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 Preview of the Belterra Park race meet

by Ed Meyer, track announcer

Belterra Park sits less than a 1/16th of a mile from the original site of historic River Downs. A dirt mile oval with a 6 1/2f chute and a 7/8th turf course showcases live racing excitement from April 29th – October 7th, 2021 with the first post of 12:35 pm ET. The backdrop of the Ohio River and rolling hills of Kentucky make this oval a picturesque gem of Thoroughbred racing.

Here’s are some helpful tools that will give you an idea of what to look for, and how to watch and wager on the Belterra Park races.

Belterra Dirt and Turf

Belterra Park has a one mile oval that plays kind to early speed especially during the dog days of summer. If there has been any rain in the forecast the night before or during the day, the track plays kind to stalkers and closing types. You’ll want to pay attention to announcements and updates on track conditions.

The turf has some tight turns but offers plenty of excitement as they cut the corner and turn for home on the sod. The grass plays kind to closers overall. You’ll see runners make a move into the far turn and swing out for the drive to the wire.

Perry Outz John Engelhardt photo

John Engelhardt photo

Top Belterra Jocks

John McKee is a talented rider who excels on speed and closers equally well. He was the leading rider in 2020 and won at a 24% win clip on the dirt and 13% on the sod. He is 45% ITM (in the money/top 3) with favorites at Belterra.

Perry Ouzts will turn 67 years young this year and is the 6th leading rider in history. A speed riding machine that always needs to be factored into your wagers. In 2020, he won 19% on the dirt and 21% on the grass. Overall, he is 29% ITM with an average win payoff of $8.50.

Joe Ramos is a versatile young rider who shipped over from Kentucky last year and scored 21% on the dirt and 13% on the grass. His average win payoff was $9.50.

Riders to Watch for at Belterra

Gerardo Corrales is a talented young rider who is next up on the radar for jockeys taking their game to the next level. He has been riding at Turfway Park and owns a 23% win clip and 46% ITM overall.

Sonny Leon has been doing extremely well wherever he hangs his tack. I see him making an immediate impact on the rider standings from his first mount. He is winning at a 20% clip this year and 55% ITM.

David Cabrera ships in for agent Jose Santos and scores a 13% win clip and 41% ITM. It may take a little time to gain traction to build business, but he should be fine by the first month into the meet.

Belterra Park Trainers

Larry Smith was the leading trainer of 2020 and was winning at a 17% win clip on the dirt. When he teams up with his go to rider Perry Ouzts, good things are bound to happen.

Tim Hamm is making his presence felt everywhere he saddles a horse.  He could be at Belterra today and Saratoga the next day. Anytime you see a Hamm horse coming to the paddock it deserves a good hard look before wagering. Last year he won 18% on the dirt and 31% on the greensward.

Susan Anderson is currently racing in Kentucky and must be respected when bringing a horse to the paddock. Last year she won 25% on the dirt and 8% on the turf. You’ll get good value as her average win payoff was $9.60.

Trainers to Watch

Wesley Ward when he ships over to Belterra Park. Thomas Drury is always dangerous and deserves extra consideration when riding John McKee. Eric Reed won 14% on the dirt and 20% on the turf last year from a small sampling. Keep your eyes peeled for Ron Kahles who won 23% from 40 starts last year with an average win payoff of $10.00. Michael Evans II started heating up in 2020. James Chapman is starting to rebuild his stock ready to score in Ohio.

Stakes Races / Daily Racing Schedule

For the 2021 season, there are 15 stakes featuring the Best of Ohio series on May 28th, featuring five $100,000 stakes races going to post.

Daily racing takes place Tuesday – Friday with the first post of 12:35pm and eight live races. The only exception is during the Triple Crown where racing will be conducted Wednesday – Saturday.

Racing in the Cincinnati area has a rich history. From Coney Island race track in the 1920s to historic River Downs. Belterra Park is proud to continue the long standing history of Thoroughbred racing in the Cincinnati area.

 

Covid-19 and Horse Racing. New Mexico to resume racing in April

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The commission that oversees horse racing in New Mexico announced Monday that live racing is set to resume in April now that public health restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic are being eased in some places around the state.

The five licensed tracks and their associated casinos have been hit hard over the past year. After a brief hiatus last spring, races resumed at Ruidoso Downs in May and The Downs at Albuquerque and Zia Park conducted live meets last summer but did so while their casinos remained closed.

Without revenue from slot machines and tables, purse money was reduced in 2020 to a fraction of what it was the previous year.

