Fourstardave Handicap Preview

Time Test Looks Tough in Fourstardave while World Approval Tries to Snap Trainers Struggles at the Spa

This is the 33rd running of The FourStarDave Handicap (G1) for 3-year-olds and up over the inner turf course at Saratoga. The $500,000 Grade I race was shorted to 1 mile in 2012, and this year’s edition has a field of 7 lined up including a filly, Sassy Little Lila (6-1), battling the boys.

Disco Partner (2-1) and World Approval (9-2) will both have new jockeys in the irons. That’s because their regular riders are in Chicago for the Arlington Million. We feel this will really affect Disco Partner, as he’s won 4-of-5 coming into Saturday’s race as the 2nd betting choice. But Disco Partner has to be ridden to perfection as he has one big kick coming from the rear. If the new jockey Tyler Gaffalione doesn’t time his move right on Disco Partner it will be very costly down the lane. If that were to come at the expense of World Approval, who will also be racing on or near the lead, then trainer Mark Casse would pick up just his 2nd win of the meet through 40 starts heading into the weekend.

There appears to be little speed lined up and that will really help Sassy Little Lila. She was scratched last weekend in another stakes race at Saratoga by her trainer Brad Cox for this spot and she’s also facing males today as well.  Sassy Little Lila will take them as far as she can on the front end, and while she may hang on for a share at the wire, a win would be a big surprise.

The morning line favorite Time Test (8/5) looks tough in this spot for trainer Chad Brown despite trying a mile for the first time in the U.S. Time Test is coming into this race after finishing 2nd in back to back races at Belmont Park as the favorite. Many handicappers will look to fade him as they consider him a money burner off those last two races. We also think Disco Partner will take money at the windows, but Time Test has lots of talent and class and can rate much closer to the pace will little speed pushing on the front end. We suggest making a win wager on Time Test at 8/5 odds, along with an exacta key over Sassy Little Lila, Disco Partner, and Ballagh Rocks (10-1).

The FourStarDave Handicap (G1) is race 10 at Saratoga on Saturday, Aug. 12 with an estimated post time of 6:28 ET as Race No. 10 on the Inner Turf.

Kenny Schmitt contributed to this article. Follow him on Twitter @FBWinners.

Race Preview: National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame

National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Race is Competitive Feature Friday at Saratoga

The Racing Hall of Fame inductees will be introduced Friday morning, and then state-bred fillies and mares will break from the gate in Race 1 at 1:00 pm ET to start the weekend of racing at Saratoga. Javier Castellano, who has won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey each of the past four years, will be inducted into the National Museum Racing Hall of Fame. He’ll then ride one of the race favorites in Race 1 on the turf, Corey Q (5-2), for trainer Chad Brown. The featured race of the day will be at 5:40 ET when 10 three-year-olds break from the gate for the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2). The 1 1/16 mile turf test will have Castellano riding one of the favorites again aboard Big Handsome (3-1) for trainer Tony Dutrow.

The four top favorites in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes will break from the four inside posts. That includes Yoshida (JPN) at 7-2. The Japan-foiled colt trained by Bill Mott liked the soft turf at Pimlico in May to win his stakes debut from the back of the pack, but busted his backers as the favorite last time out in his graded stakes debut, finishing 5th in the Belmont Derby Invitational. Favorite Caviar Czar (IRE), by Medaglia d’Oro, is 2-1 odds breaking from the 3-hole for trainer Todd Pletcher. He broke his maiden at Churchill and then finished 2nd last out in allowance company on the dirt. Beatable favorite here. Bricks and Mortar (5-2) is on the rail for trainer Chad Brown, and jockey Joel Rosario. The dark bay by Giant’s Causeway is a perfect 3-for-3 following his Manilla Stakes win on the 4th of July. Rosario rallied him from the back of the pack at the three quarter pole and to soar to the front in the shadow of the finish line by a neck over Big Handsome (3-1). The Street Boss colt Big Handsome likes to stalk and stride home and he’ll get plenty of wagering interest with HOFer Castellano aboard.

