About Editor

Rich Nilsen is an 18-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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Here are my most recent posts

Aqueduct Racetrack Spring Stakes Schedule

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced the stakes schedule for the 2024 spring meet at Aqueduct Racetrack, which will feature 12 stakes worth $2.675 million in total purses.

NYRA has increased the purse of six stakes to be contested during the Aqueduct spring meet. Four listed events have received a $50,000 boost, including the Top Flight, Danger’s Hour, Plenty of Grace and Memories of Silver. The Grade 3 Distaff and the Woodhaven have each been increased by $25,000, raising the purse of the Distaff to $175,000 and the Woodhaven to $125,000.

The spring meet at Aqueduct will open Thursday, April 4 and continue through Sunday, April 28 with live racing conducted Thursday-Sunday.

The Wood Memorial

The spring meet stakes action kicks off with the Wood Memorial Day card on Saturday, April 6, featuring five stakes topped by the 99th running of the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino. The nine-furlong test for 3-year-olds will offer 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers.

Turf course at AqueductWood Memorial Day will also feature the Grade 2, $250,000 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets at seven-furlongs for older horses, as well the Grade 3, $200,000 Gazelle at nine furlongs for sophomore fillies offering 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top-five finishers. Completing the day’s stakes action are the Grade 3, $175,000 Distaff Handicap, a seven-furlong contest for older fillies and mares; and the Listed $175,000 Bay Shore, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomores.

Stakes action continues the following weekend with the Listed $150,000 Top Flight for older fillies and mares traveling nine furlongs on Saturday, April 13, while the next day will offer a pair of $200,000 New York Stallion Stakes Series events at 6 1/2-furlongs on the main track in the Times Square for sophomores and the Park Avenue for sophomore fillies on Sunday, April 14.

The final two weekends of the spring meet will feature the return of turf stakes with four one-mile races scheduled, including the Listed $150,000 Danger’s Hour for older horses on Saturday, April 20 and the Listed $150,000 Plenty of Grace for older fillies and mares on Sunday, April 21.

Closing weekend of the Big A spring meet offers the $125,000 Woodhaven for sophomores on Saturday, April 27, and the Listed $150,000 Memories of Silver for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday, April 28. For the complete spring meet stakes schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/stakes.

source: NYRA

Oaklawn Park Handicapping Hour with Marko and Stivo – February 2nd

Two of the best handicappers I know, brothers Steve Simonovic and Mark Simonovic, put out their weekly Oaklawn Park handicapping show. This week’s guest is one of the nation’s winningest trainers, Karl Broberg. He is fresh off a win at the Sam Houston handicapping contest last weekend, where both he and Steve qualified for the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). Broberg discusses the small $50 wager that he hit at Gulfstream Park that catapulted him to the lead.

Don’t play Oaklawn Park this Saturday without listening to this show first! Best of luck.

HISA Establishes Next Generation Advisory Group

January 16, 2024 (Lexington, KY) – The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) has established a Next Generation Advisory Group that will be made up of individuals in the early to mid-stages of their professional careers and will provide feedback to HISA’s executive team and standing committees on the implementation and evolution of HISA’s regulations and protocols. HISA is inviting anyone who wishes to be considered for membership in the Advisory Group to submit an application indicating their interest and qualifications by February 9, 2024.

“Establishing a Next Generation Advisory Group was an easy decision for HISA. We are safeguarding racing for generations to come by focusing on implementing rules and regulations to make racing safer and fairer for all involved,” said HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus. “We welcome the feedback and perspectives of this Next Generation Advisory Group who will surely act as excellent advocates for preserving the sport’s future.”

The Next Generation Advisory Group will be co-chaired by Mackenzie Kirker-Head, HISA Communications and Design Manager, and Brandon Badgett, Director of Strategy at Jahnel Group. HISA Assistant General Counsel Sam Reinhardt will act as Secretary, and Alexa Ravit, Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU) Director of Communications & Outreach, will act as HIWU Liaison. HISA is looking to select a diverse group of 10-12 individuals who bring a wide range of experience in horse racing, related industries and innovation to join the Advisory Group and help advise HISA’s executive team and standing committees going forward.

Questions about HISA’s Next Generation Advisory Group should be submitted to Mackenzie Kirker-Head at Mackenzie.KirkerHead@hisaus.org. More information about the group and expectations of members can be found here.

