AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes – Oct. 25

Know thy Keeneland TrainersComplimentary Horses to Watch & Trip Notes for Agameofskill.com visitors

KEENELAND

TRIBULATION (Race 5 at Keeneland, Oct. 16, 2020).  Toss this start as this second time starter stumbled badly at the start.  It was his first start going two turns and as a son of Medaglia D’oro he is clearly bred for a route of ground.  Ran very well in his debut prior for trainer Dallas Stewart.

LITTLE BELLA (Race 10 at Keeneland, Oct. 16, 2020).  Paddy O’Prado filly has really improved since the barn moved her to the dirt.  Despite the rise in class she surged late to catch a nice horse who looked home free down the lane.  Although she can turf, she looks better on the main track.

PIMLICO

COMPLETED PASS (Race 6 at Pimlico, Oct. 1, 2020) – The Robert Bone runner broke a step slow in this 5 furlong turf dash in honor of the late, great Jim McKay.  He raced between horses early before unleashing a powerful late run to nearly catch the front-running winner.

GIGGLING (Race 8 at Pimlico, Oct. 1, 2020) – This filly tried to steal the race in a 5 furlong turf dash that was loaded with early speed but she faltered late over the yielding ground.  Look for her back on her preferred dirt surface, especially in a situation where she can get loose on the front end.

When is the Breeders’ Cup?

Keeneland clock racingIs the Breeders’ Cup Cancelled?

The good news is that the race goes on with the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.  The popular, annual event features purses worth over $31 million with race horses coming from all over the world to compete.  The dates are Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8 at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, KY.

The bad news concerning the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland is that, just like many other sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans will not be in attendance.

Top trainers with horses that will play a major factor include Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher and Aidan O’Brien.

Horseplayers can view all of the “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup prep race videos here.  Start handicapping now as the two cards are not easy to decipher.  Follow additional Breeders’ Cup news and notes right here on agameofskill.com

 

 

No Fans at Keeneland Meet which Begins Oct. 2

Keeneland black and white

copyright 2016 AGameofSkill.com

Keeneland announced that its 2020 Fall Meet, to be held Oct. 2-24, will be closed to the public due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Only a limited number of participants and essential personnel will be permitted to attend the live race meet.

Keeneland conducted its five-day Summer Meet in July without spectators but did allow a limited number of owners and essential personnel to attend.

“The safety of our employees, our participants and our fans remains Keeneland’s top priority,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “We have the most loyal fans in the world and we cannot wait for the day when we can welcome them back for live racing. The decision to close the meet to the public was made after consulting with local and state government officials and public health experts and monitoring how various sporting venues and events around the world have operated during the pandemic. With the guidance of these experts and lessons learned from recent events, we know this is the responsible course of action.”

“Sunday’s kickoff of the 12-day September Yearling Sale, which is followed by the Fall Meet, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and the November Breeding Stock Sale, marks the beginning of a significant three months of business for Keeneland and the horse industry as a whole,” Keeneland President-Elect and Interim Head of Sales Shannon Arvin said. “It is paramount that we conduct our sales and racing operations in a safe and responsible manner that promotes the health and success of everyone involved.

“We will remain flexible and vigilant leading up to and throughout our Fall Meet to ensure that we observe the most current health and safety protocols and respond to any changes in a timely and thoughtful manner,” Arvin added.

To combat the spread of COVID-19, strict compliance with the following health and safety protocols will be required for participants and employees while they are at Keeneland. Similar protocols were in place for the Summer Meet and are in effect for Keeneland’s current September Yearling Sale:

·       Individuals permitted to come onto the Keeneland grounds will be credentialed or ticketed in advance. Seating will be assigned and properly social distanced on race days.

·       Participants include those with a competing horse, including a limited number of owners and trainers. Keeneland also will allow limited access to sponsors, box holders and Club members.

·       Keeneland will not permit any general admission or walk-up attendees. Credentialed participants will be assigned a seat for the race day.

·       Keeneland will maintain records to allow for contact tracing.

·       Health screenings, including a series of questions and temperature checks, will continue at all entrance gates.

·       All individuals must wear a face mask and maintain proper social distancing while at Keeneland.

