About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 17-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 2018 NHC Tour 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 17-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 2018 NHC Tour 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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A Brief History of Horse Racing at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds

Racing at Fair GroundsThe Fair Grounds, which considers April 13, 1872, its first day in operation, is one of the oldest race tracks in the United States. Only a handful are older, including the well-known Saratoga Race Course in New York (1863) and Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course (1870).

Horse racing was actually staged on the 145-acre piece of land in Gentilly as far back as 1852. At the time, the race track was known as the Union Race Course and later the Creole Race Course, according to Bob Roesler’s book “The Fair Grounds: Big Shots and Long Shots.”

The Fair Grounds name can be traced to the Mechanics and Agricultural Fair, which was held on the site for several years beginning in 1859. It featured displays of horses and livestock, as well as machinery and agricultural products. After the annual event, the public began referring to the area as the Fair Grounds and the name stuck…

Woodbine’s 2020 Horse Racing Season Ends Abruptly

Woodbine via WO FB pageThe suburban Toronto track was hit with a double whammy during the weekend — a government shutdown order because of the [Covid-19] pandemic that forced cancellation of the final three weeks of the meeting, and then a winter storm that eliminated half of Sunday’s unexpected closing day program.

The lost races included the Grade III Grey Stakes for 2-year-olds and the Grade III Mazarine Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, both with some very promising youngsters.

Canada’s premier track did manage to provide a pretty spectacular sendoff, though, with a flurry of graded stakes Saturday.

Saturday’s $150,000 Grade III Ontario Derby had the winners of all three Triple Crown races in the field of eight but it was Kentucky invader Field Pass who got the spoils…

Breeders’ Cup Registers Sixth-Highest Handle in Two-day History

Breeders CupTotal all-sources handle for the two-day Breeders’ Cup Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland was $160,472,894, the sixth-highest total since the Breeders’ Cup expanded to a two-day event in 2007 and an 8% decrease from the 2019 record handle of $174,000,574 at Santa Anita Park.

Breeders’ Cup did not report attendance figures this year at Keeneland with no paid spectators allowed as a COVID-19 safety precaution. Owners and their guests, breeders, participating horsemen, and media were allowed to attend—a group that perhaps numbered in the low thousands.

Despite a sharply reduced crowd, this year’s total handle represented a 7% increase from the 2015 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland…

Oklahoma Training Track in Saratoga in Line for Renovation

They’re digging again.

Saratoga Springs residents who were wondering what that gigantic mountain of dirt was doing just inside the Nelson Avenue backstretch gate of Saratoga Race Course last winter might have another one to ponder this winter.

This time, it would be somewhere in the vicinity of the Oklahoma Training Track.

The New York Racing Association has already stripped some ground around the Oklahoma, which officially closed for training last Tuesday, as a first step toward examining whether any renovation to the surface needs to be done.

That type of work was performed on the main track in time for the 2020 racing meet and was met with universal approval from horsemen and jockeys.

The main track upgrade was such a hit that Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who has a history of mostly training his horses on the Oklahoma, actually sent his champion mare Midnight Bisou over to the main for two breezes in July leading up to the Personal Ensign.

If NYRA does a similar job on the Oklahoma, it should improve what is already considered one of the most forgiving dirt training surfaces in North America…

This is What Happened to Beulah Park in Columbus

Work finally on Beulah Park Living, the $300 million housing, retail and office complex on the site of the former Beulah Park horse racing track in Grove City.

The project developers, Falco, Smith & Kelley of Columbus, included details of the project with an announcement of a May 3 groundbreaking, five years to the day that horses last raced round the track.

The first phase of the 212-acre project is scheduled to include 264 apartments, 104 ranch-style homes, 80 townhome condominiums, a 94-unit assisted living facility and 216 single-family home lots. Plans eventually call for up to 972 apartments, condominiums and homes.

Developers plan to include “new urbanist” design elements, including walking distance to shops and restaurants, and alleys behind the community’s 84 estate home lots.

The homes will be built around a 45-acre park with trails, a pond, gardens, and a pavilion. Plans eventually include a community center on the site.

“What makes Beulah a unique community is that we are going to be able to have a diverse range of people who will live here, because we’ll have such a diverse range of housing available,” Pat Kelley, with Falco, Smith & Kelly, told ThisWeek News earlier this year. “And to me, that’s what truly defines a development as a community.”

The apartments will rise on the east side of the development and could eventually grow to include 415 units.

Racing at Golden Gate Fields Postponed till December 3rd

Golden gate turf breakWith the continued regard for the safety and well-being of 1/ST RACING employees, those working on the backstretch and the community at large, and in following the best guidance from local health authorities, Golden Gate Fields’ leadership has decided to continue its suspension of live racing through November.

Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Golden Gate Fields has implemented stringent health and safety measures including, strict social distancing, masking policies and regular COVID-19 testing with isolation requirements for any positive cases or identified close contacts.

On November 13, Golden Gate Fields announced a one-week temporary closure to address a COVID-19 outbreak. Since then, all track facilities have undergone thorough cleaning and track-wide COVID-19 testing has been administered to all 1/ST RACING employees and to all those who work on the backstretch. All testing data have been shared with the Berkeley Public Health Division (BPHD).

All positive cases are overseen by the BPHD through their case managers. Positive cases are required to isolate as per BPHD protocols and are not able to return to Golden Gate Fields until health clearance has been provided by the BPHD.