Snap Decision (5-1) is a Hard Spun colt who won in allowance company last time out for trainer Shug McGaughey. He’s been in the money his last six races including his lone stakes try when 3rd in the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) in March. Secretary at War (8-1) will be running on the lead and has value with John Velazquez riding after finishing a very close 3rd in the Manilla behind Bricks and Mortar and Big Handsome.  Arklow (10-1 breaks from the outside and he too was a huge disappointment as the second choice in the Belmont Derby where he tired badly in the stretch and finished last of 11. If he runs back to his previous two races at similar distances, then he’ll contend. Jockey Felix Geroux rides for trainer Brad Cox at a healthy price.

Long shots Parlor (15-1), another Giant’s Causeway colt Makarios (20-1) trained by Nick Zito and Bonus Points, Pletcher’s other runner, round out the field.

A well-matched and difficult-to-handicap race with Castellano another Hall of Famer on the list. Afternoon thunderstorms (40%) are in the forecast for Saratoga Springs, NY, so confirm the race will stay on the turf.

50-1 Long shot Winner Not Horse Entered in Race at Youmouth

Wrong Horse Runs and Wins at Yarmouth

Imaging cashing a ticket on a 50-1 long shot winner, and then finding out it wasn’t even the horse that was entered in the race. Punters were left mystified Thursday when the wrong horse ran-in-and-won the opening race at Yarmouth, causing quite a commotion in the racing world.

The winner on the program of the 6 furlong novice auction race outside London was 50-1 shot Mandarin Princess, who beat the odds-on-favorite Fyre Cay by a neck. It later emerged the wrong horse had run and won, namely Mandarin Princess’ her 3-year-old stablemate Millie’s Kiss, who was scheduled to run late on the card in the fourth race, but was subsequently withdrawn.

The trainer Charlie McBride was responsible for both horses but the mistaken identity was discovered only when the ‘winner’ was taken for a routine sample and the scan by the veterinary officer discovered it was not Mandarin Princess but Millie’s Kiss.

Because the result had already been declared official, Yarmouth stewards could not amend it and have had to refer it to the British Horseracing Authority.

The BHA released a statement that read: “The incident at Great Yarmouth has been referred to the BHA’s head office in order that we can carry out an investigation, in accordance with our rules. Since we introduced the microchipping identification system an incident such as this is, as far as we are aware, unprecedented. The issue had not been established until after the result had been made official. After the weighed in has been declared on the racecourse, the result cannot be amended by the stewards.”

According to stipendiary steward Tony McGlone, the mix-up occurred after a stable girl took both Mandarin Princess and Millie’s Kiss out of their stable boxes before trainer Charlie McBride arrived from the weighing room to put the saddle on the horse.

The BHA said responsibility lay with the trainer to present and run the correct horse in the race, and “while we have not seen an incident of this nature in recent times, we will of course determine what steps need to be put in place to prevent it from happening again. We sympathise with the betting operators and betting public who have potentially been affected by this incident.”

Getting Set for the Saratoga Summer Stakes Races

Saratoga Summer Meet Features 35 Graded Stakes Including 16 Grade 1’s

The best racing of the summer season starts this week with Del Mar out West in California and the Saratoga Summer Meet in Saratoga Springs, NY. Racing fans and horsemen look forward to these meets, which draw the best racing, and betting, in the world. The 40-day Saratoga Summer Meet starts Friday, July 21 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 4.

During the 2017 Summer Meet, Saratoga hosts 35 graded stakes races, including 16 Grade I races – 13 on the dirt track and 3 on turf. A total of 69 stakes worth $18.775 million in purses are set for this summer at Saratoga, the oldest track in the U.S. and voted one of the top-10 sports venues of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated, .

