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7.24.2017:

The Meadows Adds $20,000 Guarantee for Monday Pick 5

WASHINGTON, PA, July 23, 2017 - On Monday, July 24, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $20,000 total-pool guarantee for its Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the "instant" guarantee after Saturday's Pick 5 was uncovered, resulting in a two-day carryover of $8,247.34. In addition, Monday's card includes a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 4, a regular feature of each program at The Meadows. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) and Pick 5 (races 11-15) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Monday's program is 1:05 PM.   For more information, please see: www.meadowsgaming.com.

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7.24.2017:

Three-day Pick 6 carryover of $577,107 on Monday at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -  Major Force's victory by a nose in Race 11 prompted a triple Pick 6 carryover of $577,107 heading into Monday's nine-race card at Saratoga Race Course. Monday's Pick 6 starts with Race 4, with an approximate post time of 2:40 p.m. and includes the $200,000 Caress Stakes in Race 8.  Sunday's Pick 6 sequence also included wins by Thrice ($7.70) in Race 6, Tainted Angel ($13.20) in Race 7, Somerset Sandy ($43.80) in Race 8, Ginger N Rye ($24) in Race 9, and multiple-graded stakes winner Abel Tasman ($3.60) in the Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks in Race 10. The consolation payout for five of six was $2,510.

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7.23.2017:

Abel Tasman, Salty set for rematch in G1 CCA Oaks

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - This year's Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks for three year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on Saratoga Race Course's hallowed main track will feature the 101st winning filly in its history at its conclusion. She will top a list of champions such as Shuvee, Ruffian, Sky Beauty, Songbird and many others who left their mark over the century-long race that began back at Belmont Park in 1917. China Horse Club and Clearsky Farm's Abel Tasman is set to continue the winning form displayed in her late-closing kick to win the Grade 1 Acorn by a length under a heady ride by Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith on the Belmont Stakes Day undercard. It was her second victory since her six-wide late run in the slop to win the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. Never worse than second with the exception of her debut through five starts, the daughter of Quality Road won the Grade 1 Starlet, and finished second in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes before being transferred to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's care in early March. The Coaching Club American will be her fourth start for Baffert. "She shipped well, everything is good," Baffert said. "She's been to the track a couple of days now. She's just got a really great mind. She's a real sweet horse to be around, just a lot of class." After a slow start where she finished a distant second to runaway winner Paradise Woods in the Santa Anita Derby, Abel Tasman returned with blinkers in the Kentucky Oaks. She has yet to be beaten since the change. "They made a big difference, and she's been training really well since. We ran her once, and I didn't want to change a thing. Mike said she really needs blinkers after the race, and he confirmed it when he worked her after, he said she changed. She was pretty good before that." Abel Tasman, named after a 1600s Dutch explorer, is eligible to sweep the Triple Tiara - a win in the Acorn, Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade 1 Alabama Stakes on August 19 at the Spa. No filly has won the Triple Tiara since the series was reconfigured in 2010. Abel Tasman's ninth career start will be from post 2, where she will be joined by Smith. Salty, representing owners Gary Barber, Baccari Racing and Chester Prince will face Abel Tasman for the third time after finishing a length behind as the runner-up in the Acorn. It was the second time Abel Tasman got the upper hand on Salty after a rough, wide trip put the Quality Road filly out of contention in the Kentucky Oaks. The Mark Casse trainee settled for a fifth-place performance over the sloppy Churchill Downs oval. "She's doing great," Casse said. "We're excited. She's doing better than ever, had a nice work over the track. It's a rematch. We definitely want another chance, and it looks like we're going to get it. If Abel Tasman beats us, then I tip my cap to her and Bob. We talk a lot, and I have the utmost respect for Bob. I think the more respect you have for somebody the more you want to beat them." Salty will be one of three Casse will saddle as Bobby Flay's Corporate Queen, third in the Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan, and sixth in the Grade 3 Wonder Again will join Gary Barber's Summer Luck, who enters off a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Regret Stakes. "If it gets a little wet, it will help Corporate Queen, and I think Summer Luck will enjoy the mile and an eighth. There's not a lot of speed in the race, but it looks like both Abel Tasman and Salty will go at it early. It might be a lot like this year's Preakness." Salty will run from post 7, and gets Joel Rosario in the saddle. Corporate Queen drew post 4 with jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., and Summer Luck will race from post 5 with Javier Castellano getting the call. Normandy Farm's Daddy's Lil Darling returns off her fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational, and was another who had been unable to match Abel Tasman in the Kentucky Oaks after a game second-place finish in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland. The Scat Daddy filly will make her sixth Grade 1 start for trainer Ken McPeek, and is in search of her first Grade 1 victory. Daddy's Lil Darling will break from post 3 with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard. Adele Dilschneider's Elate drew the rail for trainer Bill Mott and jockey Jose Ortiz, and West Point Thoroughbred's Berned, for trainer Graham Motion and jockey Rajiv Maragh, will break from post 6.

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7.23.2017:

Two-day Pick 6 carryover of $209K on Sunday at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Upset wins by Firenze Fire ($27) in the Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford, Penjade ($16) in Race 8, and Glorious Empire ($20) in Race 11 helped trigger a two-day Pick 6 carryover of $209,632 to start the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course. Sunday's Pick 6 carryover sequence starts on Race 6 at approximately 3:49 p.m. and includes the Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks featuring, Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and Grade 1 Acorn champion Abel Tasman. The rest of winners in Saturday's Pick 6 sequence were Build to Suit ($10.60) in Race 6, Partly Mocha ($9.10) in Race 7, and multiple-graded stakes champion Lady Eli ($3.90), winner of the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana as Race 10. The consolation payout for five out of six was $1,730.

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7.22.2017:

Huntsville, Fear the Dragon Headline Today's Adios Elims

WASHINGTON, PA, July 19, 2017 — Huntsville and Fear The Dragon have been installed as 7-5 morning-line favorites to win their respective divisions in Saturday’s eliminations for the $450,000 Delvin Miller Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows. Each favorite is coming into the Adios in fine form. Huntsville captured the final of the Meadowlands Pace; Fear The Dragon wasn’t eligible for that stake, but he won the final of the Max Hempt in his most recent start. The eliminations card begins at 1:05 PM, with the elims set for approximately 3:45 PM. The Adios final July 29 anchors a blockbuster afternoon card that features six Grand Circuit stakes. The fields for the Adios eliminations, in post position order with preliminary driving assignments, trainers and morning-line odds: Adios Elimination 1, Race 9 1. Boogie Shuffle (Zeron/Harder) - 20/1 2. RJP (Gingras/Burke) - 5/1 3. Highalator (Palone/Long) - 10/1 4. Miso Fast (Kakaley/Burke) - 5/2 5. Blood Line (MacDonald/Takter) - 4/1 6. Southwind Yukon (Kakaley/Burke) - 20/1 7. Huntsville (Tetrick/Schnittker) - 7/5   Adios Elimination 2, Race 10 1. Western Hill (McNair/Alagna) - 5/1 2. Lawrencetown Beach (Gingras/Burke) - 10/1 3. Fear the Dragon (Miller/Brown) 7/5 4. Hurricane Beach (Dube/Blais) - 20/1 5. Filibuster Hanover (Gingras/Burke) - 5/2 6. Eddard Hanover (Kakaley/Burke) - 20/1 7. Independent One (Kakaley/Butenschoen) - 4/1    

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7.22.2017:

Lady Eli Returns to Saratoga in G1 Diana

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Sheep Pond Partners' Lady Eli will look to make a triumphant return to Saratoga Race Course as one of two entries for trainer Chad Brown in the 79th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up on the turf on Saturday. The Diana, the first of 18 Grade 1s on Saratoga's 40-day summer meet docket, will be the second of two back-to-back graded stakes on Saturday's card, following the 103rd running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford in Race 9. Brown will bid to repeat in the Diana following Dacita's victory last year. Lady Eli will attempt to get him back in the winner's circle, returning to the track where she won her debut in 2014. Brown said the 5-year-old Divine Park mare should be fresh coming off a half-length win in the Grade 1 Gamely on May 27 at Santa Anita Park. Lady Eli has eight wins and three runner-up finishes in 11 career starts. She burst on to the scene with six straight wins to start her career, including the 2014 Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and the 2015 Grade1 Belmont Oaks Invitational. After a 13-month layoff to recover from laminitis, Lady Eli returned to Saratoga with a game second-place effort in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa on August 27 and sandwiched wins in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl and the Gamely around runner-up efforts in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Fillies & Mare Turf and the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley. "She's training super and has had adequate time between races after a long ship back from the Gamely and we're looking forward to running her again, especially at Saratoga where she broke her maiden and made her comeback last year," said Brown, who also saddled Diana winner Zagora in 2011. "In the Gamely, she adapted to a slow pace and overcame it," he added. "It looks like there might be a slow pace in here as well. We're confident she can place herself where we need her. She likes the track here and the Diana is a special race for our team." Lady Eli, who has posted triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in five of her last six starts, drew post 3 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard. Her stablemate, Antonoe, is 2-for-2 in North American starts and is coming off an impressive win her graded stakes debut when she rallied from seventh for a win by three-quarters of a length over Sassy Little Lila in the Grade 1 Loninges Just a Game on Belmont Stakes Day, June 10. Antonoe's first five career starts came in France and included a Group 3 win in the Prix d'Aumale. The Juddmonte homebred has four wins overall in eight starts and will be stretched out to the Diana distance of 1 1/8 miles for the first time. "She was sent to me in really good shape; I'm not going to claim we did anything magical with her but we put her in our program and she's responded," Brown said. "She's a top-class horse. I was more concerned with the cutback [to one mile] in the Just a Game than to this. A mile-and-an-eighth is fine for her." Jockey Javier Castellano, who rode Antonoe to both of her wins since shipping overseas, will have the return call from post 2. Godolphin Racing's Dickinson won't have to trek far from the Greentree Training Center, where the 5-year-old Medagila d'Oro mare has been stabled since finishing third last out in the Just a Game. Dickinson had won her previous three starts: the Jenny Wiley over Lady Eli by a neck, the Grade 2 Hillsborough by a half-length score and the Grade 3 Suwannee River by 1 1/4 lengths. Dickinson, who has five wins in seven career starts on the turf, is 2-for-2 at the Diana distance and will depart from the outside post with Paco Lopez aboard. "She's training well and came out of her last race excellent," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "She gives us great confidence because she's only been beaten twice on the turf and in her last race, she gave both the winner [Antonoe] and [Sassy Little Lila] eight pounds each. I have a lot of respect for both Antonoe and Lady Eli, but at least the weights are shifting in Dickinson's favor, so we'll see. "The race doesn't seem to have a lot of pace, so that's a little of a concern," McLaughlin added. "Lady Eli going 1 1/8 miles last out was close to the front-end, so she might show pace. We'll leave it up to Paco, but she's been training great. She's here and will get to walk out of her own stall for a change." Quidura will cut back in distance after earning a 100 Beyer for a second-place finish in the Grade 2 New York at 1 ¼ miles on June 9 at Belmont Park. The British-bred 4-year-old is 3-1-1 in six career starts, capping her 3-year-old campaign with a win in the Grade 3 Valley View in her graded stakes debut. After making her first two career starts in Germany, Quidura has never finished off the board in North America. The Graham Motion trainee will break from post 4 with Junior Alvarado aboard. Harmonize, for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, is the third Diana starter to have also run in the Just a Game, finishing third. The 4-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy is seeking her first win since the 2016 Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks. In her five subsequent starts - all graded stakes - she has posted a pair of second-place finishes, with strong showings in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup and the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere. Four-time Diana winner John Velazquez will ride from the rail. Rounding out the field is My Impression, a stakes-tested veteran for fellow Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey. The 4-year-old Sky Mesa filly has won a graded stakes at the distance, capturing the Grade 3 Commonwealth Oaks on September 24. Jose Ortiz, who rode her to all three of her career stakes wins, will be in the irons. "She runs good almost every time," McGaughey said. "Going a mile-and-an-eighth with Ortiz on her will help. She's trained good and had a good work on the turf the other day. She's lightly raced this year. She'll be right off of it [the pace], I would think." My Impression will break from post 5.

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7.21.2017:

Opening Day at the Spa is always a Special Occasion

Baseball fans have Opening Day. That one, long-awaited moment, filled with the promise and excitement of a bright future that can bring out the giddy little kid in a crusty senior citizen. Racing fans have Opening Day at Saratoga. That July afternoon, some 45 weeks in the making, when months of anticipation and grand expectations reach a fever pitch as horses approach a starting gate, positioned in front of a packed grandstand. As a festive crowd of more than 30,000 swells and post time draws near, the mood mirrors Times Square on New Year's Eve. As each horse enters the gate, the euphoria builds until a bell rings, the gates spring open and track announcer Larry Collmus delivers the words that are echoed in every corner of the Victorian era racetrack:  "And they're off at Saratoga!" "When the horses approach the gate for that first race at Saratoga, you get a such burst of energy and excitement," Collmus said. "It's a special day. When you call a Triple Crown race there's nervous energy that builds up, and it happens for that first race at Saratoga, too." Those five words, first authored by former New York Racing Association track announcer Tom Durkin, traditionally raise the curtain on 40 days of racing like no other in the country. What starts at Saratoga Race Course on Friday for the 149th time and runs through Labor Day on September  4 is a heavenly mix of the very best racing has to offer. Famed Grade 1 stakes. Hall of Fame trainers. World-class riders. Champions and future champions. Classic winners. All of them competing at a historic racetrack that dates back to 1864 and is the envy of the industry with staggering 2016 daily averages of 28,016 in attendance and $17.4 million in total wagering. "There's a ton of people that look forward to Saratoga, especially me," Collmus said. "There's something about the place when you walk through those gates. Everybody seems to be in a good mood. They are happy to be there and for 40 days you'll see the best racing around. Every day is an event and opening day, for sure, is one of them." Much like fans who circle Saratoga's opening day on their calendars, trainers, owners and jockeys also relish the move to the vibrant Spa, where success is rewarded in a variety of ways and 69 stakes will offer $18.7 million in purses. "For me and my team that first day at Saratoga is like Opening Day at a ballpark," trainer Chad Brown said. "I can feel it from my clients. There's a lot of excitement in the air when Saratoga approaches. Everyone is looking forward to it. We count down the days to it." Brown claimed his first Saratoga training title last year, one of the highlights in a 2016 campaign that was rewarded with his initial Eclipse Award as the nation's top trainer. He notched a record 40 wins at the Spa a year ago, and gained a special satisfaction in becoming the leading trainer at a track about 16 miles away from his childhood home in Mechanicville, New York. "I love going home," Brown said. "I love showing off the horses in front of my friends and family. I appreciate all the well-wishes, the good lucks and congratulations I get up there. It's great to see people in the winner's circle you normally wouldn't see at the races. Those seven weeks are the highlight of my year." Brown is coming off a sensational spring/summer meet at Belmont Park in which he captured the training title with 40 victories. Yet the 38-year-old trainer knows success cannot be taken for granted at a meet as competitive as the 40 days at Saratoga. "It was a huge accomplishment and relief to deliver that title for all our fans in the Capital Region. Everyone on the team executed their jobs perfectly and we had a lot of racing luck along the way. The weather cooperated. Everything fell into place," Brown said. "Yet I've been doing this long enough to know you can't count on that every year. It's difficult to win races at Saratoga. There's a reason why it took until our 10th year in the business to win a title there. It's the best horsemen in the country. The best owners. A lot of the best horses. It doesn't matter what level you are racing at. From the claiming races all the way up to the Grade 1's, you have to run your best race to win. There are no easy races at Saratoga. No layups." Brown said his success at Belmont could complicate his bid for back-to-back titles at the Spa, but it's hardly an insurmountable obstacle. A year ago, he also captured the Belmont title prior to his record-breaking season at the Spa. "We're coming off a strong Belmont meet and any time when you win that many races at a meet people wonder if you are out of conditions and live horses who will be favorites at Saratoga, but I can't manage my stable any other way. When horses are ready to run, you can't save it," he said. "I'm fortunate we have a lot of good horses in the barn and should have a solid meet at Saratoga. Whether it is enough to win again remains to be seen. There are so many variables." Like Brown, jockey Jose Ortiz walked away with a title at the 2016 Saratoga meet and he's eagerly awaiting an opportunity to defend his first crown at a meet he has quickly embraced. "At Saratoga, you walk through crowds of people, you sign a lot of autographs and pose for a lot of pictures. There are so many kids and families who cheer for you. You get more pumped up for Saratoga. It's a great place to be. It's one of the most important tracks in North America. It's always good to go there," said Ortiz, who won the Belmont Stakes in June with Tapwrit, one of the top contenders for the $1.25 million Travers Stakes on Aug. 26. "I was very happy to win the title last year and I'm going to work very hard to defend the title. But I know it's not going to be easy, there are so many good riders." One of those main rivals for Ortiz figures to be Hall of Famer John Velazquez, who proudly owns the distinction of having more wins at Saratoga than any other rider, past or present. "There's always been a special feeling at Saratoga. It's always been the place to be, a fun place, and I am very honored and blessed to be the track's all-time leading rider. I admire so many of the great riders who have been champions there, riders like Jerry Bailey and Angel Cordero," Velazquez said. "The fans make it a special place. Without the fans we have nothing. It's the best horses, trainers and jockeys in the world, but the fans make it special, whether it's people in the owners' boxes or in the backyard. There's something there for everyone to enjoy." With Cordero as his agent, Velazquez has won more than 700 races at Saratoga, and learned early in his career about the importance of each win at Saratoga from Cordero, a Hall of Fame jockey known as "The King of Saratoga" during a lengthy career that featured 14 titles at Saratoga. "Saratoga is like the song about New York. If you can make there, you can make anywhere," Velazquez, five-time Saratoga riding champ, said. "It came into my head early. My first year Angel and I flew to Saratoga. We took a little plane from LaGuardia Airport to Saratoga and during the flight Angel told me how special Saratoga was and about all the great things that happen there. When you are successful at Saratoga it makes the rest of the year better. You'll find a lot of good horses after that and get some great opportunities. So it's the place to shine." Velazquez is hoping that Saratoga spotlight will shine on Always Dreaming, the 3-year-old he rode to victory in the Kentucky Derby. Unraced since finishing a disappointing eighth behind the victorious Cloud Computing in the Preakness, Always Dreaming is targeting a return in the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes on July 29. "I'm looking forward to getting him back and hopefully we can get him into the routine that he had before the Kentucky Derby. He's doing we'll and we're excited about him coming to Saratoga," Velazquez said. "I hope he can return as good as ever and show that he's the real deal." Always Dreaming is scheduled to face Brown's Cloud Computing in the Jim Dandy, a showdown that serves as a springboard to the Travers Stakes and stands as just one example of what makes Saratoga so popular. Great racing in a timeless setting. Day in and day out. It happens for 40 days every summer, and it all starts with five words joyously proclaimed in unison by tens of thousands of people. "And they're off at Saratoga!" Indeed they are, and nirvana is at hand.

