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.

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Champions Handicapping Tournament in Two Weeks at Laurel

The Maryland Jockey Club is accepting entries for the spring session of the Champions Handicapping Tournament to be held Saturday, March 25 at Laurel Park.

Berths to the NTRA/DRF National Handicapping Championship (NHC), Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and BIG ONE tournaments are on the line as well as guaranteed prize money to the top 10 finishers.

A maximum of two entries per person will be accepted at a cost of $300 each, covering the $100 entry fee and $200 bankroll. The tournament will be capped at 300 entries.

The tournament winner will have their choice of one of two berths to the NHC or a berth in the BCBC or BIG ONE. The second-place finisher has the choice of one of the remaining three berths, the third-place finisher has the choice of one of the remaining two berths, and the fourth-place finisher will receive the remaining berth.

Tracks available for the tournament are Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita, Aqueduct and Tampa Bay Downs, with no mandatory races. The minimum wager is $20.

For a registration form or further information, email Diana Harbaugh at Diana.harbaugh@marylandracing.com before noon March 24 or visit www.laurelpark.com/handicapping/champions-tournament. Registration by credit card can be done by calling 301-470-5432 before noon March 24.

The BIG ONE takes place Sept. 23-24 at Laurel Park, while the BCBC will be Nov. 3-4 at Del Mar and the NHC is held January 2018 in Las Vegas.

2017 Tampa Bay Derby Features No Dozing, Tapwrit

Press Release

After watching No Dozing breeze five furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs on Wednesday morning with his wife Leigh in the irons, trainer Arnaud Delacour pronounced the 3-year-old colt a likely starter for Saturday’s Grade II, $350,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.

“Everything needs to go well between now and then, but we’re happy with where we’re at right now,” Delacour said. “He started a touch slow today because Leigh had to wait a bit on a horse breezing in front of her, but he was moving well and picked it up nicely.”

Both Delacour and Tampa Bay Downs clocker George Horner timed No Dozing in 1:01 3/5, going the final eighth of a mile in 12 1/5 seconds. “He came back happy, and I’m very encouraged by the way he’s handling his training and behaving,” Delacour said.

No Dozing, a son of Union Rags-Stay Awake, by Pulpit, and owned by the Lael Stables of his breeders, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, is one of seven probables for the 37th edition of the mile-and-a-sixteenth Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, a major “Road to the Kentucky Derby” prep race.

The others currently expected to run include the runner-up in the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 11 at Tampa Bay Downs, Tapwrit; third-place Sam F. Davis finisher State of Honor; Wild Shot, who finished fourth; Beasley; Third Day; and Tale of Silence.

A field of at least 10 sophomores is expected after the Sam F. Davis winner, undefeated McCraken, was withdrawn from consideration by trainer Ian Wilkes with an ankle strain.

Each of the current probables, with the exception of Wild Shot, worked out over the last few days, with the Mark Hennig-trained Beasley turning in an eye-opening move of 46.90 for four furlongs Saturday at Gulfstream Park, the fastest of 58 recorded works at the distance.

Tampa Bay Downs grandstand copyright AGameofSkill.com

copyright AGameofSkill.com

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is the centerpiece of a Festival Day card that will be the most lucrative in Oldsmar oval history, offering $925,000 in stakes purses.

Four other stakes will be contested, including the Grade II, $200,000 Hillsborough Stakes, for older fillies and mares at a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf; the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf; the $100,000 Challenger Stakes, for horses 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track; and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile on the turf.

As part of the Festival Day program, Tampa Bay Downs will present a commemorative umbrella to each of the first 7,500 fans through the gates, with paid admission. The inside lining of each umbrella is decorated with colorful photographs of each of the 2016 Festival Day stakes winners.

No Dozing, who had finished a strong second in the Grade II Remsen Stakes in his final 2-year-old start on Nov. 26 at Aqueduct, finished an uninspired sixth in the Sam F. Davis, a lackluster performance that mystified his trainer. He had a trouble-free trip, he didn’t bleed and a post-race blood examination revealed no issues.

As well as No Dozing has trained here since Jan. 8, Delacour doesn’t believe he had an issue with the track. So he decided to let No Dozing tell him what came next race-wise, bringing him over for a four-furlong workout on Feb. 26 that convinced him No Dozing deserved another chance against this level of competition.

