About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 16-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 NHC Tour for 2018 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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Santa Anita re-schedules Opening Day to Saturday

SANTA ANITA TO POSTPONE OPENING DAY TO SATURDAY, DEC. 28,

AHEAD OF LOOMING RAIN FORECAST

The opening day of Santa Anita’s 83rd season will be postponed two days until Saturday, December 28th, ahead of next week’s declining weather forecast.

“Opening Day is traditionally one of our biggest days of the year, but our commitment to safety is first and foremost,” said Aidan Butler, Acting Executive Director of California for The Stronach Group. “It was very important to make this call as early as possible for our horsemen, fans and employees. There are many moving parts, especially in the training of these wonderful horses, and this decision is being made at this time out of respect to give all involved plenty of advance notice.”

Boom Time for California Horse Racing“It is very difficult to predict weather forecasts in Southern California more than 48 hours in advance,” said Dennis Moore, who has returned to his responsibilities overseeing Santa Anita track surfaces. “Right now, they have rain Monday through Thursday morning. But the models are continuing to change and when they do that, they are usually building up moisture.”

It would be the first time since the 1973-74 winter season that Santa Anita has not opened on December 26th. Santa Anita last opened on December 28th in 1971. Last year’s opening day on-track attendance was 41,373, with an all-time opening day handle record of over $20-million.

“The stakes races set for Thursday will be brought back on Saturday,” said Steve Lym, Santa Anita’s VP & Director of Racing. “With the rain in the forecast, it was extremely likely that the races would be off the turf on Thursday. Postponing opening day will allow for the high quality turf racing synonymous with Santa Anita. We are planning on filling extra races throughout the opening week to give our horsemen the opportunity to run their horses.”

Among the horses set to run is Fox Hill Farm’s Omaha Beach, the likely heavy favorite in the Grade 1 Runhappy Malibu Stakes, now set for Saturday. “They are doing the right thing by moving the races,” said Richard Mandella, Omaha Beach’s Hall of Fame trainer. “I’m just very happy to be in the race with this horse.”

Entries for Opening Day will be drawn on Monday, December 23rd, which was scheduled to be the entry day for that Saturday.

Santa Anita’s revised Opening Week schedule has live racing Saturday, December 28th and Sunday, December 29th; New Year’s Day Wednesday, January 1st, and Friday, January 3rd through Sunday, January 5th.

First post time on Saturday, December 28th, will be 11:00 a.m.

ABOUT SANTA ANITA PARK
Santa Anita Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.

Industry Profile: Jockey Frankie Dettori and his Incredible Year

UK correspondent Edward Sadler has a sit-down interview with superstar jockey Frankie Dettori to look back on his incredible year in the saddle in 2019.

There’s Horse racing in St Lucia

Royal St Lucia Turf Club Opens on Schedule

KINGSTON, Jamaica — St Lucia placed themselves on the horse racing map when they hosted their first race meeting under the auspices of Royal St Lucia Turf Club.

The feature offering on the five-race card was the US$150,000 Pitons Cup, which was won by the American-bred Casting Crowns.

The event run over nine furlongs saw Casting Crowns, ridden by Qin Young, come from off the pace to catch Colonel’s Pride at the top of the straight to win convincingly.

Casting Crowns is trained by Deoner Visser and owned by well-known American outfit Taylor Made Farms. The winning time was 1:50.91. Second, went to Colonel’s Pride.

Run Bayou, ridden by Rasheed Hughes and trained by Jamaica’s Andrew “Busha” Nunes, was third. Busha Nunes now trains in Barbados.

Andrew’s brother and current leading trainer in Jamaica, Anthony Nunes had three runners in the Pitons Cup, one of which, Rock Creek, was ridden by Shane Ellis. Rock Creek finished sixth with Oriental Crown occupying the fifth slot.

In the other races on the five-race card, Anthony’s horses Shane Doan finished second with Nasty Critter and Queen of Pitons both earning third spots.

Earnings on all races were paid out to positions one to six.