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7.21.2017:

Lake George, Schuylerville Anchor Opening Day at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Jimmy Toner will try for his third victory in Friday's Grade 3, $150,000 Lake George for sophomore fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf with the Grade 3-placed Defiant Honor. The Lake George joins the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville, a six-furlong contest for 2-year-old fillies, to kick off the Opening Day racing action at Saratoga Race Course as the historic track opens the gates for its 149th meet. The 10-race card will get underway with a first post of 1 p.m. The 99th running of the Schuylerville is carded as Race 8 with an approximate post of 5:02, followed by the 22nd running of the Lake George as Race 9. Defiant Honor got back into action for the Toner barn last month following a nearly seven-month layoff, earning a one-length victory in her seasonal bow, a June 21 allowance at Belmont Park. "She came out of her last race in good shape," said Toner. "So far, so good. She's a nice, classy individual. She likes the attention. She's still going through her stages of growing, but she's a nice filly to be around and she does everything the right way. She gives you everything you could ask for." The Speightstown filly was impressive as a 2-year-old, posting a game two-length win to break her maiden in October and shipped east for the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante at Del Mar, where she finished second despite interference from foam drain covers that had blown onto the track before the race. "They were all over the track and horses were going every which way," Toner said. "She had actually avoided them going into the turn but she stepped on one and slipped a little going onto the backside. That was a sight to see." Defiant Honor, owned by Phillips Racing Partnership and Pam Gartin, got a prescheduled vacation at Darby Dan Farm in Kentucky before returning to training in Ocala, where an injury delayed her 3-year-old debut for Toner. "She popped a splint after she got there [in Ocala], so we were a little further behind with her this year than we expected, but we've got her back into the game now and she's doing very well," he said. Toner won the Lake George in 1996 with Memories of Silver, who had just broken her maiden when she picked up her first stakes win with a brave three-length victory in the inaugural running of the Lake George. Memories of Silver, by Silver Hawk, went on to win six graded stakes, including Grade 1 wins in the 1996 Queen Elizabeth II and 1997 Beverly D. Toner got his second Lake George victory in 2011 with Memories of Silver's gray daughter Winter Memories, who put her sustained late run to good use and rolled to a 4 ½-length win. "Memories of Silver's race in the Lake George was a defining moment, I think, for her," said Toner. "That race, she split horses mid-stretch when Jerry Bailey was on her. He told me he didn't have time to go around, so he stuck her nose in there and went. She just started to separate those horses as she was going through there. It was an amazing feat, for both rider and horse. That was a huge race for her at the time; it showed her ability and character. That was an exciting race. "Then we got to come back and win it with her daughter, Winter Memories, and that was exciting in itself," he continued. "She gave one of her patented late runs. She was impressive in the way she used to do things. She was so flashy making those runs and all that stuff, she was something else to watch run." Defiant Honor will get the services of Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. The pair will break from post 3. Meanwhile, Mark Casse's barn is looking to get the meet off to a sharp start with a trio of entries for the Lake George and a sharp maiden winner on tap in the Schuylerville. Casse will be represented in the Lake George by Dream Dancing, third in the Grade 3 Wonder Again last time out, and Victory to Victory, looking to stretch back out after finishing fifth in the 6 ½-furlong Alywow on the grass at Woodbine on June 11. Bobby Flay's stakes-placed Corporate Queen is entered for the main track only and is also likely to be supplemented into Sunday's Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks, Casse said. In the Wonder Again, Dream Dancing ran closer to the pace than her normal style but wasn't able to close on the pacesetting New Money Honey, who followed up with a win in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks on July 8. "We knew there wasn't any speed [in the Wonder Again] and we didn't want New Money Honey to get too far away from us," said Casse. "[Being near the pace] just isn't what she wants to do and I thought her performance was a bit lackluster. The good news for us is she's come back and trained extremely well so they'll be no excuses." Victory to Victory, a Florida-bred by Exchange Rate, will lose the blinkers she has worn in her last four starts, which included a 2 ½-length win in the Grade 1 Natalma last fall, in hopes that the equipment change will get her to relax early. "My concern with her after coming back this year off a layoff was that she was showing a lot of speed and we couldn't get her to rate," Casse said. "A lot of times when they do that, I'll shorten them up. I shortened her up [in the Alywow] and she just didn't have enough speed to be competitive going short, so we're going back to two turns. We took her blinkers off and we're hoping she'll settle a little better." Dream Dancing, by Tapit, will break from the outside 11 post under Julien Leparoux, while Victory to Victory will be ridden by Florent Geroux from post 10. Also entered in the Lake George is Wonder Again runner-up Fifty Five, looking to give trainer Chad Brown his third straight win in the race; Sweeping Paddy, who posted an 3 ½-length victory in the Grade 3 Regret for trainer Dale Romans last time out; Wild Applause winner Super Marina for the George Weaver barn; the Graham Motion-trained Party Boat, second in the Pennsylvania Oaks; and Proctor's Ledge, Chubby Star and Fizzy Friday, second, fourth and fifth in the Regret, respectively. In the Schuylerville, Casse will saddle one of the stable's rising stars, Snowfire, fresh off her maiden-breaking debut on June 29 at Churchill Downs. A gray daughter of Tapit, Snowfire tracked the pace from the three path and fought off a challenge in the stretch en route to a four-length win. "We're excited about her," he said. "I thought her first race was really good. We were able to breeze her here at Saratoga the other day and she went extremely well. We're expecting a big effort out of her. We're high on her, we think she's got a big future." The Schuylerville has also drawn a strong pair from Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen in Kentucky Juvenile winner Buy Sell Hold and impressive maiden winner Laudation; Astoria runner-up Best Performance for trainer Christophe Clement; Barbara Minshall trainee Dream It Is, a 4 ¾-length heroine of the My Dear at Woodbine; Mel's Gone Wild for trainer Kathleen Demasi; Limited View for trainer and co-owner John Salzman Jr.; John Kimmel-trained Pacific Gale; and Stainless for six-time Schuylerville-winning trainer Todd Pletcher.

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7.20.2017:

Time for Fun in the Sun

As the song says…’Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street.’ Not exactly. While it’s true that the time is right, I’ll yield street dancing to LA LA LAND stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. They seem to enjoy it. This summer (aka Saratoga and Del Mar) I prefer to expend energy in the noble endeavor of discovering Thoroughbred race winners. If you smell what I’m cooking then satisfy your ravenous appetite with Xpressbet’s new $100,000 weekly handicapping competition suitably named Fun in the Sun. I know. I know. This summer you were looking forward to playing Dime-a-Day again. And the folks at Xpressbet were looking forward to hosting it, too. But sometimes things change and you have to roll with them like you planned it that way all along. Besides, if you give Fun in the Sun half a chance I’m sure you’ll learn to love it. Just like that fourth grade teacher you hated in September and then wanted to marry in June. What? Didn’t happen to you? Never mind. Give Fun in the Sun a shot and see if it floats your boat. Like that time you went camping and…oh…forget it. Here’s the deal with Fun in the Sun: If you are an Xpressbet account holder stop reading this and log in to your account and register free for the competition. If you are not already an Xpressbet account holder stop reading this, go to Xpressbet.com and open an account. Then register free for Fun in the Sun. You back already? Wasn’t so difficult, was it? Each week 10 Saturday races--usually 5 from the Spa and 5 from Del Mar—will be posted to the web as competition races. Using Xpressbet’s contest wager pad you’ll make a live $10 win wager on one horse in each of those races. The player that earns the most money wins first prize. Player with the second most money finishes second. And the player with the third most finishes third. Think you can complete that string down to fifth on your own? Here’s the really good part: Each week first prize is $5,000! That’s right, 5k, 5Gs, 5 large! However you want to say it. Runner-up gets $2k, with a dime and one-half to third, a G to fourth and $500 to fifth. ‘Wait!’ as they say on TV, ‘There’s more!’ Those are just the weekly prizes. Get a load of these seasonal prizes for players with the most cumulative earnings over the course of the entire Saratoga and Del Mar meetings: First $12k Second $8k Third $5k Fourth $3k Fifth $2k! You know you’re going to play the races from Saratoga and Del Mar this summer, so why not take a shot at Xpressbet’s $100,000 Fun in the Sun competition? If you whiff on all 10 competition wagers you’ll lose a grand total of a hundred bucks. And you must agree that if you take the collar, eat the doughnut, go ofer 10 you deserve to lose something. On the other hand, since competition wagers are live you keep what you win! Back a few decent-priced winners and even if you don’t win a prize you actually can make a few bucks! In order to break even in 10 races on a $100 stake at $10 per wager you’ll need to cash three winners at an average mutuel payoff of roughly $6.60, nail a pair of $10 beauties, or pick just one hero that pays $20! I know, easier said than done. But it’s not climbing Everest, either. Point is that with Xpressbet’s $100,000 Fun in the Sun competition winners aren’t wasted. Pick a few along the way and you can play for free. Okay, so you’re not a tournament player. I get it. For the most part I’m not either. However, when I see a deal this good, I hate to pass it up, although, in this particular case I have to. I’m not allowed to play. Adults won’t let me. Too bad, so sad. I’d really like to take a crack at this tournament. Why? Because the prize structure is insane. Xpressbet is putting on the show. All of it. No takeout, rake or skim. 100% of fees returned to players…well, not actually ‘returned’ because players never pay them in the first place…but you get the idea. The whole thing is on Xpressbet’s ‘dime’ (I’m sorry, did the use of that word just painfully remind you of Dime-a-Day? You’ve got to let that go. Move on.) Register free once and play Fun in the Sun each Saturday throughout Saratoga and Del Mar meetings. Or, play just once in a while, if you like. Weekly prizes are the same. And, remember, cumulative earnings count, too. Use the Xpressbet Online or Mobile Contest Wager Pad to make your competition wagers and don’t cancel or change a competition wager unless your selected horse is scratched from the race. Mutuel payoffs are capped at 20-1 ($210) for competition scoring purposes only--you still collect the full amount. There you have it. A fun and hopefully profitable way to do what you are going to do anyway: play the races from Saratoga and Del Mar. Legal suits want me to advise everyone to visit Xpressbet.com for complete rules and additional gobbledygook. I get it. Lawyers need to make a buck, too. Xpressbet’s $100,000 Fun in the Sun competition is off and running this Saturday. Make sure you are lined up in the starting gate. You can’t win it if you’re not in it and it’s way better than dancing in the street. Race On!

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7.20.2017:

Gulfstream's Rainbow 6 Worth $251K

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 11th straight racing day at Gulfstream Park Sunday, producing a $251,865.44 carryover jackpot for Thursday’s program. Multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $815.18.  The Rainbow 6 carryover 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 sold, 70 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.

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7.19.2017:

Migliore Joins XBTV As Racing Analyst

The Stronach Group is excited to announce that champion jockey and racing analyst Richard “The Mig” Migliore has joined XBTV's Digital Media Team. XBTV.com is horse racing's premier digital network and provides horse players a competitive edge through on-demand content that includes morning works, expert insight and analysis, and exclusive interviews. Migliore brings decades of horse racing experience to the XBTV team. A staple on the New York Racing Association (NYRA) circuit, he won 4,450 races during his illustrious riding career, including Grade 1 events at Saratoga, Belmont, Aqueduct, Del Mar, Gulfstream Park and more. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in 1981. Following his retirement as a jockey in 2010, he has worked as a handicapper and analyst for NBC, Fox Sports 1, HRTV and NYRA. “It is an honor to have someone with such credibility and respect join our team,” said Scott Daruty, XBTV president. “Richie's impressive background, expertise and analysis will provide a unique and helpful perspective for handicappers. The addition of ‘The Mig' also solidifies our commitment to the expansion of XBTV's East Coast coverage.” “I'm excited to start the next chapter of my career with XBTV,” added Richard Migliore. “I'm grateful to The Stronach Group for this opportunity to continue sharing my passion for horse racing with players and fans. I look forward to working with the talented professionals at XBTV and to continue producing high-quality content that handicappers can use when playing the races.” Migliore joins XBTV's growing team of handicappers and racing experts, including Jeff Siegel, Millie Ball, Aaron Vercruysse and Zoe Cadman. Migliore will immediately begin contributing to XBTV's content with daily analysis from Saratoga, including morning workout reports and exclusive interviews. Visit XBTV.com for more information, and follow XBTV social media channels for all the latest news and programming: Facebook (@WatchXBTV) Twitter (@WatchXBTV).

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7.19.2017:

Del Mar Opens with Full-Field Oceanside Stakes

The always highly-anticipated summer season of quality Thoroughbred racing at Del Mar kicks off Wednesday with a full field of 14 three-year-olds scheduled to compete in the $100,000 added Oceanside Stakes at one mile over the infield Jimmy Durante grass course.   The first of 36 days of racing during Del Mar’s 78th meeting through Labor Day Monday, September 4 will present ten races starting at 2 p.m. Six nationally-significant Grade I stakes are among 41 added money events on the $7.3 million summer schedule, highlighted by the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on Saturday, August 19.   Racing history will be made when Del Mar Thoroughbred Club hosts its first Breeders’ Cup, Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 4, spotlighting many of the world’s greatest horses in 13 Grade I races with purses and awards of more than $28 million.   Carrying top weight of 124 pounds according to allowance conditions in the Oceanside will be Bowies Hero, winner of the Del Mar Juvenile Turf last September and victorious in the Singletary on the grass in May at Santa Anita. In his last race, he was fourth behind Oscar Performance in the Pennine Ridge at Belmont Park. Tiago Pereira has the call from trainer Phil D’Amato.   In at 122 pounds are Vending Machine, a stakes-winner who will have Rafael Bejarano aboard; Grecian Fire, a stakes-winner at Golden Gate Fields to be piloted by Joe Talamo, and stakes-placed Monster Man, with Santiago Gonzalez to ride.   Others in the line-up in what shapes up as a wide-open renewal of the Oceanside are unbeaten Arms Runner, 120 and Norberto Arroyo, Jr.; Caribou Club, also 120 with Drayden Van Dyke. Packing 118 pounds will be Bird is the Word, Gary Stevens; Pioneer Lad, Tyler Baze; Rockin Rudy, Mario Gutierrez; Allaboutmike, Edwin Maldonado; Lucky Bode, William Antongeorgi; Placido, Flavien Prat; Fortune of War, Corey Nakatani, and My Man Chuckles, Kyle Frey. On the also eligible list are Reign On, Evin Roman, Harbour Master, Victor Espinoza, both weighted at 118.   Photo courtesy Del Mar Publicity Department/Benoit Photo

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7.19.2017:

The Meadows Triples Wednesday P4 Guarantee to $15K

WASHINGTON, PA, July 18, 2017 — The Meadows Racetrack & Casino has tripled — to $15,000 — the total-pool guarantee for its Wednesday, July 19 Pick 4 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. While $5,000 Pick 4 guarantees are offered each card, The Meadows upped the ante when Tuesday’s Pick 4 was uncovered, resulting in a carryover of $4,284.38. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets.  First post Wednesday is 1:05 PM.

