Battle of the KY Derby Sires

by Justin Dew

In the red corner, standing 16.1 hands, a son of Johannesburg and the winner of the 2007 Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, the now deceased Scat Daddy.

In the blue corner, standing a number of hands that I wasn’t able to confirm on Wikipedia, a son of Smart Strike, the winner of lots of huge races and two-time Horse of the Year, the amazing Curlin.

Scat Daddy via Coolmore

At Churchill Downs next month, the ‘Battle of the Sires’ will captivate horse racing fans around the world as the main event on a day that also includes an undercard event known at the Kentucky Derby.

Punching it out for Scat Daddy:

Justify– The Kentucky Derby favorite. Undefeated in three lifetime starts. Has run faster than any of his prospective Derby opponents.

Mendelssohn– The UAE Derby winner. A half-brother to the great Beholder. Expected to be among the top three favorites in the Derby wagering.

Flameaway– Your Sam F. Davis Stakes winner and Blue Grass Stakes runner-up. A hard-trier who fires every time.

Combatant- Consistent runner for Steve Asmussen picked up minor checks in both Arkansas Derby and Rebel Stakes.

Curlin via Lanes End

Representing Curlin:

Good Magic– Your 2017 Champion Two-Year Old. Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Blue Grass Stakes.

Vino Rosso– Trained and ridden by last year’s Derby winning team of Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez. Winner of the Wood Memorial.

Solomini– From the owner and trainer who brought us American Pharaoh, he is a recent bridesmaid on the Derby Trail.

Am I a pedigree expert? No, I am not. Thank you for asking. But in a battle of attrition like the Kentucky Derby, which sire do YOU think has the best chance of seeing his offspring, either from the farm or from Horsey Heaven, win the roses?

My money is on Curlin. And in the Kentucky Derby, my money will be on his kids. In one form or another.

Opportunities on the KY Oaks and KY Derby Undercards

By Art Parker

It will not be long before Kentucky Derby weekend is upon us. Derby Day and Oaks Day make up the big week at Churchill Downs. Naturally the talk on the Derby and the Oaks never stops but little is said about the undercards on both days, which are filled with great races and great opportunities.

On Oaks Day the big races on the undercard are the La Troiene for fillies and mares (8.5 furlongs); the Alysheba (8.5 furlongs); the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (5 furlongs on the turf), The Eight Belles for three year old fillies (7 furlongs); The Edgewood for three year old fillies (8.5 furlongs on the turf.)

On Derby Day the big races on the undercard are The Humana Distaff for fillies and mares (7 furlongs); The Churchill Downs Distaff Mile for fillies and mares (8 furlongs on the turf); The Pat Day Mile (8 furlongs); The American Turf (8.5 furlongs on the turf); The Churchill Downs Stakes (7 furlongs); The Old Forester (formally known as the Woodford Reserve at 9 furlongs on the turf.)

churchill downs ky derby dayWhat makes the undercards on these two days exciting is that a player can experience high quality racing with unusually good wagering opportunities. When examining these races over the last few years we find that favorites have won only 8 of 33 times for a subpar 24% win rate. Like so many big days at a race track, many novices and amateurs are in attendance and that usually means more money on the favorites.

Of these races the lowest price to win was Tepin in the 2016 Distaff Mile at odds of .30-1.00. The longest price was 18.70-1.00 by Camelot Kitten in the American Turf in 2016, oddly enough trained by Chad Brown (how many times do you get his horse at that price?)

The median of all winners is 5.30-1.00, which makes the median winner pay more than $12.00. That gets my attention.

Other than Todd Pletcher, no other winning trainer of the undercard races in the last three years has ever won the Derby.  Here are the trainers that have been in the Winner’s Circle after undercard races the last three year (multiple winners number of victories in parenthesis):

Todd Pletcher (4); Mark Casse (4); Buff Bradley (3); Brad Cox (3); Jorge Navarro (3); Chad Brown (2); Dale Romans; Brian Lynch; Bret Calhoun; Bill Mott; Vann Belvoir; Paul McGhee; Tom Amoss; Ian Wilkes; Peter Miller; Rusty Arnold; Ben Colebrook; Simon Callaghan.

