Horse Racing Opinion Piece: Essential Business

by Art Parker

What is essential? People or a business?

Even though I now play online almost exclusively, I’ve been going to race tracks for decades. Last time I went to a track was last August when I visited my daughter in the Washington D.C. area. We slipped over to Laurel for the Friday afternoon card.

At Laurel that day, I observed the same things I’ve seen for years and years. Track employees and vendors. The people selling beer and hot dogs. People selling programs and Racing Forms. They didn’t charge for general parking but there was still a man at the gate watching cars go by. There were a couple of fellows handling valet parking. Naturally there was security and police as expected.

Empty row of seats at racetrackWe didn’t go where any real meals are served, but I imagine there was plenty of employees taking care of the many chores related to cooking and serving. And of course there were plenty of people constantly cleaning – I guess us horseplayers are just messy folks.

Of course there were pari-mutuel tellers taking bets. The list of people making things happen goes on and on. These people were there because patrons were there. You take away the patrons and all of a sudden a track is a ghost town.

The employees I didn’t mention are there to work – patrons or no patrons.

Here is my beef with the decision to close tracks because of the corona virus. If we race without patrons very little will be different than the days when there is no racing at all. Open the doors, be diligent with all precautions regarding the corona virus, let the patrons play online and let’s run.

Horse racing was slow to embrace television and that probably cost us a generation of potential players. When we caught up with the times and used technology, we held a possible edge – simulcasting and online wagering. In this day and time an enormous percentage of our handle comes from online wagering. I have been told by several that online wagering is now 85%-90% of horse racing’s handle. The sport is staying alive without patrons on site. Why shut it down? The risk for the few people is minimal. I read in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune where top trainer Bob Baffert said, “It’s safer out there (track) than going to a grocery store. Those are packed.”

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I think Baffert is right. In fact, I went to the grocery store yesterday and saw more people in close proximity than one would find in three gate crews.

The most interesting statement I have seen came from Southern California trainer John Sadler, who was quoted in the Press-Telegram as saying, “I don’t see how not racing the horses makes us any safer. This isn’t a factory where you can shut the doors and turn out the lights. People are still going to have to be there to look after these equine athletes.”

I’m sure the real problem with closing race tracks comes from the words “non-essential business” and “essential business.” What is not understood by decision makers is that while a race track may truly not be essential (like a grocery store), it can be closed but still open for business. Why? The non-essential people will not be there if the track is closed to patrons, but the essential people must be there regardless. I don’t know any thoroughbred that can take care of itself. They need to be bathed, groomed, exercised and fed. They can’t pick up the cell and call Pizza Hut to get a pizza delivered to the barn.

Comparatively speaking very few hands are needed if a track is running but closed to patrons. Have you ever been to morning workouts? If so, how many actual track employees were around?

With no patrons in attendance the handle will diminish some – no doubt about it. But purses can be adjusted for that and I promise the horseman would rather run for a little less than not run at all. Don’t forget that 100% of nothing is nothing.

Many horsemen are going to be in dire financial need if they can’t run. Many will go out of business and/or they will need to jettison some stock. Other trainers will not be willing to take stock off their hands because it will only deepen their financial burdens.

The corona virus is very serious and many precautions must be taken. But when it comes to horse racing I don’t think anyone will convince me the open track without patrons is more dangerous than a grocery store full of them inside an enclosed structure.

Handicapping Tip of the Day #51 – Find One Percent More

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

By ART PARKER

If you play this game long enough and if you love it then you will try to figure things a million different ways attempting win. I’ve been playing the horses virtually my entire adult life. I just got my Medicare card in the mail so that will let you know about how long it has been.

Like many of you I have done one study after another, researched no telling how many angles and I have one of the very finest sets of trainer pattern files you have ever seen. Once a month my wife gives me an authoritative lecture on all the stuff in my office in the house. Of course what she really wants to know is when I will dispose of more of the horse racing stuff. I simply say I can‘t get rid of any more right now. When she asks why, I always responded with, “Because there may be another winner somewhere in that stuff.”

I was like everyone else in my early years in racing in that I thought about how to get rich every time I went to the track. I would see a huge Pick Six payout and think I just had to start playing for all of those big jackpots, and I have hit a few in my time. I’m just scared to tally up the losses incurred trying to hit a boxcar payout.

After many years I finally realized that those who hit the big ones and make money in the long run are few and far between. I realized one is better off taking a profit, ever how small, and then achieving the same result the next day.

The difficulty in the “grind it out” approach is that us humans can‘t equate making a weekly profit at the track to getting a weekly paycheck. When we go to work we don’t expect to get rich on Thursday, but we expect that in one afternoon at the track.