No Dozing responded with a 47 2/5 move for four furlongs that was the fastest of 62 workouts at the distance that day, and today’s breeze boosted Delacour’s confidence another notch. Leading Tampa Bay Downs jockey Daniel Centeno is No Dozing’s pilot.

“I wouldn’t run him if I didn’t think he will perform well, and the way he breezed last week was very good,” said Delacour, who saddled Divining Rod for a third-place Tampa Bay Derby finish in 2015. “When you bring a horse over in the afternoon, you always think they can perform, but they have to prove it to you. We’re looking forward to having a fair evaluation and seeing if he fits in the (Kentucky) Derby trail races.”

Delacour also worked his 7-year-old Eclipse Award Sprint finalist, A.P. Indian. The multiple-Grade I winner, who is being pointed toward the Grade III Commonwealth Stakes on April 8 at Keeneland, breezed four furlongs in 49 seconds.

Tapwrit, owned by Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert V. LaPenta, worked four furlongs Saturday at Palm Beach Downs in Delray Beach in 50 4/5 seconds. Tapwrit trainer Todd Pletcher, who also conditions Third Day, has won three of the last four runnings of the race, including last year with Destin.

State of Honor, owned by Conrad Farms and trained by Mark Casse, breezed four furlongs Friday in 47.75 seconds at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach.

At least eight fillies are expected to run in the 19th Hillsborough Stakes, which in recent years has been won by such top-flight turf females as Zagora (2012), Stephanie’s Kitten (2015) and last year’s winner, Tepin.

Expected to head the field is the Pletcher-trained 5-year-old mare Isabella Sings, who won the Grade III Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes here on Feb. 11 by three lengths with her exciting front-running style.

Other likely starters include Grade III winners Dickinson, Evidently and My Impression, as well as Grade III winner Family Meeting, who was third in last year’s Florida Oaks.

A large field is also likely for the 34th Oaks, headed by a trio of fillies that competed in the Breeders’ Cup in November at Santa Anita. Included in that group is the Ken McPeek-trained Daddys Lil Darling, who finished fourth in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and has a victory in the Grade II Pocahontas Stakes and a pair of graded second-place efforts to her credit.

Other probables include the fifth and sixth-place finishers in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, Rymska and La Coronel. Both are Grade III winners, with Rymska trained by 2017 Eclipse Award Outstanding Trainer Chad Brown and La Coronel conditioned by Mark Casse.

The 26th Challenger Stakes, with a rich history that includes the 2012 victory by subsequent Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned, is expected to draw last year’s winner, 8-year-old gelding Adirondack King, from the barn of John Servis. Other probables include multiple-Grade II winner Blofeld, from the barn of trainer George “Rusty” Arnold, II; multiple graded-stakes winner Stanford, trained by Pletcher; the Argentine multiple Group I-winning Idolo Porteno, trained by Ignacio Correas, IV; and Grade III winner Ami’s Flatter, a Josie Carroll-trainee who finished second in the 2015 Tampa Bay Derby.

At least eight sophomores are expected to compete in the Columbia Stakes, which was run as the Chris Thomas Turf Classic from 2000-2009.

AGOS FREE Horses to Watch – March 10, 2017

FREE Horses to Watch for AGOS visitors.  Put these runners in your Virtual Stable Mail or Stable Alert service.

Aqueduct

2/25/17

Race #7 – #4 – Stormin Stephen – 6f on the inner track

Fresh off the claim with apprentice Hector Diaz in the irons. This son of Malibu Moon stumbled badly leaving the gate as Diaz corrected his mount to manage a good 4th place effort.

Fair Grounds

2/25/17

Race #4 – #4 – Tweeting – 6f dirt

Florent Geroux aboard for Thom Proctor with a good looking 1st timer. A well-bred filly by Uncle Mo was last away from the break and was carried wide into the final turn for home. This gal managed a solid bid for 3rd and should rebound nicely for a solid trainer.

