POSTED Mar 9, 2014 By Frank Cotolo
We have no excuses for a poor weekend in the winners’ department. Our overnight features did not produce and neither did our attempts to beat favorites at the Meadowlands’ highlighted affairs. In fact, the winner we offered in the William Gilmour Final turned into a massive favorite.
The horses-to-watch (H2W) list results are below, not looking as impressive as they have over the past few weeks for a major reason. Last Thursday’s offerings were slim. Many of the horses expected to thrive did not race, leaving the list rather limp. A few tracks, like Buffalo, Miami Valley and Monticello, presented slim-to-none H2W members. Still, the list presents some successes. Don’t let this discourage you, we endorse the great across-the-board and exotic plays you can find through the H2W exclusively for your TwinSpires harness bankroll. One poor week did not stain our season, which has already produced many top-prices horses.
Also last week, did not rise to the occasion of Buffalo Raceway’s TwinSpires bonus Pick 4. For the first time in over a month we went winless, offering only one third and two seconds in six suggested contenders.
Remember that every Wednesday night TwinSpires’ 10-percent-bonus Buffalo Raceway 50-cent Pick 4 wagers continue. We assist with suggestions for your ticket via Twitter -- @FrankCotolo, @TwinSpires and @BuffaloRaceway and have delivered some major contributions to the winning combinations.
The surprise favorite in the “Gilmour” final was National Debt. We underestimated the public’s eye on this unbeaten colt. He won and paid $2.80, $2.10, $2.10 (ok). In the Charles Singer Final we ran out of the money with Clementine Dream at 43-1.
In our overnight features at the Meadows, our second choice, another overwhelming public choice, Connie Keeper, won ($2.20, $2.20 [ok], $2.10) while our first choice, RT USS Chilton finished seventh at 15-1. In the second chosen overnight Brown Titan finished sixth at 8-1 and second-choice Incredible Dragon was fourth at 17-1. Failed choices from our previous week’s overnight features appear for the second time in the H2W list.
The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas are included when a H2W horse finishing first or second completes the result with a race favorite or another H2W horse listed in the same race (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete the exacta).
Blessingfromabove, $8.60, $4.40, $2.80, Cal Expo
Dew N Doughnuts, $7.80, $5.80, $3.80, Meadows
Yo Cheyenne Rocky, $4.40, $3.10, $3.40 ok, Yonkers
Strong Hope, $4, $3.10, $2.30, Flamboro
Cash Poor, $5.10, $3.90 (Exacta $14), Saratoga
Stand Guard, $4.40, $2.80 (Exacta, $13.40), Freehold
Four Starz Elder, $4, $2.80, Meadows
All On My Own, $3.60, $2.20, Freehold
Garbarino, $3.30, $3.80 ok, Monticello
Mccedes, $3, $2.60, Meadows
Real Yankee Fan, $2.30, $2.30 ok, Saratoga
D Mac, $5.20, Meadows
The Northern Dude, $2.30, Saratoga
Lightning Charger, $2.10, Flamboro
News And Notes
A 16-month contract with the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association allows Maywood and Balmoral parks to hold racing again. The opening of the 2014 racing season will take place on March 14 at Maywood. Balmoral’s opening weekend starts March 15. Post time at both tracks will be 7:10 p.m. (CDT). In a slight departure from its usual racing schedule, Balmoral will be dark on two Wednesdays, March 19 and March 26 before continuing with its usual Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday racing schedule. Maywood will race on Thursdays and Fridays as usual.
The rugged Foiled Again made his 2014 bow for the Ron Burke barn in a qualifier at the Meadowlands and showed no ware for the worn as he defeated Bettor’s Edge in 1:53. Also returning with a sharp prep for Team Burke was Charisma Hanover in a 1:53.2 romp over 2013 Breeders Crown-winner Shelliscape. Summertime Lea is another four-year-old mare making her 2014 debut for Burke and she finished strongly to win in 1:52.3. And Burke’s Sweet Lou is back for a five-year-old campaign and qualified with a win in 1:52.1 mile with a 26.4 final panel under no Matt Kakaley urging.