New Jersey Sports Betting Handle Smashes Own Record With Over Half a Billion in 1 Month

New Jersey Sports Betting Handle Smashes Own Record With $562.7 Million In NovemberThe New Jersey sports betting market exploded to a new record high for total dollars wagered in a single month — $562.7 million in November, the first time Garden State sportsbooks handled in excess of half a billion dollars in a single month. This now makes three consecutive months […]

While it is no longer possible to pinpoint the exact betting handle at every online sportsbook, barring self-disclosures, we can see that the combination of FanDuel Sportsbook and PointsBet — operating through partnerships with the Meadowlands Racetrack — produced $12.2 million in revenue in November.

Couple that with $2.67 million in revenue via the physical FanDuel Sportsbook located at the Meadowlands, about eight miles from New York City, and it’s almost $15 million, or nearly half of the entire state’s combined operator gross revenue.

More about New Jersey Sports Betting Handle:

Queen Elizabeth Visits Central Kentucky in Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Episode

In the fifth episode of season three of Netflix’s “The Crown,” Queen Elizabeth II travels to Kentucky and spends a month in the commonwealth looking for horses to breed with her mares, some of whom were stabled in Central Kentucky. In the episode, she spends her time in Kentucky lamenting “the unlived life” and the restrictions that accompany her station as a monarch.

Fans of “The Crown” love to parse through the show’s events and storylines to mine what is based on fact and what is based on fiction. This episode provided much fodder for those students of “The Crown’s” allegiance to history…

In “The Crown,” the queen’s visit to Kentucky is cut short by word of a coup attempt back home, a story that does have some root in actual fact. While no actual coup attempt was in fact ever made, there were discussions of a coup among a group of wealthy industrialists, military generals, and Lord Mountbatten in 1968 about the possibility of pushing out the elected Labour government. Nothing much came of those talks, and certainly nothing rose to the level seen in “The Crown.”… more about Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Episode:

Those Near Misses Might Not Be So Bad After All

The long-term benefits of losing, according to science – Fast Company

The answers used to be simple. Research from multiple domains has shown that winners keep winning (the rich get richer). That means even a narrow win can snowball to generate runaway inequality, increasingly distancing winners from losers. So conventional wisdom would be always to bet on narrow winners.

That’s not what we found.

Horse Racing tips: Our traders’ 5 to follow from Saturday’s cardsWe examined both groups’ track records over the 10 years following their initial grant application, including grants won, publications, and publication impact (number of citations). As expected, winners gained more NIH and other grants over time—the rich did get richer.

But their near-miss peers matched them on number of papers published. And the most surprising part: their work had a greater impact than that of those who’d narrowly won early-career NIH grants.

These so-called losers outperformed the winners longer term.

One explanation is a “screening effect.” Failure weeds out those less equipped to succeed in the future. Indeed, near-miss scientists had a greater than 10% chance of permanently leaving the NIH system. But we found that wasn’t sufficient to explain our results. So we offer some of the first empirical evidence for Nietzsche’s classic phrase “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”

 

Is Australian Horse Racing Model Broken?

One of the world’s biggest punters, abandons Australian racing

…”They’re killing the goose that laid the golden egg,” renowned bookmaker Robbie Waterhouse said.

“This is all in response to the increasing taxes being imposed on Australian markets and it’s unbelievable someone as big as Dr Nick has turned his back on Australian racing.”

The majority of the country’s foreign-owned bookmakers reported huge cuts in profits of their Australian operations after the introduction of the point of consumption tax, levied at different rates by state governments.

It has left bookmakers increasing their margins on betting markets, resulting in some of the industry’s biggest punters lowering their turnover. Other professional punters are having their accounts shut by oddsmakers who don’t want to take their bests.

Australia’s biggest online bookmaker Sportsbet reported a $40 million hit to its profits for the six months to June 30 this year.

Will Racing Return to Balmoral Park?

“It’s one of the most unique properties in Chicagoland, and it deserves to be put back into action,” Goldberg said. “Our plans include making it a premier sports and entertainment venue that Chicagoland and the south suburbs deserve.”

Goldberg’s group signed a contract to buy Balmoral for an undisclosed price from HITS Inc., the New York-based company that has hosted show horse productions at the track the last few years.

All the new owners need now is for state lawmakers to amend the Illinois’ massive gambling expansion law to allow for racing in Crete Township. But threading that legislative needle will be no small feat, as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot can attest.

