About Editor

Rich Nilsen is an 18-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 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, 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 an 18-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 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, 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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Here are my most recent posts

Return of Horse Racing Fans on One of Hong Kong’s Biggest Days

21/1/2023 Horse Racing Tips and Best Bets – Sha TinThe pandemic years have been rich with surreal imagery. Vacant office space where once there was none, silent schools once brimming with students, public transport with few passengers, empty or closed stadiums, theatres and other entertainment venues, a population that kept its distance and remains masked to this day. The list goes on, but the second day of the Year of the Rabbit recalled an image that no one ever imagined they would see in the turf capital of Hong Kong – horse racing held behind closed doors without trackside punters as an anti-infection measure.

The punters have been back for a while, but [last] Tuesday’s Lunar New Year meeting at Sha Tin underlined how surreal their previous absence was. Nearly 80,000 people clicked the turnstiles at Sha Tin, plus more than 5,000 at the Happy Valley video meeting – the biggest turnout since the 2019, pre-pandemic Lunar New Year meeting.

More telling about how the Lunar New Year ignited the enthusiasm with which Hongkongers embraced the return to normality is that the Jockey Club reports a betting turnover of HK$2.06 billion (US$265 million), the biggest since… more on the Return of Horse Racing Fans on One of Hong Kong’s Biggest Days

Fixed-odds Horse Racing in New York? New Bill Proposed

copyright AGameofSkill.comALBANY – The chairman of the state Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee has offered a bill that would allow new online sportsbooks to accept bets on horse races. He is also proposing self-service betting kiosks that could be placed in sports stadiums, auto race tracks that host NASCAR competitions and other similar venues.

“These changes are expected to result in billions of dollars of tax revenue for the State of New York,” the proposed legislation notes.

The proposal would allow fixed-odds bets on horse races, or competitions in which the odds or payout on a given bet is set when the player makes a wager.

That’s different from pari-mutuel betting at a live racetrack where…

More from the Times-Union on potential fixed-odds horse racing in New York

 

Pegasus World Cup Card this Saturday. NBC Coverage Begins 4:30

Gulfstream Park paddockNBC SPORTS’ 2023 HORSE RACING COVERAGE BEGINS WITH $4.5 MILLION PEGASUS WORLD CUP SERIES THIS SATURDAY LIVE AT 4:30 P.M. ET ON NBC AND PEACOCK

STAMFORD, Conn. – Jan. 26, 2023 – NBC Sports begins its 2023 horse racing coverage with the first major event of the year, the $4.5 million Pegasus World Cup Series, from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., this Saturday, Jan. 28, live at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock. In its seventh year, the Pegasus World Cup Series includes the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) and the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1).

The 2023 Pegasus World Cup field features multiple Grade 1-winner and 2022 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) second-place finisher Cyberknife, who is the morning-line favorite at 5/2. Also expected to compete in the 12-horse field at 1 1/8-miles on the dirt are 2022 Florida Derby (G1) champion White Abarrio and 2022 Awesome Again (G1) winner Defunded, who is trained by two-time Pegasus World Cup champion Bob Baffert.

The 12-horse field of this year’s Pegasus World Cup Turf includes 2022 Fort Lauderdale (G2) winner City Man, 2022 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) fourth-place finisher and 5/2 morning-line favorite Ivar, and 2022 Hollywood Derby (G1) champion Speaking Scout.

90-Minute Broadcast to Feature $3 Million Pegasus World Cup (G1) and $1 Million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1)

Ahmed Fareed to Anchor Coverage with Jerry Bailey, Randy Moss, Britney Eurton, Matt Bernier, and Nick Luck

Program to Feature Live Performance by Kygo and OneRepublic

Ahmed Fareed hosts Saturday’s coverage alongside analyst and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, analyst Randy Moss, reporters Britney Eurton and Nick Luck, and handicapper Matt Bernier.

