Archives for June 2024

Minnesota Racetracks Upset Over these Appointments

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz appointed Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe chief executive Melanie Benjamin and Johnny Johnson, former president of the Prairie Island Indian Community, to the Minnesota Racing Commission. Both tribes run casinos in MInnesota.

Canterbury Park

“The Racing Commission’s job is to regulate the industry and our two leaders, President Johnson and Chief Executive Benjamin are more familiar than probably anybody in the state on the regulation of gambling,” Walz said, referring to them as “two good folks” who “understand that responsibility.”

“Consequently, these appointments raise important concerns for the racetracks, our employees and horse owners,” Sampson said. “Minnesota’s horse industry needs to be confident that all commission members will meet their legal and fiduciary responsibility to regulate racing while promoting the state’s horse industry.”

The state’s two horse-racing tracks, Canterbury Park in Shakopee and Running Aces in Columbus, were not pleased. … continue reading at The Star Tribune

FREE Saturday Horse Racing Play – Belmont, June 29th

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

Handicapping tips from

Race 11 at Belmont @ Aqueduct, June 29th, post time 5:44pm ET

Pace Scenario: Quick pace with Officer Derick, Relate and Indian Mischief all showing speed, setting it up for the closers.

Free AGOS Selection: #1 J J’s JOKER (15/1) ships in from the midwest for trainer Joe Sharp and now moves to the turf for the first time. This son of Practical Joker fits well in this race on class and speed, but has the chance to move up on the grass. He is out an A. P. Indy mare who has produced five winners on the grass, and three of those runners won their turf debuts! It’s not often you see a female family as strong as this with a first time turf horse. Sharp is also a 19% winner with runners trying the grass for the first time with an impressive +0.78 ROI. This 4yo gelding will get pace to stalk and close into, and he can add to those impressive trainer stats at a potential big price!

Wagering Suggestions: Play # 1 J J’s Joker to Win and Place. Exacta partwheel with 2, 5, 8, 10. Reverse for half.


This analysis is for educational purposes.


  Playing Saratoga this summer? Get the 10 Tips to Turning a Profit at the Spa, a free guide from AGOS.

Saturday’s Grade 3 $250,000 Manila Features Deterministic and Neat

St. Elias Stable, Ken Langone, Steven Duncker and Vicarage Stable’s Deterministic, a Grade 3-winner on the dirt, will return to that level but this time on grass in Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Manila, a one-mile inner turf test for sophomores, at Belmont at the Big A.

Trained by Christophe Clement, the Liam’s Map dark bay won the Grade 3 Gotham here in March, traveling a one-turn mile over the sloppy and sealed main track. The winning effort, made from a seven-month layoff dating to a debut score in August at Saratoga Race Course, kept the colt an unbeaten 2-for-2.

Deterministic subsequently finished off-the-board in a pair of nine-furlong events over the Big A dirt, including an eighth in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 6 and a fifth last out in the Grade 3 Peter Pan on May 11.

“He is a very talented horse. We decided to go with the turf option for him,” said Miguel Clement, son and assistant of Christophe. “This race makes a lot of sense. The fact that it is one mile, it is a logical next step for an experiment on the turf. I think he is versatile. If the race was anywhere from seven furlongs to one mile and an eighth, there’d be no preference whatsoever.”

Deterministic worked five-eighths in 1:01.22 on June 14 over the Spa’s Oklahoma training turf and followed up with another five-eighths work in 1:03 flat over the Oklahoma dirt on June 21.

“He breezed at Saratoga [on turf], it was a very good work, moving rather effortlessly,” said Clement. “It is just a question whether he shows an affinity for the turf. We think he should, and he is a top-class horse who can overcome whatever adversity comes his way.”

Bred in Kentucky by Hinkle Farms, Deterministic was a $625,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale and is out of the winning Speightstown mare Giulio’s Jewel. His third dam, the turf stakes-winning Amelia, produced graded stakes-winning turfers Rainha Da Bateria, Assateague and Kindergarden Kid.

Dylan Davis will ride for the first time from the outermost post 6.

Red White and Blue Racing’s graded stakes-winner Neat [post 3, Junior Alvarado] enters from a pair of efforts traveling 1 1/16 miles over good footing, winning the Grade 3 Transylvania on April 5 at Keeneland ahead of an off-the-board finish in the Grade 2 American Turf on May 4 at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Rob Atras, the Constitution chestnut won his lone other start this year in the Texas Turf Mile over yielding footing at Sam Houston Race Park.

Neat boasts a 7-4-0-0 ledger that features a second-out graduation over next-out winner St James the Great in a 1 1/16-mile turf test in October at Laurel Park followed by a 3 1/2-length score over next-out winner Card Trick going the same distance against winners in November at Fair Grounds Race Course.

Out of the More Than Ready mare Orabella, Neat, a $200,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, is a half-brother to multiple graded stakes-placed Louder Than Bombs.

James Politano and S.O.K.’s Drunk On Sake [post 2, Silvestre Gonzalez] enters off a pacesetting 8 1/4-length victory traveling 1 1/16 miles versus maiden claiming company on June 6 over the Saratoga inner turf, the first race of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

Trained by Mertkan Kantarmaci, the Yoshida dark bay rebounded from a distant last-of-8 finish on debut when sprinting six furlongs over the muddy and sealed main track here on May 6. The turf debut victory registered a much-improved 80 Beyer Speed Figure.

“We knew he had that power but didn’t know if he was going to like the turf that much, especially going longer,” said Kantarmaci. “He was totally different and with the big change, he showed us he really liked it. He needed that experience of the first race, but in the long term I’m not sure if we should try the dirt.”

