About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 15-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 was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is also a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program. He is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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Times for Cigar Mile H., Go For Wand Changed

the Big A race horseThe New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced today that following a review of the December 1 Cigar Mile card at Aqueduct Racetrack, in conjunction with Teletimer, the official timing system for NYRA racetracks, that the running times of three one-mile races on the main track, including the Grade 3, $250,000 Go For Wand Handicap, have been adjusted.

The Teletimer system initiates timing of each race when the first runner crosses the timing beam, however, due to an auxiliary starting gate incorrectly parked on the outside fence of Aqueduct’s main track during the first half of the card, the beam was not engaged resulting in the first three one-mile races being timed directly from the gate, without the customary run-up which on December 1 was 54 feet from the starting gate to the first beam.

The issue was recognized and addressed prior to the final one-mile race of the day, the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap won by Patternrecognition.

Following the review, official times for the three one-mile races affected by timing issues have been corrected as follows:

Race 2, a maiden special weight for juveniles won by Kentucky Wildcat which was originally timed in splits of 25.85, 49.82, 1:15.30 and 1:41.41, is now corrected to 24.68, 49.14, 1:14.01 and 1:40.17.

Race 3, a $25,000 claiming event for older horses won by Stronger which was originally timed in splits of 26.08, 50.55, 1:16.62 and 1:42.92, is now corrected to 25.13, 49.78, 1:15.37 and 1:41.77.

In Race 6, the 79th running of the Go For Wand, Marley’s Freedom earned a neck score in a race originally timed in splits of 25.27, 48.56, 1:13.34 and 1:38.35, which is now corrected to 24.52, 48.14, 1:12.14 and 1:37.50.

NYRA has reviewed the circumstances of this incident with stewards and staff and instituted additional protocols to prevent a similar error from occurring in the future.

Source: Press Release

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Trainer Kenny McPeek has his Eyes on Dubai

American trainer Kenny McPeek has long made a good living by winning big races and making intelligent ventures with racehorses. Led now by the aptly named Senior Investment, he is set to invade the Dubai World Cup Carnival with a trio of intriguing prospects, marking him as the first American trainer to come to the Carnival as early as January with the intention of campaigning throughout the two-month affair.

“We’re looking forward to it,” McPeek said. “Our horses are currently at Payson Park in Florida and they will ship together in early January.”

In the past, U.S.-based conditioners such as Kiaran McLaughlin (Frosted), Dale Romans (Keen Ice), Art Sherman (California Chrome) and Steve Asmussen (Curlin) have taken aim on the Dubai World Cup with runners they prepped over the local surface four-to-five weeks out (late February/early March). Then again, if it is new territory, one can bet that the innovative mind of McPeek has its destiny in manifest.

In 1995, McPeek nearly upset the apple cart by finishing a hard-charging second in the Kentucky Derby (G1) with longshot Tejano Run, who split two champions in the process (Thunder Gulch and Timber Country). In 2002, he won his first American classic when shocking the world with Sarava (70-1) in the Belmont Stakes. In 2004, he took Hard Buck across the world twice to finish second in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) at long odds. In 2005, he saw brilliance where others did not and picked eventual Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Curlin out of the Keeneland September yearling sale for a mere $57,000—a horse who would go on to earn $10.5 million and one of a slew of bargain buys who would land copious graded stakes for him and others.

In 2017, he—along with Linda Rice—became the first American trainers to have horses compete in South Korea when racing in the Korea Autumn Racing Carnival. And, of course, over the last few years he co-founded, developed and promoted one of the most popular smart phone applications in horseracing—Horse Races Now—which has helped effectively collate the way American racing fans acquire news and information. His sights are now set on the DWC Carnival and he brings three diverse prospects who appear thoughtfully, if not cleverly, selected.

Little Mike in Dubai

Training in Dubai

Senior Investment is a consistent Grade 3 winner who should benefit from the longer dirt races available at Meydan. Classic-placed when third in the 2017 Preakness Stakes (G1), the son of Discreetly Mine recently returned from a five-month layoff to finish third in a 1 1/16-mile conditioned allowance and then fifth in the Marathon (G2) over Breeders’ Cup weekend. He has a trio of victories from 19 starts, but has dodged no one in the process—competing in eight graded stakes (three G1).

Similar to Senior Investment is Harlan Strong, a son of McPeek-conditioned Harlan’s Holiday who has developed deliberately for the operation over 17 starts and two seasons. Bred in Argentina, he maintains a positive trajectory, especially in grass races at and beyond nine furlongs and possibly as far as two miles. Earlier this season, he was second in the Louisville Handicap (G3) behind banner-mate Vettori Kin.

