Handicapping Tip of the Day #46 – When 4/5 is Value

Handicapping Tip of the Day

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

by Rich Nilsen

Day two of the Tampa Bay Downs winter meeting (Nov. 28, 2018) was pretty chalky with lots of favorites winning.  In the 3rd race on Wednesday a second time starter named Russian Roulette was 3/2 on the morning line.  According to the Ultimate PPs, her trainer Monte Thomas was a dismal 4% with second time starters, but he had plenty of ‘live’ runners among them with one-third finishing in the money.   He is also known for being very good with two year olds, in general, another fact offsetting that low win rate.

Russian Roulette looked like a stand-out in this field for several reasons.  First, she was coming off a nose lose in her debut at the same claiming level of maiden $16,000 but that effort came at Gulfstream Park West, a tougher circuit and one that produces a lot of winners at Tampa.  Secondly, she had earned a 70 BRIS Speed Rating in that performance, which was equal to the BRIS Par for the race.

Par represents the average speed rating for the winners at this level of competition for the track in question. When handicapping maiden races, it can be a wise decision to compare the Speed Rating Par to the ratings earned by the entries in their recent races.  In doing so, you can sometimes find opportunities like the one presented at Tampa Bay Downs.

Here was Tuesday’s field for race 3 at Tampa:

#1 My Heart Dominus – best figure of 38 in three starts.

#2 Valley Girl – best figure of 62 in three starts.

#3 Russian Roulette – ran a 70 when second in debut.

#4 Quickandwildcoco  – ran a career best 48 five starts back.

#5 Fooli – firster for 3% trainer with debut runners.

#6 Phyliss Driller – 0 for 6 maiden who ran a 71 on the synthetic track at Presque Isle Downs.  Her best sprint figure was a 60 in four attempts.

#7 My Little Rosie – improved to a 26 in her second career start.

Needless to say, this was an awful field.  The only two horses that looked like they had any type of chance against Russian Roulette were #2 Valley Girl and # 6 Phyliss Driller.  The problem with the #6 was two fold – she was a Presser which is the wrong running style in Tampa Bay Downs’ sprints, and her only good race was around two turns.  The #2 had three opportunities to run at or near Par, and she had not been close.  Eight points off Par is significant.

To make matters worse for her competition, Russian Roulette also figured to be the controlling speed in this field, as none had shown any type of early foot to challenge her.

So here you had a horse that was faster than everyone in the field, and the field consisted mostly of proven, bad horses.  She was the controlling speed over a speed favoring oval.  Despite her low maiden claiming class level, this daughter of Soldat deserved to be no higher than 2/5, and 1/5 would not have been unreasonable given her credentials against this field.

To make a profit in this game you have take the opportunities that are presented to you.  4/5 was a gift on Russian Roulette, and she rewarded her supporters with a 16-length drubbing of her six rivals.

copyright 2018 Equibase.com all rights reserved 

 

Have You Seen Our Other Handicapping Tips?

Tampa Bay Downs 2018-2019 stakes program

Many of the top Thoroughbreds in training are expected to participate in the Tampa Bay Downs 2018-2019 stakes program, which includes 28 stakes races worth a record $3.74-million in purse money.

The stakes schedule includes six graded races and a $1-million Festival Day program on March 9, highlighted by the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby for 3-year-olds. The announcement was made today by Tampa Bay Downs Vice President-General Manager Peter Berube.

Purse money for each of the track’s six Florida Cup Day races on March 31 has been raised 15 percent to $115,000, accounting for the $90,000 total increase from last season’s total stakes purse level. The additional money is in the form of win bonuses from the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA) through its Florida Sire Stakes program.

Tampa Bay Downs, which officially began its 93rd anniversary season on July 1, resumes in earnest with its Opening Day racing card on Saturday, Nov. 24. The 91-day meeting runs through Sunday, May 5, plus an additional day on June 30, which is the first day of the two-day Summer Festival of Racing.

Stall applications for the upcoming meeting are due Friday. An online application is available at www.tampabaydowns.com

New Tampa Bay Meet Begins Nov. 24

The barn area opens on Thursday, Nov. 1 and the track opens for training on Nov. 5.

“We’re excited to offer a stakes program of such outstanding quality to our horsemen and fans, featuring tremendous races for horses of both sexes and all ages on both our main dirt track and turf course,” Berube said.

