About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 12-time qualifier to the National Handicapping Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He recently won a $24,000 package into the 2016 Kentucky Derby Betting Championship. 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.

Find more about me on:

Here are my most recent posts

AGOS Horses to Watch – July 6, 2017

7/1/17

Belterra Park

Race #4 – Mdn Sp Wt – 5f dirt

Tempestuous Amy was a 1st time starter by I Want Revenge. She was sent off the odds-on choice and ran an even third place finish. Trainer Bill Connelly wins (20%) with his 2-yr-olds and does very well for the second trip to the races. She’ll be a major player next out.

7/3/17

Belterra Park, Race #7 – Allowance Optional Claiming – 1 mile  turf

Princess Drossie was making her 3rd off the layoff move for Phil Sims. She was 1/1 at BtP and had Cory Orm back in the saddle. There was a greast deal of traffic problems resulting in a DQ.  She circled the field in a 7 wide bid getting beat 1/2 length at the wire for everything.

7/1/17

Belmont Park

Race #7 – $100,000 Perfect Sting – 1 mile turf

#8 – Ancient Secret was making her 2nd start of the 2017 season. The Chad Brown trainee was 4/5 ITM coming into the race was in the 3 path most of the race. When they turned for home she was carried out into the 7 path running 3rd this day. – With a little racing luck she’ll be tough next out.

Race #8 – Allowance – 6f on the main track

#3 – Wicked Macho is a son of Macho Uno. He had Jose Ortiz in the saddle and was exiting the $150,000 Easy Goer. He was odds-on favorite this day and shied at the start, checked off of heels, and weakened down the lane. I am tossing this race as a “bad hair day” and look forward to his next. He looked good coming onto the track and should give a better account next out.

7/2/17

Ellis Park

Race #4 – O.C. 20,000 – 6f on the main track

Bourbon Cowboy shipped in from Arlington and was making the poly-dirt switch. The 3rd off the layoff looked solid as the barn wins (28%) on this move. He broke slow and once he got back on track he finished up with good late kick.

Race #7 – Mdn Sp Wt – 5f on the main track

Party Club was a first time starter by Sky Mesa. She came in for D. Wayne Lukas off a bullet work and looked good on the track. She came running late and was forced 7 wide at the top of the lane gaining ground rapidly. She’ll get better with each start and should come rolling late in the lane next out.

 

Is Horse Racing Dead? Ellis Park Opening Day 2017 Handle Rises Sharply

Press Release

Total betting on Saturday’s opening card at Ellis Park was $1,789,882 — up 62 percent over the $1,106,508 wagered on last year’s first day of racing. That breaks down to $232,276  bet on Ellis at Ellis (up 14 percent over 2016) and $1,557,715 bet off track on Ellis’ nine-race card (up 72 percent percent over last year’s $903,119). Another $300,993 was bet at Ellis on other racetracks, a number that does not show up in the all-sources total but which was up 10 percent, the track said.

“It was just a delightful and great day,” said track president Ron Geary. “We worked hard the whole year to get to this position. We launched a bunch of new things, the new video and tote board and a lot of interior improvements. We’re very excited. Obviously we got our purse money up, and that helps a lot. But I think our team executed quite well. We thought we’d have a good meet; this is certainly a good indicator. But we’ll see what happens in the next 30 race dates, see if it rains or anything like that.”

Is Horse Racing Dead? Summit of Speed Handle Up 50% Over 2 Years Ago

Post Parade Gulfstream Park maiden race

Copyright Agameofskill.com

Press Release

Gulfstream Park set a record on Summit of Speed Day with total handle Saturday of $12,660,617.

Saturday’s handle eclipsed the previous year’s handle of $9,702 million by 30 percent and the 2015 handle of $8,071 by 50 percent.

The 14-race card featured victories by Curlin’s Approval in the Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Princess Rooney (G2) and Imperial Hint in the Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Smile Sprint (G3). Jockey Luis Saez flew in from New York to win three races, including the Princess Rooney and Azalea aboard Who’s the Lady, while Javier Castellano won aboard Imperial Hint. Jockey Edgard Zayas won three races, including two stakes.

