Tammy the Torpedo Ready for Suwannee River Stakes

Tammy the Torpedo ended 2015 on a blazing note, winning two of her final three starts. She now looks to kick off 2016 on a high note, as she attempts to win her first graded stakes score in this weekend’s $150,000 Suwannee River Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Since winning the Tropical Park Oaks last December, Tammy the Torpedo has been preparing for her four-year-old debut, which she will be making in the 1 1/8-mile turf race on Saturday. She’s been getting in training sessions since early January, having put in four works up to this point.

“She ran terrific last time,” said trainer Chad C. Brown. “We gave her some time since that win and she seems to be back in top form breezing again so we’re looking forward to running her in this race and try to get a graded win for her.”

In addition to representing Tammy the Torpedo at the $150,000 Suwannee River Stakes, Brown will also be sending Light In Paris, who will be making her seasonal debut. She finished third in the Tropical Park Oaks race that Tammy the Torpedo won, finishing only a half-length out of first place.

“Her first run in the country wasn’t very good. She had problems at the gate and never really got involved,” said Brown. “After that we put blinkers on the filly and freshened her in Florida and her last race she ran terrific. She’s actually a filly that’s improving.”

The race favorite at money-line odds of 3/1 is Habibi. Below is the starting lineup for the race:

1. – Tammy the Torpedo (7/2)
2. – E B Ryder (10/1)
3. – Sweetie Girl (15/1)
4. – Rainha Da Bateria (8/1)
5. – Light In Paris (4/1)
6. – Habibi (3/1)
7. – Uchenna (8/1)
8. – A Little Bit Sassy (6/1)

Best in the West – Saturday Showcase at Santa Anita

Saturday Showcase Features Favorites Mor Spirit and Songbird

The Saturday showcase at Santa Anita will feature some of the best 3-year olds in the west. Let’s go ladies first on the February 6 card with race 5 in the $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (G3) for 3-year old fillies at one mile. SONGBIRD will go off as the heavy favorite. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer with jockey Mike Smith aboard, Eclipse award winner Songbird is undefeated in four starts. She is the class of the field and the clear speed in a field without any one-way speed. JADE PRINCESS could be forwardly placed early, but figures to finish up the track while SHE’S A WARRIOR is one to consider in the exotics with form over the course and working well with speed to contend. STREET FANCY is also training well and broke her maiden at this track. She went well in winning at two turns at the Starlet (G1) last time out.  The Road to the Kentucky Oaks awards points (10-4-2-1) to its top four finishers.

Race 4 is the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) for three year olds at 1 1/16 miles. Bob Baffert trained MOR SPIRIT is the one to beat. “He has a lot of tactical speed but you can’t let him use it too early. “We’re teaching him to sit and wait. He’s a big horse and beautifully made. He’s got a really long stride. He’ll be best going a mile and an eighth and further.”

Mor Spirit makes his first start since his impressive win over stablemate Toews on Ice in the Grade l Los Alamitos Futurity December 19. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens will be aboard. Mor Spirit finished second behind Airoforce in a live renewal of the Kentucky Jockey Club (GI).  LET’S MEET IN RIO is improving and working well and offers an attractive price pick. He was a fast-closing second as the Baffert B in the Sham last out.

I WILL SCORE is perhaps the most attractive of the rest and ranks as the speed of the speed. He has shown the ability to survive a contentious pace, and win even after being headed.  I Will Score stretches out for the first time but should have little trouble getting the distance. Both UNCLE LINO and LAOBAN have also shown speed, and should ensure honest early fractions. Laoban remains a maiden and ran third in the Sham.

Forsted wins Al Maktoun

Frosted Dazzles In Prep For Dubai

Frosted made his 2016 debut at the Al Maktoun Invitational as he continues preparations for the Dubai World Cup in March, claiming just his third victory overall while dusting the competition. The win stirs hope for the son of Tapit, who was consistently bested by slightly better horses during his three-year old season. Kiaran McLaughlin foresees a brighter run for the now four-year old.

So far, so good.