“Trainers and jockeys have praised the consistency and safety of both surfaces, and as a result, we’ve been able to attract such superstars as Kentucky Derby winners Street Sense, Super Saver and Always Dreaming, plus champions like Zagora, Stephanie’s Kitten, Tepin and World Approval,” Berube said. “We are eager to help unveil new standouts this season.”

The 2018-2019 stakes schedule begins Saturday, Dec. 1 with a pair of sprint races on the immaculate Oldsmar turf course: the $100,000 Turf Dash for horses 3-years-old-and-upward and the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes for fillies and mares 3-and-up. Both will be contested at a distance of 5 furlongs.

The added-money bonanza picks up steam on Dec. 15 with four stakes. That day’s high-energy card includes a pair of $125,000, second-year stakes for 3-year-olds funded by the FTBOA: the FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes for colts and geldings and the FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes for fillies. Both are at a distance of 7 furlongs on the main track.

Also on the Dec. 15 program are the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes for 2-year-olds and the $100,000 Sandpiper Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, both at a distance of 6 furlongs on the main track.

Tampa paddock inspectionThe most lucrative card of the season is Festival Day on March 9, with the 39th Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, for Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve prospects, certain to attract national attention. The track’s showcase event is for 3-year-olds at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track.

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” Championship Series qualifying race, with 50, 20, 10 and 5 points awarded to the first four finishers toward qualifying for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 4 at Churchill Downs.

Other graded stakes on the Festival Day card are the Grade II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for fillies and mares 4-and-up at a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf and the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf.

Rounding out the million-dollar-plus afternoon are the $100,000 Challenger Stakes on the main track and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes on the turf.

Setting the stage for all that March 9 excitement is the track’s annual Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South card on Feb. 9. Three graded stakes are on tap, highlighted by the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, a mile-and-a-sixteenth test for 3-year-olds on the main track and the major local prep for the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.

The Sam F. Davis is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” Prep Season qualifying event, awarding points on a 10-4-2-1 basis to the top four finishers.

The Feb. 9 program includes the Grade III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes, for fillies and mares 4-and-up on the turf; the Grade III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes for horses 4-and-up, also on the turf; and the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-40-yards on the main track.

The Suncoast is a “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” qualifying race, awarding 10-4-2-1 points to the first four finishers toward qualifying for the May 3 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

The 17th edition of the aforementioned Florida Cup Day on Sunday, March 31 features six stakes races for Florida-bred horses worth $115,000 apiece, with three races on the main track and three on the turf and offerings for both males and females.

Tampa Bay Downs 2018-2019 season visitors should be impressed by a number of facility upgrades and renovations.

Members of the track’s Maintenance Department and outside contractors are in the process of installing a NuCore waterproof, vinyl plank floor throughout the Grandstand. Workers are also redesigning the main Grandstand entrance to enhance the ease of access and egress for patrons.

Tampa Bay Downs installed new AmTote International wagering terminals throughout the facility during the summer.

Source: Press Release

Florida Horse Racing: An Economic Study

“Florida has a robust equine industry with more than $6.8 billion total value added to the state’s economy,”

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Florida

The latest American Horse Council study pinpoints the Florida equine industry’s large-scale economic impact and industry officials are taking note. The $6.8 billion annual equine economic impact in Florida is up by 33% since the last study over a decade ago. The racing sector’s impact is up 47%.

“That’s significant,” said Lonny Powell, CEO of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owner’s Association. “Florida truly is a horse state. To many, the beach, sun, sand, and oranges are synonymous with Florida, but our state has been steadily adding equines to that list to hang our state’s collective hat on for some time. Equines are becoming a strong part of Florida’s brand.”

“A thriving thoroughbred industry is vital to the state’s economy and to providing world class entertainment to spectators from around the globe,” said P.J. Campo, Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group.

Campo added, “It’s significant that racetrack operators in the state generate $307 million in revenue and create over 1,200 jobs with purses in excess of $105 million. Our Miami-area operation, Gulfstream Park, is one of the gems in the racing world and its right here in Florida.”

Campo is referring to the world-class racing experience for both competitors and spectators and one of the world’s richest days of horse racing with the Pegasus World Cup.

