Nilsen’s Simple Pace Report for 2 Days of Breeders’ Cup 2023

Simple Pace Report covers both days of the Breeders’ Cup: Nov. 3-4, 2023 at Santa Anita 

  • Pace Forecasts for every race
  • Covering 2 days – all 22 races for Friday and Saturday!
  • New feature identifies the horses that will benefit from the pace scenario!
  • Lone speed runners identified***

New and improved report identifies the horses that will benefit from the pace and race shape! Handicappers know that one of the most critical elements to selecting winners is to evaluate the pace. That’s where the Simple Pace Report comes in.  Based on decades of experience, the Simple Pace Report utilizes an algorithm that analyzes expert pace ratings, running styles and unique horse tendencies to arrive at an accurate forecast for each race. European horses incoporated into the runstyle analysis.

Leaders marked with * hold a possible pace advantage and should be seriously considered.  Horses marked in gray/bold figure to benefit from the expected pace scenario and are must-uses in exotic wagers, vertical and horizontal.

Get both tracks in ONE DOWNLOAD for one low price! Download this 4-page PDF file to any device for only $12


Handicapping tips from

Santa Anita Pace Chart for Saturday, May 7th

Pace Makes the Race!

Today is great day of racing at Santa Anita with a 10-race card on Kentucky Derby Saturday. Utilize this complimentary pace chart to help you envision how each of the races will set up at the Great Race Place, Santa Anita on May 7, 2022.   Always remember to wager within your comfort level and pick your spots. Best of luck!


Santa Anita – Saturday, May 7
Race 1 Expected Pace Leaders Stalkers Mid-Pack Closers
6.00 Furlongs / Turf Honest *2 7-1-3 10-4-8-5 12
Race 2
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Honest 1 3-5 2-4
Race 3
6.00 Furlongs / Turf Very Fast 7 6-9-3 1-4-5-8 2-10
Race 4
7.00 Furlongs / Dirt Modest 8-5 7-6 3-4-1 2
Race 5
8 Furlongs / Turf Honest/Fast 6 3-5 2 1-4
Race 6
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Modest *2 5-1 6-4-8 3-7
Race 7
8 Furlongs / Turf Modest *11 2-10-9 1-4-5-12 6
Race 8
7.00 Furlongs / Dirt Honest 3-1 8-5 9-2-7
Race 9
6.50 Furlongs / Turf Honest 5-3 6-4 1-7-2 8-9
Race 10
9.00 Furlongs / Turf Modest 4 2-1-7 13-5-10-14 11-6-3-9-8-12

Santa Anita Pace Chart for Saturday, March 5

Pace makes the race!

Today is a huge day of racing at Santa Anita. Utilize this complimentary pace chart to help you envision how each of the races will set up at the Great Race Place, Santa Anita on March 5, 2022.   Always remember to wager within your comfort level and pick your spots. Best of luck!

Santa Anita – March 5, 2022
Race 1 Expected Pace Leaders Stalkers Mid-Pack Closers Unknown
6.50 Furlongs / Turf Fast 11-10 3-4-9 7-5-6 1-13-12-8-2
Race 2
6.00 Furlongs / Dirt Unknown 7 2-3-4-1-5-6
Race 3
5.50 Furlongs / Turf Modest 6 5-3-2-7 1-4 8
Race 4
7.00 Furlongs / Dirt Honest/Fast *1 5-3-6 4-9 8-7
Race 5
8 Furlongs / Turf Fast 5 2-10-11 8-9-1-3 4-7-6
Race 6
8.50 Furlongs / Dirt Fast 6 3 5-4-7 1-2
Race 7
8 Furlongs / Turf Modest 1 5-9-3 2-6 8 4-7
Race 8
6.50 Furlongs / Turf Fast 11 3-8-9 1-10-13-7 4-5-2-6-12
Race 9
8 Furlongs / Dirt Honest/Fast 3 6-4 5-1
Race 10
8 Furlongs / Turf Fast 3-11-2 5-7-6-9 10-12-1 4-8
Race 11
10.00 Furlongs / Dirt Modest 2-4 5-6-8 3-1 7

Santa Anita Fall Meet Opens Oct. 1 With Return to Hillside Turf

Santa Anita Reaccredited by NTRA Safety & Integrity AllianceARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 8, 2021)–Santa Anita Park’s 16-day Autumn Meet will get off to a fast start on Friday, Oct. 1, as a total of four stakes will be offered on a tremendous nine-race card. The Grade I, $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes, one of three Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge Race qualifiers, will headline the day’s racing. Named for the 2015 Triple Crown Champion, the American Pharoah is a Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In qualifier to the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar on Nov. 5.

