Nilsen’s Travers 2017 Recap

6 Winners on TOP from the 13 races, including:

Two out of Three spot plays, both with winning exactas

$8.60 Hazit with $15.60 exacta (spot play)

$19.20 Profiteer

$6.00 Practical Joke

$4.30 Defrong with $43.60 exacta (spot play)

$3.20 Lady Eli

$15.60 Mohican with cold $56 exacta to close out the card.

Congratulations to the connections of West Coast on an impressive score in the 148th Travers Stakes.

Nilsen’s Full-card Belmont Stakes Analysis 2017

Download Rich Nilsen’s Belmont analysis here

with Wagering Strategies & Spot Plays by Rich Nilsen

Get the complete analysis of the 2017 Belmont Stakes with Nilsen’s value play selections for the big race.  There may not be a Triple Crown on the line, but just like last year, this is a tremendous betting race.   Speaking of last year, Nilsen gave out $34.80 winner Creator as his top pick as well as the huge exacta with Destin that returned over $260!

Three weeks ago with his Preakness day analysis, Nilsen gave out several winners including a $21.60 Spot Play (Best Bet) on the undercard!

Founder of, Nilsen is the winner of 6 major handicapping tournament and a 13-time qualifier to the multi million-dollar National Handicapping Championship (NHC).  There are a lot of pretenders out there.  Get affordable, expert advice for this year’s amazing Belmont Stakes card.

This sheet contains:

Top selections for all 13 races

Sophisticated Pace Scenario for all 13 races

Spot Plays (Best Bets) on the undercard w/ wagering strategies

In-depth Analysis of the Belmont Stakes.  Two Value plays keyed in Exacta, Trifecta & Superfecta strategies.

Get all 13 races on the Belmont card.  Download now for only $15.97 to any device.

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CREATOR lost his best chance when he broke from an inside post in the field of 20 and encountered a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby.  Prior to that he was ultra impressive, sweeping by the field in the G1 Arkansas Derby.  If you want to see an incredible maiden win, just go back and what this colt’s Feb. 27 score at Oaklawn, and you’ll again see the type of late kick this guy possesses.  Trainer Steve Asmussen has the son of Tapit working well for this rebound race, including a blowout 4f drill over the Belmont training track. Bred to run all day, Creator will drop back under new rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. and come rolling late at a big price. 

Testimonial from the 2017 Sheet:

“Hey Rich.. Thanks for putting me on Tapwrit !! I liked him and Gormley and Irish War Cry.

I think  #9 meantime had enough speed to compromise Irish War Cry. Have feeling that if he wasn’t in the race, Irish War Cry might have been loose on the lead ,and had enough to win.  I had Tapwrit straight & the exacta.  Tapwrit & Gormley both had “dream trips”, But Gormley didnt want to go that far… Hey !! let’s give some love to Disco Partner for his new North  American record for 6 panels. I had him straight  and also knocked down the exacta of 2-4 for $42.00… Hope you had a good day & made some cash !!
Thanks Again, 
Wayne M.

Nilsen’s Spot Plays & Stakes Analysis – Saturday, October 1st


Rich Nilsen handicapperSaturday is one of the biggest racing days of the year with major Breeders’ Cup races from coast to coast.  Tap into Rich Nilsen’s Spot Plays & Stakes Analysis for Saturday, October 1st and let an expert guide you through the day.  Nilsen has been on absolute fire with the few sheets he has put out this year for visitors.  Top winners includes CREATOR in the Belmont Stakes and ARROGATE in the Travers!

The stakes sheet includes the following 7 races for Oct. 1, 2016:

Churchill Downs  – Jefferson Cup (spot play), Ack Ack

Belmont Park – all of the graded stakes, excluding the 4-horse Turf Classic that features a 1-9 favorite.

Santa Anita – Rodeo Drive S., (spot play) the best betting race on the card.

7 Graded stakes covered, along with 2 spot plays.

RECAP:  One race was taken off the turf, leaving 6 stakes to play.  Nilsen hit with 3 winners including 2 horses paying over $10 to Win – Joking and Tom’s Ready.

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Only $9.97 for the PDF – instant download to any device.

Nilsen, a 12 time qualifier to the NHC and a 5 time major tournament winner,  has been on absolute fire this year.  Top winners includes CREATOR in the Belmont Stakes and ARROGATE in the Travers!