“Florida has a robust equine industry with more than $6.8 billion total value added to the state’s economy,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. “As the third largest state in terms of equine population in the United States, Florida’s horse industry is vital to the state’s economy. The export of purebred horses from the state is one of our fastest growing sectors and shows the prominence of Florida’s horses worldwide.”

The numbers also reveal jobs are up by 8% from the last study conducted 13 years ago. Florida has been a proponent of state job growth, especially in recent years, and the employment numbers are important for an overall robust state environment. The labor-intensive industry provides jobs ranging from directly working with horses – including grooms, trainers and equine health practitioners – to a significant number of jobs that exist in the restaurant, hotel and hospitality sector thanks to racetracks and equine venues.

Thoroughbred horse sales, specifically the Ocala Breeders’ Sales, contribute strongly to the hospitality sector as buyers from as many as 49 states and 38 countries flock to the two-year-olds in training sales each spring. Horse sales in the state generated $156 million in revenue in 2016.

Tom Ventura, president of Ocala Breeders’ Sales said, “Since 2010, OBS has sold over 22,000 horses for more than $1 billion dollars to buyers from every state except Alaska and 38 different countries. OBS has become the destination to buy quality two year olds, accounting for nearly 70% of juvenile sales in North America.”

In addition to the sales, Ocala, Marion county, is recognized worldwide as the hub of thoroughbred breeding and training carrying the moniker, “Horse Capital of the World™” due to the number of horses of all breeds and world class equine events that are based there. About 15,000 thoroughbreds annually receive early training in the state away from harsh winters and frozen ground. The area is strongly supported by a concentration of equine services, such as leading veterinarians, researchers, feed and tack retailers, equine dentists, and major horse transportation companies.

“Anecdotally, we’ve known locally for a long time the significant impact of equines to our county economy. Our 2015 study commissioned by the CEP provided those hard numbers – a substantive $2.6 billion economic impact to the county. Having a national study that drills down to the state level just solidifies the growth we’ve been seeing in recent years ourselves,” said Kevin T. Sheilley, president and CEO of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership.

The latest study reports Florida is home to 387,078 horses with one in four being thoroughbreds in racing, competition and recreation. Thoroughbreds make up the largest segment of the horse population in Florida. Florida nationally is third in horse population behind Texas which is over four times larger geographically and California which over two times larger.

“With over 113,000 jobs and a robust $6.8 billion in total impact, equines continue to have a notably greater economic impact than our signature spring baseball training. The study clearly supports the train of thought that the Florida thoroughbred business, along with our entire equine industry, are not only worth preserving but supporting and growing as well. Florida is most fortunate to have such an industry and agri-business already well established within its borders just as we Floridians are fortunate to live and work here,” Powell said.

With the fourth largest growth rate in the nation, land is at a premium in Florida. Agricultural operations like equine production preserve a significant amount of land. The latest report notes land owned or rented for horse-related purposes has increased to 717,000 acres. The preserved land, mostly in Central Florida, provides rural opportunities for city-bound Floridians and opportunities for diversity of tourism in the state. The report covers figures as of 2016.

Last year, two Florida-breds, Caledonia Road and World Approval won Eclipse awards, the nation’s highest honor for thoroughbreds. They join the list of 52 national champions including six Florida-bred Kentucky Derby winners. Florida has had more winners of Kentucky Derbies outside of Kentucky than any other state. Champions include 28 Breeders’ Cup winners.

“It’s clear to see why the road to the Kentucky Derby begins here in Ocala, Horse Capital of the World™,” said City of Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, “ It is a major epi-center of the horse world and is part of our daily life here integrated into our hometown history, arts and culture. It’s not surprising the state numbers would reflect what we’ve known in Marion County for a long time, that the industry makes a significant impact.”

“The equine industry is a key driver of the local economy in Marion County,” said Kathy Bryant, Chairman of the Marion County Commission. “Ever since Needles’ triumph in the 1956 Kentucky Derby, we’ve proudly been the home to countless thoroughbreds who attract jobs and excitement to our community.”

Incentive programs offered in Florida are a key to the industry and have grown in recent years.