Buffalo Raceway has added Thursday, March 27 to its racing schedule. The race card gets underway at 5 p.m. Racing at Buffalo continues throughout March on Wednesday and Thursday with a 5 p.m. post and Saturda,y which starts at 6:40 p.m. Racing in April will take place Wednesdays at 5 p.m. and 6:40 on Fridays and Saturdays at 6:40 p.m.
The winter rehabilitation for Hambletonian-winner Royalty For Life is reportedly older. The four-year-old trotter will work out of the Massachusetts stable of George Ducharme after recuperating from surgery. “He is supposed come April 1 when I'll be moving the stable to Vernon Downs,” said Ducharme. “Royalty” underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from a knee last fall. Surgeons said the operation went perfectly and the horse’s prospects to race again are great. Royalty was scratched from the Breeders Crown Final after finishing fourth in his elim on Oct. 12, which turned out to be his final start of the year.
At Dover, reports track publicist Marv Bachrad, horses with long winning streaks dot the daily track race programs. Among them is Manhattan Rusty N, who currently, is king of the claimers, winning five straight. He was claimed for the third time in four races, this time for $30,000. Ideal American stretched his win streak to four, Fire In The Belly also is on a four-win skein and Spinfiniti has a three win-streak. The TwinSpires harness blog suggestion is to for these horses and wager against them with legitimate contenders because the streaking winners will be hugely over bet.
A list of 77 sophomore pacing colts have been nominated to the 31st edition of the Pepsi North America Cup. Headlining this year's group of nominees is the Dan Patch Award winner and undefeated Hes Watching, who set two world records last season along with six track records for trainer and co-owner David Menary. Though the colt had a frosh mark of 1:50 and $291,722 in earnings, he didn’t defeat any top 2013 frosh-colt pacers as his top performance in stakes races were in New York Sires Stakes. Arthur Blue Chip, on the other hand, banked $400,120 last season (and we supported him here when he paid the most for his frosh winning efforts) for trainer Dr. Ian Moore. Luck Be Withyou, the 2013 Breeders Crown champion, is on the list. He won five of 11 tries last year for trainer Bill Cass and won $363,000. Last year's Metro Pace winner Boomboom Ballykeel (a TwinSpires harness blog selection paying $23) and the undefeated National Debt are also on the list.
Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.
Ray Cotolo contributed to this blog
Cartoons by Thom Pye
POSTED Mar 7, 2014 By Derek SimonThe past couple of weeks, I’ve been looking at the Kentucky Derby preps in light of who can progress on the Derby trail. This week, thanks in part to some key defections in the two preps being analyzed — the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby and Grade II San Felipe — I’ve decided to look at both contests primarily from a handicapping perspective.
So, without further ado…TAMPA BAY DERBY (G2)11th Tampa Bay Downs1 1/16 miles (dirt)
1-RING WEEKEND (15/1)
Broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park last time, earning a 91 Brisnet speed figure (BSF) and a -9 late speed ration (LSR). However, the most interesting thing about this guy is his trainer, H. Graham Motion. Motion is very capable with recent maiden graduates (19 percent wins since 2008) and essentially breaks even with longshots of 10-1 or greater (-0.5 percent ROI in 608 starts over the past seven years).The fact that Motion enlists the services of Tampa Bay’s perennial top jockey, Daniel Centeno, makes Ring Weekend that much more intriguing.FAIR ODDS: 15-12-SURFING U S A (3/1)Finished second in an allowance race at GP in his latest after setting a moderate pace (-5 early speed ration). Todd Pletcher trainee shows improving early lick and could be sitting on a big effort — but 3/1 looks a little light.FAIR ODDS: 5-1
