Industry Profile: Jockey Harry Hernandez

It’s been a competitive jockey colony at Arlington International Racecourse so far this meet due to the addition of a few new faces in the jocks room. One of those is Harry Hernandez, who has enjoyed a solid beginning of the 2018 meet with six victories in 29 mounts.

Hernandez, 21, is currently tied for fourth in the standings with Sophie Doyle, who also is riding her first full season at the Chicagoland oval. He has finished in the money at a rate of 48%.

“I’m really excited and I’m really focused on my job,” Hernandez said. “Just trying to stay focused on winning races. I thank God and thank my agent [Ben Allen] and the owners for the opportunities that they have been giving me. I’m just trying to show off my experience.

Hernandez began his riding career in his native Puerto Rico and attended the Escuela Vocacional Hipica, graduating in the same class as leading riders Jose Ortiz, Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Eric Cancel.

Arlington Park racetrack“That school is such a nice school,” Hernandez said. “Before you graduate they make sure that you’re a hard worker and that you’re professional and respectful. Most importantly, they make sure you’re watching your weight because that’s the most important. They teach you how to gallop, teach you how to position. It’s awesome.”

Upon moving to the United States, Hernandez began riding at Finger Lakes in New York where he was consistently finishing in the top of the jockey standings.

“When I graduated I wanted to start riding in Puerto Rico since that’s where I’m from and that’s where my family is from,” Hernandez said. “But I always have wanted to come to the United States. This is where the good money is, it’s where the good owners and trainers are and you’ll learn more riding with good jockeys. This is where you learn more. I always wanted to ride in the United States and make a name for myself here.”

Check out other AGOS Jockey Profiles

It was good friend and accomplished rider Jose Ortiz, however, that gave him some encouragement to give Arlington a try this summer.

“I want to thank God for giving me these opportunities with the trainers and the owners,” Hernandez said. “My family always have supported me. I want to thank my really good friends, especially Jose Ortiz. He was the one who called me up and said ‘Hey, [Ben Allen] is a good agent’. He told me to go try it out.”

Source: Press Release

Hot Jockey Alert: Kevin Gomez

Four Winners on Saturday for Kevin Gomez

Laura McKinney’s homebred Clever Triad sprinted to front-running 1 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s featured eighth race to cap a four-win afternoon for jockey Kevin Gomez.

Sent off at 5-1 in a field of eight 3-year-olds and up for the $42,000 entry level allowance, Clever Triad ($13.20) ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:01.99 over a firm Bowl Game turf course for his second win from seven career starts.

On a day where the temperature reached the mid-90s, Gomez also finished first aboard Tiz Emily and Jill ($6.20) in the second race, 2-year-old Stay Thirsty colt Alwaysmining ($8.20) in the fourth and Lily Rae ($12) in the sixth.

“Thank God, everything came together and we had a good day today. Hopefully we can keep it going,” Gomez said. “It’s very hot out there. Some horses are winning from in front and some are getting tired the last part and getting beat at the wire. It played good for me today, so I’m glad.”

Source: Laurel

Note: Park and Delaware Park are both closed due to the heat on Monday, July 2, 2018

Sports Betting Play Churchill Downs Is Close To Scoring Breakout

A Sports Betting Play, the Churchill Downs Stock Has Been Down this Week in Trading.

The Kentucky Derby operator is leading the competitive Leisure-Gaming/Equipment industry group. It is trotting ahead of big hitters like Las Vegas Sands (LVS), Wynn Resorts (WYNN) and MGM Resorts International (MGM).

This is the IBD Stock Of The Day.

Investor’s Business Daily Full coverage

Source: IBD Stock Of The Day: Sports Betting Play Churchill Downs Is Close To Scoring Breakout

Industry Profile: Jockey Santo Sanjur

While all eyes were recently on Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., as Justify trained up for his bid for the Triple Crown, one man was been busy making headlines for himself 100 miles North of the Twin Spires. Santo Sanjur, a native of Panama City, Panama, has taken the Indiana Grand jockey colony by storm in his first year riding in the Hoosier state.

Although the track’s meet started only 37 days ago, Sanjur has picked up 108 mounts so far, and has already 22 wins under his belt. This ties him for Indiana Grand leading rider standings by wins ahead of local veterans such as Rodney Prescott and Marcelino Pedroza.

