Archive | February, 2020

Catch Derby Fever at Pleasanton OTB!

27 Feb


Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G1) kicks off the seven-week Derby Fever Handicapping Contest at Pleasanton OTB, which culminates with the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2. It marks the first of 14 chances players have to qualify for the Final on Kentucky Derby day, when they can claim a share of $1,200 in cash prizes.

All you have to do is pick Saturday’s Fountain of Youth winner to earn a shot at the Grand Prize on Kentucky Derby day. Pick as many winners as you can in the contest over the next seven weeks to give yourself a chance to earn the most money on the first Saturday in May. The more you play, the more you can win, and you can only win if you enter in person at Pleasanton OTB. See the Front Desk for Official Rules and Prizes.

Entry is FREE with paid admission. Entries for Saturday’s first contest race, the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park, are listed below:

FOY Graphic

The Fountain of Youth is scheduled as the 14th and final race on Saturday’s Gulfstream Park program and will go to post at approximately 3:04pm Pacific Time. Pleasanton OTB will pick up the 14-race card from Gulfstream in progress, starting with the 5th race, at approximately 10:27am. In addition to the main event, you can watch and wager on seven stakes races worth an additional $1.3 million on Saturday’s card, right here at Pleasanton OTB.

Finally, don’t miss your chance to earn a share of up to $1,400 in cash prizes by playing the big Kentucky Derby prep races every weekend at Pleasanton OTB. The dates and races for the Qualifying Round of the Derby Fever Handicapping Contest are listed below:

Saturday, February 29 – $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park
Saturday, March 7 – $300,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct
Saturday, March 7 – $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs
Saturday, March 7 – $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita
Saturday, March 14 – $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park
Saturday, March 14 – $1,000,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park
Saturday, March 21 – $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds
Sunday, March 22 – $700,000 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park
Saturday, March 28 – $1,000,000 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park
Saturday, April 4 – $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct
Saturday, April 4 – $1,000,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland
Saturday, April 4 – $1,000,000 Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita
Saturday, April 11 – $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland
Saturday, April 11 – $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park

All you have to do is pick at least one winner in the 14 races during the Qualifying Round to advance to the Final Round on Kentucky Derby day. However, the three players who pick the most winners will win cash vouchers of $100, $60 and $40, respectively. And the more winners you pick during the Qualifying Round, the more cash you can earn by picking the Derby winner in the Final Round.

Here’s how the prizes are awarded:

Qualifying Round – $200 in prizes

Most winners over 14 races – $100 voucher
2nd most winners – $60 voucher
3rd most winners – $40 voucher

Final Round – $1,200 Grand Prize

Each player who selects at least one winner in the Qualifying Round may participate in the Final Round. Each player may earn up to 14 shares of the Grand Prize, depending on how many winners s/he selects in the Qualifying Round. For example, if a player selects three winners in the Qualifying Round, s/he can win three shares of the Grand Prize by selecting the winner of the Kentucky Derby.

The Grand Prize is awarded proportionally, by the total number of shares earned by all players who select the Derby winner. For example, if the total number of shares earned by players who select the Derby winner is 12, then each share is worth $100.

If you picked three winners in the Qualifying Round, and also picked the Derby winner, you would win $300. Official Rules and Prizes are available at the OTB Front Desk.

Golden Hour Double Debuts Saturday

27 Feb

A new low takeout Daily Double linking the nightcaps at Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields debuts this Saturday with a $50,000 Guaranteed pool. The “Golden Hour Double” features a 15% takeout and a $5 minimum, per combination. Ask your mutuel teller for the “Golden Double” or look for it on any self service betting terminal at Pleasanton OTB, starting Saturday, Feb. 29.

Saturday”s Golden Hour Double will consist of the following races:

Santa Anita 9 – Allowance Optional Claiming, 1 1/8 miles Turf – 4:30pm
Golden Gate 9 – Maiden Special Weight, 5 1/2 furlongs Tapeta – 4:45pm

Don’t miss your chance to get down on the Golden Double every day Santa Anita and Golden Gate are racing live.

