Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Kentucky Derby Update for April 22

By Emily Shields

Kentucky Derby (May 4) action is heating up at Churchill Downs with four horses having workouts over the Louisville strip on Monday morning.

With trainer Bob Baffert in attendance, Improbable made quite the impression working four furlongs in :48 flat, the fourth fastest of 79 works at the distance. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.40.

Improbable wore blinkers in his workouts prior to the Arkansas Derby (G1), where he was the runner up, and in the race itself. His Sunday work was sans blinkers, which will come back off for the Run for the Roses. He will have his final workout next Sunday.

Louisiana Derby winner By My Standards worked six furlongs in 1:12.80 and is quickly becoming this year’s buzz horse. The Bret Calhoun trainee has been impressing in the mornings, and galloped out seven furlongs Monday.

Bill Mott trainee and Wood Memorial (G2) winner Tacitus worked in company with stablemate Ballagh Rocks, a Belmont Park graded stakes winner and grade 1 placed runner. Tacitus went a half mile in :50 flat. He has not worked since winning the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 6. His stablemate and fellow Derby hopeful Country House will not work until next weekend. 

Rebel Stakes (G2) winner Long Range Toddy went five furlongs in 1:02.60 and galloped out six panels in 1:16.20. Steve Asmussen trains the flashy son of Take Charge Indy, who is four for eight lifetime and has over $850,000 in earnings. It was his first work since running sixth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 13.

More horses are slated to arrive on the grounds soon. War of Will is next, scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, followed by Code of Honor Wednesday. Game Winner and Roadster are expected in from California either April 24 or 27, and Japanese contender Master Fencer will be on the grounds by April 29. Florida shippers Cutting Humor, Maximum Security, Spinoff, and Vekoma will be the last horses to arrive next week.

To find out more about the Kentucky Derby contenders, click here.

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Favorites in the Kentucky Derby

By Emily Shields

Ever since the late 2012 change from graded stakes earnings to a points system to determine who gets to run in the Kentucky Derby, the Run for the Roses has been won by the race favorite.

In the years leading up to this change, winners included Giacomo (50-1) in 2005, Mine That Bird (50-1) in 2009, Super Saver (8-1) in 2010, Animal Kingdom (20-1) in 2011, and I’ll Have Another (15-1) in 2012.

Since the change, which put more focus on the prep races in the month leading up to the Derby and a lot less emphasis on two-year-old racing, favorites Orb, California Chrome, American Pharoah, Nyquist, Always Dreaming, and Justify have worn the Roses.

Historically, 52 out of 144 Kentucky Derbies have been won by the favorite. This is a 36% strike rate, a little bit higher than the typical average of 1/3rdof the time. But it has been a rocky road for favorites, despite their recent string of luck: from 1979 when Spectacular Bid rolled home in the Derby, until Fusaichi Pegasus dominated in 2000, not a single favorite won the Derby. In almost the same stretch of time from 2001 until 2019, 10 favorites have won.

Whether the streak of favorites will be broken this year remains to be seen, as likely choice Omaha Beach looks a commanding presence. He is battle tested, has won at two different tracks and three different distances over both fast and sloppy ground, and has the imposing Mike Smith aboard after that rider jumped away from Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster.

The current streak of favorites winning is unprecedented in Kentucky Derby history; it will be interesting to see if the trend continues with the 2019 edition.

For more Kentucky Derby information on contenders, click here.

For more information on wagering on the Kentucky Derby, click here.

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Kentucky Derby Update

By Emily Shields

Of the 20 probable Kentucky Derby starters and the four bubbles horses waiting them out, ten are already on the Churchill Downs backstretch. They are Anothertwistafate, By My Standards, who was first to arrive, Country House, Improbable, Long Range Toddy, Omaha Beach, Plus Que Parfait, Signalman, Sueno, and Tacitus.

Three horses are just an hour away at Keeneland: Code of Honor, Gray Magician, and War of Will. Two are still in California: Game Winner and Roadster. Haikal and Tax are in New York, while the rest wait in Florida, including Bodexpress (first on the waiting list), Cutting Humor, Maximum Security, Spinoff, and Vekoma. Win Win Win usually trains out of Fair Hill in Maryland with Michael Trombetta.

By My Standards and Plus Que Parfait were scheduled to work Easter morning, and Code of Honor is slated to arrive on Wednesday, April 24. 

At Churchill Downs, Signalman worked five furlongs in :59.60 on Saturday, the fastest of 10 works at the distance. The son of General Quarters is #22 on the entry list, and would need two defections to get in.

At Santa Anita, Roadster worked six furlongs from the gate, going in 1:13.60 under jockey Martin Garcia, who often works trainer Bob Baffert’s best horses. The gray son of Quality Road galloped out a full mile. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Game Winner, who has narrowly lost in two starts this year, also worked Saturday under Garcia, going five furlongs in 1:00.80. He went in company.