I majored in corporate finance in college. I learned all about stocks, bonds, warrants, options, mutual funds, balance sheets, P&L, and all that boring stuff. In that field there is one thing you never forget – the importance of a percentage point; if I had just one percent more return, if cash flow was just one percent better, etc.

Just recently I conducted another study using a few variables regarding speed and class with results below.

 

Win bets only.

Number of races = 526.

Number of winners with method tested = 176.

Winning rate = 33.46 %

Total payoffs = $ 1,080.5

Average payoff = $ 6.14

Total invested at $2 per win ticket = $1,052

Net profit = $ 28.50

Return on investment (ROI) = 2.71 %

 

Many would look at this and see very little money. Well, if you wagered $20.00 per race then your profit would be $ 285.00. Of course, it would still be the same ROI.

Now if the efficiency with this method were increased by only 1% then another five (5) races would be cashed. That would increase the total winnings by $30.70. Again, not much money. But what about ROI? The winnings increase to $59.20 and the ROI increases to 5.62%.

Just think. If you can increase your winning efficiency by just 1%, you would more than double your return on investment.

Does that sound like a good deal?

I believe it would sound good at any business school.

Did the Tampa Bay Derby make sense?

Handicapper Art ParkerBy ART PARKER

The Tampa Bay Derby was not on my docket of possible races to play so I didn’t examine the race at all the day of the event. I caught the replay that night just trying to keep in touch with the Kentucky Derby trail. Upon watching the replay of the Tampa Bay Derby I was motivated to find out why the public let the winner, King Guillermo, go off at odds of 49-1.

We all know that hindsight is 20/20 but some things must not be overlooked when examining a race, such as the company line of previous races. The 2020 Tampa Bay Derby is a prime example.

First take a look at the clear favorite, Sole Volante, who went off at 3/2 in the 12 horse field. Any horse that goes off at odds that heavy, especially in a full field, must look almost invincible to the bettors. Sole Volante was three of four and his trio of wins came from noticeably off the pace.

There were only two horses in the race not nominated to the Triple Crown, the winner King Guillermo and Texas Swing (almost 20-1), the latter finished third behind Sole Volante. Maybe the two runners not nominated lost some pari-mutuel appeal when the players failed to see the TC nomination next to their name.

It is true that the last two races by King Guillermo were on the turf, including his maiden victory and the Tampa Bay Derby is run on the main dirt track. King Guillermo’s second turf race saw him close up and in possession of the lead from the half mile call until the final furlong. He finished third that day in another big field and was the beaten favorite. In fact he finished third, just 3 ½ lengths behind the winner, Sole Volante, who went off the board at more than 13-1.

How can a horse in his last start be bet so heavily and lose to a 13-1 by just 3 ½ lengths, and now be at 49-1, while the other horse is 3/2?

The public gave a 40% probability of winning the Tampa Bay Derby to Sole Volante. The public gave a meager 2% probability of victory to King Guillermo.

It’s easy to miss longshots, but it is easier to hit just a few more by asking the question, “Does that make sense?”

Monster horse. Monster price.

How I got 31-1 on star Mendelssohn

By Art Parker

As of today there is only one question remaining in my mind.

Before the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Mendelssohn caught my eye. His pedigree is very impressive. Putting the late Scat Daddy with Leslie’s Lady was a very good idea. As a broodmare, Leslie’s Lady has delivered three Grade One winners counting Mendelssohn. Leslie’s Lady gave us the great champion Beholder, which is enough for any broodmare’s resume. Mendelssohn was sold at Keeneland for the monster price of $3 million, the most expensive yearling in North America in 2016. Before the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year I was anxious to see if the colt could live up to his pedigree and auction price. He did. After the race I was convinced that he would improve greatly with experience.

Mendelssohn’s Breeders’ Cup triumph was on the grass but I saw no reason why he could not be effective on the main track. I couldn’t resist the 31-1 offering in the November Kentucky Derby future pool. I told myself that he is surely better than that monster price, even on the dirt. I was happy to take those odds realizing that I could have a losing ticket if he failed to make it to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.

Mendelsohhn by Gary TasichI was even happier with my Derby longshot when Mendelssohn embarrassed and obliterated the field in the UAE Derby a few weeks ago. The colt (I presume he was named for the famous German composer, Felix Mendelssohn) covered the 1 3/16th mile distance in track record time at Meydan in 1:55.18 and did it with incredible ease. He won the UAE Derby by more than 18 lengths. It was truly a monster effort.