Golden Double

$167,951 Stronach 5 Carryover Friday!

27 Feb

There’s a $167,951 Carryover going into Friday’s Stronach 5 – the multi-track, 12% takeout, $1 Pick 5 wager. The industry-low takeout combined with a sizable carryover makes the Stronach 5 a virtual “must play” for serious bettors and we’ve got it covered Friday at Pleasanton OTB.

Friday’s Stronach 5 races are as follows:

LEG A – Laurel Park – Race 8 – 12:49pm Pacific Post Time
LEG B – Gulfstream Park – Race 8
LEG C – Golden Gate – Race 3
LEG D – Santa Anita – Race 3
LEG E – Gulfstream Park – Race 10

Check out the weekly All Star ticket put together by the good folks at Gulfstream, Golden Gate, Laurel and Santa Anita.

STronach Five

Saudi Cup Advance Wagering Friday

27 Feb

The dual in the desert, the newly crowned “World’s Richest Race”, the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup takes place Saturday at approximately 9:35am, Pacific Time. Pleasanton OTB will not open in time for the Saudi Cup on Saturday morning, but will be offering Advance Wagering on the Saudi Cup throughout the day Friday, up until closing on Friday night.

Patrons seeking to bet the Saudi Cup can do so Friday at Pleasanton OTB, and watch the race on Fox Sports 1. Coverage begins at 9:00am Pacific Time Saturday morning, with the race scheduled for approximately 9:35am.

As one would expect for a massive $20 million purse, the Saudi Cup has attracted a virtual who’s who of American dirt stars, including Maximum Security,  McKinzie, Midnight Bisou, Mucho Gusto, Tacitus and more!

Check out the full field of 14 below:

Saudi Cup


Buena Vista Headlines Saturday Action

20 Feb

Saturday’s $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita owns the distinction of being the richest race in North America this weekend, and it has drawn a respectable field of 12, led by 8/5 morning-line favorite Jolie Olympica. With “Money” Mike Smith in the saddle for Hall-of-Fame trainer, Richard Mandella, the four-year-old Brazilian bred filly seeks her second stateside victory following an impressive 1 & 1/2-length score in the Las Cienegas Stakes (G3) over the Santa Anita turf course at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Among the top contenders is Lady Prancelot (5/1), who was last seen winning the American Oaks over this course on Dec. 28, and Caressa (4/1), who earned a hard fought victory over Super Patriot (12/1) and La Sardane (12/1), in the 1-mile Megahertz (G3) here on Jan. 20. Carded as the 5th of 9 races, the Buena Vista is placed smack dab in the middle of Saturday’s card. It will anchor the Early Pick 5 and kick off the Late Pick 5, at approximately 2:29pm.

Since Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 was hit Monday for a cool $1.2 million, Santa Anita’s West Coast Rainbow Jackpot of $366,954 (heading into Friday’s program) now stands as the biggest single ticket Pick 6 jackpot in the land. The Rainbow Pick 6 will be contested over races 4-9, and goes off at 1:59pm.

First post at Santa Anita is 12:30pm.

Friday Pick 6 Carryover at Meadowlands

20 Feb

P6 photo

There’s a Pick 6 Carryover (No Jackpot) of $14,376 heading into Friday’s Pick 6 at the Meadowlands. With an already low 15% takeout, it makes Friday’s Pick 6 the “can’t miss” bet of the weekend.