Saratoga Saturday 7/23 Analysis Now Online

Saratoga starting gateRich Nilsen’s expert analysis is now online for the first Saturday of the Saratoga meet.  This is Nilsen’s home track and he’s got you covered.  Nilsen, a 12-time NHC qualifier, gave out Creator and the monster exacta in this year’s Belmont Stakes, and every day he offers up solid picks and potential price horses at The Spa.

Friday’s Results (7/22):  4 TOP winners including the cold $100.00 late pick3 and $10.80 winner Sweet Loretta.

Saturday’s expert analysis includes selections for all 11 races, pace scenarios for every race, and 3 Best Bet Spot Plays.
Only $7.95
Full-card Picks with 3 Spot Plays
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PDF Download to your PC, phone or any mobile device.

Preakness Stakes Analysis & Spot Plays

with Wagering Strategies for Saturday’s Preakness (May 2016)

Horse-by-horse analysis – expert commentary on every runner in the big race

Recommended Win wager and Trifecta wagering plays

Includes Wagers for both a wet track and a dry track.

BONUS: Two Spot Play Selections for Pimlico, Saturday May 21, 2016

Get Rich Nilsen’s analysis of the 2016 Preakness Stakes including two spot plays on the Preakness Day undercard.   Last year, Nilsen scored with two of his three Preakness Day spot plays.  This has always been one of his favorite days of the year to play.   Nilsen used to work at Pimlico under the tutelage of Hall of Fame trainer King Leatherbury.

Preakness Day coverage includes:

Top selection, Contenders, Pace Analysis and recommended wagers

Two Spot Play (Best Bet) selections for the undercard – races 5 and 12.
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Download now to any device – only $9.97 for the 10-page report

Preakness 2016

Saturday’s Big Breeders’ Cup Analysis by Rich Nilsen


Get professional Breeders’ Cup insight from 10-time NHC qualifier and founder Rich Nilsen in this annual sheet.

Buy Now – Only $9.97 for all 9 races. Instant PDF download to any device with quick-and-easy PayPal payment

“In this brief but concise report, I provide selections for each and every Breeders’ Cup race, as well as pace and race scenario analysis which is critical 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!”

BC Logo for 2013   Last Year’ Highlights:

   Last year on BC Saturday, I was fortunate to give out TOP selections Trinniberg ($29.40, along with a  COLD $203.40 Exacta) and Mizdirection ($15.80), Groupie Doll, plus two underneath value plays, Tapizar and Fort  Larned, at $32.60 and $20.80!  

Click here for Saturday’s sheet

Click here for Friday’s sheet


How to Beat Saratoga!

By Rich Nilsen


Nothing like Saratoga racing in the summer

How can one possibly beat Saratoga, one of the toughest meets that handicappers will face all year long? The top barns converge on the beautiful upstate New York track every summer, and the money of horseplayers everywhere follows in droves. Pools are plentiful, but so are the contentious races. And it is those contentious races that can make Saratoga racetrack so difficult to beat.

I have been going to “the Spa” since I was a young boy. In fact the first trip I know of, there were a couple of two years olds by the name of Affirmed and Alydar running that day. My Dad liked Alydar. My Mom and brother, neither of whom knew how to handicap, were on Affirmed. I guess this was my first lesson that handicapping can be a humbling game.

Over the past several years I have skipped my trip to Saratoga and instead watched this fabulous meet from the comfort of my home. However, that is changing this year as I head back to Saratoga in August. I can’t wait! There is nothing like Saratoga racing in the summer. For a horse racing fan it doesn’t get much better.

There are several facets of Saratoga that every handicapper should know, and there are some strategies that I recommend for beating the upcoming 2012 meet or at least putting the percentages in your favor over 95 percent of the wagering public.

How the Tracks Play

On most days the Saratoga main track plays very kindly to speed horses. It can be very difficult to make a wide move on the turn for home, sustain that run and get up for the win. The predominant speed bias, of course, is more prevalent the shorter the distance, but on many days, the tracks favors speed in all of the dirt races.

