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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Will Racing Return to Balmoral Park?

“It’s one of the most unique properties in Chicagoland, and it deserves to be put back into action,” Goldberg said. “Our plans include making it a premier sports and entertainment venue that Chicagoland and the south suburbs deserve.”

Goldberg’s group signed a contract to buy Balmoral for an undisclosed price from HITS Inc., the New York-based company that has hosted show horse productions at the track the last few years.

All the new owners need now is for state lawmakers to amend the Illinois’ massive gambling expansion law to allow for racing in Crete Township. But threading that legislative needle will be no small feat, as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot can attest.

And representatives for the horsemen who would work at the harness track — who pushed to include it in the new gaming law — are skeptical about the dark horse Balmoral bid.

“There’s a shroud of mystery that’s concerning,” Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association executive director Tony Somone said. “Who is Phil Goldberg? He’s not a racetrack person, not a gaming person. We’d like to work together with this group, but we don’t really know who we’re dealing with.”

Incredible. No Thanksgiving Card at Del Mar due to Forecast

We are in unprecedented times, as Del Mar will not hold Thanksgiving Day racing due to the weather forecast.

Source: DMR

With inclement weather predicted to bring substantial rain on Wednesday and Thursday of the coming week, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club proactively cancelled its scheduled Thanksgiving Day race card as part of its continuing emphasis on horse and rider safety.

Track officials plan to shift several of the races from Thursday’s program – including the $100,000, Grade III Red Carpet Stakes – to expanded race cards on Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1.

Additionally, the track is intending to run its Friday program as scheduled, but offering races only on its main track that day. Friday’s scheduled feature race, the $200,000, Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup, will be run on Sunday.

“The Weatherman is making it tough, but safety always comes first,” said Del Mar’s executive vice president for racing Tom Robbins. “We are appreciative of the cooperation from our horsemen. We’re planning on putting on a good show Friday and following that with tremendous stakes-filled cards on both Saturday and Sunday. We’ve got horses and horsemen coming into town from back east for our big races and we want them to know that their races will be presented as planned under safe and proper conditions.”

Del Mar worked with industry stakeholders – notably the Thoroughbred Owners of California – and its regulator, the California Horse Racing Board, in reshaping the conclusion of its fall racing season.

In the revised weekend slate, the track will move up first post both Saturday and Sunday to 12 noon and run 10 races on each day. Grass racing will be emphasized and there will be seven graded turf races conducted over the two days offering $1.3 million in purses.

The two-day turf stakes bonanza will consist of the Red Carpet for fillies and mares at 11 furlongs; the Hollywood Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up at 12 furlongs; the $100,000, Grade III Jimmy Durante for 2-year-old fillies at a mile; the $200,000, Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap for 3-year-olds an up at a mile and one-sixteenth; the $300,000, Grade I Hollywood Derby at nine furlongs; the $100,000, Grade III Cecil B. DeMille Stakes for 2-year-olds at a mile, and the $300,000, Grade I Matriarch Stakes for fillies and mares, aged 3 and up, at a mile.

Though Del Mar’s planned Thanksgiving race card will not happen, the facility will be open for Thanksgiving Brunch – featuring turkey and all the trimmings – from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. In addition, simulcast wagering will be presented along with traditional NFL action. Wagering will be held in its usual spot in the Mission Tower building starting at 9 a.m. and going forward to approximately 2:30 p.m., with races at Golden Gate Fields along with tracks from across the country on the agenda.

Weather may determine Santa Anita racing days for upcoming winter meet

Santa Anita apron

copyright AGameofSkill.com

Santa Anita Park racetrack has received a green light from the state to begin its winter-spring meet Dec. 26 under the condition that the track be shut down in the event of inclement weather.

The California Horse Racing Board conditionally approved the venue’s license Thursday without answers to key questions, such as what exactly constitutes “inclement weather” and who will make the call.

