Archives for May 2024

BCBC Contest Schedule as of June 2024

The most coveted and lucrative real-money bankroll handicapping contest is the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC). There are several ways to win into the $10,000 buy-in event.

This schedule is subject to change but up to date as of June, 2024. Contact information included.

6/1/2024

Monmouth Park Pick Your Prize

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

 

6/7/2024 – 6/08/2024

NYRABets Belmont Stakes Challenge

Donny Nelson Challenge@nyrainc.com

718-659-3532

6/8/2024

Santa Anita/Xpressbet-Belmont Stakes Challenge

Crystal Bartko

724-229-6249

6/30/2024

Hawthorne Invitational (Invite only)

Rhonda Sosnowski

rhondas@clubhawthorne.com

 

7/6/2024

NYRA Stars & Strips Challenge

Donny Nelson Challenge@nyrainc.com

718-659-3532

7/20/2024

Monmouth Park

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

7/27/2024-7/28/2024

Del Mar Summer Challenge

Chris Bahr

chris@dmtc.com

 

8/3/2024

Monmouth Park

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

Rich Nilsen qualifies for the 16th time

8/10/2024

NYRA Fourstardave Challenge

Donny Nelson Challenge@nyrainc.com

718-659-3532

8/11/2024

Del Mar-Little Red Feather

Chris Bahr

chris@dmtc.com

8/17/2024

Woodbine-King’s Plate Day

Klaus Ebner

Kebner@woodbine.com

8/24/2024

Monmouth Park

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

8/29/2024

Kentucky Downs

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

8/31/2024

Del Mar- Pacific Classic Betting Challenge

Chris Bahr

chris@dmtc.com

 

9/1/2024

Kentucky Downs

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

9/7/2024

Kentucky Downs

Brian Skirka

bskirka@monmouthpark.com

9/14/2024

Woodbine-Woodbine Mile Day

Klaus Ebner

Kebner@woodbine.com

9/26/2024

Canterbury Park

Jeff Maday

JMaday@canterburypark.com

10-01/02-2024-TBD

Santa Anita Opening Weekend

Crystal Bartko

724-229-6249

10/11/2024

Keeneland

Jim Goodman

10/12/2024

Keeneland

jgoodman@keeneland.com

Hong Kong Expert Horse Racing Selections – Wed, May 29

SHA TIN – Hong Kong Expert Horse Racing Selections
(Wednesday, May 29, 2024)

Race 1: #3 All For St Paul’s, #4 Adefill, #1 Telecom Fighters, #5 Yellowfin
Race 2:
#5 Diamond Soars, #12 Dashing Glory, #4 Cool Blue, #2 Speedy Fortune
Race 3:
#10 Triumphant Warrior, #8 Flying Dragon, #2 Sunny Darling, #9 Sky Song
Race 4:
#2 Go Hero, #4 Charming Steed, #7 Perfect Peach, #5 Medic Elite
Race 5:
#10 Strive For Glory, #3 Self Improvement, #11 Crazy Treasure, #5 Prime Mortar
Race 6:
#6 Lucky Banner, #11 Brave Witness, #7 Starship Eighty, #1 Kimberley
Race 7:
#1 Sing Dragon, #3 Victory Moments, #11 Lightning Bolt, #5 Capital Delight
Race 8:
#4 Perfect Team, #3 Apache Pass, #2 Woodfire Bro, #1 Berlin Tango

Race 1: Chun Shek Handicap (4.15am PDT, 7.15am EDT)

#3 All For St Paul’s is dangerous out in front. Expecting he’ll roll forward and give this group something to reel in, which is where he performs at his best. One to beat. #4 Adefill is a nice horse and he goes about his racing well. He rises to Class 2, although the weight relief is an advantage. #1 Telecom Fighters can press forward. He has the class and recent form to make his presence felt. #5 Yellowfin has consistency on his side and the low weight. He’ll be thereabouts.

Race 2: Mei Lam Handicap (4.45am PDT, 7.45am EDT)

#5 Diamond Soars is suited in Class 5. He has the right gate and has previously raced well on the dirt. The inside draw should see him do next to no work in the run. #12 Dashing Glory slots in light and his most recent trial on the dirt was sound. Expecting improvement this week. #4 Cool Blue mixes his form but he clearly has some ability. The awkward draw does make things difficult though. #2 Speedy Fortune gets the services of Zac Purton. He can improve with the step down to this grade.

Race 3: Hin Yiu Handicap (2nd Section) (5.15am PDT, 8.15am EDT)

#10 Triumphant Warrior continues to make the right headway. Zac Purton is aboard and he’s taking all the right steps towards a first win. One to beat. #8 Flying Dragon has lost his way a touch, however, he does know how to perform strongly over this course and distance. He can bounce back. #2 Sunny Darling gets down in grade. His latest trial on the dirt was nothing short of impressive. He’ll make his presence felt. #9 Sky Song is next in line. He’s lightly raced and is open to further improvement.

