Getting to Know the BCBC Boys – Tournament Players

Nice profile / handicapping piece from a few years ago by Ren Hakim Carothers

We’ve long marketed our sport as that of kings. While this packaging does reflect the money that goes into breeding, training, and running these majestic athletes, heightening the stakes and romanticizing the idea of triumph, it can also convey exclusivity. It’s no wonder why horses with blue collar backstories competing at elite levels have captured the imagination of those outside our industry on more than one occasion. David, meet Goliath.

It’s time that mainstream audiences realized you need not be an owner of a horse, a trainer, or jockey to delight in the spoils of victory. Racing is not merely a spectator sport. It’s interactive. You simply need a ticket -a bet slip- to go along for the ride, and the fact that it’s not just the horses competing for seven figures this weekend puts an exclamation mark on that point.

BCBC Tournament Players

Again, the BCBC Bonus Boys are fascinating. Take Stephen Thompson, who is known as the “Undertaker” on the betting circuit, as an example. He is from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, where he’s the owner and licensed director of Thompson Funeral Home, Inc, which was started by his great-grandfather in 1890. He fell in love with racing at the tender age of ten, going to the races with his family, and has won entry into the BCBC seven of the last eight years. Stephen says you get so pumped up in these tournaments, but he has to stay “flatlined” to stay focused, and that, should he win, the first check he’s writing is for $100,000 to benefit retired racehorses. “Without them, we have nothing!”

There are two entrants looking to pull off a BC/BCBC double. David Lanzman was hooked on racing after he and a couple of friends snuck under the fence at Hollywood Park as teenagers, having a security guard place what would be winning bets for them. He realized you could make life-changing scores playing the ponies when, with his $400 rent due and …

The World’s Most Beautiful Race Courses

World's most beautiful race courses: From beaches to frozen lakesIf the thunder of hooves and the thrill of the racing doesn’t grab you, the sublime settings surely will.

From the grounds of a 16th-century chateau, to beaches, snow-covered lakes, glorious greensward and a track squeezed among skyscrapers, the sport of kings offers some spectacular venues for racegoers to savor.

Here is a look at some of the most beautiful horse racing locations in the world.

Boasting the world’s first five-star trackside hotel, restaurants and a museum,

Spectacular and timeless, Chantilly racecourse nestles in front of the fairytale 16th-century Chateau de Chantilly amid a tree-lined tract 30 miles north of Paris.

is a cathedral to 21st-century racing.

The grandstand alone is more than a mile long and can host 60,000 spectators. What’s more, there is a rooftop infinity pool.

Since it replaced the Nad Al Sheba racecourse in 2010, Meydan has been home to one of the richest horse races in the world — the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup.

Multi-Purpose Center at Belmont Park Coming Along

CHAPLAINCY MAKING PROGRESS WITH FUND-RAISING EFFORT FOR MULTI-PURPOSE CENTER AT BELMONT PARK

The New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America (NYRTCA) announced today that it has passed the halfway mark in its ongoing effort to raise funds necessary to build a multi-purpose building and chapel on the grounds of Belmont Park in Elmont, NY.

The 5,000-square foot facility will cost approximately $800,000 to build, according to Humberto Chavez, the chaplain in New York.

Personal donations of $100,000 have been made by Lisa and Kenny Troutt of WinStar Farm, Kristine and Chris Kay, New York Racing Association (NYRA) CEO & President and Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson.

Horse owner Michael Dubb, who donated the two trailers where the Chaplaincy is currently housed, has pledged his donation in building materials for the entire facility.

Chavez said that ground-breaking ceremonies for the Chaplaincy Center are tentatively scheduled for the Spring of 2019 with a completion date targeted for the Fall of 2019.

“To have a facility like this has been a dream of mine for the past 15 years,” he said. “Thanks to those who have already made commitments and to those who will be doing so, the backstretch community will now have a place where people can relax, unwind, worship and learn new skills.”

The New York chaplaincy was created in 1986. It ministers to the needs of backstretch community at the NYRA racetracks (Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course) through a wide variety of programs. They include enrichment programs for children, social service programs, recreational programs, educational opportunities and non-denominational religious services.

“Our services have continued to grow through the years and we’ve just outgrown the two trailers we’ve been using as our headquarters,” Chavez said.
Chavez, who was named chaplain in 2003, said he shared his dream with Chris Kay shortly after the 2018 Belmont Stakes. “We discussed how much the backstretch needed a building like this and he quickly said, ‘Let’s make it happen.’”

