Keeneland 2018 Spring Meet Has Near-Record Wagering

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Kentucky

Keeneland closed its 2018 Spring Meet on Friday with near-record all-sources wagering on Keeneland of more than $157 million, highlighted by an all-time single-day handle record on Toyota Blue Grass Day and driven by full fields of quality horses and competition among the nation’s top owners, trainers and jockeys.

All-sources wagering on Keeneland racing totaled $157,172,604 for the 16-day Spring Meet, held April 6-27, ranking just behind the record of $158,640,591 set during the 16-day 2013 Spring Meet, and a 14.39 percent increase from the $137,399,556 recorded during last year’s 15-day Spring Meet. Average daily all-sources wagering of $9,823,288 rose 7.24 percent from $9,159,970 in 2017.

Keeneland painter photo by Richard J. Nilsen

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Keeneland set wagering records for all-sources handle and Pick 4 and Pick 5 pools on Toyota Blue Grass Day, April 7. Total all-sources handle was $22,634,861, eclipsing the previous record of $21,736,983 set April 9, 2016. Wagering on the All-Stakes Pick Four ending in the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) totaled $1,065,002 versus the previous record of $733,800 set April 8, 2017. The All-Stakes Pick Five handled $899,196, smashing the previous record of $653,827 from April 20, 2013.

A rollback from the takeout increase in the fall of 2017 was favorably received by horseplayers as evidenced by the substantial increase in all-sources handle.

Keeneland offered an early Pick 5 wager with a 15 percent takeout for the first time this meet on the first five races of each race day, and it was an unqualified success. Total handle for the wager over 16 days totaled $4,104,850, an average of $256,553 per day.

On-track attendance and wagering were just shy of last year’s Spring Meet totals despite inclement weather for the meet’s opening two weekends. Total attendance of 250,475 was nearly even with last spring’s 252,247. Average daily attendance of 15,655 was just short of the 16,816 in 2017.

A record crowd of 28,307 basked in the sun on Maker’s Mark Day, Friday, April 13, to surpass the previous Friday attendance mark of 24,734 established April 2, 2010. On Saturday, April 21, 37,378 fans, the fifth-highest single-day attendance in Keeneland history, celebrated the season with an afternoon of racing.

On-track wagering this spring was $17,457,750 compared to $17,668,979 last spring. Average daily on-track handle was $1,091,109 versus $1,177,932 in 2017.

“This was an exceptionally successful Spring Meet in so many ways – from near-record handle to robust attendance and racing of the highest caliber,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “Mother Nature threw us a curve ball or two, but the sometimes inclement weather never dampened the tremendous enthusiasm of our fans. We are extremely grateful to the community, our horsemen and corporate partners for their tremendous support throughout the spring.”

Source: Keeneland

“Off the Charts” Horses to Watch and Trip Notes – May 10, 2018

the Big A race horseKEENELAND

RIVERBOAT GAMBLER (Race 2 at KEE, 4/18/18) – this first timer by the speedy Justin Phillip was put in a difficult spot breaking from the rail going 7 furlongs in his debut.  Despite those obstacles the Barbara Minshall runner ran very well and got for second behind a runaway winner. He’s owned by Bruce Lunsford who has had a lot of talented runners.

PARX

SPARTAN PRIDE (Race 9 at PRX, 5/7/18) – rallied strongly against the bias and against a slow pace scenario to just miss in this claiming route race to the logical winner.  This was his second consecutive unlucky trip.  Impressive effort.

CHURCHILL DOWNS

WONDER GADOT (Race 11, KY Oaks, CD 5/4/18) – 3yo daughter of Medaglia D’oro ran a huge race behind the Brad Cox beast.  Looked like she had the winner collared in mid stretch but that one fought back gamely to win the G1 Kentucky Oaks.  This Mark Casse runner is bread to run all day, and she will be very tough to beat next time out.

BACKYARD HEAVEN (Race 8, CD 5/4/18) – trainer Chad Brown has a real nice one on his hands (what else is new?).  This 4yo son of Tizway stepped up from bottom allowance company and won the G2 Alysheba so easily.  He looks like he is going to be a major player in the handicap ranks this year.

BUGLE NOTES (Race 3, CD 5/4/18) – trainer Todd Pletcher debuted this 3yo son of Ghostzapper and the colt had every reason to lose.  He broke slowly and then raced wide on the backstretch, but then he made a menacing move to take the lead and draw off as much the best.  He is out of a Seeking The Gold mare who has produced two stakes from four foals to race.