“Senior Investment is difficult to handle in the U.S., condition-wise,” McPeek explained. “He’s run out of conditions to run in and I think the handicap racing there will suit him quite well. The nine-to-10 furlong races are what he should excel in and he’s a solid, sound horse.

“Harlan Strong is similar,” McPeek continued. “He’s at the stakes level where he’s out of allowance conditions and he should do well in the handicaps in Dubai, hopefully. We actually had another in a similar situation in (multiple G3 winner) Rated R Superstar, but he unfortunately was claimed last week (for $62,500 at Churchill Downs).”

Dark Horse Grecko

The last and arguably most enthralling of the triad is Argentina’s star juvenile of this past summer, Grecko, who boasts a flashy gray coat, immense amount of promise and appears a prime suspect for the road to the richest dirt derby in the world, the $2.5 million UAE Derby (G2) on Mar. 30. The son of Not For Sale—the sire of 2006 UAE Derby winner Asiatic Boy—romped in June’s Estrellas Juvenile (G1), covering a mile in 1:34.01.

“He’s a southern hemisphere 3-year-old and we bought him privately out of the Estrellas,” McPeek explained. “He has been with us for a few months now and I think that’s important. The difficulty of going to Dubai is high, but a horse who’s had time to acclimate better to our training has a better chance of doing well once we go there—and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

All three McPeek horses are fully or partially owned by Fern Circle Stables and are expected to be joined by assistant trainer Otto Draper, a former head trainer, jockey and exercise rider who has worked for the legendary likes of Charlie Whittingham and D. Wayne Lukas. Fern Circle’s principal is American billionaire businessman and philanthropist Paul Fireman, who led Reebok to becoming one of the most successful shoe companies in the world in the 1980s and 1990s before eventually selling it to Adidas. With 31 winners from 198 starts alone or in partnership—and playing at the higher end—Fern Circle has quickly made its red, white and blue silks known in stakes across North America.

“Mr. Fireman is a wonderful guy to work for,” McPeek concluded. “We’ve talked about it and decided to come. The other option is to give these horses the winter off. Even then, that can be a little problematic, so I think that it’s a good time to do this. He has given us the opportunity to go to Dubai and that’s great.”

NY and CA are prime examples of why all states don’t have sports betting . . . yet

New York and California are prime examples of why all states don’t have sports betting . . . yet Off Shore Gaming Assocation Hartley examines why just a handful of U.S. states have passed sports betting laws, despite the repeal of PASPA nearly seven months ago.

Source: NY and CA are prime examples of why all states don’t have sports betting . . . yet

Winx Wins Again. Garners 2018 Secretariat Vox Populi Award

Winx winHorse racing’s fans have spoken, and Winx, Australia’s queen of racing, has been voted the winner of the 2018 Secretariat Vox Populi Award in the year-end online poll. Created by Secretariat’s owner Penny Chenery, the award annually recognizes the horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the general public and gained recognition for Thoroughbred racing.

Winx was the top choice among U.S. voters as well as international fans representing a record 60 countries. The 7-year-old bay mare has garnered the devotion of turf enthusiasts Down Under as well as the attention of a worldwide legion of fans with her impressive 29 consecutive wins. In 2018, her historic fourth straight victory in Australia’s prestigious Cox Plate, along with a perfect 7-for-7 record, extended her ongoing streak and added to her current career earnings of more than $16 million USD.

The custom-made Vox Populi trophy will be presented to the Winx connections on Jan. 12, 2019, at Santa Anita Park. In conjunction with the presentation, a variety of festivities will be offered to the public, including a special Vox Populi poster giveaway, autograph signing and silent auction.

Winx Wins Again

Winx’s rise to stardom is reminiscent of that of Zenyatta, the 2010 Vox Populi winner whose own magical winning streak also inspired a large fan base. Additionally, the two regal race mares were sired by the revered stallion Street Cry and share the distinction of being the only females to be honored as award recipients.

“Racing certainly offered many historical and heartwarming stories in 2018,” said Kate Chenery Tweedy. “And once again, the ‘Voice of the People’ spoke very clearly. The fact that both the American public and voters abroad were not limited by international borders is a wonderful testament to the growth of the award and the winner’s global appeal. Winx represents everything Mom envisioned when she created this award and reaffirms her notion that a beloved horse will captivate fans and draw interest to the sport no matter where they race.”

