AGOS Horses to Watch – October 12, 2017

Horses to Watch for AGameofSkill.com (AGOS) Visitors

The last big weekend is in the books and the countdown to the Breeders’ Cup has officially started. At the time of this post, there are 24 days, 4 hours and 2 minutes. You’ll want to keep tabs on final workouts, shipping schedules and the overall health reports you’ll find in many Thoroughbred publications. The summer is over and the races are in the books. Now is the time to keep on top of your reading and combing over race replays.  Best of luck!

Belmont Park

10/7/17

Race #5 – Starter Allowance – 1 1/16 on turf – #2 – King of Spades

King of Spades = Son of Street Cry who is 3/5 ITM at Belmont and cutting back from 1 1/4 to 1 1/16. He was dropping in class and had the services of Joel Rosario in the saddle. He was bumped soundly at the start and was pinched back. He got back on task and managed to finish 5th this day. – A cleaner trip has him right in the mix.

Race #8 – The G1 Champagne – 1 mile on the dirt – #4 – Enticed

Enticed = Son of Medaglia d’ Oro coming in off a strong maiden win. Kiaran McLaughlin trainee who ran green but still got the win at first asking. He owned a bullet work coming into the race and a solid work tab keeping all systems ready. He did an excellent job of tracking the pace but was shuffled into the 6 path at the top of the lane. It doesn’t take much to get a two-year-old off task and he put together a solid run finishing 3rd this day.

Race #9 – The G3 Hill Prince – 1 1/8 miles turf – #6 – Bricks and Mortar

Bricks and Mortar = Chad Brown trainee and a son of Giant’s Causeway. He was 2/2 at Belmont with wins and was a beaten favorite in the G3 Saranac at Saratoga. His late punch has been his calling card and Joel Rosario was in the saddle. – He was in tight after the break and forced to take up and steady. He made a good late run for the show dough and will be heard from next out with a little cleaner start.

Race #11 – Allowance – 1 1/16 turf – #4 – Minsky Moment

Minsky Moment = Chad Brown runner with Irad Ortiz in the saddle. This son of Flatter has been heavily bet the last 5 of 6 starts and has yet to run on the turf. His breeding suggests he should relish the sod and Ortiz win 18% on the greensward. He was bottled up around the far turn and was forced to tap on the brakes a few times. He tipped off the rail and made a strong late kick weaving in and out of traffic.

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Keeneland

10/7/17

Race #5 – The G2 Woodford – 5 1/2f on the turf – #1 – Conquest Panthera

Conquest Panthera = Robby Albarado in the saddle for Mark Casse. They were dropping in class and cutting back from 1 mile to 5 1/2f. This son of Kitten’s Joy has faced some tough runners and the sprint this day was coming off his 3rd off the layoff – 17%. He broke slowly from the gate and saved ground the entire trip. Albarado tipped off the rail and made a strong late challenge finishing a very game 4th place.

Race #7 – The G1 First Lady – 1 mile on the turf – #3 – Dona Bruja

Dona Bruja = Declan Cannon in the irons for Ignacio Correas. She exited the 1 3/16 G1 Beverly D and was a beaten favorite that day. Ever since coming in from Argentina she has looked better with every effort. She is 11/11 ITM on the turf and was turning back to a flat mile. – She kicked going 6 wide and made a strong late run. Maybe a little more ground would be to her liking and if she gets the right distance she will come rolling late in the lane.

BetKeeneland to Offer Handicapper Tips for Keeneland Meet

Keeneland Green LogoPress Release: Keeneland

Keeneland will launch a new Twitter handle for the 2017 Fall Meet, @BetKeeneland, dedicated to providing on-demand content to horseplayers and a Handicapper of the Day series featuring a unique benevolent aspect benefitting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF).

“The @BetKeeneland handle is an exciting mix of traditional and cutting edge designed to deliver real-time handicapping tips and tools directly to our wagering fans,” Keeneland Chief Marketing Officer Christa Marrillia said. “The Handicapper of the Day series will further elevate the race-day fun and, in keeping with Keeneland’s philanthropic mission, support the PDJF.”