Those answers will be presented by The Stronach Group, Santa Anita’s owners, at the CHRB’s next meeting on Dec. 12 at Los Alamitos racetrack. At that time, if the board members aren’t happy with the process, they’ll be able to retract their approval.

“If these procedures and protocols are put into place and enforced, the governor has no reason not to allow racing to continue,” said Gregory Ferraro, new chairman of the CHRB .

Ferraro, a former racetrack veterinarian who was appointed to the board by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this year, pledged the state board would be pursuing stricter regulations than it has in the past.

“The days of permissive medication are over,” he said. “We will gradually eliminate medications and keep them away from racing dates and training. We expect opposition, but we’re determined to carry this out in the best interest of horses and jockeys.”

Since last December, 37 horses have died while racing or training at Santa Anita. Initially, those deaths were believed to have …

Wet Racetracks in California May Be in the History Books

Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Due to projections of rain from Tuesday through Thursday of next week in San Diego, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (DMTC) announced today that its Thursday, November 21 race card has been cancelled.  This action was due to “an abundance of caution,” said DMTC officials as the inclement weather likely will result in a muddy main track and soft turf course.  Entries for next Thursday’s card were scheduled to be taken tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

3 horses injured, 2 euthanized during race at California trackDMTC consulted with industry stakeholders, including the Thoroughbred Owners of California and its regulator, the California Horse Racing Board, about the cancellation and all parties agreed that the move provided for the safest possible racing environment.

“We know this is unusual for Del Mar,” said DMTC’s executive vice president for racing Tom Robbins, “but equine and rider safety is always our primary concern. We’ll make a call next week as to whether or not we’ll have training on Wednesday and Thursday.  We plan on drawing entries for next Friday’s card (November 22) this Sunday and we’ll race, weather permitting.”

Racing will be conducted as planned this Friday, Saturday and Sunday with first post at 12:30 p.m. on all days.

Veteran Touranment Player Streiff Scores at Del Mar

Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Mark Streiff of Mission Viejo, CA scored big in race 9 of the Del Mar Fall Challenge to vault to the lead. Streiff, back to back winner in the Fall Challenge, won an assortment of last race wagers including exacta, trifecta and finished a double. Mike Rosenthal from Las Vegas finished a close second with a final bankroll of $18,014.

In addition to Streiff’s $18,705 in bankroll winnings, he receives $25,000 in cash and a $10,000 BCBC entry. Rosenthal earns an $8,000 entry to the 2020 Del Mar Summer Challenge and $10,000 cash prize. Day one leader Roger McDow, first until the very last race, finished third. McDow also receives a Del Mar Summer entry, $3,000 cash in addition to the $2,500 bonus as day one winner.

Del Mar Fall Challenge Format

The Challenge buy-in was $5,000 with $3,500 going to the player bankroll and $1,500 to the prize pool.

Fourth and fifth place finishers Brandon Moran and Don Chung receive entries to the $2.8 million 2020 National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas.
2019 FINAL PLACINGS
PLACE NAME FINAL BANKROLL
1 Mark Streiff $18,705.50
2 Mike Rosenthal 2 $18,014.40
3 Roger McDow $14,307.50
4 Brandon Moran 2 $12,852
5 Don Chung $10,199
6 Gene Cahalan $9,450.60

This Stallion with 4 Runners Tops the Breeders’ Cup Sires

BC Sires 2019 via BH

Source: Blood-Horse

Claiborne Farm’s leading sire War Front , WinStar Farm’s Speightstown , and Spendthrift Farm’s marquee sire Into Mischief  lead the Breeders’ Cup World Championships sire roster as of Oct. 29 with five entrants apiece.

They are among six stallions that could be represented by at least four starters during the two-day event at Santa Anita Park Nov. 1-2.

Get the full recap from the Blood-Horse Magazine and the top Breeders’ Cup Sires.

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Decorated Invader & The West Point Grads in the Breeders’ Cup

Source:  Military Times

On Friday, Nov. 1, Finley’s team will have the opportunity to demonstrate that teamwork when one of their thoroughbreds, a 2-year-old named Decorated Invader, competes against horses from all over the world in the Breeders’ Cup.