The two richest races at the carnival is the $1.25 million Travers Stakes on Aug. 26, and the $1.2 million Whitney Stakes, the first ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup Challenge race of the Saratoga meet. The Travers is the traditional midsummer highlight for 3-year-olds, and the world’s best race horse, Arrogate, announced his arrival with a record-breaking performance in the 2016 Travers Stakes.

Travers day is August 26, and the biggest day of racing at Saratoga with six Grade I races including four ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup Challenge races. They include:

  • $700,000 Personal Ensign – (BC Distaff)
  • $500,000 Ballerina – (BC Filly & Mare Sprint)
  • $600,000 Forego – (BC Dirt Mile)
  • $1 Million Sword Dancer – (BC Turf)

Five graded stakes headline opening weekend at Saratoga, and the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) for top 3-year-olds follows next Saturday, July 29.

The Saratoga Race Course Guide provides all the information you need, whether you are a first-time track goer looking for the basics, or a life-long veteran looking for what’s new this year. The biggest and richest races of the summer at Saratoga are listed below. Let the races begin!

Sat., July 22 – Diana (G1), 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares on the turf – $500,000
Sat., July 29 – Jim Dandy (G2), 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds – $600,000                                                                                                                                                     Sat., July 29 – Vanderbilt (G1) 6 furlongs for 3-year-olds & up – $350,000
Sat., Aug. 5 – The Longines Test (G1), 7 furlongs for 3-year-old fillies – $500,000
Sat., Aug. 5 – The Whitney (G1), 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds & up – $1,200,000
Sat., Aug. 12 – Fourstardave Handicap (G1), 1 mile on the turf for 3-year-olds & up – $500,000
Sat, Aug. 19 – Alabama (G1), 1 ¼ mile for 3-year-old fillies – $600,000
Sat., Aug. 26 – Forego (G1), 7 furlongs for 3-year-olds and up – $600,000
Sat., Aug. 26 – H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1), 7 furlongs for 3-year-olds – $500,000
Sat., Aug. 26 – Ketel One Ballerina (G1), 7 furlongs for fillies & mares 3-year-olds & up – $500,000
Sat., Aug. 26 – Personal Ensign (G1), 1 1/8 miles for fillies & mares 3-year-olds & up – $700,000
Sat., Aug. 26 – Sword Dance (G1), 1 ½ miles on turf for 3-year-olds & up – $1,000,000
Sat., Aug. 26 – Travers (G1), 1 ¼ miles for 3-year-olds – $1,250,000
Sat., Sept. 2 – Woodward (G1), 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds & up – $750,000                                                                                                                                         Sat., Sept 2 – Spinaway (G1), 7 furlongs for 2-year-old fillies – $350,000
Mon., Sept. 4 – Hopeful (G1), 7 furlongs for 2-year-olds – $350,000

Handicapping the Indiana Derby

Indiana Derby Favorite Irap May Not be so Handsome

The $500,000 Indiana Derby is set for Saturday, and it’s time to pick a winner. The Derby is race 9 and the last of six stakes on a strong 10-race program that includes the $200,000 Indiana Oaks (G3) in race 8. While the American Graded Stakes Committee dropped both the Derby and Oaks to Grade 3’s this year, they still drew solid fields of 11 and 8 horses respectively.

Trainer Doug O’Neill saddles the favorite in both races for 3-year-olds with Mopotism (7-5) breaking from the outside post in the Oaks and Irap (8-5) drawing the No. 2 post in the Derby. O’Neill also trains the favorite in the Warrior Veterans Stakes, Gangster (5-2). O’Neill’s go to jockey Mario Gutierrez will ride all three favorites.

Have Fun betting Indiana Derby and All Stakes Pick Four

No Derby runners have more than two wins in their careers, but Irap is the lone millionaire having broke through for his maiden win in the Blue Grass Stakes to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, where he finished up the track in 18th place. But a victory in the Ohio Derby in late June when he finished well clear of Steve Asmussen-trained Untrapped (6-1) should have the Tiznow colt drawing plenty action as the favorite. Irap is the proven horse and best horse in the field, but will offer little value when wagering.

