Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

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).

FINAL VERDICT

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.

 

El Camino Saturday at Golden Gate

13 Feb

The only Bay Area race offering qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby (10 to the winner) takes place Saturday with the running of the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. While the winning over the Tapeta surface doesn’t always translate to success on dirt, the 10 Derby points can make the difference between making the starting gate at Churchill Downs or staying home and watching it in the barn. And even if the El Camino winner doesn’t make it to the Derby, he’s guaranteed an automatic berth to the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on the 3rd Saturday in May.

Suffice to say, quite a bit is on the line in the 1 1/8 miles test for three-year-olds over the Tapeta oval that straddles Albany and Berkeley this Saturday. So much so that the powerhouse barn of “Derby” Bob Baffert is expected to saddle the favorite in Azul Coast (2/1), who exits a second place finish in the Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita on Jan. 4. Having shown an affinity for rallying from of the pace in his previous two starts on dirt, it will be interesting to see how the son of Derby winner Super Saver takes to the Tapeta.

Azul isn’t the only shipper with his eyes on leaving town with 10 Derby points, however, as Czechmight (6/1) ships in off a blowout work (four panels in :47 2/5) at Santa Anita for the Richard Baltas barn. He was last seen breaking his maiden at Keeneland on Oct. 13. And while it might seem counterintuitive to back a horse named The Stiff (8/1), he does boast a recent win over the track and surface, taking an optional 40k claimer here on Jan. 19.

Among the top local contenders is Indian Peak (7/2), who owns a win over both the Tapeta and the turf course, Sacred Rider (9/2), who boasts a win and three seconds from nine starts, and Ajourneytofreedom (12/1), who hails from the same barn as last year’s winner, Anothertwistafate.

The El Camino is slated at the 7th of nine races on Saturday’s card, and will go to post at approximately 3:52pm. First post at Golden Gate is 12:45pm.

Stakes Duo Saturday, San Vicente Sunday

7 Feb

Three-year-old fillies with their sights set on the Kentucky Oaks get the top billing Saturday at Santa Anita in the $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (G2). As one might guess, it’s a five filly affair with Bob Baffert holding a pair of aces in Gingham (6/1) and Stellar Sound (5/1). But not so fast pardner, as it’s trainer Richard Baltas who’s holding the nuts in Venetian Harbor, who’s been installed as the heavy 2/5 morning-line favorite after a runaway 10-length win in her main track debut on Dec. 29.

Having drawn just a field of five, the Las Virgenes is carded as the 5th of 9 races and will go to post at approximately 2:28pm.

The real main event for horseplayers is the $100,000 Thunder Road Stakes for four-year-olds and upward going a mile on the turf course. Contention in this 10-horse field runs deep with last year’s winner, True Valor (7/2), being installed as the tepid morning-line favorite.

Among a number of potential price plays includes Northern California invader, Mugaritz (8/1), who hails from the powerful Jonathan Wong barn and gets “Money” Mike Smith in the saddle. Mugaritz is an impressive 8 for 14 lifetime and two-for-two on turf, and seems unlikely to remain at his sticker price of 8/1.

Back class belongs to River Boyne (5/1) who is seeking his first win in over a year, but boasts an impressive 6 for 11 record over the track and is 7 for 20 at the distance for trainer Jeff Mullins. And in a field with an abundance of front-running speed, the tactical advantage could belong to closer Frontier Market (4/1), who joins the John Sheriff’s stable after a couple of in-the-money finishes for Chad Brown in stakes company back East.

Post time for the Thunder Road, which is carded as the 7th of 9 on Saturday, is approximately 3:31pm. The Rainbow 6 Jackpot stands at $135,744 heading into the weekend at the GRP.

NADAL, STORM THE COURT CLASH IN SAN VICENTE

The SoCal Road to the Kentucky Derby heats up Sunday when Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ Storm the Court squares off against Bob Baffert’s latest impressive maiden winner, Nadal, in the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes (G2). The seven furlong test is the first stepping stone on the road to the Santa Anita Derby on April 4, with the middle rock being the $400,000 San Felipe (G2) on March 7.

The San Vicente six-pack also includes Cal Cup Derby winner Fast Enough, and maiden winners Ginobili, Party Town, and Ra’ad, who also hails from the powerful Baffert Barn. Sunday’s main event is carded as the 7th of 8 races, and goes to post at approximately 3:30pm.

CA Update: GGF, Santa Anita, Los Al

6 Feb

After an unexpected hiatus for pipeline repairs, Golden Gate Fields resumed racing Thursday and will field cards of 9, 10, and 10 races on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, respectively.

The added demand has increased the field sizes nicely, as Saturday’s Late Pick 4 features fields of nine in each race, and Sunday’s 10-race card offers five races with fields of nine or more, including 10 and 14 in the Late Double. Golden Gate has typically been guaranteeing its Late Pick 4 pools at $100,000 on Saturdays, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it do so again this weekend.