Race 4: Shui Chuen O Handicap (5.45am PDT, 8.45am EDT)

#2 Go Hero is closing in on a first win. He narrowly missed last start and can improve again from an ideal draw with Zac Purton up, especially in Class 5. #4 Charming Steed has the draw to overcome. He’s in the right vein of form and has shown his quality in the past, noticeably in this grade. #7 Perfect Peach is hard to catch at times. He’s racing well and has claims here. #5 Medic Elite is on the quick back-up. He rarely runs a bad race and gets his chance again.

Race 5: Hin Yiu Handicap (1st Section) (6.15am PDT, 9.15am EDT)

#10 Strive For Glory mixes his form, however, he is a two-time winner over the course and distance this season. He’s worth taking a chance on here to bounce back. #3 Self Improvement is consistent and has won once already this season. Zac Purton reunites with him as he aims for another win. #11 Crazy Treasure continues to make headway. He’s going about his racing well of late and the low weight is incredibly ideal as he seeks a first win. #5 Prime Mortar is seeking back-to-back wins. Keep safe.

Race 6: Lee On Handicap (6.45am PDT, 9.45am EDT)

#6 Lucky Banner does his best racing on the dirt. He has an inside gate and is expected to fire forward and lead this race. One to catch, especially after nearly pinching his latest outing. #11 Brave Witness is nearing a first win. He’s improving with every start and gets a few favours from the positive draw. #7 Starship Eighty has an awkward barrier to overcome. He does have the right experience, however, he is up against here even after a string of nice efforts. #1 Kimberley is next best. Dipping to Class 4 is ideal.

Race 7: Chung On Handicap (7.15am PDT, 10.15am EDT)

#1 Sing Dragon is seeking a fourth consecutive win. He has the wide gate to overcome, which makes things difficult, although his best form holds has him being very competitive here. Expecting he crosses early for the front. #3 Victory Moments is aiming to turn the tables on Sing Dragon. These two have been sparring partners for some time and Victory Moments receives one of his better chances from gate three. #11 Lightning Bolt slots in light and has claims. #5 Capital Delight is next best. Don’t discount.

Race 8: Fung Wo Handicap (7.50am PDT, 10.50am EDT)

#4 Perfect Team is a course and distance winner already this season. His recent form has been sound and his latest barrier trial ahead of returning from a setback recently was superb. He’s the one they all must beat. #3 Apache Pass hasn’t won for quite some time. Still, he’s been racing well and his latest effort was one of his best this season. #2 Woodfire Bro has been superb all season except for his form blip two starts ago. He’s a threat. #1 Berlin Tango has the class edge over many of these. Next best.

It’s Twilight at Golden Gate Fields

Golden Gate Fields continues horse racing, closes to publicHistoric Golden Gate Fields, nestled in the backdrop of the San Francisco Bay and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is set to conduct its final meet this summer. Champions like Cigar, Lost In The Fog, Silky Sullivan and John Henry raced at the Northern California racetrack, but that legacy will conclude in June. Parent company Stronach is closing the facility with the meet that begins June 9.

In-person sports betting would have been conducted at Golden Gate Fields if Proposition 26 had passed two years ago, but it did not, and Stronach is shutting it down effective this summer. Bay Meadows Racetrack was closed in 2008 and condos now sit on the property.

Berkeleyside.org has an in-depth article about the final meet at Golden Gate Fields.

 

Bo Cruz May Contest Belmont Stakes 2024 Undercard

Graded stakes-winner Bo Cruz under consideration for Belmont Stakes Racing Festival

Bo Cruz, who cut back in distance last-out to win the seven-furlong Grade 3 Commonwealth at Keeneland, will be nominated to both the Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap and the 6 1/2-furlong Grade 2, $350,000 True North presented by F. W. Webb on Belmont Stakes Day June 8 at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Al Stall, Jr. for owners Roger Cettina, Brian Pagano, Patrick Grippo, Peter Martine and Bruno De Julio, Bo Cruz was scratched from the Grade 1 Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day but returned to the work tab Saturday at the Louisville oval to cover a half-mile in 48.60 seconds.

“It’s a possibility,” said Stall, regarding the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. “We shortened him up and like the way he ran around one turn, so we’ll stick with that for a little while.

“He worked by himself on a wet-fast racetrack,” added Stall. “Hopefully, we can get him back in a routine and a rhythm.”

Belmont Park horse racingThe Creative Cause colt, a $45,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, boasts a record of 7-3-1-2 for purse earnings of $340,550. He was a gate-to-wire winner of a 1 1/16-mile optional-claimer last year on Kentucky Derby Day and followed with a pacesetting third in the nine-furlong Matt Winn.