In the big race for older horses a couple of hours later, Thunder Snow won the Dubai World Cup traveling 1 ¼ miles in 2:01.38. When comparing the sophomore Mendelssohn to his elders in the World Cup his time is very impressive, especially since he could have stopped the clock earlier if he pushed the issue.

Mendelssohn has won three straight races on three different continents and all on a different surface. He is conditioned by one of the finest trainers in the world, Aidan O’Brien.

I like Mendelssohn even though the game will get tougher for him in Louisville. He will meet some very good horses, including the probable Derby favorite, Bob Baffert’s Justify, another son of Scat Daddy.

As of today there is only one question remaining in my mind. Will Mendelssohn ship well? I know he has shown that traveling doesn’t affect his performance. But he has logged a lot of miles for a very young horse, and the trip to the states after going to Dubai may be too much. We will not know about the travel until his trip in the Derby is completed.

I think Mendelssohn is the real deal, potentially a monster horse, and I really like my monster price of 31-1.

The Warriors that Keep Horse Racing Going

Handicapper Art ParkerBy ART PARKER

Last Saturday I notice the entry of a horse named Dance Floor Maniac in a $6,250 claiming race at Prairie Meadows. It has been a while since I ran across his name and I knew he was an older gelding. I looked at the past performances and remembered him more clearly. He is one of those that captures my admiration and respect as much as a graded stakes winner.

Dance Floor Maniac left the gate for the 100th time in the race at Prairie Meadows. He stalked and pounced and did his job with the same enthusiasm as a promising, high- priced, three year old. The best part of the race was that Dance Floor Maniac got to the wire first.

Dance Floor Maniac entered the Winner’s Circle for the 23rd time and certainly behaved like he had been there before. Winning 23 races out of a 100 is a pretty good percentage for any horse and he has won 3 of 8 this year.

Dance Floor Maniac is 10 years old. The Kentucky bred son of Eurosilver is 23-17-17 overall, which means he gets a check in 2/3 of his starts. He has over $250,000 in career earnings. He is owned by Greg Frye and trained by Karl Broberg.

No one will ever remember Dance Floor Maniac like famous geldings such as Kelso, Forego and John Henry. But guys like this are just as important, if not more so, because the racing game depends upon them a great deal. Whenever you see one of these old geldings run don’t look at them like a cheap horse. They are the warriors that keep the game going and their presence at the race track is just as important as any horse you do remember.

Keeneland Trainer Profile: Steve Asmussen

When one combines these categories, it accounts for close to 70% of Asmussen’s wins.

Handicapper Art ParkerBy 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.

Art’s book is available here

 

Crush Keeneland with the Best Trainer Pattern Book

Rich Nilsen 13x NHC Qualifier

One score will more than pay for this book.  Our AGOS contributer Art Parker has a one-of-kind database on all the Keeneland trainers.  No one understands how these horsemen win better that Art. This year's guide is better than ever and now in a more user-friendly format.  It's a wealth of information for players wanting to attack the upcoming Keeneland meets.

Completely revamped. The 2017 Keeneland Winning Trainer Patterns by Art Parker is now available.

Over 50 Trainers covered with a detailed summary of how they win!

Longshot horsemen identified for easy reference.

KEENELAND WINNING TRAINERS taps into Art Parker’s personal database and gives you the detailed pattern summaries on the 51 trainers, explaining exactly how they win at this prestigious meet.

Keeneland Winning Trainer Patterns bookHow do they win? What handicapping patterns do they use?

How do they work their horses prior to victory?

Do they bring home horses at a price?

Do they score off the layoff?

What owners & jockeys do they team up with?

and much more.

Author and Agameofskill.com contributor Art Parker has taken a hard look into his comprehensive personal database to uncover the trainers that win the majority of races at the meet – the 51 Kings of Keeneland – with a close look at how they accomplish this.

This one-of-a-kind handicapping book includes three bonus handicapping articles written by veteran turf writers Art Parker and Rich Nilsen

The 2017 Annual Edition of “Keeneland Winning Trainers” is published by All Star Press LLC.
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Handicapper Art ParkerQUICK & EASY DOWNLOAD TO ANY DEVICE

You can put this comprehensive trainer guide on any PC or Mobile Device, and then easily look up the Kings of Keeneland when you are ready to handicap or play a race! Only $14.97 for the complete 33-page, jam packed book.

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The Book is Back! 2016 Kings of Keeneland

KEENELAND WINNING TRAINER PATTERNS

Keeneland 2016 – 2016 SPRING MEET EDITION – NOW AVAILABLE

Winning Patterns on the trainers that dominate this popular meet!  Bonus Handicapping Articles.

Detailed write-ups on the 24 trainers, explaining exactly how they win at this prestigious meet.

