Wet Racetracks in California May Be in the History Books

Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Due to projections of rain from Tuesday through Thursday of next week in San Diego, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (DMTC) announced today that its Thursday, November 21 race card has been cancelled.  This action was due to “an abundance of caution,” said DMTC officials as the inclement weather likely will result in a muddy main track and soft turf course.  Entries for next Thursday’s card were scheduled to be taken tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

3 horses injured, 2 euthanized during race at California trackDMTC consulted with industry stakeholders, including the Thoroughbred Owners of California and its regulator, the California Horse Racing Board, about the cancellation and all parties agreed that the move provided for the safest possible racing environment.

“We know this is unusual for Del Mar,” said DMTC’s executive vice president for racing Tom Robbins, “but equine and rider safety is always our primary concern. We’ll make a call next week as to whether or not we’ll have training on Wednesday and Thursday.  We plan on drawing entries for next Friday’s card (November 22) this Sunday and we’ll race, weather permitting.”

Racing will be conducted as planned this Friday, Saturday and Sunday with first post at 12:30 p.m. on all days.

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes – Aug. 26

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes for AGameofskill.com visitors

August 26th Edition

DEL MAR

WARREN’S SHOWTIME (Race 1 @DMR, August 21, 2019) How much was the best was this favorite in the opening race?  The turf runner was blocked badly on the far turn until the top of the stretch, but when an opening finally occurred, the 2yo daughter of Clubhouse Ride exploded with a strong run to draw off.   Has a future on the lawn for trainer Craig Lewis.

SARATOGA

SOMBEYAY (Race 7 @SAR, Aug. 2, 2019) – Pletcher runner relished the switch to firm turf (off yielding in prior) and the stretch out to one mile.  3yo ran huge, looking like a winner in deep stretch before getting nailed by a determined Casa Creed.  This guy should be super tough in 6f to 8f turf stakes on firm ground.

HAPPEN (Race 9 @SAR, Aug. 2, 2019) – Euro import  for O’Brien had no chance facing the likes of Concrete Rose when allowed a ridiculously slow pace up front.  War Front filly showed class overseas and deserves another look in a reasonable spot.

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes – August 2

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes for AGameofskill.com visitors

SARATOGA

SHE’S A JULIE (Race 13 @SAR, July 21, 2019) – This honest filly from the Asmussen barn spotted weight to the top two finishers but held on well for third in this Grade 1 stakes.  She can dangerous next time in a better spot.

BLUE GEM (Race 1 @SAR, July 21, 2019) – 3yo looked really good winning first time off the claim for trainer Steve Asmussen, who dropped him from 30k to 16k.  Should be able to take a logical step up in class next time out.

OFF THE RECORD (Race 7 @SAR, July 17, 2019) – Firster took a lot of money and ran to it.  Son of Distorted Humor was very professional coming up the rail to win going away in this off-the-turf maiden special weights event.  Brisset barn doesn’t usually have them cranked up first time out.

MY SASSY SARAH (Race 10 scr @SAR, July 17, 2019) – Michelle Nevin firster was scratched when this race was taken off the turf.  She is a half to two nice turf winners, and the dam won on the grass as well.  Granddaughter of War Front should love the sod.

SHANCEALOT (Race 11 @SAR, July 28, 2019) – Juice.

LUCKY MOVE (Race 3 @SAR,  July 25, 2019) – Marshall Gramm’s Ten Strike Racing runner was claimed two back and then shipped to New York to take advantage of the lucrative state-bred program.  The mare rewarded this smart move with a powerful, off-the-pace victory in this 1x, optional $25k race.  Loves 9 furlongs and can be a threat at the next level.

DEL MAR

NOLDE (Race 8 @DMR, 7/17/2019) – Son of Pioneerof The Nile is a strong closer on the grass for trainer John Shireffs.  Sophomore colt just missed to favorite in the Oceanside Stakes on opening day.

ORIGINAIRE (IRE) (Race 7 @DMR 7/18/19) – Zoffany colt was squeezed back at the start of this race, but recovered under Mike Smith to unleash a big late run and score with something still left in the tank.   Impressive.

Only 5 to Face to Star Racehorse Catalina Cruiser

Cruiser to be Big Favorite in 2019 San Diego Handicap

Hronis Racing’s Catalina Cruiser, primed for his title defense in Saturday’s Grade II $200,000 San Diego Handicap will face five challengers in the 1 1/16-mile event that is the main stepping stone to the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on August 17.

“We had him (Catalina Cruiser) out this morning, he’s looking good and we’re excited to have him running here again,” trainer John Sadler said early Wednesday morning.