Bo Cruz was a game third in his seasonal debut traveling one mile and 70 yards in February at Fair Grounds and proved tough last out when 2 1/2-lenghths the best in the Commonwealth.

“He’s a good gate horse. He breaks so sharp, he sometimes outbreaks himself,” Stall said. “He broke on his feet and that was it. There was a scratch at the gate that day [Here Mi Song] and he might have shown a little speed, so we might have got a little lucky.”

Stall noted Bo Cruz is also being considered for races at Churchill Downs, including the Listed $275,000 Aristides going six furlongs on June 1 and the Listed $300,000 Hanshin at one mile on June 30.

“We’re going to play it by ear for now and see who is going where,” Stall said.

source: NYRA

Expert Horse Racing Selections for G1 Champions & Chater Cup

Sunday at Sha Tin! The Sunday card at Sha Tin (late Saturday night/early Sunday 12:45 a.m. ET) features the Champions & Chater Cup (G1), and the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Declan Schuster provides his selections and analysis for the big race.

RACE 7: CHAMPIONS & CHATER CUP (G1)

#2 Straight Arron can bounce back. He has the class, although his first start back in Hong Kong after racing in Dubai was poor. Taking a chance on him here as his best is more than up to winning this contest. He should be value, too. #1 Rebel’s Romance is the clear one to beat; however, he won’t be any sort of winning price. He’s not worth supporting at his quote, which will be super short. #3 Five G Patch will relish any rain around, which is forecast. He loves the trip. #7 Massive Sovereign is next in line. Weather concerns.

FREE Saturday Horse Racing Play – Sat. May 25

 

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

In this new segment we provide a free horse racing play on Saturday, which includes our expert analysis and a handicapping lesson.

Race 9 at Belmont @Big A, May 25th, post time 4:42pm ET

Pace Scenario:Moderate to honest pace expected in this one mile event.

Free AGOS Selection: # 9 SKYLANDER (15/1) – This 5yo gelding by Quality Road takes a sharp drop in class to face claiming company for the first time in his recent past performances. He has been facing much tougher in either “one other than” allowance company or starter allowance and posted some solid speed figures in the process. Two of his three career wins have come here over this track, including at this same one mile distance last fall versus $50,000 starter allowance company, a race he won by 4 lengths. This type of class drop is often a wake-up call, and he faces some vulnerable horses including the morning line favorite who has not seen the winner’s circle in two years. That’s the type of horse we always want to play against. Big price expected on this live longshot.

Wagering strategy: Play # 9 Skylander to Win and Place.

This analysis is for educational purposes. ALWAYS WAGER WITHIN YOUR BUDGET AND COMFORT LEVEL

LAST PLAY RESULT: Easy winner, bet down and paid $3.20 to win. Exacta 2-7 returned $22.40!


Profitable Ky Oaks / Ky Derby!

Rich Nilsen gave out the 4-1 Kentucky Oaks winner and his third selection (and first longshot), Mystik Dan, won the Kentucky Derby at odds of 16-1! Nilsen only offers paid analysis 4-5 times per year. Here were his write-ups:

Kentucky Oaks:

Top Selection: # 5 THORPEDO ANNA (5/1) – Trainer Kenny McPeek, one of the best Kentucky horsemen over the past decades in the Bluegrass State, enters the best filly he has ever trained. This brilliant daughter of Fast Anna scored first time out going 7 furlongs last fall at Keeneland and destroyed the field by 8 ½ lengths after closing from way back. You just rarely see a first time starter win like this, especially going 7 furlongs and at Keeneland. She proved that was no fluke by returning to beat allowance company by 9 lengths and running a monster triple-digit BRIS Late Pace Figure. After running second in the G2 Golden Rod, she was put on the shelf for her three-year-old season. Anna returned at Oaklawn Park and despite breaking from the 10 hole and facing a quality field, she proved her dominance once again, drawing off by 4 lengths. The G2 Fantasy winner has been training well since that start and comes into this race in prime form. She drew well and is clearly the horse to beat.

Kentucky Derby 150:

3rd Selection: # 3 Mystik Dan (20/1) – This colt was an impressive maiden winner at Churchill going only 5 ½ furlongs. He was a speed horse as a two year old, but trainer Kenny McPeek retooled this horse and developed him into a runner that can come from off the pace. And did he ever in the G3 Southwest Stakes, finishing powerfully in the mud to win by 8. I didn’t like him in the G1 Arkansas Derby, with his only big number on a wet track, but the colt ran very well with sneaky trouble. Going around the first turn, the horse to his inside bolted and slammed into Dan. That cost the colt several lengths but he did not give up. He put in a sustained run and ran a sneaky good third. He can move forward off that race, and we know he loves the track. Nice price for the exotics.