In its last year at Calder in 2013, total handle on the Summit of Speed program was $4.678 million. After Calder did not run the Summit in 2014, Gulfstream focused on rejuvenating summer racing and the Summit of Speed.

“We want to thank the fans throughout the country for making Saturday’s Summit of Speed a success,” said P.J. Campo, Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group and General Manager of Gulfstream Park. “Horsemen continue to support our summer program with great racing. We witnessed some incredible performances today by our equine and human athletes.

“We will continue to build summer racing in Florida and we’re excited about the rest of our holiday weekend culminating with our free Grand Illumination fireworks show.”

AGOS Horses to Watch – June 30, 2017

Belmont Park

6/23/17

Race #8 – Runaway Posse – Alw $77,000 – 6f turf

This was his second start off a three month layoff shipping in from Fair Grounds. He was 6/10 ITM (in the money/top 3) over the Belmont  Park oval. Dylan Davis was cut off sharply at the 1/16th pole by #9 /Lord of Love. He tried to get back in action but lost all momentum in the traffic, costing him all chance.

Belterra Park

6/25/17

Race #1 – Golden Justice – Allowance – 6f dirt

Cheyanna Patrick in the saddle for Gary Patrick. She is 5/6 ITM at Belterra and the odds-on favorite this race. She was off slow and made a steady advance. Once clear she tipped off and made a strong late rally to be third this day. A little better start has her heading to the winner’s circle.

Race  #3 – Pray for Kitten – Mdn Claiming – 1 mile on the turf

Katie Clawson in the saddle for Wesley Ward. Ward had great success at Royal Ascot during the week, and now he brought a first time starter to a maiden claiming race at Belterra. He came onto the track as the odds-on choice and was green at every turn. He almost unseated the rider coming onto the track, took off from the pony, and was overall anxious.  During the race he was darting in and out and finally grabbed the lead. Down the lane he started drifting and weaving and faded a bit in the stretch. I think they’ll have the bugs worked out for next race and this colt will make a good showing.

Indiana Grand

6/21/17

Race #6 -Midnight Blvd – Hoosier Breeder Sophmores – 1 1/16 dirt

This daughter of Bellamy Road was making her second start of the year. She was 4/4 ITM and all of her races came at Indiana Grand. She had a perfect stalking trip and was forced to check off heels at the top of the lane. This was just enough to take away her momentum and she still managed to mount a strong bid for 2nd money.

Trainer Dale Romans approaches Churchill Record for Wins

churchill downs ky derby dayLOUISVILLE, Ky . (WHAS11) – As he approaches Bill Mott’s all-time wins record at Churchill Downs, Dale Romans says there are tons of memories he’s had while being a part of barn 4. He says it’s kind of his identity at this point.

Source: Romans approaches Churchill wins record

Free Friday Admissions at National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

New Offer Starts Tomorrow, June 30, 2017 in Saratoga Springs, NY

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame will be offering free admission each Friday from 2 p.m. to close through the end of the year compliments of EMBRACE THE RACE®. “Free Fridays” begin June 30 and continue throughout the year, including the Saratoga Race Course meeting.

Animal Kingdom - Derby MuseumVisitors are invited to take advantage of the opportunity to explore all of the Museum’s offerings, including its newest exhibit, Man o’ War at 100, which chronicles the racing career and cultural impact of the 1957 Hall of Fame inductee.

“A core element of the EMBRACE THE RACE® mission is to invest in fan development. This innovative program from the Museum is a great way to help people connect with the history and passion that is the essence of horse racing,” said Michael F. DeAnzeris III, president and founder of EMBRACE THE RACE®. “There is no better way for fans to show their love of the sport than with clothing and accessories from EMBRACE THE RACE®. We are proud to be a founding partner of this great Museum program.”