Post positions were to be drawn in the afternoon, but the field beyond Catalina Cruiser will consist of, alphabetically, Core Beliefs, Dr. Dorr, Draft Pick, Higher Power and Mongolian Groom.

Del Mar racingCatalina Cruiser won the 2018 San Diego as a stand-in for stablemate Accelerate then came back to take the Pat O’Brien Stakes to secure the Top Sprinter title of the meet and set his Del Mar record at 2-0. The chestnut 5-year-old son of Union Rags made his 2019 debut with a stretch-rallying win in the True North Handicap on June 7 and has had four workouts since then at Santa Anita.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, whose only San Diego Handicap win came with Fed Biz in 2014, nominated standouts American Anthem, McKinzie and Dr. Dorr to the race and opted to go with Dr. Dorr somewhat surprisingly after sending both McKinzie and Dr. Dorr through workouts Wednesday morning.

McKinzie, second in the Met Mile at Belmont on June 8, went five furlongs in a bullet :59 flat under Joe Talamo. Del Mar clockers had McKinzie galloping out to six furlongs in 1:12.0. Dr. Dorr went four furlongs in a bullet :47.20 under Drayden Van Dyke.

Dr. Dorr, owned by Baffert’s wife Jill, has five wins from 17 career starts and earnings of $512,320. The 6-year-old gelded son of Lookin At Lucky chased Catalina Cruiser home in last year’s San Diego, finishing 6 ¾ lengths behind.

In Saturday’s other major stakes, the Grade II $200,000 San Clemente Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, a field of nine was entered. In alphabetical order, with trainers in parentheses consists of: Apache Princess (J. Keith Desormeaux), Devil’s Dance (Craig Lewis), Harmless (R.B. Hess, Jr.,), Keeper Ofthe Stars (Jonathan Wong), Lady Prancealot (Richard Baltas), Maxim Rate (Simon Callaghan), Mucho Unusual (Tim Yakteen), Over Emphasize (Michael McCarthy), Seranitsa (Neil Drysdale) and Stillwater Cove (Wesley Ward).

Source: Del Mar

Bonus for this Winning Ticket at Del Mar

2018 Summer Meet at Del Mar features $1M Bonus

One of Del Mar’s new bets this summer has had a healthy bonus factor tied to it that might provide a racing fan with a million-dollar payoff when the seaside oval gets off and running for its 79th summer this Wednesday – the .50¢ late Pick Five on the day’s final five races.

The wager will provide for a “bonus” $1-million payout on Saturdays and Sundays – or a “bonus” $500,000 payout on weekdays – to any fan holding the lone winning ticket on the exotic bet.

Metaboss at Del Mar
copyright Gary Tasich

Del Mar had introduced the single ticket “jackpot” concept to its Pick Six bet in the fall of 2016 which led to some life-changing payouts on that wager. The Late Pick Five “bonus” bet, while not quite the same, also carries the potential for powerhouse payoffs.

The bet ensures a minimum payout of $1-million (weekends) or $500,000 (weekdays) to a lone ticket holder. So in the scenario where a fan is the only one to tab the last five winners on a Saturday and the late Pick Five payout amounted to $650,000, Del Mar would pony up an additional $350,000 to make the $1-million “bonus” payout prove true. A similar scenario could unfold during the week where Del Mar might add extra monies to the payout to assure a minimum $500,000 prize is reached by a lucky single ticket holder.

Closing day at the meet – Labor Day Monday, September 3 – will be treated as a weekend day and a $1-million late Pick Five “bonus” will be in effect that afternoon.

“When we announced them several weeks ago, we got very positive responses to the addition of our new bets for this season, including the late Pick Five,” said Del Mar’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer Craig Dado. “The addition of this “bonus” money to that bet is just going to make a good thing even better.”

Besides the late Pick Five, Del Mar also will feature this summer a new early .50¢ Pick Four starting on Race 2 each day and a $2 Win, Place, Show Parlay bet available for a minimum of two, and a maximum of six, races.

The single ticket “jackpot” bet on the Pick Six once again will be in play throughout the 36-day stand. Last summer a single ticket holder cashed in for $603,613.80 on the wager on August 2.

Racing will be held on a Wednesday through Sunday basis throughout the summer. First post is 2 p.m. for all days but Friday when they’ll be off and running at 4 p.m.

2018 Del Mar Meet Adds 3 New Wagers

Del Mar Opens July 18 with New Wagers

Del Mar’s betting menu, which last year offered 14 different wagers for seaside investors, will grow by three new bets this summer when the 36-day session gets off and running on Wednesday, July 18.