Kantarmaci added that he was pleased Drunk On Sake wasn’t claimed for the $40,000 tag and now he can step up in class with some additional confidence.

“I knew no one would touch a horse that didn’t prove himself yet,” Kantarmaci said. “He hadn’t proved himself in the morning or in his first time in the afternoon. Of course, I was happy to keep him.”

Klaravich Stables’ Move to Gold [post 4, Manny Franco] has made four career starts, all at one-mile or beyond on turf, highlighted by a maiden-breaking win in 1 1/16-mile Listed Awad here in October.

Trained by four-time Eclipse Award-winner Chad Brown, the Twirling Candy dark bay rallied from 16 lengths back in fifth position to graduate by 1 1/4 lengths over next-out winner and multiple graded stakes-placed Spirit Prince.

In his sophomore bow, Move to Gold was a rallying third in the one-mile Columbia in March at Tampa Bay Downs. Last out, his closing kick came up a nose short going that same distance in the Jersey Derby in June at Monmouth Park.

“He just missed. He ran super. He’s a very promising horse,” said Brown, who captured this event in 2017 as the first stakes win for multiple Grade 1-winner Bricks and Mortar, who went 11-for-13 overall and earned the 2019 Horse of the Year title.

Ironhorse Racing Stable and Harlow Stables’ stakes-winner Mattingly [post 1, Trevor McCarthy] was beaten a neck after setting the pace in the six-furlong Listed Paradise Creek here on May 19.

Trained by Joe Orseno, the Bucchero bay battled in the stretch under returning rider Trevor McCarthy with the victorious Smokey Smokey, who put a neck in front in the final eighth.

The $70,000 OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds-in-Training purchase has proven to be versatile, graduating at second asking last June over the Gulfstream Park synthetic ahead of a runner-up effort in the Victoria one month later on Tapeta at Woodbine.

Mattingly made a victorious return from a layoff in September’s five-furlong Hollywood Beach over the all-weather at Gulfstream Park before contesting Florida-sired dirt stakes at the Hallandale Beach oval when second in the seven-furlong Affirmed and fourth in the 1 1/16-mile In Reality.

Rounding out the field is stakes-winner Please Advise [post 5, Eric Cancel] for trainer George Weaver.

The Palace Malice bay, who won the six-furlong Atlantic Beach here in November, was sixth last out in the Grade 3 Penn Mile on May 31 at Penn National when in the care of conditioner Peter Gulyas.

The Manila is slated as Race 7 on Saturday’s 11-race program. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the Belmont at the Big A spring/summer meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit

Source: NYRA

Hong Kong Expert Horse Racing Selections – Wed, June 26

(Wednesday, June 26, 2024)

Race 1: #1 Absolute Sunshine, #4 Keen Unity, #5 Go Go Go, #2 Kingly Demeanor
Race 2:
#5 Hayday, #3 Roaring Bebe, #1 The Perfect Match, #9 Gimme Five
Race 3:
#10 Great Achiever, #3 Sixth Generation, #1 Comet Splendido, #6 Storm Legend
Race 4:
#8 Fairy Horse, #2 Lean Master, #7 Jolly Companion, #12 Dan Attack
Race 5:
#1 I Can, #11 Harry’s Hero, #5 Can’t Go Wong, #2 Setanta
Race 6:
#5 Packing Hermod, #2 Prime Mortar, #3 Scotch Tycoon, #9 Talents Supremo
Race 7:
#1 Superb Capitalist, #3 Copartner Prance, #9 Dream Winner, #2 Colourful Emperor
Race 8:
#3 Supreme Agility, #5 Helene Warrior, #12 Chain Of Gold, #2 Hameron
Race 9:
#9 Ka Ying Cheer, #1 Kaholo Angel, #7 California Deeply, #2 Happy Fat Cat

Hong Kong Expert Horse Racing Selections

Race 1: Nam Chung River Handicap (3.40am PDT, 6.40am EDT)

#1 Absolute Sunshine can improve again with his second start in the bottom grade. He’s suited over this distance and the seven pounds comes off his back with the apprentice up. Timing looks right for him. #4 Keen Unity is racing well at present and Hugh Bowman takes the reins this week. He’s knocking on the door for a first win. #5 Go Go Go has gone awfully close of late and he gets a super chance once again. Zac Purton’s aboard and he deserves respect. #2 Kingly Demeanor is doing plenty right. He gets his opportunity.

Race 2: Ng Tung River Handicap (3rd Section) (4.10am PDT, 7.10am EDT)

#5 Hayday can roll forward and make this group play catch me if you can. He was a strong winner two runs back and has remained in super form of late. He’ll take reeling in. #3 Roaring Bebe is closing in on a first win and his pairing with Zac Purton catches the eye. His latest effort was solid as he made up ground to finish in fourth position. #1 The Perfect Match is seeking back-to-back wins. He’s got several rating points still in hand. #9 Gimme Five can mix his form, although on his day, he is classy enough to defeat this group. Next in line.

Race 3: Beas River Handicap (1st Section) (4.40am PDT, 7.40am EDT)

#10 Great Achiever has been ready to win for some time and he raced without luck at the tail of the field last time out. He can atone for that effort here and gets another super chance under the featherweight. One to beat. #3 Sixth Generation does his best racing in this grade and Vincent Ho’s pairing is worth keeping close eye on. #1 Comet Splendido is seeking consecutive wins. He has top-weight to overcome, although does get the services of leading rider Zac Purton. #6 Storm Legend is next best with the apprentice engaged.