Belmont Stakes 2024 Notes

Barksdale works for G1 Woody Stephens

Cypress Creek Equine’s Barksdale is set to make his stakes debut in the Grade 1, $500,000 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomores on Belmont Stakes Day June 8 at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Will Walden, the Street Sense dark bay graduated on debut in October traveling two turns at Horseshoe Indianapolis but followed with a pair of distant off-the-board efforts at Churchill Downs to complete his juvenile campaign.

“He’s a big, long two-turn bred type horse and I think I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole there,” Walden said. “He broke his maiden going two turns at Indiana and then we stretched him out in a tough allowance race – Bill Mott won it with a Constitution colt [Parchment Party] that was supposed to get on the Derby trail but had a setback; Catching Freedom was in there, and a few others that have turned out to be stakes quality. That being said – it didn’t turn out well. We wheeled him back quick in a one-turn mile and that also didn’t go well.”

Barksdale was subsequently gelded and has focused on sprint events this season, finished a pressing fifth in March at Turfway Park when entered for a $50,000 tag in an optional-claiming race won by the speedy Joe Shiesty, who blitzed to a 29-1 upset two starts later on turf in the William Walker on May 1 at Churchill Downs.

Barksdale has won both starts since in gate-to-wire fashion, taking a seven-furlong starter allowance on April 7 at Keeneland under Tyler Gaffalione and a 6 1/2-furlong optional-claimer at Aqueduct by four lengths with Dylan Davis at the helm on April 26 that registered a career-best 91 Beyer Speed Figure.

Walden said the Turfway effort set Barksdale up perfectly for his recent success.

“Joe Shiesty is extremely fast. That was an allowance optional race and because of his two efforts prior at Churchill, I put him in for the $50,000 to make him starter eligible,” Walden said. “That day at Turfway he didn’t break sharply and Joe Shiesty went 43 and 4 for the half-mile and Barksdale ran into that pace. I thought he ran pretty valiantly to hold on for fifth. He was really tired after that race and got a lot out of it and it set him up for Keeneland and the drop in class.”

Walden said Barksdale has responded well to being gelded and a patient approach from the gate.

“He’s a big, heavy horse and carried a ton of extra weight. I think that [being gelded] helped him physically and mentally,” Walden said. “We learned don’t ask him out of the gate, just let him do his thing. If you press the button too early, you won’t have anything to finish up with whereas if you break, he’ll place himself forwardly in the race on his own. He just has a lot of natural speed.”

Barksdale had his first work back on Thursday at Keeneland, covering a half-mile in 49.40 in company with graded stakes-winner Manny Wah.

Horse racing to begin at Belmont in June“We ran him back a little quicker than we typically would, and we usually give them 14 days after a race to work them, but I gave him 20 days,” Walden said. “The work was awesome. He worked in company with Manny Wah, who is a graded stakes winner here at Keeneland and I thought they both worked really well. He’ll have a five-eighths next week and then back down to a half in preparation for the Woody Stephens.

“He ran a big number last time and he ran a good number the time before that,” added Walden. “We’re excited about going back to seven-eighths and taking a shot against the big boys.”

Tyler Gaffalione will have the call on Barksdale in the Woody Stephens.

Walden could also be represented at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival with Cypress Creek Equine’s Clear the Air in the Grade 1, $500,000 Jaipur presented by Resolute Racing on Belmont Stakes Day June 8 at Saratoga Race Course. The 5 1/2-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November at Del Mar.

Clear the Air is entered in an allowance sprint Saturday at Churchill Downs but the 4-year-old Ransom the Moon colt has demonstrated an affinity for running well on short rest, winning a Turfway Park claimer [98 Beyer] on 15 day’s rest in December and a Keeneland turf allowance [92 Beyer] last out on April 21 on three week’s rest.

“As much as I don’t love wheeling back on quick rest this horse seems to thrive on it. He’s run a lot of big numbers off short rest,” Walden said. “It feels like he uses the first one as a tee up and then really brings it. I don’t know if that’s coincidence or if that works for him, but we’ll see how he runs here this weekend.”

Walden is also excited about a pair of talented turf fillies purchased at the Tattersalls December Mare Sale for Woodford Thoroughbreds in recent Grade 3 Soaring Softly winner Pipsy and Group 2-placed Olivia Maralda, who rallied to finish second in an allowance on April 20 in her stateside debut.

Pipsy, a Kodiac bay, was purchased for $929,489 after having won 2-of-3 starts for her former conditioner Ger Lyons in her native Ireland. She reared up at the break of the six-furlong Soaring Softly here in her U.S. debut and raced in last-of-10 before closing with an impressive turn of foot to best Kairyu by a half-length. The effort garnered an 82 Beyer.