I’ve always been told that horses that like the Matt Winn Turf Couse at Churchill Downs really, really like it. Upon examination of turf races we see some truth to that. Trainer Buff Bradley won three races on the turf course with the same horse, 2015-2017. Divisidero won the American Turf once and the Woodford Reserve twice. That happened to be three of his five lifetime wins. Trainer Mark Casse’s Tepin won back to back editions of the Distaff Mile in 2015 and 2016.

What isn’t true about the Matt Winn Turf Course is that far outside posts cannot win going short. The 2015 Twin Spires Turf Sprint at 5 furlongs was captured by Power Alert that broke from the 10 post. In the same race in 2017 Green Mask won the race from the 12 post.

The dirt sprints have experienced one gate-to-wire winner, which was Private Zone in 2015. All sprint winners have been in the top three runners when they get to the quarter pole. The Pat Day Mile, similar to an extended sprint, has had the same results. A horse needs to be close and in contention when running one turn on the dirt.

Where do winning horses come from for the undercards? Keeneland has produced almost half of the winners over the last three years (16 of 33). Gulfstream is next (7 of 33), then Oaklawn and Southern California (each with 4 of the 33 total), Tampa and Fairgrounds one each. Strangely New York has not been the sight of a last race for an undercard winner during these years.

The undercards at Churchill Downs on Oaks Day and Derby Day are always outstanding. There are plenty of opportunities with the undercard stakes races. Remember it is just as nice to win money on something other than the Oaks and the Derby.

What Dictates How Fast You’re Paid Out on a Bet?

When it comes to betting on the horses, there’s no doubting that the rise of online gambling has ensured it’s never been easier. Whereas once we were limited to bookies alongside the track, we now have access to dozens – if not hundreds – of betting outlets right at our fingertips.

It’s led to a situation where there’s more information than ever before, better odds than we’ve ever seen and more control than we’ve had in previous decades. It’s great, but one area where online gambling falls behind though is in how you cash in your winnings.

copyright Pixabay

With a physical bookmaker there’s rarely an issue, simply wander up with your ticket and collect your winnings. For larger sums, there may be a small delay but in general, you can expect your money within a few hours – at the very most.

Online gambling, however, typically sticks you with a pretty frustrating delay – often up to 72 hours before your withdrawal hits your bank account. For those of us who regularly flit between multiple bookmakers in search of the best odds, the process of waiting multiple days to receive our winnings can be a real killer.

But what is it exactly that slows down your withdrawals and is there a method to reliably improve the speeds? Let’s take a look.

What Affects Withdrawal Time?

While it’s true that some websites are better than others when it comes to withdrawal times, the biggest factor in how fast your withdrawals come through is actually the payment method you opt for. We all know that fast payouts are important, but how fast they are is often not up to the bookie but to the payment processor.

By far the most common payment method used is bank transfers and card payments, but this also the slowest thanks to the large numbers of transactions banks complete every day. Checking the validity of payments isn’t too quick on their end, and so payments typically take between one and three days to complete.

copyright Pixabay

However, if you’re using the likes of Skrill or another e-wallet like Neteller, payments are almost instant following approval from your bookmaker. It’s why we always recommend making the shift to an e-wallet when you’re gambling online.

Another major element which can slow down your withdrawal time is the details linked to your account. If any information is missing, like age verification, the bookmaker will halt your withdrawal until you can sort the details out. As such, it’s always worth making sure your documents are up to date and you’ve supplied your bookie with whatever information they require.

Perhaps the most common reason for your withdrawal being halted though comes from the strong anti-fraud measures in place at online bookmakers. By tracking the IP addresses you use to access their website, they can get an idea of where and when you access their services.