With first post time at 1 p.m., walk-up admission is welcomed, with free admission and General Parking on opening day. In addition to the American Pharoah, the Grade II, $200,000 Eddie D Stakes, for 3-year-olds and up, will be contested at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course. Named for the legendary retired Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, the Eddie D provides a platform for those horses considering the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 6.

“Our fans, horsemen and Eddie Delahoussaye himself have told us they’d love to see a return to racing down this European-style course which has been unique to Santa Anita for more than six decades,” said Aidan Butler, Chief Operating Officer, Racing Operations for 1/ST Racing. “The Eddie D will be one of four turf sprint stakes to be run on the Camino Real hillside turf course throughout our Autumn Meet.”

Two-year-old fillies will go postward opening day in the Grade II, $200,000 Chandelier Stakes, a Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re in qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 5 and 2-year-olds will also be competing at five furlongs on turf in the $100,000 Speakeasy Stakes, a Win & You’re In qualifier to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Nov. 5.

With the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships set for Nov. 5 & 6 at Del Mar, Santa Anita will be offering a total of 14 stakes over the course of its opening weekend, Oct. 1 through Oct. 3.

With special early first post time at 12:30 p.m., a total of five stakes will be offered on Saturday, Oct. 2; the Grade I, $300,000 Awesome Again, a Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In qualifier to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic for 3-year-olds and up at a mile and one eighth, the Grade I, $300,000 Rodeo Drive, a Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In qualifier for fillies and mares at a mile and one quarter on turf, the Grade II, $200,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, Win & You’re In qualifier for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs, the Grade II, $200,000 John Henry Turf Championship, named for the legendary two-time Horse of the Year, is for 3-year-olds and up at a mile and one quarter on turf and the Grade II, $200,000 City of Hope Mile (turf), for 3-year-olds and up.

On Sunday, Oct. 3, the legendary multiple Eclipse Award winning mare Zenyatta will be feted, with the Grade II, $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes, a Win & You’re In qualifier for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles who are pointing to the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Fillies and mares will also be center stage in the Grade III, $100,000 Chillingworth Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs, a race which honors the memory of longtime Oak Tree Racing Association board member and prominent owner/breeder, Sherwood Chillingworth.

A pair of one mile turf stakes will also be offered on Oct. 3 for 2-year-olds–the Surfer Girl and the Zuma Beach, as well as the $75,000 Unzip Me, for 3-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf.

In addition to the Eddie D and Unzip Me Stakes, a pair of Cal-bred stakes, the $100,000 California Distaff Handicap on Oct. 16 and the $100,000 California Flag Handicap on Oct. 17 will also be contested at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf. Additionally, selected allowance races will be run down the hillside throughout the course of the 16-day meet.

Santa Anita’s spacious Infield area will be open each Saturday and Sunday, through closing day, Oct. 31. For complete details on Santa Anita’s opening weekend, including pricing and dining and seating reservations, please visit or call (626) 574-RACE.

Huge Mandatory Payout Day at Santa Anita on Saturday


ARCADIA, Calif. –With the possibility of a pool that could exceed $5 million, Santa Anita Park has announced there will be a mandatory payout in the track’s popular 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot next Saturday, Feb. 6.

Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six(Fans are advised that Saturday’s Jackpot pool projection is based upon there being no single ticket winner on Friday. First post time for an eight-race card Friday is at 12:30 p.m.).

Special early first post time for what shapes up as blockbuster a 10-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon. The Rainbow Six will be comprised of races five through 10, with approximate post time for race five at 2:35 p.m. PT.

A total of four graded stakes, headed by the Grade II, $200,000 San Vicente, will highlight Saturday’s racing program. In addition to the San Vicente, the Grade III, $100,000 Thunder Road, The Grade III, $200,000, Las Virgenes and the Grade II, $200,000, San Marcos should all ensure a day of world-class racing.


The San Vicente, to be contested at seven furlongs, is an important prep for 3-year-olds that may be considering the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

The Grade III, $200,000 Las Virgenes, for 3-year-old fillies at a flat mile, will provide the winner with 10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points.