The track’s bet roster, which starts with the traditional win, place and show wagers and expands out to several five- and six-horse combinations, now will tack on the following trio of offerings during the shore oval’s seven-week stand:

  • An early Pick Four starting on Race 2 daily that will be a .50¢ minimum wager.
  • A late Pick Five offered on the last five races daily. It, too, will be a .50¢ minimum bet.
  • A Win, Place, Show Parlay available for a minimum of two races and a maximum of six. It is a $2 bet.

Del mar chantal billboardIn addition to its new Early Pick Four, the track will continue to offer its usual Pick Four on the last four races on the day’s card, a bet that has proven to be one of the most popular in the country and regularly registers $1-million-plus pools on weekends. The late Pick Five also will be similar to the track’s early Pick Five held on the day’s initial five events. And the Win, Place, Show Parlay will be presented using the standard single-bet W-P-S takeout of 15.43% instead of a multi-bet takeout that goes above 20%.

Del Mar will continue with its $2 Pick Six on all racing days, along with the “Single Ticket Jackpot” addition to it that the track introduced during its 2016 fall season. Under the “Jackpot” rules, a separate pool accumulates alongside the regular one if nobody hits the bet as a lone ticket holder. This allows for a large separate pool to grow even in the case of a “hit’ on the Pick Six by two or more players. The “Jackpot” pool often reaches six figures in fairly rapid order and can be expected to do so throughout the stand.

And, as it did last summer, Del Mar will schedule two “mandatory payouts” on the “Jackpot” pool: first on TVG Pacific Classic Day (Saturday, August 18), then on Closing Day, Monday, September 3. That means that a Pick Six winner on either of those dates would share not only in the regular pool, but the full “Jackpot” pool besides. Further, consolation winners on those days also would share in the “Jackpot” payout.

“We’ve got something for everyone this year,” said Del Mar’s Director of Mutuels, Bill Navarro. “And with the updated tax wagering rules (installed at the end of 2017) that have significantly reduced IRS reporting and withholding now firmly in place and expediting betting on all fronts, we’re expecting a fine summer at the pari-mutuel windows all around.”

The full array of Del Mar bets is as follows: $2 win, place and show (all races); $1 Exacta (all); $2 Quinella (all); .50¢ Trifecta (all); $2 Rolling Doubles (all except last); $1 Rolling Pick 3 (all except last two); $1 Superfecta (.10¢ minimum – all); $1 Place Pick All (starts w/Race 1 or 2); $1 Super High 5 (last); $2 Pick Six (last six); .50¢ Players’ Pick 5 (first five and last five); .50¢ Pick 4 (Races 2 thru 5 and last four), and $2 Win-Place-Show Parlay (all races but last).

Racing will be conducted on a Wednesday through Sunday basis throughout the stand with the lone exception of the Labor Day Monday closer. First post daily will be 2 p.m., with the exceptions of Fridays when starting times shift to 4 p.m. (with the exceptions of the final two Fridays – 8/24 and 8/31) – when first post will be 3:30 p.m.). Friday’s races run until sunset and are followed by the hugely popular Del Mar Concert Series.

Source: Del Mar

Del Mar’s Ship & Win Gets More Lucrative

Is Horse Racing Dead? Del Mar shipper program gets richer

Press Release

Del Mar’s highly effective “Ship and Win” program, where owners and trainers are given solid incentives to import out-of-state horses to race locally, returns for its eighth summer at the shore in 2018 with yet another husky bonus increase providing additional encouragement to bring runners to the place “where the turf meets the surf.”

When the program first started in 2011, horsemen bringing Thoroughbreds to Del Mar were rewarded with an automatic check for $1,000 when they made a local start along with a 20% bonus payment on top of whatever purse monies were earned in that initial outing. Last year those incentives had increased to a $1,500 check and a 30% bonus.

For 2018, the “Ship and Win” payout has grown even sweeter still. Now the automatic check has climbed to $2,000, while the 30% first-race purse bonus again will be in place. As it has since its inception, Del Mar works in conjunction with the Thoroughbred Owners of California in formulating and actualizing the program.

Drew Brees at Del Mar

Drew Brees at Del Mar

“This has been a wonderfully successful program for our horsemen, for Del Mar and for all of California racing,” said Del Mar’s racing secretary, David Jerkens. “We’re approaching 1,000 horses brought into the state utilizing ‘Ship and Win’ and they’ve made thousands of starts at all its major racetracks. When these horses come our way, we find they almost all stay in the state. We added to the bonus money again this year to make it even more lucrative to those willing to step up and we’re hoping to see another increase in new stock at our summer meeting.”

