ascot aug08
This is a single article. Click HERE to go to the main page.

Saturday, March 01, 2008




Queen’s Plate contenders in action yesterday included PALMERS (Grand Slam) who was a close 2nd in a turf allowance at Fair Grounds but also handles dirt well. The Eugene Melnyk homebred was caught napping a bit it seems in the late stages of the race. KNOTTY KNOTTY, also in that race, was a non-factor.

At Gulfstream, SILVER JAG (Point Given) broke slowly but then had a mild rally to be 4th in his debut with a 69 Beyer Figure.

CHANTAL PAQUETTE and her family won a race at Gulfstream yesterday with PLETCHIE off the long, long layoff. The Crafty Friend mare was making her 3rd start for the Paquette family and was winning for $30,000 claiming at 5 furlongs on turf. She had been claimed last year for $40,000. Paquette’s Dashing Admiral had trouble in his season debut last weekend and is one to watch down there too.



By Nick Kling, For The Record

Thoroughbred racing fans become focused on three-year-olds competing for a spot in the Kentucky Derby this time of the year. However, it didn't used to be that way.

While March came in like a lion in the Northeast, there were terrific stakes and handicap races for older horses in warmer climates. In recent years the premier event has become the Dubai World Cup. And why not? Its $6 million purse is the biggest on Earth.

Yet, it wasn't that way in the older horse division either until the Dubai race was invented in the mid-1990s.

In 1935, in the midst of the Great Depression, the Santa Anita Handicap was born at the racetrack of the same name. Its $100,000 purse was serious money at the time. Interestingly, a one-time Steeplechase horse named Azucar captured the inaugural run. After several disappointing tries, the legendary Seabiscuit finally won the race in 1940.

For most of the remainder of the 20th Century, the Santa Anita Handicap was the most important Thoroughbred event in America, this side of the Kentucky Derby. Among its heralded winners were Round Table (1958) and Hill Rise (1965). From the glorious period of 1979 through 1982, the race was captured by Affirmed, Spectacular Bid and John Henry (twice). As late as 2001, the Big 'Cap was won by a Horse of the Year, Tiznow.

Unfortunately, the lure of Dubai has taken away some potential starters. When you add in the impact of the Eclipse Awards, whose voters seem to forget there is racing in the first half of the year, the Big 'Cap has fallen on hard times.

Nevertheless, today's race has drawn an excellent field of 14. Not only are these quality horses, they appear to be very competitive on paper. Factor in that this will be the first Santa Anita Handicap run on an All-Weather surface and you have a wide-open betting event.

Many of the horses entered in the one and one-quarter mile classic have been facing each other. The morning line favorite is Awesome Gem, a horse which has neglected to win a race since June and has never won a stake versus unrestricted older horses.

Also well-regarded in the morning line are Tiago (6-1), Monterey Jazz (5-1) and Go Between (6-1). Like Awesome Gem, all three are capable of win¬ning. However, they also have warts.

Tiago has lost twice at the Big 'Cap distance. His first two races of the year were alright, but he needs a peak effort to win this afternoon. Monterey Jazz set a strong pace and finished full of run to win the Feb. 2 Strub Stakes. That race is restricted to four-year-olds and is comprised of nine furlongs. Monterey Jazz has to go a furlong farther and do it on a track that has transformed from fair, to all running styles when he won the Strub, to tilting in favor of closers.

Go Between ran a monstrous race last time. The question is will he bounce since he is facing a much tougher field than the Florida- and California-breds he defeated in January. Student Council captured the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar last summer. That race is at today's distance. However, the Del Mar Polytrack is a much slower surface, as shown by the horse's final time of 2:07.29 that afternoon.

Heatseeker is a dangerous horse and his morning line is generous. Trained by future Hall of Famer, Jerry Hollendorfer, Heatseeker finished like a runaway car in his last race, in an event where the pace was soft. He should get a better set-up today.

If you like Go Between, you had better save a spot on exotic tickers for Celtic Dreamin. He was beaten two lengths by Go Between in the Sunshine Millions Classic, albeit with a perfect trip that day.

Big Booster is one of those horses which always seems to make a late run, but is not quite good enough to win at this level. He is coming from the same Feb. 9 race as Heatseeker, Awesome Gem and Student Council. Although he is probably less likely to win than any of those, he is not impossible.

The Santa Anita Handicap appears to be a race where chaos could ensue. Monterey Jazz has the speed to control the pace, but can he negotiate the distance? Air Commander, and perhaps one or two others will be chasing. The chasers are liable to self-destruct. That suggests an armada of stalkers and closers will be coming in the stretch. Turf horses Champs Elysees and Medici Code could be the strongest finishers. Of those two, I give Medici Code a slight edge. Medici Code has experience racing on All-Weather surfaces. He won three races in Europe over tracks labeled Polytrack or Fibresand. His trainer, Darrell Vienna, may be the best conditioner in the country and is an expert horseman. Medici Code has trained well over Santa Anita's blend of Cushion Track and Pro-Ride polymers. The gelding is a juicy morning line price despite his demonstrated class.

