Standing alongside his son and top assistant, Norman Casse, Mark Casse watched his best ever hope for a classic victory stride out down the Churchill Downs stretch and finally, deeply exhaled.
Trainer Ian Wilkes had his humor intact and his perspective on point on the Sunday morning following McCraken’s third place showing in the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2), the colt’s first loss in five career starts.
Highlighted by two new graded-stakes events and a record $8.4 million in purses and supplemental Kentucky-bred monies, Kentucky Downs will offer one of the world’s most lucrative racing programs during its five-day, all-turf season Sept. 2 – 14.|
With the $400,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint and $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf enjoying Grade 3 status for the first time, three of the track’s 13
stakes are now graded. The stakes duo joins the Grade 3, $600,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky Downs, which along with New York’s Belmont Park were the only tracks to gain more than one newly-graded stakes.
Graded stakes are those judged the best in America by the Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association’s American Graded Stakes Committee. The Turf Sprint and Ladies Turf are among only eight in the United States and Canada that received new Grade 3 rankings for 2017.
A record $8,404,000 will be offered in purses and Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund supplements at the meet, for an average exceeding $1.68 million a day — tops in the country. Even horses that aren’t registered Kentucky-breds will compete for some of the biggest pots in the country.
The mushrooming of purses is fueled by what horsemen earn through historical horse racing, an innovative pari-mutuel technology that allows patrons to bet on previously-run races for a different type of wagering experience.
“By working with our horsemen and embracing historical horse racing, Kentucky Downs is able to offer unprecedented purses. The owners and trainers have responded and now we’re getting over the hump to attract graded status for our stakes,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ senior vice president and general manager. “Success will breed success, we believe exponentially. Additional graded stakes are so important, because that provides trainers from across the country more reasons to come for a short meet. And as they make plans for their Kentucky Downs’ contingent, we encourage them to put additional horses on the flight or van to go after our $130,000 maiden races, with allowance races $140,000 and $145,000 offered for Kentucky-breds, which comprise the vast majority of our horses.
“We want to be the prototype, to demonstrate how historical horse racing can be a game-changer for the good as an alternative gambling opportunity based on horse racing and which intrinsically is our product.”
The 1 1/2-mile Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup, for which Skychai Racing’s Da Big Hoss is the two-time defending champion, will be conducted on the same blockbuster card Saturday, Sept. 9, as the 6 1/2-furlong Turf Sprint, mile Ladies Turf and $350,000 Ladies Sprint at 6 1/2 furlongs. The Turf Sprint received a $50,000 purse hike over 2016.
Kentucky Downs added a 3-year-old stakes: the $250,000 Franklin-Simpson to be held at seven-eighths of a mile on Thursday, Sept. 14, which is closing day.
Two stakes have new names paying tribute to past winners. The $400,000 Tourist Mile, formerly the More Than Ready Mile, honors WinStar Farm’s winner of the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Mile, Eclipse Award finalist and current WinStar stallion. Tourist won the stakes now bearing his name in 2015 off a 10-month layoff.
The 1 5/16-mile stakes for fillies and mares formerly known as the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon now is the $350,000 Ramsey Farm Stakes, recognizing the track and Kentucky’s all-time winningest owner in Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Nicholasville farm. The Ramseys won the stakes last year with Al’s Gal, who in her next start captured Woodbine’s Grade 1 E.P. Taylor. The Ramsey Farm also is on the closing card.
The Tourist Mile has been moved to Saturday, Sept. 2, which features a stakes quartet on the opening card. Also that day: The $350,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile, $350,000 Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies and $150,000 One Dreamer for fillies and mares.
Kentucky Downs is staging two additional $75,000 starter-allowance races for a total of four on Sunday, Sept. 10 that will serve as automatic qualifying races for the Claiming Crown in December at Gulfstream.
The Claiming Crown, which totaled $1.1 million in purses last year, serves as a Breeders’ Cup-style championship for claiming horses — the work horses of American racing.
The new Claiming Crown Canterbury Stakes Prep at Kentucky Downs, at 6 1/2 furlongs, will be for 3-year-olds and older horses that have raced for a claiming price of $25,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2016. The Claiming Crown Distaff Dash Stakes Prep at Kentucky Downs is the filly and mare counterpart. Also back for the second year are the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes Prep at Kentucky Downs and Claiming Crown Tiara Prep at Kentucky Downs, both a mile and 70 yards.
Winners of the qualifying races are guaranteed a spot in the corresponding Claiming Crown race, with Kentucky Downs providing a shipping stipend of up to $1,000 and the $100 nomination fee.
“We are putting out our stakes schedule and condition book 4 1/2 months in advance to give horsemen plenty of time to chart out their summer and fall schedule,” said racing secretary Tyler Picklesimer. “We constantly work to improve our entire racing program in order to attract horses and horsemen from across the country and even overseas. We also appreciate that our bread and butter is the Kentucky horsemen, who have consistently proven that their horses hold their own no matter who shows up.
“Our Claiming Crown qualifiers provide big-money steppingstones to the championship for our blue-collar horses, allowing those owners and trainers their own day in the spotlight.”