 

About the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority

When the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was signed into federal law, it charged the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) with drafting and enforcing uniform safety and integrity rules in Thoroughbred racing in the U.S. Overseen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), HISA is implementing, for the first time, a national, uniform set of rules applicable to every Thoroughbred racing participant and racetrack facility. HISA is comprised of two programs: the Racetrack Safety Program, which went into effect on July 1, 2022, and the Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program, which went into effect on May 22, 2023.

The Racetrack Safety Program includes operational safety rules and national racetrack accreditation standards that seek to enhance equine welfare and minimize equine and jockey injury. The Program expands veterinary oversight, imposes surface maintenance and testing requirements, enhances jockey safety, regulates riding crop use and implements voided claim rules, among other important measures.

The ADMC Program includes a centralized testing and results management process and applies uniform penalties for violations efficiently and consistently across the United States. These rules and enforcement mechanisms are administered by an independent agency, the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU), established by Drug Free Sport International (DFS). HIWU oversees testing, educates stakeholders on the Program, accredits laboratories, investigates potential ADMC violations and prosecutes any such violations.

Complimentary Full-card Pace Chart for Saturday at Oaklawn Park

Saturday, January 13, 2024 at Oaklawn Park

Pace Makes The Race! The following pace chart is based on a unique and sophisticated algorithm to predict where each runner will be in early running of the race. Fast conditions expected in Hot Springs, AR.

Here is your complimentary Pace Chart for Saturday’s card –  Best of luck.

Oaklawn Park  Saturday January 13, 2024
Race 1 Expected Pace Leaders Stalkers Mid-Pack Closers Unknown
9.00 Furlongs / Dirt Modest 1 7-3 5-4-2 6
Race 2
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Honest 12-11-13 8 9-7-3-1 6-14-5-10 2-4
Race 3
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Honest *7 3-8 5-4-1 6-2
Race 4
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Honest/Fast 3-8-4 6-2 7 5-1
Race 5
8 Furlongs / Dirt Unknown 5-10-3 8-12-2 11-9-6-7 4-1-13
Race 6
8 Furlongs / Dirt Honest 8-3 1-9-2 7-6- 5-10 4
Race 7
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Honest/Fast 4-2 3-6-7 1-5-10-9 8-11
Race 8
8 Furlongs / Dirt Fast 11-6 5-8-3 10-4-14-1 13-7-2-9-12
Race 9
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Slow/Modest *2 4-3 5-6-1
Race 10
8 Furlongs / Dirt Fast 6-14-3 11-7-1 5-4-12-13 2-10-8-9

HKJC Expert Horse Racing Selections for Hong Kong – Sat., Jan. 13

SHA TIN SELECTIONS
(Saturday, January 13, 2024)

Race 1: #14 Smart Beauty, #2 Dragon Delight, #5 Fire Ball, #13 Tsuen Wan Glory
Race 2:
#8 Master Mastermind, #1 Top Scorer, #2 Joy Of Spring, #10 Mr Maestro
Race 3:
#1 Must Go, #3 Run Run Timing, #8 Ruby Sailing, #2 Sight Hero 
Race 4:
#6 Deep Pursuit, #1 James Tak, #9 Lifeline Express, #2 Metro Warrior
Race 5:
#2 Fighting Machine, #13 Kasi Farasi, #8 Volcanic Spark, #7 Master Tornado 
Race 6:
#7 Lucky Eternity, #12 Northern Beast, #1 Holy Lake, #3 Beato
Race 7:
#6 Galaxy Patch, #7 Lucky Encounter, #1 Ping Hai Galaxy, #5 Bundle Of Charm
Race 8:
#9 Denfield, #2 Cotton Fingers, #4 I Give, #10 Magnificent Nine
Race 9:
#7 Hakka Radiance,#13 Star Mac, #2 Chancheng Glory, #3 Speed Dragon
Race 10:
#3 Joyful Hunter, #4 Leslie, #6 Beauty Fit, #1 Beauty Crescent

Race 1: Hung Shui Kiu Handicap (9.00pm PST, 12.00am EST)

#14 Smart Beauty slots in light and gets a superb chance to record a first win. He caught the eye late last start, enough so to suggest that he was capable of breaking through. Angus Chung’s five-pound apprentice claim helps. #2 Dragon Delight is performing well in the bottom grade. He’s drawn ideally and pairs favourably with Hugh Bowman. #5 Fire Ball is after consecutive wins. He gets his chance here, however, he will need to overcome the wide gate. #13 Tsuen Wan Glory is next in line with the featherweight.