Champs Elysees has tremendous turf pedigree. Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel said when he announced his intention to enter the horse in this race, "(I) have nothing to lose."

Making conventional selections for this race may be an exercise in futility. Nevertheless, here they are. Given the depth of the field, I have listed five horses, in case one of them scratches: 1) Medici Code, 2) Go Between, 3) Champs Elysees, 4) Monterey Jazz, 5) Awesome Gem.

Good luck.


From Miami Herald


Gulfstream Park is not likely to keep up an average of 10 horses per race, a goal the track was shooting for at the beginning of the season. At least, not if it has to depend on Saturday's feature race.

The Gulfstream Park Handicap drew a field of five for the $350,000, 1 3/16-mile contest.

Allen Jerkens will send out Wood Be Willing for Marjorie and Irving Cowan. The homebred son of Pulpit was transferred to Jerkens one race back. After running him in an optional claiming race, Jerkens puts him in Saturday's Grade 2 handicap. Jose Lezcano gets the riding assignment.

Keep an eye on Leonnatus Anteas, trained by Kevin Attard. The 4-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic has been running at Woodbine and training at Payson Park. This is his first race outside of Canada. Eibar Coe gets the ride.

Amy Tarrant's Kiss the Kid appears to be a turf horse who does well when the race moves off the grass and onto the main track. The 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid has two wins on the grass and two wins on sloppy tracks. He did finish third, beaten three lengths in the Donn Handicap (Gr. 1) on Feb. 2. Eddie Castro has the return ride.

Fairbanks is a horse Todd Pletcher trains for Team Valor. The 5-year-old son of Giant's Causeway has a lot of unfulfilled potential. Fairbanks has four wins in 13 races and earnings near $400,000. Fairbanks finished fifth, beaten 5 ½ lengths in the Donn. John Velazquez is up.

Jim Toner trains Sir Whimsey for Turtle Bird Stables. The 4-year-old son of Jump Start won his last race on Jan. 16, a midlevel allowance race. Edgar Prado is aboard.


Salomea prepping for Woodbine Oaks


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The 3-year-old filly Salomea is one of the main reasons Canadian-based trainer David Cross decided to winter at Oaklawn this meet for the first time since 1998. She will make her season debut Sunday in the ninth race, a second-level allowance at six furlongs that drew stakes winners Wonderful Luck, Elocution, and Judy Faye.

Salomea is Cross's hope for the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks at Woodbine on June 8.

"She's got a lot of ability," said the trainer, who won the Kentucky Derby with Sunny's Halo in 1983. "So, I brought her down here to get her ready, because it can be hard to get a horse ready up there because of the weather. It's a mile and an eighth run in June."

Cross said he likes Oaklawn's stakes series for 3-year-old fillies. With a good performance by Salomea on Sunday, Cross plans to run her in the Grade 3, $100,000 Honeybee here March 16. Sunday's race will be her first since Dec. 5, when she ran a troubled third in the $150,000 Ontario Lassie at 1 1/16 miles at Woodbine.

"She had a wide trip," said Cross. "She came out of the 9 hole and that's where she stayed. It was not the pilot's fault. There was no chance for her to get down to the inside at any time."

Salomea won her two starts leading into that race, winning her maiden at seven furlongs Nov. 3, and taking a first-level allowance at six furlongs Nov. 16. She is by Milwaukee Brew, and her dam, Roaring Twenties, won the Grade 1 Selene. For her return from the layoff, Salomea, who races for Scarlett Lynne Hindmarsh, has been working at Oaklawn.

"I would imagine she'd take a race, but it's hard to say," said Cross. "She's a funny filly in that she doesn't pack all that weight. She's rangy, and those kind usually don't need too much to get them [ready]."

Salomea will break from post 4 under Calvin Borel.


(closing day is today…)

Sent in by R. Turk:

1. Cuvee

2. Friends Lake

3. Lion Heart

4. Medaglia d'Oro

5. Newfoundland

6. Read The Footnotes

7. Soto

8. Strong Hope

9. Ten Most Wanted (Stable Star)

10. The Cliff's Edge


  • At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Someone asked yesterday how Emma was doing in Hong Kong. I watched two really good races for her lastnight on HPITV In race 5 she came in second behind a very strong first place winner with Win More and in race 6 second again on Profiting Champion. This was a goood race and she just missed, hopefully a win is coming. You can watch the races on the Hong Kong Jockey Club website, and they describe the races in very great detail as well. There's even a photo section for each race. Very thorough. It's hard to pick out her mounts sometimes because the horse number and the draw number or post position are different.