Awesome Saturday (8-1) is an up and comer for trainer Bret Calhoun who tries stakes company for the first time. He’s raced five times, all this year, and finished in the money each time with a pair of wins. His last race in June was an impressive 3-length win at this distance over Watch Me Whip (10-1), who drew the outside post for trainer Dale Romans. Brian Hernandez, Jr. has ridden Awesome Saturday in all his starts, and figures to be cashing in again Saturday night with a breakthrough win pushing the pace not too far-fetched.

Untrapped was 3rd behind Irap in the Ohio Derby, and while the cutback in distance may help him, the others mentioned including Hollywood Handsome (8-1) seem to be better shots. Hollywood Handsome fired a 5 furlong bullet work of 23 at the distance on July 3 and then breezed easy again for trainer Dallas Stewart on July 9 at Churchill. He should rebound well off his DNF performance in the Belmont when Florent Geroux was removed from the irons and did not finish. He was 4th in the Louisiana Derby in April, but the impressive performance was his allowance win when he won at this distance on the front end with a fast pace. Must include if you’re looking for a long shot winner and a score in your horizontal wagers.

The Derby is the cashing leg in an all-stakes pick four, and post time Saturday night is 9:49 ET.

Ohio Derby Preview

Girvin is Favorite in Field of 9 for $500,000 Ohio Derby

Saturday’s Grade 3 Ohio Derby is the richest race in the U.S. over the weekend just outside Cleveland. Nine 3-year-olds are ready to run 9 furlongs over the main track at JACK Thisledown, and the $500,000 purse ensures a big payday.

Girvin winning Louisiana Derby

Girvin is the 2-1 favorite and the multiple graded stakes winner had his biggest score when winning the $1 million Louisiana Derby in April.  He followed with a 13th place finish in the Kentucky Derby, as he wasn’t fully healthy with a hoof crack and also had a troubled trip under Mike Smith that included being sharply steadied along the far turn. Smith rides Girvin for the second time, and the Joe Sharp-trained colt has 3 wins and a second in five starts, and he worked a 5 furlong bullet in 1:00.00 at Churchill Downs June 17.

Irap (3-1) is the Tiznow colt who surprised everyone winning the Blue Grass Stakes at 31-1 odds. He beat four Derby runners that day at Keeneland on a deep track, and then was another big long shot who suffered a troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby. Irap is expected to be near the leaders breaking from the rail with Julien Leparoux looking for a similar Blue Grass trip.

Untrapped (9-2) has just one win in seven starts and was 2nd behind Girvin in the Risen Star (G3) in February at identical 8-1 odds. He finished just in front of Girvin in the Kentucky Derby after a 6th place finish in the Arkansas Derby when Smith rode him. Ricardo Santana, Jr. was up in the Risen Star and Derby, and takes over again here for trainer Steve Asmussen. A stalking trip near mid pack hoping for plenty of speed up front and a late burst.

Fast and Accurate (8-1) is the fourth and final Kentucky Derby runner in this field who faded badly to finish 18th in Louisville. He’s expected to set the pace in Ohio like he did in his recent start May 27 in the Arlington Classic (G3) on the turf. He folded up in the stretch to finish 4th, and Mike Maker’s colt will have a tough time holding off stronger runners at 9 furlongs.

Sorry Erik (6-1) is trained and ridden by the Desormeaux brothers and is 2-0for-5 this year with a 5th in the Louisiana Derby and 7th in the Risen Star, both as a huge long shot. He needs a very fast pace to run into, which he got in his recent allowance race at Santa Anita when he rallied from last to finish second.