How do they win?  What patterns do they use?

How do they work their horses prior to victory?

What owners & jockeys do they team up with?

and much more.

Keeneland Winning Trainer Pattern no longer includes boring stats on a bunch of trainers.  Instead, author Art Parker has taken a hard look into his comprehensive personal database at the trainers that win the majority of races at the meet – the 24 so-called Kings of Keeneland.

Parker’s book includes two bonus handicapping articles written by veteran turf writers Art Parker and Rich Nilsen

 “It’s a wealth of information for horseplayers serious about attacking the Keeneland meets.  One score will more than pay for this book.” – publisher Rich Nilsen

The 2016 Spring Meet Edition of “Keeneland Winning Trainers” is published by All Star Press.  

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Enhanced and streamlined book  includes detailed written analysis on the following 24 trainers:

The Kings of Keeneland

Amoss

Arnold

Asmussen

Brown

Casse

Catalano

Clement

Kenneally

Lopresti

Maker

McGaughey

McKeever

McLaughlin

McPeek

Motion

Mott

Pletcher

Proctor

Romans

Sheppard

Sims

Stall, Jr.

Stidham

Ward

You can put this comprehensive trainer guide on any PC or Mobile Device, and then easily look up the Kings of Keeneland when you are ready to handicap or play a race!  $12.97 for the complete 27-page, jam packed book.

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Fantasy Sports (DSF) Draws Attention in Alabama

So, where’s the campaign money going?

By Art Parker

Commentary

In a state that usually pits politicians against citizen’s choice, the State of Alabama is considering legislation that will legalize, regulate and tax fantasy football. Republicans have presented like bills in both the Alabama Senate and the Alabama House this month.

Alabama Seal State Representative Tim Wadsworth said on Facebook, “HB56 Fantasy Contests bill is back up for debate. Original bill gives blanket approval of fantasy games even if gambling. Amendment of bill makes any fantasy games subject to gambling laws. The motion to lay amendment on table passes. There was a motion to revote which passed. Then a motion to amend to add registration fee failed. A motion to revote and amend fee failed.” Wadsworth said, “The bill is a protection bill for fantasy operators. Bill does not regulate.”

According to the Alabama Political Reporter either HB56 or SB 114, if passed by the legislature, would require any firm wishing to operate a fantasy business to pay $25,000 to the state for the first year operating license and pay seven percent of their profits. Firms operating without a license would be subject to additional fines and penalties.

Some legislators have said they fear that the legislation, which would legalize “games of skill” versus “games of chance,” would open up gambling in the state.

Has Alabama ever had gambling? You bet.

Alabama has had pari-mutuel wagering since the early 70s, which originally began with greyhound racing-a business that once flourished in the state. Thoroughbred racing came on the scene in 1987 with the opening of the Birmingham Turf Club. Poor management forced the closing of the track after the first season. After being owned by other parties the Birmingham facility was eventually purchased by Milton McGregor, the owner of the state’s most successful greyhound track named VictoryLand. Birmingham ran mixed greyhound and thoroughbred meets for four seasons but then dropped thoroughbred racing. VictoryLand is located about twenty miles from the state capitol of Montgomery.

Around the turn of the century the Poarch Creek Indian tribe (PCI) opened up casino operations in two parts of the state with locations near the Florida line and two facilities less than ten miles from Montgomery. Over the years PCI has freely operated electronic bingo machines without government interference and without paying taxes to the state.

VictoryLand initially benefited from a constitutional amendment that allowed it to offer the same electronic games as PCI. The injection of taxable revenue into VictoryLand helped prop up its greyhound track – for a while.

But in the last five years Alabama’s political corruption has escalated to the point where the state will rival or surpass any other state in the nation. McGregor had been a political contributor to both parties in the past but was known for supporting democrats more than republicans. McGregor paid the price when former republican Governor Bob Riley, one that was not a beneficiary of McGregor campaign contributions, illegally raided VictoryLand before leaving office claiming that the track’s machines were illegal. Oddly, the same machines were being used by PCI at its locations at the same time.

VictoryLand re-opened after Riley left office believing it was on solid ground. But republican Attorney General Luther Strange illegally raided VictoryLand and confiscated cash and electronic bingo machines in the process-identical machines were being used at PCI locations when the raids took place as later proved in court proceedings. Strange has not been a beneficiary of McGregor campaign contributions. After many legal fights a state judge ruled against Strange on all legal points with most of his ruling pinpointing the Attorney General’s clear disrespect for the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In his order the judge said Strange “cherry picked” against VictoryLand by not enforcing laws equally in the state. Strange has appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court where every seat is held by republican judges led by Chief Justice Roy Moore, who landed national attention as the “Ten Commandments” judge.