Under the revised public health order issued last week by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, large entertainment venues such as racetracks will be permitted to operate depending on whether the counties in which they are located meet the state’s benchmarks for COVID-19 positivity rates and new per-capita cases.

Opening day at SunRay Park in northwestern New Mexico is scheduled for April 23. Commissioners plan to vote on the track’s purse schedule, post times and other details that will clear the way for racing during their March 18 meeting.

Racing officials expect the purse accounts to recover with influxes of revenue not seen in nearly a year…

A New Track in Texas?

This County close to signing deal with horse racing group

The sale of Ford Park, located west of Beaumont [Texas] is galloping toward the finish line and galloping might be the right word, because the The Renaissance Group is planning to build a horse racing track at the venue and it’s betting on other features as well as a restaurant and a sports bar, to attract the public to the entertainment venue.

The Jefferson County Commissioners Court gave the green light Tuesday to County Judge Jeff Branick moving ahead with a sales agreement…

Incredible. 17 Winning Tickets of over $1M in Jamaican Reggae-6 Wager

Level playing fieldThe major point of interest covering the two weekend racedays was the mandatory payout of the Reggae-6.

Sunday started with the Reggae-6 jackpot standing at just over $8.2 million.

By the time the horses left the gates for the first race on Sunday a total of $13.4 million was wagered by punters on the Reggae-6. This amount after the obligatory takeout brought the net pool to $17,597,545.77.

In the end, 17 tickets came up trumps despite Lucky Nine winning the third race at long odds of 28-1, and Sweet Identity the fifth as a 9-1 chance.

The 17 tickets holders of the Reggae-6 each brought home $1,035,150.

Big Purse Increase for Del Mar Summer Meet

Del Mar racingThe Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will implement a major purse increase for its upcoming summer race meeting opening on Saturday, July 17, including substantial increases in all overnight purses and record incentives for owners and trainers that ship out-of-state horses to race at Del Mar through its popular “Ship and Win” program, track officials announced today.

Average daily overnight purses for the 2021 season will be increased by over 30% as compared to 2019 levels during which the track operated an uninterrupted racing schedule. With the increases announced today, Del Mar expects to average more than $700,000 a day in purses this summer.

The “Ship and Win” program for horses entering from outside California is doubling both its participation fee for owners (from $2,000 to $4,000) and its purse bonus from 20% to 40% for all eligible races. The purse bonus will be upped to 50% for dirt races in the “Ship and Win” program.

“We’ve got some real momentum in California as we prepare for the 2021 season and, based on the inquiries we’re receiving, owners and trainers are taking notice,” said Del Mar’s executive vice president for racing, Tom Robbins. “Our partnership with the Thoroughbred Owners of California, TVG and The Stronach Group has us on track for one of the most lucrative seasons in Del Mar history, which will be a boost for California racing and help set the stage for us to host the Breeders’ Cup here again in November.”

The 2021 purse enhancements are due in part to a partnership with the Thoroughbred Owners of California, FanDuel Group’s TVG horse racing television network and advanced-deposit wagering platform and The Stronach Group’s 1/ST Racing. The multi-party agreement, announced earlier this year, is expected to inject up to $15 million into California Thoroughbred purses and programs over the next two years.

In addition, Del Mar’s total handle for its 2020 racing seasons was well above initial projections – despite fans not being allowed onsite – adding funding to the purse increases for the upcoming live racing season.

Among the increases for overnights, maiden special weight races will jump from $55,000 during the 2020 summer meet to $70,000 this summer, maiden-claiming $20,000 races rise from $19,000 last year to $25,000 and open $40,000 claiming races purses will increase from $37,000 to $47,000.

As an example of how these increases affect the “Ship and Win” program, a maiden special weight race on the main track this summer will carry a purse of $105,000 ($70,000 plus a 50% bonus) plus a $4,000 starter bonus for out of state horses that qualify for the program.

“Anticipation for Del Mar’s race meetings is always high among horsemen but it will be even more so this year with the increased purse structure announced today,” said Gary Fenton, chairman of the TOC. “We look forward to continuing our work with the state’s key racing stakeholders to further strengthen California’s year-round racing program.”

Track officials also noted that Del Mar’s 2021 stakes schedule will be released in the coming weeks and that purses levels will be raised for several of its summer stakes races.