Trained by Chris Waller and ridden by jockey Hugh Bowman, Winx is owned by Magic Bloodstock, Debbie Kepitis and Richard Treweeke.

Winx was one of a select group of nominees submitted by the Vox Populi Committee and presented to thousands of voters worldwide who spoke as the “Voice of the People.” Other nominees were 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate, European distaff sensation Enable, 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, and champion filly Monomoy Girl. Voters also had the option to write in their own favorite.

Throughout the process, Winx prevailed and now joins a list of cherished racing stars who have also received the Vox Populi Award: Ben’s Cat (2017), California Chrome (2016 and 2014), American Pharoah (2015), Mucho Macho Man (2013), Paynter (2012), Rapid Redux (2011), and Zenyatta (inaugural 2010).

Source: PR

Voice of Oaklawn, Terry Wallace, dies at 74

Voice of Oaklawn Park racetrack in Arkansas, Terry Wallace, dies at 74 NWAOnline

Terry Wallace, who was the track announcer at Oaklawn Park for 37 years, died Thursday of complications from progressive supranuclear palsy. He was 74.

Source: Voice of Oaklawn, Terry Wallace, dies at 74

The Plans for Maximus Mischief

One day after posting a win in his stakes debut in Aqueduct’s Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen, trainer Robert Reid, Jr. said Maximus Mischief came out of his 2 ¼-length score in good order and shipped back well to his home base at Parx in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.

“It looked like he came out of the race perfectly and made good time, he was safely back in his stall by 9 p.m. or so,” Reid said. “He was a little tired, but he’s on his toes this morning.”

Owned by Cash is King Stable and LC Racing, Maximus Mischief improved to 3-for-3 to start his career. The Into Mischief colt won his debut with an 8 ¾-length win in a 5 ½-furlong sprint on September 29 at Parx before winning by six lengths at seven furlongs over the same track October 20.

Stretching out to the Remsen distance of 1 1/8 miles and two turns, Maximus Mischief handled the new challenges with aplomb, earning a 97 Beyer Speed Figure and also netting 10 qualifying points towards the Kentucky Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs.

“The most impressive part was how he acted in the paddock and all the pre-race stuff, because he can be a handful in the paddock,” Reid said. “In his new surroundings, he handled it very well. He stood perfectly in the paddock, which at Aqueduct can be a little foreboding. He handled it great and was cool as a cucumber and stood there perfectly when we put the tack on him. I was pretty confident with the way things were going to go after that.”

Out of the gate, Maximus Mischief, under jockey Frankie Pennington, dueled Gladiator King for the early speed before eventually taking command by the half-mile mark. In the stretch, he dug in against the Chad Brown-trained Network Effect, who was the field’s lone graded stakes veteran in having finished second in the Grade 3 Nashua on November 4 at the Big A.

“Frankie did a great job riding him. He didn’t worry about the horses inside or outside of him,” Reid said. “Once he switched leads and opened up, I felt really good about it.”

After a brief respite, Maximus Mischief’s conditioner said the $340,000 purchase will be headed for warmer temperatures and what is hopefully a bright sophomore year.

Maximus Mischief Heading to Florida for 3yo Campaign

“We’re going to give him a little break but then we’ll be heading down to Florida,” Reid said. “We’ll be heading down to Gulfstream Park in the next few weeks and get him used to the weather down there and get him ready to start his 3-year-old campaign.”

Klaravich Stables’ Network Effect garnered four points for the 2019 Kentucky Derby with his runner-up finish when he edged Tax by a half-length. The Mark Valeski colt won his first race on August 11 at Saratoga before taking the jump in class in running second to Vekoma in the Nashua.

Gulfstream Park horse toteBrown said Network Effect, the even-money favorite who rallied from fifth, has talent but is looking to take the next step.

“He ran spotty a little bit in the race,” Brown said. “He was in a pretty good position and in the final turn it looked like the eventual winner got away from him a little bit, but late in the race he was starting to gain on him. I thought the winner ran terrific and our horse ran very respectable. He’s a work in progress.”

Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable’s Tax made a splash for trainer Danny Gargan in his first race for the conditioner since being claimed for $50,000 on October 21 at Keeneland, where he had a maiden-breaking, two-length win for then-trainer Ben Colebrook.

Tax’s third-place finish earned him two qualifying points for the “Run for the Roses” and his black type performance in his first stakes start resulted in a 93 Beyer.