NBC Sports will also present highlights of the Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf (G3) during the 90-minute program, which will be run earlier in the day on Saturday. In addition to world class racing, the Pegasus World Cup is a special race day that combines the fusion of celebrity attendees, fashion, and entertainment. This year’s event includes a live performance featuring musical artists Kygo and OneRepublic. Joe Jonas will give the ‘Riders Up’ command.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app will stream live coverage to desktops, mobile, tablets, and connected TVs via authentication, giving consumers additional value to their subscription service, and making high-quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

NBC SPORTS AND HORSE RACING

NBC Sports is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Royal Ascot, and Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series.

ABOUT THE STRONACH GROUP & 1/ST

The Stronach Group is a world-class technology, entertainment and real estate development company with Thoroughbred horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering at the core. The company’s consumer facing brand 1/ST (pronounced “First”) powers The Stronach Group’s forward-thinking 1/ST RACING & GAMING, 1/ST CONTENT, 1/ST TECHNOLOGY, 1/ST EXPERIENCE, and 1/ST PROPERTIES businesses, while advocating for and driving the 1/ST HORSE CARE mission. 1/ST represents The Stronach Group’s continued movement toward redefining Thoroughbred horse racing and the ecosystem that drives it.  More on The Stronach Group.

Filly Facing Males in the El Camino Real Derby Prep

Mandatory Payout of the Pick-6 on Friday at Golden Gate – Starts in Race 3

MASTERY KAT IN AGAINST MALES ON SATURDAY IN POSSIBLE EL CAMINO REAL DERBY PREP

A racehorse trainer will tell you that dealing with unforeseen circumstances and re-routing horses to different races is all part of the job. For trainer Jamey Thomas, both scenarios took place when determining where to run chestnut filly Mastery Kat, one of the top 3-year-olds under his care.

Golden gate turf break“We were actually going to run her down south [at Santa Anita],” said Thomas. “It rained up here, we missed a work, so we waited. Then there was another race we were going to try and the race didn’t fill.”

At that point, Thomas opted to execute Plan C: run against males. In Race 6 this Saturday, Mastery Kat faces five colts and geldings in an allowance, one-mile route on Tapeta. Although the winner of this race may run next in the February 11 $100,000 El Camino Real Derby, Mastery Kat is on a different schedule.

“This is the only race where the timing works out,” said Thomas. “We think we have a pretty nice filly here, and she’s ready to run.”

Thomas has thought highly of Mastery Kat since Day 1. In her first career start on October 1, Mastery Kat broke slowly, sat double digit lengths behind the leader before making an eye-catching move on the far turn. She rallied for second but was unable to catch race winner Imaginary. In her most recent start on November 5, Mastery Kat tried routing. She went to the lead, set a quick and contentious pace, and fended off all challengers to win the race by a hard-fought neck. Runner up finisher Tea N Conversation returned to break her maiden in a maiden special weight on turf at Del Mar.

“In her first start, I told [jockey] Billy [Antongeorgi III] she might break a little slow,” said Thomas. “She did, and she ran on really well. I’ve always thought she would route. In her next start I think she found herself on the lead coming out of a sprint. I wasn’t surprised she won because she showed us in the mornings that she had talent.”

Tactics may be different in Mastery Kat’s second lifetime route race on Saturday. Mastery Kat is 8-1 on the morning line and will be navigated by Armando Ayuso for the first time.

“There are a couple other speed horses [in the race on Saturday],” said Thomas. “I’m hoping we can lay off, sit in a good spot, and make a good run at ‘em.”

9-5 morning line favorite Happy Does would likely run in the El Camino Real Derby if he shows up with a good effort in Saturday’s sixth race. On November 5, Happy Does beat a first level allowance field. A California-bred, Happy Does is eligible to win at the condition once more. Since then, he ran fourth in the Golden Gate Nugget stakes and, in his most recent start, finished as the runner up behind stakes placed El Camino Real Derby contender Chase the Chaos. Regular rider Santos Rivera is reunited with the son of Southern Image for trainer Felix Rondan.

Travel The Map easily beat maiden special weight rivals on debut by over 5 lengths. In his first start against winners on December 30, the son of Liam’s Map was out finished for second by Happy Does and rounded out the trifecta. Both career races came routing.

