Sterling Silver points to Grade 1 Madison after Tampa Bay Downs triumph

Mark Anderson’s multiple graded stakes-placed New York-bred Sterling Silver returned in style from a more than three-month layoff Saturday when capturing the seven-furlong Manatee Handicap versus older fillies and mares by a head at Tampa Bay Downs.

Trained by Tom Albertrani, Sterling Silver kicked off her 5-year-old campaign with an impressive closing finish, and was awarded a 91 Beyer Speed Figure in victory.

“It was a really good effort. She really had to work at it, being trapped inside until the last quarter,” said Albertrani. “She had no running room at all until she got just past the quarter pole and managed to wiggle out of there to come with a strong run late.”

After breaking from the inside post and sitting sixth-of-seven through the first half-mile, Sterling Silver saved ground on the inside in the turn before getting a perfectly-timed cue from regular rider and Hall of Famer Javier Castellano to collar pacesetter Poiema right at the wire.

The Cupid gray exited the race in good order and will now have her sights set on the Grade 1 Madison sprinting seven furlongs on April 6 at Keeneland.

“She had a great gallop out and it was basically just a prep race,” said Albertrani. “She ran exactly how we would want her to – I think she could’ve even won a little easier. Now we’ll go to the next step. It looks like her best distance is six to seven furlongs.”

tampa bay downsBefore her respite, Sterling Silver tried a turf sprint, finishing fourth in the Autumn Days on November 17 at Aqueduct. The experiment followed a pair of two strong stakes performances at 6 1/2 furlongs over the main track in October when capturing the state-bred Iroquois and crossing the wire first in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom. She was subsequently disqualified from the latter due to interference in the stretch run.

“The owner hadn’t seen her in a while, Mark Anderson was at the races yesterday and said how much better she looks this year,” Albertrani said. “She has filled out and is carrying more muscle tone, a little more weight on her, and physically she couldn’t look any better. Hopefully as a five-year-old, she will have a good year now.”

Bred in the Empire State by Mallory Mort and Karen Mort, Sterling Silver was a $13,000 purchase at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase. She now boasts 20-7-3-3 record and $692,988 in purse earnings with other state-bred stakes scores as a sophomore in Belmont’s Bouwerie and the Big A’s Franklin Square.


FREE Pace Chart for Saturday, March 12 – Tampa Bay Derby Day

Pace makes the race!

Saturday is the big day of racing at Tampa Bay Downs.  Rain is expected most of the morning so please check conditions. Utilize this complimentary pace chart to help you envision how each of the races will set up in each race on March 12, 2022.   Always remember to wager within your comfort level and pick your spots. Best of luck!

Tampa Bay Derby Day – March 12, 2022
Race 1 Expected Pace Leaders Stalkers Mid-Pack Closers Unknown
7.00 Furlongs / Dirt Honest *2 4-1 5-3-6
Race 2
6.50 Furlongs / Dirt Slow 6-5 4-2 7-1-3
Race 3
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Unknown 8 5-4-2 6-9-1-12 11 3-7-10-13
Race 4
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Honest/Fast 3-9 1-10-8 13-5-2-7 4-11-6-14-12
Race 5
8.18 Furlongs / Dirt Slow 7 1-6-4-8 2 5 3
Race 6
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Unknown 2 5-10-11 12 3-4-1-6-7-8-9-13
Race 7
9.00 Furlongs / Turf Honest 3 4-9 1-2-6 5-7-8
Race 8
8.50 Furlongs / Dirt Honest/Fast 1 8-7-5 9-10-4-3 6-2
Race 9
8.50 Furlongs / Turf Slow/Modest 7 5-1 6-2-9 4-8 3
Race 10
8 Furlongs / Turf Fast 2-5 7-10-3 4-8-1-9 6
Race 11
8.50 Furlongs / Dirt Fast 4 2-1-5 8-9-7-3 10-6-11-12
Race 12
8 Furlongs / Turf Fast 7 4-3-8 2-6-11-5 12-13-9-14 1-10

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Tampa Bay Downs Pace Chart for Opening Day – Wed., Nov. 24

Pace makes the race!

Utilize this complimentary pace chart to help you envision how each of the races will set up on opening day at Tampa Bay Downs, Wednesday, November 24, 2021.   Wager within your comfort level, pick your spots and best of luck!