Game Over (12-1), Talk Less (12-1), Vibe (12-1) and Hinton (20-1), who is 3-for-4 and moves up sharply in class, complete the field as longer shots.

The Ohio Derby is Race 8 on Saturday, June 24 with post time for the 1 1/8 mile race at 5:30 ET.

 

Penn Mile Preview

Competitive Field of 10 Set for $500,000 Penn Mile Stakes

One of the biggest races of the weekend to break from the gate June 3rd is the $500,000 Penn Mile. The 5th running of the Grade II race is on the turf at Penn National Race Course with 10 fairly accomplished 3-year-olds lined up in a very competitively priced race. Eight of the runners were stakes-placed in their most recent race, and three trainer’s saddle of pair of horses – Mike Maker, Todd Pletcher and George Weaver.

The favorite Big Score (5-2) and Cistron (6-1) ship in from Southern California to challenge Frostmourne (3-1), who breaks from the outside. Frostmourne had a pair of wins last year and was runner-up in his 3-year-old debut in the Woodhaven Stakes following a lengthy layoff. He posted his best Equibase Speed Figure (ESF) of 102 in that race. Big Score also had his best ESF (108) in his last race, a 3rd place finish in the American Turf Stakes. He won the Transylvania Stakes (G3) in April at Keeneland with a 107 ESF and is the only horse in the field with a graded-stakes win. Multiple Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano rides him for the third-straight time. Castellano has owned Penn National, winning 9 of 17 stakes races at the track.

Time To Travel (8-1) makes his turf debut but is expected to make a good move on the surface. He posted a 102 ESF in an April sprint and finished 2nd in the Sir Barton Stakes in his most recent race.

Bronson (4-1) and Bonus Points (8-1) are the pair for Pletcher, and Bronson won the English Channel last month while Bonus Points captured the Parx Derby on the main track. Mo Maverick (8-1) is expected to push the pace, while Prize Fight (8-1) and Shiraz (8-1).  Holiday Stone (12-1) is the long shot in the field, but he was a close 2nd to Big Score in the Transylvania and posted a strong 106 EFS.

The field and post position with best Equibase Speed Figure in parentheses.

  1. Shiraz (94)
  2. Bonus Points (90)
  3. Prize Fight (89)
  4. Bronson (99)
  5. Time To Travel (102)
  6. Cistron (100)
  7. Mo Maverick (99)
  8. Holiday Stone (106)
  9. Big Score (108)
  10. Frostmourne (102)

The Penn Mile is Race 9 on Saturday, June 3 and is preceded by the $200,000 Mountain View Stakes (1 1/8 miles), $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup (5 furlongs turf), $200,000 Penn Oaks (1 mile turf), $100,000 Danzig Stakes (6 furlongs), $100,000 Lyphard Stakes (1 1/16 miles turf) and $100,000 New Start Stakes (6 furlongs).

Preakness Meet at Pimlico Ends Memorial Day

Mandatory Payouts at Pimlico on Memorial Day

Memorial Day concludes Pimlico’s short 12-day meet, and the race course will offer mandatory payouts in the 20-cent Rainbow 6, 50-cent Late Pick 5 and $1 Super Hi-5 wagers on closing day of the Preakness Meet Monday May 29. Pimlico set attendance and handle records for the Preakness Stakes when over 140,000 fans watched 13-1 shot Cloud Computing chase down Classic Empire  in the deep stretch to win the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes. Those fans wagered over $97,000,000 on on Pimlico’s 14-day race program on Preakness Stakes day.

The Rainbow 6 jackpot is paid out only when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 60 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool. However, on days when a mandatory payout is scheduled the entire pool is shared by those holding tickets with the most winners.

Last Thursday, one lucky bettor hit a life-changing 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot of $185,957.24 from a $420 investment purchased through the Xpressbet wagering platform’s Oregon hub.