After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1986 and serving in the Army for four years, Finley reconnected with his childhood passion and launched West Point Thoroughbreds in 1991.

“I think after you’ve had the honor of the experience at the Academy, you take away the fact that everything’s got to work together,” Finley, who grew up going to the racetracks, told Military Times. “There can’t be a weak link, and if you do have a weak link, you have to address that.”

Just like a military unit, the same rings true in the horse racing business where grooms function as the sergeants, partners as the generals, and trainers and jockeys as commander on the field, Finley said.

“Really, every part has got to be strong, every part’s got to be growing in the same direction,” Finley said.

In a cross-sectional twist of fate, Finley’s circle also includes another West Point graduate: Bill Sandbrook, who served in the Army for 13 years after graduating from West Point in 1979, and now is the chairman and CEO of US Concrete.

Together, they are owners of a thoroughbred racing horse with a military-inspired name: Decorated Invader.

Decorated Invader, whose father was named Declaration of War, has the opportunity to do just that when he competes in one of the world’s biggest horse racing contests, the Breeders’ Cup in Santa Anita, California.

After months of training, Decorated Invader made his racing debut on July 13, 2019 in Saratoga, New York, placing second. Weeks later, he secured his first victory in his next race on August 10 also in Saratoga, followed by another victory on Sept. 15 in Toronto, Ontario in Canada.

That last win paved the way for him to compete in the Breeders’ Cup, an international contest that involves 14 championship races and includes awards totaling more than $30 million. Decorated Invader is slated to participate in the Juvenile Turf race on Nov. 1.

According to TVG, the official betting partner of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup, Decorated Invader’s odds are 7:1 as of Oct. 21, meaning one would make a $7 profit off of every dollar one wagers. Additionally, the implied probability to win is 12.5 percent, per TVG’s calculations.

“Our confidence level is absolutely sky high,” Finley said. “Probably as high as it’s ever been with a horse that we’ve run in the Breeders’ Cup.”

On Saturday Decorated Invader is also set to go up against his half-brother Peace Achieved, whose father is also Declaration of War. Peace Achieved’s odds are 11:1, according to TVG. The implied probability to win translates to 8.3 percent.

“You can also have lots and lots of statistics that you can put into various degrees of sophisticated analysis to try to predict the winner,” Sandbrook said.

Although Sandbrook has long admired horses, it was only recently that he got involved in a partnership with Finley as a partial owner. The two met in 2015 during a Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point conference held at Nasdaq.

But in 2018, Sandbrook started to get involved in a partnership with West Point Thoroughbreds and has since been a majority owner of several horses, including Decorated Invader, who was purchased as a colt in Sept. 2018 for $200,000.

“”There are some really, really big races especially next summer that we would put a big circle around,” Finley said. “But it goes without saying our focus is on that next Friday.”

Finley said racing horses like he does in the U.S. is a testament to the American dream as he noted these large races attract competitors from all over the world, including horses owned by royalty in the Middle East. But the U.S. is different because it doesn’t matter who your parents are and politics are irrelevant when it comes to racing horses, Finley said.

Trainer Charlie Appleby has Old Persian as a Major Player in Breeders’ Cup Turf

The Breeders’ Cup meeting at Santa Anita lost three of its European team members on Monday – including —Magical, the Champion Stakes winner – but there is still likely to be a total of 33 runners from the continent’s stables in California on Friday and Saturday …

Charlie Appleby’s challenge at the meeting was reduced from two to one in desperate circumstances on Saturday when Line Of Duty, who took the Juvenile Turf last year and was due to contest the Mile on Saturday, suffered a fatal injury on the gallops. Appleby will now rely on Old Persian, a leading contender for the Turf, as he attempts to improve an already remarkable strike rate at the Breeders’ Cup, where he has had three winners and a second from six starters.