“Florida consistently ranks in the top two to three in foal crop annually. Incentives in the state from breeders’ and owners’ awards, to bonus money for races of all types give Florida-breds robust opportunities to earn more for their owners who have invested in them. The Florida Sire Stakes series promotes stallions standing in the state and gives FSS eligible Florida-breds going into the sales arena opportunities for their buyers to race in the prestigious series,” said Powell.

Hip 94, Pioneerof the Nile–Faith In Me, sold for $1 million at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Florida sale

Stephen W. Screnci, president of Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Inc., said: “It is very rewarding to see strong Florida numbers and with new incentive additions to racing meets, the economic impact should continue to further enhance our already strong all-year program here in Florida.”

Tampa Paddock

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

“We are continually seeking to enhance the state’s breeding and racing programs by providing incentives for horsemen to race Florida-breds at Tampa Bay Downs,” said the track’s Vice President and General Manager Peter Berube. “We also recognize the importance of Florida’s thoroughbreds and to attracting new investors in the state.”

Bob Jeffries, president of the Tampa Bay Downs HBPA, offered his enthusiasm for the study noting the cooperation of industry members to continue the growth of the industry.

“We have the largest stakes program in Tampa Bay Downs history currently. When the track, the horsemen and the Florida breeders work together as a team, good things happen for everyone. And good things are happening,” Jeffries said.

Powell added, “Our job at FTBOA is to promote, advocate for and enhance the economics of our state-wide industry at home as well as outside our state and national borders. This fresh American Horse Council study clearly demonstrates the importance of our mandate on behalf of the entire state industry. Our breeders, farms, tracks, owners, conditioners and equine professionals are top-shelf, which, along with our weather and quality of life, make Florida the greatest place to breed, sell, own and race.”

The industry is supported by Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services which creates a favorable business climate including no tax on stallion seasons, exemptions for horses purchased from original breeders and a breeding stock exemption. Feed and animal health items are exempt along with certain farm equipment. Property tax breaks are also provided to Florida’s horse farms.

New to the study was the addition of analysis of the impact and scale of equine retirement, sanctuaries, and therapy programs. These programs among other re-training programs give thoroughbreds that are no longer racehorses opportunities for second careers in horse sport competitions and recreation. These programs added multi-millions in impact, slightly over $114 million, compared to the billions in the racing sector, but their importance cannot be unscored enough in showcasing the versatility of horses in second careers.

Source: Press Release

Tampa Bay Downs Adds Spanish Section to Website

Press Release

Tampa Bay Downs is embracing its vast Hispanic audience by offering Spanish-language program pages, handicapping information, interviews and a daily podcast, called Tampa en Español, through a link on its website, www.tampabaydowns.com

The link will be managed by Luis Ocasio, a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering as well as a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico with a Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics.

Ocasio has worked for Hipodromo Camarero racetrack in Canovanas, Puerto Rico since 2001, first as the Director of a daily publication containing news and past performances and the TV racing analyst for local and simulcast racing, and as the track’s webmaster since 2010.

Camarero has not conducted horse racing since Hurricane Maria ravaged the main island in mid-September. Ocasio hopes to use his podcast to reach out to horsemen and racing fans who have moved to Florida since the disaster, as well as fans back home.

“Many Puerto Rican horsemen have brought their horses to Tampa. The podcast will give them a way to receive information they can use to follow the races,” Ocasio said Wednesday from his home in San Juan, P.R. 

Ocasio plans to present a 20-minute podcast for each day’s racing program. “We want to keep it lively, informative and fast-paced,” he said. “My analysis will be more oriented to the horse’s pedigrees, action and speed figures. Watching replays and more replays – that’s where the value is found, and Tampa is all about VALUE.

“The basic information will always be available, but I think there is a need to give people more than the horses’ names and numbers. Also, fan engagement and participation is a must,” Ocasio said.

At Hipodromo Camarero, Ocasio, whose father Antulio Ocasio has been a Thoroughbred owner for 45 years, was responsible for developing code for a content-management system website that enabled owners to monitor their horses’ medication and services consumption. He has also worked in catalog sales production, with Serie Hipica del Caribe‘s website, www.clasicocaribe.org , and for a tournament website.

His expertise in website development and his racing background promise to offer the best of both worlds to Spanish-speaking fans.

“There are so many Hispanics interested in horse racing, not only Puerto Ricans but people from Central and South America countries, which illustrates U.S. horse-racing’s evolving demographic structure,” he said.