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7.17.2017:

The Meadows has $25K Guaranteed Pick 5 Monday

WASHINGTON, PA, July 16, 2017 — On Monday, July 17, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $25,000 total-pool guarantee for its Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the “instant” guarantee after Saturday’s Pick 5 was uncovered, resulting in a two-day carryover of $8,484.76. In addition, Monday’s card includes a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 4, a regular feature of each program at The Meadows. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) and Pick 5 (races 9-13) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Monday’s program is 1:05 PM.

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7.16.2017:

Gulfstream's Rainbow 6 Balloons to $222K

The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 10th straight racing day at Gulfstream Park Saturday, producing a $222,333.11 carryover jackpot for Sunday’s program. Multiple tickets with five of six winners were each worth $3,614.72.  The Rainbow 6 carryover 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 sold, 70 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. Sunday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 7-12.

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7.15.2017:

Play the Special New York-Los Alamitos Pick 4 Saturday

CYPRESS, Calif. – The Grade III, $200,000 Los Alamitos Derby and the $150,000 Forbidden Apple are part of a special cross-country Pick 4 being offered Saturday. Two races from Los Alamitos and a pair from Belmont Park will comprise the 50-cent minimum wager, which is being labeled “New York-Los Alamitos Pick 4.’’ Besides the Forbidden Apple, which is scheduled for one mile on the turf and attracted 11 runners - including one main track only entrant – the other race from Belmont is a six-furlong sprint for 2-year-old maidens bred in New York. The Forbidden Apple, which is the eighth on the New York Racing Association program, has an approximate post time of 2:18 p.m. PDT while the ninth race for maidens is scheduled to run at 2:50 p.m. PDT. In addition to the Los Alamitos Derby, which is headed by Easy Goer Stakes winner West Coast, the other local racepart of the exotic wager is an optional claimer for older horses at one mile. Both of the Los Alamitos races have eight entrants. Post time for the first of the two Los Alamitos races is scheduled for 4:28 p.m. PDT while the Derby is scheduled to go at approximately 4:58.

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7.14.2017:

Rainbow 6 Climbs to $160K for Friday

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream Park went unsolved for the eighth straight racing day Thursday, producing a $160,850.47 carryover jackpot for Friday’s twilight program (2:15 p.m.) at Gulfstream Park.  Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $1,777.96. The Rainbow 6 carryover 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 sold, 70 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.  

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7.13.2017:

Palone Gets Career Win 18,000 at The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, July 12, 2017 — Dave Palone, already harness racing’s all-time “winningest” driver, continues to go where no reinsman has gone before, as he collected career victory 18,000 Wednesday at The Meadows. The landmark win came with Outburst in the 11th race. “It’s pretty gratifying,” said Palone, who boasts more than $135 million in career purses. “I’m starting to reflect on all the years, all the hard work and all the things that had to go right. I’ve been very lucky — pretty much injury free although I’ve had some serious accidents. But I was able to bounce back and have all the great opportunities I’ve had.” The milestones have come at a rapid pace for Palone, who in 2010 was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Among the recent highlights: July 5, 2012 — Palone notches career win 15,181 to pass the late Herve Filion as North America’s all-time leading driver. Sept. 24, 2013 — Palone scores career victory 16,000 at The Meadows, his home track throughout his career. Nov. 14, 2014 — The Waynesburg, PA native secures career win 16,754 to supplant Germany’s Heinz Wewering as the “winningest” driver in the world — and accepts videotaped congratulations from the gracious Wewering. May 13, 2015 — Career win 17,000 comes at The Meadows. A competitive nature always has been a dominant theme of Palone’s career; these days, he acknowledges that he’s mellowed ever so slightly. “I can’t say I’m as intense as I was in my 30s. I’m a little more laid back now, enjoying things like golfing and the kids. But when I put my helmet on for the first, I’m ready to go and as intense as ever.” At 55, he continues to maintain a full driving schedule, although he’s dialed back his workload a bit. United States Trotting Association records indicate that Palone had 2,827 drives in 2008, a career high. His 2016 total was 2,036, and he’s on pace for about that this year. He’s carving out a little more time for golf and family activities, including supporting his wife Bethann and daughters at their barrel racing competitions. “You would love to have the pick of the litter and the cream of the crop every day,” he said. “I’ve been giving myself breaks now and then when it doesn’t look like the opportunities (for wins) present themselves. I’ll take half a day or a golf day or do something with the kids. For the most part, it’s been 35 years of nose to the grindstone and showing up every day and getting it done.” He doesn’t anticipate doing anything differently in the immediate future. I don’t really have any plans except to show up and race every day,” he said. “I just hope to stay healthy and able to compete at the top level and win races. I’m still having fun with it. It’s like any other sport: when you fail to produce, you’ll know when it’s time to go.”   Image courtesy Chris Gooden/The Meadows Publicity Department.

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7.13.2017:

Gulfstream's Rainbow 6 Now Worth $142K

The 20-cent Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream Park went unsolved for the seventh consecutive racing day Sunday, producing a $142,730 carryover jackpot for Thursday’s program at Gulfstream Park  Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $1,226.64. The Rainbow 6 carryover 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 sold, 70 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.

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7.12.2017:

Laurel: Jacks or Better Farm Holds Live Hand this Summer

LAUREL, MD – Not long after winter officially turned to spring, Jacks or Better Farm – the Florida-based breeding and racing operation well known for its big-time success – had 5-year-old homebred Southern Barbecue run sixth in an optional claiming allowance March 25 at Laurel Park. It marked the first starter for Jacks or Better, an 88-acre spread situated in Ocala, since owners Fred and Jane Brei established a string of 25 horses at Laurel for the first time under the care of one-time farm trainer Ken Decker. Among the horses currently calling the Maryland track home are the stable’s two current starts, multiple graded-stakes winner Awesome Banner and multiple graded-stakes placed Fellowship. Awesome Banner was third in the Maryland Sprint (G3) May 20 at historic Pimlico Race Course and most recently second in the Smile Sprint (G2) July 1 at Gulfstream Park. Fellowship, who raced in both the 2016 Preakness (G1) and 2017 Pimlico Special (G3), ran in the Belmont Sprint Championship (G2) July 8 at Belmont Park. “Both of those horses are graded stakes-quality horses and need to run in those races. There was no way I wanted to be 1,800 miles or a 24-hour ship away from those races,” Fred Brei said. “Because of those two horses, it was extremely convenient for us to be there. We keep trying to meet the same challenge as every other owner in the country – where can you go to find the races you need in the quantity you need them?” Jacks or Better, distinctive for its purple silks with gold polka dots, has found a home at Laurel, where nearing the midway point of the 33-day summer meet it has finished in the money with 10 of its 20 starters including two wins, three seconds and five thirds. The first victory of its current tenure at Laurel came with the 4-year-old Fellowship, another homebred son of Awesome of Course, the stallion that put Jacks or Better on the map when his daughter, Awesome Feather, won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and was later named champion 2-year-old filly. Fellowship, on the Triple Crown trail last spring with thirds in the Holy Bull (G2), Fountain of Youth (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream, was impressive in a 2 ½-length score April 16 that set him up for a return to graded stakes company. “I go way back with Fred and Jane. I was with them when they first started in Ocala,” Decker, 58, said. “I started breaking the babies at the farm and I did that for about eight or nine years, and I’ve been training on and off for Fred and Jane since that time. We went to Colonial and ran a meet in Delaware in 2007 and went to Louisiana. “We got reconnected pretty good last fall and now we’ve got 25 head up here. We’re enjoying these kinds of horses,” he added. “I had a string of horses at Delta and Louisiana [Downs], pretty decent stock. [Laurel] was kind of the place that looked like our horses fit, the money is good and we’re doing pretty good. We’re starting to get ourselves settled in pretty good. We’re enjoying it.” Other winners for Jacks or Better at Laurel are 4-year-old Year Book and 3-year-old Faith ‘n Works, both in maiden claiming company, and 5-year-old Social Media, who captured claiming events on June 10 and July 1. Also in the Laurel barn are 9-year-old multiple stakes-winner Grande Shores, a veteran of 65 starts with more than $650,000 in purse earnings and placings in four Grade 3 races most recently third in a six-furlong claiming event July 9, and multiple stakes winner Sing Praises. Brei, a 74-year-old native of Poplar Grove, Ill., is happy to have Decker back in the fold and running the operation at Laurel. “Kenny Decker and I go back to 19 years ago. I hired him and put him in charge of our training barn. Then he decided he wanted to go out and train horses,” Brei said. “He was going to Louisiana and I didn’t want to go there. I wanted to stay in South Florida and that’s where we parted company and that was the only reason we did. “When we saw the program not working as we wished it to work, I called Kenny and asked him, ‘Do you want to go back in the training business?’ and he said ‘I’ve been waiting 10 years for this phone call,’” he added. “We sent some horses out to Delta so he could get back in it and then we were deciding where to go from there. We have a number of the $5,000 to $25,000 horses, horses that have run enough that we know that’s what they are, at various distances that need to run. We decided to look at Laurel.” Brei is a builder/developer who founded and served as CEO of Canterbury Corp, a long-term retirement facility in Crystal Lake, Ill., until selling it in 1995 and moving to Ocala. He bought his first broodmare in 1972 and raced a small stable in the Midwest before taking a 15-year break to concentrate on his business. His wife is a retired nurse. Jacks or Better owns a record 18 total wins in the Florida Sire Stakes, earned the Needles Award as Florida’s outstanding small breeding operation in 2001 and 2004 and has been Florida-bred Breeder of the Year the past two years. They have found success breeding their mares to their own stallions, particularly Awesome of Course and Hear No Evil. “They’re really good people. They love the business. Miss Jane, she’s about the mommas and babies and Fred oversees the yearlings and 2-year-olds,” Decker said. “They’re super-good people to work for. We talk a lot and go over things but he pretty much leaves it to me. If we decide to do something crazy he’ll say go ahead, and a lot of times it works. It’s really good. I’m glad to get reconnected with them and get a nice string of horses back up here.” Among other success stories for the farm are homebreds Jackson Bend, a multiple Grade 1 winner by Hear No Evil that was third in the 2010 Preakness; multiple stakes winner and Grade 1-placed Fort Loudon, by Awesome of Course, and Grade 3 winners Bayou’s Lassie, C. Zee, Dogwood Trail and Radical Riley. “This business has got a lot of ups and downs but from Day 1, Fred and I sit down and we map out what we want to try to do with the horses. Most all of these that we’ve got are all by those two stallions and out of most of the fillies. I broke most all of them so I know when they get here what kind of temperament they’re supposed to have,” Decker said. “They’ve got nice horses and if you need something, just ask. That’s nice to have in this business,” he added. “We don’t cut corners. From the cheaper horses right on up to Awesome Banner and Fellowship, everybody gets the same treatment and same opportunity. That’s the way it’s always been with them.”    

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7.10.2017:

The Meadows has $15K Guaranteed Pick 4

WASHINGTON, PA, July 9, 2017 — The Meadows Racetrack & Casino has tripled — to $15,000 — the total-pool guarantee for its Monday, July 10 Pick 4 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. While $5,000 Pick 4 guarantees are offered each card, The Meadows upped the ante when Saturday’s Pick 4 was uncovered, resulting in a carryover of $3,777.78.  Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) and Pick 5 (races 8-12) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post Monday is 1:05 PM.

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7.9.2017:

Gulfstream's Rainbow 6 Surpasses $100K

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream Park went unsolved for the sixth straight racing day Saturday, producing a $114,209 carryover jackpot for Sunday’s program at Gulfstream Park  Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $4,202.02. The Rainbow 6 carryover 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 sold, 70 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. Sunday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 6-11. In Race 9, two-time Sunshine Millions Turf winner Manchurian High has been assigned high weight of 122 pounds for his 2017 debut in the Mecke Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile turf event that drew a strong field of nine evenly matched runners. Diaz is scheduled to seek his fourth straight victory in the Mecke Handicap, which will also be contested by veteran stakes performers Two Step Time, Diamond Bachelor, J R’s Holiday, Indian Guide, Galleon Mast, Spring Up and Very Very Stella.

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7.8.2017:

Saturday's Gulfstream Pick 6 Carryover at $91K

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot rose to $91,194 for Saturday’s program at Gulfstream Park when the popular multi-race wager went unsolved for the fifth consecutive racing day Friday. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $5,468.72. The Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot is routinely paid out only when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket sold, 70 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. Saturday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 7-12 On Friday’s twilight program, jockey Edgard Zayas rode three winners, including back-to-back winners to start the day: Wild Good ($4.80) in the first and Lantiz ($7) in the second. He added a victory in the eighth aboard Capital S ($6.40), a Ralph Nicks-trained 2-year-old Florida Sire Stakes-eligible son of Wildcat Heir who debuted with a front-running victory, and in the last aboard Stone Heart ($14.80).

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7.7.2017:

Gulfstream's Rainbow 6 Carryover at $72,444

The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot rose to $72,444 for Friday’s 2:15 twilight program Thursday when the popular multi-race wager went unsolved for the fourth consecutive racing day. The 20-cent Rainbow 6 also went unsolved Thursday, when multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $8,004.08. The Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot is routinely paid out only when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket sold, 70 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. Friday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9. There will also be a Super Hi 5 carryover in the first race Friday of $33,528.

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7.6.2017:

The Meadows Adds $20K Guarantee to Pick 5

WASHINGTON, PA, July 5, 2017 — On Thursday, July 6, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $20,000 total-pool guarantee for its Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the “instant” guarantee after Wednesday’s Pick 5 was uncovered, resulting in a two-day carryover of $6,952.65. In addition, Thursday’s card includes a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 4, a regular feature of each program at The Meadows. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) and Pick 5 (races 9-13) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Thursday’s program is 1:05 PM.

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7.5.2017:

Gaffalione Wins 7 on Independence Day

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Jockey Tyler Gaffalione celebrated the Fourth of July with his own brand of fireworks, riding seven winners Tuesday at Gulfstream Park.  Thoroughbred racing’s burgeoning star equaled the Gulfstream record held by Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey. Bailey rode seven winners on the March 11, 1995 Florida Derby Day program, missing an eighth visit to the winner’s circle when he and Suave Prospect fell a nose short of beating Thunder Gulch in the Florida Derby (G1). Born six months after Bailey’s record-setting performance, Gaffalione won the first three races, visiting the winner’s circle with Break Away ($6.40) and Poopsie Doopsie ($12) before scoring in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes aboard Adorable Miss ($3). The 22-year-old native of Davie, FL added victories aboard Perfect Tay ($6.60) in the fifth, Sambrook Edge ($4.80) in the seventh, Isum Money ($9.80) in the eighth, and Stormin Charlotte ($6.40) in the ninth. On his other four mounts on the card, Gaffalione registered two second-place finishes and two third-place finishes. “It is amazing. I grew up idolizing Jerry Bailey. I copied basically everything he did. Between him and my father, they’re my two biggest influences,” said Gaffalione, whose father Steve Gaffalione rode nearly 900 winners during a career that spanned 1978-1998. “This is such an honor. I can’t thank everyone enough, my agent (Matt Muzikar), all the trainers, the owners, the horses and everyone in the jock’s room for all their support.” Gaffalione rode his first winner on his third career mount, scoring aboard Holdin Bullets at Gulfstream Sept. 7, 2014. He went on to ride 217 winners in 2015 to earn the Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding apprentice jockey. He rode five winners on the Sept. 20, 2015 card at Gulfstream. Three weeks later, he rode four winners on his first day as a journeyman at Gulfstream Oct. 11, 2015, signaling that he wasn’t about to let his business slip while riding without the benefit of the five-pound apprentice allowance. Gaffalione went on to win 208 winners in his first year as a journeyman in 2016 and has built on that success this year both at Gulfstream and in out-of-town stakes. He currently tops the 2017 national win standings with 156 victories. Adorable Miss Makes Victorious Return in $100,000 Martha Washington Mathis Stable LLC’s Adorable Miss made a victorious return to South Florida Tuesday, running her record to 3-for-3 over Gulfstream Park’s turf course in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes under Gaffalione. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the daughter of Kitten’s Joy scored by a measured margin of three-quarters of a length in the mile turf event for 3-year-old fillies that highlighted a Freedom Fest program along with the $100,000 Not Surprising, a mile turf test for sophomores. “Todd and his team did a great job getting this filly ready for today. I literally just had to get around there. She was all horse today,” Gaffalione said. Adorable Miss, whose only loss in four career races came in the $200,000 Penn (National) Oaks June 3, is scheduled to be sold at the Fasig-Tipton’ Horse of Racing Age Sale July 10 in Lexington, Ky. Adorable Miss rated nicely alongside pacesetter Katinka into the stretch before drawing away to record her second stakes victory at Gulfstream, running the mile over a firm turf in 1:35.59. “We felt like she’s had a lot of promise from Day 1 and she continues to learn how to run a smart race,” Mathis Stable LLC’s Bill Mathis said. “She won the Honey Ryder from a really tough position and came flying home. We knew if she learned to run right, she’d really be something special.  Tyler said she had a whole other gear today that he didn’t ask for.” Gaffalione’s bid for a record-breaking eighth victory aboard Bronson fell three-quarters of a length short when General McGooby ($22) held off the 6-5 favorite to win the $100,000 Not Surprising. Ridden by Ramsey Zimmerman, General McGooby led throughout the mile turf event for 3-year-olds to register his first stakes triumph. The son of General Quarters ran the distance in 1:34.65. Trained by Lilli Kurtinecz, No Palla Stables’ General McGooby had finished second behind Bronson in the English Channel Stakes May 6 before finishing a disappointing fifth in a recent optional claiming allowance. “He never runs the same race twice so you never know what you’re going to get. He tries every time. For him to hang on was awesome,” Kurtinecz said. General McGooby set fractions of 23.89 seconds, 47.03 and 1:10.76 on his way to victory. “It was just an absolute hang-me-on. I had nothing to do with him winning, He’s such a nice horse and was well-prepared,” Zimmerman said. “It’s a blessing to be on him.” The Todd Pletcher-trained Bronson finished 1 ½ lengths ahead of Coleman Rocky.