“It was six years ago that we were here with Outstrip, bless him,” Appleby said on Tuesday, looking back to his first Breeders’ Cup runner, and winner, in the 2013 Juvenile Turf. “It’s great to be here but it’s not a holiday, as much as it’s lovely to have the [mountainous] backdrop we see out there. We try to bring the right horses out, with the experience we’ve had through the years.

“I was always looking [for a juvenile to run] but didn’t want to put one on the wagon just to have a spin around. The great thing about a horse like him [Old Persian] is that shipping is second nature to him. He went to Dubai, he went to Canada [to win the Grade One Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine last time] and he’s shipped well here.

“This race was our target from Dubai [in March, where he won the Group One Sheema Classic]. I was confident he’d take all the beating [in Canada], he was the class horse in the race and he showed it. We wanted to keep the dream alive and we were always going to come straight here.

More at The Guardian:

Breeders’ Cup Preparation – Part II

by Glen S.

Now that you have watched your replays and have some solid opinions on horses to either bet or bet against, it’s time to move on to the next step. Start looking at additional handicapping resources to get the extra info you may need.

Part II: More preparing for the Breeders Cup

Santa AnitaGood and bad information. Step one: understand the source you are getting this info from. Some information that is given out is simply an opinion. For example “Horse A should really take to the Santa Anita surface.” Why does this person think that – is it breeding, is it because he saw a race at another track with a similar surface or did the trainer mention to him that the training sessions have been good? I would only take that above statement if it was the last source.

At this point I wouldn’t listen to anyone’s selections. We know all the horses entered but what happens if one of them isn’t entered or scratched? Another speed horse doesn’t enter or gets scratched and now there is no pace to run it. Scenarios like this completely change the race shape.

What I would look at is how the horses got to where they are at now. Some runners needed to win the previous race to get in, while other runners would not be fully cranked. McKinzie, I am not sure if the horse was or was not fully cranked for his last race, but McKinzie didn’t need to win and get in.

There are many proven trends that show which horses do well at the Breeders Cup by going in certain races and which ones struggle. Get to know those trends. There is lots of information you can find about that. I follow the trends like this, a favorite should have strong trends (and few holes) before I would consider them. Longshot are longshots for a reason, there are always a few holes in them somewhere.  Find the positives you can grab on to.

Only one week to go, don’t get left behind in the research.

No Winx in this Year’s Group 1 Cox Plate

Source: Sky Racing World

Star Japanese mare Lyx Gracieux won the middle-distance championship of their spring, the Takarazuka Kinen, and did it posting the sort of figure that would win many Winx-free Cox Plates, but the betting hasn’t missed her and it’s hard to see what the betting has missed about her with prices inside $4.00 in early markets.

Her positives are that she has run ratings that are in or around the likely winning zone for this Cox Plate in all bar one run in the last two years and she has been able to take that form on the road, running well twice in Hong Kong.

Prepare now for this year’s Breeder’s Cup – here’s how

The market still looks to be giving her all the credit she deserves for that, with several others capable of hitting similar levels, and one of those, Mystic Journey, looks a good each way bet in our eyes.

She was dragged back off a crawl last time, and did what she could from where she was, but this time she draws to land in her preferred stalking role and get every chance to show her best – which we know is very good.

Twelve months on from the blistering performance that skyrocketed her towards the top of the Australian racing tree she looks well set-up for a big peak again and that peak should have her right in the finish regardless of what the others bring.

Our bet of the day comes earlier in the day with the Gerald Ryan-trained Villami looking really well placed in the fourth on the card.

She was a touch flat when third at the same course and distance last time but was only beaten by a couple of high quality fillies in a deeper race than what she faces here.

From the wide draw she should go on with it this time and take control of the race and if she can return to her Sydney peak the rest of these will do well to keep up.

She’s tight in the betting but with a good jock, good map and the most talent she looks the sort of favourite that we can get stuck into.

THE MELBOURNE MAIL 

Bet Of The Day: Race 4 #3 Villami @ $2.25

Each Way Play: Race 9 #12 Mystic Journey @ $7.00