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is currently open from Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. From July 21 through Sept. 4 (Saratoga Race Course dates), the Museum is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We are pleased to be partnering with EMBRACE THE RACE® on this initiative,” said Cathy Marino, the Museum’s director. “Like the Museum, EMBRACE THE RACE® is committed to developing new fans of the sport and supporting ideas related to that concept. They are an ideal partner for Free Fridays and we thank them for their participation.”

About EMBRACE THE RACE®: Founded and based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., EMBRACE THE RACE® is the exclusive provider of The Apparel for the Horse Racing Lifestyle® and The Official Apparel of Horse Racing®. Featuring an inspirational logo and impassioned phrase, EMBRACE THE RACE® captivates worldwide customers with luxurious clothes, accessories, jewelry and more. Shop today at www.embracetherace.com, EMBRACE THE RACE® Company Store in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear N.J. sports betting case

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear arguments on whether sports betting should be legalized in New Jersey. The justices, as is custom, gave no reason for agreeing to hear the appeal of a court decision that threw out the state’s latest effort to bring sports betting to its casinos and race tracks.… [Read more…]

N.J. Sports Wagering Case stuck in limbo with U.S. Supreme Court

TRENTON — Monday was expected to be the day the U.S. Supreme Court would announce whether it will hear New Jersey’s years-long effort to legalize sports betting at casinos and racetracks. But a decision never came, either for or against the state. Now, experts say, the nation’s highest court could make an announcement Tuesday — though… [Read more…]

Becoming Smarter at Horse Racing

Guest Post

If you are looking for horse racing myths to exploit as a bettor, you better look elsewhere because there are none. This article is about making you a smarter horse racing bettor, and not dumb you down to a complete loser. If you want some mindless action, we suggest playing slots and try them out here. If not, read further to improve yourself in spotting the winner.

How to Do it like a Champion

Veteran champions in horse racing betting have their own secrets. But, more importantly they are savvy hustler that understand the concept of beating the odds and whose mind works money-wise. And there’s a lot of hard work too.

For example, the best horse racing bettors go through tons of data when they need to confirm that their pick can beat the odds. This data collection process includes researching about the horse’s past performance naturally. But it is also about going into details like racetrack conditions, the bloodline of the horse, what the weather report says and what kind of weather the horse likes, all the way down to seemingly unimportant details such as the equipment of the horse and whether it affects its ability.

In order to get bigger payouts, you have to master the more exotic combination bets such as trifecta, quinella, daily double and the other. They cost a little bit more, but the payouts are comparable to simpler bets. Some betting shops or websites may even offer more profitable and unique bets, so look into that too. Also, if you want to maximize your profit, you may want to bet across different horse racing shops to make use of the different (and possibly better) odds for the same events.

Where to Begin

If you are an absolute beginner, the logical step would be to start learning the bets. Start with the simpler ones where less variables are included and try to improve your accuracy as time passes. To do this you don’t have to spend money on bets.

Try guessing the outcomes the first month without betting any money to get your crosshair on. When you feel comfortable enough to start making some bets, try with smaller increments that you can afford to lose. In general, beginners start with $2 increments.

And keep in mind that if you bet on the favorite each time, you’ll win only 33% of all the bets made. So, a logical sequence of your horse racing betting evolution would be to become skilled in finding the hidden favorites. Those are the ones that bring the biggest profit.

We mentioned above that horse racing veteran champions dig through an immense amount of data to find the winners. Well, this is what you will need to do too. This is how you get to learn about different horses and gain insight that you can use on the racetrack and find the future champion. It’s how you stop being a beginner and start being a pro.

July On-Track Contests for 2018 National Handicapping Championship (NHC)

NTRA NHC logoLEXINGTON, Ky. (June, 2017) – Summertime brings with it an acceleration in the number of on-track National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) qualifiers, which frequently offer large cash prize pools along with berths to the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping tournament. Registration is now open for rich tournaments coming up in the next few weeks at Woodbine Racecourse, Santa Anita Park, Monmouth Park, Del Mar, and other top contest destinations around North America.

The first-half NHC Tour season will conclude on July 30.  The top 5 finishers of the first-half NHC Tour Leaderboard will receive full 2017 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge berths.