3-MATADOR (8/1)His recent main-track LSRs are a concern, especially in light of the fact that he lost position down the stretch in the Stephen F. Davis on Feb. 1. He could certainly move forward off that effort, but I would insist on a decent price.FAIR ODDS: 15-14-COLTIMUS PRIME (15/1)Woodbine shippers have not had overwhelming success at Tampa Bay Downs of late (-28.5 percent in 2013), but this Justin Nixon-trained colt may be the exception to the rule. To begin with, Nixon is 15-of-42 (36 percent) with horses moving from an all-weather surface (like Woodbine) to a dirt surface (like Tampa Bay Downs).Secondly, Coltimus Prime’s front-running style should be aided by the switch. Tampa Bay Downs has witnessed 26 percent wire-to-wire winners at today’s (main-track) distance of 1 1/16 miles this meet. Contrast that with Woodbine, which has seen just 18% wire-to-wire winners at the same distance over Polytrack.FAIR ODDS: 12-15-CONQUEST TITAN (7/2)His run in the Holy Bull was good, but not great, as evidenced by the 92 BSF and -14 LSR he earned for his runner-up performance. What’s more, he’s been wildly inconsistent. He could certainly win — his class figures are among the best in the field — but 7/2 is too low for me.FAIR ODDS: 5-16-VINCEREMOS (4/1)After going way too fast early (-15 ESR), yet still breaking his maiden, at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 4, this son of Pioneerof the Nile showed grit and determination in winning the Grade III Stephen F. Davis by the hair of his chinny chin chin on Feb. 1. His LSRs are improving and trainer Todd Pletcher certainly knows how to win a Kentucky Derby prep (the Derby itself is another matter).FAIR ODDS: 7-27-EAST HALL (10/1)I thought this dude was a live longshot in the Fountain of Youth and he didn’t disappoint, rounding out the superfecta at 72-1. That said, it’s hard to be impressed with a closer that earned a -15 LSR last time; I don’t like him, don’t hate him.FAIR ODDS: 20-18-COUSIN STEPHEN (9/2)To me, the key to this colt’s performance is tactics and the switch to jockey Javier Castellano may be telling in this regard. Although the son of Proud Citizen set the pace and earned the best (lowest) last-race ESR in today’s field in the Stephen F. Davis, he’s better coming off the pace — which he demonstrated under Castellano… twice.
The first time was on Nov. 7 when the Chad Brown trainee came from third to win drawing away by 7 ½ lengths at Aqueduct while earning a 92 BSF and 0 LSR.The second time was at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 3. Even though he faded to fifth after racing just off the leader at the first call that day, Cousin Stephen earned a 90 BSF and -2 LSR in a deceptively good effort.
A return to those stalking tactics makes him a big threat in the Tampa Bay Derby.FAIR ODDS: 4-19-HY KODIAK WARRIOR (10/1)Very interesting contender coming out of a ridiculously strong (7.0 Key Race Rating) allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 3. Though his pedigree might be questionable for the Kentucky Derby, today’s 1 1/16-mile event should pose no problems and his strong overall speed and pace figures make the son of Kodiak Kowboy a huge threat.FAIR ODDS: 6-110-TUSCAN GETAWAY (20/1)
A relatively slow need-the-lead type breaking from the far outside in a 10-horse field… not exactly the kind of horse I like to play — at any odds.FAIR ODDS: 50-1Click HERE for free Brisnet past performances for the Tampa Bay Derby
SAN FELIPE STAKES (G2)5th Santa Anita Park1 1/16 miles (dirt)HOME RUN KITTENOne dirt race was not encouraging for son of turf star Kitten’s Joy. He’ll need to improve a bunch to be competitive against the likes of these.FAIR ODDS: 15-1UNSTOPPABLE COLBYLast-race pace figures were remarkably good (-9 ESR, -5 LSR). However, those numbers were earned in a nondescript maiden race (3.0 Key Race Rating) and trainer D. Wayne Lukas costs bettors nearly 50 cents on the dollar in such situations.FAIR ODDS: 12-1RPRETTYBOYFLOYDAwful overall LSRs for a horse trying to break its maiden in a Grade II race.FAIR ODDS: 15-1CALIFORNIA CHROMESon of Lucky Pulpit recorded a 94 BSF and -4 LSR in a resounding score in the California Cup Derby. And even though that was a restricted affair, it’s hard not be impressed by how Art Sherman’s protégé has been performing recently (two consecutive wins by a combined margin of 11 ¾ lengths).FAIR ODDS: 2-1SAWYER’S HILLKristin Mulhall has a positive ROI with horses moving from a sprint to a route and the son of Spring at Last (24 percent route winners vs. 76 percent sprint winners) had a useful prep, albeit against maiden company.FAIR ODDS: 20-1KRISTOWith Bayern out and an inside draw, this guy looks like he could set the pace today… and the numbers suggest he might be tough to catch. Last time, he earned a 95 BSF, -9 ESR and -11 LSR in a narrow loss to Midnight Hawk in the Grade III Sham. New jock Joel Rosario hopes he can reverse that decision.FAIR ODDS: 9-2SCHOOLOFHARDROCKSIt’s the tale of two cities with this son of Rock Hard Ten. On the plus side, he appears very talented. In his first — and only — race, the David Hofmans trainee earned an 88 BSF and -4 LSR in breaking his maiden over the faux dirt at Del Mar. He’s also impeccably bred (his sire, Rock Hard Ten, gets 56 percent route winners and boasts a 7.4 AWD).