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7.2.2017:

How I’m Betting Sunday's Queen’s Plate Card

Sunday is Queen’s Plate Day at Woodbine, and that’s a pretty big deal for everyone involved.  Not only are they hosting the $1 Million Queen’s Plate, Canada’s version of the Kentucky Derby, but they’ve also got four other graded stakes races on the card and $600,000 in Guaranteed Wagers, including a $300,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 (Races 10 – 13).  Hit that to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points. First post at Woodbine is 12:00PM ET on Sunday.  Here are my picks for the stakes races, as well as my Late Pick 4 and Late Pick 5 tickets.    Race 4 (1:39PM ET) – Highlander Stakes (Grade 2, $250,000) The first stakes race on the card is the Grade 2 Highlander, a 6-furlong turf dash for older horses that serves as a ‘Win and You’re In’ event for November’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar.  The likely favorite is Brad Cox’s Green Mask (2/1), a 6-time winner who finished second in this race last year, beaten just a neck.  Problem is, he’s just 1-for-4 this year, with two losses as the favorite.  Maybe he just lacks that last final kick?  My pick is the second-choice, Calgary Cat (5/2), who is 2-for-6 at Woodbine and seems to be rounding back into top form. My Pick: #6 Calgary Cat (5/2)   Race 6 (2:53PM ET) – King Edward Stakes (Grade 2, $175,000) To me, this race goes through Tower of Texas (2/1).  I couldn’t help but be very impressed with this son of Street Sense when he won his seasonal debut in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup on June 3.  He’s not necessarily the type of horse that is built to win off long layoffs (especially as a six-year-old) so having him win first back is key.  I expect him to move forward this go around, and keep in mind he’s 4-1-1-1 the last three times he ran a mile at Woodbine, including a win in this race in 2015 and a second behind Tepin in last year’s Woodbine Mile.  My Pick: #5 Tower of Texas (2/1)     Race 8 (4:18PM ET) – Singspiel Stakes (Grade 3, $125,000) The Singspiel is a 1 1/2-mile turf test for older horses, with the favorite, Reporting Star (2/1), being a bet-against in my eyes.  He’s dropped nine straight races and is 0-for-5 in races this long.  Second choice, Bullards Alley (3/1), is also a horse I’m taking a stand against.  He’s dropped all six of his 2017 starts (including 12 straight defeats dating to last May) and just isn’t a horse to trust.  On the other hand, Bangkok is the ‘now’ horse (7/2).  An allowance runner for much of his career, he was a 17/1 outsider when he won the Grade 3 Valedictory Stakes on the main track last fall, but he followed that up with a win in a 1 1/4-mile allowance race here in June.  That was probably the best race he’s ever run and with a horse in this good of form, I can’t help but get on the bandwagon.  Curlins Pride (8/1) is a similar type that ran well in a comeback race.  Keep an eye on him. My Pick: #4 Bangkok (7/2)      Race 9 (4:51PM ET) – Dance Smartly Stakes (Grade 2, $175,000) For most, myself included, this is a two-horse race between Chad Brown’s Rainha Da Bateria (2/1) and Bill Mott’s Suffused (8/5).  Both ran well at Woodbine last year and each has serious credentials to win Saturday.  I give the slight edge to ‘Rainha.  I loved her comeback race at Belmont and think she’s a slightly sharper horse than Suffused, who has dropped two straight decisions after winning 4-of-6 from June to March.  Woodbine based Starship Jubilee (5/1) is worth a look.  She’s won 4-striaght since being claimed and won the Grade 2 Nassau last out.    My Pick: #4 Rainha Da Bateria (2/1)   Race 10 (5:36PM ET) – Queen’s Plate Stakes ($1,000,000) The marquee race of the day is the $1 Million Queen’s Plate for three-year-olds foaled in Canada, with favoritism going to the filly, Holy Helena (3/1).  She won the Woodbine Oaks on June 11, but I have a hard time playing her to win this time around.  She’ll be in the mix, but I don’t view her as a slam dunk.  A slightly better alternative may be Bill Mott’s Channel Maker (4/1) who breaks from the inside and retains local rider, Rafael Hernandez.  He was second last out in the Grade 3 Marine behind Souper Tapit, but that horse was ineligible to run here because he was not foaled in Canada.  Mark Casse’s best hope is King and His Court (5/1), while his ‘other’ horse, State of Honor (8/1), who finished 19th in the Kentucky Derby, is just 1-for-12 in his career.  Aurora Way has started just once, but he broke his maiden by 4-lengths and picks up the services of Julien Leparoux, who won this race last year.  Watch Me Strut (30/1) is a deep-closing bomb who could run into the picture late.  My Pick: #1 Channel Maker (4/1)   My $100K Guaranteed Pick 5 Ticket Race 6: 5 Race 7: 4, 7 Race 8: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 Race 9: 4, 5, 8 Race 10: 1, 3, 6, 11, 12, 13 Ticket Cost (20-cent Base): $36.00   My $300K Guaranteed Late Pick 4 Ticket Race 10: 1, 3, 6, 11, 12, 13 Race 11: 5, 6, 11 Race 12: 2, 5, 6, 8   Race 13: 4, 6, 10, 13, 14 Ticket Cost (20-cent Base): $72.00  

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6.30.2017:

June 30: Mandatory Payout Day at Gulfstream

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Mandatory payouts of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 and 50-cent Late Pick 5 pools, as well as the last-race Super Hi-5 pool, are scheduled for Friday’s twilight program at Gulfstream Park (2:15 p.m. first post). The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved Thursday, producing a $80,790.29 carryover pool for Friday’s six-race sequence that will span Races 4-9. Multiple tickets with all six winners Friday were each worth $5,799.88. The Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot is routinely paid out only when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket sold, 70 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 mandatory payout days, a single unique ticket with all six winners is not required in order to take down or share in the carryover jackpot. The entire Rainbow 6 pool is paid out to the holders of tickets with the most winners. The Rainbow 6 has gone unsolved for six consecutive cards since a mandatory payout of a $5.5 million pool yielded multiple winners of $26,761 June 17. The 50-cent Late Pick 5 will span Races 5-9.

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6.30.2017:

My Churchill Downs Mandatory Payout Pick 6 Ticket

For many bettors, yours truly included, the amount of bankroll I devote to 'Jackpot Style' Pick 6 wagers ebbs and flows based on a number of factors - carryover amount, difficulty of sequence and amount of new money in the pool among them.  But for me, there are two words that nearly always persuade me to jump into the pool...'mandatory payout.'  That's the day where everything must go.  All that money that's been sitting there for the last few weeks waiting to be claimed?  On Mandatory Payout Day, I can take my shot at winning a big share.  That's the case this Friday night at Churchill Downs, where the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot must be paid out.  The carryover into Thursday's card is $138,411, and that's more than enough to catch my attention.  If the bet goes unclaimed Thursday, we're in for a treat during Friday's 'Downs After Dark' card, which kicks off at 6:00PM ET.  The Pick 6 starts with Race 5, at 7:57PM ET.  Among Friday's feature races is a pair of stakes for juveniles - the Grade 3 Bashford Manor and the Debutante - as well as the Kelly's Landing for older sprinters.  My first goal when handicapping a Pick 6 sequence like this is to identify a single.  In my eyes, as well as in those of the morning line oddsmaker at Churchill Downs, Mike Battaglia, the most logical winners in the sequence are Sunny Skies (4/1) in the Debutante and Limousine Liberal (9/5) in the Kelly's Landing.  Additionally, Battaglia has installed three horses - Copper Bullet (8/5), Ten City (2/1) and Mo Diddley (5/2) - at short odds in the Bashford Manor.  I expect many bettors to hang their hat on Limousine Liberal specifically.  The winner of the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes two starts back, he won the Grade 3 Aristides last out and is 3-for-5 in his career at Churchill, a huge plus for a horse that has been somewhat hot-and-cold throughout his career.  He meets 14 rivals in the Kelly's Landing, so he'll need to navigate a full field in order to get the job done Friday.  I’m going to use him along with the speedy Recount, who is 2-for-3 at Churchill and 1-for-2 at the distance.  Here how I'm attacking the Single 6 Jackpot.  Good luck to everyone that's playing! Race 5 - 2, 9, 12 Race 6 - 5, 6 Race 7 - 2, 4, 10, 11 Race 8 - 1, 6, 9 Race 9 - 1, 4, 7 Race 10 - 4, 5 Ticket Cost - $86.40

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6.28.2017:

Three Rules ‘As Good as Ever’ for Saturday’s Grade 3 Carry Back

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – After launching his career last year with five-straight victories, including a sweep of the Florida Sire Stakes series, Three Rules is scheduled to seek his first victory of the 2017 season in the $150,000 Carry Back (G3) on Saturday’s Summit of Speed program at Gulfstream Park. Although Three Rules is winless this year, trainer Jose Pinchin expects the son of Gone Astray to be at his best in the seven-furlong stakes for 3-year-olds that will highlight Saturday’s $1 million seven-stakes event, along with ‘Win & You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup races the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2) and the $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3). “He’s as good as ever,” said Pinchin, who trains the Florida-bred colt for Shade Three Thoroughbreds, Tom Fitzgerald and Geoff Roy. “He’s been knocking heads with the best horses this year” Three Rules, who sustained his first career loss in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita, kicked off his 3-year-old campaign with a second-place finish in the seven-furlong Swale (G2) Feb. 4 at Gulfstream, three-quarters of a length behind Favorable Outcome. The homebred colt went on to finish third behind multiple graded-stakes winners Gunnevera and Practical Joe in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth (G2) March 4 and fifth in the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby (G1) April 1. The first three finishers in Gulfstream’s signature race for 3-year-olds, Always Dreaming, State of Honor and Gunnevera went on to run in the Kentucky Derby (G1), with Always Dreaming scoring by 2 ¾ lengths in the first leg of the Triple Crown. After a brief freshening, Three Rules was favored in the six-furlong Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico on the Preakness Stakes (G1) undercard but finished third behind Recruiting Ready and Aquamarine after breaking from the rail post position on a track that favored outside runners and having to be steadied in traffic on the turn. “He drew ‘1;’ the track was muddy, but he still ran well,” Pinchin said. Three Rules has breezed three times, including a bullet clocking of 59.45 seconds June 17, over the Gulfstream Park surface since his last start. Jockey Cornelio Velasquez, who was aboard Three Rules for his five straight victories last year, is set for a return to the saddle for the first time since finishing second in the Swale. Three Rules, who is scheduled to meet 10 other 3-year-olds in the Carry Back, captured the seven-furlong Affirmed in the middle of his Florida Sire Stakes sweep. “I think seven-eighths is his ideal distance,” Pinchin said. “He has a high cruising speed – seventh-eighths should be his best journey.” Trainer Todd Pletcher is scheduled to be represented by a pair of less experienced colts than Three Rules in the Carry Back, in which Benefactor and Blind Ambition will each seek to become a stakes winner. Benefactor, who graduated in his second lifetime start by two lengths at Gulfstream May 13, is coming off a second-place finish in the Ocala Flame overnight handicap June 9 for WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing Group. Gaineway Farm’s Blind Ambition broke his maiden in his third lifetime start April 29 over the main track before capturing an entry-level optional claiming allowance on turf May 28. “They’re both well-bred horses and good-looking horses, but we just weren’t positive what their preferred surface would be,” Pletcher said. “With Benefactor being a More Than Ready we thought he was one that could potentially go dirt or turf and same thing with Blind Ambition being a son of Tapit. It seemed like he could go either way, especially being out of Starfish Bay. That’s why we ran him on the grass last time and it seemed like he handled it well, but I thought he was also impressive breaking his maiden going seven-eighths on the dirt.” Sweetontheladies, a multiple-stakes winner, is set for his graded-stakes debut in the Carry Back. Owned by the Four Horsemen Racing Stable and Lady Lindsay Racing Stables, the son of Twirling Candy has won three of four starts on the main track at Gulfstream, including a victorious return from a four-month layoff in the off-the-turf Crest River overnight handicap June 4.  The Henry Collazo-trained 3-year-old had previously finished fourth in the Mucho Macho Man behind Sonic Mule, State of Honor and Talk Logistics Jan. 4. “He didn’t get a good break and he was in with some really good horses,” Collazo said. “It wasn’t on even terms. At that time he wasn’t as good of a horse to overcome those adversities and still be able to run down those quality of horses. With a better start, he would have been closer.” Sweetontheladies, who will be ridden by Marcos Meneses, has demonstrated the versatility to come from far back, as he did while winning the Juvenile Sprint at Gulfstream Park West last fall, as well as race on the lead or close to the pace, as he did while winning his first two career starts and the Crest River. “He’s just a racehorse,” Collazo said. Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Classic Rock, who finished off the board in the Woody Stephens (G2) at Belmont June 10, is set for a return to action at Gulfstream, where he notched three straight victories, including a four-length score in the Roar Stakes April 22. Luca Panici has been named to ride the Kathy Ritvo-trained son of McClean’s Music. Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Hunka Burning Love, a stakes-placed son of Into Mischief who captured a second-level allowance at Churchill Downs June 3; Marco Thoroughbreds Mo Cash, who won his first three starts, including two stakes, before finishing second in the Big Drama at Gulfstream May20; and Span Investments and Rohan Crichton’s Crocodile Charlie, who defeated Benefactor in the Ocala Flame last time out; are among the serious Carry Back contenders. Aberdeen Way, Gregory Sun and Mr. Atila round out the field. R Angel Katelyn Seeks Sixth Stakes Win in $75,000 Azalea R Angel Katelyn is scheduled to seek her sixth stakes victory in the $75,000 Azalea on Saturday’s Summit of Speed card at Gulfstream Park. The Gerald Bennett-trained daughter of High Cotton is scheduled to clash with nine rivals in the seven-furlong stakes event for 3-year-old fillies. Owned by Averill Racing, CCF Racing Stable and K Lauren Racing, R Angel Katelyn has been pace-involved in all of her stakes victories, demonstrating the ability to set or press the pace. “She just has natural speed. She has a great mind. Nothing ever seems to upset her,” Bennett said. “She has great tactical speed, especially when she draws outside. She just sits there and see how the race unfolds. If you ask her, she’ll go.” The Florida-bred filly was unable to employ her winning tactics in her graded-stakes debut after drawing the rail post position for the Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3) at Pimlico May 19. Away a little slow from her disadvantage post, R Miss Katelyn was trapped on a dead rail and finished sixth. “It was not the place to be. You’d have to break and use her to get her off the rail,” Bennett said. R Angel Katelyn returned to her winning ways in her Gulfstream debut June 7, pressing the pace before edging away to a half-length victory in the Liza Jane overnight handicap. Edgard Zayas has the return mount. Darsan Inc.’s Who’s The Lady is set for a return to Gulfstream Park after a couple of subpar showings out of town. The Kathleen O’Connell trained filly had won her first four starts, including the Any Limit Stakes March 28, before finishing 11th in the Miss Preakness and eighth in the Crank It Up at Monmouth. Bluestone Thoroughbreds’ Brahms Cat, who finished an even third behind R Angel Katelyn in the Liza Jane, returns in the Azalea. The Larry Bates-trained daughter of Wildcat Heir finished third behind Tequilita in the seven-furlong Forward Gal (G2) during the Championship Meet. Javier Castellano has the mount. Pinnacle Racing Stable’s Sweet Tooth Haven, who returned from a long layoff to win an entry-level allowance; and Magic Stable’s Lirica, a stakes winner at Gulfstream, are also entered in the Azalea. Trainer Todd Pletcher is setting the bar high by entering recent debut winner Firefoot in the Azalea. “She’s just had the one race and we just felt like it’s kind of an ambitious move, but she’s there, she’s training well and it’s an opportunity to maybe get some black type for her,” Pletcher said. “We feel like she could improve after not getting away great first time out and that hopefully there’s a move forward in her. The distance should be no problem.” Owned by StarLadies Racing and Nexus Racing’s Firefoot captured a maiden special weight race by three lengths at Gulfstream June 4. True Motion, Hello Juliet, Worth Avenue and Fergilicious round out the field.