However, there is always a range of days at Saratoga when the speed bias not only disappears but the track starts to strongly favoring closers. This is one of the most important times of the meet for the serious player. Catch on to this reverse bias early enough and you could “make your entire meet” in a matter of days. It will happen so keep an eye out for it.

In my opinion the two turf courses can be very inconsistent, especially from one year to the next. Just because the inner turf course favored closers in one mile races last year doesn’t mean that is going to happen in 2012. In general both turf courses give the edge to closers, but there are plenty of races and plenty of days when that is not the case.

Do beware of the inside posts in the now commonly-run 5 1/2 furlong turf sprints. The rail (one post) has only had four winners from the last 129 races. That is pretty remarkable; especially when you consider that every turf sprint features a horse breaking from the rail. Middle and outside posts are the best draws in this swiftly run races.

Winning Strategies for the Spa

Have a game plan. How often do we approach an important meet like this and we have no idea what we are hoping to accomplish and how we are going to wager from one day to the next. The overwhelming majority of players, myself included, oftentimes just shoot from the hip. We will make plays based on the races we handicap and “who we like.” We will make all sorts of bets, from straight wagers to stabs at the Pick Six.

The better choice is decide what your game plan is going to be prior to opening day. It is certainly fine to make various types of bets, but you may want to focus most of your wagering strategy on one or two bet types.  Maybe you are good at structuring Trifecta or Pick-4 wagers. Well, there you go. Having a game plan falls right into the next suggestion.

Pick your spots. This is the key to beating the meet. You are not going to finish ahead by the time Labor Day rolls around if you are playing every available race at the Spa. This simply isn’t going to happen, with rare exceptions.

Needless to say, this is good advice year-round for horseplayers but especially so for Saratoga due to all the contentious races. Handicappers looking to turn a profit over the 40 days have to pick their spots. Focus on the races you excel at and avoid the ones you typically don’t have a good handle on. You know what they are, so use that knowledge to your advantage. Or pay the consequences.

More Advice

Keep a horses to watch list starting…yesterday. Follow the action every day and take note of horses who were “up against it” for various reasons. It may be a typical Saratoga speed bias and you see a horse that made a strong wide, middle move only to flatten out in the lane behind the gate-to-wire winner. Or maybe it is a contender who breaks from the rail in a turf sprint and encounters a difficult trip as a result. There are numerous, valid reasons why horses don’t run well. We will offer any troubled trips runners we see in our FREE “Off the Charts” Trip Notes feature here at

Know the barns that win, and the ones that don’t. Typically, some of the best claiming barns during the other 10 months of the year (at both Aqueduct and Belmont Park) hit the skids when they come to Saratoga. There are exceptions to this rule, such as Richard Dutrow and Rudy Rodriguez, who learned his trade under Dutrow.

Trainer Chad Brown, who apprenticed under the great Bobby Frankel, may not be a household name, yet, but he has been the best trainer to follow and support over the past two years. Brown, unlike many trainers, wins at a high percentage in all types of races. Two of his best categories are runners making their second start off a layoff and claimers dropping in class.

Trainer Todd Pletcher is the leading horsemen and almost always over bet. Look for every opportunity you can to beat the Pletcher-trained underlays. Surprisingly, Pletcher has been very poor in turf races over the past few years, hitting only 14 percent. I don’t have the specific numbers, but can you imagine how many of his losers on the lawn were 4-1 or less.  Instead, look for opportunities to play solid grass trainers such as Chad Brown, Bill Mott, Linda Rice, Tom Proctor, Jonathan Shepard, George Weaver, both Dutrows, and Kiaran McLaughlin.

Keep an eye on the weather. There are few meets where Mother Nature can wreak havoc more than at Saratoga. If you are handicapping a day or two out, be sure to check the weather forecast before you waste time handicapping a turf race that might not happen.

If the races do come off the lawn, and the track is indeed wet, be sure to closely examine each horse’s record for their off-track performances. Horses with proven fondness for the slop or mud are the ones most likely to succeed on a wet main track at the Spa. Think long and hard before you wager your dollars on a horse that either lacks a wet track pedigree or lacks a proven record on that type of going.


You can enjoy the best meet in the country without wagering on every race. Pick your spots, be prepared and focus on your strengths. If the race is too tough, pass.  Sit back and watch as you may see a horse or horses to bet on later in the meet.

Best of luck!