The new facility will include office space for the Chaplain and his staff, areas for recreation, non-denominational worship, and confidential counseling. There will also be a storage area for the food pantry, and a room to be known as the Cot Classroom, in honor of the late Cot Campbell, a Thoroughbred owner and longtime NYRTCA supporter who passed away in October 2018.

The classroom will be used as a learning center where backstretch workers can learn about financial literacy, computer skills, citizenship issues, social advocacy programs, and cultural learning opportunities.

“Kris and I greatly appreciate the important work of the NY Racetrack Chaplaincy, which provides impactful spiritual services and resources for the backstretch community,” said NYRA CEO & President Chris Kay. ““That is why my wife and I are so pleased to be able to make a personal contribution to support the construction of a new and permanent headquarters at Belmont Park that will properly reflect the central role the Chaplaincy plays in the lives of so many.”

Chavez said that fund-raising efforts are ongoing and that numerous sponsorship opportunities, up to and including the naming of the center, are available. Those interested in making a donation, taking a sponsorship, or further information can write to Nancy Kelly, Board President, at nankelly52@gmail.com or call (516) 287-3289 or visit this link.

The New York chaplaincy is supported by its major sponsors: NYRA, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, The Thoroughbred Charities of America, the Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation, and the New York Women’s Foundation, as well as by other foundations and numerous individuals.

Source: Press Release

Former Miss World Rosanna Davison Promotes Horse Racing

When questioned by some of her followers as to how she could promote a horse-racing event, Rosanna replied: “I don’t claim to follow a vegan lifestyle.”

Back in July 2016, Rosanna sent a letter to Dublin City Council in support of a motion being put forward to ban the wild-animal acts.

She wrote: “Animals are not ours to abuse for human amusement — and it’s simply unacceptable for astonishing animals like elephants, lions, and tigers to be deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them.”

The Irish beauty has also teamed up with animal rights organisation PETA several times — including a Vegans Are Red Hot ad, where she posed nude surrounded only by chilli peppers, and getting kitted out in a short dress made of lettuce leaves, left…

Winter Meet at Santa Anita Park to See Purse Increases

Santa Anita apron

copyright AGameofSkill.com

With its traditional Winter Meet opener fast approaching on Wednesday, Dec. 26, Santa Anita Park has announced substantial purse increases for all of its overnight races, with some categories getting as much as an 11 percent boost when compared to purse levels at the track’s recently concluded Autumn Meet.

Santa Anita’s Winter Meet Condition Book One will be available to horsemen at santaanita.com on Tuesday, with hard copies available in the Racing Office this Wednesday, Dec. 5.

In addition to higher purses, horsemen will also find increased benefits for those running in races with purse levels of $30,000 or lower, as purse distribution in those races has been adjusted to better compensate horses that finish fourth and fifth. Percentage of purse distribution in those races, from first through fifth, will now be 55, 20, 12, 8 and 5.

“The overall increase in purse money is due to increased handle over the last year,” said P.J. Campo, Vice President, Racing for The Stronach Group. “We’ve adjusted the purses for the mid-level races in order to try to increase participation and field size, which drives handle. With these and other changes in place, we’re looking forward to a great Winter Meet starting the day after Christmas.”

Other changes, designed to increase field size, come in the first condition allowance category. Instead of being restricted to horses who are non-winners of $10,000 other than maiden, claiming or starter, horses will now be eligible if they’ve won $15,000 “other than.”

This adjustment has been made to entice more European and out of state horses to participate. Additionally, for the first time ever, horses that win first condition allowance races at Golden Gate Fields will now be exempted and be eligible to run again at the same non-winner’s level at Santa Anita, which will hopefully serve as an incentive to Bay Area horsemen to ship south for substantially more money.

For additional information regarding Santa Anita’s 2018-19 Winter Meet, please visit santaanita.com, or contact Santa Anita Racing Director Dan Eidson at (626) 574-6352.

Source: Press Release

Tampa Bay Owners Club contest a success

Tampa Paddock

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

Judging by the response to Saturday’s inaugural “Tampa Bay Owners Club” contest, area horse racing fans are eager to discover as much information as possible about the joys and challenges of Thoroughbred ownership.

About 1,000 entries were submitted before today’s seventh race, with 90 fans correctly selecting the winner, 16-1 shot War Bridle, a 2-year-old Kentucky-bred colt.