The first season that Del Mar put “S & W” in play, it drew 107 horses. Heading into 2018, the track now can count just under 1,000 horses having been brought on board via the program, with those horses having made over 1,500 starts locally and more than 3,500 starts at other state tracks, such as Santa Anita, Los Alamitos and Golden Gate. The equine influx has helped Del Mar maintain one of the highest field-size averages in the country – in 2017 it was 8.6 runners per race (summer) and 8.5 (fall).

Jerkens made note of some of the increases for “S & W” runners when the 30% first-race bonus is calculated into the track’s already healthy purse structure. In the case of a starter in a first-level allowance race, he said the $62,000 purse would be heightened by an additional $18,600 for “S & W” horses, meaning they are instead running for a prize of $80,600. A $32,000 claimer normally races for a pot of $39,000, but with “S & W” monies added in the purse rises to $50,700. Even the track’s lowest-level horses, the $20,000 maiden-claimers, see their purses climb from $20,000 to $26,000.

The racing secretary emphasized that the 30% bonus applies to purse payouts across the board, not just the winner’s share.

He also noted that for local horsemen the program presents the possibilities of personal gain along with the ability to enhance the racing product statewide as it competes for wagering dollars nationally. In the case of racing outfits from outside the state, he said “S & W” makes a direct statement that Del Mar and California racing in general is more than happy to welcome them to one of the best circuits in all the sport.

There are only a few basic rules for “S & W” horses: An eligible horse must have made his/her last start outside California and cannot have raced in the state within the past 12 months. First-time starters are not eligible. All stakes runners are eligible to receive the $2,000 starter fee, but no stakes runners – including overnight stakes – are eligible for the 30% first-race purse bonus.

Those with questions concerning the program are encouraged to contact Jerkens, or Del Mar’s executive vice president for racing, Tom Robbins, at (858) 792-4230.

Del Mar’s summer stand this year will begin on Wednesday, July 18 and continues through to Labor Day Monday, September 3 for a total of 36 racing days. Its fall meeting runs from Friday, November 9 to Sunday, December 2 for 16 racing dates.

2017 Breeders’ Cup Handle Rises at Del Mar

Del Mar reported an on-track wagering total of $25,181,317 for two days of Breeders’ Cup races, the highest for the event that expanded from one day to two in 2007.

Source: Breeders’ Cup Handle Rises at Del Mar

Is Horse Racing Dead? Successful 2017 Del Mar Fall Meeting

Press Release

The highly successful first Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar – which has drawn rave reviews from coast to coast – got the track’s fall meeting off to a rousing start and that momentum carried through the four-week season, which concluded Sunday. The track’s fall meet numbers were the strongest since it began autumn racing in 2014.

All sources average daily wagering – which does not include the two-day Breeders’ Cup November 3 and 4 – was up a robust 7.5% as compared to 2016. Out-of-state handle increased 10.3% and on-track betting rose by 4%. Noteworthy, too, was the fact that the 14-day meet final wagering figure of $153.1 million exceeded the 15-day total of $152.5 million from 2016.

“We are, of course, very pleased with the results from our fall season,” said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club president and general manager Joe Harper. “The Breeders’ Cup got us off to a good beginning, but our fall meet has grown into a winner all its own and now has become a staple in California. With the support of our horsemen and our bettors, Del Mar’s fall run has become the most prosperous November meet in the country.”

Metaboss at Del Mar
copyright Gary Tasich

The two-day Breeders’ Cup extravaganza registered record betting numbers when $25,181,317 went through the tote on-track – best ever in the 34-year history of the championship event. It was an increase of more than 21% over the 2016 figures. The common pool handle over the two days was $166,077,486, the highest total since the 2010 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs when there were two additional BC races held.

Del Mar’s $3.3-million fall stakes schedule – with its emphasis on turf racing – again proved highly popular to horsemen both locally and nationally. Twelve of the track’s 22 stakes were of the graded variety consisting of two Grade Is, four Grade IIs and six Grade IIIs. A pair of special horses had a national spotlight shine on them when they turned in sharp performances in the Grade I races – Mo Town shipping in from New York and mowing them down impressively on the lawn in the Hollywood Derby and the crack mare Off Limits also shipping in to clicking smartly in the Matriarch.