“Off the Charts” Horses to Watch and Trip Notes – April 29, 2018

track announcer with binocularsGULFSTREAM PARK

OPTIMISTIC SHOT (Race 5 at GP, 4/20/18) – Trappe Shot made a nice run at the winner who got away with a slow pace in this 7 furlong sprint. Never gave up en route to a solid 2nd place finish for a high percentage barn.  This was a winning effort.

KEENELAND

SPIKES SHIRL  (Race 8 at KEE, 4/12/18) – Dallas Stewart runner appreciated the return to sprinting and getting the blinkers back on. The daughter of Speightstown unleashed a powerful late run to score the 11-1 upset in this entry level allowance race.  She’s best sprinting.

OAKLAWN PARK

CITY OF LIGHT (Race 10 at OP, 4/14/18) – this four year old son of Quality Road is probably the best miler in the country but he had little trouble stretching out to 9 furlongs in taking the G2 Oaklawn Handicap.  Post 11 and first start outside of California was no problem for the Mike McCarthy runner.

MAGNUM MOON (Race 11 at OP, 4/14/18) – The G1 Arkansas Derby winner was most impressive.  He faced pressure throughout, put away a solid horse in Quip (who did re-rally) and drew off in the stretch.   The drifting out is little concern to me.  Undefeated Malibu Moon runner will attempt to break the ‘Apollo curse’ in Kentucky Derby 144.

“Off the Charts” Horses to Watch and Trip Notes – April 21, 2018

Tampa Paddock

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

GULFSTREAM PARK

VIOLENT WAVE (Race 5 at GP, 4/6/18) – 3yo daughter of Violence closed willingly and sneaky good to just miss 2nd in a race won by the favorite.  Trainer Kathy Ritvo never has her firsters cranked up to win in their debut (5% win rate) so this was a very noteworthy effort by the well-bred filly.  Displayed some talent in the mornings, as well.

KEENELAND

ELECTRIC  FOREST (Race 3 at KEE, 4/7/18) – well bred firster was bet down to 5/2.  She broke slowly from the outside post and raced wide on the backstretch.  That didn’t stop this daughter of Curlin from continuing on in the lane and running down a frontrunner who had a great trip.  Big future ahead.

ANALYZE IT (Race 9 at KEE, 4/6/18) – what a surprise.  Trainer Chad Brown has another superstar turf horse in the making.  This 3yo son of Point Of Entry made easy work of a very good Grade 3 stakes field in his comeback race.  He has now won all three career starts by open lengths.  Total beast.

WHEATFIELD (Race 8 at KEE, 4/6/18) – this six year old mare was well meant on the drop in class and shipping in from Fair Grounds.  Jockey Luis Saez didn’t anticipate the trouble this one would encounter down the lane.  She was badly shut off and lost all chance at the 1/8th pole.  Needs pace to close into but she can rebound in the right spot.  She’s best at 6 furlongs and against non-graded stakes or allowance company.

ALMITHMAAR (Race 7 at KEE, 4/6/18)  – gelded son of Tapit for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin ran a bang-up race second time out and appears to have a bright future for Shadwell Stables.  Wouldn’t be surprised to see this guy in stakes company in the future.

DANCELAND (Race 8 at KEE, 4/11/18) – sneaky terrible trip on this layoff returnee for trainer Shug McGaughey.  This daughter of Tapit had “run” but was never given a chance to get into the clear and unleash her finish.  A winner last summer at Saratoga, she ended up well beaten in an effort that can be easily excused.  Moves forward second start back.

LADY APPLE (Race 2 at KEE, 4/12/18) – 2yo daughter of star Curlin, out of a Clever Trick stakes placed mare, ran a winning race but was second best behind the well-meant Wesley Ward firster Dragic.  Great pedigree and solid barn.  Should be very tough in second career start, pretty much anywhere.

 

“Off the Charts” Horses to Watch and Trip Notes – April 12, 2018

GULFSTREAM PARK

FERDINANDA (race 5 at GP, 3/31/18 FL Derby Day) – this daughter of Giant’s Causeway is a nose away from being three for three since trainer Barclay Tagg added Lasix.  Facing stakes company for the first time she flew home to just miss by a bob to the wire-to-wire winner who benefited from modest fractions.  This one will be tough next time out on the lawn.