Here are the basics on the “brick-and-mortar” NHC qualifiers scheduled through the end of July, in chronological order:

SATURDAY – Woodbine Sprint Meet Handicapping Tournament – Two berths to NHC 2018, estimated $20,000 prize pool, entry $150 ($50 bankroll + $100 to prize money).

JUNE 30-JULY 2 – Santa Anita Three-Peat Handicapping Contests – Three days of one-day contests on closing weekend at Santa Anita, with 100 percent of entry fees paid back as cash prizes. Day 1: two berths to NHC 2018, $30,000 estimated prize pool, $700 entry ($400 bankroll + $300 to prize money). Day 2: five berths to NHC 2018, $100,000 estimated prize pool, entry $3,000 ($2,000 bankroll + $1,000 to prize money). Day 3: five berths to NHC 2018, $100,000 estimated prize pool, entry $3,000 ($2,000 bankroll + $1,000 to prize money). Cash bonuses of $50,000 for winning two of the contests and $250,000 for winning all three.

JULY 2 – Monmouth Park $250 Handicapping Contest – Two berths to NHC 2018, estimated $20,000 prize pool, entry $250 ($150 bankroll + $100 to prize money).

JULY 8 – Arlington Handicapping Challenge – Three berths to NHC 2018 plus berths to other major handicapping contests, no entry fee, $2,000 live bankroll.

JULY 8 – Belmont Park Stars & Stripes Challenge – Two berths to NHC 2018, guaranteed $5,000 first-place prize, entry $500 ($300 bankroll + $200 to prize money).

JULY 8 – Los Alamitos – Three berths to NHC 2018, estimated $10,000 prize pool, entry $400 ($300 bankroll + $100 entry fee)

JULY 14-16 – Surfside Race Place at Del Mar One-Day Contests – Three one-day contests,  two berths to NHC 2018 each day, guaranteed $16,500 prize pool each day.  Day 1: advance entry $340 ($40 bankroll + $300 entry fee).  Day 2: advance entry $500 ($200 bankroll + $300 entry fee).  Day 3: advance entry $340 ($40 bankroll + $300 entry fee).

JULY 22 – Monmouth Park $250 Handicapping Contest – Two berths to NHC 2018, estimated $20,000 prize pool, entry $250 ($150 bankroll + $100 to prize money).

JULY 23 – Lone Star Park Handicapping Championship Series, Second Chance – Two berths to NHC 2018, estimated $7,500 prize pool, free to play.

JULY 29-30 – Del Mar Challenge – Eight berths to NHC 2018 plus berths to other major handicapping contests, estimated $300,000 prize pool, entry $7,000 ($5,000 bankroll + $2,000 to prize money).

JULY 29 – Woodbine Mid-Summer Handicapping Tournament – Two berths to NHC 2018, estimated $25,000 prize pool, entry $500 ($250 bankroll + $250 to prize money).

Prize pools are estimated and will be adjusted on a sliding scale in accordance with the final number of entries.

For the full calendar of upcoming NHC qualifiers, including links to details on how to enter, visithttps://www.ntra.com/nhc-events.

For additional information on the NHC and NHC Tour visit www.ntra.com/nhc.

About the National Horseplayers Championship

In its 19th year, the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (formerly known as the NTRA National Handicapping Championship) is presented by Racetrack Television Network, STATS Race Lens and Treasure Island Las Vegas. Equibase is the official data provider of the NHC and NHC Tour. The NHC is world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping tournament of the year for horseplayers and is the culmination of a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities and horse racing and handicapping websites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. Each year, the NHC winner joins other human and equine champions as an honoree at the Eclipse Awards. The most recent NHC offered record prize money and awards totaling more than $2.9 million. NHC 19 will be held February 9-11, 2018, at Treasure Island Las Vegas.

About the NTRA

The NTRA, based in Lexington, Ky., is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA owns and manages the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance; NTRA.com; the Eclipse Awards; the National Handicapping Championship; NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program; and Horse PAC®, a federal political action committee. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).