Del Mar’s racing office was delighted with the response from its horsemen and the numbers registered at the entry box. In the end, the track’s field size for the 14 days was 8.5 runners per race, equaling last fall’s average, which was the highest in the state and among the highest in the country. Additionally, the track’s thriving “Ship and Win” program took another jump forward during the fall run. Last year in 15 days Del Mar lured 31 “S & W” horses to race at the meet. This year that number skyrocketed up 87% to 58 out-of-towners during the 14 racing days.

“No doubt the Breeders’ Cup helped expose Del Mar and our fall racing season to new parties,” noted the track’s executive vice president for racing Tom Robbins. “And no doubt that exposure can – and likely will – have positive benefits going forward. But the ultimate success of fall racing at Del Mar is in the hands of our local horsemen and they have responded in a most emphatic fashion to what we’ve had to offer.”

Robbins also noted the exceptional work done by the track’s two superintendents – Leif Dickinson with its turf course and Dennis Moore with its main track.

“We did more turf racing than ever this year and Leif and his crew were simply outstanding with the course,” Robbins stated. “And Dennis coming on board for the first time this year and remaking our dirt track was a huge advantage to all concerned. We’ve had some of the safest racing in Del Mar history this past year and those two gentlemen were the foremost reason why.”

Del Mar’s fall attendance numbers did dip slightly from the 2016 digits, checking in at 77,218 for a daily average of 5,516, a decline of 5.3%.

The seaside track will resume racing in 2018 with its popular summer meet from July 18 to September 3.

2017 Breeders’ Cup Analysis, Spot Plays & Wagers

13x NHC Qualifier Offers up Pace Scenarios, Spot Plays w/ Wagers, Top Selections and Analysis

Rich Nilsen, who has absolutely been on fire with his major race selection sheets, is back for both days of this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar.   Included in Nilsen’s report are top selections for all 4 stakes on Friday and all 9 stakes on Saturday (all 13 Breeders’ Cup races).

You receive Nilsen’s expert pace analysis, which is often the key to selecting the winner.   Nilsen has 3 Spot Plays with wagering strategies to attack these races.  He has also included wagering strategies both day’s feature events – the Distaff (Friday) and the Classic (Saturday).

Get every Breeders’ Cup race for BOTH days (Friday & Saturday) in one sheet!  Download instantly to any type of device. Only $18.97

Highlights from Previous Breeders’ Cup Spot Play Winners!

$29.40 Sprint Spot Play Winner Trinniberg with Cold $203.40 Exacta!

$15.80 Turf Sprint Spot Play Winner Mizdirection, keying $1,757.65 Pick-4 wager!

$40.40 Spot Play Winner Work All Week with $1,064.70 Trifecta!

$13.00 F&M Turf Spot Play winner Dayathespa

$16.40 Turf Sprint Winner Bobby’s Kitten

$64.80 Exacta with Main Sequence over Flintshire in the Breeders’ Cup Turf

The list goes on and on!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Nilsen caught the horse racing bug at a young age when his father took him to the racetracks in New York. He eventually attended the University of Louisville Equine Business Program with the goal of making a career in the horse racing industry.

Nilsen has worked the past 25 years in the equine industry, serving most of those years as the Marketing Director for Brisnet.com and TwinSpires.com, the Official Wagering Site of the Kentucky Derby.

During his long tenure at the Churchill Downs-owned properties, Nilsen managed the successful Players’ Pool syndicate, which pooled funds from the account wagering members to go after large Pick-6 carryovers. During Nilsen’s leadership, the Players’ Pool produced a significant profit for the members over the course of seven years. One of the best hits was when the Players’ Pool took down half of the Pick-6 pool on Kentucky Derby Day 2007, with a gross return of over $500,000.  The Pool had several other hits over $250,000.

The $2.8 Million National Handicapping Championship (NHC) is the premier horse racing tournament in the nation. It is basically horse racing’s version of the World Series of Poker, with the main difference being that players cannot buy their way into the NHC. Players can only win their way in via tournaments held throughout the country. Nilsen is one of the top participants in the history of the event, having qualified 13 times. He was the first player, and one of only two, to finish in the top 10 at the NHC twice.

Nilsen is now the founder and editor of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

About Nilsen’s Analysis

In this comprehensive yet concise report, I provide selections for all 13 Breeders’ Cup races for both days, as well as pace scenario analysis which is absolutely vital for predicting the outcomes of these events.

Spot Plays are my best bets and key wagering horses for the big weekend. Picking your spots is key to profiting on the races, especially when it comes to the Breeders’ Cup. The opportunities are plentiful but you improve your chances by selecting key spot plays and focusing most of your bets on those plays.

Set aside a budget for these two days and be sure to have plenty of ammunition for the bigger of the two days, Saturday. Best of luck!