Hong Kong Happy Valley fireworks Hong Kong Expert Horse Racing SelectionsRace 4: Ng Tung River Handicap (2nd Section) (5.10am PDT, 8.10am EDT)

#8 Fairy Horse looks ready to return a breakthrough victory. His last three outings have been superb and he rates strongly with Andrea Atzeni going up. One to beat. #2 Lean Master gets the seven pounds removed with the apprentice aboard. He won well last start and can make his presence felt once again, especially from gate two as he is most likely going to press for the lead. #7 Jolly Companion is another who is closing in on a first win. He appears to have several rating points in hand. #12 Dan Attack slots in light and has claims.

Race 5: The Pearce Memorial Challenge Cup Handicap (2nd Section) (5.40am PDT, 8.40am EDT)

#1 I Can is in the right vein of form and he should press forward from out wide in a bid to offset the gate and find the front. This grade suits him and he appears ready to win again for an in-form Pierre Ng stable. #11 Harry’s Hero mixes his form but there is clearly some ability there. Expecting he’ll settle back before winding up late. He’s worth taking a chance on. #5 Can’t Go Wong is in superb form and he draws ideally. He’ll get his opportunity close to the speed. #2 Setanta is also in very good form. He’ll be making his presence felt.

Race 6: Ng Tung River Handicap (1st Section) (6.10am PDT, 9.10am EDT)

#5 Packing Hermod steps out on debut. His most recent trial was outstanding and Zac Purton hops up now for his first appearance under race conditions. One to beat as he clearly has a stack of potential. #2 Prime Mortar can bounce back after last start. His win prior to that defeat was superb. #3 Scotch Tycoon is racing well and aiming to snap a run of consecutive placings with another victory. He’s drawn ideally as the likely pacesetter. #9 Talents Supremo gets his opportunity. He’s been racing well all season.

Race 7: Tan Shan River Handicap (6.45am PDT, 9.45am EDT)

#1 Superb Capitalist is straightforward and he’ll be playing a serious game of catch me if you can this week. Gate one is ideal and he’s the one they all must reel in. #3 Copartner Prance is a winning machine and he’s seeking a sixth straight win. He’s the likely favourite to win this race and he rates strongly as a Class 2 winner last time out. #9 Dream Winner returns from a setback. He set the track alight last season with a trio of wins, although this season is yet to go to plan. His latest trial was solid at Conghua. #2 Colourful Emperor is next best.

Race 8: Sha Tau Kok River Handicap (7.15am PDT, 10.15am EDT)

#3 Supreme Agility caught the eye late last start. He can take another step forward this week, even against a tough group of rivals at Happy Valley. He was a Group 1 winner in Brazil pre-import, so the class is definitely there. #5 Helene Warrior was super impressive with victory last time out. He rates strongly again here, especially as he remains in the same grade. #12 Chain Of Gold slots in light and is looking to return a first Hong Kong win. He’s gone close on several occasions. #2 Hameron is better than his form suggests. He’s next best.

Race 9: Shek Sheung River Handicap (7.50am PDT, 10.50am EDT)

#9 Ka Ying Cheer is a serious horse on the improve and he gets another strong winning chance this week. Pierre Ng’s stable is firing and this guy appears hard to beat, especially under the light weight after his most recent run. #1 Kaholo Angel is versatile and continues to run well. He doesn’t know how to run a poor race and Hugh Bowman’s booking adds confidence. #7 California Deeply gets the services of Zac Purton. He’s been knocking on the door for another win all season. #2 Happy Fat Cat continues to outperform expectations.

Hong Kong Horse Racing Selections – Sun., June 23

(Sunday, June 23, 2024)

Race 1: #12 Sweet Smile, #1 Beauty Missile, #10 My Wish, #11 Yuen Long Elite
Race 2:
#4 Perfect Team, #5 Super Win Dragon, #7 So We Joy, #9 Talents Ambition
Race 3:
#14 Brave Witness, #8 Mission Bravo, #2 G Liner, #11 Lucky Banner
Race 4:
#5 Volcanic Spark, #7 Mister Dapper, #1 Serangoon, #4 Gallant Hero
Race 5:
#8 Storming Dragon, #4 Steps Ahead, #7 Meepmeep, #1 Amazing Duck
Race 6:
#5 Master Mastermind, #10 Beauty Alliance, #9 Vantastic Choice, #2 Sunny Da Best
Race 7:
#5 Universal Horizon, #11 Oriental Smoke, #6 Awesome Fluke, #3 Woodfire Bro
Race 8:
#1 California Spangle, #5 Mugen, #2 Taj Dragon, #7 Telecom Fighters 
Race 9:
#2 Galaxy Patch, #3 Happy Together, #4 Nimble Nimbus, #1 Beauty Joy
Race 10:
#5 Lucy In The Sky, #2 Young Superstar, #6 Not Usual Star, #12 Silk Road Glory
Race 11:
#6 Stellar Express, #1 Top Gun, #9 Rubylot, #14 Thriving Brothers

Hong Kong Horse Racing Selections

Race 1: Ruby Handicap (1.00am PDT, 4.00am EDT)

#12 Sweet Smile is making nice progress. His second start was much improved and the inside draw will afford him a very good chance. He’s the one to beat here with Hugh Bowman up. #1 Beauty Missile has placed five times and is unlucky to not already be a winner in Hong Kong. He drops to Class 4 now and shapes as a main danger this weekend. #10 My Wish finished fifth on debut and he can improve here. That was a strong effort and he gets his opportunity. #11 Yuen Long Elite is next in line, especially from an ideal draw.

Race 2: Spessartine Garnet Handicap (1.30am PDT, 4.30am EDT)

#4 Perfect Team is consistent and he gets his opportunity, especially with seven pounds coming off his back. He draws ideally and can take advantage of these circumstances for an in-form Caspar Fownes. #5 Super Win Dragon is better than his record suggests. He mixes his form but if he manages to find his best then he can easily make his presence felt. #7 So We Joy is a winner already this season. This contest appears suitable for him. #9 Talents Ambition slots in light and draws well. He’ll be thereabouts.