Race 2: Lam Tei Handicap (2nd Section) (9.30pm PST, 12.30am EST)

#8 Master Mastermind makes his debut. He’s done well ahead of his first-up run and he does look well placed here to make his presence felt in a big, big way. Worth a chance. #1 Top Scorer was sound first-up when finishing second. He can improve from that effort. #2 Joy Of Spring soared to an improbable runner-up finish on debut two runs back. He can return to form with the prospect of a dry track this weekend. #10 Mr Maestro has been solid across two runs and he can only get better. Keep safe.

Hong Kong horse racingRace 3: Lam Tei Handicap (1st Section) (10.00pm PST, 1.00am EST)

#1 Must Go makes a favourable step down to Class 4. He found form last start and shapes as the one to beat here, as long as he can back that effort up again. #3 Run Run Timing has finished third twice across two runs in Hong Kong. He continues to progress and his day will come soon enough. #8 Ruby Sailing knows how to run well without winning. He’s finished second four times across his short career, however, must be included once more with Hugh Bowman up. #2 Sight Hero is next in line.

Race 4: Lau Fau Shan Handicap (10.30pm PST, 1.30am EST)

#6 Deep Pursuit has taken some time to get going. He’s now ready to make his debut and he does so after an eye-catching trial at Conghua. He draws well for this race down the straight five furlongs and does get Vincent Ho up. One to beat. #1 James Tak is chasing back-to-back wins and he gets a handy 10 pounds taken off his back. He’ll be fighting out another finish. #9 Lifeline Express can improve after finishing third on debut. #2 Metro Warrior steps down to Class 4. He can compete strongly now.

Race 5: Nam Sang Wai Handicap (11.00pm PST, 2.00am EST)

#2 Fighting Machine is after consecutive wins and he can easily get that here. The wide draw is a hindrance, however, his latest score was superb and he remains in Class 4 following that effort. #13 Kasi Farasi was blocked for a run at crucial stages last time out. Expecting he can bounce back from that run, especially as he’s clearly in the right vein of form at the minute. #8 Volcanic Spark is lightly raced but does have plenty of upside, especially with Hugh Bowman taking the reins. #7 Master Tornado is next in line.

Race 6: Ping Shan Handicap (11.35pm PST, 2.35am EST)

#7 Lucky Eternity has raced well this season and he deserves a first win. He’s twice finished second over the course and distance this term, both times missing by under a length. Hugh Bowman hops back aboard and he’s ready to win. #12 Northern Beast closed off nicely to finish fifth last time out. Expecting similar again from him. #1 Holy Lake is a two-time winner from his last three starts. He can figure. #3 Beato is racing well and closing in on a first win. Zac Purton hops up here and he has claims.

Race 7: The Pok Oi Cup Handicap (12.05am PST, 3.05am EST)

#6 Galaxy Patch returns in a bid for a hat-trick of wins. He’s been touted as one of the next big things in Hong Kong racing and he shouldn’t disappoint this weekend. He can win and win well. #7 Lucky Encounter will prove a formidable opponent. He’s lightly raced and open to improvement as a smart four-time winner from seven starts. #1 Ping Hai Galaxy can fire forward to lead. He’s got the class-edge over rivals which does see him assigned top-weight. #5 Bundle Of Charm is next in line. He’s been solid this term.

Race 8: Tai Tong Handicap (12.35am PST, 3.35am EST)

#9 Denfield can offset the draw by rolling forward to lead. He won’t be alone, however, he has shown that he’s best suited from a forward position and he did also have excuses last start. He can return to form and give this race a shake. #2 Cotton Fingers should get the run of the race from draw one. He’s closing in on a first win and clearly has his fair share of ability. #4 I Give is another who should roll forward. He’s a prolific winner who can make his presence felt. #10 Magnificent Nine was without luck last start. Next best.

Race 9: Tin Shui Wai Handicap (1.10am PST, 4.10am EST)

#7 Hakka Radiance was impeded in the straight last start. He clearly has much more to offer and a clean run can allow him to show that. He’s worth a throw at the stumps and he should be decent odds. #13 Star Mac caught the eye with a fast-finishing third last time out. He can do the same again here under no weight. #2 Chancheng Glory is after a fifth straight win. He’s in the form of his life and should be able to cross the field for a forward position early on. #3 Speed Dragon was impressive last start. Don’t discount.