And representatives for the horsemen who would work at the harness track — who pushed to include it in the new gaming law — are skeptical about the dark horse Balmoral bid.

“There’s a shroud of mystery that’s concerning,” Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association executive director Tony Somone said. “Who is Phil Goldberg? He’s not a racetrack person, not a gaming person. We’d like to work together with this group, but we don’t really know who we’re dealing with.”

Incredible. No Thanksgiving Card at Del Mar due to Forecast

We are in unprecedented times, as Del Mar will not hold Thanksgiving Day racing due to the weather forecast.

Source: DMR

With inclement weather predicted to bring substantial rain on Wednesday and Thursday of the coming week, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club proactively cancelled its scheduled Thanksgiving Day race card as part of its continuing emphasis on horse and rider safety.

Track officials plan to shift several of the races from Thursday’s program – including the $100,000, Grade III Red Carpet Stakes – to expanded race cards on Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1.

Additionally, the track is intending to run its Friday program as scheduled, but offering races only on its main track that day. Friday’s scheduled feature race, the $200,000, Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup, will be run on Sunday.

“The Weatherman is making it tough, but safety always comes first,” said Del Mar’s executive vice president for racing Tom Robbins. “We are appreciative of the cooperation from our horsemen. We’re planning on putting on a good show Friday and following that with tremendous stakes-filled cards on both Saturday and Sunday. We’ve got horses and horsemen coming into town from back east for our big races and we want them to know that their races will be presented as planned under safe and proper conditions.”

Del Mar worked with industry stakeholders – notably the Thoroughbred Owners of California – and its regulator, the California Horse Racing Board, in reshaping the conclusion of its fall racing season.

In the revised weekend slate, the track will move up first post both Saturday and Sunday to 12 noon and run 10 races on each day. Grass racing will be emphasized and there will be seven graded turf races conducted over the two days offering $1.3 million in purses.

The two-day turf stakes bonanza will consist of the Red Carpet for fillies and mares at 11 furlongs; the Hollywood Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up at 12 furlongs; the $100,000, Grade III Jimmy Durante for 2-year-old fillies at a mile; the $200,000, Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap for 3-year-olds an up at a mile and one-sixteenth; the $300,000, Grade I Hollywood Derby at nine furlongs; the $100,000, Grade III Cecil B. DeMille Stakes for 2-year-olds at a mile, and the $300,000, Grade I Matriarch Stakes for fillies and mares, aged 3 and up, at a mile.

Though Del Mar’s planned Thanksgiving race card will not happen, the facility will be open for Thanksgiving Brunch – featuring turkey and all the trimmings – from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. In addition, simulcast wagering will be presented along with traditional NFL action. Wagering will be held in its usual spot in the Mission Tower building starting at 9 a.m. and going forward to approximately 2:30 p.m., with races at Golden Gate Fields along with tracks from across the country on the agenda.

Weather may determine Santa Anita racing days for upcoming winter meet

Santa Anita apron

copyright AGameofSkill.com

Santa Anita Park racetrack has received a green light from the state to begin its winter-spring meet Dec. 26 under the condition that the track be shut down in the event of inclement weather.

The California Horse Racing Board conditionally approved the venue’s license Thursday without answers to key questions, such as what exactly constitutes “inclement weather” and who will make the call.

Those answers will be presented by The Stronach Group, Santa Anita’s owners, at the CHRB’s next meeting on Dec. 12 at Los Alamitos racetrack. At that time, if the board members aren’t happy with the process, they’ll be able to retract their approval.

“If these procedures and protocols are put into place and enforced, the governor has no reason not to allow racing to continue,” said Gregory Ferraro, new chairman of the CHRB .

Ferraro, a former racetrack veterinarian who was appointed to the board by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this year, pledged the state board would be pursuing stricter regulations than it has in the past.

“The days of permissive medication are over,” he said. “We will gradually eliminate medications and keep them away from racing dates and training. We expect opposition, but we’re determined to carry this out in the best interest of horses and jockeys.”

Since last December, 37 horses have died while racing or training at Santa Anita. Initially, those deaths were believed to have …