Race 3: Topaz Handicap (2.00am PDT, 5.00am EDT)

#14 Brave Witness has done well on the dirt across his short career. He went close last start and improvement out of that run should see him take beating, especially under the featherweight. #8 Mission Bravo can press forward and take an opportunity from there. He has the draw to overcome, although he does have race experience on his side. #2 G Liner is seeking back-to-back wins. He has the right gate and Hugh Bowman retains the mount. #11 Lucky Banner has a good gate and he’s not without a hope.

Race 4: Emerald Handicap (2.30am PDT, 5.30am EDT)

#5 Volcanic Spark is nearing another win. He’s remained in super form and gets that chance here, especially with an ideal draw on his side in this grade. One they all must catch. #7 Mister Dapper can easily reverse his form. He’s better than his record suggests and may have just got a touch lost around Happy Valley last time out. #1 Serangoon has top-weight and the wide gate to overcome, although he does have the class-edge. #4 Gallant Hero goes about his racing well and he rates strongly here. Next best.

Race 5: Diamond Handicap (1st Section) (3.00am PDT, 6.00am EDT)

#8 Storming Dragon is closing in on a first win. He’s clearly got the ability and has gone close already across three runs, twice placing. One to beat, especially with Zac Purton retaining the ride. #4 Steps Ahead is aiming to snap consecutive runner-up efforts. He’s hit the ground running and can continue to improve this weekend. #7 Meepmeep has placed twice across three runs. He’s another nearing a first win and he deserves respect here. #1 Amazing Duck has the apprentice up and is worth respecting.

Race 6: Diamond Handicap (2nd Section) (3.30am PDT, 6.30am EDT)

#5 Master Mastermind has serious potential and he should take beating here. Hugh Bowman is aboard and this horse appears to have his fair share of untapped talent. One to catch. #10 Beauty Alliance raced wide and without cover last start. He can improve out of sight this weekend, assuming he receives a clean run throughout. #9 Vantastic Choice can press forward and find the front against this group. He’s favoured with three pounds removed. #2 Sunny Da Best can return to form and he deserves another shot.

Race 7: Lapis Lazuli Handicap (4.05am PDT, 7.05am EDT)

#5 Universal Horizon finished runner-up last start. He went close that day and deserves another shot here, especially from a suitable barrier. He looks ready for the step up in trip now. #11 Oriental Smoke is aiming to snap a string of placings. He did well last start and another solid effort is expected this weekend. He’ll lead and give this group something to reel in. #6 Awesome Fluke is aiming for consecutive wins. He deserves respect here. #3 Woodfire Bro is next best. He has the gate to overcome this weekend.

Race 8: G3 Premier Cup Handicap (4.35am PDT, 7.35am EDT)

#1 California Spangle is the clear one to beat. He’ll press forward and give this group something to reel in, especially as he is the only Group 1 winner in the field. #5 Mugen gets in light and keeps on improving. He’s a nice horse and he receives a super chance with the featherweight assigned in the form of Karis Teetan. #2 Taj Dragon has consistency on his side and he was a tidy winner two runs back. He’s a six-time course and distance winner. #7 Telecom Fighters slots in light and can outperform his odds.

Race 9: G3 Premier Plate Handicap (5.10am PDT, 8.10am EDT)

#2 Galaxy Patch continues to meet every challenge thrown his way and he can do so again here. He’s got a stack of ability, he’s versatile and he’s the one they all must beat. #3 Happy Together did well to finish fourth at Group 1 level last start. He’ll make his presence felt if he manages to perform at that level again. #4 Nimble Nimbus is in seriously good form and his most recent barrier trial was impressive. He loves the course and distance. #1 Beauty Joy has claims. He just has a hefty impost to overcome.

Race 10: Sapphire Handicap (5.45am PDT, 8.45am EDT)

#5 Lucy In The Sky is a two-time winner from his last three starts. He rises in grade here, although the step up does appear well within his grasp. He’ll take beating. #2 Young Superstar won well on debut in Hong Kong. He’s a Singapore import, who has done superb since arriving at Sha Tin with Tony Cruz. #6 Not Usual Star gets his chance from the positive gate. He’s lost form a bit, although he is capable on his day. #12 Silk Road Glory makes his debut after trialling well of late at Conghua. Zac Purton’s pairing is worth keeping an eye on.

Race 11: Amethyst Handicap (6.20am PDT, 9.20am EDT)

#6 Stellar Express raced on the speed last start, although did manage to hold on for third. He can improve with that run under his belt and he is most-deserving of a first win. #1 Top Gun is a talent and he can bounce back this weekend. He was classy with victory on debut, producing an effort which can easily see him take put pressure on this group. #9 Rubylot has consistency on his side and pairs favourably with Zac Purton. #14 Thriving Brothers slots in light and his first-up run was outstanding. He can take another forward step.

FREE Saturday Horse Racing Play – June 22, 2024

Our Free Saturday horse racing play offers up our expert analysis on one select race and includes a handicapping lesson.

Race 8 at Belmont at the Big A, post time 4:11pm, 6 furlongs Turf

Handicapping tips from




FREE Saturday Horse Racing Play for Saturday, June 22

Pace Scenario: Honest fractions with several runners including Collected Special leading the way.

Free AGOS Selection: # 12 JIMMYTHETOOTH (8/1) – This Mike Maker runner makes his second start off the layoff after breaking slowly in his last race (note the 11 at the start call) and making a belated late run before checking in 7th. That race is easy for forgive and this runner’s previous turf sprint attempts were excellent. He broke his maiden on the lead at Saratoga last summer while putting up a solid speed figure in the process. Today he gets a switch to John Velasquez, Jr. who is having a great meet. J.R. should utilize this colt’s good early speed to maintain a great stalking position before making a winning run.