On the negative side, Hofmans isn’t great with horses moving up in class — nor is he particularly adept with horses coming off a layoff.FAIR ODDS: 8-1MIDNIGHT HAWKColt’s attempt to rate in the Robert B. Lewis on Feb. 8 was a mixed bag: although his BSF went from a 97 in the Sham to a 95 last time, his LSR actually improved from a -9 to a -6. Since then, the son of Midnight Lute has been working well for trainer Bob Baffert, as witnessed by a five-furlong drill timed in :58-4/5 on Feb. 26.He looks like a major player once again.FAIR ODDS: 5-2RECANTEDHard to endorse off his form in England and one race in the States… but all those races were on the green.FAIR ODDS: 20-1Click HERE for free Brisnet past performances for the San Felipe Stakes.Riposte Looks Like a Lock in the Hillsborough
Click on image to enlarge
After competing against the best of the best on the grass in England and Ireland, Riposte made her US debut in the Grade III Suwannee River Stakes on Feb. 8. And despite a ridiculously slow pace that day (+12 ESR), Ripose came charging late, recording a 95 BSF and +9 LSR. If the 4-year-old daughter of Dansili performs anywhere near that good on Saturday, she will win.
At least that’s my story… and I’m stickin’ to it.
Simon Speed Rations Explained
Early Speed Ration (ESR): A measurement of a horse’s early energy expenditure in relation to the total race requirements. The lower the figure, the greater the horse’s early exertion in that event.
-15= Demanding.-10= Brisk.-5= Moderate.0= Soft.
Late Speed Ration (LSR): A measurement of a horse’s late energy expenditure in relation to the total race requirements. The higher the figure, the greater the horse’s late exertion in that event. Because late speed is calculated at a time when a horse is being asked for his/her maximum effort, LSRs can be a great indication of form as well.
0= Excellent.-5= Good.-10= Fair.-15= Poor.
Pace Profile: A simple comparison between a horse’s LSR and the ESR of the race in which it was earned. Positive profiles are greatly desired.
Note: ESRs and LSRs recorded on turf or all-weather surfaces tend to vary by 5-10 points from those garnered on dirt tracks.
POSTED Mar 5, 2014 By Frank Cotolo
This weekend hopes for weather less violent as March digs into its place for 2014. At the Meadowlands this Saturday, March 8, we will see the first wave of sophomore pacers in the William Gilmour Memorial Final for $60,500 and three- and four-year-old trotters in the Charles Singer for $53,200. That’s as high as it is getting so far in the features department.
We continue to pick and choose a few specific races from common cards where we hope to keep up with our success of presenting some strongly priced winners. We love the Meadows and we are there again this Friday, March 7, to discuss a few races at length for optimum value wagering.
More horses to watch (H2W) at the Meadows and for overnight events throughout the TwinSpires harness menu are presented exclusively below. This list provides wins, places, shows and exactas every week, featuring contenders that, for the most part, the public dismisses. We have added harness racing’s newest track, Miami Valley, in Ohio and have already resulted in successful plays. Saratoga opens again and is also added. Please note that horses from our featured overnight events the week before appear on the H2W list as second-time members if they did not win when we highlighted their previous race.