If your account is spotted doing something suspicious, like betting from a completely new location and device, the bookmaker may well put a halt on your account. It’s a similar sort of protection method that your bank undertakes, so it’s not particularly out of the ordinary.

How to Avoid Withdrawal Delays

Here are our top tips for avoiding withdrawal delays:

  • Make use of an e-wallet for deposits and withdrawals to cut out bank processing times and enjoy almost instant withdrawals
  • Ensure your details are up to date with your bookmaker, with valid ID and details supplied
  • Try to avoid making bets on computers and phones which are unfamiliar, as this can raise red flags with bookmakers.

And that’s it! Get out there and enjoy your ultra-fast withdrawal speeds.

Betting at Keeneland or on the Kentucky Derby? See what goes into setting the odds.

Man studying racing paper trackside before races.

Betting at Keeneland or on the Kentucky Derby? See what goes into setting the odds.

Lexington Herald Leader Full coverage

Source: Betting at Keeneland or on the Kentucky Derby? See what goes into setting the odds.

Top Contenders for the 2018 Grand National

by Rich Nilsen

The Grand National at Aintree Racecourse is a test of endurance, stamina and class like no other race in the world. Dating back to 1839 in England, the prestigious horse race challenges a large field of runners to contest the hurdles and flats over four grueling miles. The winner of the Grand National on April 14, 2018 will be a true champion, and their name will never be forgotten.

 

According to America’s Best Racing the Grand National is watched by over 500 million people around the globe, and roughly two-thirds of the adult population in the United Kingdom will have some type of wager on the great race. Like with the Kentucky Derby in the United States, you have to have a rooting interest in this thrilling contest.  Bet £10, get £30 when you bet on Grand National.

 

Currently three horses are garnering the majority of the action in the future books, led by the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Blaklion.  The winner of the Becher Chase stands at 10-1 in the future betting with most of the international bookmakers but is as high as 12-1 with William Hill.  He has won over this course, demonstrating an important affinity for the track, and he enters off an excellent prep race where he finished second.

 

The co-favorite in the wagering with Blaklion is Total Recall (Ire). He is also listed at 10-1 but is higher in some spots. The nine-year-old son of Westerner has won three in a row since moving into the barn of W. P. Mullins. He is the hot horse in sharp form.

 

Steeplechase scene black whiteAt the time of this publication the third choice for the Grand National at 14-1 is The Last Samuri (Ire).  Now ten years old, the gelding will take another crack at the big race.  He was the highweight in last year’s event, packing over 160lbs, but he finished a disappointing 16th.  The Last Samuri hasn’t visited the winner’s circle since 2016, however, and this is a tough spot to get back on the winning track.

 

A dark horse in the wagering could be the French gelding Alpha Des Obeaux (Fr).  He’s not the most consistent runner but he has been racing regularly and on his best day, he merits a chance for a piece of the Grand National.

 

When it comes to riders for the great race, look at talented jockeys such as Ruby Walsh, who won his Grand National debut at age 20 back in 2000 aboard Papillon.  Walsh won again in 2005 and has placed in other attempts at Aintree.  Other riders to keep a close eye on include Jason Maguire and Timmy Murphy, both of whom compete for the sharp barn of trainer Donald McCain.

 

Focus your Grand National wagers on horses between the age of nine and 11.  The youth and experience of seven and eight-year-olds often takes its toll in this race, and the oldest runners (age 12 and beyond) have proven to be a poor investment.  The senior runners may hit the board, but they rarely capture the top prize.

 

Tune in on April 14th for this amazing race as up to 40 runners will attempt to contest up to 16 fences of varying heights and widths.  There is no race like the Grand National, so sit back, place a wager and best of luck!

The Making of Horse Racing Conference Equestricon II

Tampa Paddock

Up close and personal at Tampa Bay Downs paddock. Copyright AGOS

The Making of Equestricon II

Although he actual trade show will take place on the Monday and Tuesday prior to the championships, Equestricon will have a week-long presence and involvement with the Breeders’ Cup, Sharp noted.