Race #6 – #9 – Awesome Saturday – 6f dirt

First timer from the Bret Calhoun barn with B.J. Hernandez in the irons. This son of Any Given Saturday was forced to check sharply and still managed to hit the after-burners and close with a flourish to get the win. He has the look of a repeat player who deserves a play right back.

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Race #9 – #3 – Shane’s Girlfriend – 1 1/16 dirt

Mario Gutierrez in the driver’s seat for Doug O’Neill. They shipped in from California and was working very well in the mornings. She was slammed on both sides leaving the gate and she still tried to rebound with her first start of 2017. Sent off the odds-on chalk, her back class gives us plenty to look forward.

Race #10 – #1 – Bullard’s Alley – 1 1/8 turf

Solid runner from the Tim Glyshaw barn. This was his 2nd start off the shelf and may need a little class relief dropping out of graded company. This son of Flower Alley seems to enjoy the sod and lesser foes can have a strike at a sweet price.

Gulfstream Park

2/25/17

Race #5 -#4 – Blue Buff – 5 1/f dirt

First timer by Unbridled’s Song with Joe Bravo in the irons. He was working lights out in the morning at Palm Meadows and his dam (Fiery Pulpit) has three wins from 4 starters. He was wide down the backstretch and won impressively. He is a strong candidate to move up the ladder with promise.

Race #8 – #2 – I’m Stepping It Up – 7f dirt

Fresh off the claim for John Servis. 9-year-old son of Congrats and was forced to tap on the brakes down the backside. Once he was in gear he out put forth an honest effort for the show dough.

‘Super Bowl’ of Horse Racing Worth $100 Million to San Diego Economy

Del Mar racingSan Diego Chargers may have left, but the “Super Bowl of horse racing ” – Breeders’ Cup 2017 –  is coming to Del Mar in November and will be worth $100 million to the San Diego economy.

A total of $4.5 million has been spent to upgrade the track and add 2,700 premium seating options, including a $1.5 million chalet village at the west end of the stretch run. “This is not your grandmother’s Del Mar,” said Fravel.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer estimated the two-day event will be worth $100 million to the local economy and be a significant public relations coup for both San Diego and Del Mar. “Millions of people will be watching the event on television across the globe,” he said.

Source: ‘Super Bowl’ of Horse Racing Worth $100 Million to San Diego Economy

Horse Racing Side Wagers with Your Crab Fries?

Chickie’s & Pete’s in Jersey May Offer Off-Track Betting

EGG HARBOR TWP. — If a proposal before the New Jersey Racing Commission is approved, you may be able to get a side bet on a horse race with your crab fries at Chickie’s & Pete’s in Atlantic County. The commission will consider a proposal later this month to establish an off-track betting facility at the… [Read more…]

Historic Horse Racing Continues to Crush It

historic horse racing machineBOYNTON BEACH, Fla., March, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Exacta Systems and Kentucky Downs once again shattered the single month historic horse racing handle record in February, with wagering in the 28-day month totaling $51.8 million. The previous record of $47.2 million was only one month old, having been set in January. This marks the third straight month that a new HHR (Historic Horse Racing) wagering record has been set at Kentucky Downs.

In addition to the record set at Kentucky Downs, Exacta set a one-month record by handling over $75 million in HHR wagers at its installations in Kentucky and Wyoming, up from its previous record of $68.6 million set last month.

“Despite the short month, Exacta and Kentucky Downs added over $4.5 million in pari-mutuel wagering handle when compared to January’s record numbers,” commented Exacta Systems President Jeremy Stein. “I am confident that with the introduction of Exacta Premium Game Titles with minimum jackpots of $100,000 at Kentucky Downs next month, the explosive growth of historic horse racing will continue. In January, Exacta went over $1 billion in total wagers handled since we first went live in 2015. We are on pace to do $1 billion in total wagers at our combined installations this year alone, which will continue generating millions in new revenue for purses, breeders incentive funds, racetrack operators and state general funds.”

For more information about the company and the Exacta historic horse racing system, visit www.exactasystems.com or the Exacta Systems Facebook page.

Woodbine Opens for Training; Track to Open in April

Press Release

It’s a sure sign the 2017 thoroughbred racing season is fast approaching as the doors opened to the Woodbine backstretch area on Tuesday morning.