“My hope is that we can give them a greater insight into beautiful Tampa Bay Downs, its sandy dirt course and spotless grass course, and its competitive horses and friendly people.”

Tampa Bay Downs to Offer Most Lucrative Stakes Program in Their History

Press Release

Tampa Bay Downs will conduct the most lucrative stakes program in its 92-year history during the 2017-2018 Thoroughbred racing season, offering a record 28 stakes races worth a combined $3.65-million.

Additional purse and bonus monies for seven stakes – including the Grade II, (now)-$400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby for 3-year-olds on March 10 – are being made available through Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association’s (FTBOA) stakes funding and sponsorships by the FTBOA’s Florida Sire Stakes program.

The lineup features a $50,000 increase in the total purse for the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, won last season by subsequent Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRABets winner Tapwrit. The Festival Day card will consist of five stakes races worth a cool aggregate of $1-million, a Tampa Bay Downs single-day first.

Tampa Paddock

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

The stakes schedule, announced by Tampa Bay Downs Vice President-General Manager Peter Berube, includes three graded stakes apiece on both the March 10 Festival Day program and the Feb. 10 Festival Preview Day presented by Lambholm South card, which is highlighted by the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes.

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and the Sam F. Davis Stakes, both contested at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track, are part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series, which awards points to the top four finishers in major races to help determine eligibility for the Run for the Roses on May 5 at Churchill Downs.

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby has produced the winners of three Triple Crown races. In addition to Tapwrit, Street Sense won both the Tampa Bay Derby and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands in 2007, while Super Saver won the 2010 Kentucky Derby after finishing third in the Tampa Bay Derby.

“Not only are we offering more stakes than ever, with more available purse money, our schedule include races for all ages and types of horses on both dirt and turf,” Berube said. “We are proud of our record of attracting horses capable of winning at the highest level of the sport and pleased to offer our fans such a high quality of racing.

“A lot of credit goes to our track maintenance staff, headed by (Vice President of Facilities and Track Surfaces) Tom McLaughlin,” Berube said. “Year after year, many of the top trainers who send horses here, as well as our locally-based trainers, have expressed their satisfaction at the consistency of our deep, sand-based main surface and the immaculate condition of the turf course and their desire to compete at Tampa Bay Downs.

“We also strive to position our stakes races on the calendar to give horsemen the best opportunity to prepare for other major races across the country, which creates a ‘win-win’ scenario for them and for our fans who love seeing the big horses in their backyard,” Berube added.

Joining the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on the March 10 Festival Day card are the Grade II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-an-eighth on the Tampa Bay Downs turf course and the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth, also on the turf.

The purse for the Hillsborough, won in 2016 by the subsequent Eclipse Award Champion Grass Mare, Tepin, has been increased from $200,000. The track’s Festival Day program also includes the $100,000 Challenger Stakes and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes, the latter on the turf, rounding out the million-dollar stakes cornucopia.

As mentioned, the Feb. 10 Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South card is led by the Sam F. Davis Stakes, which serves as the traditional prep race for the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and has produced numerous Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands starters.

Also part of Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South are the Grade III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward and the Grade III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward. Both races feature purse increases of $25,000 and will be contested at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf.

The lone non-graded stakes on the Feb. 10 card is the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, which features a $50,000 purse boost and has been added to the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” points series.

Churchill Downs added the Suncoast to the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” roster soon after Elate (the runner-up to Tapa Tapa Tapa in last season’s Suncoast) won the Grade I Alabama Stakes at Saratoga in August. Elate’s Alabama triumph marked the third consecutive year a Suncoast participant went on to win a Grade I event, joining 2015 Suncoast winner Include Betty and 2016 winner Weep No More.

A quartet of first-year stakes funded by the FTBOA will provide an additional $450,000 in purses for eligible Florida-bred horses. On Dec. 16, Tampa Bay Downs will play host to the $125,000 FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings and the $125,000 FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, both at a distance of seven furlongs on the main track.

Then, on May 5, as part of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands festivities at Tampa Bay Downs, two stakes will be contested: the $100,000 FTBOA Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings and the $100,000 FTBOA Ivanavinalot Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Both races will be contested at a mile-and-40-yards on the main track.