Wagering strategy: Play # 12 JIMMYTHETOOTH  to Win and Place.  TURF ONLY

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

Playing Saratoga this summer? Get the 10 Tips to Turning a Profit at the Spa, a free guide from AGOS.


Trainer Bill Mott’s Gala Brand the One to Beat on Saturday


Arnmore Thoroughbreds and Even Keel Thoroughbreds’ Grade 3-winner Gala Brand is set to return from an over seven-month layoff in Saturday’s Listed $150,000 Wild Applause, a one-mile inner turf test for sophomore fillies, at Belmont at the Big A.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the Violence chestnut displayed talent over the turf from the beginning of her juvenile campaign, coming from 14 lengths back in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint to win on debut ahead of a rallying score against males in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 With Anticipation, both in August at Saratoga Race Course.

Gala Brand exited her wins at The Spa to finish off-the-board in a pair of events won by Champion 2-Year-Old Filly-runner up Hard to Justify, including a closing fourth from last-of-11 when favored in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 2 Miss Grillo in October at Belmont at the Big A. She next attempted the one-mile Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November at Santa Anita Park.

The promising juvenile returned to the tab as a sophomore on April 19 and has recorded weekly workouts since, most recently breezing a half-mile in 49.65 seconds over Saratoga’s Oklahoma dirt training track on June 17.

“We freshened her. She was kind of worn out by the time we ran in the Breeders’ Cup. She needed a rest and we gave her a rest,” said Mott. “She’s been back and had several good works. We just feel this is the time to start back up.”

Megan Jones, managing partner of Arnmore Thoroughbreds, said she observed strong physical development over the course of the freshening.

“She has grown up and filled out, I’m looking forward to getting her back up and started again,” said Jones. “She is a tall filly and last year against the boys in the With Anticipation she measured taller. I’d even call her gangly at points in time, but I think she has filled out and gotten stronger from age two to three.”

A $30,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Gala Brand is out of the multiple graded/group stakes-winning Lord of England mare Olorda and is a half-sister to the stakes-placed James Aloysius.

“When I bought her and coming along as a yearling to two-year-old, I actually thought she’d be the one in the group to really develop with age. I think she did what she did first-out and in the With Anticipation with raw ability,” said Jones. “She is thicker and stronger this year, whereas last year she was a taller, ganglier horse, certainly not awkward by any means, but I’m looking forward to seeing her now.”

Mott captured the Wild Applause in June 2015 at Belmont Park with multiple graded stakes winner Celestine, who went on to win the Grade 1 Just a Game there one year later.

Jose Lezcano, who was aboard for Gala Brand’s victorious debut, will look to engineer a winning trip from post 1 carrying a field-high 122 pounds.

Four time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will saddle a trio of promising maiden-winners in search of a record-extending fifth Wild Applause win in Grayosh [post 7, Manny Franco, 118 pounds], Chantilly Road [post 8, Joel Rosario, 118 pounds], and Oversubscribed [post 9, Flavien Prat, 118 pounds].

Brown seeks a Wild Applause “three-peat”, capturing last year’s edition with Liguria and 2022’s with Eminent Victor, building on past scores of Blowout [2019] and Ancient Secret [2016].

Flanagan Racing’s Grayosh holds the highest Beyer of the Brown-trainees, earning an 82 for a 1 3/4-length victory over Chantilly Road in a 1 1/16-mile maiden tilt here on April 20. The victory marked a third-out graduation for the Yoshida gray after losing her rider the race prior when going nine-furlongs in March at Gulfstream Park.

Grayosh finished fourth last-out in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Wonder Again on May 27 here, where she found herself last-of-six in the stretch and unable to reel in the victorious Segesta, who is also trained by Brown.

CHP Racing’s Chantilly Road enters off a fourth-out graduation traveling 1 1/16 miles here on May 18, earning a 77 Beyer in the effort. The Quality Road dark bay nearly matched her career-best 78 Beyer from her turf debut in the aforementioned second to Grayosh. Her two prior starts were made over the dirt and yielded off-the-board results, including at one-mile in February at the Big A and six furlongs in January at Tampa Bay Downs.

Chantilly Road, a $390,000 purchase at the 2023 OBS March Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training, is a half-sister to dirt graded stakes-winner Five Star General. She is out of the winning Bernardini mare Party of Interest, who is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winning turfer Criminologist.

Klaravich Stables’ British-bred Oversubscribed dead-heated to win her debut going 1 1/16 miles on February 10 at Tampa Bay Downs. There, the Too Darn Hot bay traveled in sixth position and found herself behind a wall of horses in the stretch, but was able to dive down through a tight opening along the rail and get up in the nick of time.

Oversubscribed was slow away from the gate in her second start, made here traveling 1 1/16-miles versus optional-claiming company on May 5, in need of another late rally from nine lengths back, but this time she was forced to check around the three-eighths pole. She settled for second as the beaten favorite to returning rival Macanga. The effort earned a career-best 78 Beyer.

Out of the group-placed Cape Cross mare Zurigha, Oversubscribed was a $481,041 purchase at the 2021 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.

Imaginary Stables and Mark Barnhart’s Macanga [post 4, John Velazquez, 120 pounds] enters off the optional-claiming score over Oversubscribed, registering a career-best 83 Beyer in victory. There, the American Pharoah bay set the pace with enough in reserve to edge clear and win her first effort for trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr.