Del Mar will offer a 31-day summer racing season this year after racing 27 days in 2020. It will open with Saturday and Sunday cards (July 17, 18), then switch to a Thursday through Sunday schedule for the balance of the meet. The summer season will close, as usual, on Labor Day, Monday, September 6.

source: DMTC.com

3 Handicapping Factors to Look at When a New Race Meet Opens

WIN WIN WIN SETS TRACK MARK IN PASCO; 2 OTHER STAKES RECORDS FALLby Glen S.

A new racing meet starting up adds an extra dimension to handicapping these races.  Do some research, be prepared and you will be ahead of the curve. Here are a few things to look for in the first week of racing at a new meet:

Let’s begin with the trainers:
-Understand the difference between the local trainers and the trainers that ship from track to track
-Sometimes the local horses are returning off longer layoffs and may need a start or two
-The trainers that move from track to track usually have a plan and that is “win early”
-Find those hot trainers quickly because after a week or so, everyone else jumps on board

Here is where you take advantage of the public that doesn’t follow or do the research early. After about a month the trainer stats will have the shipped in trainers with a great record and the locals not so good. But remember, the win early trainers had that as their goal, whereas the locals are in for the long haul.  In other words, be patient.  The local trainers will win their fair share of races.

Get detailed meet statistics on any track with Equibase

Understanding where the horses are coming from
-It takes a bit of experience but ask around or even reply to this blog and I will help you out. What I mean by this, the level of
competition varies greatly from the A, B and C tracks in North America. Get to know them.  What tracks produce winners at this meet, and which ones don’t?
-For example a horse coming from Santa Anita and now racing at Fonner park, will not look good on form. But what to
look for is, did the horse show speed. The speed horses from top track are far better bets than the plodders that just
ran at the back. Big difference from a horse showing lots of early speed and finishing last than a local plodder that passes one or
two late.

Last tip, know the horse
-Is the horse ready to run today, e.g. many works coming in?
-Is the horse at the right distance or does this look like a prep for a later race?
-Is this the right surface for the horse in question?

After you have done your above research and made your notes, you still need to look at the race shape to see how the race sets up.  This requires a little more work, but it certainly can pay off in the end.

Good racing

Churchill Downs to Sell Beautiful Arlington Park in Chicago

Churchill Downs Inc. to sell historic Arlington International RacecourseLOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI” or “Company”) (Nasdaq: CHDN) announced that the Company has launched a process to sell the 326 acres in Arlington Heights, Illinois that are currently the home of Arlington International Racecourse (“Arlington”). CBRE will bring the redevelopment opportunity to market on behalf of CDI.

The Company is committed to running Arlington’s 2021 race dates from April 30 – September 25. The Company does not expect any sale of the Arlington site to close prior to the conclusion of Arlington’s 2021 race meet or that the conduct of the sale process will impact Arlington’s racing operations this year.

“Arlington’s ideal location in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, together with direct access to downtown Chicago via an on-site Metra rail station, presents a unique redevelopment opportunity. We expect to see robust interest in the site and look forward to working with potential buyers, in collaboration with the Village of Arlington Heights, to transition this storied location to its next phase,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “In the meantime, we are very committed to pursuing the relocation of Arlington’s racing license to another community in the Chicagoland area or elsewhere in the state. We are exploring potential options with the State and other constituents and remain optimistic that we can find solutions that work for the State, local communities and the thousands of Illinoisans who make their living directly or indirectly from thoroughbred horse racing. We are committed to the Illinois thoroughbred racing industry and will consider all options in working toward opportunities for it to continue into the future.”

About Churchill Downs Incorporated

 

Churchill Downs Incorporated is an industry-leading racing, online wagering and gaming entertainment company anchored by our iconic flagship event, the Kentucky Derby. We own and operate three pari-mutuel gaming entertainment venues with approximately 3,050 historical racing machines in Kentucky. We also own and operate TwinSpires, one of the largest and most profitable online wagering platforms for horse racing, sports and iGaming in the U.S. and we have seven retail sportsbooks. We are also a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming in eight states with approximately 11,000 slot machines and video lottery terminals and 200 table games. Additional information about CDI can be found online at www.churchilldownsincorporated.com.

Pro Bettor James Holzhauer’s Key to Success

“Holzhauer has dominated “Jeopardy!” like no one else since the current version of the television game show had its premiere in 1984. He won again on the episode that aired Wednesday, pushing his total earnings above $1.1 million, second on the all-time list behind the legendary Ken Jennings.”

The NY Times interviewed Holzbauer in the spring of 2019, asking him several questions of how he was so successful on the popular show.