The Dec. 16 program is the track’s annual Cotillion Festival Day, which includes the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes for 2-year-olds and the $100,000 Sandpiper Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, both at a distance of six furlongs.

Cotillion Festival Day is a natural lead-in to the track’s Skyway Festival Day program on Jan. 20, featuring the $125,000 Pasco Stakes for 3-year-olds and the $125,000 Gasparilla Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, both at a distance of seven furlongs on the main track. Both the Pasco and the Gasparilla enjoy $25,000 purse increases.

The 16th edition of the track’s Florida Cup, featuring six races worth $100,000 apiece for Florida-bred horses, will be contested Sunday, March 25. The Florida Cup, which has seen such recent winners as multiple Grade I-winning star World Approval, offers three main track races and three turf races for males and females.

All told, the 2017-2018 stakes schedule features eight multi-stakes programs.

Tampa Bay Downs will open its barn area on Monday, Oct. 30, with training to commence on Nov. 6. The 2017-2018 season, which officially began July 1, is set to resume on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Sam F. Davis Analysis – 2017

By Rich Nilsen

Race 10 at Tampa Bay Downs, Sam F. Davis                  4:45 pm ET

PACE SCENARIO: Honest to fast pace with State Of Honor, donning blinkers on and the rail, and Wild Luck and Chance Of Luck all wanting the front end.  Sitting behind the trio will be Fact Finding. This track typically favors runners with tactical speed.

Spot Play? #3 FACT FINDING is a rare undefeated Todd Pletcher 3yo who is not the headline in an early Kentucky Derby prep.  That belongs to favorite McCraken, who I feel is vulnerable breaking from a bad post and spotting weight off the layoff.  FACT FINDING has crushed his competition in all three starts and trainer Todd Pletcher has tremendous success in recent years at Tampa Bay Downs. I look for this one to sit a perfect trip behind the pace before taking over and drawing off on the turn for home.  He’ll hold off the closers.

Selections:

1st-  # 3 FACT FINDING

2nd- # 7 Tapwrit

3rd- # 8 McCraken

4th- # 9 No Dozing

5th- # 1 State Of Honor

View some of Rich’s top recent highlights such as $25 Arrogate in the 2016 Travers!

AGOS Horses to Watch – Jan. 12, 2017

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes for AGameofSkill.com visitors.  A free horses to watch list

Aqueduct

12/17/16

Race #4 – Proud Lily – 6f dirt

First time starter and she brushed the starting gate at the break and was forced to rush up. Once the rider got her settled, she put in a game effort finishing a solid 4th. She’ll benefit from this race for future trips to the paddock.

Race #7 – Sir Alfred – 6f dirt

Jose Ortiz had his bumped around at the start and he rushed him up to grab a short lead. Ortiz settled him nicely, and he finished an honest 4th this day. – Good things are coming for this runner from the Todd Pletcher barn.

Tampa Bay Downs

12/16/16

Race #2 – High Pitch – 1 1/16 dirt

This filly shipped in from Presque Isle and stumbled badly at the start and was forced to take up off heels. She was heavily backed at the windows and sometimes it takes two efforts off of the synthetic to get acclimated to the dirt.

Race #7 – Dreamup – 1 mile and 40 yards

This daughter of Bernardini shipped in from Keeneland for the Eoin Harty barn. – Paco Lopez was on cruise control winning by 5 lengths and looked to have plenty in the tank. – Right back off the impressive win she deserves a playback at the windows.

 

Gulfstream Park

12/16/16

Race #1 – Eklipsado – 1 mile dirt

This runner jumped right to the lead and duked it out down the backstreet. He bumped his rival and  was DQ’ed from the win and placed second. Edgard Zayas was aboard and I love to play back a winner who was disqualified. They know how to win and I see the next effort firing right back.

Race #5 – Golden Point – 1 1/16 turf

Shipper from Churchill who was a beaten favorite this day. The hot hand of Antonio Gallardo was forced to go five wide and still managed a quick finish for the show spot this day. – Be on the look out for this runner as he’ll be sure to give you plenty to cheer about.

Race #7 – Break Away – 7 1/2f turf

Paco Lopez had his filly stalking down the backstretch when she clipped heels with another runner and lost the rider. She was backed heavily at the windows and she’ll be looking for payback next time out.