Macanga had previously finished off-the-board at the Grade 3-level in Gulfstream Park’s Herecomesthebride in March and Sweetest Chant in February, for conditioners Fernando Abreu and Elizabeth Dobles, respectively.

Team Spoor’s Curlin’s Girl [post 2, Kendrick Carmouche, 118 pounds] will make her second start for trainer Linda Rice following a pacesetting off-the-board finish in the Grade 2 Wonder Again. The Curlin dark bay made her first six outings for conditioner Anthony Dutrow, including a third here in the Listed Memories of Silver at Saturday’s distance on April 28. Her last four efforts have garnered a 77 Beyer Speed Figure, including a fifth-out graduation traveling 1 1/16-miles over the Gulfstream all-weather-track.

Rounding out the field are a pair of stakes-placed contestants in Vino Rouge [post 3, Jose Gomez, 118 pounds] for trainer Anthony Dutrow and New York-bred Awesome Czech [post 6, Dylan Davis, 118 pounds] for conditioner Horacio De Paz; as well as the Jorge Abreu-conditioned maiden-winner Tina Ballerina [post 5, Trevor McCarthy, 118 pounds].

Value Area and Just Music are entered for the main-track only.

The Wild Applause is slated as Race 10 on Saturday’s 11-race program. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the Belmont at the Big A spring/summer meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit

Recap of the Belmont Stakes Won by Dornoch

by Mary Eddy

For the first time in 156 years, the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets saw the quest for glory in the final leg of racing’s Triple Crown take place at Saratoga Race Course. Dornoch, under jockey Luis Saez, rose to the historic occasion and filed their names in the history books with a tenacious score in Saturday’s prestigious $2 million test for sophomores.

The electric, sold-out crowd of 50,000 fans watched with bated breath as the pace-pressing Dornoch clung to the lead in the final eighth of a mile over the storied main track with the lightly raced Mindframe charging furiously to his outside, but the resolute Dornoch would not be denied, claiming victory by a half-length in the esteemed route.

The Belmont Stakes was held at Saratoga for the first time to allow for the uninterrupted construction of a new Belmont Park. Due to the configuration of Saratoga’s main track, the Belmont Stakes was contested at 1 1/4-miles rather than the traditional 1 1/2-miles.

Trained by Danny Gargan for West Paces Racing, R. A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding, Two Eight Racing and Pine Racing Stables, the son of Good Magic became the second Classic winner for his dam, the graded stakes-placed Puca, after his full-brother Mage won last year’s Grade 1 Kentucky Derby. Dornoch became the first Grade 1-winner for Gargan, who said he was humbled by the victory.

“I’m still just taking it in. It’s pretty exciting,” Gargan said. “It’s a special thing just to be a part of these races, not to mention to win one with a horse you bought at Keeneland and have had it for its whole [racing] life. I spend so much time with him and my staff has done such a great job with him.”

Gargan said he is thankful for the strong-willed Dornoch, and gave credit to longtime clients Dean Reeves and Randy Hill for their support in the early years of his career, the latter of which is the namesake of winning co-owner R.A. Hill Stable.

“He’s not an easy horse to train and it’s not easy to get in this kind of situation,” said Gargan. “I’ve been blessed to have the right owners. Randy has been with me since the beginning. He and Dean Reeves wanted me to start training 2-year-olds and focus on them instead of the claiming game, and I have to thank them.”

Hill expressed equal emotion towards the memorable victory.

“Nobody ever wake me up. I’ll be damn mad. Let me keep dreaming,” Hill said. “I said to my partners, to Danny and Luis, ‘Let’s run our race today, let’s get the lead, and if anybody can beat us, let them come and get us.’”

Dornoch was a prominent winner after a clean exit from post 6 in the talented 10-horse field that included Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan and Grade 1 Preakness victor Seize the Grey, who was sent up the rail by jockey Jaime Torres to make a successful challenge for the lead rounding the first turn and through an opening quarter-mile in 22.99 seconds over the fast footing.

“You are always going to have a Plan B,” Saez said of Seize the Grey’s early push for control. “The plan was to try to take the lead, but we couldn’t. We were in the perfect spot so I just let him be comfortable. He did what he was supposed to do. He finished pretty well.”

Dornoch raced in the two-path while Resilience rode the rail in third with the Irad Ortiz, Jr.-piloted Mindframe following the run of Dornoch to inch up into contention heading into the backstretch. Saez kept a snug hold of Dornoch to let Seize the Grey do the legwork, marking a half-mile in 47.25 while post-time favorite Sierra Leone was held far off the pace in ninth in anticipation of his trademark deep-closing rally.

After reaching the three-quarters call in 1:10.67, Seize the Grey and Dornoch had made it a race of their own, opening up several lengths on the backpedaling Resilience as Mindframe was turned loose to set his sights on the topflight, and the New York-bred The Wine Steward spun his wheels in mid-pack outside of the advancing Antiquarian. Sierra Leone was last after one mile in 1:35.51 and forced to move widest of all in the turn with plenty of work left to do as Dornoch surged past Seize the Grey to go head-to-head with Mindframe at the top of the stretch.

“At that point, I thought the other horse was going to beat us,” Saez said. “But Dornoch, he kept finding. He never let the other one get by. Pretty nice horse, big heart.”

Dornoch was an eighth of a mile from immortality as Mindframe loomed large in the center of the course, threatening to sweep by and provide his Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher with a fifth Belmont Stakes victory. But the inexperienced colt veered out sharply when asked for his best by Ortiz, Jr. with a left-handed crop, while Dornoch maintained his rail position with his ears pinned in determination.

The talented Mindframe closed the gap while the meandering Sierra Leone found a clear path and charged on late ahead of fellow deep-closer Honor Marie, but Dornoch had enough left to turn back his challengers and post the 17-1 upset victory under a celebrating Saez in a final time of 2:01.64.