Originally scheduled for Jan. 30, older horses will go a mile and one quarter on turf Saturday in the San Marcos. The Thunder Road Stakes, for older horses, will be contested at one mile on turf.

There was no single ticket winner in Sunday’s Rainbow Six, resulting in a Jackpot carryover of $843,235.95 into Friday. With a mandatory payout in place, track officials have thus projected Saturday’s total Jackpot pool could exceed $5 million.

Entries for Saturday will be taken this Wednesday and will be available at later in the day.

Although there is still no public admittance, all of Santa Anita’s races can be viewed free of charge at and fans can watch and wager via this site (learn more)

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes – Jan. 26

Tampa Paddock

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

Check out our AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes for visitors


CHARMAINE’S MIA (Race 8 at Santa Anita, Jan. 9, 2021) – Moved into the barn of Phil D’Amato and what do you know – the mare improved by leaps and bounds.  At 16-1 odds she dominated a very strong group here that included multiple stakes winners.  There is no reason she can’t keep running big in turf sprints for her new outfit.


JUSTLYREWARDED (Race 6 at Tampa Bay Downs, Jan 6, 2021) – Broke from a tough outside post and then raced wide throughout.  Worse yet, the 7yo gelding was racing against the grain of an inside speed bias.  Better-than-it looks 4th place finish for owner/trainer Peter Knoll.

MY BROTHERSLEDGE (Race 7 at Tampa Bay Downs, Jan 6, 2021) – The best closer in this turf race  made a strong early run against the eventual wire to wire winner.  The 6oy was the only horse with a shot down the stretch but had to settle for 2nd.  He ran a ‘winning race’ with new jockey Hector Diaz in the irons.


Lessons from the First Big Online Tournament of the Year

By Rich Nilsen

The first big online handicapping tournament of the year was held over the weekend of Jan. 9-10 at, and I was fortunate enough to win into this $1,500 buy-in event via an initial $28 feeder.  It was also the same weekend at the local Tampa Bay Downs handicapping contest, so plenty of work was required to prepare for both events.

The Flo-Cal Faceoff, the Players Championship (April 2-3) and the Spa & Surf Showdown (August 14-15) comprise the new 2021 Tourney Triple series at HorseTourneys which features additional bonuses and prizes if you do well over the three contests.  The Flo-Cal closed on the morning of January 9th with a staggering purse of $570,373 based on 429 entries and a top prize set at $205,019.  The contest was comprised of full-card mandatory races at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita on both Saturday and Sunday, so this was going to be a long weekend.

On day one I got off to a very good start in the Flo-Cal Faceoff by hitting five winners from the first nine races at Gulfstream Park.  The problem was that I missed the big longshot that came in early in the day ($37.00 to win, $17 to place) and that missed $54 in bankroll was going to be difficult to overcome.

Unfortunately, I did not fare nearly as well at Santa Anita, so most of my Saturday bankroll came from South Florida.  I ended the day with over $97, an admirable score that was within ‘shouting’ distance, but that only put me in the top 25% of the field.  The lucrative prize structure was paying down to the top 28 players at the conclusion of the weekend.

Day Two of Flo-Cal

I decided I was going to swing for the fences on Sunday.  ‘Grinding it out’ seemed like a difficult strategy to make up the $60-90 deficit.  Hindsight is 20/20 and that proved to be a mistake on a day where shorter price horses were consistently winning throughout the afternoon.  The first longshot of the day wouldn’t come in until nearly 4pm when Weisser scored in Gulfstream Park’s 8th race, paying $27.80, $11.80.  I did not have him, and the situation was looking bleak.

However, I am not one to give up, knowing that in the span of just one-two races, a tournament player can make up huge strides on the leaderboard.  In the very next race at Gulfstream Park (race 9), I eyed a runner that was trying the turf for the first time.  The Munnings filly had won two of her three starts when sprinting and she had good tactical, early speed.  She looked like the type of filly that could win going 5 furlongs on the grass.  She was a juicy 17-1 and I knew if I could get this horse home, I was back in the top 50 of the standings.  I would then have a chance for some nice prize money if I could finish the day strong.

Choose Joy, my bomber, tracked closely in third and was loaded turning for home.  She surged in the final strides at the leader, but the front runner who had been off since June fought back and held on by a diminishing nose.  I got a $15.00 place payoff but missed out on an additional $36 for the win.  Numerous players had the 14-1 winner, and, instead of sitting on the first page of the leaderboard,  I was now sitting in around 170th  and the light at the end of the tunnel was very dim.

It wasn’t too long before the final race of the long weekend was upon us.  Sitting in about 140th and being only $20 out of the top 100, I had to decide if I was going to shoot for the top 100 to earn some points in this Triple Tourney event, or if hitting a bomb could move me into the top 28 of the cash prize winners.

In the field of 11 there were only three cappers and a 17-1 shot on the board.   The math told me I was blocked.  There was simply no way that I was going to pass over 100 players no matter what horse won.  It made more sense to find a horse I really liked at good odds.  [In the end my calculations were correct and even if I had hit the final contest race winner, I would have only ended up about 40th… but I digress.]

Not that I was considering the favorites, but the shorter priced horses in the field did not strike fear into anyone.  #11 Miss Dracarys had only raced one time.  She was let off at odds of 23-1 in her debut, indicating that she wasn’t exactly ‘well meant’ by her connections.  Despite that, she won, but now she was being asked to transfer that form on the other side of the country – not an easy task for a young horse.

So, I was on the lookout for a runner that had a strong chance of winning and represented some value.  I needed at least 6-1 odds to secure a top 100 finish, but of course, the higher the odds the better.

Santa Anita race favorites

#10 Empire House was starting for the dangerous Jonathan Wong outfit, but this runner had never attempted the turf.  She was getting first time Lasix and had a pedigree to handle the surface switch.  She made sense at odds of 9-1, but #4 Magical Thought was even more appealing.  Starting for trainer Peter Miller, arguably the best turf sprint trainer in California, this horse was dropping out of a graded stakes race and was cutting back from one mile to a preferred sprint distance.  She was also 9-1 and just the odds I needed to pass a lot of players on the leaderboard.

The Pivotal Question

When I first handicapped the race, it didn’t take my long to pass right over the #1 horse.  Having seen Mountaineers shippers lose at an extraordinarily high rate over the years, I didn’t care for the cheap maiden graduate to move to Santa Anita and win.  Although she had won by a large margin (over a bad field) she had “lugged out” in the lane, another negative note.  Two races back this horse had lost at Belterra Park.  Win at Santa Anita…are you kidding me?  Next.

Now, my Dad, who taught me how to handicap, would not have been so rash.  He would have looked at this odd shipper and asked himself the question, “What is this horse doing in this race?”  And that is the question that would have led to the correct answer.  He was here to win.

Santa Anita race 9 winner

The Mountaineer shipper had moved into one of the top barns in Southern California, that of John Sadler.  He had given the filly a long string of workouts, fairly consistent and dating back to at least early October.  She showed two bullet works in early October and a sharp 47.3 drill, sixth best of 52 at the distance on October 17.

Sadler was putting up one of the top jockeys in Southern California, Umberto Rispoli.  Rispoli is one of the best on the grass and also one of the best out of the gate.  This horse had flashed very quick early speed in her two races, and that is one of the main assets you typically want in a 6 furlong turf horse.

Why in the world would a top California barn obtain a lowly maiden winner from West Virginia?  By the stallion Cinco Charlie and out of a modest winner, the filly didn’t have much of a pedigree.  However, they clearly saw something in this runner and felt that she could fit a certain profile out West.  The connections were right, and they were handsomely rewarded.

The Final Race Result

With dusk falling over the stunning San Gabriel Mountains, Five Pics Please cruised to the front right out of the gate and ran the field off their feet.  At odds of 29-1 she easily held on for the shocking score in the $63,000 race.  She stopped the timer in a swift 1:08.91.

By not closely analyzing Five Pics Please and failing to ask the obvious question that my father would have asked, I missed out on a big longshot winner.  The Flo-Cal Faceoff champ turned out to be Alan Levitt, a 12-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship.  Back in 2012 he compiled a $195.20 bankroll en route to a 7th place overall finish in Las Vegas.  With one race to go Levitt was sitting in 19th place in the Flo-Cal Faceoff, and he wisely pulled the trigger on the Mountaineer bomber.  He catapulted past the 18 players in front of him and took down the lucrative six-figure cash prize.