Sophomore pacers that we may not see again down the stakes road are led by the obvious Dinner At The Met in the William Gilmour Memorial Final. Jimmy Takter trains three here, which could upset the betting configuration (program unavailable at press time) but we have to watch for value from National Debt. He is looking for his second win in as many tries and could be the speed of the speed, certainly if he commands his inside post and rates the quarters. Let the price be worth it by your judgment but he could be a strong third choice with “Met” and Capital Account leading the support bank.
’Singer’ On Stage
With Time To Quit perfect with five wins in this Charles Singer series, coming into the final from the inside is going to make you think twice about playing at all. Just behind him, Perfect Alliance is four for four this year and then you have most of the horses they have beaten between them to fill out the field. So, a very light endorsement is handed to Clementine Dream, who is the most competitive past the top two and is bound to be a price from post 8. Trainer Mark Harder also has Ray Hall from post 4 and if they are coupled (no programs available at press time) you need not worry about making a decision.
This week’s overnight offerings:
March 7, Race 6
A horse (Goggles Paisano) we chose second in a would-be giant exacta last week, in which we nabbed the 15-1 winner (Pop Cop), surfaces the morning-line (ML) choice stepping down into this conditioned pace. However, another horse, Brown Titan, is here with an unreasonable 12-1 ML and stands the best chance to blow this field away. Hanged for three calls dropping to this level last week, Brown Titan hails from Northfield, where he collected checks in Open company. Those foes were better than these, further strengthening our support for him here. For exotic plays, be sure to use Incredible Dragon, who has shown spark at this level and is sitting on a big mile in his fourth start after a brief rest.
March 7, Race 11
This conditioned trot is no conundrum, considering obvious choices are marked with short ML odds and have inside posts that fans love to count on when betting. But on the outside, post 9 (scored on the far outside at the Meadows), RT USS Chilton steps up a slight notch and may overcome a trip scorned by his post and win at a big price. As a legitimate contender, “Chilton” has won two of three, the middle loss of the trio due to breaking stride, mostly. He has a dual style, so if he manages to have to go with the outer flow due to his post, he should be flying in the stretch. Consider, also, that the ML choice is also a stepper-upper with two of three wins but Connie Keeper has post 2, so the inequality is based upon post as well as raw speed data, which is fine to ignore. Use her in exotics, though.
Review our choices and follow the wagering at the prescribed track. These are possible contenders we have judged from reviewing races. The horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track after the date they will be racing. The race in which they are entered (R and race number) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name it means it is appearing on the list for the second (and last time) because it failed to win the first time it appeared. An “AE” signals the horse is entered but on the also-eligible list. Types of wagering on any of the H2W listed horses are based on your judgment. If you have any questions, email us at TwinSpires.
3/7/14, +My Roberto R7; +Fox Valley Dylan R7; +Pip’s Jenny G R12; Blessingfromabove R13
3/9/14, +Devvils Embrance N R9; JRs Midnight Cry R13
3/6/14,; +Northern Triumph R4; +Justabiteveil R9; Strong Hope R11
3/8/14, +Justabiteveil R1; +Lightning Charger R5
3/7/14, +Terra True R2; Jack Junior R6; +Last Luck R7; +Yanotherhos R11
3/7/14, +Stand Guard R5; +All On My Own R10
3/7/14, +Perfect Change R2; +Yosemite Camn R3; +Mccedes R6; D Mac R7; Dew N Doughnuts R10; +Bergerac R10; +Dojea Nodoze R13; +Four Starz Elder R14
3/7/14, +TM Valley Storm R3
3/8/14, +Woop D Do Bazzle—AE—R1
310/14, Garbarino R8
3/7/14, Real Yankee Fan R3; +Cash Poor R9; +The Northern Dude R10
3/8/14, Sand Summerfield R9
3/7/14; Blacktuxwhitesox R7; Likeabatouttahell R8; Yo Cheyenne Rocky R9
Ray Cotolo contributed to this edition.
POSTED By Derek SimonDerek Simon and Ed DeRosa discuss Andrew Beyer’s piece “Racing industry keeps horseplayers off balance” and recap last weekend’s Gotham Stakes, as well as look ahead to this weekend’s Tampa Bay Derby and San Felipe Stakes.