Walden said Pipsy will look to stretch out next in the Listed $250,000 Tepin, a one-mile turf test for sophomore fillies on June 29 at Churchill Downs with an eye towards the one-mile Grade 3, $175,000 Lake George on July 20 at Saratoga Race Course.

“We’re just in a holding pattern right now but all signs point to her having come out of the race perfect and she’s back galloping at Keeneland,” Walden said. “The plan is probably to go to the Tepin at a mile on June 28 at CD. If she handles the stretch out, the Lake George is the plan after that. WE have to take it one race at a time and if she doesn’t stretch out then we’ll have to cut her back, but I feel confident she will [stretch out].”

Olivia Maralda, a $961,949 purchase and also by Kodiac, was a close second in the 2022 Group 2 Debutante at The Curragh for trainer M.D. O’Callaghan. She was campaigned last year by Roger Varian, winning the seven-furlong Surrey at Epsom.

In her stateside debut with Flavien Prat aboard, Olivia Maralda rallied from eight-of-11 to finish second just three-quarter lengths back of Misread and a head in front of next-out winner Sacred Wish.

“They went 46 and change for the half-mile and they were pretty spread out. The winner was five lengths off it and got a perfect trip,” Walden said. “We were proud of her effort that day. She had a lot of traffic in the lane and didn’t really get free until about 10 jumps before the wire and she made a big move to get up for second. That was first off a long layoff so I’m really excited about how she’s doing.”

Olivia Maralda is likely to make her next start in the Grade 1, $300,000 Gamely, a nine-furlong turf test for 3-year-olds and up on May 27 at Santa Anita Park.

“She’s been everywhere but she travels well – she’s a well-mannered filly,” Walden said. “It would really improve her residual value going forward to get that Grade 1 win or placing. She’s doing really good. She came out of the Keeneland race in good order and is training better now than she was going into it.”

Walden said Olivia Maralda’s calm demeanor is advantageous as she looks to stretch out in distance.

“Olivia Maralda is not a filly that’s going to lock onto the bit and be really aggressive,” Walden said. “She’s really bred to go short and has tactical speed to do so, but her mentality and the way she places herself in a race and relaxes really allows her to stretch out a little bit further than pedigree would suggest.”

Hong Kong Horse Racing Selections – Wed., May 22

HAPPY VALLEY SELECTIONS
(Wednesday, May 22, 2024)

Race 1: #4 Go Go Go, #12 Green Laser, #5 Happy Hero, #1 Keen Unity
Race 2:
#6 Talents Supremo, #8 Mister Fox, #5 So Treasure, #11 Travel Golf
Race 3:
#6 Master Tornado, #4 Beer Palace, #2 Fighting Machine, #10 Palace Pal
Race 4:
#7 Flying Wrote, #10 Lean Master, #11 Speedy Chariot, #9 Sky Prophet
Race 5:
#7 Can’t Go Wong, #3 Kasa Papa, #8 Packing Wisher, #1 Cordyceps One
Race 6:
#1 Telecom Speed, #2 High Percentage, #4 Togepi, #7 Beauty Destiny
Race 7:
#1 Beauty Waves, #2 Celestial Colours, #8 Fast Serve, #5 Brave Star
Race 8:
#4 Sweet Briar, #6 Romantic Laos, #3 Ivy League, #2 Giddy Up
Race 9:
#3 Kurpany, #5 Colourful Emperor, #8 Superb Capitalist, #4 Tomodachi Kokoroe

Race 1: Chester Handicap (3.40am PDT, 6.40am EDT)

#4 Go Go Go is ever so close to a first win. He narrowly missed last start and a replication of that run will see him take beating. He’s the clear top pick, especially with Zac Purton retaining the ride. #12 Green Laser gets in light. He can mix his form, however, the featherweight impost and recent efforts suggest he can run well again. #5 Happy Hero has performed strongly over this track and trip before. #1 Keen Unity can improve getting out over further. This grade suits him. Keep safe.

Race 2: Hereford Handicap (3rd Section) (4.10am PDT, 7.10am EDT)

#6 Talents Supremo has proved consistent all season. He has a suitable draw this week and is deserving of another win this campaign, especially after proving competitive a number of times of late. One to beat. #8 Mister Fox keeps improving and his latest effort was sound. He can take another step forward. #5 So Treasure turned his form around last start, narrowly missing at odds of 31/1. He’ll give this group something to worry about. #11 Travel Golf is still without a win. He’s better suited to Happy Valley.