“That’s the kind of energy and excitement we’re hoping to build for Breeders’ Cup week, trying to get fans who are traveling to the Breeders’ Cup to come in early and get to experience Louisville and make a whole week’s vacation out of it.”

Source: The Making of Equestricon II

How Thoroughbred Horse Racing Bets on Science, and Wins

copyright AgameofSkill.com 2016There’s no test to show a one-eyed horse named Patch could make it to this year’s Kentucky Derby . There’s no test for coming up from behind and winning the whole thing, So It Is-style. This story appears in the fall 2017 edition of CNET Magazine.

Source: How horse racing bets on science, and wins

British Horse Racing Targets True Fans Among Younger Players

Ascot racecourse in UKHorse racing in England is on an “upward curve” but faces challenges in keeping both the traditionalists and the younger generation happy, a leading figure in the sport says. Paul Fisher, chief executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, which is responsible for blue riband events such as the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National, said it is… [Read more…]

Handicapping Tip of the Day #43 – Hard Races

by Rich Nilsen

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

On just a few select days of the year I put out a selection sheet.  It’s a way of producing some revenue for AGOS, helping many of the visitors of this site and doing so in a very affordable fashion.   This past Travers Day (2017) I did an analysis for the full card, all 13 races.  Along with pace scenarios for each race, I provide top selections and a few spot plays, which are my best bets with wagers.  Even though I missed the featured Travers, it was the type of day I would take anytime.  With 6 winners on top from 13 races, along with two out of three Spot Plays (Best Bets) scoring, I was very pleased with the results.

Unfortunately, there was one race in particular, the G1 Ballerina S. that I really messed up on and I was very disappointed in myself.  I always analyze the pace when dissecting a race, and there was clearly a lack of early speed types in this 7 furlong affair.  Given that this was a Grade 1 race for sprinters, the lack of early pace was unusual to say the least.  Races where you can’t really figure out who is going to get the lead are some of the toughest to handicap and find the winner.

I finally came to the conclusion that top gate rider and leading Saratoga jockey Jose Ortiz would put Paulassilverling on the front end, giving her an excellent chance of extending her graded stakes win streak to four races.  But therein lied the rub.  The 5yo mare had run three times this year, since April, and each and every race resulted in a gritty, close win.  She won the G1 Madison by a neck, then followed that up with another neck victory in the G1 Humana Distaff over a sloppy going.  She returned at Saratoga for trainer Chad Brown and gutted out another neck victory in the G2 Honorable Miss.

Brown didn’t work the Ghostzapper mare for 17 days after that win, but gave her two modest half-mile drills in preparation for this race.  Horses are not machines, and Paulassilverling was a prime candidate to regress off three hard races since returning as an older mare. That’s exactly what happened.  Despite a favorable pace scenario, Paulassilverling failed to get the early lead and “came up empty.”  She beat only two horses in the field of seven as the lukewarm favorite of 5/2.  Hard races, especially in succession, take its toll.

After owning horses for 10 years, one of the major things I learned is that horses are way more than the speed ratings, figs and past performances that you see in the ‘Form.’  It helps to look at them as what they are: living, breathing athletes who are affected the same way from competing that other athletes are affected.  When you add that into your handicapping, you improve your game.

Chart 2017 Ballerina Stakes

copyright 2017 Equibase Brisnet.com

Show Us The Money? The Plight Of A Simple Pari-Mutuel Wager

Where money goes in horse racing

The modern menu of betting options in North American horse racing has reached dizzying levels. Daily Double, Pick 3, 4, 5, 6, exacta, trifecta, superfecta, Super High Five, Pick 6 jackpots, Grand Slams, Place Pick All. You get the idea.

Source: ‘Show’ Us The Money? The Plight Of A Simple Wager