In the U. of Bet segment, Dave “The Horse Handicapping Authority” Schwartz and Derek discuss the form cycle.And, lastly, in the Handicapping segment, Derek offers some insights into Saturday’s Santa Anita Handicap.
POSTED Mar 2, 2014 By Frank Cotolo
It was quite a week for winners and take a look at some of the place-and-show prices, a few connected to exactas, in the horses-to-watch (H2W) list results below. Our successes in non-features continue to endorse the great across-the-board and exotic plays you can find through us for your TwinSpires harness bankroll.
Also last week, we delivered half of the winning quartet in Buffalo Raceway’s TwinSpires bonus Pick 4 (Feb. 26). Once again we gave you the highest payer of the four races with Lucky Millionaire ($22.60, $5.40, $3.50) and week added the second-leg winner, My Future Ex ($6, $2.80, $2.80-ok).
Every Wednesday night TwinSpires’ 10-percent-bonus Buffalo Raceway 50-cent Pick 4 wagers continue. We assist with suggestions for your ticket via Twitter -- @FrankCotolo, @TwinSpires and @BuffaloRaceway.
Our featured overnight choices included a big winner at the Meadows in Pop Cop ($33.60, $12.20, $4.60). At Flamboro, one of our two choices was second (Justabitevil, $4.60, $3.30; Exacta with public-choice winner $12.10). Our second choice in the other Flamboro non-feature was second (Northern Triumph, $4.80, $3.30).
The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas are included when a H2W horse finishing first or second completes the result with a race favorite or another H2W horse listed in the same race (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete the exacta). Failed choices from our previous week’s overnight features appear for the second time in the H2W list.
Only In Lodi, $50.80, $12.80, $7.80, Cal Expo
Honeyinthyepine, $21.80, $8.80, $7.20, Meadows
Gold Deuce, $7.40, $4.40, $3, Cal Expo
Luna Hanover, $5.20, $3.60, $2.40 (*Exacta $26.60), Miami Valley
Look Siera, $3.60, $3, $3, Freehold
Northern Fling, $3, $2.60, $2.10 (**Exacta $4.80), Cal Expo
Rollin Deep, $8.50, $4.30 (Exacta $75.20), Fraser
Charmbo Willie, $7, $4.20 (Exacta $32.90), Flamboro
Pink E Bank, $7, $4.40 (Exacta $42.80), Miami Valley
Juntique, $6, $4.20 (*Exacta $26.60), Miami Valley
Suits, $6, $3.80, Dover
PC Moonshine, $5.20, $3.80, Pompano
Late For Work, $3.80, Miami Valley
Pips Jenny G, $2.60, $2.40 (**Exacta $4.80), Cal Expo
Sand Savage, $2.50, $2.10, Buffalo
Perfect Change, $13.20, $5.80 (Exacta $49.60), Meadows
Four Starz Elder, $10, $5.20, Meadows
Bluebird Corvette, $5.50, Buffalo
Yosemite Camn, $5.20, Meadows
Dojea Nodoze, $3.20, Meadows
News And Notes
The Meadowlands released its 2014 winter book for the Meadowlands Pace. Top sophomore pacers include frosh-pacing champ Hes Watching and runner-up Luck Be With You. Several other colts are Some Major Beach, a half-brother to the great Somebeachsomewhere, the sire of last year’s Meadowlands Pace winner Captaintreacherous. Tony Alagna trains both.
Beginning Monday, March 3, and continuing with just one exception through Oct. 31, all post times at Monticello Raceway will be at 12:50 p.m. The exception occurs on Friday, July 4 when post time will be 5:30 p.m.. Live racing during the month of March will continue four times weekly on the afternoons of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Flamboro Downs advises that their post times for Saturdays have been changed from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Still, the March 22 will remain at 1 p.m. due to a fund raiser being held at the facility.