Mother’s Prayer and Nauvoo were convincing winners the last time race fans saw them in the afternoon. The former has won two starter allowance races in a row while the latter wheels back quickly for new trainer Jonathan Wong after being claimed by the Wong outfit for $12,500 just last week. Sea Dog was well beaten in the Gold Rush Stakes and freshens up a month and a half for his return to the races. The son of Midshipman broke his maiden in a two-turn maiden special weight on dirt at Fresno.

On Saturday, race fans are offered 9 races to watch and wager on. First post is 12:45 PM.

Race 6 on Saturday (First level allowance for 3-year-olds at one mile)

#1 Nauvoo (Jockey Alexander Chavez…Trainer Jonathan Wong…Morning line odds of 5-2)

#2 Mother’s Prayer (Assael Espinoza…Steve Specht…7-2)

#3 Travel the Map (Kevin Radke…Tim McCanna…5-1)

#4 Mastery Kat (Armando Ayuso…Jamey Thomas…8-1)

#5 Sea Dog (Francisco Monroy…O.J. Jauregui…10-1)

#6 Happy Does (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan…9-5)

More News from Golden Gate

In the jockey standings, Assael Espinoza leads the way with 15 wins, four more than veteran Frank Alvarado, who in turn is 1 win ahead of Santos Rivera for second…In the trainer standings, Jonathan Wong is at the top of the list with 9 wins. Tim McCanna holds a clear-cut second with 6 victories while five trainers (Manny Badilla, Reid France, Andy Mathis, Steve Specht, Jack Steiner) are all tied for third with 4 wins apiece…3-year-old filly Delusively broke her maiden in fine style on Friday for trainer Jose Bautista. The daughter of 2017 Breeders Cup Juvenile winner Good Magic is a half sibling to Grade 2 winner and Grade 1 placed router Chocolate Martini…Jose’s cousin, Jorge Bautista, saddled his first winner when Good Focus scored an upset triumph in a maiden claimer on January 8. Jorge, who previously worked under the late Duane Offield, is 1 for 8 this year with 2 third place finishes…The Ed Moger Jr. trained Stilleto Boy breezed five furlongs over the GGF Tapeta on January 15 in preparation for the $3,000,000 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on January 28. Coming off a second-place finish behind 2022 Dubai World Cup winner Country Grammer last month, Stilleto Boy makes his second start off a layoff and will be reunited with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the Pegasus…The feature on a 9-race program this Sunday is a first level allowance for filly and mare sprinters. Among the main contenders are the Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams homebred pair of Always Seeking and Lady’s Sermon, and synthetic specialist O’Neill’s Legacy. First post on Sunday is 12:45 PM.

Kentucky Derby Telecast Ranks Higher Than Two Major Sports

“Many around the sports world are well aware that the NFL is king when it comes to viewership in the United States. Based on a latest report on the 2022 Nielsen ratings data by Sportico, that continued to be the case last year.

The NFL accounted for 82 of the 100 most-watched U.S. TV broadcasts in 2022, according to the report. That smashes the previous record of 75 out of 100, a mark that the NFL reached in 2021.

Other broadcast subject categories were able to break through, but not nearly at the rate that NFL was…”

What is interesting is that the Kentucky Derby telecast ranked higher than any event from two major sports – the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB).

Check out the complete story

 

Due to Heavy Rains, Santa Anita Racing Cancelled for Saturday and Monday

Rainy Forecast: Santa Anita Cancels Saturday Card, Reschedules RacesWith heavy rain in the forecast, Santa Anita Park has announced there will be no live racing on Monday. Santa Anita will instead run Friday, Jan. 20, which was originally scheduled to be an off-day.

Although there is no racing this Saturday and Monday, Santa Anita will be open as planned for live racing this Sunday, with first post time for an eight-race card, consisting of all main track races, at 12:30 p.m.

The Grade III, $200,000 La Canada Stakes, originally scheduled for Saturday, will now be run this Sunday. The La Canada, for fillies and mares at a mile and one sixteenth, has been carded as Sunday’s seventh race, with assigned post time at 3:29 PT.