Tampa Bay Downs — Nov., 24, 2021
Race 1 Expected Pace Leaders Stalkers Mid-Pack Closers Unknown
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Honest *1 8-5 4-6-7 2-9-3
Race 2
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Modest 10 4-1-12 8-6-3-2 11-13-7-14-9 5
Race 3
8 Furlongs / Turf Slow 4-10 3-5-8 12-2-6-11 9-13-1 7
Race 4
7.00 Furlongs / Dirt Modest 6-7 2-13 10-4-5-12 1-3-11-9-14-8
Race 5
8.50 Furlongs / Turf Modest 2-4 7-3-1 6-10-5-8 9
Race 6
7.00 Furlongs / Dirt Modest 2 10-6 7-3-4-9-8 1-5
Race 7
8.50 Furlongs / Turf Honest/Fast 3-2-4 1-9 5-10-8 7-6
Race 8
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Fast *4 2-3-1 7-9-10-5 6-8-11
Race 9
8 Furlongs / Turf Modest 8 7-3-4-2 6-1-11 5-10-9-13-12-14



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AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes – Feb. 1

track announcer with binocularsCheck out our AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes for visitors


PARTNER’S HOPE (Race 2 at Gulfstream Park, Jan. 23, 2021) – This was a live longshot tabbed by my buddy Justin Dew over at  Unfortunately, the 11-1 shot was ridden by Corey Lanerie, who gives more bad rides than a 10lb bug boy.  The maiden runner began to make a huge move heading into the far turn when Lanerie rode him up on the heels of a horse, causing a hard steady and loss of 2-3 lengths in precious momentum.  He re-rallied on the inside down the lane was only beaten over  a length for all the money.  Look for this More Than Ready colt on the dirt or turf with – hopefully – a different rider up next time.

TWICE TOO MANY (Race 6 at Gulfstream Park, Jan. 28, 2021) – This well bred first time starter from the Bryan Lynch barn was bet down to 4/5 after the late scratch of the favorite.  The 3yo son of the speedy The Big Beast is bred to win early.  He’s a half a millionaire Patternrecognition, along with several other early winners.  In his debut here he broke in 4th and then moved up between horses on the far turn but the winner for Mark Casse ran away from the field.  He’ll move forward off this start and win soon for Lynch.


HIDDEN SCROLL (Race 7 at Oaklawn Park, Jan. 24, 2021) – This ‘over hyped’ runner who has simply never lived up to the reputation that he garnered early in his career.  However, over the winter he moved into the barn of potent trainer Brad Cox, who as we say ‘has the Midas touch.”  He returned in a 6 furlong allowance race in the mud and had a less than ideal trip.  He was shuffled back early and then steadied briefly on the backstretch, all the time with the jock half standing up in the irons.  His feet were on the dashboard, indicating his mount was loaded for bear.  When asked, Hidden Scroll swept up 5 wide on the turn and then cruised  to an easy score.  Next up a return to stakes company.


SUCCESSFUL LEGACY (Race 3 at Tampa Bay, Jan. 9, 2021) – 3yo filly making third lifetime start and only 2nd on the dirt looked like a winner in deep stretch but was run down by her stablemate.  Gerald Bennett runner can dirt or turf.

JOE MAN JOE ( (Race 6 at Tampa Bay, Jan. 9, 2021) – The son of Uncle Mo closed like a freight train in his maiden breaking win at Tampa early in the meet, and then came back here to run a very nice 2nd on the turf behind a well meant Michael Trombettea runner that shipped up from Gulfstream Park.    Figures tough at 1x level on dirt or turf next out.

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes – May 31

AGOS Free Horses to Watch & Trip Notes, compliments of  Put these runners in your stable mail notification service.


PLEASANT ORB (Race 10 stakes @Gulfstream, May 15, 2020) – Another bonehead ride from Jersey Joe Bravo.  He ran this 3yo daughter of Orb right up on the heels of horses on the far turn, causing her to steady and lose precious momentum.  She altered course, swinging out but her finish was too late.

Tampa Paddock

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


PALACES DIAMOND (Race 4 @TAM, May 20, 2020) – 2nd time starter finished well against the grain of the track that was kind to early speed.  It was also her first start in a couple of months, so she can move forward and into the winner’s circle next out.