Besting Gold City and Faulkner to claim entry in to the winner’s circle, Frosted ran the 1 3/16 mile dirt race in 1:56.67 which is a new track record. It was an easy win for the horse and could invigorate his sense of confidence as he prepares to challenge some of the biggest names in the older horse category at the Dubai World Cup.

Frosted’s 2015 campaign was a little all over the map. He began showing promise after a strong second place finish at the Holy Bull Stakes, but failed to build momentum with a follow-up run at the Fountain of Youth where he checked in at fourth. Claiming his first stakes win at the Fountain of Youth, Frosted barrelled in to the Triple Crown series with some much needed momentum but fell back to fourth at the Kentucky Derby. Skipping the Preakness turned out a smart move by his handlers as Frosted would finish second behind American Pharoah at the Belmont stakes. He’d place second again at the Jim Dandy with a third place effort at the Travers Stakes. Frosted’s second win would come in the fall at the Pennsylvania Stakes before the long season finally caught up to him with a 7th place effort at the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

It’s been a constant theme of “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” in Frosted’s career. He has six second place finishes in 13 total races. Even still, it’s hard to say that Frosted’s career is a waste. A constant podium finisher, Kiaran McLaughlin hopes for big things at the Dubai World Cup where he will contend with familiar foes like Keen Ice. The March 26th mega event will also feature California Chrome, Hoppertunity, Candy Boy and a slew of other contenders challenging for the incredible $10 million purse.

Frosted will be worth a consideration in box bets if his win at the Al Maktoun Invitational is any indication of how ready he is for more major stakes races in the upcoming year.

Betfair/Paddy Power Merger Now Official

In a deal that was initially struck in early September of last year, the merger of betting exchange Betfair and bookmaker Paddy Power become official early this week, as the $7.2 billion dollar deal received final court approval.

At the time of the deal, Paddy Power Chairman Gary McGann had the following to say:

“The merger of Paddy Power and Betfair will create a company of world-class capability and people who will deliver substantial up-front synergies and a platform for very exciting business expansion.”

Bet fair Chairman Gerald Corbett chimed in, saying the deal made, “huge strategic sense by bringing together two industry-leading and successful businesses and providing enlarged scale, capability and distinctive, complementary brands.”

With the deal now official, the company will go under the moniker of Paddy Power Betfair. Paddy Power shareholders will own 52 percent of the company, and the other 48 percent will be overseen by Betfair investors. Former Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran will be given the same title at Paddy Power Betfair.

It’s exciting times for Betfair, who owns racing channel TVG as well as a New Jersey online casino. Later this year, Betfair and partner Monmouth Park will launch a betting exchange in the Garden State that will be the first betting exchange of its kind focused on horse racing in the United States. Bettors will take on the role of the house and can offer other players fixed odds.

Breaking the Bank – Big Payoffs

Big Payoffs to Close January including at the National Handicapping Championship

The National Handicapping Championship at Treasure Island in Las Vegas highlighted the final weekend of big winners in January. A Golden Gate windfall also provided a big Pick-6 payoff for one lucky bettor on a 20-cent ticket.

On January 30 at Golden Gate Fields in beautiful Berkeley, CA, one winning combination returned $39,946.60 on a 20-cent ticket Saturday. February 1 marked the 75th anniversary of grand opening of the popular bayside sports venue, and one crafty handicapper and fan was celebrating early over the weekend. The highest win payout on the pick-6 ticket was $19.60 with no favorites among the winners of the final six races at Golden Gate.

On the same day down in Southern California at Santa Anita Park, another hot handicapper ran wild with a Super High Five payoff of $40,972.80 on a $1 ticket in the Pick-5. Three first-time starters hit the finish line first including a horse at 12-1 odds and another 43-1 longshot.

Out East at Aqueduct on Sunday, a $46,462 pay day was provided to the Pick-5 winners.

But the biggest score of the weekend came in Las Vegas at the National Handicapping Championship (NHC). New York resident Paul Matties bested 629 horse handicappers to win the $800,000 first place prize.