Race 3: Lancashire Handicap (2nd Section) (4.40am PDT, 7.40am EDT)

Surprising to still see #6 Master Tornado without a win. He’s been consistent all season and deserves a breakthrough triumph. The inside draw gives him every possible chance. #4 Beer Palace mixes his form but clearly has some ability. He’s worth keeping safe here from an in-form Mark Newnham stable. #2 Fighting Machine returned off a lengthy lay off earlier this month. He can improve again with that run under his belt. #10 Palace Pal doesn’t know how to run a bad race. Next in line.

Race 4: Hereford Handicap (1st Section) (5.10am PDT, 8.10am EDT)

#7 Flying Wrote did well to grab fifth on debut. He can improve with that run under his belt and this contest is more than suitable. One they all must beat. #10 Lean Master has a positive racing pattern. He’ll press forward and from there get his shot. #11 Speedy Chariot continues to take the right steps froward. He pairs favourably with Andrea Atzeni and the light weight affords him his opportunity. #9 Sky Prophet has twice been too far back in the run with too much work to do. Don’t discount.

Race 5: The St George’s Challenge Cup Handicap (1st Section) (5.40am PDT, 8.40am EDT)

#7 Can’t Go Wong has the draw to overcome, however, he is currently in career-best form. He’s found his groove and gets his chance here, even from out wide. Taking a chance on him to offset an unfavourable gate. #3 Kasa Papa has always shown his capabilities as a winner in waiting. His recent form has been sound and Hugh Bowman’s pairing is a plus. #8 Packing Wisher should get a sweet run from the inside gate. He can go close. #1 Cordyceps One can press forward and lead. He’ll take reeling in.

Race 6: Hereford Handicap (2nd Section) (6.10am PDT, 9.10am EDT)

#1 Telecom Speed narrowly missed last start. He goes about his racing well and should get every chance this week, especially from an ideal gate. One to beat. #2 High Percentage is seeking a hat-trick of wins. He remains in Class 4, which suits. The only knock is that he will have to overcome an awkward draw against a formidable group of rivals. #4 Togepi will give this group a head-start before charging home. #7 Beauty Destiny has ability, although he does show signs of inexperience. Don’t discount.

Race 7: Renfrew Handicap (6.45am PDT, 9.45am EDT)

#1 Beauty Waves is chasing a hat-trick of wins. He’s a serious talent on the rise and his latest two efforts have been super. Zac Purton retains the ride and the horse remains in Class 3, which holds him in very good stead. #2 Celestial Colours is lightly raced but does have ability. He’s a winner in this grade and does appear suited getting back in distance. #8 Fast Serve returns first-up this season after setbacks. He’s got ability and his latest trial at Happy Valley was encouraging. #5 Brave Star is next best.

Race 8: Selkirk Handicap (7.15am PDT, 10.15am EDT)

#4 Sweet Briar deserves another victory. He’s placed six times this season without winning and gets another super chance here. Zac Purton’s aboard and his recent form suggests he’ll prove hard to beat. #6 Romantic Laos has an ideal draw. He placed last start and can further build on that effort here, especially over his preferred distance. #3 Ivy League has turned his form around this season as a two-time winner. #2 Giddy Up can save ground throughout. Next in line.

Race 9: Wiltshire Handicap (7.50am PDT, 10.50am EDT)

#3 Kurpany returns after an extended break at Conghua following a setback. He gets a handy seven pounds taken off his back and his recent trackwork has appeared very, very good. He’s a winner in this grade already this season. Taking a chance on him at odds. #5 Colourful Emperor is a three-time winner from his last four starts. He’s in career-best form and will get his shot here. #8 Superb Capitalist can press forward and get his chance. #4 Tomodachi Kokoroe draws well. Next in line.

Preakness Stakes 149 Recap

BALTIMORE (AP) — D. Wayne Lukas worked his way to Seize the Grey after his horse won the Preakness Stakes and kept getting interrupted by well-wishers offering congratulations.

“I think they’re trying to get rid of me,” Lukas said. “They probably want me to retire. I don’t think that’ll happen.”

Not when the 88-year-old Hall of Fame trainer keeps winning big-time races.

Seize the Grey ended Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan’s Triple Crown bid Saturday by going wire to wire to win the Preakness, giving Lukas his seventh victory in the race, one short of the record held by good friend Bob Baffert.

“I’m only one behind him — I warned him already,” Lukas said. “It never gets old at this level, and I love the competition. I love to get in here with the rest of them.”

The strapping grey colt took advantage of the muddy track just as Lukas hoped he would, pulling off the upset in a second consecutive impressive start two weeks after romping in a race on the Derby undercard at Churchill Downs. Going off at 9-1 as one of the longest shots on the board, Seize the Grey moved to the lead immediately out of the starting gate and never looked back, finishing 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Mystik Dan in 1:56.82.

“I thought his action down the backside was beautiful, and I knew that he was handling the track,” Lukas said. “I said, ‘Watch out, he’s not going to quit.’”