Keeneland Gets Approval for Short Summer Meet

“We are all in this together, and Ellis Park is pleased to work with Keeneland on a plan that benefits our horsemen and Kentucky racing,” Ellis Park General Manager Jeffrey Inman said. 

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Race Dates Committee has approved Keeneland’s request to conduct a spectator-free, five-day Summer Meet, to be held Wednesday, July 8 through Sunday, July 12, 2020.

copyright Rich Nilsen

Keeneland paddock (copyright All Star Press)

“Keeneland appreciates the quick response of the Commission to our request, and we applaud all their work on behalf of Kentucky racing during these unprecedented times,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “We also thank Ellis Park for their cooperation in this process and for making these non-traditional dates available to Keeneland. We look forward to sharing more details about the Summer Meet in the coming weeks.”

The latest news on the Del Mar Summer meet

Keeneland plans to host 9-10 races each day of the Summer Meet, and feature 10 graded stakes traditionally run during the track’s Spring Meet, anchored by the $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2) and $400,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), preps for the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1), respectively.

Source: Keeneland

What Wager won this year’s Keeneland’s Grade One Gamble?

Faron McCubbins Closes with a Rush to Capture Keeneland’s Grade One GambleFaron McCubbin Wins Another Big Tournament

Overcoming inclement weather and late changes to the contest landscape, Faron McCubbins of Mount Washington, KY hammered the 9th race at Keeneland with an $800 exacta on 8-10 that paid $28,560, resulting in an incredible final bankroll of $31,560 that bested 180 other contestants in the Grade One Gamble. For his efforts Faron takes home $35,000 in prize money, a fully paid Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge berth at Santa Anita worth $10,000, and an entry into the 2020 National Horseplayers Championship at Bally’s Las Vegas.

The day began with steady rain that caused all races to be taken off the turf; multiple scratches resulted in decimated fields. Contest management added 3 races from Gulfstream and 2 races from Aqueduct to the contest menu, and the changes resulted in a very competitive contest that was decided at the wire.

Long- time leader Dan Slattery of Bethesda, MD, who cashed for $19,000 on Gulfstream’s 4th race, was passed late by the huge play of McCubbins, but took home his bankroll of $18,449.80 plus $18,000, a fully paid BCBC spot and an NHC entry.

Stakes Action on Saturday

Know thy Keeneland TrainersMichael Tabor, Bridlewood Farm, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith’s Moonshine Memories heads a field of 14 3-year-old fillies and two also-eligibles entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 20th running of the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2).

The 7-furlong main track test will go as the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 5:30 p.m. ET post time. First post time Saturday is 1:05 p.m.

Trained by Simon Callaghan, Moonshine Memories won her first three races as a 2-year-old, including the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and Chandelier (G1).

The Lexus Raven Run represents her third trip east from her Southern California base. Moonshine Memories finished fourth in the Acorn (G1) at Belmont in June and in her most recent start was third in the Prioress (G2) at Saratoga on Sept. 2.

Mike Smith has the mount and will break from post position nine.

Oklahoma Classics Cup Night

If Shotgun Kowboy is going to make his mark on Oklahoma Classics history Friday night at Remington Park, he will have to defeat four rivals while breaking from the outside post position, number five, in the 1-1/16 miles event.

Shotgun Kowboy is attempting to win his third $175,000 Oklahoma Classics Cup, the richest event on the $1,000,000 Oklahoma Classics Night of stakes events for eligible Oklahoma-bred Thoroughbreds. Bred, owned and trained by C.R. Trout of Edmond, Okla., Shotgun Kowboy won the Classis Cup in 2015 and in 2017. A third victory in the race would put him alongside Mr Ross (1999-2001) and Zee Oh Six (2002, 2005-2006), as the only horses to capture the top event in the series three times.

Jockey David Cabrera receives the call on Shotgun Kowboy for the first time in the 6-year-old gelding’s career. A son of Kodiak Kowboy from the Siphon (Brz) mare Shotgun Jane, Shotgun Kowboy has earned $1,267,501 overall with 12 wins (seven at Remington Park), five times finishing second and another five races where he was third. He will make his 31st career start when he leaves the gate on Friday night.