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6.27.2017:

Santa Anita's Riding Title Going Down to the Wire

ARCADIA, Calif. (June 27, 2017)—With five days remaining in Santa Anita’s current Spring Meeting, just four wins separate a quartet of jockeys through 40 racing days as 24-year-old French native Flavien Prat shows the way heading into closing day on Tuesday, July 4, with 35 wins—just one in front of America’s hottest apprentice, 19-year-old Evin Roman, who is fresh off a four-win performance on Sunday. Rounding out the top four are Joe Talamo, with 32 wins and Rafael Bejarano, who has 31. Although Bejarano, will be sidelined when closing week begins on Friday due to a riding suspension, he’ll be back in action for the remainder of the week beginning on Saturday. With an eight-race card on tap this Friday, here’s what’s in store for Santa Anita’s top jockeys, with the exception of Bejarano: FLAVIEN PRAT (35 wins) — He’s named to ride five horses, beginning with Tiz My Love in Friday’s second race. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, she’ll break from the rail in a six-horse maiden special weight at one mile for fillies mares. Prat will then come back in race three aboard the Neil French-trained Comealongwithme, a 6-year-old mare who drew post seven in a $32,000 claimer at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course. He’ll then ride Best Two Minutes for trainer Jack Carava in the fourth race, breaking from post two in a $20,000 claimer at 6 ½ furlongs. Prat’s next assignment comes in race six, aboard Hollendorfer’s Elwood J, who drew post seven in a one mile turf allowance. Prat’s final mount for Friday is aboard trainer Gary Stute’s Lethal Legacy, who drew post eight in a Cal-Bred maiden $50,000 claimer for fillies and mares at one mile on turf. EVIN ROMAN (34 wins) — This red-hot apprentice is named on six horses Friday, beginning with race one aboard trainer Vladimir Cerin’s Hard Arch, who drew post six in a 1 1/16 mile maiden $40,000 claimer. Roman will come back in race two aboard Life of Illusion, who is trained by Steve Miyadi and will break from post three in a one mile maiden special weight for fillies and mares. Roman rides Not Too Shiny from post five for trainer Eric Kruljac in race three, a maiden $32,000 claimer for fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course. He’ll then ride Out of Patience for trainer Jorge Periban in race four, as he’ll break from post three in a $20,000 claimer at 6 ½ furlongs. Roman next rides Bird Is The Word, who is trained by G.F. Almeida and will break from post nine in a one mile turf allowance. Roman’s final scheduled mount for Friday is aboard Lady Cloud, who drew post eight in a $25,000 claimer for fillies and mares at six furlongs. JOE TALAMO (32 wins) — “Cousin Joe” has four scheduled mounts for Friday, beginning with Pica in race three for trainer Eddie Truman. She’ll break from the rail in a $32,000 claimer for fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf. Talamo is then idle until race six, when he rides trainer Bill Spawr’s Kona Dreams, who drew post 10 in a one mile turf allowance for 3-year-olds and up. Talamo then rides Yellow Bonnet in race seven for Mark Glatt. She’ll break from post seven in a six furlong dash for $25,000 claiming fillies and mares. Talamo’s final mount is in the eighth race aboard trainer and father-in-law Ron Ellis’ Christiana’s Song, who will break from post two in a maiden $50,000 claiming event for Cal-bred fillies and mares at a mile on turf.

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6.25.2017:

June 24: Royal Ascot Recap

Saturday was Closing Day at Royal Ascot, and what a whirlwind five days it was!  It’s hard to believe that so many prestigious events could be crammed into a five day meet that hosted just 30 races, but the folks at Royal Ascot pulled it off.  At Xpressbet, we were honored to be the ‘Preferred US Betting Site of Royal Ascot.’  And we’re proud to have introduced more US racing fans and bettors to the meet than ever before.  Thanks for choosing to play the races with us!  Here’s a quick look back at Saturday’s card. Race 1 – Chesham Stakes For the first time this meet at Royal Ascot, the card didn’t open with a graded stakes race.  Even still, though, it kind of felt like it did.  Coolmore’s sensational two-year-old filly, September (O’Brien/Moore), was the day’s biggest buzz horse and she did not disappoint in this seven-furlong turf dash.  The daughter of Deep Impact got off just a beat slowly, but raced midpack and exploded down the track late to reel in loose-on-the-lead frontrunner, Nyaleti (Johnston/Egan), who severely outran her 10/1 price.  Godolphin’s Masar, fancied at 3/1, had ever chance to run into second but simply couldn’t.  But in the end, all eyes were on September, who is already being booked as next year’s 1,000 Guineas favorite.  She paid $4.40 to Win and the Exacta returned $39.60. Race 2 – Wolferton Handicap Saturday’s races were marked by some significant longshots, and this was the first of them.  With 16 horses entered to run and with no heavy favorite on board, this year’s Wolferton had the makings of a scramble…and it delivered.  Longshots hit the board 1-2, with Snoano (Easterby/Allan) getting the neck-victory over Majeed (Simcock/Spencer.  With both longshots coming in, the payouts were massive.  Snoano paid $76.00 to Win and the Exacta was worth $2,428.80.  Anyone lucky enough to have the Trifecta turned their $2 bet into $54,124.90.  Race 3 – Hardwicke Stakes (Gr II) Graded stakes action returned in Race 3 in the form of the Group 2 Hardwicke, a 1 ½-mile test for some of the top distance runners in England.  As expected, favoritism went to The Queen’s runner, Dartmouth (Stoute/Moore), who won this race last year with Olivier Peslier in the irons.  The jockey change to leading Ascot rider, Ryan Moore, should help, right?  Not so fast.  Dartmouth got a dream trip, tracking frontrunner,  Dal Harraild (Haggas/Cosgrove), but he was unable to hold off the late charge from Coolmore’s Idaho (O’Brien/Heffernan), the horse Moore had chosen Dartmouth over.  Tough to be too hard on Moore for his choice – and his ride was certainly on point – but he wasn’t on the right horse Saturday.  Longshot Barsanti (Varian/Atzeni) rallied late to finish second.  The win is especially meaningful for Coolmore, as Idaho is a full-brother to Highland Reel, who was victorious in Wednesday’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes.  Idaho paid $11.40 to Win and the Exacta was worth a strong $232.40. Race 4 – Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Gr I) Saturday’s Group 1 feature was the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, a six-furlong dash down the stretch.  America’s hopes were with Long On Value (Mott/Rosario), who had finished a surprising 2nd, beaten in the shadow of the wire, in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night.  Could he replicate his kick at Royal Ascot in the race that Wesley Ward surprisingly won with Undrafted in 2015?  Turns out, no.  Long On Value finished 12th of 19 runners.  The showdown was set for a remarkable finish, however, as Limato (Candy/Moore), The Tin Man (Fanshawe/Queally) and Tasleet (Haggas/Crowley) rocketed away from the field in the final furlong.  Each had times where they appeared to be the likeliest winner – the biggest move coming from Tasleet, who appeared the winner until bumping with the leader – but ultimately it was The Tin Man getting the job done by a neck.  It was less than a length to Limato in third.  The Tin Man paid $10.40 for the Win and the Exacta returned $84.40. Race 5 – Wokingham Stakes With the graded stakes action in the books, all that was left was more big fields and, surprise…more longshots!  In the Wokingham, Out Do got the job done (O’Meara/Tudthorpe) got the job done at a big price, hitting the wire just ahead of Godolphin’s Steady Pace (bin Suroor/Gordon).  Race 6 – Queen Alexandra Stakes The Meet Finale was the Queen Alexandra, run at more than 2 ½-miles.  The favorite?  Thomas Hobson (Mullins/Harley).  You may remember him, actually.  He won the Ascot Stakes as the favorite on opening day.  Nearly five miles of racing in five days?  Crazy, right?  Actually no.  Thomas Hobson ran great Saturday, finishing second, beaten just 1 ¼-lengths by the winner, Oriental Fox (Johnston/Fanning), who paid $23.20 for the Win, with the Exacta returning $97.20. That’s it for Royal Ascot.  We hope you had as much fun betting the races as we had bringing them to your computer screen or mobile device.  We’ll see you next year for more Royal Ascot racing – same time, same place! 

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6.24.2017:

Ben's Cat Returns in Laurel's Mister Diz

LAUREL, MD – Popular 11-year-old gelding Ben’s Cat, a 26-time stakes winner and earner of more than $2.6 million in lifetime purses, returns for another shot at ending his career-high losing streak in Saturday’s $75,000 Mister Diz at Laurel Park. The 34th running of the Mister Diz for 3-year-olds and up and 30th running of the $75,000 Jameela for fillies and mares 3 and older, both six-furlong sprints on the Fort Marcy layout restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses, are two of six stakes worth $450,000 in purses on the 11-race ‘Class on the Grass’ program. Other stakes to be contested over Laurel’s world-class turf course, all for Virginia-bred/sired horses, are the $75,000 Edward Evans and $75,000 Nellie Mae Cox at one mile, and the $75,000 White Oak Farm and $75,000 M. Tyson Gilpin at 5 ½ furlongs. Bred, owned and trained by Hall of Fame horseman King Leatherbury, Ben’s Cat suffered his seventh consecutive defeat when eighth in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint May 19 at historic Pimlico Race Course, a race he had won four straight times and five of the previous six years. Ben’s Cat has had a similar hold on the Mister Diz, having won six straight editions from 2010-15 before being upset by John Jones last year, finishing third as the favorite. “We’ve got to run in that race. I mean, he’s expected to be in there. We’re going to be running,” Leatherbury said. “Like other years, I love him and this year he’s approaching the question mark of retirement. We’re certainly going to run in this race and we’ll go from there. “If we think we can get a piece of the purse, a decent piece of the purse, [he’ll run],” he added. “And then, when the time comes when he can’t do that, he’ll go to live the rest of his life on the farm.” During his dry spell, Ben’s Cat has not been beaten by more than 4 ¼ lengths in six grass starts; the lone exception was a disappointing effort in the Maryland Million Sprint contested on dirt. Nine of his 32 career victories have come at the Mister Diz distance. “He didn’t get beat by much, but he didn’t get anything and that’s the main thing. We always have little excuses,” Leatherbury said. “When you win, you don’t even think about excuses. When you get beat, and I’m not an excuse man, there’s something like the rider commenting on him handling the surface. He didn’t seem to be getting over it really well last time, but like I say that’s an excuse. You can only make excuses for so long and you have to face reality.” Horacio Karamanos, fresh off his 2,000th career victory Sunday at Laurel, replaces the injured Trevor McCarthy aboard Ben’s Cat for the Mister Diz from Post 10. One of just six jockeys to ride Ben’s Cat in his 62-race career, Karamanos has one win from two previous tries in the 2012 Mister Diz. Not including his race debut May 8, 2010 at Pimlico, Ben’s Cat has won seven of the nine races when Leatherbury has made a rider change, including the Mister Diz in 2010 with Rosemary Homeister Jr. and 2011 with Jeremy Rose. The most recent came May 1, 2016 when Ben’s Cat captured an open allowance in his 10-year-old debut under McCarthy, aboard for each of the past nine starts. “He came out of the last race fine, and he’s doing OK,” Leatherbury said. “I’m not as optimistic as I usually am, but we’ll see.” Among the 11 horses entered to face Ben’s Cat is Hillwood Stable’s Phlash Phelps, back-to-back winner of the one-mile Maryland Million Turf in 2015 and 2016 making his 6-year-old debut. The bay Great Notion gelding has not raced since being beaten a nose in a third-level optional claiming allowance Nov. 19 at Laurel. Trainer Rodney Jenkins typically gives his turf horses the winter off and Phlash Phelps spent four months at Dark Hollow Farm before returning to training. He shows a steady string of breezes at Laurel for his return. “He’s doing very well. He’s ready to run. I don’t know if sprinting is his game, but that’s OK. We’ll get a race under him and go from there,” Jenkins said. “He looks good and he’s acting good. He’s like the old Phlash Phelps.” Phlash Phelps hasn’t sprinted since breaking his maiden going five furlongs April 23, 2015 at Pimlico in his seventh start. Regular rider Victor Carrasco, the leader of the current summer meet, has the call. “I think he should show natural speed. He always does,” Jenkins said. “If he’s in striking distance he should give them a good run to the wire.” Also entered in the Mister Diz are multiple stakes winner Sonny Inspired; stakes winners Eyeplayeveryday and Talk Show Man, the latter exiting a fifth-place finish in the Dixie (G2) May 20; and stakes-placed English Minister, Grandiflora and Rockinn On Bye. Lovable Lady Returns to Defend Title in $75,000 Jameela Multiple stakes winner Lovable Lady will face 10 rivals when she makes her return to the turf in an attempt to defend her title in the $75,000 Jameela. Lovable Lady, trained by Mary Eppler for the Samuel H. Rogers Jr. Trust, has not raced on grass since the Jameela last August, winning by a half-length over Everything Lovely. In her most recent start, the six-furlong Skipat May 19 at Pimlico, she drew the rail and was fifth by 2 ½ lengths after chasing the pace over a sloppy, sealed main track. “She doesn’t mind an off track; it was just a tough race. Very tough,” Eppler said. “She’s doing very well. She came out of it in good shape. It was just a tough race from a tough post.” A 6-year-old daughter of Not For Love, Lovable Lady has been worse than third only three times from 20 career starts with $369,645 in purse earnings for her late owner-breeder. Only two of her races have come on grass. “I think that she’s very good on the turf. I would actually love to run her on the turf all the time but the races don’t come up,” Eppler said. “She just likes it, that’s all I can say. A lot of the Not For Loves like the grass. The only thing I do different is change her shoes, and she’s good to go.” Lovable Lady won the Politely and Willa On the Move on dirt last year and was second or third in three other stakes, beaten a total of 3 ½ lengths. In her other 2017 starts she was third in the What A Summer and second in the Primonetta at Laurel, both contested over off tracks. “She’s very tough to deal with. She runs and she runs well but she can be a hard horse to be around,” Eppler said. “I think there’s this one and maybe one more race and then we’re going to retire her and she’ll be sold in November. She really has been good for us.” Second by a half-length after taking the lead into the stretch in last year’s Jameela, Everything Lovely became a stakes winner for the first time with a front-running triumph in the $100,000 The Very One May 20 at Pimlico. She in winless with three seconds in four career tries at six furlongs, the last coming in the 2016 Jameela. Rockin’ Jojo has made one start this year, fading to fifth in a second-level allowance against fellow Pennsylvania-breds May 29 at Parx. It was her first race since winning the Geisha by a head Nov. 19 at Laurel, her second straight win over Lovable Lady following the Maryland Million Distaff at odds of 31-1. Devilish Love, winner of the Maryland Million Ladies last October making her 7-year-old debut; 2015 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship winner Look Who’s Talking; stakes-placed Daylight Ahead and If I Was a Boy; and Holiday Blues, Le Weekend, My Sistersledge and Thissongisaboutyou complete the field.