Weather plays a huge part in a trainer’s preparation plans; Churchill Downs regularly has a threat of rain this time of year, but it isn’t until later in the week that forecasters are predicting more serious storms.

Click here to learn more about the 2019 Kentucky Derby contenders.

The post Kentucky Derby Update appeared first on Horse Racing News, Betting Previews & Picks by TVG Blog®.

Playing the Kentucky Derby Superfecta

By Emily Shields

The Kentucky Derby superfecta is one of the most popular but difficult wagers on Derby day – May 4 at Churchill Downs. In the last 10 years, the payouts were such:

2018: Justify (5-2)/Good Magic (9-1)/Audible (7-1)/Instilled Regard (85-1) 
$1 Payout: $19,618.20

2017: Always Dreaming (9-2)/Lookin At Lee (33-1)/Battle of Midway (40-1)/Classic Empire (6-1)  $1 Payout: $75,974.50

2016: Nyquist (2-1)/Exaggerator (5-1)/Gun Runner (10-1)/Mohaymen (11-1) $1 Payout: $542.10

2015: American Pharoah (5-2)/Firing Line (9-1)/Dortmund (4-1)/Frosted (10-1) $1 Payout: $634.10

2014: California Chrome (5-2)/Commanding Curve (37-1)/Danza (8-1)/Wicked Strong (6-1)$1 Payout: $15,383.80

2013: Orb (5-1)/Golden Soul (34-1)/Revolutionary (6-1)/Normandy Invasion (9-1) $1 Payout: $57,084.00

2012: I’ll Have Another (15-1)/Bodemeister (4-1)/Dullahan (12-1)/Went the Day Well (30-1) $1 Payout: $96,092.80

2011: Animal Kingdom (20-1)/Nehro (8-1)/Mucho Macho Man (9-1)/Shackleford (23-1) $1 Payout: $48,126

2010: Super Saver (8-1)/Ice Box (11-1)/Paddy O’Prado (12-1)/Make Music for Me (30-1) $2 Payout $202,569.20

2009: Mine That Bird (50-1)/Pioneerof the Nile (6-1)/Musket Man (19-1)/Papa Clem (12-1) $2 Payout: $557,006.40

On a $1 bet, payouts have ranged from $542 to a staggering $96,092. The average payout from the last eight years is $39,182, making it a very tempting wager indeed.

But picking the correct four horses in order is extremely difficult, especially with horses like Instilled Regard at 85-1 and Battle of Midway at 40-1 spicing up superfectas the last two years. Recent history suggests there is almost always a longer shot that comes in (see Commanding Curve, Lookin At Lee, Golden Soul, etc), with exceptions being 2015 and 2016 where the payoff was minimal. Boxing four horses in the superfecta costs $24 on a $1 minimum wager, meaning your four selections can finish in any order in the top four. Adding another horse makes the box $120, and choosing six of the expected 20 runners makes it $360. However, keying a horse on top and then playing several in a box underneath decreases your cost dramatically.

Throwing in the favorite usually helps, especially the last six years where the favorite has won the race over high priced horses that filled out the board. Before that, favored Bodemeister was second, and you have to go back to 2011 and 2010 when the favorite didn’t even hit the board (in 2009, Pioneerof the Nile was second).

Combining a top pick with a serious longshot and a few mid-range horses that have the talent and class to run well is the puzzle. The Kentucky Derby handicapper must use prep races, training information, and instinct to find the pieces.

Click here for more ways to play the 2019 Kentucky Derby and learn about the contenders.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Tough Group in Woodbine’s Star Shoot Stakes

By Emily Shields

The second stakes of the Woodbine meet is the $100,000 Star Shoot Stakes for three-year-old fillies sprinting six furlongs. It features the likes of grade 1-placed My Gal Betty, dual stakes placed Sister Peacock, and the unbeaten Intanga Rose.

#1 Speedy Soul (10-1) is an unbeaten stakes winner here and has moved to the barn of Mark Casse. She has not run since August 29 of last year, but broke her maiden sprinting before adding the Muskoka Stakes. The daughter of Souper Speedy has had five published workouts since her return to training.

#2 Missmizz (6-1) won her first two starts at Tampa Bay Downs iN December and February on the grass before finishing seventh in her stakes debut for trainer Michael Stidham. This will be her first try on synthetic, but she gets Rafael Hernandez.

#3 Power Gal (Jpn) (8-1) was last seen running seventh in the Honeybee (G3) on the main track at Oaklawn March 9. The daughter of Empire Maker is Casse’s second starter here, she goes for Emma-Jayne Wilson. This filly won the Martha Washington two back going a mile.

#4 My Gal Betty (7-2) was second in the grade 1 Natalma here after being an impressive stakes winner sprinting on the grass last summer. She finished ninth in the Breeders’ Cup, then had time off before running in the grade 3 Herecomesthebride on the Gulfstream Park grass March 2. The daughter of Point of Entry has been working at Keeneland for trainer Roger Attfield; she has Gary Boulanger for the first time today.