Pleasanton OTB is taking races 3-13 on Friday night’s Meadowlands program. The Pick 6 will be held over races 4-9, starting at approximately 5:18pm. Get FREE program pages for the Pick 6 and Early Pick 4 by clicking the link below:

FREE Pick 6 Program

Japan Racing Returns Saturday Night

20 Feb

Racing from Japan returns Saturday night, highlighted by the running of the $2-million February Stakes (G1). The 12-race card from Tokyo Racecourse gets underway at 5:05pm and joins a stacked Saturday night lineup that includes full cards from Los Alamitos, Cal Expo, Woodbine-Mohawk, five Australian tracks, and partial cards from Meadowlands (4-13), Northfield (12-16), and Hawthorne (9-13).

Night admission is just $4, starting at approximately 4:30pm.

Blue Devils Bingo is also here every Saturday night. Games start at 6:30pm and Bingo Doors open at 4:30pm. The buy in is $40, and payouts are as much at $1,000 per game.

It’s North vs. South in El Camino Derby

14 Feb

By Joe Hollister

The 2019 version of the El Camino Real Derby saw Anothertwistafate go wire-to-wire in a dominating performance, winning by 7-lengths, as the local hero held off eleven other rivals including the Bob Baffert trained colt, Kingly. Anothertwistafate continued on the Derby trail with the support of Bay Area horseplayers, recording second place finishes in both the Sunland Derby and Lexington Stakes, before ultimately deferring to the Preakness, in which he finished a well-beaten 10th.

Saturday’s main event headlines a 9-race card at Golden Gate Fields, which also features a So-Cal shipper trained by the Hall-of-Fame Baffert barn. That’s 2/1 morning line favorite, Azul Coast, who arrives with legendary jockey Rafael Bejarano in the saddle. This closer may have to pass a majority of this large field, on a new surface to earn the automatic berth into the Preakness Stakes.

Azul Coast will be joined in the starting gate by another So-Cal shipper Czechmight, the Street Sense colt, off since his 2nd out maiden score at Keeneland in October. He is coming into his 3-year-old debut off a sharp bullet drill, 1st of 122 on February 8th at Santa Anita. The Steve Specht trained Sacred Rider is back after a 2nd place finish in the Cal Cup Derby while outrunning his odds of 36-1. The most seasoned of this group, Sacred Rider will be making his tenth career start. Also coming out of that race is Indian Peak, who has drawn the rail for the 2020 El Camino. He was steadied late and the 8th place finish was not indicative of this one’s talent. Indian Peak owns this group’s highest speed figure over the tapeta and with a clean trip from the rail, may be the best.

Race replay handicappers will want to watch the race from the January 19th (GGF 8th) affair where five of these runners matched up. The Stiff headed Wine and Whisky for the win, after both rallied from mid-pack to get up late over Mysterious Stones (3rd) and Ajourneytofreedom (4th), a half-brother to last year’s winner, with Final Final finishing 5th. These were the top 5 finishers from that first level allowance race, and they are all stepping up in class here.

In that race, Ajourneytofreedom loomed large at the top of the stretch, but lacked the needed finishing punch. Mysterious Stones was near the lead the entire race and continued to fight on along the rail, looking good in defeat. These five horses finished within 3 lengths and are difficult to separate here, with a slight nod going to Mysterious Stones and his ability to be up near the pace early on.

American Farmer has faced several of these in the maiden ranks and will be entering deeper waters in his first start against winners after breaking his maiden on January 26th. Praise Loudly rounds out the field and is the only entrant who broke his maiden for a tag (20k).


Of the newcomers to Golden Gate, Czechmight, a recent private purchase, gets the nod in this preview. The 11 post and his natural early speed may be enough to take this group wire-to-wire. Czechmight could be poised for a Triple Crown run if this one earns the 10 Kentucky Derby points awarded to the winner. Indian Peak will certainly find his place on the betting tickets with Mysterious Stones offering potential longshot value. Azul Coast, the favorite, deserves a long look and may be the foil but the money goes elsewhere.

It’s the reason we handicap; the excitement of betting (and beating the favorite).  

Joe Hollister is a local school teacher, avid handicapper and horseplayer.