CELESTIAL ORB (Race 8 @TAM, May 27, 2020) – This was the lone dirt sprint on the card, which is kind of unusual at Tampa or any track.  This 3yo filly got off to a rough start and raced wide but rallied well into the prevailing bias to get up for 2nd.

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes – May 21

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Golden gate turf breakGOLDEN GATE FIELDS

LIVE IT WELL (Race 7 @Golden Gate, May 14, 2020) – strange ride from one of the top local jockeys, Frankie Alvarado.  She was blocked inside and never really given the chance to run her best. Alvarado gave her a 10lb bug boy ride.   Vronsky filly loves the grass and can win back in a similar spot.

FRENCH TUDOR (Race 8 @Golden Gate, May 14, 2020) – this debut runner was looking to make it three firsters in a row for  trainer Sherrie Monroe and DP Racing.  She made a strong, steady run after breaking from the far outside 10 post and just missed getting up for third in a sneaky good performance.   This was a pretty competitive field won by a Ron Ellis firster.

Art Parker’s look at what horse racing can do during the Covid-19 pandemic.



CHARMAINE’S MIA (Race 10 at GP, May 8, 2020) – The Factor filly ran a really strong 2nd to R Happy Ending, the logical winner of this race for Baxter.  Edgar Zayas, who rode her to her last win at 12-1, was aboard.  Fits at optional 2x, $50,000 claiming level sprinting.  Prefers 5f.



OH MARVELOUS ME (Race 6 @Santa Anita, May 15, 2020) – Finished strong in first start for Mark Glatt barn to get up and defeat a competitive field of $25,000 claimers.  Emerald Downs stakes winner has some back class.



PREPARE FOR GLORY (Race 7 @Tampa, May 9, 2020).  This first time starter from a 0% debut barn drew the rail to boot, which is very tough on a debut runner in general.  The 3yo gelding closed sneaky well for third behind the top 2 betting choices that laid over this field.  Can move forward off this for sharp Jordan Blair outfit.

LIL B QUICK (Race 5 @Tampa, May 9, 2020) – 5yo mare figured to be tough in this $6,250 open claimer but she suffered a trip with multiple excuses.  Managed to get 4th in a sneaky good performance.  Watch back.

Handicapping Tip #52 – Prepare for the 2yos

The New Normal. It Could Work Everywhere

How could the tracks that have raced without spectators make it work so well when others ran into the corner with fear?

COVID-19 and horse racing


About a month ago I whined about so many tracks not following the lead set by Tampa Bay Downs, Gulfstream, and especially Oaklawn Park regarding the coronavirus. These tracks and a couple of smaller ones carried on racing without spectators. My complaint was simple. If we race without patrons very little will be different than the days when there is no racing at all. Open the doors, be diligent with all precautions regarding the coronavirus, let the patrons play online, and let’s run.

Part of my reasoning is that we already have 85%-90% of our handle from online wagering, or so I am told by several experts. There is no doubt in my mind that this percentage will only increase in the future. One thing for sure, right now, relying upon online wagering is the only option.

Tampa Bay Downs grandstand copyright


Just consider the following two excerpts I read the other day. First from America’s Best Racing: “Records shattered-On April 18, Oaklawn’s handle was $19 million, breaking the record set last year on Rebel Stakes day. Arkansas Derby day more than doubled that record, with $41,007,201 wagered.”

From The Blood Horse: “Fonner Park, while conducting spectator-less racing since that date in a state that does not permit ADW wagering, —all handle is coming from out-of-state—wagering has averaged $2.43 million. Those figures do not include the phenomenal $7.26 million bet Tuesday, April 5 when the track’s popular Dinsdale Pick 5 Jackpot wager featured a mandatory payout pool of $4.2 million. In short, wagering is about 10 times the previous norm.”

The bottom line is that most places missed the boat, and, generally speaking, it was because of terrible government decisions. I could only imagine how well Woodbine could have done with their normal mid-April opening since reasonably nearby markets New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago were closed (especially New York).

Oaklawn is not necessarily one of the real big boys but they are far from one of the little guys. I salute them for stepping up to the plate, and I imagine they feel good about it when reviewing their handle figures.

I’m happy for a little track like Fonner Park. The Nebraska bullring stepped up and provided a product to the overall market and knocked it out of the park with handle.