Among the nationally prominent handicappers set to participate as a guest handicapper are NBC Sports’ Bob Neumeier, ESPN College Game Day’s Chris Fallica, Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee and Byron King, TVG and Horseplayernow.com’s Caton Bredar and SiriusXM at the Races’ Steve Byk. Keeneland will provide each Handicapper of the Day with a $200 bankroll to wager over the course of the race day, with winnings going to support PDJF.

“The PDJF appreciates the support of Keeneland and all of the handicappers in this series, which is part of the great racing program Keeneland produces,” PDJF President Nancy LaSala said.

Another feature of @BetKeeneland will be the Keeneland NOW Podcast, with noted handicapper Jeremy Plonk of Horseplayernow.com. In this podcast, lasting 60-90 seconds, Plonk will offer final thoughts 10 minutes prior to every race. Plonk also will be on call to field questions from fans in addition to providing traditional tweets and commentary throughout the race day. The 30-minute race-day Preview Podcast that airs live at Keeneland.com each race day from noon-12:30 p.m. will be available at @BetKeeneland.

The @BetKeeneland handle is a valuable resource for handicapping Keeneland’s Fall Meet. The Twitter feed also will provide scratches, changes, clocker reports, track conditions, race results, expert picks and carryover information.

Keeneland’s Fall Meet begins Friday, Oct. 6, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 28, with racing Wednesday through Sunday. Post time for the first race daily is 1:05 p.m. ET.

Churchill Downs and Keeneland Want to Build Two Horse Racing Tracks in Kentucky

Churchill winner's circleIs Horse Racing Dead?

You may have heard … Churchill Downs and Keeneland are teaming up to propose two new “state-of-the-art” horse racing venues in Kentucky. It’s a “historic partnership” that will bring one to Corbin, Kentucky, in Knox County and another in Oak …

Source: Churchill Downs and Keeneland want to build two horse racing tracks in Kentucky

Check out the Keeneland Fall Stakes Schedule

Jockey and trainer at Keeneland

Copyright agameofskill.com

Press Release

Keeneland’s 2017 Fall Meet, which covers 17 days from Oct. 6-28, will present six Grade 1 races among 17 graded stakes worth $5.325 million and will showcase many of the nation’s top contenders aiming for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships during its signature Fall Stars Weekend on the first three days of the season.

Among the most prestigious race meets in the country, Keeneland’s Fall Meet offers one of the richest purse structures in North America and attracts Thoroughbred racing’s equine and human stars.

Fall Stars Weekend will feature nine graded stakes, including five Grade 1 events anchored by the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) that are worth a total of $3.75 million. Eight of those stakes, including the $400,000 First Lady (G1) for the first time, are Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races that award the winners automatic berths in the Breeders’ Cup, to be held at Del Mar on Nov. 3-4.

“Keeneland is proud to once again offer an elite schedule of races that are key targets for the sport’s most accomplished horses and budding superstars,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “The level of competition between the nation’s leading owners, trainers and jockeys is unparalleled and is sure to thrill racing fans and handicappers alike.”

A total of nine Keeneland Fall Meet stakes are Breeders’ Cup Challenge events. The eight Breeders’ Cup Challenge stakes held over Fall Stars Weekend are the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1) (which awards the winner a berth in the Juvenile Fillies-G1) and $250,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) (TwinSpires Sprint-G1) on Friday, Oct. 6; Shadwell Turf Mile (Mile-G1), $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) (Sentient Jet Juvenile-G1), First Lady (Filly and Mare Turf-G1) and $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) (Filly and Mare Sprint-G1) on Saturday, Oct. 7; and $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) (Distaff-G1) and $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon (G3) (Juvenile Turf-G1) on Sunday, Oct. 8.

The other graded stakes during Fall Stars Weekend, also being run Oct. 7, is the $200,000 Woodford (G2) Presented by Keeneland Select, upgraded for 2017 by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. Keeneland added $50,000 to the purse of the Woodford, formerly a Grade 3 race.