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6.24.2017:

June 24: Hayley Turner's Royal Ascot Picks

GBI Racing Ambassador and former leading jockey, Hayley Turner, gives her expert insight on Saturday's racing. 2.30 (9:30AM ET) – Chesham Stakes (Listed Race) HIGHLIGHT REEL Trained by Michael Bell, he ran first time out at Lingfield in June, finishing second by ½ length, after having to switch in from a wide draw on to worse ground. I always find Michael’s horses improve from their first to second run so this is one to keep an eye on at a big price.     3.05 (10:05AM ET) – Wolferton Handicap (Listed Race) KHAIRAAT This is a lightly-raced horse, who made an impressive start to the year winning at Chester by four and a half lengths in May. He has done well going from a three- to a four-year-old and looks ready to take the step up to Listed company.   3.40 (10:40AM ET) – Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) DARTMOUTH Owned by The Queen, this is a tough cookie of a horse and last time out won the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup in May. He is a course and distance winner, having won this race last year beating Highland Reel. He also boats a very impressive 50% strike-rate, winning eight of his 16 runs and has Ryan Moore on board.   4.20 (11:20AM ET) – Diamond Jubilee Stakes  (Group 1) THE TIN MAN Trained by James Fanshawe, whom I ride out for, this horse has been going well of late and his prep work has been perfect. He had a debut run at York this year and he will kick on from that. He also loves Ascot.   5.00 (12:00PM ET) – Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap) OUTBACK TRAVELLER  This horse is in great form and will love the big field in this race. He is a strong traveller and Robert Cowell is great with sprinters.   5.35 (12:35PM ET) – Queen Alexandra Stakes THOMAS HOBSON – bet of the day I was really impressed with his victory in the Ascot Stakes earlier in the week and I fancy him to complete the double by winning this race. He won with a lot in hand on Tuesday.

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6.23.2017:

June 23: Royal Ascot Recap

Xpressbet is proud to be the Preferred US Betting Site of Royal Ascot.  Bet the races with us to receive 0% Takeout on Exactas.  And to help you handicap, you can download our free Tip Sheet from handicapper, Brian Nadeau, and watch the races live at www.xbtv.com every morning at 9AM ET.  How did the races go Friday?  Here’s a quick recap:      Race 1 – Albany Stakes (Gr III) Friday’s opener was the Group 3, $98,500 Albany, a race for two-year-old fillies that has eluded globetrotting US conditioner, Wesley Ward, thus far.  He sent out two runners this year to change that – Fairyland (Ward/O’Brien) and Princess Peggy (Ward/Flores).  Of the two, the betting public fancied Fairyland (7/1) over her stablemate, who went off at 23/1.  The favorite was Alpha Centauri (Harrington/O’Donoghue), who entered the race 2-for-2 for conditioner Jessica Harrington.  As is often the case in Ascot sprints, the 20-horse field split into two groups, one racing on the far side and one on the grandstand side.  Fairyland went right to the front for Ward, but had little in the tank inside the quarter pole.  Alpha Centauri made what appeared to be a winning move, but she was never able to catch longshot Different League (Palussiere/Hamelin), who caught a masterful ride that forced Alpha Centauri to try to slip through a tight spot up the rail.  She just wasn’t quite capable.  Different League, a 50/1 morning line shot bet to 25/1, paid $57.60 to Win. The Exacta over the favorite returned $206.20.   Princess Peggy checked in 10th, with Fairyland 12th.  Race 2 – King Edward VII Stakes (Gr II) The Group 2, $277,000 King Edward VII Stakes, originally known as the Ascot Derby (or ‘Darby’ if you’re on the other side of the pond) is a 1 ½-mile turf race for three-year-old colts and geldings.  This year’s field of 12 included five horses exiting the Group 1 Investic Derby at Epsom on June 3.  And while those five horses had finished 8th, 9th, 10th, 13th and 14th at Epsom, they were right at home Friday at Ascot as they finished 1st, 2nd, 5th, 7th and 10th.  The winner was Permian (Johnston/Kirby), who raced prominently throughout, took over from the early pacesetter, Glencadam Glory (Gosden/Tart), and held off a late charge from Khalidi (Gosden/Peslier).  The race’s 2/1 favorite, Crystal Ocean (Stoute/Atzeni) had every chance but tired down the stretch to finish 3rd.  A Win bet on Permian returned $13.00, while the Exacta was worth $136.00.  Race 3 – Commonwealth Cup (Gr I) The first heavy favorite on the day was Coolmore’s Caravaggio (O’Brien/Moore), who was well backed by punters to the tune of 4/5 odds in the Group 1, $492,000 Commonwealth Cup.  And not to take away from the suspense, but he delivered Friday at Ascot, stretching his unbeaten record to a perfect 6-for-6.  Handled masterfully by Ryan Moore, Caravaggio exploded down the stretch to overtake the well-backed Godolphin tandem of Harry Angel (Cox/Kirby) and Blue Point (Appleby/Buick) within the final eighth of a mile.  This was Caravaggio’s four graded victory and his second at Ascot.  He won the Group 2 Coventry Stakes here last June and also won the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh last August.  Now that he’s accomplished a victory at 1-mile, American racing fans will clamor to see him race this fall in the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar.  Caravaggio returned $3.60 to Win and the Exacta over Harry Angel returned $7.60.  The lone American in the field, Bound for Nowhere (Ward/Flores), was no threat to the winners but did check in a solid 4th.  Wesley Ward, who owns and trains, should feel very proud of this positive result.      Race 4 – Coronation Stakes (Gr I) During yesterday’s recap, I remarked that Ryan Moore was having just an ‘ok’ start to his Royal Ascot meet.  That’s old news.  After a Group 1 sweep today, it’s safe to say that he’s once again asserted himself as the best rider at Royal Ascot.  In the Group 1, $529,000 Coronation Stakes, Winter (O’Brien/Moore) hit the wire first and Roly Poly (O’Brien/Heffernan) and Hydrangea (O’Brien/Beggy) filled out an all Coolmore Trifecta.  But make no mistake about it, nobody was touching Winter today.  The star daughter of Galileo raced midpack and burst home for her 4th win in 7 career starts, including three Group 1’s.  The lone American runner in the field, La Coronel (Casse/Geroux) raced midpack throughout, but lacked her usual late kick.  She stayed on decently to finish 5th.  Winter paid a paltry $2.80 to Win and the Exacta returned $15.60.    Race 5 – Queens Vase (Gr II) Friday’s Group 2, $198,500 Queen’s Vase will go down as one of the more peculiarly run races of the meet, primarily thanks to the exploits of Coolmore’s Wisconsin (O’Brien/Heffernan) who never appeared to have his mind on running this afternoon.  He went to the lead and ducked to the far rail soon after the start, fighting his rider, Seamie Heffernan, for much of the early going.  By the time he rejoined the field, the damage was done and he tired to finish far back.  On the other hand, you can’t commend the professionalism of winner, Stradivarius (Gosden/Atzeni) enough.  The son of Sea the Stars appear hopelessly bottled up throughout the running, never able to find room while racing on the rail in midpack.  But when a hole opened up late in the going, he burst home to nip Count Octave (Balding/Murphy) at the wire.  The favorite, Belgravia (O’Brien/Moore), failed in his attempt to give those connections three consecutive wins on the card.  Stradivarius paid $12.40 to Win and the Exacta returned $130.00.  Race 6 – Duke of Edinburgh Stakes Ascot’s Friday nightcap, the $98,500 Duke of Edinburgh, was yet another race that produced a surprising result.  And again, it was Godolphin getting the job done with a runner sporting its royal blue silks.  This time around it was Rare Rhythm (Appleby/Buick), who made a strong late push to the lead and prevailed over the well-meant Appeared (Varian/Atzeni), who had won a Class 3 Handicap over this course in May.  Rare Rhythm, dismissed at 25/1, paid an impressive $54.20 to Win, and the Exacta over Appeared returned $405.40. Join us Saturday morning at 9:30AM ET for Closing Day at Royal Ascot!  The day’s feature race is the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, which includes Bill Mott’s Long On Value.  Joel Rosario will ride. 

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6.23.2017:

June 23: Hayley Turner's Royal Ascot Picks

GBI Racing Ambassador and former leading jockey, Hayley Turner, gives her expert insight on Friday's racing. 2.30 (9:30AM ET) – Albany Stakes (Group 3) CLEMMIE I am going for the Aidan O’Brien-trained Clemmie, who is Churchill’s sister. She started off her career very much like Churchill, very green first time out, but the penny seems to have dropped and is taking everything on board now and will improve.   3.05 (10:05AM ET) – King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) CALL TO MIND Her Majesty the Queen’s horse won first time out this year at Newbury and then I felt he looked outpaced next time out at Newmarket, so stepping up to a mile and four is a wise move. The ground will be quicker here too which will suit.  He looks a very relaxed and professional horse.   3.40 (10:40AM ET) – Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) CARAVAGGIO – Bet of the day There is a big field to take on the short-priced favourite but I just don’t think any of them will be good enough. Caravaggio has won five out of five and can win on any ground. He won the Coventry at Ascot last year and has never looked to have struggled in any race.   4.20 (11:20AM ET) – Coronation Stakes (Group 1) WINTER My third Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore selection of the day, Winter is a powerful filly and seems to have been transformed recently having won both the British and Irish 1,000 Guineas in May. I also think Tomyris could be an each-way selection here. She won a Listed race at York last time out, where she picked up from the back in a slowly-run race and the ground wasn’t in her favour that day which also bodes well.

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6.22.2017:

June 22: Royal Ascot Recap

Xpressbet is proud to be the Preferred US Betting Site of Royal Ascot.  Bet the races with us to receive 0% Takeout on Exactas.  And to help you handicap, you can download our free Tip Sheet from handicapper, Brian Nadeau, and watch the races live at www.xbtv.com every morning at 9AM ET.  How did the races go Thursday?  Here’s a quick recap:                           Race 1 – Norfolk Stakes (Gr II) Through two days of the Royal Ascot meet, leading jockey, Ryan Moore, was off to a relatively mediocre start.  At least by his standards.  On Opening Day, he was aboard the beaten favorites, Churchill and Declarationofpeace, and on Wednesday his disappointment continued aboard heavy favorite, Happy Like A Fool, who was also defeated.  Through two days at Ascot, he was just 2-for-12 with one stakes score, which came aboard Highland Reel in the Prince of Wales’s.  As an aside, kind of impressive when you’re having a ‘tough’ start to a meet when you’ve ‘only’ ridden one Group 1 winner.  Thursday’s opener was the Group 2, $123,000 Norfolk Stakes, which attracted a well-matched group of 17 runners.  The very tepid favorite was American shipper, McErin (Ward/Flores), who went to post at 9/2 odds on the heels of a decent Keeneland maiden win and a close-up second in a stakes race at Churchill Downs.  The local favorites were Santry (Carroll/Crowley), It Don’t Come Easy (Fahey/Hanagan) and Havana Grey (Burke/McDonald) for this 5-furlong turf dash.  Moore was aboard the relatively forgotten Sioux Nation (O’Brien/Moore), who was a surprising 16/1 on the board, given his regarded connections.  But (as I’m sure you figured by now), the Coolmore-owned two-year-old son of Scat Daddy gave Moore his third win of the meet, returning $35.00 and keying a $295.00 Exacta over Santry.  Ward’s McErin atteneded to the early pace but ultimately tired to finish 7th.  Race 2 – Hampton Court Stakes (Gr III)   The Group 3, $110,500 Hampton Court Stakes was up next for three-year-olds, with several key runners exiting tougher spots.  Ballygallon Stud’s Irishcorrespondent (Halford/Foley) was exiting a 3rd place finish in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, while Coolmore’s Orderofthegarter (O’Brien/Moore) had most recently run in the Group 1 Prix Du Jockey Club at Chantilly in France.  Taj Mahal (O’Brien/Heffernan) also exited that race, and Godolphin’s Benbatl (bin Suroor/Murphy) was most recently 5th in the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs.  The running was contentious, with several key runners appearing to have a shot.  But, within the final furlong, Benbatl kicked clear and dug in to hold off a late charge Orderofthegarter, whose second place finish continued Ryan Moore’s strong start to Thursday’s card.  Benbatl paid $11.00 to Win and the Exacta returned $42.60. Race 3 – Ribblesdale Stakes (Gr I) The first Group 1 event on the card was the $264,500 Ribblesdale Stakes, and the public made a huge statement by betting Juddmonte’s Mori (Stoute/Smullen) and Coolmore’s Alluringly (O’Brien/Moore) early and often.  That tandem went off at odds of 9/5 and 2/1, respectively.  Sounds like an open-and-shut case, right?  Not so fast.  As things often go in horse racing, while all eyes were on those three-year-old fillies, an under the radar runner – Coronet (Gosden/Peslier) – jumped up and stole the show.  Dismissed at 9/1 odds (off a 5/1 morning line), Coronet rocketed down the outside to pass Mori in the shadow of the wire, keying a $20.80 Win payout and $69.80 for lucky Exacta bettors.  The key disappointment was Alluringly, who never quickened and finished 6th of 12 runners.  Race 4 – Gold Cup (Gr I) The richest race of the day, the $492,000 Gold Cup, was also the most exciting.  Run at 2 ½-miles on the turf, the Gold Cup attracted last year’s winner, Order of St. George (O’Brien/Moore), as well as popular runners Sheikhzayedroad (Simcock/Harley), Big Orange (Bell/Doyle) and Simple Verse (Beckett/Murphy).  Prior accolades brought plenty of money to Order of St. George’s corner, as he was sent off as the 4/5 favorite.  Big Orange was second choice at 9/2.  From the outset, Big Orange set the running with Order of St. George sitting near the back of the pack.  When the field turned for home, Big Orange kicked to an open lead and while Order of St. George rallied stoutly down the outside, he was never quite able to get his nose in front.  He got desperately close – the two were separated by an inch at the wire – but Big Orange would simply never let him go by.  Big Orange paid $11.80 to Win and the Exacta of favorites returned $23.20.  Race 5 – Britannia Stakes Longshots were the name of the game in the 30-horse Britannia Stakes, which was contested over one-mile.  The race proved the be the cavalry charge that most handicappers anticipated it would be, with Jamie Spencer ultimately scoring his second longshot victory in as many days aboard Bless Him (Simcock/Spencer) at odds of nearly 25/1.  Ronald R (Bell/Tudthorpe) got 2nd, with the lukewarm 9/2 favorite, Son Of the Stars (Hannon/Murphy) checking in 11th.  Race 6 – King George V Stakes Ascot’s nightcap was the $110,500 King George V Stakes for three-year-olds going 1 ½-miles.  And, as has been the storyline for much of the meeting, Godolphin’s remarkable run of success continued at Ascot as Atty Persse (Charlton/Shoemark) exploded down the stretch en route to a powerful victory at odds of 6/1 on the Tote.  He paid $15.00 to Win.  First Nation (Appleby/Buick) desperately held off the late-charging Bear Valley (Johnston/McDonald) for second, keying a $154.80 Exacta.  That’s it for Day 3 at Royal Ascot!  Join us Friday and Saturday at 9:30AM ET for more great racing.  Friday’s card features a number of top runners from the Wesley Ward barn, as well as Mark Casse’s three-year-old turf filly sensation, La Coronel. 

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6.22.2017:

June 22: Hayley Turner's Royal Ascot Picks

GBI Racing Ambassador and former leading jockey, Hayley Turner, gives her expert insight on Thursday's Racing 2.30 (9:30AM ET) – Norfolk Stakes (Group 2)  Frozen Angel This is one of Tom Dascombe’s best runners at the meeting and was a course and distance winner in May. Ran over 5f last time out at Sandown but experienced some trouble in running, getting crowded out. He still ran on well though, only getting beaten by a length.   3.05 (10:05AM ET) – Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3)  Mirage Dancer I was at Chester when he finished fourth last time out and just felt the course didn’t suit him as the straight isn’t very long. Ascot will suit him better and I feel Sir Michael Stoute always seems to leave a bit up his sleeve and looks at the bigger picture.   3.40 (10:40AM ET) – Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) Mori He also won at Ascot in May and looks a really well-balanced filly. I think she is very relaxed and stepping up to a mile and a half will help her after finishing her previous races well.   4.20 (11:20AM ET) – Gold Cup (Group 1) Big Orange I ride out for Michael Bell and have always thought Big Orange is a lovely, uncomplicated big horse. He will love the ground as long as there is no rain - the faster the ground the better! A lot of people fancy Order Of St George but the price is too short for me. Sheilkhzayedroad would be an each-way bet for me, he is getting more relaxed with age so can go the extra distance.   5.00 (12:00PM ET) – Gold Cup (Heritage Handicap) Bless Him – Bet Of The Day Bless Him and Ronald R are the two horses I like in this race and have ridden both of them. They are both similar horses and will enjoy the big field. Out of the two I would go for Bless Him; he got locked up in-running at Goodwood but will be more relaxed with a hood on.   