Turfway Park

1/1/17

Race #1 –Rocco Solid – 1 mile on the AW

Susan Anderson trainee was restless in the gate and broke poorly. He made up a heap of ground around the far turn and was bested by a nose in the shadow of the wire. – Just a clean trip for this guy and you’ll see something special down the lane.

Race #2 – Devil Alert – 6 1/2f on the AW

John McKee in the irons for Dan O’Hallaron. They shipped in from Fairmount Park and this mare was flat out rolling in the final stages of the race. The pace was pretty hot for this level and the next time you see her in the entries bet with both hands.

Race #4 – Que Hansen – 1 mile on the AW

Albin Jimenez aboard for Mike Maker and she did everything perfect except get beat by a nose at the wire. She was sent off the odds-on chalk for Dr. Kendall Hansen, and it looks like he is getting ready to have a great year with some talented runners in his barn.

Race #5 –  Fancy is My Name – 5f on the AW

Ten pound apprentice Shelbi Kurtz broke well and settled in nicely along the rail. Once she saw her mount didn’t have the speed to set the pace, she dropped over to the rail and tried to respond for minor awards. – Both horse and rider need a playback off this race, and keep your eyes peeled for this young and up and coming rider. She’s gonna’ do just fine and when she gets a leg up from her grandpa trainer Rick Jordan they

Turfway Park

12/31/16

Race #1 – Perfect Passion – 5f on the AW

Churchill shipper for Mike Maker was sent off the odds-on favorite, and she was circling 6 wide on the final turn showing good interest down the lane. She’ll mature nicely and Maker will have her ready to roll next up. – She is a three-year-old now, and I’m looking for good things to come from the red-hot Maker barn.

Race #8 – Belvin – 1 mile on the AW

Thom Drury runner had the services of Albin Jimenez back from Tampa Bay Downs for the winter. They broke from the outside post and this may not have worked to their favor. The Drury barn is known for getting a runner ready off an average effort and this one fits the bill perfectly. Finishing 4th going five wide into the final turn, and coming up short looks like a race to build on.

are looking for her first win picture. From two mounts she has a solid third place finish to her credit.

AGOS Claimer of the Week: Meteor strikes at Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa-Bay-Downs_groupon Moonlit Meteor stalked the early leaders, took command around the quarter pole and sped to an easy 7 length victory in the fourth race at Tampa last Thursday afternoon. Moonlit Meteor has been named the agameofskill.com Claimer of the Week. The chestnut gelding returned $5.20 to his backers once his tenth career victory was made official. The son of Malibu Moon covered the six furlongs in 1:10.61 while defeating his fellow $5,000 claimers. The 8 year old was ridden by Manoel Cruz and is trained by James Tsirigotis. Owned by Julie Perez, Moonlit Meteor has finished in the money (top three finishers) an impressive 17 times from 22 starts and has now earned more than $113,000 in lifetime earnings.

One Minute Handicapper for Gulfstream Park – Week of December 5th

Save time and let the One Minute Handicapper look for all the handicapping angles!

 

OMH Worksheets available for Gulfstream Park – Thurs., Dec. 6th – $5 for the full card.

Buy Now

OMH Worksheets available for Gulfstream Park – Friday, December 7th – $5 for the full card.

Buy Now

OMH Worksheets for Tampa Bay Downs – Friday, December 7th – $5 for the full card
Buy Now

Clever Performance named AGameofSkill Claimer of the Week

Claimer of the Week at AGameofSkill.comClever Performance, a gelding claimed three times in the last six months, sailed to victory with an excellent performance Saturday afternoon (1/21/12) at Tampa Bay Downs. Starting from the far outside, Clever Performance was heavily restrained by rider Ademar Santos for the first half-mile of the Mile and 40 yard contest. The roan gelding pulled his way to the lead at the quarter pole and when asked for his best at the top of the stretch Clever Performance cruised to the wire, holding off a heavily bet favorite and another late runner in the process. The four year old is owned by Juan Arriagada and trained by Anthony Pecoraro.  Clever Performance stopped the timer at 1:42.01 and paid a whopping $31.00 to win. The son of sire Da Stoops has six wins from 21 races and 14 in-the-money finishes with career earnings nearing $40,000. Clever Performance was purchased at OBS (Ocala, Florida) in 2010.

— Art Parker