“I thought he ran huge. We were expecting a big performance; he’s a really good-looking horse,” Gargan said. “He ran really well and the [speed] number came back tremendous, we’re really excited about that. He came out of the race great.”

Tax, who has trained at Belmont Park, will likely be kept in New York, said Gargan, who left open the possibility he could run in the $150,000 Jerome for newly minted 3-year-olds on New Year’s Day at the Big A.

“He has a really big future. We’ll keep him in New York and evaluate him and see where our next stakes spot will be. There’s a big chance he’ll run next at Aqueduct but if not, there’s a couple of different options.”

Source: NYRA

G1 Cigar Mile winner Patternrecognition Rewards Owners

the Big A race horsePatternrecognition rewarded trainer Chad Brown and owners Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence for their patience with a Grade 1 breakthrough in Saturday’s $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct Racetrack.

A $420,000 purchase at the 2015 Ocala Breeders’ Sale, Patternrecognition made a winning debut in April of his 4-year-old season at Aqueduct, where he is perfect in three starts, and has campaigned successfully but sparingly as Brown built the foundation on a horse that possessed an abundance of natural talent.

Brown, who captured his first Cigar Mile in 2016 with Connect, praised his staff, including assistant trainer Whit Beckman, for their perseverance.

“The Cigar Mile is a great race to win and we’re lucky to have won it now for a second time. He’s a horse that really earned it and everyone in the barn here with Whit has done a great job with the horse, keeping him sound,” said Brown. “He didn’t get started until he was 4, so he’s clearly had some physical setbacks. But he’s now in good form and has been healthy thanks to a lot of hard work from my team, and a lot of heart and determination from the horse.”

105 Beyer Figure

Patternrecognition, who boosted his career earnings to $812,325, earned a 105 Beyer Speed Figure for his winning effort in the Cigar Mile.

Brown said that the Grade 1, $9 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on January 26 is a consideration for Patternrecognition, who has now won three of five starts this season, including a victory in the Grade 2 Kelso on September 22 at Belmont Park.

“The owners and I talked about the Pegasus last night. It’s definitely a consideration,” said Brown.

Brown, who noted that all of his New York-based horses were sound and in good order this morning, said that Patternrecognition will now head to Palm Meadows in Florida.

A strong showing at Aqueduct on Saturday for Brown included a second in the Grade 2 Remsen with Network Effect and a third in the Grade 3 Go For Wand with Pacific Wind. And Brown built on that success later in the evening as Raging Bull and Instilled Regard ran first and third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar.

Mendelssohn Disappoints Again. Will Retire

Mendelssohn, trained by Aidan O’Brien, earned a 100 Beyer for his fourth-place finish in the Cigar Mile as the beaten favorite. The well-traveled Scat Daddy colt tracked along the rail in third but failed to threaten the pacesetting Patternrecognition.

“I was a little bit disappointed, but he’s had a long year and I guess it’s to be expected,” said O’Brien assistant T.J. Comerford, on Sunday morning. “It’s probably the latest we’ve ever run a horse after campaigning all the time in America. He was showing signs up to the race of being fresh, but I suppose it took its toll on the day.”

A half-brother to champion mare Beholder and leading sire Into Mischief, Mendelssohn captured the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf to complete his 2-year-old campaign and showed main-track talent with an 18 ½-length score in the Group 2 UAE Derby in March.

Following a troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby, Mendelssohn made three starts in New York, finishing third in the Grade 3 Dwyer, second in the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers and third in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. He arrived at the Cigar Mile from a fifth-place run in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Comerford said that Mendelssohn was in good order on Sunday following his Cigar Mile effort.

“He’s grand. He’s that type of horse. He’s a hearty devil,” said Comerford.

Coolmore America announced on Sunday that Mendelssohn has been retired from racing and will stand at Coolmore America’s Ashford Stud for 2019.

“All of our team loved Mendelssohn from the first time we saw him as a yearling and he has developed into a magnificent looking horse,” said Coolmore America manager Dermot Ryan.

Mendelssohn will stand for a fee of $35,000.

Source: NYRA

AGOS Horses to Watch and Trip Notes – December 5, 2018


EXCELLENT SUNSET (Race 7 @DMR, 11/9/18) – well, the three blind mice in the California stewards stands did it again, disqualifying this filly who was best in this feature event at Del Mar.  Her drifting was minor and did not affect the outcome, by any stretch of the imagination. This hard knocking, honest 4yo filly will be tough next time out.