Super Hi-5 Mandatory Payout at Mohawk

13 Feb

Saturday night’s racing action is highlighted by a Mandatory Payout in the Super High 5 at Woodbine-Mohawk. The Jackpot of $152,060 will be forced out in the Super High 5 in the 11th and final race on Saturday night’s card.

The total pool in the Super High 5 is expected to swell to over $500,000. The Super High 5 at Woodbine-Mohawk requires bettors to select the first five finishers that cross the wire in exact order. The good news is that it can be played for as little as 20-cents per combination.

To get the full program for Saturday night’s Mohawk card, click here.

The 11th and final race from Mohawk is scheduled to go to the gate at approximately 7:50pm Pacific Time.

Los Alamitos Friday Post Time 6:00PM

Los Alamitos has adjusted its Friday post time to 6:00pm. This Friday, Los Alamitos features a Pick 6 Carryover of $8,576 over races 3-8. Saturday and Sunday night cards get underway at 6:00pm and 5:20pm, respectively.

Double Your Pleasure in Risen Star

13 Feb

In almost every case, two is better than one and that definitely applies to the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds, which has been split into two divisions due to an overflow of entries. Fields of 11 and 12 will now dispute the dual editions of the 1 1/8 miles test over the Crescent City oval to determine which three-year-olds will move forward on the Bayou Road to the Kentucky Derby.

The first division of the Risen Star is carded at the 12th of 13 races and goes to post at approximately 3:38pm Pacific Time. Slight favoritism lies with Lecomte (G3) winner Enforceable (7/2), who rallied wide from 11th place to notch a 1-1/2 length victory over Silver State (4/1) and Mr. Monomoy (6/1), who finished second and third with just a neck separating them that day. The top three in the Lecomte returns today to dispute the first division of the Risen Star, along with Lecomte favorite Scabbard (12/1), and longshot Shashashakemeup (20/1), who finished 5th and 6th, respectively.

A six-pack of new shooters is led by Blackberry Wine (5/1), who boasts a recent, two-turn win over the Fair Grounds oval in optional claiming company, along with Digital (6/1) who comes in off a second place finish in the same heat. The remaining four are all maiden breakers, seeking their second wins. Chief among them is Moon Over Miami (10/1), who romped to a five-length win at Aqueduct for the Bill Mott barn before running out of the money as the favorite in an optional claimer at Gulfstream.

The second, and arguably less deep division of the Risen Star is led by Anneau d’Or (9/5), who hails from Bay Area based barn of Blaine Wright. The three-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro makes his 2020 debut after a pair of impressive, but hard luck seconds in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), where he lost by a neck to one of Bob Baffert’s many Derby hopefuls, Thousand Words.

Tops among the challengers with more than just a maiden victory is Liam’s Lucky Charm (9/2), who exits an impressive 5-1/2 length win in the seven-furlong Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 18. He’s now won three of six, but has yet to win around two turns. Next on the list is the unbeaten Mailman Money (8/1), who seeks his third consecutive victory after romping to a 5 3/4 lengths win over this track on Jan. 12. Another to keep an eye on is Ny Traffic (10/1), who ships in from Gulfstream Park off a 6 3/4 lengths romp after moving to the barn of Joseph Saffie, Jr., which is striking at a 27% clip.

The second division of the Risen Star is slated at the nightcap on a 13-race card, and goes to post at approximately 4:12pm. Fair Grounds is guaranteeing a $400,000 All Stakes Pick 4 over the following races:

10 – $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes (G3-T) – Post Time 2:32pm
11 – $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2)
12 – $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2)
13 – $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2)

Field sizes, before scratches in the All Stakes Pick 4 are 14, 7, 11 and 12.

Pleasanton OTB will pick up the 13-race program from Fair Grounds in progress, starting with the 8th race, the $100,000 Albert Stall Memorial, at approximately 1:30pm. It’s followed by the $200,000 Mineshaft (G3) at 2:01pm. Both races boast strong fields of 11.