  • At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    The article about Fort Erie said there would be $4 million available for purses this year. I believe that is the slot money. Another $4 plus million comes from horse betting, so over $8 million should be available over 80 days (100k a day, similar to last year).
    Magna's future is in doubt because Stronach is not a visionary.

  • At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love how this wiseguy starts his rant with Stronach's name so you think it's another MEC article, but pulls off the "bait and switch" and suddenly it becomes yet another tired old anti-WEG rant. Yawn...

    But since he likes to shoot off his mouth anonymously it's time someone replies to him. Also anonymously. From someone who does not have any connection with Messrs. Willmot or Stronach.

    He starts off claiming that a 15% takeout across the board would be fair, then further down in his blog, suddenly quotes 10% as a fair number. Read on and he starts to brag about all the offshore places he is using. He says that if WEG or MEC switched to such a takeout suddenly he and all his whale friends will start betting through North American pools again.

    OK, so here's an open question for Mr. Wiseass. Let's say tomorrow Willmot and Stronach announce a 15% takeout across the board. What guarantee do THEY have that you will live up to your end of the deal and actually give them your business? I suspect Mr. Wiseass will be back on his little bloggie saying "15% is too high! I want a 10% takeout or else... " Then if they actually yield to his whiny ass and drop to 10%, then he'll be back with "I can get 5% at Betfair!" or "this illegal place in Curacao will rebate me 5%" so they go to 5%, then he says "I can get 1.5% playing craps".... and so on and so on and so on, it'll never end. That's the problem, Mr. Wiseass and his cronies don't play fair.

    So, to the question... would he agree to the following solution?

    1- Reduce the takeout to 12% across the board... BUT
    2- Hong Kong's rules are made into law in North America... here is the warning that appears at the bottom of every HKJC webpage: "Don't bet with illegal bookmakers. The maximum penalty for betting with illegal bookmakers is a fine of $30,000 and 9 months imprisonment..."

    So now everybody is happy. Wiseass (and everybody else) get a reasonable takeout, and WEG can grow its business, but if Wiseass reneges and continues to use Betfair, Curacao, PTC, or online poker (and you know he will!) we toss him in the slammer and fine him $30 G's (and those fines should go directly to Woodbine's purse account). Sounds fair to me.... Then he can go sit in a cell and read that book he keeps threatening to read!!!

  • At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    Anon, I love the fact that you "anonymously" lace into me by stating I'm anonymous. At least I have an email associated with my blog, and I do answer all queries.
    Enough about that.
    I could live with 15% max right now, and I would most probably do all my business with 15% takeout tracks. I am not into offshore betting, but I've been forced into it because I want a chance to win.
    No, there is no guarantee I will bet at all, or just bet through WEG, but it is highly likely. Most importantly, the pool sizes will make it very enticing as well as the dummy money being churned with new clients will make it very enticing as well to only bet where the 15% takeouts exist.
    Yes, Stronach and Willmot will have to risk it, just like they expect their customers to risk it every day by doing business with them.
    However, once this works, I'm confident that the new way of thinking will decrease takeouts even more to the 10-12% range where I think they should be to maximize both clients chance of becoming a winner and the race track to get the maximum amount of betting, and yes, the maximum amount of profit to their bottom line.
    Yawning at an old anti-WEG rant tells me a lot about you btw. You must be in management. Why not disclose who you are?
    WEG is completely in the wrong, and these rants I hope will change their ways.

  • At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Never worked for WEG, never worked for MEC. Yet again, trying to deflect the initial question: Would you agree with the Hong Kong style anti-bookie law being passed in North America?

  • At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The rant above slams PTC?


    They have probably done more to bring offshore wagerers back to betting through the pools than any track or ADW the last decade.

    We need resellers to sell to price sensitive players. Thank god there are still a few left, or who knows how bad handles would be.

    "I can get 1.5% playing craps"

    Why in the heck have you injected a negative expectation game into the discussion? I hope you understand the price sensitive people we are talking about want nothing to do with craps. They are trying to beat the pari-mutuel game, which is a complete 180 from craps customers.

    The know your client rule comes to mind.

  • At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Cangamble said…

    I answered your post thoroughly on my blog post yesterday. Go have a look.

    Short answer to your question though, if all other wagers (sports etc.) are regulated in the country at rates that are completely equal most rates found by most bookies, in other words are fair and competitive, then I have no problem with bookmaking laws being vigorously enforced.
    At 12% for horse racing, I would say that the government then has a right to tell bettors that they must keep playing domestically only.

    And again, you are not being totally honest in regards to your affiliations. So what if you aren't WEG or Magna, to use that as a way to distance yourself is kind of dishonest.
    HBPA execs aren't WEG (to me there isn't much of a diff, for example) because they think lowering takeouts means less money (not a very insightful bunch).


Post a Comment