Nearly 200 trainers will put over 2,100 stalls in use throughout the eight-month meet, which sees live racing burst from the gate on April 15.

Hall of Fame trainer Robert Tiller was among the first to arrive on a busy morning with some 20 horses shipping in from Paul Buttigieg’s Training Centre in Egbert, Ontario.

“All these horses have been going since the middle of January, jogging in the indoor arena and getting legged up,” said Tiller. “They’ll be ready to go to the training track tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

Tiller, who won 31 races at Woodbine in 2017, is often a quick starter.

“I’d like to think the 20 we bring in today will be ready to breeze in 10 days or so. They’ve got a lot of miles into them already as they’ve been going since the middle of January so they were only laid up five to six weeks,” offered Tiller.

 A Sovereign Award winner as Outstanding Trainer in 2001, 2003 and 2004, Tiller was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2008.  The veteran conditioner, who is happy to have stable stars River Maid and Pink Lloyd returning in 2017, was pleased with his 2016 campaign in which he maintained a two decade long streak of landing in the Top 10 in wins.

“I was pleased. Not bad for an old guy!” laughed Tiller. “Racing is very competitive here but we did well. And you have to be excited about horses like Pink Lloyd and River Maid returning as they’re stakes quality horses. Plus, we have a few unknowns here with potential. Time will tell.”

Josie DePaulo, assistant trainer to her husband Mike DePaulo, was on hand to oversee the arrival of 21 horses shipping in for the backstretch opening.  The family run stable, which also includes their son Joe as a newly minted assistant trainer, sent some of their racing stock south to Florida for the winter to continue racing.

“We took 10 horses down to Gulfstream and had a couple of wins right away and then a few seconds and thirds so it was a good winter,” said Josie. “We send a bunch to Paul Sharp’s farm in Ocala as well and then here in Ontario we have horses at Paul Buttigieg’s farm, Colebrook Farm and also at Woodlands.”

With 21 horses on hand and more to come, the DePaulo barn was a hub of activity on a mild Tuesday morning.

“I’ll have five grooms to start, five hotwalkers and three exercise riders. When the training track opens, we’ll be there. We like to get started early,” said Josie.

The DePaulo barn enjoyed a remarkable 2016 campaign with 39 wins landing Mike De Paulo his first nomination for outstanding trainer on the back of strong seasons from his fellow Sovereign Award finalists Caren (three-year-old female, female turf horse), Hot Kiss (older female), Noholdingback Bear (male sprinter), and Passion for Action (male sprinter).

Josie is hopeful that the barn can continue to build on their 2016 success.

“Every year you want to do better than the previous year, but it’s going to be tough to top last year,” she said. “Ideally, the goal is to have a wide variety of winners and not rely on one big horse.”

One horse that may be ready to step up in 2017 is Little Christy, a speedy bay daughter of Silent Name who won both of her starts as a two-year-old last season.

“She was immature so we had to take our time with her. We never ran her in a stakes race, but I think she’s ready to step up and be a very nice filly,” said Josie.

And like most Canadian outfits, the DePaulo barn will also be hoping to find a Queen’s Plate contender for the July Classic.

“The Queen’s Plate is always an exciting day at the races. We need to keep building the industry and I’ve found we’ve had a younger crowd here the past couple years for the Queen’s Plate and that’s what we need,” said Josie.

The 158th edition of the Queen’s Plate, first jewel in Canada’s Triple Crown of Racing, will be run on Sunday, July 2 this year.

The following is the schedule for Woodbine’s training track which opens on Wednesday, March 1:

Training Track:

7:00 to 11:00 a.m., daily, weather permitting.

Sand Ring:

6:00 to 12:00 noon, daily

Nilsen’s Fountain Of Youth Stakes Analysis with Spot Plays

Expert Selections with Spot Plays

Rich Nilsen handicapperRich Nilsen, founder of AGameofSkill.com and one of the top tournament players in the history of the NHC, offers up his Spot Play analysis for Saturday, March 4th at Gulfstream Park.  The analysis provides selections for 5 stakes on the card, beginning with race 9, plus two best bet spot plays.  Wagering strategies are included for the 2 spot plays as well as the longshot selection in the Fountain of Youth S.