With sunny skies forecast next week, Santa Anita will run next Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with first post time each day at 12:30 p.m.

source: SantaAnita.com

The Young Jockey You Need to Know for New York Racing

The apprentice jockey, who rode his first mount in June 2021, closed out his 2022 campaign as the leading apprentice rider on the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit and finished in ninth-place in the overall jockeys standings. Jose Gomez, 22, posted a NYRA record of 917-98-95-117 with total purse earnings of $5,803,684.

“It all came by surprise. I didn’t expect to start out here in New York,” said Gomez. “I’m thankful for all the trainers, everybody who is a part of the team, and all the people who taught me and gave me a chance to learn even before I started riding.”

the Big A race horseGomez celebrated three stakes victories on the NYRA circuit, earning two starter stakes coups on the March 26 New York Claiming Championship card and a breakout score in the NYSSS Statue of Liberty aboard Golden Rocket in August at Saratoga Race Course, the first black type stakes victory of his career.

Gomez, who was born in Muskegon, M.I., moved to Pennsylvania when he was a child and spent much of his youth at Penn National Race Course, where his mother groomed horses and his father was an exercise rider. It was there that Gomez fell in love with horses and the sport.

“My mom would take me to the barn with her when I was seven and I would dump the buckets and the wheelbarrows and all that,” said Gomez. “I saw all the hard work my mom would put in and it just really spoke to me. I just have it in my blood.”

After learning the basics of riding aboard his childhood Shetland pony named Lucky, Gomez worked his way up to thoroughbreds with trainer Richard Lugovich and began galloping young horses for him. Gomez recounted several of the trainers and mentors that helped him grow to where he is now.

“Lucky taught me riding is a balance and that it’s not a battle between you and them,” said Gomez. “I started getting on thoroughbreds with Lugovich and then I started breaking babies with Jose Flores and my love of horses grew from there. I was at Arlington Park for a little before they closed and then went to Ocala and worked for Nick de Meric. I finally wound up in New Jersey with Skip Einhorn and then Kelly Breen.”

Gomez is represented by agent Angel Cordero, Jr., the Hall of Famer who won over 7,000 races, five Triple Crown events and over $164 million in purses.

Gomez said having such a legendary jockey as an agent has been a privilege.

“I want to thank Angel and Kelly Breen, who introduced him to me,” said Gomez. “Angel taught me a lot and I’m thankful for that. It gives me confidence to learn from someone like him. The biggest thing he’s taught me is to come out of the gate running and to get early position.”

This summer, Gomez rode his first Saratoga meet, posting a record of 128-11-15-11 and over $927,000 in earnings. Gomez said he has enjoyed the challenge of working and learning in the most competitive jockey colony in the country.

“Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go to Saratoga or not, but Angel told me if I want to be good, I’ve got to go where the big guys go,” said Gomez. “We went and it was a lot of work, but I’m grateful for the wins I had up there and the learning experience.”

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in upstate New York

Gomez said one of the highlights of his year at NYRA was riding two winners for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas at Saratoga.

“Riding for ‘Coach’ was special,” said Gomez. “I won two races for him and that was a great feeling. Angel rode for him a lot, and now I’ve ridden for him. It’s surreal. I was a little nervous when I found out I was riding for him, but I just gave it my best effort at the end of the day.”

Beyond his NYRA record, Gomez posted an overall record of 1,312-152-163-156 in 2022, and it is likely his name appear will appear on the ballots of Eclipse Award voters as he eyes a chance at the prestigious Champion Apprentice title.

“It’s been a great year for many apprentices – Jeiron Barbosa in Maryland and Vicente Del-Cid in Louisiana are great riders,” said Gomez. “Whoever wins, wins, and I’m just happy to be mentioned in the conversation.”

Finalists for the Eclipse Awards will be announced Saturday at 11:30 a.m. with the 52nd annual Eclipse Award winners’ ceremony to be held Thursday, January 26 in Palm Beach, Florida.

Among Gomez’s upcoming mounts at the Big A are stakes engagements on Saturday aboard Valenzan Day [post 3, 10-1] in the $150,000 Jerome for sophomores and Forewarned [post 1, 20-1] in the $150,000 Queens County for older horses. The former race will award the top-five finishers 10-4-3-2-1 qualifying points, respectively, towards the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on the First Saturday in May.