After a brief stint at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, jockey Kent Desormeaux recently announced he is shifting his tack to the Bay Area for an extended period of time. His aim is to supplant Hall-of-Fame rider Eddie Delahoussaye as the leading Cajun rider of all time. As of today, Desormeaux stands 354 wins shy of passing Delahoussaye’s career total of 6,384. Desormeaux has two mounts on Friday’s program for trainer Arnold Torres, aboard Kenji’s Journey (10/1) in the second race and On The Wings Of (8/1) in the ninth and final.

STAKES DUO ON THE DOCKET SATURDAY AT SANTA ANITA

Three-year-old fillies with their sights set on the Kentucky Oaks get the top billing Saturday at Santa Anita in the $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (G2). As one might guess, it’s a five filly affair with Bob Baffert holding a pair of aces in Gingham (6/1) and Stellar Sound (5/1). But not so fast pardner, as it’s trainer Richard Baltas who’s holding the nuts in Venetian Harbor, who’s been installed as the heavy 2/5 morning-line favorite after a runaway 10-length win in her main track debut on Dec. 29.

Having drawn just a field of five, the Las Virgenes is carded as the 5th of 9 races and will go to post at approximately 2:28pm.

The real main event for horseplayers is the $100,000 Thunder Road Stakes for four-year-olds and upward going a mile on the turf course. Contention in this 10-horse field runs deep with last year’s winner, True Valor (7/2), being installed as the tepid morning-line favorite.

Among a number of potential price plays includes Northern California invader, Mugaritz (8/1), who hails from the powerful Jonathan Wong barn and gets “Money” Mike Smith in the saddle. Mugaritz is an impressive 8 for 14 lifetime and two-for-two on turf, and seems unlikely to remain at his sticker price of 8/1.

Back class belongs to River Boyne (5/1) who is seeking his first win in over a year, but boasts an impressive 6 for 11 record over the track and is 7 for 20 at the distance for trainer Jeff Mullins. And in a field with an abundance of front-running speed, the tactical advantage could belong to closer Frontier Market (4/1), who joins the John Sheriff’s stable after a couple of in-the-money finishes for Chad Brown in stakes company back East.

Post time for the Thunder Road, which is carded as the 7th of 9 on Saturday, is approximately 3:31pm. The Rainbow 6 Jackpot stands at $135,744 heading into the weekend at the GRP.

LOS AL RETURNS FRIDAY NIGHT

After a brief hiatus for Super Bowl weekend, thoroughbred and quarter-horse racing resumes at Los Alamitos starting at 6:00pm Friday night. There will be a Pick 6 Carryover (straight, no Jackpot) of $6,774 over races 3-8 on Friday night’s program.

Friday night’s simulcast lineup is probably the best so far of the new year with harness action from Cal Expo, Meadowlands, Woodbine-Mohawk, Miami Valley and Yonkers all on the docket, along with six Australian tracks combined (A-B-C-D, Caulfield and Morphettville).

Post times for Saturday and Sunday cards at Los Al are 6:00pm and 5:30pm, respectively.

Don’t forget, Blue Devils Bingo is in the house every Saturday night starting at 6:30pm. Bingo games routinely pay $1,000 or more and a $40 buy-in gets you up to 10 games a night. Bingo doors open at 4:30pm.

 

Sam Davis, Derby Future Wager Weekend

6 Feb

The $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) is the next hurdle for the undefeated and relatively untested Derby prospect, Independence Hall (6/5), this Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs. Having won all three of his starts by four or more lengths, he figures to be the prohibitive favorite in a field of eight, and the horse to beat for anyone trying to extract value out of Tampa’s main event.

Top candidates to pull the upset are Remsen (G2) runner up Ajaaweed (4/1) and fellow unbeaten rival, Premier Star (3/1), who’s making his stakes debut in this 1 1/16 miles test over the Oldsmar dirt. Top pilot Jose Ortiz has ridden both Independence Hall and Premier Star, and has chosen to ride the former, while John Velasquez takes the call on the latter. Punters looking to back an off-the-pace type runner with a big figure, might consider Sol Volante (8/1), who exits a late-running third place finish in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream, after winning his first two races on the turf by open lengths.

The Sam F. Davis is just the tip of the iceberg on a 12-race card that also includes the $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes (G3-T), $175,000 Endeavour Stakes (G3-T), and $150,000 Suncoast Stakes. All four stakes races are part of the Late Pick 5, which starts in the 8th race – the Endeavor (G3) – at approximately 12:59pm. The Davis goes to post as the 11th of 12 races, at approximately 2:29pm.

Pleasanton OTB will pick up Tampa’s 12-race program in progress, starting with its 3rd race at 10:16am.

KENTUCKY DERBY FUTURE WAGER POOL #2 OPENS FRIDAY

The second pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager opens Friday and we will be accepting wagers until 3:00pm Sunday. If you have a good lead on a Kentucky Derby bound three-year-old, be sure to check out the prices as we get close to the three o’clock hour on Sunday. You might find a price you like.

If you don’t like any of the 23-named horses, you can always back the 24th betting choice, the Field. By betting the field, if none of the 23 named horses wins the Derby on May 2nd, you win!

Keep in mind the odds are not final until the pool closes at 3:00pm Sunday.

Click here for the Official KDFW #2 Program and morning line odds.

For Past Performances for all of the 23 named entrants, click here.