Each race offered includes Nilsen’s detailed pace scenario which explains how the race will set up.  Nilsen has a longshot selection for the Fountain of Youth Stakes that can upset the apple cart.  Both of his Spot Plays are longshots, as well.

Put an expert on your side as you attack Gulfstream Park on this huge day.

Only $9.97 for 5 stakes races, in-depth Fountain of Youth analysis, and 2 spot plays with Wagering Strategies.
Buy Now

Download instantly to any device. PDF document

The Fountain of Youth card features $1.5 Million in Guaranteed wagers. There is a $400,000 Guaranteed Rainbow beginning on Race 6, assuming it is not hit before Saturday.

Race 8: $400,000 Guaranteed Rainbow 6 ($.20 Minimum)
Race 9: $300,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 5 ($.50 Minimum)
Race 10: $600,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 ($.50 Minimum)

Nilsen had a huge year in 2016 with his few, major race day selection sheets.  One of those days was the Travers Stakes card.

2016 Travers’s Day Recap:  Nilsen picks top selection Haveyougoneaway who upsets the G1 Ballerina at odds of 10-1!   Nilsen follows that score up by giving out top selection ARROGATE, track-record winner of the G1 Travers Stakes! Arrogate returned $25.40 to win for followers of the sheet.  Another top pick runs 2nd at odds of 17-1 in race 3 on August 27, 2016.

Testimonials:

“Great job, Rich!” ~ Jeff S.

“Rich: nice job Travers Day! Thanks to Arrogate, you gave me a good day. How in the world did you land on him? I suspect you’re doing some kind of voodoo pace analysis. If you ever decide to give lessons or a seminar, let me know.” ~ Kelley S.

New York and German Racetrack Join Partnership

Intercontinental stakes series created

The New York Racing Association has announced a three-year partnership with one of Germany’s premier racetracks, Hoppegarten Racecourse in Berlin, to host a unique, intercontinental stakes series beginning in 2017.

Through the agreement, NYRA will offer the winning 3-year-old filly of the 2017 Group 2 Diana-Trial, contested at 2,000 meters on the turf at historic Hoppegarten on June 4, an all-fees-paid invitation to the 1 ¼-mile, Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational, one of the preeminent turf stakes in North America, on Stars & Stripes Day, July 8, at Belmont Park. The Belmont Oaks Invitational are ideally timed 34 days after the Diana-Trial and 29 days before the Group 1 German Oaks allowing the Berlin winner to compete in both races.

Likewise, the winner of the Group 2 Comer Group International Oleander-Rennen for four-year-olds and upwards, held at 3,200 meters on May 14, will receive an all-fees-paid invitation to compete in the two-mile, Grade 3, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational, during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on June 9. The newly-upgraded Group 2 The Comer Group International Oleander-Rennen, Germany’s premier extended distance race, is upgraded to Group 2 for the first time in 2017 and will launch its winner onto a challenging international campaign.

Additionally, NYRA will offer a generous travel allowance for each qualifying horse and hospitality on the race day.

“The New York Racing Association is thrilled to enter into a relationship with Hoppegarten Race Course. As we look to elevate our international presence, this agreement connecting these races made a lot of sense in trying to further promote both of our racing programs,” said Martin Panza, NYRA’s Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. “The timing is ideal and the race conditions match. The story behind Hoppegarten Race Course is most fascinating and we look forward to working together in our efforts to bring German-based horses to race in New York.”

“I am delighted with this exciting new partnership which offers owners excellent prize money and raises our international profile,” said Gerhard Schöningh, Owner and Chairman of Hoppegarten Racecourse. “In addition, winning connections can experience a unique race day at Belmont Park in iconic New York.”

Horse Racing Club Investment Pays Off for Newbie

horse racing blinkers“The education, through seminars, speaking engagements and financials, has been more than expected and I can honestly say this is the beginning of a new journey for me in horse racing ownership and management,” said Stephens, who is also considering enrolling in the University of Louisville’s Equine Industry Program.

LITTLE ROCK — A passenger in a New Orleans-bound vehicle, the commercial airline pilot battled sporadic cell coverage in South Arkansas to sign up for the Churchill Downs Racing Club.

Source: King: Horse racing club investment pays dividends