Also on Preakness weekend, Hall of Fame horseman Steve Asmussen earned a $50,000 bonus from a total pool of $100,000 offered to trainers who run a minimum of five horses in the 15 stakes races over Preakness weekend. Asmussen totaled 38 points while trainer Mark Casse finished 2nd with 33 points to earn $25,000. Points were accumulated for finishing first (10 points), second (seven), third, (five), fourth (three) and having a starter (one) in the selected stakes races.

Maryland racing shifts to Laurel Park for the summer meet beginning Friday, June 9 and continuing through Sunday, Aug. 20.

Record Day at Preakness Stakes

Pimlico Sets Attendance and Handle Records for Preakness Stakes

Cloud Computing closed in the deep stretch to win the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) on a record day at Pimlico Race Course. And a track-record 140,327 witness the exciting finish. The Maryland Jockey Club announced that Saturday’s Preakness Stakes card broke all handle and attendance records at Pimlico.

Cloud Computing edges Classic Empire in 142nd Preakness Stakes

Total handle on Pimlico’s 14-race program was $97,168,658, an increase of three percent over the previous record of $94,127,434 and a 14-percent increase over 2015 wagering. The attendance of 140,327 broke last year’s record of 135,256.

The Maryland Jockey Club also announced that in-state handle was up 7.1 percent from last year and 10.4 percent from 2015.

“From morning into evening, we witnessed an incredible day of world-class racing and eclectic entertainment,” said Sal Sinatra, President of the Maryland Jockey Club. “The sport of Thoroughbred racing is being rejuvenated and reimagined by the Stronach family. Their commitment to this sport is remarkable and unparalleled. Their vision is being embraced by horsemen and fans around the country.”

Betting on the Preakness this year was $60.2 million when counting all wagers that ended in the race, down 1.7 percent from the record of $61.3 million set last year. This year’s Preakness had 10 horses, while last year’s race had 11 horses.

Overnight television ratings for the race portion of the Preakness broadcast on NBC peaked at 6.2 with a 14 share, identical to the overnight figures for the race portion of the broadcast last year. NBC said the broadcast was the highest-rated sports broadcast of the weekend.

Sinatra added. “We want to thank the fans who came to Pimlico Saturday as well as the horsemen who supported our program this weekend. And, of course, the incredible equine athletes for their spirit and beauty.”

2017 Preakness Stakes Profile for Term of Art

Term of Art Statistics

Starts: 9

Wins: 2

Places: 1

Shows: 2

Total Earnings: $170,105

Owner: Calumet Farm

Trainer: Doug O’Neill

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Pedigree: Tiznow – Miles of Style, by Storm Cat

Recent Finish: 7th Santa Anita Derby, G1 (4/8/17)

Notable Wins: Cecil B. DeMille Stakes, G3 (11/27/16)

Term of Art rallies to win Cecil B. DeMille at Del Mar

Term of Art broke his maiden at Santa Anita and then entered the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 5 over the same track and finished 9th at 90-1 odds. Trainer Doug O’Neill brought him right back Nov. 27 and he rallied from off the pace to win the 1-mile Cecil B. DeMille (G3) at Del Mar in a race that was rained off the turf and moved onto a good main track. He’s winless in four starts as a 3-year-old. Term of Art made the cross-country trip to Pimlico Tuesday and had a jog around the track. He took his first gallop over the surface today, and he’ll wear blinkers for the first time in the Preakness.

Despite his strong breeding by 2-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, Term of Art has seemingly been outclassed in four graded stakes races since. He finished 4th in the Robert B. Lewis behind Royal Mo, who was scheduled to run in the Preakness but suffered a career-ending injury in the past week. Term of Art finished 7th in the Santa Anita Derby, running dead last for a mile and failing to make a bid in a slower race and stretch run.

Trainer Doug O’Neill says they are going to “roll the dice” with a horse he believes has classic-type ability. But Term of Art is another late-running big long shot that will need to run the race of a lifetime to make the money and factor into the Preakness Stakes.