Mindframe finished one length ahead of Sierra Leone with another four lengths back to Honor Marie, who was squeezed between Sierra Leone and the maiden Protective after Mindframe came in from the outside post at the start. Antiquarian, Protective, Seize the Grey, Mystik Dan, The Wine Steward and Resilience completed the order of finish.

The win marked the second Belmont Stakes for Saez, who guided Essential Quality to victory in 2021 at the race’s traditional 12-furlong distance. The 32-year-old native of Panama said Dornoch was game to the wire.

“It was a pretty good race. The horse broke pretty sharp,” Saez said. “The position we were looking for. He did everything right. He came to the top of the stretch, I still have a lot of horse and he fights. He fights to get there first. He’s a horse that really has a big heart and man, he ran the perfect race.

“Of course, [I thank] God,” Saez added. “My family for the support, the owner, trainer, everybody involved, thank you.”

Dornoch entered the Belmont Stakes from a troubled 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby where he emerged from the inside post in the field of 20 and was shuffled and checked several times before making a mild late bid and finished well behind the Brian Hernandez, Jr.-piloted Mystik Dan.

“We wanted to be on the lead. In the Derby the one-hole got us,” said Gargan. “He broke a touch slow. Right after, Brian came over and we got checked out of there. It’s game over then. Three days later, we got him up here and pointed for this race. We trained him and tried to do everything the best we could. He was training phenomenal. He worked great here. We got overlooked a little bit because he ran one bad race. Now, they’ll look at us a little more next time, hopefully.”

Saez has been aboard for all but one of Dornoch’s eight starts, and said the mid-pack post made all the difference in the Belmont Stakes.

“Better post, we were expecting a good break from there,” Saez said. “We were thinking to take the lead, but we knew they had a lot of speed to the inside from the one-hole [Seize the Grey]. That was great because we had a target to follow.”

Dornoch began his journey towards the Triple Crown last summer at the Spa, where he finished second on debut to Seize the Grey. He would graduate two starts later at Keeneland ahead of another gritty victory in the Grade 2 Remsen in December at Aqueduct Racetrack, where he lost the lead to a lugging-in Sierra Leone in the stretch but battled back to get his nose down on the wire.

This year, Dornoch won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth with prominent tactics before an educational trip in the Grade 1 Blue Grass where he was rated by Saez and finished fourth behind Sierra Leone. His graded stakes efforts earned him enough points for a spot in the Derby starting gate.

“I never lost faith in him,” Gargan said. “He had tremendous works up here. He’s a big, powerful horse. You just have to be patient and not lose focus and just grind away, and hopefully, you get lucky and win one of these.”

In the weeks leading up to the Belmont Stakes, Pletcher, who also saddled Antiquarian and Protective, had expressed his concern for the lack of experience from Mindframe, who entered undefeated through two starts, including an impressive last-out allowance score on Derby Day at Churchill Downs. Pletcher said those concerns were valid after Mindframe ran greenly in the stretch.

“It’s just his third start and first time at this distance. First time he’s really been challenged; all the things we were concerned about,” Pletcher said. “If he could have run a straight course down the lane, that would have been the difference. Irad felt like he just lost that little bit of focus. He was still coming at the end.

“It verifies what we thought of him,” Pletcher continued. “He showed so much talent in those two races but now we had to test him and see where he fit with the big horses.”

Ortiz, Jr., who won three graded stakes on Saturday’s card, was in agreement.

“It was beautiful. A great trip. For a second, I thought I was going to get there,” Ortiz, Jr. “It’s only his third start, so he showed a lot. He had only a little experience, but these horses, they’ve been running everywhere and had a lot more races than him. I think it was a great effort from him.”

Sierra Leone, defeated a nose when second last out in the Kentucky Derby, raced with a cage bit for the first time in hopes of correcting steering troubles that were evident when lugging in down the stretch of the Derby. Four-time Eclipse Award-winning conditioner Chad Brown said a bumpy beginning did not aid the 8-5 post-time favorite, who received the services of Flavien Prat for the first time.

“We got slammed at the start and he got far back,” Brown said. “He had an opportunity to engage the bit and improve his position down the backside and he really didn’t do it. At the quarter-pole, it looked like he wasn’t going anywhere, then he grabbed the bit late and he came on. It’s a hard track today to close ground on.”

Bred in Kentucky by Grandview Equine, Dornoch was a $325,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He banked $1.2 million for his Belmont Stakes triumph, bringing his bankroll to $1,752,275 through a 8-4-2-0 record. He returned $37.40 for a $2 win wager.