What’s more? This is only the 22-year-old’s fifth year riding competitively. With an in-the-money percentage of 53% this meet, many have taken notice of the new kid with those numbers. Others have taken notice of Sanjur for another reason: his name.

While officially taking the last name “Sanjur,” Santo is no stranger to having family in the racing business. Indiana racing natives will recognize the name of Sanjur’s cousin, Juan Saez, a rider who was killed tragically in an accident at Indiana Grand in October of 2014.

Though he was on a path nearly identical to that of Santo, Juan is not the young rider’s best known relative. His most famous cousin is Luis Saez, pilot of horses such as Will Take Charge, Gunnevera and, more recently, Arkansas Derby winner Magnum Moon.

Just like his two well-recognized cousins, Sanjur also attended Panama City’s famed Laffit Pincay Jockey School.

It was a perfect fit. According to the school motto, it is directly in the heart of “the cradle of the best jockeys in the world.” During his two years at a school he considers to be “one of the best,” Sanjur said he learned the basics of being a successful jockey, though it was his desire for more that brought him to the United States.

“I had always wanted to come and ride here and make my family proud,” Sanjur said.

With his record so far, he is doing just that.

Despite being new to Indiana, Sanjur is by no means new to racing in the Midwest. He spent the first four years of his American riding career at Arlington Park in the suburbs of Chicago, where he had much of the same impact as he has had at Indiana Grand. From May of 2017 to September of the same year, Sanjur rode 452 horses and picked up 57 wins that totaled almost $1.5 million in purse money. He finished second that year in the Arlington jockey standings.

The impression those four years in Illinois gave him carried over across the border to Indiana, where horsemen of all types cannot get enough of him. Michelle Elliott, trainer and daughter of the well-known Indiana breeder Jim Elliott, is one of them.

“I think he’s the new up-and-coming rider. He’s going to be amazing,” Elliot said of Sanjur, who she met through his agent, Jeremy Acridge. A short time before the Indiana Grand meet began, Acridge called Elliott, asking her to “give his guy a chance.” Sanjur brought Crossed, a filly in Elliott’s barn, home first in the sixth race on Indiana Grand’s opening day card, and has been riding for her ever since. “I really like this kid,” Elliott said. “I’d put him on just about anything.”

Where he continues to experience days where he rides three or even four winners on the same card, it is easy to see why Sanjur continues to make news in the Midwest. Though he doesn’t see himself moving out of the Hoosier state anytime soon, Sanjur does have a few races in mind that he would really love to win more than anything: the Kentucky Derby and a Breeders’ Cup race. And if his current success is any indicator, it won’t be long before we see Sanjur on a bigger stage.

Source: Press Release

Is Horse Racing Dead in Massachusetts? Not Yet

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, LLC (SSR), the company that operates Thoroughbred racing, wagering and simulcasting at Suffolk Downs, and Fairgrounds Realty LLC and Fair Grounds Community Redevelopment Project Inc., the entities that own the Great Barrington Fairgrounds, have reached an agreement for a long-term lease of the historic race track property in Great Barrington to commence racing as soon as 2019, the companies recently announced.

Under the agreement, Sterling Suffolk Downs would refurbish the Fairgrounds property and operate a commercial race meeting at Great Barrington while continuing to operate simulcast wagering at its current location in East Boston. Suffolk Downs, the New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NEHBPA) and the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders (MTBA) are seeking modifications in state racing and simulcasting laws, which are set to expire at the end of July, to accommodate the new arrangement.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for us to help preserve and refurbish an iconic property in the heart of the Berkshires, to boost economic development in Great Barrington, continue live racing and preserve the hundreds of jobs, associated agribusinesses and working open spaces associated with the Massachusetts racing industry,” said Chip Tuttle, Sterling Suffolk Racecourse’s chief operating officer. “We are confident that we can do this consistent with Fair Grounds Community Redevelopment’s vision for sustainable preservation of the fairground property as a space devoted to community recreation and with a strong connection to its agricultural heritage.”

“We are excited to enter into this partnership which offers potential benefits to so many people and organizations in our community, western Mass. and the surrounding area,” said Bart Elsbach, chairman of the Fair Grounds Community Redevelopment Project, “Finding a group to partner with us in a meaningful way to continue use of our site in keeping with its history while continuing to offer the area valuable recreational and economic benefits without aggressive commercial development is consistent with our ongoing vision for the fairgrounds.”

