The Saratoga Race Course meeting is the proverbial Christmas in summer to me: I wait all year long for it, can’t sleep the night before, and then find myself yearning for it the second it’s over. So when I woke up this morning, I basically levitated out of bed with excitement and think I managed to get showered, dressed and out of my apartment within 15 minutes of my alarm going off. Needless to say, I’d been packed for about a week.
Perhaps the most competitive race of the summer at Saratoga for older horses, the $1.5-million Whitney has attracted a field of nine. Palace Malice, who currently leads the NTRA Media Poll, faces off with last year’s 3-year-old champion Will Take Charge and 2012 Travers Stakes winner Golden Ticket among others in a field that boasts 27 graded stakes wins between the nine horses.
A "Win and You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Classic in November, the purse for the 87th running of the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap was doubled to $1.5 million for this year's edition. Attracting a strong field of nine, the Whitney is led by Palace Malice, winner of four straight graded stakes including the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap in June.
Tapiture, recent winner of the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes and Vicar's In Trouble, who won the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby earlier this year, lead a nine horse field in the Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer. Joined by Candy Boy, another top sophomore who recently finished second behind undefeated Shared Belief in the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Derby, the field for the West Virginia Derby also includes sharp recent winners For Goodness Sake and Gold Appointment.
In the spring, Bayern’s connections decided to skip the Kentucky Derby, a move that proved to be smart for the colt.
Winning the Woody Stephens by 7 ½ lengths on Belmont Stakes day, Bayern came back on July 27 to put in another runaway performance in the Haskell with a 7 ¼-length victory. In addition to being an impressive win, it also gave the colt an automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Classic due to the Haskell being part of the ‘Win and You’re In’ program.
Everyone knows that a day at the races is about as much fun as you can have. But let’s be real – sometimes there’s a big race coming up that you’d love to bet on but there’s no way you justify flying 2,000 miles to see it in person. Fear not! You can legally open wagering accounts online in most states, which lets you watch and play the ponies from the comfort of home. Betting accounts for horse racing are called ADWs (which stands for account deposit wagering – fancy!) and it’s never been easier to open one. Here are nine reasons why you should do that immediately:
Arlington Million Day is truly an international event; held at beautiful Arlington International Racecourse just outside of Chicago, the race attracts horses and fans from around the world. The style of the day is definitely Euro-chic; but just because the horses are running for millions of dollars doesn’t mean that you have to spend that on your wardrobe! I’m here to show you how to dress to impress the international crowd without breaking the bank.
I drove in to Louisville pretty late, maybe 11 p.m. It was the night before the Kentucky Derby and I hadn’t even had a minute alone to look at a Daily Racing Form and figure out what I was going to bet the next day.
I found a diner near my hotel that was open all night, and I grabbed a booth in the corner near the window and ordered coffee and eggs. I opened up the Form, took out a pen, and set to work. Eventually, the waitress came over with my food. She waited for me to move my Form out of the way to set down the plate.
It was understandable that Bayern was perceived to be a miler prior to entering the starting gate for the Haskell.
His first two tries at distances beyond a mile were hardly memorable. He tired in the final furlong of the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby and finished third, 5 ¼ lengths behind the victorious Danza. Then, at a mile and three-sixteenths in the Preakness, he got off to a bad start and never showed much interest in running, winding up ninth, 21 lengths to the rear of California Chrome.
This is horse racing, not jockey racing.
That being said, there is no braver athlete in professional sports than a jockey, and their split-second decisions can win or lose a race.
Roughly 40% of races are won by a length or less. Jockeys can, and do, make a difference.
Even the best rider cannot make a horse go faster, but with a vast array of skills, they can put their equine partner in a better position to win.
I absolutely love going to Monmouth Park for the Haskell. Located in the heart of the Jersey Shore, Monmouth Park is less the MTV version of the famed mid-Atlantic beaches and much more the heart and soul of the Garden State. The crowd that comes to the Haskell is New Jersey-proud to its core, and the fans at the track are there to have a great time while witnessing some of the nation’s top horse racing action at a stunning venue.
The Jim Dandy, a jockey footrace and gorgeous weather enticed me to make the drive from Vermont to Saratoga on Saturday, July 26th. My only previous visit to ‘The Spa’ was filled with storms and a rash of scratches prompting me to leave early. This trip, I had a half-hearted debate about going Sunday instead (free Saratoga beer glasses) but decided the lure of some Belmont Stakes horses and no rain was much stronger.
Wicked Strong returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since the Wood Memorial Stakes when he turned aside Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist in the stretch of the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday.
Few factors in handicapping are as important as current form.
A horse may have been a quality runner in the past, but if he’s not ready for a top effort today what happened months earlier could be a moot point.
Analyzing a horse’s form cycle can be tricky, though sometimes helpful hints can be gleaned from the mere placement of the horse.
The $1-million William Hill Haskell Invitational Stakes drew highly regarded filly Untapable for her first career start against males. Untapable rides a 4-race winning streak into the Haskell by a combined margin of 31 lengths, including victories in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose Stakes.
Finishing third to stablemate Ajina in the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, the next year Escena seemed to be out for revenge.
Before the 1997 Distaff, Escena had an accomplished resume with six victories and nine other on-the-board finishes in 20 starts, with most of those coming in stakes races. But it was the mare’s 5-year-old year that showed exactly how talented she was.
Nestled in the heart of the Jersey Shore, Monmouth Park is one of America’s most historic racetracks. Founded in 1870, the facility maintains the quaint fair-like feeling of a bygone era while still being thoroughly modern: the site has even been the host of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships (AKA the Super Bowl of horse racing.)
Remember the hottest girl in your high school class? Whatever shortcomings she had, you were willing to look past them, because, man, look at her! When it comes to horse tracks, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is a bikini-clad babe, whose scant pockmarks wash away in the southern California surf.
Obviously made history on June 14 as only the fifth horse, and first since 2000, to win the Shoemaker Mile in two consecutive years.
While there were some things different about his victory this year, one thing was the same; the win earned him a free spot to the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile through the “Win and You’re In” program. So without farther ado, it is time to get more familiar with perhaps the most dominant turf miler in California.
Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn. has been running a small summer race meet since 1985. They’ve been known to be inventive in their quest to bring in new customers - from adding a poker room to running the annual Claiming Crown series for claimer-level horses.
Eddie Read Stakes Day at Del Mar dawned as another picture-perfect morning at the seaside resort town outside of San Diego, and when I woke up at about 7 (hooray, jet lag!) I realized that I had to get out and go for a run. After all, even though I’d been Pacific Ocean-adjacent for a few days, I had yet to actually dip my toes into the sea. Plus, I’d hauled my workout gear all the way across the country with me and needed to justify packing my bulky running shoes. As I made my way from the hotel to the beach, I ran along a seaside bluff and was stuck by the sheer beauty of the morning; there was a beautiful cloud clover known as the marine layer hovering over the water, and in the ocean there were myriad surfers hoping to catch the next big wave.
Track records are almost always more highlighted than they ever should be, and last weekend saw the distracting topic back in the news. In our last blog, we discussed Clearly Now’s scintillating performance at Belmont Park, establishing a new mark for seven furlongs, besting Left Bank’s 2002 record at the distance.
Apprentice jockey Drayden VanDyke's riding is nearly as hot as the California sun. A leading apprentice on the West Coast, VanDyke is off to a fast start in his young riding career. Read on to find out nine reasons you should know who he is.