The ninth Breeders’ Cup Challenge race at Keeneland is the $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) on Wednesday, Oct. 11. The race awards the winner a spot in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).

The Fall Meet’s sixth Grade 1 stakes, scheduled for Oct. 14, the second Saturday of the season, is the internationally prestigious $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

Blaise Brucato Completes Rare Back-to-Back Tournament Wins

 Ohio Handicapper Captures Grade One Gamble and Spring Challenge at Keeneland

 April 22-23, 2017

 In the storied history of Keeneland Race Course, many patrons have had memorable (and profitable) weekends.  We would venture to guess, however, that not many have equaled the weekend that Blaise Brucato just experienced at this venerable racetrack.

RoughlyKeeneland Green Logo 24 hours after winning the inaugural Keeneland Spring Challenge, a $400 buy-in tournament held on Saturday (4/22/17), Blaise topped that performance with a dramatic win in Keeneland’s Grade One Gamble, a $3,000 buy-in tournament that has become one of the most prized titles on the NHC Tour.

On Saturday, the Cleveland native bested a field of 258 players by hitting a $500 exacta on the last race, winning a $10,000 BCBC spot and $3,500 in cash.  Mike Maloney of Lexington captured 2nd and 4th places in the tourney, earning an NHC spot and $3,500 in prize money.  NHC qualifiers Paul Hoffman of Chicago (3rd place) and Mark Haidar of Northville, (5th place) joined lucky 6th place finisher Ali Aksoy of Toronto, who benefitted from the NHC rule that prohibits any player from scoring 2 NHC spots in one tournament. [AGOS Founder Rich Nilsen finished a distant 21st].

After winning the Saturday tournament, Blaise revealed that April 22 was his Dad’s birthday.  Bill Brucato introduced his son to horse racing at a young age, and even though Bill passed away in 1988, it is clear that his spirit and love for racing lives on through Blaise.

TheNTRA NHC logo incredible story continued on Sunday, as Brucato closed again in the final race, cashing a $250 exacta to vault past former NHC Tour champion Jonathon Kinchen by a mere $200 to claim back-to-back victories, with another BCBC spot, an NHC berth, and $13,000 in cash.   In the Grade One Gamble, a record 170 entries competed for 7 BCBC spots, 10 NHC spots, and over $40,000 in cash prizes.  The 2nd place finish by Austin, TX native Kinchen earned him a BCBC and NHC spot plus $6,500 in cash. Third through 7th finishers Bob Traynor of Oceanside, CA, Joe Kramer of Fargo, ND, Marshall Gramm of Memphis, TN, Randy Gallo of Palm Beach Garden, FL and Kenneth King of New York, NY all earned BCBC and NHC entries, in addition to cash prizes.

Brian Johnson of Biloxi, MS, Ali Aksoy of Toronto, ON and Mike Maloney of Lexington, KY finished 8th through 10th and earned a berth to the 2018 NHC, in addition to cash prizes.  For Aksoy and Mahoney, it was the 2nd NHC berth in as many days.

To recap the weekend, totaling his bankroll winnings, cash prizes, and BCBC/NHC berths, Blaise Brucato cashed for over $50,000.  Not a bad way to spend a weekend at Keeneland, and not a bad way to celebrate your father’s birthday.  Somewhere Bill Brucato has a wide smile on his face.

Final Standings for Grade One Gamble (with Bankroll)

  1. Blaise Brucato $8,434.00
  2. Jonathon Kinchen $8,234.50
  3. Bob Traynor $7,000.00
  4. Joe Kramer $6,546.80
  5. Marshall Gramm $6,493.50
  6. Randy Gallo $6,412.00
  7. Kenneth King $5,968.00
  8. Brian Johnson $5,780.00
  9. Ali Aksoy $5,590.00
  10. Mike Maloney $5,151.00

AGOS Horses to Watch – April 19, 2017

Complimentary horses to watch for AGOS (AGameofSkill.com) visitors

Aqueduct

4/8/17

Race #9 – #2 Tommy Macho – 7f dirt – G-1 Carter Stakes

Luis Saez had the call for Todd Pletcher. Trapped on the rail down the lane making his first start in 56 days. Saez tipped off the rail for clear sailing and tried to split runners in the final 1/8th. Green Gratto and Unified slammed the door shut and he didn’t make the gap. An inquiry didn’t help his case, but we saw there was some promise. I think we’ll see big things from this son of Macho Uno this year.