Shotgun Kowboy is the first horse to win the Grade 3, Oklahoma Derby (2015) and then win the Oklahoma Classics Cup. The Classics series started in the fall of 1993, shortly after the legendary Oklahoma-bred Clever Trevor had retired. Clever Trevor is the only other Oklahoma-bred horse to have won the Oklahoma Derby, known as the Remington Park Derby in 1989, when he took the inaugural edition of the top event in Oklahoma.

Shotgun Kowboy seeks his fourth career victory in the Oklahoma Classics. He started his career in the state-bred series with a win in the $100,000 Classics Juvenile in 2014. Only four horses have won four or more Oklahoma Classics races in its history. Highland Ice won five Classics races with Notable Okie, Okie Ride, and She’s All In each winning four.

Shotgun Kowboy enters the Classics Cup off a third-place effort in the $175,000 Governor’s Cup behind Hence on Sept. 30. Earlier this year, Shotgun Kowboy, won the Grade 3, $200,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, defeating Mubtaahij, out of National Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s barn. Mubtaahij was the winner, by eight lengths, of the Grade 2, $2 million UAE Derby in Dubai in 2015. He then competed in the Grade 1, $2 million Kentucky Derby and finished fourth to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes that year.

Tuff Kid is among those trying to spoil Shotgun Kowboy’s party Friday night. Tuff Kid raced second, beaten 5-1/4 by Shotgun Kowboy, in the Classics Cup last year. He was fourth in the 2016 edition of the race behind winner Phantom Trip, when Shotgun Kowboy skipped the event.

Claimed on August 31 for $30,000 for new owner GK Racing of Driftwood, Texas and new trainer Karl Broberg, Tuff Kid is normally a deep closer in his best efforts and will add blinkers for the first time in his career for the Classics Cup. A 5-year-old gelding by Don’t Get Mad from the Wild Again mare Tuff Chick, Tuff Kid will be ridden by Ramon Vazquez for the first time in his career.

Hyper Drive is the only other contestant in the Classics Cup to have started previously in the race, finishing seventh behind Phantom Trip in 2016. Owned by Henry Thilmony of Minneapolis, Minn. and trained by Randy Oberlander, Hyper Drive last won on April 16 at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Okla. in a starter allowance race at the same 1-1/16 miles distance of the Classics Cup.

Making his first start in the Classics Cup will be Rowdy The Warrior, a 4-year-old trained by Donnie Von Hemel, the all-time leading trainer by wins in the Oklahoma Classics with 26. Also entering the race for the first time is Night Strike, a 3-year-old trained by Bret Calhoun who won an Oklahoma-bred allowance race at 1 mile-70 yards at Remington Park on Sept. 6.

The field for the Oklahoma Classics Cup by post position and program order, with trainer and jockey:

1. Night Strike – Bret Calhoun, Jamie Theriot

2. Hyper Drive – Randy Oberlander, Lindey Wade

3. Rowdy The Warrior – Donnie Von Hemel, Luis Quinonez

4. Tuff Kid – Karl Broberg, Ramon Vazquez

5. Shotgun Kowboy – C.R. Trout, David Cabrera

The Classics Cup is the sixth of 10 races on Oklahoma Classics Night and will start at approximately 9:25pm. The other stakes events during the evening include:

Race 1, 7:07pm: $130,000 Distaff Turf, fillies and mares, 3 and up, 1-1/16 miles (turf)

Race 4, 8:31pm: $130,000 OKC Turf Classic, 3 and up, 1-1/16 miles (turf)

Race 5, 8:58pm: $130,000 Sprint, 3 and up, six furlongs

Race 7, 9:52pm: $130,000 Distaff Sprint, fillies and mares, 3 and up, six furlongs

Race 8, 10:19pm: $145,000 Distaff, fillies and mares, 3 and up, 1 mile-70 yards

Race 9, 10:45pm: $100,000 Juvenile, 2-year-olds, six furlongs

Race 10, 11:26pm: $100,000 Lassie, 2-year-old fillies, six furlongs

The Primetime Pick 4 wager (races 7-10) on Oklahoma Classics Night will carry a guaranteed minimum betting pool of $100,000. The wager is comprised of all stakes events for the evening.