Race 10: Yuen Long Handicap (1.45am PST, 4.45am EST)

#3 Joyful Hunter was incredible last start and a repeat of anything close to that effort should see him win here. He’s a serious talent and he’s yet to reach anywhere close to his ceiling in Hong Kong. One to beat. #4 Leslie surprised last start. He’s holding his condition and can take his chance here. #6 Beauty Fit continues to race well without winning. He’s placed in each of his last five starts. #1 Beauty Crescent is still relatively lightly raced. He’s drawn to get the right run for Zac Purton.

Industry Profile: Leading NY Apprentice Jockey Jamie Torres

Jockey Jaime Torres won 37 races on the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) in 2023 to lead all apprentice riders, posting a record of 411-37-50-50 for purse earnings in excess of $2.6 million. Luis Rivera, Jr. won 27 races to finish second in the NYRA apprentice rider standings.

Torres, who was represented locally by Hall of Famer Angel Cordero, Jr., became a journeyman in October and is now based at Fair Grounds Race Course where Liz Morris has his book.

“New York is one of the toughest circuits in the country and there are a lot of experienced jockeys there. I learned so much from them and from Angel Cordero, who was my right hand and teaching me and leading me the whole meet. I feel very blessed to have had all those opportunities and I learned from it a lot. I would love to go back one day,” Torres said.

Torres, a 24-year-old native of Puerto Rico, was late in arriving to the sport but has proven to be a quick study after a visit to Hipodromo Camarero in December 2019.

“No one in my family is related to this sport. I remember one day I was at my mom’s home just changing the channels and I saw the races in Puerto Rico and I had never seen anything like that – only in the movies,” Torres said. “I went to the races the next day – that was December 15, 2019. I saw the races and fell in love with it. I decided then to ask for more information about how to get into it.”

Torres spent six months training as an exercise rider at the jockey school in Puerto Rico before moving to Florida and taking out his exercise rider license to work for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. at Palm Meadows Training Center.

Jockey Jamie Torres“I worked for Saffie Joseph for 10 months and he helped me with everything,” Torres said. “His team taught me how to exercise horses and when I told Saffie I was going to try and get my license, he gave me three horses to break from the gate and get that license. A lot of the horses I exercised for him were winning and doing really good. I really appreciate the opportunity that he gave me.”

Torres secured his first win on September 17, 2022 at Gulfstream Park, guiding Takestwotowiggle to a 13-1 gate-to-wire upset. He began riding at Aqueduct Racetrack in January where he won the bulk of his races on the NYRA circuit, scoring 24 times at the Big A topped by an allowance score in April with the Carlos Martin-trained Lady Milagro, who went on to win the Autumn Days here in November.

Torres, who captured six races at Belmont Park, won seven races at the Saratoga Race Course meet, including a pair of maiden special weights with MyRacehorse’s Seize the Grey for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas and with Leslie’s Loot for trainer James Chapman, who co-owns the Fast Anna filly with Stuart Tsujimoto.

“I remember every moment and every win I had in New York, but the first win for D. Wayne Lukas with Seize the Grey was very special. The kind of trainer he is – he’s a legend,” Torres said. “I remember Angel Cordero told me to visit his barn just to introduce me and, for me, that was a moment I will never forget. I didn’t know I was going to ride for him and then one week I saw Seize the Grey was one of my commitments. I thought, ‘Wow. I can’t believe I’m going to ride for him.’

“And then I saw I was going to also ride for MyRacehose and that made me very happy,” continued Torres. “When I first started to know about this sport it was the same year they won the Kentucky Derby with Authentic. For it to end like that with a win, that was very special.”

Torres, who finished second in the Grade 2 Herb Moelis Saratoga Special with the Lukas-trained Market Street, said winning a race in Saratoga is an experience like no other.

“It was the best feeling. The fans give you a lot of support and they make you feel really good. When the kids ask you for a picture or to sign their book, that’s very special,” Torres said.

Torres rode in Kentucky after the Spa meet ended but he reunited with Leslie’s Loot at the Fair Grounds to notch his first career stakes win in the Letellier Memorial on December 23 as part of a lucrative day that also saw Torres win the Richard R. Scherer Memorial with the Michelle Lovell-trained Just Might.