The passage of the Alabama legislation is in doubt. The republicans hold a super majority and rule every inch of the State House. The people of Alabama have greatly softened their positions on gambling in the last few years, but the most notable softening has come within the ranks of republican voters. Those who voted republican have been polled and polled again. The number in favor of a lottery is above 70% and the number in favor of casino gambling is near 60%. Alabama has suffered greatly with its primitive attitude and the people have seen mountains of tax revenue leave the state to lotteries and casino locations that surround Alabama. And while the tax revenue leaves the state the Indian casinos operate inside the state and pay no taxes.

Why is this the case in Alabama? As it is often said, “It’s not what is good for the state or what the voters want. What counts is where the campaign money is going.” If the fantasy sports deal doesn’t pass it probably means that the destination of any related campaign contributions is yet to be decided.

 

-Art Parker is a regular contributor to agameofskill.com and the author of Keeneland Winning Trainers, which is published twice per year. He is the Managing Editor of The Montgomery Independent, a newspaper in Montgomery, Alabama.  The above commentary is his opinion on what is happening in his home state regarding DSF.

Keeneland 2016 – It’s Almost Here

By Art Parker

In just a few weeks the coolness will taper off. Some flowers will actually show signs of life and leaves will reappear on the trees. When there is no sign of precipitation and no clouds in the sky, the feeling will begin to strike you. You breathe the amazing fresh air and know that changes are coming. You think you will hear a gradual drum roll in the distance, perhaps a half-mile away.

It will not be a drum roll but the sound of hooves striking the ground in a rhythm that lets you know it is something living that makes the noise.  The amazing sky, perhaps only disfigured by the contrails of a high flying distant jet plane, leaves you convinced that some days are truly perfect. The perfect day is upon you as your mind dashes into the future, just a few days, and you see that creature with four thin legs, exploding with energy in the glorious surroundings and providing you with every reason to believe that the horse can actually run a hole in the wind. The sounds from others like you pierce the air while hearts pound faster, and even though there are winners and losers on this day, nothing can replace the fact that you are there and a part of those wonderful proceedings we call Thoroughbred racing.

Keeneland black and white

copyright 2016 AGameofSkill.com

Yes, it is almost springtime, a time when horse racing is rejuvenated after cold months of moderate and often dull activity. It is the time when nothing can hold this great sport in check because it is made for the time of year when people want their thrills handed to them, not inside a structure of bricks, but outside, where more than the racing can be enjoyed. There is nothing like it, this time of year, and it will soon be here.

That perfect day reminds me of some opening days at a place called Keeneland, nestled in the heart of thoroughbred country. Even though there are tracks that run in the winter, that first day of racing in Lexington, Kentucky should be declared the official opening of racing season everywhere. My favorite way to describe Keeneland is the track “on loan from Heaven.”

Keeneland will open April 8 and run until April 29. The big features will be on April 9 with the running of the Grade One Blue Grass and the Grade One Ashland. What a wonderful place filled with great racing and superb, intelligent racing fans.

I just can’t wait.

Below is an excerpt of Parker’s Keeneland Trainers book, coming soon to AGameofSkill.com.

Kenneally, Eddie – 28 wins at Keeneland

Winning Patterns: 1st Race after Layoff of at least 45 days (8), Second career race (6),  First career race (4),

Turf-to-Main surface switch (4)

The 49 year old was born in Ireland into a family that was involved with horses. His father, uncle and brother have been in the horse business. Kenneally came to the US in 1987. He was an exercise rider and assistant trainer before he started his own stable.

Kenneally does well with horses in their run after a layoff and also first time starters. About 29 percent of his winners are runners coming off a layoff and 3/4 of those are dropping in class. When it comes to debut runners Kenneally strikes at a 14-percent rate while at Keeneland and his second time starters, all of which that have won were ridden by Corey Lanerie, do even better providing Kenneally with 22-percent of his winners. Together, Kenneally does unusually well with either first or second starters, which is definitely a pattern to look for; but keep in mind that he does not turn a rookie horse around very quick.

His winning second time starters usually come back to the track after being idle for 4-5 weeks. Keeping with his first layoff horses dropping in class, Kenneally does not strike often with horses moving up in class, in fact less than 10 perce3nt of his winners fall into that category. Kenneally can get you a price as close to 35 percent of his winners paid in double digit. As far as riders go, Kenneally’s main man is Corey Lanerie, who rode half of his winners and Julien Leparoux who piloted 36 percent of his winners. The Lally Stable has been Kenneally’s top client and cashed in on 19 percent of the trainer’s Keeneland wins.