The Great Barrington Fairgrounds has a rich history. It was the host of the longest continually operating agricultural fair in New England. Horse racing started on the property in 1859 and it was regarded as the centerpiece of the Massachusetts fair circuit. Pari-mutuel wagering began at Great Barrington in September of 1940 and continued through 1983. The track last offered Thoroughbred racing 20 years ago in 1998. The grandstand, barns and track facilities still stand, though they will require restoration and repair. In addition to improvements to the track surface, grandstand and other facilities, SSR officials indicated that they would be looking at expanding the racing surface at Great Barrington.

Massachusetts map“In its current condition, we are confident that we could conduct racing as soon as next year, should we need to, and we plan to explore with Bart, his team and the town options on expanding the racing surface to accommodate racing at longer distances. There was traditionally strong support for racing here and we hope to attract fans from across New England and New York.”

Suffolk Downs is scheduled to host three live racing and food truck festival weekends this summer on Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10, July 7-8 and August 4-5. Track officials have said that they hope to continue racing at the site in 2019.

In December 2012, the 57-acre fairgrounds property was purchased by Sheffield couple Bart and Janet Elsbach with the vision to preserve and restore the environmental health of the site. The Elsbachs created the not-for-profit Fair Grounds Community Redevelopment Project which has provided agricultural, educational, recreational, and other beneficial opportunities to the local community and visitors through the preservation and sustainable development of this historic fairgrounds site.

The revival of racing at Great Barrington has the support of the NEHBPA and the MTBA. The two organizations entered a joint agreement with Sterling Suffolk Racecourse in November of last year to seek alternative venues for continuing Thoroughbred racing in the state and to pursue changes in the state’s racing and simulcast laws that would facilitate the continuation of live racing. SSR sold the Suffolk Downs property to a development company in May of 2017 and has continued to operate under a lease agreement since then.

“Our membership is made up of hundreds of small businessmen and women and local family farms who want to continue the chance to earn purse monies and to make a productive contribution to the Massachusetts’ economy,” said Anthony Spadea, president of the NEHBPA. “Many of us raced at Great Barrington in 1997 and 1998 and would enjoy the opportunity to make it the seasonal home of racing here. We appreciate the support of the Legislature, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the Suffolk Downs team to keep this industry active and vital.”

Source: Press Release

A Look at Sol Kumin’s Ownership Model

Derby144 workout Justify at Santa AnitaEhalt: Sol Kumin’s Ownership Model ‘Great For The Game’

Paulick Report Full coverage

Source: Ehalt: Sol Kumin’s Ownership Model ‘Great For The Game’

Kentucky Derby & Preakness winner Mike Smith shows career wins can come after 50

Industry Profile

Kentucky Derby winner Mike Smith, 52, shows career wins can come after 50

MarketWatch Full coverage

Source: Kentucky Derby winner Mike Smith, 52, shows career wins can come after 50

Churchill Downs and Sports Betting

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) (Nasdaq:CHDN) has announced an agreement with Golden Nugget Atlantic City (“Golden Nugget”) to enter into the New Jersey real money online gaming (iGaming) and sports betting markets, subject to sports wagering legislation and gaming license approvals. CDI is targeting the first quarter 2019 to begin accepting legal wagers for iGaming and sports betting in New Jersey.

“We are looking forward to offering integrated iGaming and sports betting products in New Jersey,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs.  “We have the unique opportunity to leverage our knowledge and experience operating the largest legal online horse racing wagering business in the U.S. as we enter the iGaming and sports betting markets.”

“We welcome Churchill Downs, a respected U.S. gaming operator with online wagering experience, to New Jersey,” said Thomas Winter, senior vice president and general manager, Online Gaming, for Landry’s Golden Nugget. “The addition of their offering will allow Golden Nugget Atlantic City to cater to an even larger demographic of New Jersey online players.”

The Golden Nugget Atlantic City, located on Frank S. Farley Marina, is a premier resort destination, offering guests more than 740 rooms and suites.  The Golden Nugget has established strong brand recognition worldwide with locations in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada; Biloxi, Mississippi; and Lake Charles, Louisiana.  Launched in November 2013, GoldenNuggetCasino.com is the number one U.S. online casino and was voted Operator of the Year three years in a row from 2015 to 2017 at the iGaming North America Awards.  Golden Nugget Atlantic City accounts for 35% of the New Jersey online gaming market.