“Wow, what a moment,” Torres recalled. “I remember saying to my father that I was just coming here to do what I love – with no pressure and following instructions. I gave it 100 percent and thank God it finished like that. I really thank James Chapman and Michelle Lovell for the opportunities.”

Torres said the relationships and learning experiences developed in New York have helped shape his career which is on an upward trajectory as he currently sits sixth in the Fair Grounds jockey standings with 14 wins.

“I feel very blessed for everything that is going on in my career. I never thought it was going to be that quick,” Torres said. “Joe Sharp and his owners have really helped me and supported me to achieve all my goals. Tom Morley and Ray Handal are here at Fair Grounds and I feel very blessed when I ride for them. They’re all very nice people and saw me growing up in this business.”

Torres, who said he hopes to return to Saratoga this summer, will look to add to his stakes totals on Saturday at Fair Grounds when he pilots the Lovell-conditioned Redifined in the Nelson J. Menard Memorial as he continues to chase his racing dreams.

“I want to win a meet somewhere and just keep learning and make the most of the opportunities people are giving me. I appreciate all of them. One day, I would like to become one of the best jockeys in the country,” Torres said.

source: NYRA.com

HKJC Expert Horse Analysis for Wednesday, Jan. 10 in Hong Kong

HAPPY VALLEY SELECTIONS
(Wednesday, January 10, 2024)

Race 1: #6 Goodmanship, #1 Happy Horse, #3 Multimore, #2 August Moon
Race 2:
#4 Running Ahead, #2 Simply Maverick, #5 Fearless Fire, #6 To Infinity
Race 3:
#4 Red Hare King, #1 Samarkand, #11 Affirm, #5 Super Baby
Race 4:
#10 Valhalla, #5 Great Achiever, #11 Mr Good Vibes, #4 High Rise Soldier
Race 5:
#1 Happy Fat Cat, #5 Gold Tack, #6 Lyrical Motion, #2 Joy Coming
Race 6:
#9 Happy Together, #7 Helene Feeling, #11 La City Blanche, #4 Telecom Fighters
Race 7:
#3 Turin Mascot, #6 Lean Hero, #9 Intrepid Winner, #5 Escape Route
Race 8:
#9 Healthy Healthy, #6 Never Too Soon, #3 Brave Star, #4 Copartner Ambition

Race 1: Paterson Handicap (3.10am PST, 6.10am EST)

#6 Goodmanship has raced well this season. He pairs favourably with Karis Teetan here and a return to the city circuit for him is a big plus. He’s capable of returning to his best and with that proving very tough to get past. #1 Happy Horse is in superb form with a win two runs back. Hugh Bowman’s pairing commands respect. #3 Multimore gets a handy 10 pounds taken off his back with the apprentice up. Expecting a sound effort from him, especially near the head of the field. #2 August Moon is next in line.

Race 2: Kingston Handicap (2nd Section) (3.40am PST, 6.40am EST)

#4 Running Ahead was sound second-up and he can improve following that run. He draws ideally, which could easily see him save the right amount of ground. One to beat. #2 Simply Maverick is versatile. He’s holding his form and gets another chance in Class 4 after his smashing win two starts ago. #5 Fearless Fire is consistent and can make his presence felt once again. He’ll be very competitive here. #6 To Infinity is after back-to-back wins. He has a suitable gate.

Race 3: Kingston Handicap (1st Section) (4.10am PST, 7.10am EST)

#4 Red Hare King draws ideally and has raced well all season at Happy Valley. He comes into this following a pair of runner-up efforts over the course and distance. One to beat from gate one, assuming he receives an economical run in transit. #1 Samarkand can press forward to lead. He’s chasing a hat-trick of wins and does remain in Class 4, which suits. #11 Affirm slots in light and has found sound form. It’s taken time but his most recent run was decent. #5 Super Baby can roll forward. Keep safe.

Interested in great horse racing rebates on Hong Kong racing?

Race 4: Great George Handicap (2nd Section) (4.40am PST, 7.40am EST)

#10 Valhalla won well last start and rises to Class 4. This is a tougher task, however, he is in the right vein of form and continues to race well at his preferred track. #5 Great Achiever finished seventh first-up in Hong Kong. He can take another forward step, especially from barrier one. He performed well on debut and could be value. #11 Mr Good Vibes has been making ground of late and the light weight affords him his chance. He can improve. #4 High Rise Soldier has experience on his side. Keep safe.