Source: Press Releases

There’s No Question Who the Best Real-Money Tournament Player Is

Tommy Massis relaxing back home at Woodbine

It’s This Guy

I was one of the guys who got crushed by The Hammer, the best real-money tournament player in the country.  Tommy Massis of Toronto is not only the King of Keeneland Contests but also the one to fear most in any real-money tournament.  On Sunday (10/14/18) in Lexington Kentucky, he placed a $1,000 win bet on 19-1 shot Bella Noire in Keeneland’s 4th race to claim another real-money victory at Keeneland.  Tommy’s winning total of $20,800 bested 2nd place finisher Blake Jessee by nearly $8,000.

Tommy loves Keeneland, with good reason.  He won the Breeders’ Cup Betting Championship (BCBC) at Keeneland in 2015, and this is his second win in a big Keeneland live money contest.  For his most recent victory, in addition to his final bankroll, he takes home $30,000, a fully paid $10,000 berth in the BCBC at Churchill Downs, and a fully paid entry plus expenses into the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas.

According to the Keeneland press release, Tommy played the tournament from the Green Room at Keeneland, and when Bella Noire stormed down the stretch he jumped up and declared, “You have a new leader!”

The $3,000 buy-in tournament drew 167 entries and awarded BCBC and NHC spots to the top five finishers, NHC spots to places 6 through 8, and prize money to 15th place.

Three years ago I got the pleasure of interviewing The Hammer, so check out the link below to view Tommy’s insight into his first real-money tournament score at Keeneland:

Interview with Tommy Massis

Months after this interview, The Hammer turned around and won the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Betting Championship (BCBC) by absolutely crushing the exacta in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.  A couple weeks later he won the Del Mar real-money tournament, taking down another grand prize and leaving his competition in the dust.

It was truly the year of The Hammer, and this past weekend proved that he is still pounding his competition, and making some men (like myself) look like boys.  Great job Tommy!

 

Did You Miss This Gem?

How to Win a Handicapping Tournament

Eleven Sires Dominate at 2018 Keeneland Fall Sales

copyright DarbyAmerica

With 26 yearlings selling for $1 million plus in the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, 11 sires with three or more sold in Book 1 accounted for 465 yearlings or 47% of the number cataloged in Book 1.

Is Horse Racing Dead?  Apparently not if the Keeneland sales in Lexington KY are any indication.  Check out the full Blood-Horse story below.

Source: Eleven Sires Create Book 1 Surge at Keeneland

Fall Keeneland 2018 Tournament Schedule

Keeneland painter photo by Richard J. Nilsen

copyright AgameofSkill.com

Continuing a long tradition of support for the National Horseplayers Championship and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, Keeneland is proud to announce the dates of two big handicapping tournaments during the 2018 Fall Race Meet.

On Saturday, October 13, we will conduct a live bankroll tournament, the Keeneland $400 Fall Challenge, a $400 buy-in with a live bankroll of $250 and $150 prize fund fee. Players will be able to wager any amount on any race at Keeneland, with no minimum wagers or minimum number of races. This tournament may be played from anywhere on the track; all tickets and admissions must be handled separately by the player. Please see rules here.

Based on an estimated 250 entries, one BCBC and four NHC spots will be awarded.

On Sunday, October 14, the prestigious BCBC-NHC Challenge returns, with a $3,000 buy-in and as many as 6 spots in the BCBC and 10 in the NHC up for grabs. This tournament will be held in the Lexington/Kentucky Room with the best seats in the house. This year we have use of the entire room, so your guest may sit with you, and the dress code has been relaxed to business casual; no more ties required! Please see rules here.

Entries became available online on August 13, 2018, and players registering for the BCBC-NHC Challenge may also enter the Saturday tournament with one process.

We hope that the Saturday tournament will complement the BCBC-NHC Challenge, and that many players will take advantage of the scheduling to compete in both tournaments and have a great Keeneland weekend.

Source: Keeneland

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

copyright AgameofSkill.com

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