Paul comes from a family of horsemen, and his younger brother Duke finished fourth to win $100,000.

Paul Matties amassed a winning score of $399.50 over the three-day tournament from 53 mythical $2 win and place bets – 18 each on Thursday and Friday, 10 in Saturday morning’s semifinal round, and seven in the dramatic Final Table contest exclusive to the overall top 10.

The NHC 17 finals awarded cash prizes to the top 63 finishers (the top 10 percent overall) from a total purse of $2,304,760. An additional $50,000 went to the top 20 in Saturday’s Consolation Tournament, including $250,000 paid out to top finishers in the year-long NHC Tour.


Flora Dora Makes Lake Push for Busanda Stakes Win

The $100,000 Busanda Stakes didn’t start out looking like it would be won by Flora Dora, who was 10 lengths back, but with jockey Jose Ortiz leading the way, the duo were able to muster up enough juice to cross the finish line in first place by a length.

Lost Raven was the early leader, running fractions in times of :24.55, :49.32, and 1:14.03 after the first six furlongs. Scatoosh was the leader after the turn, and then Flora Dora took it home, finishing the race in a time of 1:45.40.

“She listened really well,” said Ortiz. “When I was getting a position in the first turn, she helped me out and she relaxed really well. When I asked her to go at the three-eighths pole, I had to whip her a few times. She’s a little lazy. Once I got her going, she was there for me.”

The win marked Flora Dora’s second stakes win. The Florida Sire My Dear Girl Stakes broke her maiden, and then she came in second in the Tempted (gr. III). She has finished the fourth in the Demoiselle (gr. II).

“She has always been a very patient filly and she closes very well,” said trainer Marialice Coffey. “I feel that she also has tactical speed and that she can put herself in the mix, and today she did.”

In five career starts, the Florida-bred Flora Dora has a record of 2-1-0 and has earned $415,332.

Mohaymen wins the 2016 Holy Bull Stakes by 3 1/2 lenghts

Mohaymen Wins Holy Bull, Ready For Next

There’s no rest for the best of them. Coming fresh off his win at the Holy Bull Stakes, Mohaymen is already being prepped for his next challenge. Trainer Kairan McLaughlin has made a surprise announcement and pointed his prize contender towards the Fountain of Youth Stakes on February 27th. The highly anticipated race at Gulfstream just got really interesting.

Mohaymen’s handlers will have to make the final decision, but McLaughlin seems very optimistic. “He ate up last night and looks excellent this morning. For now, we’re pointing for the Fountain of Youth. I haven’t confirmed that with Rick Nichols yet or Sheikh Hamdan, but I think that’s the plan.”

As for the race itself, McLaughlin was relieved that the tempo of the Holy Bull didn’t effect Mohaymen. “I thought we might break well and just be on the lead and stay out of trouble. That didn’t happen, but obviously Junior was fine and he had plenty of horse and plenty of confidence. He’s just a special, special colt.”

Favoured at 1/5 at the Holy Bull Stakes, Mohaymen dragged in a quarter million in action at the window with ($245, 667 to be exact). He paid out $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10 for the win he earned by 3 1/2 lengths. Greenpointcrusader finished second and rewarded his backers with $2.60 and $2.20 for the show. The surprise finisher at the Holy Bull Stakes was Fellowship, who came through in third as a 40/1 longshot with a payout of $3.60 for the show.

The Fountain of Youth has already fielded nominations from several outside shots for the Triple Crown who were hoping to avoid the big guns like Mor Spiri, Mohaymen and Nyquist. Zulu and Shagaf are two of such horses, having announced their candidacy for the Gulfstream event last week in strategic fashion to steer clear of some higher end competition. Awesome Speed, Awesome Banner and Cherry Wine round out the order for that race so far with a handful yet to come.

Check out Mohaymen’s impressive victory at the Holy Bull Stakes below and continue to keep an eye on him as we prep for the fast approaching Kentucky Derby. The Fountain of Youth Stakes field will have a major competitor to deal with now.