Mystik Dan finished second in the field of eight horses running in the $2 million, 1 3/16-mile race. After falling short of going back to back following his win by a nose in the Kentucky Derby, it would be a surprise if he runs in the Belmont Stakes on June 8 at Saratoga Race Course.

“My colt’s a fantastic colt and proud of him,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “It just wasn’t his day, but he’ll live to race again.”

Seize the Grey was a surprise Preakness winner facing tougher competition than in the Pat Day Mile on May 4. Though given the Lukas connection, it should never be a surprise when one of his horses is covered in a blanket of Black-Eyed Susan flowers.

No one in the race’s 149-year history has saddled more horses in the Preakness than Lukas with 48 since debuting in 1980 and winning that one with Codex. He had two in this time, with Just Steel finishing fifth, but Seize the Grey — owned by 2,570 people involved in the MyRacehorse group — delivered the victory.

“I just couldn’t be happier for every single one of them,” MyRacehorse founder and CEO Michael Behrens said. “We had some big expectations, but this exceeds all those expectations.”

Seize the Grey paid $21.60 to win, $8.40 to place and $4.40 to show. Mystik Dan paid $4.20 and $2.80 after finishing a head in front of third-place Catching Freedom, who paid $3.20 to show.

Baffert, who was looking for a record-extending ninth Preakness victory, was supposed to have two horses in the field, but morning line favorite Muth was scratched earlier in the week because of a fever. Baffert’s Imagination finished seventh.

“He is still learning,” Baffert said. “I think we are learning his style. I saw a lot today that I can change going forward. I don’t think he wants to run like that. We didn’t really have a plan. We thought it would be Wayne or us.”

Muth’s absence made Mystik Dan the 2-1 favorite, but he and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. could not replicate their perfect Derby trip to win that race’s first three-way photo finish since 1947. Instead, Jaime Torres rode Seize the Grey to a win in his first Triple Crown race of any kind, just two years after starting to ride.

“I have no words,” said Torres, a native of Puerto Rico who did not begin racing until seeing it on TV in late 2019. “I’m very excited, very excited and very thankful to all the people that have been behind me, helping me.”

This was the last Preakness held at Pimlico Race Course as it stands before demolition begins on the historic but deteriorating track, which will still hold the 150th running of it next year mid-construction.

That process is already well underway at Belmont Park, which is why the final leg of the Triple Crown is happening at Saratoga for the first time and is being shortened to 1 1/4 miles because of the shape of the course. Kentucky Derby second-place finisher Sierra Leone, a half step from winning, is expected to headline that field, though Lukas said he’d wait to see about Seize the Grey also running.

___
AP horse racing: https://apnews.com/hub/horse-racing

 

Hong Kong Horse Racing Selections – Sun., May 19

SHA TIN SELECTIONS
(Sunday, May 19, 2024)

Race 1: #11 Great Days, #3 Mr Good Vibes, #9 Good View Glory, #6 Happy Tango
Race 2:
#5 Super Infinity, #11 Sky Song, #9 Yoda’s Choice, #1 Sakewin
Race 3:
#2 Taj Dragon, #4 Atullibigeal, #1 Healthy Happy, #3 Packing Treadmill
Race 4:
#7 Solid Win, #4 Fun N Fun Together, #1 Lucy In The Sky, #2 You’remyeverything
Race 5:
#4 Joy Of Spring, #11 Special Hedge, #8 Satirical Glory, #2 Romantic Fantasy
Race 6:
#10 Sky Trust, #5 War Of Courage, #6 Meepmeep, #3 Ariel
Race 7:
#13 Powerful Wings, #5 Elliptical, #9 Master Of Fortune, #1 Stunning Peach
Race 8:
#1 Sunny Da Best, #7 Lucky Touch, #12 Young Horizon, #9 Vantastic Choice
Race 9:
#5 Super Joy N Fun, #4 Full Credit, #3 Lady’s Choice, #6 Magnificent Nine
Race 10:
#4 Patch Of Theta, #7 Sky Heart, #12 Stellar Swift, #8 Loyal Bo Bo

Race 1: Ownership Pride 1200m Handicap (9.45pm PDT, 12.45am EDT)

#11 Great Days slots in light and gets an opportunity here. He’s been racing well of late and will be fighting out the finish if he manages to offset the awkward draw. #3 Mr Good Vibes has been racing off a dangerous mark for quite some time. He’s showing steady improvement and the booking of Karis Teetan is a plus. #9 Good View Glory gets the services of Zac Purton from gate two. He’ll save ground and give this group something to worry about. #6 Happy Tango can make all. He’ll take some reeling in.