That group now comprises the fantasy-based “Tampa Bay Owners Club” syndicate, with perks including free admission, a program, a mutuel voucher and concession-stand discounts each time War Bridle returns to action this season at Tampa Bay Downs.

The winners will also receive an attractive pin identifying them as club members. They are invited to visit the paddock each time War Bridle competes at Tampa Bay Downs and to join future winner’s-circle celebrations.

“We are delighted by the response from our fans, many of whom have expressed interest previously in learning about Thoroughbred ownership,” said Margo Flynn, the track’s Vice President of Marketing & Publicity. “We hope this will inspire them to look further into owning a racehorse for real as they learn more about the potential rewards of becoming involved.”

The winners landed on an exciting prospect in War Bridle, who won by seven-and-a-quarter lengths in good time of 1:11.28 for the 6-furlong distance. In his previous race in June, War Bridle set a track record (since lowered) for four-and-a-half furlongs at Belterra Park in Cincinnati in a maiden victory.

War Bridle is trained by Joan Scott and was ridden by Jesus Castanon. He is owned by the Backstretch Farms, Inc., enterprise of Ocala attorney David Davila and his family members, who purchased War Bridle for $27,000 at the July Selected Horses of Racing Age Sale in Lexington, Ky.

Davila and his family entered Thoroughbred ownership about nine months ago and currently own 15 horses, mostly yearlings and weanlings, so the members of the “Tampa Bay Owners Club” appear to have good examples to learn from as they start on their journey.

Source: Press Release

Belinda Stronach Hires for New Entertainment Division

Belinda Stronach, Chairman & President of The Stronach Group, has tapped entertainment and hospitality vet Jimmy Vargas to lead the company’s newly created entertainment division. As part of The Stronach Group’s mission to modernize the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing by exciting and energizing the next generation of fans, Vargas will curate unique and engaging experiences across all of The Stronach Group facilities. From concerts and festivals to digital innovations, the focus on entertainment and guest experience is a key driver to The Stronach Group’s business.

Since joining The Stronach Group in the spring of 2018, Vargas has produced the InfieldFest featuring Post Malone, Odesza, 21 Savage and Frank Walker at the legendary Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as the inaugural Clubhouse Festival featuring Steve Aoki & Tyga at the 33rd Jim McKay Maryland Million at Laurel Park Racetrack. Vargas’ current focus is on delivering an incredible entertainment experience at the 3rd annual Pegasus World Cup Invitational taking place on January 26th at Gulfstream Park, The Stronach Group’s facility located just north of Miami.

Pegasus statue at Gulfstream Park“I’m excited to join The Stronach Group and help lead the evolution of its entertainment program, across all of its properties, and deliver world-class entertainment experiences with marquee talent,” said Jimmy Vargas, Executive Vice President, Entertainment. “We want to leverage the passion and energy of our horse racing fan base with the next generation of fans, having them all experience a new level of entertainment from the moment they enter our venues.”

Jimmy Vargas is one of the entertainment industry’s top talents, with 20 years of experience in the experiential, communications, broadcast, digital and marketing arenas. Prior to joining The Stronach Group, Vargas was Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Miami, FL-based powerhouse MMG Entertainment & Hospitality, where he was the driving force behind some of the most successful and world-renowned brands; LIV at the Fontainebleau, LIV at Hard Rock Stadium, Story, Komodo, Komodo Lounge and OTL. In this role, Vargas oversaw all entertainment marketing initiatives for the venues, including: event and talent booking, promotions, content creation, sales, production and brand partnerships. Working beside the company’s CEO since its inception, Vargas was responsible for growing the company from one venue in year one at $18M in gross revenue, to a complete and diversified hospitality portfolio of six venues with gross revenues exceeding $85M annually.

Among the hundreds of special events Vargas oversaw from conception to completion were the annual Fontainebleau Miami New Year’s Eve events featuring A-list talents including; Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Drake and The Weeknd. Vargas also collaborated on national broadcast partnerships for events such as the BET Hip Hop Awards, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show for CBS Broadcast and LIV pop-up series at major EDM Festivals including TomorrowWorld, Electric Zoo and Sunset Music Festival. Upon execution of the AXE Lounge Partnership for Super Bowl XLIV with Jennifer Lopez, Vargas was invited to recreate the event the following year for the Super Bowl in Dallas.

Prior to MMG, Vargas was a Partner in Gorillas Lifestyle Marketing (overseeing strategic experiential marketing efforts for MOCA, Lexus, Pepsi and Microsoft); Creative Marketing Director for the Opium Group Nightlife & Hospitality (one of South Florida’s most successful hospitality groups); and helped to launch Gen Art Miami (the nation’s leading arts and entertainment organization in support of emerging talent in fashion, film, music and the visual arts).

