection with the proposed business combination, DEAC NV Merger Corp., a subsidiary of Diamond Eagle and the going-forward public company to be renamed DraftKings Inc. at closing (“New DraftKings”), intends to file a registration statement on Form S-4 (the “Registration Statement”) with the SEC, which will include a proxy statement/prospectus, and certain other related documents, to be used at the meeting of stockholders to approve the proposed business combination. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS OF DIAMOND EAGLE ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS, ANY AMENDMENTS THERETO AND OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS THAT WILL BE FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT DRAFTKINGS, SBTECH, DIAMOND EAGLE AND THE BUSINESS COMBINATION. The definitive proxy statement will be mailed to shareholders of Diamond Eagle as of a record date to be established for voting on the proposed business combination. Investors and security holders will also be able to obtain copies of the Registration Statement and other documents containing important information about each of the companies once such documents are filed with the SEC, without charge, at the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov,or by directing a request to: Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp., 2121 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 2300, Los Angeles, California, Attention: Eli Baker, President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary, (310) 209-7280.

Participants in the Solicitation

Diamond Eagle and its directors and executive officers may be deemed participants in the solicitation of proxies from Diamond Eagle’s shareholders with respect to the business combination. A list of the names of those directors and executive officers and a description of their interests in Diamond Eagle is contained in the final prospectus for Diamond Eagle’s initial public offering, which was filed with the SEC on May 14, 2019, and is available free of charge at the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov, or by directing a request to Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp., 2121 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 2300, Los Angeles, California, Attention: Eli Baker, President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary, (310) 209-7280. Additional information regarding the interests of such participants will be set forth in the Registration Statement for the proposed business combination when available.

Each of DraftKings and SBTech and its directors and executive officers may also be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the shareholders of Diamond Eagle in connection with the proposed business combination. A list of the names of such directors and executive officers and information regarding their interests in the business combination will be contained in the Registration Statement for the business combination when available.

About DraftKings

DraftKings is a U.S.-based digital sports entertainment and gaming company created to fuel the competitive spirits of sports fans with offerings that range across daily fantasy sports, sports betting and regulated gaming. Founded in 2011 by Jason Robins, Matt Kalish and Paul Liberman, DraftKings’ daily fantasy sports product is available in 8 countries internationally with 15 distinct sport categories. Launched in 2018, DraftKings Sportsbook offers mobile and retail betting for major national and global sports, and currently operates pursuant to state regulations in Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. DraftKings is the Official Daily Fantasy Partner of the NFL and PGA Tour as well as an Authorized Gaming Operator of the MLB and NBA. Headquartered in Boston, DraftKings holds offices across the country including Las Vegas, New Jersey, New York, and San Francisco.

About SBTech

SBTech is a global leader in omni-channel sports betting and gaming, with more than 1,200 employees in 10 offices worldwide. Since 2007, the group has developed the industry’s most powerful online sports betting and casino platform, serving licensees in more than 15 regulated territories. SBTech’s clients include many of the world’s premier betting and gaming operators, state lotteries, land-based casinos, horse racing companies, and iGaming start-ups. The group supplies highly flexible betting and gaming solutions to clients looking for exceptional configurability and the quickest route to market, complemented by proven business intelligence and reporting capabilities. The SBTech offering includes its seamless sportsbook, Chameleon360 igaming platform, managed services, on-property sportsbook and omni-channel solutions that provide players with constant access to sports and casino products across all online, mobile and retail channels. Supported by unrivalled expertise in trading and risk management, acquisition and CRM, and the highest standards of regulatory compliance, SBTech’s partners consistently achieve rapid growth, enhanced brand loyalty and record revenues. 5

About Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp.

Founded by media executive Jeff Sagansky and founding investor Harry Sloan, Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. was formed for the purpose of effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more businesses.

Source: Press Release

Santa Anita re-schedules Opening Day to Saturday

SANTA ANITA TO POSTPONE OPENING DAY TO SATURDAY, DEC. 28,

AHEAD OF LOOMING RAIN FORECAST

The opening day of Santa Anita’s 83rd season will be postponed two days until Saturday, December 28th, ahead of next week’s declining weather forecast.

“Opening Day is traditionally one of our biggest days of the year, but our commitment to safety is first and foremost,” said Aidan Butler, Acting Executive Director of California for The Stronach Group. “It was very important to make this call as early as possible for our horsemen, fans and employees. There are many moving parts, especially in the training of these wonderful horses, and this decision is being made at this time out of respect to give all involved plenty of advance notice.”

Boom Time for California Horse Racing“It is very difficult to predict weather forecasts in Southern California more than 48 hours in advance,” said Dennis Moore, who has returned to his responsibilities overseeing Santa Anita track surfaces. “Right now, they have rain Monday through Thursday morning. But the models are continuing to change and when they do that, they are usually building up moisture.”

It would be the first time since the 1973-74 winter season that Santa Anita has not opened on December 26th. Santa Anita last opened on December 28th in 1971. Last year’s opening day on-track attendance was 41,373, with an all-time opening day handle record of over $20-million.

“The stakes races set for Thursday will be brought back on Saturday,” said Steve Lym, Santa Anita’s VP & Director of Racing. “With the rain in the forecast, it was extremely likely that the races would be off the turf on Thursday. Postponing opening day will allow for the high quality turf racing synonymous with Santa Anita. We are planning on filling extra races throughout the opening week to give our horsemen the opportunity to run their horses.”

Among the horses set to run is Fox Hill Farm’s Omaha Beach, the likely heavy favorite in the Grade 1 Runhappy Malibu Stakes, now set for Saturday. “They are doing the right thing by moving the races,” said Richard Mandella, Omaha Beach’s Hall of Fame trainer. “I’m just very happy to be in the race with this horse.”

Entries for Opening Day will be drawn on Monday, December 23rd, which was scheduled to be the entry day for that Saturday.

Santa Anita’s revised Opening Week schedule has live racing Saturday, December 28th and Sunday, December 29th; New Year’s Day Wednesday, January 1st, and Friday, January 3rd through Sunday, January 5th.

First post time on Saturday, December 28th, will be 11:00 a.m.

ABOUT SANTA ANITA PARK
Santa Anita Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.

Industry Profile: Jockey Frankie Dettori and his Incredible Year

UK correspondent Edward Sadler has a sit-down interview with superstar jockey Frankie Dettori to look back on his incredible year in the saddle in 2019.

There’s Horse racing in St Lucia

Royal St Lucia Turf Club Opens on Schedule

KINGSTON, Jamaica — St Lucia placed themselves on the horse racing map when they hosted their first race meeting under the auspices of Royal St Lucia Turf Club.

The feature offering on the five-race card was the US$150,000 Pitons Cup, which was won by the American-bred Casting Crowns.

The event run over nine furlongs saw Casting Crowns, ridden by Qin Young, come from off the pace to catch Colonel’s Pride at the top of the straight to win convincingly.

Casting Crowns is trained by Deoner Visser and owned by well-known American outfit Taylor Made Farms. The winning time was 1:50.91. Second, went to Colonel’s Pride.

Run Bayou, ridden by Rasheed Hughes and trained by Jamaica’s Andrew “Busha” Nunes, was third. Busha Nunes now trains in Barbados.

Andrew’s brother and current leading trainer in Jamaica, Anthony Nunes had three runners in the Pitons Cup, one of which, Rock Creek, was ridden by Shane Ellis. Rock Creek finished sixth with Oriental Crown occupying the fifth slot.

In the other races on the five-race card, Anthony’s horses Shane Doan finished second with Nasty Critter and Queen of Pitons both earning third spots.

Earnings on all races were paid out to positions one to six.