#5 Sister Peacock (4-1) is unbeaten on this track, including a 7 ½ length allowance win sprinting here in November. She has since run in two stakes around two turns on Gulfstream’s turf and was second in both, beaten a length and a neck. Jesse Campbell will be up for Stuart Simon, who conditions the daughter of Real Solution. She likes the front end and figures to be rolling early.

#6 Si Si Tequila (8-1) is Casse’s third starter. She has not run since the meet ended in November, but was second by a neck in the Glorious Song that day over seven panels. She has only been worse than third once here in six tries and has tangled with several of the rivals in here today.

#7 Special for You (20-1) is one of three longshots on the board. The others are #8 Kettle Valley and #10 Malibu Dawn, who makes her first start for Gail Cox after being trained by Graham Motion.

#9 Intanga Rose (3-1) rounds out the logical contenders. The Ontario-bred daughter of Animal Kingdom last ran in September but worked well at Gulfstream over the winter. Sid Attard trains and Eurio Rosa Da Silva will ride. Her dam, Intangaroo, earned over $600,000 and was a grade 1 winner at Saratoga and Santa Anita.

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Emerald Downs Opens for 2019 Meet

By Emily Shields

Emerald Downs, a popular racing destination outside Seattle, Washington, begins their 2019 meet on Saturday, April 20. There will be 67 days of racing through September 22, starting with just the Saturday this weekend, then Friday and Saturday through early May. Friday racing is added thereafter starting May 10.

The racing on Friday is twilight racing beginning at 6:30pm local time, with post time on Saturdays being at 2 or 5pm. This first race card begins at 2.

This year’s stakes schedule is comprised of 27 races worth $1,550,000. The biggest race of the year is the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) which takes place August 11. That same card includes the $50,000 Emerald Distaff, the $50,000 Muckleshoot Derby, and the $50,000 Washington Oaks. The meet’s most prestigious race for juveniles, the $100,000 Gottstein Futurity, will take place on closing day.

The first race card of the year features nine races, including a maiden special weight over five furlongs that does as Race 4. The purse is $18,500, the highest on the day. It drew a field of eight, including both Kentucky and California-bred fillies along with those bred in Washington state. Sires represented include popular local horse Harbor the Gold and Kentucky’s Darby Dan Farm sires Dialed In and Shackleford.

The meet is expected to feature the return of popular older horse Barkley, who is nine for 17 on his career. The son of Munnings was a standout at two and three, then took the Longacres Mile last year at five. He has already have five works over the surface here since the track opened. A Howard Belvoir-trainee, Barkley has earned over $350,000.

Play Emerald Downs on TVG this Saturday and all summer long!

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Alwaysmining Tops 38th Federico Tesio

By Emily Shields

Saturday is a big day for Laurel Park, which will run seven stakes races in a row on an 11-race card. The feature is the 38thrunning of the Federico Tesio Stakes, a “Win and In” race for the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse on May 18. Although the Federico Tesio winner regularly shows up in Maryland’s biggest dance, the last horse to do the double was Deputed Testamony in 1983.

#2 Alwaysmining (1-5), a Maryland-bred son of California stallion Stay Thirsty, looks the standout in the $125,000 1 1/8 mile race, which goes as Race 10. He has won five races in a row, including an allowance by 10 lengths and four stakes by a combined 15 lengths. His last loss came while sprinting on the grass; the Kelly Rubley trainee has done exceptionally well from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 on the main track. He is six for seven over this track and worked a bullet on April 5.

#1 Bozzini (10-1) lost by a nose to well-regarded Still Dreaming in an optional claimer last out, but doesn’t have to face that rival today. The son of Desert Party has won two of his last four starts. He has sprinted in his last three, but did break his maiden over 1 mile, 40 yards.

#3 Dixie Drawl (12-1) broke his maiden here two back over a mile then ran fourth in the Private Terms Stakes, beaten 13 ½ lengths by Alwaysmining. #4 Trifor Gold (15-1) hasn’t won since breaking his maiden in November. #5 Tybalt (8-1) was third behind Alwaysmining in his last two starts, both stakes. He has never been worse than third here. #6 Majid (20-1) rounds out the field; he has won two in a row and beat Trifor Gold last out. No rider has been named as of yet.

The other stakes on the card include the fillies’ version of this race, the Weber City Miss Stakes, as Race 9. That race looks to be more hotly contested, with #6 Las Setas (7-5) coming off three straight wins, including two stakes, and #1 Our Super Freak (7-2) running second or third in her last four starts, all stakes.

There is also the $100,000 Frank Whiteley, Jr Stakes, the $100,000 King T. Leatherbury Stakes, the $100,000 Primonetta Stakes, the $100,000 Dahlia Stakes, and the $100,000 Hendry S. Clark Stakes. Three of the day’s stakes are on the grass.

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