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6.21.2017:

June 21: Royal Ascot Recap

Xpressbet is proud to be the Preferred US Betting Site of Royal Ascot.  Bet the races with us to receive 0% Takeout on Exactas.  And to help you handicap, you can download our free Tip Sheet from handicapper, Brian Nadeau, and watch the races live at www.xbtv.com every morning at 9AM ET.  How did the races go Wednesday?  Here’s a quick recap: Race 1 – Jersey Stakes (Gr III) This year’s edition of the $110,500 attracted a sizable field of 20, with Godolphin looking to keep its winning ways alive with Dream Castle (bin Suroor/Gordon), who exited a decent 5th place run in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas.  This class drop, coupled with Godolphin’s Day 1 dominance, made him the public’s 7/2 second choice.  Favoritism went to France’s Le Brivido (Fabre/Boudot), a 9/5 shot based on his runner-up performance in the French Guineas last month.  The public had their choice of two Coolmore runners – 9/1 contender Whitecliffsofdover (O’Brien/Moore) and longshot outsider, Spirit of Valor (O’Brien/O’Brien), who was dismissed at 70/1.  Form held for the top spot as Le Brivido held serve, with Spirit of Valor finishing a surprise second.  Partially the result Coolmore wanted (obviously wins are preferred) but likely not the horse they expected it from.  Le Brivido paid $5.80 to Win and the Exacta returned $301.00 Race 2 – Queen Mary Stakes (Gr II)          Many considered the Group 2, $135,500 Queen Mary Stakes to be Wesley Ward’s best chance of winning a race at Royal Ascot this year with a two-year-old.  And if that’s the case, he’ll go home proud yet slightly disappointed.  His charge, Happy Like a Fool (Ward/Moore), was hammered to 3/5 odds based on a remarkable maiden victory at Keeneland.  Unfortunately, another runner, Heartache (Cox/Kirby) also exited an impressive maiden win, his by 6-lengths at Bath.  The public thought enough of him to make him the second betting choice at 5/1, however such a significant gap between the favorite and him indicated where their allegiances were.  Ultimately, though, when the real running started, there was no denying Heartache, who overtook Happy Like a Fool and drew off to a 2 ½-length victory.  Credit to Happy Like a Fool, who stayed on well to finish second.  Both appear to have bright futures on the horizon.  Heartache paid $12.20 to Win and the boxed Exacta of favorites returned $28.00.    Race 3 – Duke of Cambridge Stakes (Gr II) Even with expected favorite, Laugh Aloud, having been scratched this morning, the $248,000 Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes was still an anticipated event on the docket, especially with defending champion, Usherette (Fabre/Barzalona) out to defend her crown.  The choice among the punters was Qemah (Rouget/Benoist), who was sent postward at 2/1.  Plenty of money came in on the South African, Smart Call (Stoute/Moore), whose 7/2 price was well below her 10/1 morning line.  In the running, Qemah made a bold move to the front several furlongs out to overtake Mix and Mingle (Wall/Buick), a fancied filly who went to the front but couldn’t go on with it.  Longshot Aljazzi (Botti/Kirby) tried to go with Qemah, but ultimately couldn’t keep pace.  She was strong enough to hold off a late-charging Usherette at the wire, as that one found traffic racing in the main group and was hemmed in until too late.  Qemah paid $6.20 to Win, with the Exacta over Aljazzi returning an impressive $194.80.  Race 4 – Princes of Wales’s Stakes (Gr I) The day’s most anticipated race, the showdown between Group 1 superstars Highland Reel (O’Brien/Moore), Ulysses (Stoute/Crowley) and Jack Hobbs (Gosden/Buick) in the $922,500 Prince of Wales’s Stakes lived up to all of the hype.  That trio had combined for 16 victories and more than $12 million in earnings.  Sprinkle in defending Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner, Queen’s Trust (Stoute/Peslier), and well-regarded 7-time winner, Decorated Knight (Charlton/Atzeni) and this field left nothing to be desired.  All of the favorites had their chance during the running, but Highland Reel got the best of the bunch, using his early foot to his advantage as he got the jump on the field and held off a game Decorated Knight, who nudged Ulysses for second.  Queen’s Trust rallied to finish third, with the real disappointment being Jack Hobbs, who never mounted a serious threat.  A $2 Win bet on Highland Reel returned $6.00 and the Exacta over Decorated Knight was worth $45.80.  Race 5 – Royal Hunt Cup (Handicap) A field of 29 (yes, 29!) went to post in the $215,500 Royal Hunt Cup, a one-mile test for three-year-olds and upward.  As would be expected in a 29-horse field, favoritism was a bit muddled.  The slight public pick was Fastnet Tempest (Haggas/Cosgrove), who went to post at a tepid 6/1.  Can’t complain about any race where the favorite is a $14 horse!  And with just three horses in at less than 10/1, the payouts in this one were going to be spectacular.  Heck, the longest shot on the board – Elleval (Marnane/Orr) – would’ve paid $354 to win!  He didn’t.  However, a longshot did get the job done as Zhui Feng (Perrett/Dwyer) went to the lead and never looked back, scoring a $58.40 Win.  The Exacta, with fellow longshot Blair House (Appleby/Barzalona) in second, paid a robust $1,119.80.  Race 6 – Sandringham Handicap (Listed) Above I mentioned that Wesley Ward’s best two-year-old hope of Royal Ascot was defeated in the Queen Mary Stakes.  But that didn’t stop him from scoring one of his most surprising results, as Con Te Partiro (Ward/Spencer), a 19/1 outsider not even fancied by US backers, got the job done by 1 ¼-lengths over Coolmore’s Rain Goddess (O’Brien/Moore), who was sent to post as the 6/1 second choice.  Con Te Partiro’s win was considered especially surprising, as the three-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy was just 2-for-6 in her career, and had dropped three straight decisions.  Her win backers were rewarded with a $41.60 payday, with Exacta bettors receiving $198.40 for their winning bets.  Join us Thursday for more action at Royal Ascot, which ones again presents four graded races for your consideration.  The lone Group 1 event is the Gold Cup, while supporting stakes are the Group 2 Norfolk, Group 2 Ribblesdale and Group 3 Hampton Court.  First post is 9:30AM ET.     

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6.21.2017:

June 21: Hayley Turner's Royal Ascot Picks

GBI Racing Ambassador and former leading jockey, Hayley Turner, gives her expert insight on Wednesday's Racing 3.05 (10:05AM ET) – Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) HEARTACHE I am going with another of Clive Cox’s two year-olds here. He won very well on debut at Bath in May by six lengths. The form of the race has worked out really well and he should run a very good race.   3.40 (10:40AM ET) – Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2) MIX AND MINGLE Chris Wall's really progressive horse is improving with every run, having won her last two outings at Newmarket and Lingfield. She will love the ground and is a much stronger four-year-old this year having shown consistent improvement.   4.20 (11:20AM ET) – Prince Of Wales Stakes (Group 1) JACK HOBBS – Bet of the day I'm really looking forward to seeing him run in blinkers again after winning the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March. I’m confident he will be a different horse with them on. I also think Decorated Knight is a good each-way bet. He's won two Group 1 races this year and will love the ground.   5.00 (12:00PM ET) – Royal Hunt Cup (Heritage Handicap) FASTNET TEMPEST  He has won on his last two outings, including the Victoria Cup at Ascot in May. I am confident he will stay the extra furlong, given he has won over a mile a couple of times. He also likes a big field with a strong pace so this should suit. I also think Yuften is a big price in the race.

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6.20.2017:

June 20: Royal Ascot Recap

Xpressbet is proud to be the Preferred US Betting Site of Royal Ascot.  Bet the races with us to receive 0% Takeout on Exactas – check out www.xpressbet.com/royal-ascot for more information.  And to help you handicap, you can download our free Tip Sheet from handicapper, Brian Nadeau, and watch the races live at www.XBTV.com every morning at 9AM ET.   How did the races go Tuesday?  Here’s a quick recap:  Race 1 – Queen Anne Stakes (Gr I) Royal Ascot isn’t like your typical US track.  They don’t ease into their big days with a couple of maiden or allowance races to kick off the card.  No sir.  They jump right into the deep end.  Tuesday’s meet opener was the Group 1, $842,500 Queen Anne Stakes, a one-mile turf event that attracted 16 runners, including a duo of Americans, Miss Temple City (Motion/Prado) and American Patriot (Pletcher/Velazquez), as well as Godolphin’s, Ribchester (Fahey/Buick), who was sent postward as the heavy favorite.  The punters’ money was the smart money, as Ribchester hit the lead and held off Mutakayyef (Haggas/Crowley), despite bearing out near the finish.  Ribchester paid $4.80 to Win and the Exacta paid $17.00.  American Patriot (11th) and Miss Temple City (13th) never threatened or factored.   Race 2 – Coventry Stakes (Gr II) The stakes action continued into Race 2, the Group 2 Coventry, a $184,500 stakes race for two-year-olds.  American eyes were on Arawak (Ward/Velazquez), while the locals went all-in on Brother Bear (Harrington/O’Donoghue) and De Bruyne Horse (Hannon/Levey).  That trio went postward at odds of 6/1, 7/2 and 5/1, respectively, in the 18-horse field.  As expected, Arawak tore out to the lead with company from De Bruyne Horse’s stablemate, Denaar (Hannon/Smullen).  Neither could carry their speed, however, and they quickly succumbed to the pack.  Brother Bear rallied well into contention but flattened late to finish 4th, while a pair of longshots – Rajasinghe (Spencer/Donohoe) and Headway (Haggas/Cosgrove) – battled to the wire.  Ultimately, Rajasinghe got the best of the field by a neck, keying a $29.20 Win payout and a gigantic $923.20 Exacta.  De Bruyne Horse finished 8th, with Arawak a non-threatening 12th.  Race 3 – King’s Stand Stakes (Gr I) Arguably the best US chance at Royal Ascot was Lady Aurelia (Ward/Velazquez) in the Group 1, $492,000 King’s Stand…and she did nothing to disappoint.  Dispatched from the far outside post beneath Johnny Velazquez, Lady Aurelia was prominent throughout and kicked clear late for a 3-length victory.  This was her second career score at Royal Ascot, having won last year’s Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes by 7-lengths.  It was more of the same this year, with outsider Profitable (Cox/Doyle) running on well to finish second.  Lady Aurelia paid $6.00 for the Win, and the Exacta returned a healthy $102.60.  Velazquez picked up the mount on Lady Aurelia from Frankie Dettori, who is battling an arm injury and will not ride at the meet.     Race 4 – St. James’s Palace Stakes (Gr I) A race anticipated to be yet another coronation for Coolmore’s Churchill (O’Brien/Moore) turned into anything but, as the winner of three consecutive Group 1 races could do no better than 4th as the overwhelming 2/5 favorite in the $492,000 Group 1 St. James’s Palace.  Instead, it was Barney Roy (Hannon/Doyle) who got to the wire first, rewarding Godolphin with its second Group 1 win of the afternoon.  Churchill’s stablemate, Lancaster Bomber (O’Brien/O’Brien) held on very well to finish second, while Thunder Snow (bin Suroor/Soumillon), most famous in the US for his antics in the Kentucky Derby, nabbed third.  Barney Roy paid $7.80 to Win and the Exacta over Lancaster Bomber paid $82.00.   Race 5 – Ascot Stakes (Handicap) The graded stakes action was in the books for the day, but with 19 runners going to post for the 2 ½-mile, $98,500 Ascot Stakes, the great betting was just getting underway.  In fact, our Tip Sheet guru, Brian Nadeau, made this race his Exacta Best Bet of the Day, with a $30 ticket – 4, 11, 18 / 4, 5, 11, 12, 14, 18.  And the horse that Nadeau called ‘scary,’ Thomas Hobson (Mullins/Moore) proved to be just that as he powered down the stretch to give Ryan Moore his first win of the meet.  And the horse that Nadeau tabbed as his upset special, Endless Acres (Fellowes/Donohoe), ran on late to finish 2nd at odds of 11/1.  That result keyed a $113.80 Exacta, with Thomas Hobson paying $9.00 to Win.  Race 6 – Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed) Ascot’s Opening Day nightcap was the $98,500 Windsor Castle Stakes for two-year-olds.  And with 22 runners signed on for the five-furlong dash, this one was sure to bring plenty of fireworks.  The US was represented by two runners from the Wesley Ward barn, Nootka Sound (Ward/Velazquez) and Elizabeth Darcy (Ward/Prado).  Both had broken their maiden at first asking in the States, but neither was the race favorite.  That honor went to Coolmore’s Declarationofpeace (O’Brien/Moore), who was sent postward at odds of 7/5.  He didn’t factor, though, because it was Godolphin’s day.  They sent out two runners in the Windsor Castle – Sound and Silence (Appleby/Buick) and Roussel (Appleby/Doyle) and they came home 1-2, keying a $416.20 Exacta.  Sound and Silence paid $39.00 to Win.  Elizabeth Darcy checked in 6th after attending to the early pace, while Nootka Sound never threatened and finished 17th.  Declarationofpeace finished last.  Join us Wednesday for more action at Royal Ascot, headlined by the four graded races - the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes (featuring Breeders’ Cup winners Highland Reel and Queen’s Trust), Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes, Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes (featuring Wesley Ward’s Happy Like a Fool) and the Group 3 Jersey Stakes. 

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6.19.2017:

0% Takeout Exactas at Ascot

We’re three days into the Royal Ascot meet, and the racing couldn’t be any more exciting.  Top-class runners like Highland Reel, Lady Aurelia, Ribchester, Qemah, Big Orange and Barney Roy have already visited the winner’s circle, with six more graded stakes races on tap Friday and Saturday: Friday, June 23 Race 1 (9:30AM ET) – Albany Stakes (Gr III) Race 2 (10:05AM ET) – King Edward VII Stakes (Gr II) Race 3 (10:40AM ET) – Commonwealth Cup (Gr I) Race 4 (11:20AM ET) – Coronation Stakes (Gr I) Saturday, June 24 Race 3 (10:40AM ET) – Hardwicke Stakes (Gr II) Race 4 (11:20AM ET) – Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Gr I) The United States is represented both days.  On Thursday, Wesley Ward sends out a pair of runners – Keeneland maiden breaker, Fairyland, and Belmont maiden breaker, Princess Peggy, in the Norfolk.  Ward sends out two-time winner, Bound for Nowhere, in the Commonwealth Cup and Mark Casse’s La Coronel runs in the Coronation.  On Saturday, the lone US runner is Long On Value, who goes out for Bill Mott in the Diamond Jubilee.  Need some help betting Royal Ascot?  That’s where we come in!  Visit www.xpressbet.com/royal-ascot for Brian Nadeau’s exclusive daily Royal Ascot Tip Sheet and to watch daily preview videos from Jeff Siegel, Zoe Cadman, Millie Ball and Aaron Vercruysse.  Bet the races at Royal Ascot with Xpressbet to receive 0% Takeout on your Exactas!  To play, simply Log In to your account and register for the promotion.  And when you’re ready to watch Royal Ascot, www.xbtv.com has you covered.  Their live show starts at 9:00AM ET daily and it’s free to watch.  Check it out!    

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6.19.2017:

Third Time May Be Charm for Miss Temple City at Royal Ascot

LAUREL, MD – Multiple Grade 1-winning mare Miss Temple City, based with Graham Motion at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., will open her 5-year-old season against males in the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) June 20 at Royal Ascot. It will be the third straight trip to Royal Ascot for Miss Temple City, bred and co-owned by Bob Feld along with partners Sagamore Farm and Needle In A Haystack. Fourth in the 2015 Coronation (G1) and 2016 Duke of Cambridge (G2), she arrived in England on Tuesday. Motion also considered a return run in the Duke of Cambridge for Miss Temple City, who shows eight works over the all-weather and turf courses at Fair Hill since mid-April, most recently going six furlongs in 1:12.40 June 10. Maryland-based Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, up for each of her last three races, will be at Royal Ascot to ride Miss Temple City, who broke her maiden Oct. 10, 2014 at Laurel Park and earned her first stakes victory in the 2015 Hilltop at historic Pimlico Race Course. “She’s been training real well. The last couple works were excellent. Graham was very happy with her performance. She’s ready to go,” Prado said. “It’s going to be an honor to participate in that kind of race and be part of the festival.” Setbacks on and off the track have been to blame for Miss Temple City’s belated start this year. She missed a few weeks of training after getting loose one morning at Palm Meadows in Boynton Beach, Fla. where Motion keeps a winter string, and missed Keeneland’s spring meet. Miss Temple City was scratched from both the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) May 6 and the Beaugay (G3) May 13 at Belmont Park when rain softened the turf course. Her previous wins over males include becoming the first filly or mare to take the Makers 46 Mile (G1) last April in her Ascot prep. Prado won the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) against males and Matriarch (G1) last fall with Miss Temple City, the latter coming Dec. 4 at Del Mar in her most recent start. In between they ran fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). “She was there before and she’s been running all over the country so I don’t think it will be a problem for her to adjust to that particular day,” Prado said. “She’s very professional and very competitive. Hopefully she gets the job done.” Prado said he will leave Maryland for England on Sunday and has already begun doing his homework for the race, won by Tepin last year. “I rode in England but not at Royal Ascot. Definitely, I’ve been watching a few races and as soon as I get there I will walk the course and see what’s the best part of the track,” Prado said. “I’ll be shipping in Sunday night. Hopefully everything goes well. I arrive Monday. I’m going to go to the track in the afternoon and the race is Tuesday. Hopefully we have good results.”