Race 2: Racing Passion 1200m Handicap (10.15pm PDT, 1.15am EDT)

#5 Super Infinity has been trialling well. Zac Purton hops up for his first start and he can make an impact on debut. One they all must beat from the right stable. #11 Sky Song has been sound across two runs. He’s got some improvement to come and this contest is an ideal place for him to showcase it. #9 Yoda’s Choice is lightly raced but does continue to advance. He goes about his racing well and is suited here, even though his best efforts have come down the straight. #1 Sakewin has the class-edge. Keep safe.

Race 3: Racing Heritage Handicap 1400m Handicap (10.45pm PDT, 1.45am EDT)

#2 Taj Dragon steps down sharply in grade after racing in a trio of Group 1 races recently. He’s been performing well and the dip in class is suitable, especially with the apprentice taking seven pounds off his back. #4 Atullibigeal is a two-time course and distance winner this season. Zac Purton hops up and he’s well weighted this weekend. #1 Healthy Happy can fire forward and lead. He’ll control the tempo and should find the front with ease. #3 Packing Treadmill has consistency on his side. Don’t discount.

Race 4: The Racing Club 1200m Handicap (11.15pm PDT, 2.15am PDT)

#7 Solid Win caught the eye in his latest trial. He appears forward enough to make an impression first-up, especially as there’s clearly some talent there. #4 Fun N Fun Together falls into a similar category of trialling well and showcasing his fair share of potential. He also debuts and is expected to make his presence felt. #1 Lucy In The Sky is seeking back-to-back wins. He draws nicely and was nothing short of impressive last start. #2 You’remyeverything is a threat over this course and distance.

Race 5: The Hilltop In The Valley 1800m Handicap (12.10am PDT, 3.10am EDT)

#4 Joy Of Spring has been racing well. He’s placed in his last four runs and gets another super opportunity to win this weekend. Vincent Ho is up and he’s the one to beat. #11 Special Hedge is better than his record suggests and he’s a course and distance winner already this season. He should be value, especially as he is a very capable horse. #8 Satirical Glory is still without a win. He’s proving nearly impossible to catch, however, he is regularly competitive without breaking through. #2 Romantic Fantasy has claims.

Race 6: Sha Tin Clubhouse 1400m Handicap (12.40am PDT, 3.40am EDT)

#10 Sky Trust is unlucky not to have won a race this season. He charged into third spot last start and can easily improve from that performance. He’ll take catching. #5 War Of Courage can lead and is favoured with five pounds coming off his back. Expecting he’ll cross early in a bid to press for the front. #6 Meepmeep can do a bit wrong, however, he is clearly talented. Zac Purton hops up and he gets a super chance from gate one, if he manages to not over race. #3 Ariel gets seven pounds taken off his back. He’s a threat.

The Impact of the Hong Kong International RacesRace 7: The Members Cup Handicap (1.10am PDT, 4.10am EDT)

#13 Powerful Wings slots in light and has been a major threat for the bulk of this season, even without returning a second career win. His latest effort was sound and he could be coming to hand again at the right time. One to beat. #5 Elliptical turned in a much better performance last start. He can build off that effort and take his chance here. #9 Master Of Fortune is a three-time course and distance winner. He makes a stable switch, although his latest effort was very good. #1 Stunning Peach can bounce back on dry ground.

Race 8: Beas River Country Club 1400m Handicap (1.40am PDT, 4.40am EDT)

#1 Sunny Da Best was super impressive in victory last start. He remains in the grade, which is an advantage, as is gate six. One to beat again following that win. #7 Lucky Touch is inexperienced but showing enough. Zac Purton is up and he’s been heavily fancied both times in betting. #12 Young Horizon comes in with the featherweight as Ellis Wong takes seven pounds off with his claim. #9 Vantastic Choice will need to overcome the draw. He’ll press forward and get his chance.

Race 9: Levade 1200m Handicap (2.15am PDT, 5.15am EDT)

#5 Super Joy N Fun is a classy horse having won his first two starts. He finished second in his most recent outing, although he does appear to still have plenty of rating points in hand. One to beat. #4 Full Credit won well two runs ago. He can bounce back, especially from an ideal draw, however, this race does have its fair share of quality opposition. #3 Lady’s Choice has consistency on his side and he’s unlucky to not have another win on the board this season. #6 Magnificent Nine is next in line.

Race 10: Beijing Clubhouse 1400m Handicap (2.50am PDT, 5.50am EDT)

#4 Patch Of Theta is a two-time winner from seven starts. He’s a talent and is proven in this grade. Hugh Bowman’s booking again is an advantage. #7 Sky Heart continues to ascend and his form so far has been superb, twice winning from five starts. His ascent is far from over and the inside gate is a plus. #12 Stellar Swift slots in light and draws inside which helps. He continues to improve and has claims here. #8 Loyal Bo Bo has won two out of his last three starts. Gate two can bring him into contention.

Source: HKJC