MAJESTIC WON (Race 5 @LRL, 11/29/18) – this favorite was loaded for bear turning for home but was stuck inside and had to steady on the far turn.  Then had to wait for room and swing out into the middle of the stretch, while just missing the leader who had gotten the jump on her turning for home.  With any better luck, she would have won for Englehart.


SHE READS MY TEXTS (Race 4 @TAM, 11/24/18) – Ran a game race on opening day at Tampa Bay Downs.  Dana Kobiske runner faced pressure from two different horses at different stages of the race but never gave up en route to a good 2nd place finish.  Tough at the $5,000 level.

Daily Fantasy Tax Reporting

Sports betting“At the onset of Daily Fantasy Sports, there was much debate as to what type of “activity” individuals are engaging in. The IRS determined that playing DFS was a game of skill and technical ability. Players had to develop a strategy, research athletes, and build a team that will gain the most points possible in order to win a “set prize.” Compared to gambling activities, where the IRS views those activities as a game of “luck,” winning an undeterminable amount (the professional gamblers in the community would disagree). This distinction caused DraftKings and Fan Duel to mail out Form 1099-Misc to their participants. This opens up DFS income into a grey area of taxation. Is your playing style a hobby or full time job/business? We will discuss further.

Note: You cannot write off gambling losses against your DFS income. They are two different activities with different tax rules. Sorry!

If you have winnings of over $600 from any daily fantasy sports site, such as FanDuel or DraftKings, you will likely receive a Form 1099-MISC with the amount shown on Box 3. It is advised that you to report all earnings on your income tax return and not just earnings reported to you on a 1099-MISC or other tax forms…”

Daily Fantasy Tax Reporting.  Read the rest below.

RotoGrinders: Daily Fantasy Tax Reporting

Enhancements to 2019 Dubai Carnival and World Cup Cards

Meydan Group has released the list of horses accepted for the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival, which commences on January 3, 2019, at Meydan Racecourse. The list features 202 accepted horses conditioned by a total of 71 trainers from 17 countries. Several international stars are set to travel to Dubai this winter to compete for a share of the US$12,670,000 prize money—an increase of 12% from 2018—across 10 race cards, including 61 Thoroughbred races and 4 Group Purebred Arabian races.

In its 16th year, Dubai World Cup Carnival will take place on nine consecutive Thursdays, from January 3 through February 28, before ending with Super Saturday, March 9. Super Saturday’s race card, which has been boosted to a record $2.65 million in prize money, will once again be a dress rehearsal for the world-record $35 million Dubai World Cup card on March 30, 2019.

Purse Increases for 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival

The three rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge have received purse increases: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 (Group 2, 1600m, January 10) is now worth $350,000; an increase of $100,000. Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (Group 2, 1900m, February 7) is now worth $450,000; an increase of $200,000. Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (Group 1, 2000m, Super Saturday) is now worth $600,000; an increase of $200,000. Eight of the previous 19 Dubai World Cup winners have competed in the series, including four of the last seven.

MUSIR winning in Dubai. Copyright Andrew Watkins

Super Saturday’s Jebel Hatta (Group 1, 1800m turf) will increase $100,000 to $400,000. Other increases for Super Saturday: Dubai City of Gold (Group 2, 2410m turf) will be worth $300,000 and the Al Bastakiya (Listed, 1900m) goes up to $300,000 as the prep for the richest dirt derby in the world, the $2.5 million UAE Derby sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (Group 2, 1900m). Three individual races on the same evening increase by $150,000 to boast purses of $350,000: the Mahab Al Shimaal (Group 3, 1200m), Burj Nahaar (Group 3, 1600m) and newly upgraded Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint (Group 3, 1200m turf).

Dubai World Cup Carnival handicaps will receive increases ranging from $10,000 to $15,000, with the minimum total purse being $135,000 (for horses rated 90-105) and rising as high as $175,000 (for horses rated 90 and up).

Noted invitees for this first invitation round for the Dubai World Cup Carnival include Ken McPeek-trained Senior Investment, Harlan Strong and Grecko. Belmont Stakes runner-up Gronkowski and Pennsylvania Derby runner-up Axelrod are also listed as Carnival invitees. Sandeep Jadhav is listed as the trainer for both horses should they ship overseas. Gronkowski is trained by Chad Brown, while Mike McCarthy trains Axelrod.

A different invitation process will lead to more U.S.-based horses being invited to run on Dubai World Cup night.

Source: Press Release