Keeneland

4/12/17

Race #7 – #4 – Alasaal – 1 mile on the turf

Joe Bravo in the irons for Kiaran McLaughlin as they brought this son of War Front to post. – He led all the way and set some pretty quick fractions. Down the lane Bravo tried to take his mount as far as he could and started weaving a bit down the lane. He drifted into the paths of some other runners and the objection sign hit the board. After a few minutes, there was no action taken. “Jersey-Joe” is a 4% winning rider on the turf, and that is not a true reflection of his ability on the sod. I’m looking for the speedster to take em’ to the winner’s circle at a square price.

4/13/17

Race #4 – #10 Major Force – 6f dirt

Javier Castellano in the saddle for Arnaud Delacour and they were sandwiched and pinched back badly at the start spotting the field at least 10 lengths. He made an “Arazi-like” move around the far turn making up a quick 15 lengths in a few strides. He began weaving in and out of traffic and his fast closing fourth is a promising sign. Hopefully we’ll see a return in the final days of the meet.

4/7/17

Race #4 – #1 – Roustabout – 1 1/16 dirt

Miguel Mena in the saddle for Al Stall. The Fair Grounds shipper is a son of Harlan’s Holiday and was in pretty tight at the 1/4 pole. Once Mena broke free he was beaten by a dirty nose right at the wire. If he comes back this meet go to the windows with both hands !

 

Keeneland

4/9/17

Race #2 – #6 – Our Girl Abby – 4 1/2f dirt

Jose Ortiz in the saddle for Mike Maker. Two-year-old daughter of Majestic Warrior had been training over the poly at Turfway Park. Her dam My Paige’s Jewel is 1/1 with her poly runners. She saved ground and commenced a bid earning the show spot. Look for her right back at the boutique meeting.

Race #7 – #5 – Plueven – 1 1/16 turf

Corey Lanerie in the driver’s seat for Phillip Sims. This son of Turtle Bowl was on the class drop and making his bid for the first time in four months. He made a strong move but came up a little leg weary down the lane. They’ll probably target Churchill Downs as he loves the Louisville sod.

Santa Anita

4/9/17

Race #2 – #3- Papaslilprincess – 1 1/16 dirt

Bryan Pena had the call and was fresh off the claim for trainer Steve Knapp. She is 6/14 ITM at SA, and was squeezed back at the break costing precious ground.

Race #4 – #5 – Tiz Jolie – 7f dirt

Tyler Baze in the irons fresh off the claim and blinkers off for this run. This son of Tiz Wonderful was making a 2nd start off a one month break and and hopped at the start costing the runner some needed ground. Better things are coming his way next time to the races.

Race #6 – #8 – Rocketann – 5 1/2f dirt

Santiago Gonzalez in the saddle making her second start of the year. She usually dukes it out with Cal-bred stakes runners and the welcome drop to maiden special weight looked good. She was forced three wide on the final turn and may have added to the ground she covered. Maybe a better trip is just what the doctor ordered and we’ll have a runner who can make amends for her last race.

Expert Selections for 2017 Blue Grass Stakes Card

Expert FULL-CARD Selections with Spot Plays

Rich Nilsen handicapperRich Nilsen, founder of AGameofSkill.com and one of the top tournament players in the history of the NHC, offers up his Spot Play and full-card analysis for Saturday, April 8th at Keeneland.  The analysis covers the full card, all 11 races at Keeneland on Saturday 4/8.  Nilsen provides selections for the 11 races including the 5 graded stakes on the card.  Wagering strategies are included for the 3 spot plays on the Keeneland card.

Each race offered includes Nilsen’s detailed pace scenario which explains how the race will set up.

Put an expert on your side as you attack Keeneland on Blue Grass Stakes day!