STYLE ICON (race 7 at GP, 3/31/18) – trainer Graham Motion has a nice one in this Tampa shipper.  She was the only runner to close in this race and she encountered lots of trouble en route to her third place showing behind the Pletcher trainee.  The daughter of top turf sire Artie Schiller has finished well in both career races.

RHODE ISLAND (race 9 at GP, 3/31/18) – well meant second time starter on the grass for Shug McGaughey lost his best chance at the very start of this race.  He never gave up and continued on well.  This was only his second race and his first with blinkers on.  Half to four turf winners.

REP IPSA (race 10 at GP, 3/31/18) – despite her first race since October and facing a solid group in the G3 Honey Fox, this 5yo mare finished like a shot to just miss to the talented Lull, who took this field gate to wire.  Daughter of English Channel could be set for a strong year for Ian Wilkes.

KEENELAND

TRUE SAINT (Race 1 at KEE, 4/6/18) – the first race of the spring meet featured an impressive performance from this Bret Calhoun two year old.  The colt was steadied as they turned for home behind the even-money Wesley Ward frontrunner.  Lost nearly two lengths in momentum and then re-rallied to run that rival down in the late stages.  A lot of professionalism and talent from this baby.

Monomoy Girl the One to Beat in G1 Ashland Stakes

Press Release

Monomoy Stables, Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables’ Monomoy Girl has been installed as the 4-5 favorite in a field of seven 3-year-old fillies entered for Saturday’s 81st running of the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) at Keeneland.

The 1 1/16-mile main track test offers 170 points toward the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) to be run May 4 at Churchill Downs with 100 going to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 to third place and 10 to fourth. The Oaks is limited to the top 14 point earners that pass the entry box and currently the cut line is 21 points.

The Central Bank Ashland, one of five graded stakes races Saturday, will go as the ninth race on the 11-race program with a 5:45 p.m. ET post time. First post time Saturday is 1:05 p.m.

Trained by Brad Cox and to be ridden by Florent Geroux, Monomoy Girl has won four of five career starts. In her lone 2018 outing, she won the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds on Feb. 17. Monomoy Girl’s only defeat was a runner-up finish by a neck in the Golden Rod (G2) in November at Churchill Downs.

Monomoy Girl will break from post position one.

copyright Rich Nilsen

Keeneland paddock (copyright All Star Press)

Second choice on the morning line at 2-1 is Magdalena Racing, Gainesway Stable and Harold Lerner’s Eskimo Kisses. Runner-up in the TwinSpires Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) in her most recent start on March 24, Eskimo Kisses will break from post position two. She is trained by two-time Central Bank Ashland winner Kenny McPeek and will be ridden by Corey Lanerie.

Lanerie is one of five riders to have won the Central Bank Ashland three times. A victory Saturday would make him the first to win the race in three consecutive years. Lanerie won with Hooh Why in 2009,Weep No More in 2016 and Sailor’s Valentine in 2017.

Other graded stakes winners in the field include Craig Upham’s Patrona Margarita and Don Alberto Corp.’s Andina Del Sur.

Trained by Bret Calhoun, Patrona Margarita won the Pocahontas (G2) in September at Churchill and did not return to the races until February when she finished fourth behind Monomoy Girl in the Rachel Alexandra. Patrona Margarita will be ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. and break from post position three.

Trained by Tom Albertrani, Andina Del Sur will be making her main track debut Saturday. Winner of the Florida Oaks (G3) in her most recent start, Andina Del Sur has raced exclusively on turf in her four-race career. Julien Leparoux has the mount and will break from post position five.

The field for the Central Bank Ashland, with riders and morning-line odds, from the rail out is: Monomoy Girl (Geroux, 4-5), Eskimo Kisses (Lanerie, 2-1), Patrona Margarita (Hernandez Jr., 15-1), C. S.Incharge (Luis Saez, 10-1), Andina Del Sur (Leparoux, 6-1), Ipanema Beach (Chris Landeros, 20-1) and Tyfosha (Irad Ortiz Jr., 15-1). All starters will carry 121 pounds.

Betting at Keeneland or on the Kentucky Derby? See what goes into setting the odds.

Man studying racing paper trackside before races.

Betting at Keeneland or on the Kentucky Derby? See what goes into setting the odds.

Lexington Herald Leader Full coverage

Source: Betting at Keeneland or on the Kentucky Derby? See what goes into setting the odds.

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