Kentucky Downs’ 2017 stakes
Including KTDF supplements for Kentucky-breds
Saturday, Sept. 2 — $350,000 Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies, 2yo fillies, 7 furlongs; $350,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile, 2yos, 7 furlongs; $400,000 Tourist Mile, 3-year-olds & up, mile; $150,000 One Dreamer, fillies & mares 3 years old & up, mile and 70 yards. Thursday, Sept. 7 — $150,000 The Old Friends Stakes, 3-year-olds & up, mile and 70 yards. Saturday, Sept. 9 — $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3), fillies & mares 3 years old & up, mile; $400,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G3), 3-year-olds & up, 6 1/2 furlongs; $600,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup (G3), 3-year-olds & up, 1 1/2 miles; $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint, fillies & mares 3 years old & up, 6 1/2 furlongs. Sunday, Sept. 10 — $350,000 Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby, 3-year-olds, 1 5/16 miles; $200,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks, 3-year-old fillies, 1 5/16 miles. Sept. 14 — $350,000 Ramsey Farm, fillies & mares 3 years old & up, 1 5/16 miles; $250,000 Franklin-Simpson, 3-year-olds, 7 furlongs.
HUNT VALLEY, Md., April, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AmTote’s historical horse racing brand PariMAX, has surpassed the $4 billion-dollar mark in total dollars of handle wagered since the introduction of historical horse racing in January of 2000. Since this time over $330 Million has been returned to the horseracing industry, through commissions paid to local operators… [Read more…]
There are few American sporting events with as much tradition and fanfare like the Kentucky Derby. From the lavish hats to the mint juleps to the many parties, there’s plenty to experience at horse racing’s most prominent event. This year’s race will take place on Saturday, May 6, with “the most exciting two minutes in sports,”… [Read more…]
Georgia lawmakers are set to legalize and regulate fantasy sports
GamingTodaySlotsToday: “I argue that it’s more of a game of skill ,” Glavine told assembled local media Tuesday. He revealed he is a fantasy sports player and counts himself among the estimated one and a half million Georgians who participate. “It enhances and changes, quite … and more »
Curious about historic horse racing, now being debated in ND? Here’s how it works
Grand Forks Herald, North Dakota, McFeely: Curious about historic horse racing, now being debated in ND? Here’s how it works
It’s been a lengthy debate in the gaming world whether or not historic horse racing, also known as instant racing, is a game of skill or one of chance.
Expert FULL-CARD Selections with Spot Plays
Rich Nilsen, founder of AGameofSkill.com and one of the top tournament players in the history of the NHC, offers up his Spot Play and full-card analysis for Saturday, April 8th at Keeneland. The analysis covers the full card, all 11 races at Keeneland on Saturday 4/8. Nilsen provides selections for the 11 races including the 5 graded stakes on the card. Wagering strategies are included for the 3 spot plays on the Keeneland card.
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Nilsen had a huge year in 2016 with his few, major race day selection sheets. One of those days was the 2017 Travers Stakes card won by eventual super horse Arrogate. Arrogate was fairly unknown at the time, which is why he went off at 11-1 for trainer Bob Baffert.
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.
“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.
When one combines these categories, it accounts for close to 70% of Asmussen’s wins.
By Art Parker, author of “Keeneland Winning Trainer Patterns”
The 51 year old trainer comes from a racing family in Texas, which includes his brother Cash who won an Eclipse Award and then enjoyed a successful career in Europe. Steven Asmussen has won several of the country’s great races. His biggest wins have been the Preakness, Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup. He has also won the Eclipse Award as the most Outstanding Trainer.
Asmussen wins with a variety of angles but is very dangerous with his two year olds in their first start and he excels with second time starts of any age. The same can be said of his layoff horses, either first or second race back. When one combines these categories, it accounts for close to 70% of Asmussen’s wins. The trainer pretty much works his horses 6-7 days apart and most of his winners have their last work 6-8 days prior to race day. One should look for a gate work from his debut juveniles, usually in one of the last two workouts before race day. The last work for a two year old will come at Keeneland.
Of particular note is, that compared to most trainers, Asmussen has his horses working a little more in a 30 days period leading up to race day. He will have 15 furlongs of racing or work at a minimum and often his horses will go more than 20 furlongs within a 30-day period prior to race day. The trainer rarely produces a repeat winner at Keeneland.
Asmussen, surprisingly, delivers with some ‘price’ horses at Keeneland and approximately two-thirds of his Keeneland victories have come in the fall meet. He will ship horses from many different tracks in the fall, but for the spring meeting look for those coming from Churchill Downs or Fair Grounds.
Asmussen has won for a long list of owners but his top owner is William Heiligbrodt. Jockey Ricardo Santana is his ‘go-to’ rider, having ridden more than 50% of Asmussen’s Keeneland winners. He has also successfully used Shaun Bridgmohan, Julien Leparoux, Robby Albarado and James Graham.
The following is an excerpt of the trainer stats found in Art’s book, now available for download at AGameofSkill.com
Steve Asmussen (25 wins)
- Two year old debut horses show works 6-7 days apart, at least one from the gate, usually the last work 6-8 days prior to race day.
- Look for horses that have worked and/or raced 15-20 furlongs within 30 days of race day.
- Winners have shipped from 8 different tracks, but more than two-thirds have logged their last work at Keeneland.
- More than half of winners were ridden by Ricardo Santana.
- Has won for 17 different owners.
- Approximately half of the winners paid in double digits.
- More likely to win with turf-to-main surface switches than main-to-turf.
“First Saturday in May” Visitors can Purchase $100,000 Marriott package for the weekend
It’s a little over a month away to the Kentucky Derby, which means that hotels, motels, Airbnb rentals and any other accommodations in and near Churchill Downs are going fast – especially at economic rates. However, if you’re not on a budget, you have the chance to live like royalty the first weekend of May courtesy… [Read more…]