Race 5: Great George Handicap (1st Section) (5.10am PST, 8.10am EST)

#1 Happy Fat Cat can bounce back to his best in this grade. He draws ideally and should find the front against to lead, especially with five pounds taken off his back due to Angus Chung’s booking. One to catch. #5 Gold Tack returns first-up. He’s trialled well and was showing plenty of promise last season, enough so to suggest he can return a winner very, very soon. #6 Lyrical Motion gets 10 pounds removed with the apprentice up. He’s raced well all season. #2 Joy Coming is open to improvement. Next in line.

Race 6: G3 January Cup Handicap (5.45am PST, 8.45am EST)

#9 Happy Together continues to improve and the light weight affords him and several others their chance against tough opposition. Taking a chance on him to win here, especially with the likely prospect of a fast tempo, which will suit him. #7 Helene Feeling is another who keeps raising the bar. He has his fair share of quality as a four-time winner already. #11 La City Blanche slots in light. He’s suited in this grade with Karis Teetan up. #4 Telecom Fighters has claims. Expect he rolls forward for his chance.

Race 7: Cleveland Handicap (6.15am PST, 9.15am EST)

#3 Turin Mascot has performed all season. He’s consistent and tends to do very little wrong. He can win again this term with the right run from a slightly tricky draw. #6 Lean Hero loves the course and is a winner over this trip. He’s favoured from gate one, which should allow him to save ground throughout. Next best. #9 Intrepid Winner is after back-to-back wins. He can make his presence felt again. #5 Escape Route has been racing well all season. He’s a major player off his current rating.

Race 8: Causeway Handicap (6.50am PST, 9.50am EST)

#9 Healthy Healthy is a superb talent. He’s chasing a fourth win this season and third in succession. The draw is suitable and he can win again after proving his worth in this grade last time out. #6 Never Too Soon is a two-time winner from three starts this campaign. He returns to Happy Valley, which is a plus. #3 Brave Star has gone close each start this season. He deserves another chance. #4 Copartner Ambition has won three out of his last four starts. Hugh Bowman hops up and he can test this group.

Betting on Dreams: Poetry at the 25th National Horseplayers’ Championship

In the city of lights where dreams take flight,
In the heart of the desert, under Vegas’ bright light,
Gathered in halls where fortunes are sealed,
The 25th National Horseplayers Championship revealed.

A symphony of hooves echoes in the air,
As players immerse in a game of skill and flair,
In Las Vegas, where excitement takes hold,
Where horseplayers’ tales of triumph are told.

Neon signs flicker, casting a glow,
On the eager faces, with anticipation aglow,
In the NHC arena, where knowledge is key,
Each bet, a strategic dance of strategy.

Silent whispers among the racing elite,
As they study the forms, in their quest to compete,
Charts and graphs, a horseplayer’s charted domain,
In pursuit of success, in this high-stakes terrain.

A carousel of races, each moment intense,
As the thoroughbreds thunder, a spectacle immense,
In the world of odds, where fortunes sway,
Horseplayers strategize, seeking their way.

Through the ebb and flow of the racing tide,
It is the NHC, where champions abide,
A fellowship of punters, united they stand,
Bound by the passion for the turf and the sand.

Horseshoe Las Vegas, the stage for this grand affair,
Where horseplayers converge, a community rare,
In the National Horseplayers Championship’s embrace,
They chase the elusive glory, in the horse racing race.

The roar of the crowd, the pulse of the track,
In the heart of the desert, where legends come back,
For in this arena, where skill meets chance,
The National Horseplayers Championship, a thrilling dance.

nhc final table vegas

 

~ this poem about the 25th National Horseplayers’ Championship was written and generated by artificial intelligence. It was slightly edited prior to publication.

Are you qualified? There are just over 2 months left to qualify for the 2024 National Horseplayers Championship, the 25th renewal of this popular handicapping tournament run by our friends at The NTRA. Check out the late NHC Leaderboard.

 

Have you read these tournament articles?