Source: NYRA

Hong Kong Expert Horse Racing Selections – Wed., June 12

(Wednesday, June 12, 2024)
Race 1: #1 Dragon Pride, #6 Speedstar, #10 Viva A La, #3 Keen Unity
Race 2:
#1 E Legend, #3 Mister Dapper, #4 Dragon Star, #7 Courier Magic
Race 3:
#8 Gold Tack, #7 Precise Express, #11 Jubilation, #2 Satirical Glory
Race 4:
#4 Golden Rise, #5 Flying Wrote, #9 Spicy Gold, #6 Happy For All
Race 5:
#7 Chill Chibi, #3 Moments In Time, #8 Outgate, #4 Flaming Rabbit
Race 6:
#2 Fortune Warrior, #1 Ma Comet, #11 Happy Horse, #4 Happy Soul
Race 7:
#9 Super Joy N Fun, #7 Amazing Victory, #6 Golden Empire, #11 California Deeply
Race 8:
#5 Midori Glory, #4 Fast Serve, #9 Youthful Spirits, #2 Magic Control
Race 9:
#11 Jumbo Legend, #6 Star Contact, #12 Big Red, #3 Never Too Soon
Hong Kong Expert Horse Racing Selections for Wednesday morning
Race 1: Aster Handicap (3.40am PDT, 6.40am EDT)
#1 Dragon Pride gets back to Class 5, where he returned his most recent win. He can bounce back with a step down to the bottom grade. One to beat. #6 Speedstar is unlucky not to be a multiple winner already. He’s in super form and his pairing with Zac Purton is worth keeping a close eye on. He’s ready to run a big race and can do so here. #10 Viva A La finds a favourable inside draw. He ran well last start and isn’t expected to see his form slip. #3 Keen Unity is steadily finding his best. He’ll be in the finish once again.
Race 2: Bellflower Handicap (4.10am PDT, 7.10am EDT)
#1 E Legend makes a welcome return to Class 4, where has won multiple times before. He goes about his racing well and has been competitive in Class 3 this season. He has the class-edge to defeat this group. #3 Mister Dapper is hard to get a gauge on, although he does appear to flourish over this distance. Next in line. #4 Dragon Star is nothing short of consistent and he should get his opportunity racing on the speed from gate one. #7 Courier Magic can make his presence felt. He’ll be charging late. Don’t discount.
Race 3: Camellia Handicap (4.40am PDT, 7.40am EDT)
#8 Gold Tack is ever so close to winning his first race. He’s pieced together a few solid performances and deserves to breakthrough now. One to beat. #7 Precise Express is capable and he should receive a sweet run from gate one. He gets his opportunity here. #11 Jubilation slots in with a light weight. He’s proven himself in this grade and Keith Yeung has a good relationship with the galloper. #2 Satirical Glory is seeking back-to-back wins. He’s in the best form of his career now.
Race 4: Dianthus Handicap (5.10am PDT, 8.10am EDT)
#4 Golden Rise returns to Happy Valley. He has previously raced well at this course and Hugh Bowman’s pairing catches the eye. He’s in solid form and gets a super chance here, especially from gate four. #5 Flying Wrote is lightly raced, although he has shown a stack of potential already. He can keep improving for trainer Tony Cruz. #9 Spicy Gold is another who keeps improving. He did well to grab second last start and that effort bodes well for a contest such as this one. #6 Happy For All is next best.
Race 5: The EWO Challenge Trophy Handicap (5.40am PDT, 8.40am EDT)
#7 Chill Chibi has done his best racing at Happy Valley and he makes a favourable return to the city course this week. He still has some improvement to come and an in-form Danny Shum stable commands a heap of respect. #3 Moments In Time is the stablemate to Chill Chibi and one of three for Shum in the race. He’ll lead and give them all something to reel in. #8 Outgate is another who can press forward. He’s in solid form and gets an opportunity here. #4 Flaming Rabbit is next in line, he’s another possible pace angle.
The Impact of the Hong Kong International RacesRace 6: Heather Handicap (6.10am PDT, 9.10am EDT)
#2 Fortune Warrior is dangerous off this mark and his recent efforts have been superb. He’s ready to win again, especially in this grade with Zac Purton engaged. #1 Ma Comet clearly has ability and his most recent outing was strong when he finished second. He’s clearly much better suited to racing in Class 4. #11 Happy Horse is a two-time winner, both times this season. He’s found his groove and gets an opportunity this week, even from the wide draw. #4 Happy Soul won well two runs back. Next best.
Race 7: Thistle Handicap (6.45am PDT, 9.45am EDT)
#9 Super Joy N Fun is a serious horse on the improve and he can return to winning ways this week. He has the ability and is still learning his craft, although he will need to overcome an awkward gate. #7 Amazing Victory knows what it’s about and his recent efforts have been solid. Karis Teetan sticks with him and he gets his shot. #6 Golden Empire finished second last time out. He continues to perform. He’ll press forward early in a bid to overcome the gate. #11 California Deeply is next best.
Race 8: Violet Handicap (7.15am PDT, 10.15am EDT)
#5 Midori Glory was super impressive on debut. He won well that day and appears well placed to score again, especially from the middle gate. One they all must beat following his first-up effort. #4 Fast Serve returned in super condition last start following setbacks. He’s a two-time winner who can mount a serious challenge to this group. #9 Youthful Spirits is going to find the front and should do so with ease from barrier two. He’ll take reeling in. #2 Magic Control debuts. He’s worth keeping a close eye on.
Race 9: Chamomile Handicap (7.50am PDT, 10.50am EDT)
#11 Jumbo Legend needs plenty to go his way, however, his latest effort for fifth was solid. He is clearly ready to win again and his pairing with Vincent Ho enhances confidence. #6 Star Contact is regularly underestimated and the same should occur here, even while he’s in a super vein of form for trainer David Hayes. #12 Big Red was a deserving winner last start and he should receive his opportunity once more, even up in grade. He’s a nice horse. #3 Never Too Soon has quality and gets his chance.

10 Keys to Winning and Turning a Profit at Saratoga

Rich Nilsen handicapper

Updated for 2024
Download this free guide “Beat Saratoga: 10 Tips for Turning a Profit” by founder Rich Nilsen and give yourself the best chance to win at the 2024 Saratoga meet.

Beating this 40-day meet with so many contentious races is no easy task, even for experienced horseplayers, but the tips in this guide will get you on track to do just that.19-time NHC Qualifier and 8-time major contest winner Rich Nilsen walks you through the steps required to beat this prestigious race meet. In “Beat Saratoga: 10 Tips for Turning a Profit” you’ll learn about longshot trainers and jockeys, which biases to watch out for, and much more.

10 Tips for Turning a Profit at Saratoga

10 Tips for Turning a Profit at Saratoga

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