After joint consultation, Jim Simpson, President of Hanover Shoe Farms and majority owner Jeff Snyder have decided to retire Cams Card Shark from active stallion duty. Simpson said, “He has now reached the stage in life where it is both difficult and dangerous for him and those around him to mount the phantom mare or even to be collected using a live mare.” Cams Card Shark was syndicated at the end of 1994 and retired with career earnings of $2,498,204. His stallion accomplishments include 10 millionaires including five who have earned in excess of two million dollars. He is credited with three Little Brown Jug winners and two winners of The Meadowlands Pace. His most renowned performers have been Shark Gesture, Bettors Delight, Four Starzzz Shark, Royalflush Hanover, Holborn Hanover, Roll With Joe, Village Jolt and Million Dollar Cam. For serious followers of bloodlines come this remarkable fact: Cams Card Shark’s son, Bettors Delight, is the fifth great stallion from a paternal line that follows from Meadow Skipper through Most Happy Fella to Cam Fella to Cams Card Shark and now Bettors Delight. This is a feat unprecedented in standardbred and thoroughbred breeding. It’s quite possible that the line will be extended through his grandson Betterthancheddar.
Rosecroft Raceway’s 65th anniversary race meet will kick off with a 27-date winter-spring meet beginning March 8 and going through June 7. Harness racing will be offered every Tuesday and Saturday evening with a 6:40 p.m. post time. A total overnight purse schedule of over $70,000 per day will be offered, including a 15-percent bonus on earnings for any Maryland owned, sired, trained or foaled horse that finishes first through fifth in an overnight race during the meet.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Freehold Raceway will be the scene of a special race featuring drivers of Irish heritage on Saturday, March 15. The winner of the race receives a blanket and a trophy. The drivers scheduled to participate in the race are Jack Baggitt, Jr., George Brennan, Corey Callahan, John Sheehan, John McDermott, plus a trio of native Irish drivers Joe Hanney, Anthony Haughan, and Jonathan Dunne. They Irish trio is a reunion celebrating years of driving and training together throughout Ireland, England, Canada and the United States. Dunne holds the driving title in his country as well as in the UK. Haughan is a top driver in Canada. This will be the first time driving for Haughan and Dunne at Freehold .
Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.
Ray Cotolo contributed to this blog
Cartoons by Thom Pye
POSTED Feb 28, 2014 By Derek SimonI’ll admit it: I’ve never been one to put much stock in pedigree when it comes to determining the outcome of a horse race. After all, did anybody see Johnny Manziel’s dad strut his stuff at the NFL Combine this past week? Does anybody actually care what the old man’s 40-yard dash time was... or is?I think not.Yet, clearly, horse racing is different than football. For one thing, human athletes aren’t “bred,” much to the dismay of some of my more athletic — and immature — friends.And there’s big money in those planned matings. In 2013, over half a billion dollars was spent at the various Keeneland sales alone. In 2006, a record $16 million was spent on a single horse — The Green Monkey, a son of Forestry who never won a race and has flopped as a sire as well.(Click on image to enlarge)
Still, there’s something to be said for pedigree. Just like the phrase “now, there’s a level-headed chap” is rarely applied to any of the Baldwin brothers, Kentucky Derby Champion is a title generally reserved for three-year-old colts and fillies with some stamina in their bloodlines.So, with the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3 kicking off on Wednesday, I thought it would be a good time to do a little research on past Derby winners and present Derby contenders. I want to find out which animals have the pedigrees to win and which do not.What does the fox... uh, I mean numbers... say:
1) Every Derby winner since 1999 was sired by a stallion with an average winning distance (AWD) of 6.6 furlongs or greater.2) Just two (War Emblem and Smarty Jones) of the past 15 Derby champs had a sire whose progeny competed in routes (races of a mile or greater) in less than a third of their starts.3) 14 of the last 15 Derby winners had sires whose progeny improved their average Brisnet speed figure by at least two points when routing as opposed to a sprinting.Now let’s take a gander at the individual KDFW Pool 3 contenders:(Click on image to enlarge)What the numbers say:
A) Based solely on bloodlines, Bayern, California Chrome, General A Rod, Uncle Sigh, Vicar’s In Trouble and Wildcat Red are all Derby tosses.B) Intense Holiday, Samraat and Tamarando are question marks in the pedigree area.While I certainly don’t think a horse’s breeding necessarily dictates its performance on the track — remember, Secretariat was believed to have distance limitations — these stats do make the case that good parenting matters.If you need further proof, just look at Justin Bieber.