Churchill winner's circleChurchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) (Nasdaq:CHDN), headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is an industry-leading racing, gaming and online entertainment company anchored by our iconic flagship event – The Kentucky Derby.  We are the largest legal online account wagering platform for horseracing in the U.S., through our ownership of TwinSpires.com and have announced our plans to enter the U.S. real money online gaming and sports betting markets.  We are also a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming with approximately 10,000 gaming positions in eight states.  Additional information about CDI can be found online at www.churchilldownsincorporated.com.

Source: Press Release

Congratulations to Jockey Edgar Prado

jockey riding a horse raceGreat rider scores 7,000 victory

With a victory aboard Anthony Merlino’s Thefundsarelow in the 6th race Tuesday afternoon at Parx, jockey Edgar Prado won the 7,000th race of his Hall of Fame career. Inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame in August of 2008, the Peruvian native stands 8th all-time in career wins.

A regular on the Maryland circuit, Prado came into the national spotlight in 1997, winning an incredible 546 races that year, making him one of only 4 riders to win over 500 races in a year.  In 2002, he won his first Classic race, the Belmont Stakes aboard Sarava at odds of just over 70-1, the longest priced winner in the long history of the race.  In 2004, he won the Belmont again, winning with Birdstone and denying the immensely popular Smarty Jones the Triple Crown.  Galloping out after the race, in a tremendous gesture of sportsmanship, he drew alongside fellow jockey Stewart Elliott aboard Smarty and said, “I’m sorry.”  He also won the Kentucky Derby in 2006 aboard the great Barbaro, winning by 6 ½ lengths, the largest margin of victory in the Run for the Roses since Assault won by 8 lengths back in 1946.

The jockeys with more wins all-time, in order, are Russell Baze (12,842), Laffit Pincay, Jr. (9,530), Bill Shoemaker (8,833), Pat Day (8,803), David Gall (7,396), Chris McCarron (7,141), and Angel Cordero, Jr. (7,051).  As the only active rider still on that list, Prado has a chance to move even higher.

source: Press Release

Great Horse Racing Videos – Hall of Fame Inductee Heavenly Prize

You may have heard.  Eclipse Award-winning filly Heavenly Prize has been elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. The lone contemporary selection from the 10 finalists chosen by the Hall of Fame’s Nominating Committee, Heavenly Prize will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday, Aug. 3 at 10:30 a.m. at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is open to the public and free to attend.

New inductees in categories selected by separate processes will also be announced soon. The Historic Review Committee choices for the Hall of Fame will be revealed on May 9 and the Pillars of the Turf Committee’s Hall of Fame selections will be announced on May 23.

Heavenly Prize was elected by a nationwide voting panel comprised of 166 racing writers, broadcasters, industry officials and historians. Finalists are required to receive majority approval (50.1 percent) from the voting panel to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

A bay filly bred in Kentucky by owner Ogden Phipps, Heavenly Prize (Seeking the Gold—Oh What a Dance, by Nijinsky II) won the Eclipse Award for Champion 3-Year-Old Filly in 1994. She was a Grade 1 winner at ages 2, 3 and 4. Trained by Hall of Famer Claude R. “Shug” McGaughey III, Heavenly Prize won the Grade 1 Frizette at age 2 and three consecutive Grade 1s as a 3-year-old: the Alabama, Gazelle and Beldame.

As a 4-year-old, she won four Grade 1s in a row: the Apple Blossom Handicap, Hempstead Handicap, Go for Wand Stakes and John A. Morris Handicap. Heavenly Prize also finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in both 1994 and 1995. She raced once as a 5-year-old, finishing third in the Donn Handicap, which was won by Hall of Famer Cigar.

Heavenly Prize was retired with a career record of 9-6-3 from 18 starts and earnings of $1,825,940. Throughout her career, she defeated the likes of Hall of Famers Paseana and Sky Beauty, as well as multiple graded stakes winners Lakeway, Halo America and Classy Mirage, among others. Eight of Heavenly Prize’s nine career victories were in Grade 1 events. Heavenly Prize was ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith for her first eight starts and by Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day for her final nine races.

As a broodmare, Heavenly Prize produced seven winners from eight starters, including the multiple Grade 1-winning turf standout Good Reward. She is also the dam of Grade 2 winner and successful sire Pure Prize. Heavenly Prize also produced stakes winner Cosmic; stakes-placed Distinctively; and Just Reward, whose daughter Persistently upset Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign.

Heavenly Prize died in 2013 at the age of 22 at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky.