Archive | August, 2019

Huge Holiday Weekend of Racing on Tap

29 Aug

Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and brings with it a double-whammy for horse players: having to say farewell to best of summer racing at Del Mar and Saratoga. For us, it’s time take our final swings at two of the most anticipated meets of the year.

Since I am almost always working during racing’s marquee events, I usually only get to attend Del Mar once a year if I’m lucky (I usually am). And this year that day will be Monday, when I will literally “take a plane, take a train, take a car” to where the turf meets the surf at Del Mar.

My determination to attend at least one day of live racing at one of summer’s two premier meets has officially become a Quest. My itinerary starts with closing up the OTB at about 12:30am Monday morning, boarding a 6:50am flight at SJC to Burbank, grabbing an Uber to Union Station, Los Angeles, and boarding the Amtrak Surfliner to Solana Beach at 11am. It will end with a double-decker bus ride from the train station to the “House that Bing built.”

But before all this takes place, we’ve got a long weekend of racing to look forward to, so without further ado, let’s dig into it. I’m Lucky Kalanges and this is your Pleasanton OTB news for the weekend ahead, Aug. 31 – Sept. 2.

 

Bingo and Pigskin & Ponies Return

29 Aug

Before I get into the weekend of racing ahead, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention two big events returning to Pleasanton OTB starting next week, September 7 and 8.

On Saturday, September 7, the Alameda County Fair welcomes Blue Devils Bingo to Pleasanton OTB. The Blue Devils operate a number of bingo halls throughout Northern California and will be offering Bingo every Saturday night at Pleasanton OTB starting at 6:30pm.

Bingo doors open at 5pm and Night Racing Admission is FREE on Bingo nights, starting at 5pm until further notice.

Also with the return of the NFL action on Sunday, September 8, we will be offering our popular Pigskin and Ponies Pick 4 contest. Pick the winner of two races (typically the nightcap from Golden Gate and Southern California) and the Sunday Night and Monday Night Football games, and you could win up to $200.

Entry is free with paid admission or CHRB license. If nobody hits the Pick 4, the $200 weekly prize carries over to the following Sunday. Keep up-to-date on the day’s football action with the Red Zone Channel, offered every Sunday at Pleasanton OTB.

Solid Entries For Big Weekend at Del Mar

29 Aug

It’s been no secret Southern California tracks have struggled to fill fields at times this year, but that is not the case this holiday weekend, as trainers are filling the entry box to get their last licks in at Del Mar. Saturday’s and Sunday’s programs are averaging 10 horses per start, and the Early Pick 5 with a low 14% takeout looks very appealing both days, just on paper.

On Saturday’s card, the Early Pick 5 has fields of 6, 11, 13, 8 and 11 with only one maiden race in the sequence. The same is in effect on Sunday, albeit with two maiden races in the Early Pick 5. The field sizes before scratches are 7, 11, 7, 11 and 13.

Last Saturday and Sunday, the Players’ Pick 5 paid $4,592 and $1,198, respectively. If you can find a way to hit that Pick 5, you’re probably going to have a very good day.

The end of summer marks the beginning of the two-year-old stakes season, and Saturday’s running of the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante (G1) showcases the best juvenile fillies from the Southern California barns of Bob Baffert (Bast, 7/2 and Stellar Sound, 6/1), John Sadler (Inspiressa, 5/2), Doug O’Neill (Comical, 12/1 and Lazy Daisy, 20/1), Brian Koriner (Pure Xena, 6/1) and Peter Miller (Leucothea, 3/1). The latter two broke their maidens by a collective 25 lengths, and it will be interesting to see if they can duplicate their efforts against their peers in Grade I company.

The Debutante is carded as the 9th of 10 races and goes to post at 6:14pm. Del Mar gets undeway at 2pm this Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Friday’s action gets started at 4pm.

It’s also worth mentioning Del Mar’s Jackpot Pick 6 pool will be forced out on closing day this coming Monday, and it’s current total stands at $195,359 heading into Friday’s program. The $300,000 Del Mar Futurity (G1) for the West Coast’s top two-year-olds is the feature on the closing day card.

In case you were wondering, it’s sponsored by Runhappy.

 

Woodward, Hopeful Close Out Saratoga

29 Aug

Saratoga’s final mega-card of the summer takes place Saturday, highlighted by the running of the $750,000 Woodward Stakes, which has attracted a competitive field of nine. Four of the nine starters are returning from the Whitney, held over this track on Aug. 3. Tops among them are second-place finisher Yoshida (5/2), who seeks a return to the winner’s circle for Bill Mott.

The other three exiting the Whitney are Vino Rosso (3rd, 7/2), Preservationist (4th, 4/1) and Forewarned (5th, 30/1). Stepping up the class ladder from their 1-2 finish in the restricted Alydar Stakes over this track on Aug. 2 is Tom’s D’Tat (4/1) and Wooderson (12/1). Both are seeking their first graded stakes victory.

Bal Harbour (15/1), Mongolian Groom (15/1), and recent restricted stakes winner Mr. Buff (8/1) round out the field for the 11th and featured Woodward, which goes to post at approximately 3pm, Pacific Time.

Fans of turf racing and not getting stuck with “All” on a Pick 5 ticket will be happy to know that half of Saratoga’s 12-race card on Saturday consists of turf races, and the forecast calls for partly sunny skies and only a 10% chance of rain.

The undercard also features three graded stakes worth a combined $700,000. The Late Pick 5, which raked in over $1.4 million in wagers on the Travers program, takes place over races 8-12. It’s also time to start keeping an eye on the Empire 6, whose jackpot stands at $475,827 heading into the weekend.

If there are no single ticket winners by Sunday, the Empire 6 Jackpot will be paid out on Monday, Sept. 2. Monday’s closing-day program will feature the running of the $350,000 Hopeful Stakes (G1) for the best two-year-olds on the grounds.

Go For Green at Kentucky Downs

29 Aug

Fans of turf racing will want to check out Kentucky Downs this Saturday. The weather is predicted to be partly sunny and warm in Franklin, KY, so there should be no surprises in store for bettors.

The unique Frankfort oval will be rolling out big, slots-fueled stakes races, including  the $750,000 Tourist Mile, $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile, $500,000 Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies, and $250,000 One Dreamer Stakes. The horsemen have predictably flooded the entry box, as Saturday’s card has drawn capacity fields of 12 or more horses for 8 of its 10 races, with the remaining two having drawn 10 and 11.

Both the Pick 4 and Pick 5 takeout at Kentucky Downs is 14%, so if you manage to put the right combination of winners together, you’ll get paid about a well as you can in the pari-mutuel game. Pleasanton OTB will be taking races 2-10 from Kentucky Downs, starting at 10:51am.