Only $9.97 for the full-card Keeneland analysis, incl. 3 spot plays with Wagering Strategies.

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Nilsen had a huge year in 2016 with his few, major race day selection sheets.  One of those days was the 2017 Travers Stakes card won by eventual super horse Arrogate.  Arrogate was fairly unknown at the time, which is why he went off at 11-1 for trainer Bob Baffert.

2016 Travers’s Day Recap:  Nilsen picks top selection Haveyougoneaway who upsets the G1 Ballerina at odds of 10-1!   Nilsen follows that score up by giving out top selection ARROGATE, track-record winner of the G1 Travers Stakes! Arrogate returned $25.40 to win for followers of the sheet.  Another top pick runs 2nd at odds of 17-1 in race 3 on August 27, 2016.

Testimonials:

“Great job, Rich!” ~ Jeff S.

“Rich: Nice job Travers Day! Thanks to Arrogate, you gave me a good day. How in the world did you land on him? I suspect you’re doing some kind of voodoo pace analysis. If you ever decide to give lessons or a seminar, let me know.” ~ Kelley S.

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

 

Korea Cup, sponsored by Keeneland, to feature top race horses

$1.54 Million Purse on the Line

The Korea Racing Authority (KRA) is providing a rare opportunity for people to witness the world’s greatest racehorses this Sunday as the country’s sole horse-racing operator inaugurates the Korea Cup at LetsRun Park Seoul in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province. The Korea Cup offers a purse of 1.7 billion won ($1.54 million), the highest prize in Korea’s horse-racing… [Read more…]

AGOS Horses to Watch – April 13, 2016

Horses to Watchfor AGameofSkill.com visitors

Keeneland

Baytown Turls (KEE 4/8/16 – Race #1 – #5 – 4 1/2f dirt) –  Jack Gilligan aboard, and his runner broke inward in his first outing. He immediately gathered up his charge and save ground along the rail. At 32-1 he looked to be saving gas in the tank for his next effort, but decided to finish up strong against the fence.  I think we’ll see improvement, and maybe he’ll wheel back in the short Keeneland meet or take his talents to Churchill for a mdn victory.

Handiwork (KEE 4/8/16 – Race #3 – #4 – 6 1/2f dirt) –  Jesus Castanon had the call, and had dead-aim on the leaders down the lane. He brushed a bit which could have taken him out of his game, but gathered his stride and finished up with gusto. – By the time they past the finish line he was three lengths better. Shipped in from Fair Grounds, and these travelers do well overall at the Keeneland meeting.

Converge (KEE 4/8/16 – Race #9 – #7 – 1 1/16 turf) – top jock Javier Castellano in the irons for Chad Brown in the Transylvania Stakes. He was aboard a nice son of Sidney’s Candy and was making up ground at a solid clip along the inside after being way off the front runners. Just as he set sail, his efforts were compromised by being squeezed off by the #1 – Inspector Lynlee.  This was his second off the shelf since October, and maybe Team Brown will roll him right back over the lush Keeneland green.  If you don’t see him in Lexington, I bet he’ll head up to the Belmont greensward.

Kundray (KEE 4/9/16 – Race #3 – #6 – 1 mile on the turf) –  Julian Leparoux in the saddle aboard a Distorted Humor filly. She was getting first Lasix, and comes from the Michael Matz barn.  This New York-bred came rolling last out and as she shipped in from Gulfstream Park. She appeared to relish the footing and should make for a nice playback on this angle. Team Matz will have her tuned and ready to roll next up.

Commend (KEE 4/10/16 – Race #6 – #6 – 1 mile turf) –  red hot jockey Jose Lezcano in the saddle for Bill Mott, and they were making their forst start on the grass. This son of War Chant settled out nicely and stalked just off the leader. Lezcano hit the gas and accelerated quickly to open up a few lengths, and was eventually run down by the chalk #10 – American Patriot.   They way he took to the green was promising, and Lezcano did everything but win on this runner.   Next out he’ll benefit greatly from this race and be a handful down the lane.