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6.18.2017:

Xpressbet Named the Preferred US Betting Site of Royal Ascot

June 15, 2017 (Washington, PA) - Xpressbet has been named the ‘Preferred US Betting Site of Royal Ascot.’ Xpressbet, a subsidiary of The Stronach Group, an industry leader in world-class horse racing, entertainment and pari-mutuel wagering technology, will offer online wagering customers 0% Takeout on Exactas throughout the five days of Royal Ascot, which spans June 20 – 24, 2017. As one of the world’s most prestigious meets, Royal Ascot has been a staple of racing in The United Kingdom since its inception in the 1700’s. The five-day meet features 19 graded stakes races and features £6.58 million ($8.5 million USD) in purses. The world’s top turf horses routinely target the meeting, with this year’s North American contingent expected to include Miss Temple City, La Coronel, Long On Value and several runners from the vaunted Wesley Ward barn. “It is with great confidence that Royal Ascot has partnered with The Stronach Group and Xpressbet as our Preferred US Betting Site,” according to Alastair Warwick, Chief Operating Officer at Royal Ascot. “Their continued growth and investment in technology, as well as their dedication to the sport, made our choice very easy. We’re excited to work with them to introduce Royal Ascot to exuberant bettors and fans in the United States.” “The Stronach Group and Xpressbet are honored to partner with Royal Ascot, which is widely regarded as one of the world’s most historic, prestigious and important meets,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President, The Stronach Group. “The Stronach Group and Royal Ascot share a commitment to revitalizing the sport of thoroughbred horse racing, expanding the fan base and to introducing wagering and exciting new wagering technologies to new, enthusiastic audiences.” Xpressbet’s President, Ron Luniewski, added, “The Stronach Group, Xpressbet and Royal Ascot are all deeply committed to growing horse racing on a global scale. We enjoy a special relationship with the UK betting market and its customers. As technology and markets continue to expand, we’re excited to team with Royal Ascot to continue showcasing our sport to bettors around the world.” Customers betting Royal Ascot with Xpressbet will have the opportunity to participate in a 0% Takeout Promotion on Exactas. Every customer that places winning Exacta bets throughout the meet will receive a bonus equal to the takeout paid on their wager. Additionally, Royal Ascot will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network from 8:30AM ET – 12:00PM ET throughout the meet. All coverage will also be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, the NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets and connected TVs. For more information about Xpressbet please visit www.xpressbet.com or keep up with Xpressbet on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. For information on Royal Ascot please visit or https://www.ascot.co.uk/Royal-Ascot.

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6.15.2017:

Gulfstream has $898K Pick 6 Carryover

From Gulfstream Park Press Release  Thursday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Grows to $898,218 HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Thursday’s Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot swelled to $898,218.44 when the popular multi-race wager went unsolved for the 32nd consecutive program at Gulfstream Park Sunday. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $5,413.96. The Rainbow 6 carryover 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 sold, 70 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. A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 carryover pool at Gulfstream Park is scheduled for next Saturday. On mandatory payout days, a single unique ticket with all six winners is not required to take down or share in the carryover jackpot. The entire Rainbow 6 pool is paid out to the holders of tickets with the most winners. Mandatory payouts are also scheduled for the Late Pick 5 and Super Hi-5 next Saturday. 

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6.11.2017:

Belmont Stakes Trainer/Jockey Quotes

From New York Racing Association Press Release  The 149th Belmont Stakes (G1) Quotes Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Tapwrit (No. 2) and third-place finisher Patch (No. 12): "Tapwrit was getting a beautiful trip. It was everything we talked about in the paddock before the race. We were hoping he had enough when it came to crunch time. It looked like Irish War Cry still had a little something left, but the last sixteenth, he dug down deep." On winning his third career Belmont Stakes: "It's our home base and I think that's always an advantage. We felt like with the five weeks in between, and with the way this horse had trained, that he had a legitimate chance." Jose Ortiz, winning jockey aboard Tapwrit (No. 2): "It's an unbelievable feeling that I can't explain. I'm very happy right now. I'm happy for the owners and for Todd [Pletcher] for giving me the opportunity." "The distance, I was sure he could handle it. It was a great training job by Todd. I always liked him and we always had a lot of faith in him. Today he showed up. I'm very happy." Graham Motion, trainer of runner-up and beaten 5-2 favorite Irish War Cry (No. 7): "It actually wasn't our plan to be on the lead. We kind of hoped that somebody else would go for it, but he had to go to Plan B and [jockey] Rajiv [Maragh] did a great job. At the eighth pole, I thought we might be home free, but it's the Belmont. It's a tough race. "I'm very proud of how he ran. I thought he ran a very game race. Yes, it's very vindicating - for the horse and for me and the owners and everyone. I thought he ran very game, honestly. "We were hoping we might get a little bit of a stalking trip but we had to go to Plan B and Rajiv did a great job. He went three-quarters [of a mile] in [1:14]. Turning for home, I thought we might have it but it's a long way home." Rajiv Maragh rider of runner-up Irish War Cry (No. 7): "He ran a real good race. He tried hard to the end. When I straightened up I had horse left and I knew it was going to take a really big run from another hose to catch me. I was pretty confident turning for home. I saw the other horse coming and obviously a race of this magnitude I'm going to ride hard to the wire, and even when I was ahead you know they're going to be coming at you, but my horse never really gave up. He ran hard to the end he just got a little bit overpowered late in the race, but I'm proud of his effort. "I was more disappointed in the Kentucky Derby, but I felt like I had a good shot at winning turning for home. I didn't want to get any emotions come and cloud my judgement so I kind of just rode my race. It was a little bittersweet. When you get that close to winning the Belmont stakes, and finishing second, but the horse came back and showed his true colors, and I'm glad he showed up and ran this race today. He ran hard." John Velazquez, rider aboard third-place finisher Patch (No. 12): "He ran a very good race. [It was a] good trip. The whole race, that's where we broke and where we were, I thought he ran a good race. He finished up really well. He can run with a good kick." John Shirreffs, trainer of fourth-place finisher Gormley (No. 3): "I thought he ran really well. I'm pleased with the effort he made. He bobbled a little out of the gate but he recovered nicely. I thought he ran a very creditable race. Victor [Espinoza] said he started looking around a little bit, so we probably can improve on that. This is the first time he's gone the mile-and-a-half and they are young 3-year-olds. I didn't think the distance was a problem for him. When the horse came back he wasn't breathing all that hard. We'll take him back to California, and we may come back east with him. It depends upon how things are going. If they're going well, there's a possibility of Saratoga." Victor Espinoza, rider aboard fourth-place finisher Gormley (No. 3): "I think he ran a great race. He missed the break. He stumbled a little bit because he was moving around and the other two horses [next to him] squeezed me just a little, but he's quick, so I thought I could get out of that mess and sit just off the speed. I had an excellent trip, but down the lane he was still just a little immature. He really didn't help me to go forward. I have to believe that blinkers would help him. As he gets older, I believe that he's going to improve." Florent Geroux, jockey aboard Hollywood Handsome (No. 5): "I got squeezed pretty hard coming into the first turn. My horse clipped heels. I almost went down and I lost my stirrup. He was bleeding underneath his leg, it looked like." 

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6.9.2017:

Gulfstream's Friday Rainbow 6 Worth $763K

From Gulfstream Park Press Release  Friday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Rises to $763,003 HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 29th consecutive racing card at Gulfstream Park Thursday, producing a carryover jackpot of $763,003.26 for Friday’s 2:15 p.m. twilight program. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $3,260.86 Thursday. The Rainbow 6 carryover 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 sold, 70 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. Friday’s Rainbow 6 Sequence will span Races 4-9, including the $50,000 Ocala Flame Handicap in Race 8. The 6 ½-furlong overnight handicap for 3-year-olds attracted a field of six, including Coronado Again, the 119-pound high weight who finished fourth in the Opening Lead May 28 after romping in an entry-level allowance. Chatiment, who finished third behind Coronado Again in the May 28 race after finishing second behind Classic Rock in the Roar Stake, and Benefactor, an impressive Todd Pletcher-trained maiden winner last time out, are also entered. There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $2,104.87 heading into Friday’s program. 

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6.7.2017:

Belmont Stakes: Post Position Winners/Losers

The field of 12 assembled for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes lacks a standout favorite with the defection of Classic Empire, but it does not lack a fairly defined pace scenario. Based on today’s post position draw at Rockefeller Center, there are a few positional takeaways. Meantime in post 9 should show the most speed in the field. He has Irish War Cry (post 7) and Gormley (post 3) to clear heading into the first turn, which means he may be hustled a bit initially before being asked to come back off the bridle and settle for the 12-furlong marathon. Twisted Tom could feel that squeeze some from the rail with tracking potential. Epicharis (post 11) may try to follow the path of Meantime by sticking just outside that rival. With Classic Empire out of the mix, Meantime may be allowed to set a more comfortable tone under Mike Smith than initially expected – but the “on the gas, off the gas” question frequently is not answered kindly by racehorses hustled to clear early. Tapwrit is drawn beautifully in post 2 to save ground and sit just behind the leading trio or quartet. I don’t think you’ll see J Boys Echo too far off the tempo either, and he’s equally well-drawn in post 4. He should get a nearly identical trip to Tapwrit and first run on the first flight. The balance of the Belmont field involves closers not impacted by the draw, though John Velazquez said he would prefer the left-eye-missing Patch to not have been far outside again as he was in the Derby. 

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5.20.2017:

Expert Preakness Picks

Jeannine Edwards — ESPN 1. Always Dreaming 2. Classic Empire 3. Conquest Mo Money Nicole Russo — Daily Racing Form 1. Classic Empire 2. Always Dreaming 3. Conquest Mo Money Jeremy Balan — Blood-Horse 1. Always Dreaming 2. Classic Empire 3. Conquest Mo Money Scott Hazelton — TVG 1. Lookin at Lee 2. Cloud Computing 3. Always Dreaming Gabby Gaudet — Maryland Jockey Club Analyst 1. Classic Empire 2. Always Dreaming 3. Cloud Computing Marty McGee — Daily Racing Form 1. Hence 2. Classic Empire 3. Gunnevera Mike Watchmaker — Daily Racing Form 1. Always Dreaming 2. Classic Empire 3. Conquest Mo Money Mike MacAdam — Daily Gazette (Schenectady) 1. Classic Empire 2. Always Dreaming 3. Cloud Computing Tom Law — Thisishorseracing.com 1. Always Dreaming 2. Classic Empire 3. Multiplier Frank Vespe — Racing Biz 1. Always Dreaming 2. Classic Empire 3. Conquest Mo Money Steve Sherack - Thoroughbred Daily News (TDN) 1. Always Dreaming 2. Classic Empire 3. Hence Eugene Kershner — Buffalo News 1. Classic Empire 2. Always Dreaming 3. Conquest Mo Money Ed McNamara — Newsday 1. Always Dreaming 2. Classic Empire 3. Gunnevera Alicia Hughes — Blood-Horse 1. Classic Empire 2. Always Dreaming 3. Conquest Mo Money Gary Quill — Racing Biz 1. Classic Empire 2. Always Dreaming 3. Gunnevera Jonas Shaffer — Baltimore Sun 1. Always Dreaming 2. Gunnevera 3. Classic Empire John Cherwa — Los Angeles Times 1. Classic Empire 2. Conquest Mo Money 3. Always Dreaming Childs Walker — Baltimore Sun 1. Classic Empire 2. Always Dreaming 3. Lookin At Lee Jason Frakes — Courier-Journal 1. Classic Empire 2. Always Dreaming 3. Conquest Mo Money Tim Sullivan — Courier Journal 1. Classic Empire 2. Always Dreaming 3. Cloud Computing Jim Dunleavy — Daily Racing Form 1. Cloud Computing 2. Always Dreaming 3. Conquest Mo Money Ron Mitchell — Blood-Horse 1. Gunnevera 2. Always Dreaming 3. Classic Empire Penelope Miller — America’s Best Racing 1. Always Dreaming 2. Classic Empire 3. Gunnevera Ron Nicoletti — Gulfstream Park 1. Always Dreaming 2. Hence 3. Classic Empire Zoe Cadman — XBTV 1. Always Dreaming 2. Classic Empire 3. Hence Dave Grening — Daily Racing Form 1. Classic Empire 2. Always Dreaming 3. Multiplier Jay Privman — Daily Racing Form 1. Always Dreaming 2. Classic Empire 3. Hence 

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5.17.2017:

Always Dreaming is 4/5 Preakness Favorite

From Maryland Jockey Club Press Release Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming installed as 4-5 favorite for 142nd Preakness Stakes (G1) BALTIMORE - BALTIMORE – At Wednesday afternoon’s post position draw for Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1), Always Dreaming, the impressive winner of the Kentucky Derby (G1), was assigned post 4 and installed the 4-5 favorite in the 10-horse field. The Todd Pletcher-trained Always Dreaming will represent the ownership group of MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz Stable, Teresa Viola Stable, St. Elias Stable, Siena Farm and West Point Thoroughbreds in the 142nd running of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown in a quest to become the 36th horse to capture both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The last horse to accomplish the feat was American Pharoah, racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, in 2015. “I think [the post] is fine,” Pletcher said. “He was 4 in the Florida Derby and 5 in the Kentucky Derby. He’s generally a very good horse away from the gate. We’ll just come away and try to establish some position and see what some other horses are doing. “He’s done great [at Pimlico],” Pletcher added. “He’s training forwardly, aggressively, manageably — everything we would like to see.” Among Always Dreaming’s nine rivals are four of his foes from the Kentucky Derby: Classic Empire, the morning line’s second choice at 3-1, Gunnevera, Hence and Kentucky Derby runner-up Lookin At Lee. Five newcomers — Cloud Computing, Conquest Mo Money, Multiplier, Senior Investment and Term of Art — round out the field. Post time for the Preakness, which will be run as the 13th race on a 14-race program, is 6:48 p.m. First post is 10:30 a.m. and doors open at 8 a.m. The 1 3/16-mile Preakness is the centerpiece of nine stakes on Saturday, totaling $2.65 million in purse money. Sharing the card with the Preakness is the $250,000 Longines Dixie (G2), $150,000 Stella Artois Gallorette Stakes (G3) and $150,000 Maryland Sprint (G3). The entertainment on Preakness Day, the most celebrated day in Maryland racing, is as plentiful as the racing action. Headlining Saturday’s Budweiser InfieldFest, one of the country’s most eclectic outdoor music festivals, is multi-platinum crossover artist Sam Hunt, joined by Grammy and Billboard award-winning electronic music artist Zedd, pop-punk award-winning and multi-platinum artist Good Charlotte, along with LOCASH, Preston Brust and High Valley. Friday’s card is highlighted by the 93rd running of the Black-Eyed Susan, Maryland’s premier event for 3-year-old fillies. The Grade 2 is part of a 14-race program that features six stakes, four graded, worth $1.15 million, including the $300,000 Xpressbet Pimlico Special (G3), $150,000 Allaire DuPont (G3) and $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3). First post is 11:30 a.m. Friday’s racing action will be complimented by the return of the Ultimate Girls Day Out, an entire afternoon dedicated to the spirit and strength of women. “We’re looking forward to an incredible weekend at Pimlico Race Course of world-class racing and entertainment,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “Racing on both Friday and Saturday will feature competitive fields, guaranteed pools and Always Dreaming’s attempt to win the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown in the 142nd Preakness Stakes. “Along with our world-class racing over two days, we’ll play host to another extraordinary Budweiser InfieldFest headlined by Sam Hunt and special guest Zedd, as well as the Ultimate Girls Days Out. The Stronach Group continues to rejuvenate Maryland racing and reimagine the racing experience with first-class service, dining and entertainment. We look forward to a memorable weekend.” 

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