How Professional Handicapper Sean Boarman Won the 2023 BCBC

The Evolution of the NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC)

5 Tournament Tips to Keep You Relevant (and Sane) When Life Gets in the Way

Mandatory Payouts on New Year’s Eve

Sunday, December 31st

Aqueduct will have Mandatory Payouts on all carryover pools today, Sunday, December 31st

Laurel Park will have Mandatory Payouts on all carryover pools today, Sunday, December 31st. The $1 Pentafecta wager has a carryover of $3,564.52, and the $0.20 Pick 6 wager has a carryover of $2,094.14

            Race 4 Post Time:  1:52 PM ET  ($0.20) Pick 6 (Races 4-9), Carryover $2,094

            Race 6 Post Time: 2:50 PM ET  ($1.00) H-5 (Race 6), Carryover $3,565

Harrah’s Philadelphia ends its meet today, Sunday, December 31st, and all Pick Pools will be Forced Out.

 

Standardbred Racing

Hawthorne Harness will have Mandatory Payouts on all carryover pools tonight, Sunday, December 31st. The $0.20 Pentafecta wager has a carryover of $85,568.55

           Race 9 Post Time: 10:50 PM ET  ($0.20) H-5 (Race 9), Carryover 85,569

Century Mile Harness will be forcing out the $0.20 Pick 5 wager tonight, Sunday, December 31st. The carryover is: $18,309.12

          Race 9 Post Time:  11:27 PM ET  ($0.20) Pick 5 (Races 9-13), Carryover $18,309

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in Canada

Woodbine Racecourse Reports Big Year in 2023

TORONTO, December, 2023 – Woodbine Entertainment announced the 2023 Thoroughbred season produced an all-sources handle of $613,125,180 CAD. This is the second largest single-season handle in Woodbine’s history, but down $8 million from 2022.

“Our 2023 Thoroughbred racing meet produced very strong results thanks to our exciting racing product, the strength of the Woodbine brand, and the hard work of our team and the entire horse racing community,” said Michael Copeland, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. “The results are especially encouraging considering the industry trends our sport is facing with increased competition from sports betting, growing purses in some jurisdictions largely due to ancillary gaming revenues, extreme weather factors that have cancelled an unprecedented number of race cards, North American horse supply, and larger macroeconomic factors like inflation and the uncertainty of the U.S. dollar.

Woodbine via WO FB page“While we are proud of our results, we cannot be complacent, and we need to focus on the industry trends and other opportunities that will help us navigate these headwinds.”

In 2023, a total of 1,180 races were contested over 128 dates of racing compared to 1,198 races over 132 dates in 2022. Woodbine ran four less dates and 18 less races in 2023 due to an unprecedented number of cancelled race cards (5) because of extreme heat and poor air quality caused by smoke from forest fires across Canada.

Healthy Average Field Size at Woodbine

The average field size for those races was 8.2, the same as 2022, and above the industry average.

In Ontario, wagering on Woodbine Thoroughbred racing by customers across the province was down 6.2% ($81.8 million this season vs $87.2 million in 2022).

The decline in home market wagering was partially mitigated by a foreign market handle of $512 million, a decrease from $515 million in 2022, though still a remarkable gain from the previous record of $420 million in 2021. The $512 million in foreign market handle was supported by a strong U.S. dollar.

The average handle per race in 2023 was a record $519,597. This is an increase of $580 per race from 2022.

To address the increased competition from an emerging licensed sports betting market, Woodbine Entertainment announced a partnership with global sports betting leader bet365 prior to The King’s Plate. It includes the integration of pari-mutuel horse racing into bet365’s licensed sportsbook platform in Ontario. Woodbine plans to integrate its racing product in additional licensed Ontario sports books in 2024 in hopes of generating increased handle in the province and engagement with a new audience.

“We are operating on a very solid foundation that positions us well to manage the current industry and economic trends,” added Copeland. “We also have opportunities before us that have not been fully realized yet, like the integration of racing into licensed sportsbooks, which will have a positive impact.”

Key Highlights – 2023 at Woodbine

  • Second highest single-season all-sources handle ($613M) in Woodbine history
  • Second highest single-season foreign handle ($512M) in Woodbine history
  • Record-breaking average per-race handle of $519,597
  • Average field size of 8.2 (above North American industry average)
  • Woodbine saw the return of the King’s Plate for the first time in over 70 years with winner Paramount Prince. The total all-sources wagering on King’s Plate day was a record $18,127,049
  • The integration of pari-mutuel racing into bet365’s licensed online sports book in Ontario

The 2024 Woodbine Thoroughbred season is scheduled to begin on Saturday, April 27. The 165th running of The King’s Plate will take place on Saturday, August 17.

For the latest information on Woodbine Racetrack, visit Woodbine.com or follow @WoodbineTB or @WoodbineComms on Twitter.