The big key to his success was going aggressive from the opening bell.  He would go right for the $1,000 questions, skipping the lower tier amounts.

As stated in the NY piece, you could make an analogy to sports betting or poker tournaments. There are big advantages to having a lot of chips early on in a poker tournament. Consequently, the bettor can make plays that other people can’t.

Would you describe the traditional way of playing “Jeopardy!” as overly risk-averse?

“I would definitely say it’s too risk-averse,” explained Holzbauer.  “The funny thing is, my strategy actually minimizes the risk of me losing a game. There’s times in a football game where a team goes for a big TD pass. If you don’t take a risk like that, you’re not going to win. Really, the big risk is never trying anything that looks like a big gamble.”

You can read the full Times interview of Holzhauer here.

 

Champ is 2nd favorite for Cheltenham Gold Cup after impressive Newbury outing

Horse Racing tips: Here’s 8 we rate at Market Rasen on SundayChamp has halved in price for the Cheltenham Gold Cup next month, thanks to a prep run here which was about as impressive as a beaten effort could be. Considering he had not raced for 11 months and was facing specialist two-milers when he wants to go half as far again, it was a serious effort to finish just two lengths behind Sceau Royal and he is now 6-1 second-favorite for the Festival highlight, having been 12-1 hours before.

Some were inclined to fear Nicky Henderson had forgotten how to train when the Lambourn man announced Champ would line up in the Game Spirit rather than the longer Denman. The horse had, after all, looked every inch a stayer when making a late charge to land the RSA last March and there was every reason to worry that his jumping would suffer at two-mile pace, Champ having put himself on the deck two races ago…

Horse Racing Bets and Wager Types

DelMar how to place a wager

copyright Del Mar

Wagering is what drives the sport of horse racing. The thrill you get when your horse hits the finish line in front is second to none. Let’s take a look at the most popular horse racing wagers, in very basic details, for you to begin to learn and experience that thrill firsthand.

 

Straight Horse Racing Bets

Win Wager

The easiest wager one can place on horse racing is the win bet and, thanks to its simplicity, it is the most popular among horse racing fans. Wager on a horse to Win.  If he or she wins the race, you collect the payoff based on a $2 win mutual.  When you wager on a 2-1 winner, for example, you receive the base wager ($2) times the odds (2) for $4.00 plus the original wager back for a total of $6.00.  Your profit, in this case, is $4.00.

It’s that simple.  The hard part, of course, is uncovering the horse that will win.

 

Place and Show Wagers

The place bet is wagering on a horse to finish no worse than second, and the show bet is wagering on a horse to finish no worse than third.  There is often confusion among newbies, believing that a horse must finish third in order to cash on the show bet.  Many a ticket has been discarded because of that mistake.

In Europe most of the ‘show’ wagering is actually referred to as ‘place’ betting.

 

Exotic Horse Racing Bets

 Daily Double

This is the simplest type of exotic wager, and probably the oldest.  The Daily Double is combining the winners of two consecutive races.  If your wager includes both winners, you cash.  The base wager is either $1.00 or $2.00 depending on the host track.

What are the tax rules involving horse racing wagers?  Learn more about how the IRS now treats big winnings on the horse races.

Exacta / Perfecta

The exacta is picking the exact order of the top two finishers in a race.  You can play the exact straight or you can box the wager, so that if theexacta horse racing basics horses finish in any order, one-two, then you cash.  You can include as many horses as you wish in your exacta box, but the cost of the wager goes up exponentially and your chances of turning a profit diminish greatly. The base exacta wager is usually $1.00.

In Canada the exacta wager is referred to as the perfecta.

 

Trifecta

The trifecta is picking the exact order of the top three finishers in a race.  You can play the trifecta straight or you can box the wager.   The advantage of the ‘box’ is that if the horses finish in any order, one-two-three, then you cash.  You can include as many horses as you wish in your trifecta box, but the cost of the wager goes up exponentially.  The base wager is usually either $0.50 or $1.00.

 

Superfecta

The Superfecta is picking the exact order of the top four finishers in a race.  You can play this quad bet straight or you can box the wager, so that if the horses finish in any order, one-two-three-four, then you cash.  Like the exacta and trifecta, you can include as many horses as you wish in your superfecta box, but the cost of the wager goes up exponentially.  At many tracks throughout the country, the base minimum wager is only $0.10 and that makes the bet affordable for the recreational horseplayer.

The industry has added a lot of new bets over the past few years, and we’ll take a look at them in an upcoming primer.