As I have said before, we missed a generation or so when the thoroughbred industry shied away from television. COVID-19 provided the industry an opportunity to go into every home and office (and cell phone) in North America and expand its share of the sports and entertainment market. I can hear it now, “There’s nothing to do since the concert has been canceled.” “Oh yeah? I’m staying home so I can play the Pick Four at Woodbine.”

How could the tracks that have raced without spectators make it work so well when others ran into the corner with fear?

I just looked over my list of tracks that say they will open within thirty days. I’m glad to hear it. I hope they do open and others follow suit.

The time is now. We really missed a chance to get ahead and make up for lost ground in the last couple of months.

Now, as many areas begin to open up we have to try and survive, again.

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes – March 16

Horses to Watch & Trip Notes for AGOS visitors. is an educational website for handicappers.  Thank you for visiting.


ROMAN EMPIRE (Race 5, GP 2/28/2020) – Empire Maker colt moved to the dirt for his second career start and looked like he may have a nice future for trainer Todd Pletcher.  Crushed a decent field and should handle class rise next out.

AS SEEN ON TV (Race 14, Fountain of Youth, GP 2/29/2020) – Lookin At Lucky colt didn’t have the best of trips here as he was stuck racing inside of horses for most of the running.  That’s a tough spot for a young colt but he never gave up and was just bobbed out of the place spot at the wire.   Kelly Breen runner has talent and can improve in the right spot.

Read what Graham Motion and Terry Finley had to say about the FBI  indictments of the slimey Navarro and Servis.


POINT OF HONOR (Race 2 at TAM, 3/7/2020) – This was clearly a prep race for the Grade 1 placed runner from last year.  She ran well to be a non-threatening 2nd behind a quality stakes winner and should move forward off this public workout  (Weaver is only 11% with layoff runners).

GOGO SHOES (Race 6 at TAM, 3/7/2020) – This filly ran sneaky well in her debut when 4th and then came back here to improve further as many second time starters do.  She crushed a good looking maiden special weights field on the Derby undercard.

AGOS Horses to Watch and Trip Notes – Jan. 27

AGOS Horses to Watch and Trip Notes for visitors


ABOUNDING JOY (Race 8 at AQU, Jan 20, 2020) – Bill Mott trainee was coming off a long layoff.  Took the lead turning for home but was unable to hold off the strong late run of the favorite.  Filly ran a great race and should be tighter next time around.

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the Big A race horseWEGOTOLDYOUGOTSOLD (Race 6 at AQU, Jan 20, 2020) – Rudy R. runner was another coming off a layoff but ran into a major class dropper from Servis.  Ran well to be 2nd and will be very tough next time out.

THE IMPORTANT ONE (Race 5 at AQU, Jan 20, 2020) – Not many maiden claiming debut wins are this impressive.  Wesley Ward runner stumbled at the start and then was wide over the Big A oval.  Overcame that trouble to run down the two lukewarm favorites in the lane.  Should be able to step up in class.


SATURDAY’S HANGOVER (Race 3 at HOU, Jan 22, 2020) – This guy owns a potent late kick and he displayed it in full fashion, storming from off the pace in the slop to get up for the win.   Been a very honest runner of late.


AWESOME ROMEO (Race 2 at TAM, Jan 8, 2020) – Ran the classic Z pattern under Kevin Mendez.  Was 9th by 4L at the half mile pole, then 6th by 7 1/2 before finishing 3rd, beaten 4 lengths as the lukewarm 5/2 favorite.



AGOS Horses to Watch and Trip Notes – Jan. 13

track announcer with binocularsAGOS Horses to Watch and Trip Notes for visitors


HORSE DOCTOR (Race 2 @FG, 12/18/2019) – First time starter had been working lights out prior to debut in this 5.5f turf sprint.  Broke tardily, 1.5 lengths behind, but rallied very well late to be second best behind the logical, gate to wire winner.


ZIGGY BARCELONA (Race 6 @TAM, 1/11/2020).  This first-time gelding was coming off a long layoff but was well prepared by trainer Robert Dobbs, Jr.   If he hadn’t been pressured by another huge longshot, this 4yo may have lit up the toteboard.  He held well for 4th in a sneaky good effort.

MY COTTON CANDY (Race 6 @TAM, 12/18/2019) – This filly got a new rider and responded with a powerful late finish to just miss catching the favorite at the wire.  She galloped out lengths in front in a good performance.  Loves Tampa and 7 furlongs.