The 1,300 horses stabled onsite will continue to receive the daily care and exercise they require.

Golden Gate Fields will continue to monitor the situation in collaboration with the BPHD and will look forward to resuming live racing with the announcement of a reopening date as soon as possible.

For more information please visit www.goldengatefields.com or @GGFRacing.

Pro Gamblers Accuse William Hill Of Cheating On In-Game Bets

William Hill US has been accused by at least two prominent sports bettors of intentionally delaying the acceptance of in-game wagers in the Silver State, depending on if the wager is good or bad for the book. In other words, they’re saying it’s allegedly not a technology shortcoming, but a deliberate attempt by the book to boost its winning percentage against gamblers.

But some in the industry say the problem is the result of an unintentional bias in a less than ideal product, with it possibly impacting bettors evenly. Most people do agree there is an issue.

In a statement to Sports Handle, William Hill flatly denied the claims, and indicated it may seek legal action against one of the accusers.

Prominent sports bettors Bill Krackomberger and Rufus Peabody, who both …

Traditional Multi-Race Wagers Return to Fair Grounds

horses racingNew Orleans (November 17, 2020) – When Fair Grounds’ 149th season of racing kicks off Thanksgiving Day, a traditional early and late Pick Five will replace the Black Gold Five, a jackpot wager that had been in place for the past several years.

On a regular basis, the early Pick Five will encompass races 1-5, and the late Pick Five will be offered on the final five races of the card. The 50-cent minimum wager will pay 100% of the day’s pool plus any carryover coming into the day to those who correctly select 5-of-5 winners. Should no one pick 5-of-5, 25% of the pool will be paid to those who select the most winners, with the remaining 75% of the pool carrying over to the following day’s late Pick Five sequence.

Learn about the most common types of horse racing wagers.

In addition to the newly implemented early and late Pick Five, Fair Grounds will also offer an early Pick Four, which will now move to races 2-5, as well as two other Pick Fours later on the card. Rolling Pick Threes and daily doubles remain a staple of the wagering menu.

Fair Grounds will also make a key change to their horizontal wagering platform. Beginning this meet, any race that is taken off the turf after a sequence has started will revert to ALL on any live tickets. This rule only applies to turf races moved to the main track. Any scratch in a race that did not switch surfaces will result in the bettor getting a replacement of the post time favorite.

A complete list of wagering information, special wagers, and with key racing dates for the meet can be found here (PDF file)

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About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots: Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 13 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 149th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 108th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 26, 2020 through March 28, 2021. More information can be found online at www.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com.

The Most Common Horse Racing Wagers

Handicapping past performances PPsIf you are new to the sport of horse racing, these are the basic and most common types of horse racing wagers that you can place at the racetrack, OTB, or ADW (online wagering company).

WIN BET
You are picking the horse you think will win the race. If you are correct, you will receive the Win payoff amount.  You can wager on more than one horse in the race to win.

Minimum bet – $1 or 2 per horse combination depending on the track’s rules.

PLACE BET
You are picking the horse(s) you think will run EITHER first or second place in the race. If you are correct, you will receive the Place payoff amount.
Minimum bet – $1 or 2 per horse combination depending on the track’s rules.

SHOW BET
You are picking the horse(s) you think will run EITHER first, second OR third. If you are correct, you will receive the Show payoff amount.
Minimum bet – $1 or 2 per horse combination depending on the track’s rules.

DAILY DOUBLE BET
Played only on the first and second races of each performance. You must select the horse(s) in each of the two races you think will win. All Daily Double bets must be in before the first race (Leg) runs.
Minimum bet – $1 or 2 per horse combination depending on the track’s rules.

QUINIELA BET
You must pick at least two horses you think will cross the finish line in the top two places. With this type of bet, the horses can finish in either order, and you still have a winning ticket! If you are correct, you will receive the Quiniella payoff amount.
Minimum bet – $1 or 2 per horse combination depending on the track’s rules.

EXACTA BET
With this wager you must pick the first two horses across the finish line in EXACT order. If you are correct, you will receive the Exacta payoff amount.  This is the most popular “exotic” wager in horse racing.
Minimum bet – $1 per horse combination.

TRIFECTA BET
You must pick at least three horses that you think will be the first three across the finish line. If you are correct, you will receive the Trifecta payoff amount.
Minimum bet – $0.50 per horse combination, or more, depending on the track’s rules.

SUPERFECTA BET
You must pick at least four horses you think will be the first four across the finish line. If you are correct, you will receive the Superfecta payoff amount.
Minimum bet – $0.10 per horse combination minimum, or more, and additional amounts must be in multiples of a dime.  Depends on the track’s rules.  Some tracks are $0.50 or $1.00 minimums.  Some Canadian tracks are $0.20 minimums.

An unlikely comeback for horse racing?

Longtime race horse owner Armand Janjigian knows all about calculating the odds, but he still wants to rescue the state’s thoroughbred racing industry, even if it’s a long shot.

The business consultant and owner of the Kingsbury health clubs in Medfield and Kingston just turned 86. But he’s not ready to ride into the sunset.

Instead, he is plotting an unlikely comeback for thoroughbreds [in Massachusetts]. Janjigian is piecing together more than 300 acres near Interstate 84 in Sturbridge to build a new racetrack. He’s lining up investors for the $25 million-plus project. And he is working with town officials to rewrite the zoning rules to allow racing, and the gambling that would go along with it…