The Final Race Result winner Santa Anita

copyright 2021

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Santa Anita Abruptly Shuts Downs. FL Derby Still a Go Tomorrow

Source:  Santa Anita

March 27, 2020

In accordance with instructions received from Los Angeles County Health Department, Santa Anita Park will temporarily close for live racing effective immediately in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Santa AnitaWe apologize for the late notice affecting today’s racing program, but Santa Anita is abiding by the instructions issued this morning by the California Horse Racing Board to operate under the sanction of the local health authorities.

At Santa Anita Park, the health, safety and welfare of every person and every horse in our community is our top priority. At this time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 at Santa Anita Park. This measure is being taken in response to a mandate from LA County officials.

At Santa Anita Park, there are over 1,700 horses stabled who require daily care. That care is provided by the 750 backstretch team members, most who live on-site and have been operating under stringent new measures for protection aligned with the best guidance from local and international health and government authorities on COVID-19. The track has been closed to the general public and to closed all but essential personnel since March 12, 2020.

We will continue to work with authorities to familiarize them with the protocols which have been put in place to protect the health and safety of those who work with the horses and the horses themselves.

We look forward to the return of live racing at Santa Anita as soon as approval is received from local regulators.

Santa Anita re-schedules Opening Day to Saturday



The opening day of Santa Anita’s 83rd season will be postponed two days until Saturday, December 28th, ahead of next week’s declining weather forecast.

“Opening Day is traditionally one of our biggest days of the year, but our commitment to safety is first and foremost,” said Aidan Butler, Acting Executive Director of California for The Stronach Group. “It was very important to make this call as early as possible for our horsemen, fans and employees. There are many moving parts, especially in the training of these wonderful horses, and this decision is being made at this time out of respect to give all involved plenty of advance notice.”

Boom Time for California Horse Racing“It is very difficult to predict weather forecasts in Southern California more than 48 hours in advance,” said Dennis Moore, who has returned to his responsibilities overseeing Santa Anita track surfaces. “Right now, they have rain Monday through Thursday morning. But the models are continuing to change and when they do that, they are usually building up moisture.”

It would be the first time since the 1973-74 winter season that Santa Anita has not opened on December 26th. Santa Anita last opened on December 28th in 1971. Last year’s opening day on-track attendance was 41,373, with an all-time opening day handle record of over $20-million.

“The stakes races set for Thursday will be brought back on Saturday,” said Steve Lym, Santa Anita’s VP & Director of Racing. “With the rain in the forecast, it was extremely likely that the races would be off the turf on Thursday. Postponing opening day will allow for the high quality turf racing synonymous with Santa Anita. We are planning on filling extra races throughout the opening week to give our horsemen the opportunity to run their horses.”

Among the horses set to run is Fox Hill Farm’s Omaha Beach, the likely heavy favorite in the Grade 1 Runhappy Malibu Stakes, now set for Saturday. “They are doing the right thing by moving the races,” said Richard Mandella, Omaha Beach’s Hall of Fame trainer. “I’m just very happy to be in the race with this horse.”

Entries for Opening Day will be drawn on Monday, December 23rd, which was scheduled to be the entry day for that Saturday.

Santa Anita’s revised Opening Week schedule has live racing Saturday, December 28th and Sunday, December 29th; New Year’s Day Wednesday, January 1st, and Friday, January 3rd through Sunday, January 5th.

First post time on Saturday, December 28th, will be 11:00 a.m.

Santa Anita Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.

Aidan O’Brien’s Runners Aiming for Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita

Aidan O'Brien's Arizona pointed at Santa Anita for Breeders' CupThe duo [of Arizona and Wichita] were beaten two lengths and two and three-quarter lengths respectively in the Group One heat, with Arizona notably closing the gap with the winner after trailing him by nine lengths in the National Stakes at the Curragh previously.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien was satisfied with their performances and could now look to Santa Anita on November 1 and 2 with the pair.

O’Brien said: “Arizona ran well, as we were worried about the ground for him. He’s a nice-moving horse.

“Arizona and Wichita are both possibles for the Breeders’ Cup, although Wichita might be a little bit more of a baby as he wasn’t out until later.”

The Ballydoyle handler also has Royal Lodge winner Royal Dornoch and Listed victor Fort Myers among his possible Santa Anita team.

He added: “Royal Dornoch is another possible for the Juvenile and Fort Myers who won in Dundalk is another that could go. We’ll see how they are in the next few weeks.”