Vargas holds a dual degree in Telecommunications and Marketing from the University of Florida. He lives in Miami, Florida with his wife and two sons.

Source: Press Release

Horse Racing Roulette? It’s Now a Reality

HORSE RACING ROULETTE COMES TO SANTA ANITA ON OPENING DAY, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26 AS THE GREAT RACE PLACE CONTINUES TO COURT NEW PLAYERS

RouletteARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 11, 2018)—Long popular in Las Vegas and casinos around the world, Roulette will take on a new form beginning with Santa Anita’s Winter Meet opening day, Wednesday, Dec. 26, as Horse Racing Roulette will debut as a win-only wager available in all 10 opening day races which have fields of six or more horses.

As Santa Anita continues in its efforts to attract new fans, Horse Racing Roulette, which will include horses marked in the track’s racing program as red, black or green, will consist of a stand-alone Win pool and payoffs will be made according to the “color” of the winner and standard pari-mutuel calculations.

Following are the basic components and rules comprising Horse Racing Roulette at Santa Anita:

–Two dollar minimum win wager with customary industry-low 15.43 percent takeout

–Horses (minimum six-horse field) will be placed into one of three groups, Red, Black or Green.

–In most cases, the morning line favorite will be part of the Red Group.

–The Green Group will be comprised mainly of longshots.

–The three Groups, in most cases, will not have an equal number of horses.

–Whichever Group contains the race winner, wins that “game” of Horse Racing Roulette.

–In the event that ALL betting interest members of any group are scratched or declared non-starters, betting on the Group Bet pool will be stopped immediately and all Roulette wagers made on this particular race will be refunded.

–In the event of a dead heat for first between two or more divergent Group members, the Group Bet pool will be distributed as a profit split (place pool) or, if there is a triple dead heat with as many Group interests, the pool will also be distributed as a profit split (show pool).

TWO DOLLAR MINIMUM WAGER TO HAVE SAME INDUSTRY-LOW 15.43 PERCENT TAKEOUT AS STANDARD TWO DOLLAR WIN BET

Horse Racing Roulette will be offered on all races with a minimum of six runners throughout Santa Anita’s upcoming Winter Meet. Fans are encouraged to carefully consult their racing program prior to wagering.

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Reports Gains

Del mar chantal billboardFollowing on the heels of a stellar summer season, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., completed its fifth fall meet Sunday, highlighted by gains in total handle and four weeks of safe racing. All sources wagering for the 16-day session totaled $165,289,183, compared to the 2017 total handle of $154,069,710, an increase of 7.3 percent.

“The fall meet has found its niche and that’s important for the overall health of the California racing calendar,” said DMTC CEO Joe Harper. “All in all, we are pleased with the results and when you combine them with the summer and our continued efforts to provide the safest possible environment for our horses and riders, it was a terrific year.”

Del Mar’s 2018 fall racing festival had several standout performances, including a smart victory in the Grade I Hollywood Derby by Peter Brant’s Raging Bull on closing Saturday, then an equally impressive triumph by Uni – owned by Michael Dubb, Robert LaPenta, Head of Plains partners and Bethlehem Stable – the next day in the Grade I Matriarch. Both of those Eastern-based horses are trained by the country’s top conditioner, Chad Brown, and both were ridden by former three-time Del Mar riding champion Joel Rosario.

Trainer Peter Miller continued his hot run at Del Mar by winning his fourth fall conditioning crown with 15 victories, while jockey Drayden Van Dyke captured his first fall title with 17 wins. The pair had swept the 2018 summer honors previously with 31 scores for Miller and 42 for Van Dyke during the 36-day stand.

Del Mar will resume racing on Wednesday, July 17 for its showcase summer season, the 80th in its long and popular seaside run.

Source: Del Mar

Manitoba Province Working on Three-Year Plan For Horse Racing Industry

“The government’s support is very important, adds Mason. “It’s not a grant that we get from the province, but we get a portion of what is bet at Assiniboia Downs. So it’s actually coming from horse racing in the province,” as roughly $336,000 came in to the organization. The funds go towards operations, town expenses, and hiring workers, etc…”

 

Manitoba Province Announces Three-Year Plan For Horse Racing Industry DiscoverWestman.com: Province Announces Three-Year Plan For Horse Racing Industry