“I’ve galloped Valenzan Day and it’s nice to ride him,” Gomez said. “Hopefully, we get lucky. Just seeing my name on the overnight for a race like the Jerome is a good feeling.”

Gomez has already started the year off on the right foot, guiding O’Trouble to victory in a New Year’s Day claiming event at the Big A for trainer Antonio Arriaga. Gomez said his main goals in 2023 are to continue learning and improving with each mount.

“O’Trouble is my boy and I love him,” said Gomez, with a laugh. “I’m just hoping to keep going and learning – to try to win, to get better, and to make a name for myself.”

Source: NYRA.com

Huge Traditional Pick-5 Carryover Up for Grabs at Aqueduct

Aqueduct starting gateby Keith McCalmont

Thursday’s eight-race card at Aqueduct Racetrack will feature a Late Pick 5 carryover of $189,194 after the multi-race wager went unsolved on Sunday’s nine-race program.

Sunday’s $1 Pick 6 featured a mandatory payout and returned $4,780.50 to bettors who selected 5-of-6 correctly.

Sunday’s Late Pick 5 sequence kicked off in formful fashion in Race 5 with O’Trouble [No. 2, $3.10*] rallying up the rail under Jose Gomez to score a claiming sprint win for trainer Antonio Arriaga.

The Luis Rodriguez Castro-piloted Ricelle [No. 6, $13.20] notched the first of two winners in the sequence for conditioner Ricardo Legall, taking Race 6, a six-furlong maiden claiming sprint for older New York-bred fillies and mares.

Gaslight [No. 7, $29.60] prevailed in Race 7, a starter-allowance sprint for older horses, with Heman Harkie in the irons for Patrick Quick ahead of an impressive score by multiple stakes-placed Milton the Monster [No. 3, $10.80] in Race 8, winning first off the claim in a seven-furlong optional-claiming sprint for older horses under Manny Franco for trainer Tom Morley.

Prince of Joy (No. 8, $66) was the only horse uncovered in the Race 9 finale – a one-mile claiming tilt for older horses – and the 5-year-old Laoban gelding rallied impressively to score the upset victory under Jacqueline Davis for Legall as the longest shot on the board.

Thursday’s Late Pick 5 kicks off in Race 4 at 2:16 p.m. Eastern. First post is 12:50 p.m.

America’s Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of the Aqueduct winter meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.

Source: NYRA

 

Colonial Downs 2023 Meet

3 major horse races are coming to Colonial Downs next yearNEW KENT — Racing at Colonial Downs has picked up speed since the course reopened under new owners in 2019. Now, next year promises to be an even bigger season [under new owners Churchill Downs].

Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office announced Wednesday that a trio of Thoroughbred stakes races are moving to Virginia — the Grade 1 Arlington Million, the Beverly D. Stakes and the Grade 2 Secretariat Stakes.

“It is an incredible honor to continue the legacy of these exceptional races by hosting them in our Commonwealth,” Youngkin said in a news release. “I am deeply committed to growing our equine industry and as we work to revive the rich traditions of this sport in Virginia, these stakes races will accelerate our progress and ignite excitement for the fans.”   More about Colonial Downs 2023 Meet

Is There a Betting Edge with Female Jockeys? One Study Says Yes

jockey riding a horse raceWe analyzed British horse racing data from 664,536 runners (horses and riders) in National Hunt races across a 20-year period, from January 2001 to January 2021. National hunt races require horses to jump fences and ditches. The races were mixed—women didn’t compete in separate races.

Using starting prices, the odds at the start of a horse , we calculated each horse’s probability of winning. We also gauged the expected finish position of each horse by ranking the odds. Then we compared our predictions with the race results.

To our surprise, the results for horses with female jockeys were significantly better than their odds predicted. Indeed, our model estimates that across the study period in a 20-horse race, females would on average finish one place higher than their odds implied.

Starting prices are… continue reading about an edge with female jockeys

More from AGOS

What percentage of the time do favorites win?