Nothing to shoot at Wed., as no maiden sprints carded

finish-line-at-santa-anita-park-by-rhetoricru2No maiden sprint races were carded on the main track for Wednesday. So I will save my energy for Thursday when we have four maiden claiming sprints, three of which have full fields.

Will last minute pari-mutual casino deal be struck?

It will be interesting on Wednesday to see if the 80 Nevada casinos make a last minute deal with Track Net on a simulcast agreement. As of Tuesday, no agreement has been made and casinos are reportedly preparing to book bets at Gulfstream Park, Golden Gate Fields, Santa Anita Park, Laurel and Oaklawn, instituting  house limits and no pick sixes. Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs, has an existing contract with the casinos.

However, I doubt this stare down will last more than a month, because it seems that everybody loses by it: the tracks, the casinos and the horseplayers.

Kentucky Derby website now buzzing, just ask Fred Willard

homeAs I write this, there are 95 days, five hours and five minutes until the bell rings and the gates spring open for Kentucky Derby 135.

The way I know this is that I was just on the newly-updated website Not much goes on at this site after the previous year’s Derby ends. But a few weeks ago, it was update and upgraded with news and replays of Derby preps, ticket information, lots of opinions, and video of celebrities on the Kentucky Derby red carpet.

I didn’t even know the Kentucky Derby had a red carpet. But this site has a feature called “Buzz from the Red Carpet” where they interview the likes of  Dr. J, Taylor Dayne and Hugh Hefner with The Girls Next Door.

However, the interview with Fred Willard puts new meaning on the word “Buzz” in “Buzz from the Red Carpet.” Check it out by clicking under “Red Carpet Videos and Interviews” on

The Derby site has four handicappers who put up lists of top 3-year-olds pointing for the big race. Some of the common names seen in the top tens of these selectors include Midshipman, Old Fashioned, Vineyard Haven, Pioneerof the Nile and Beethoven

Of course, Churchill Downs officials around Derby time love to talk about all of the upscale folks who come to Louisville for the festivities, like the Queen of England and successful actors and athletes.

But the moon has a dark side and so does Derby Day. Let’s just say that the acceptable modes of behavior are quite different on the infield than they are on Millionaires Row.

During his red carpet interview, World Wrestling Entertainment promoter Vince McMahon was asked how Derby Day compares to one of his wrestling events, he joked, “It is much like WWE because you have beautiful people and you have animals.”

What McMahon may have been referring to is illustrated in the videos below.

The greatest two minutes in sports draws celebrities from around the world to Millionaires Row…

…however the real spectacle on Derby Day is in the infield

Forget Curlin. Horseplayer speaks at Eclipse Awards banquet and eloquently rips track operators

Richard Goodall told race track operators to show bettors more appreciation

Richard Goodall told race track operators to show bettors more appreciation

Horseplayers don’t need much. But a little friendliness and appreciation would be a nice touch every once in a while, a prominent horseplayer told a room full of horse racing’s elite Monday night at the Eclipse Awards ceremony.

Las Vegan Richard Goodall, 65, told track operators to view bettors as their customers and to do a better job of acknowledging them.

Goodall, who won the 2008 Handicapper of the Year Award at Monday’s Eclipse Awards ceremony, was speaking to the top level of horse racing’s owners, trainers and jockeys. But it was the track managers in attendance in Miami Beach that Goodall seemed to be focused on.

Goodall told the story about his tremendous experience while winning the 2008 NTRA/DRF National Horse Racing Championship at Red Rock Station in Las Vegas. The Red Rock Station staff, he said, made him feel welcome by chatting with him and smiling a lot throughout the event.

Race track operators should greet bettors in the grandstand, Goodall said, and encourage their employees to be more outgoing and friendly. Track managers should also concentrate on important little things that keep customers coming back, he added.

“Make sure the pizza is hot and the beer is cold,” Goodall said. 

 Goodall also made a plea to Congress to repeal the federal tax on winnings that pay more than 300-to-1 and total more than $600. He called the law outdated from the days when gambling was a sin. Then he argued that the extra money in people’s pockets would help boost the economy because people would use the cash to buy things like automobiles.

The following is the complete list of the 2008 Eclipse Award winners:

Horse of the Year: Curlin.
Two-Year-Old Male: Midshipman.
Two-Year-Old Filly: Stardom Bound.
Three-Year-Old Male: Big Brown.
Three-Year-Old Filly: Proud Spell.
Older Male: Curlin.
Older Female: Zenyatta.
Male Sprinter: Benny the Bull.
Female Sprinter: Indian Blessing.
Male Turf Horse: Conduit.
Female Turf Horse: Forever Together.
Steeplechase Horse: Good Night Shirt.
Owner: Stronach Stables.
Breeder: Adena Springs.
Trainer: Steve Asmussen.
Jockey: Garrett Gomez.
Apprentice Jockey: Pascacio Lopez.

The Eclipse Awards are presented by the NTRA, the National Turf Writers Association and Daily Racing Form in recognition of excellence in Thoroughbred racing.

“Jockeys” TV show to premier on Animal Planet Feb. 6


Series focuses on seven jockeys at Oak Tree

What is being called a doc-u-drama, a new television show called “Jockeys”  captures an inside look at the relationships, risks and rewards of thoroughbred race riding.

The Animal Planet television network will begin airing the series at 9 p.m. E/P on Friday, Feb. 6.

The show was filmed during the 2008 Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet and it focuses on seven jockeys: Aaron Gryder, Jon Court, Joe Talamo, Alex Solis, Mike Smith, Chantal Sutherland and Kayla Stra.

Others seen during a sneek preview on the Animal Planet website, are jockey Corey Nakatani, trainer Jeff Mullins and bettor Jimmy the Hat.

Jockey says “I like speed and I like danger.”

Results, Santa Anita Sunday Race 5 — won $560

donald_trump_crazy_face_hot_chick_red_carpet11Working out at San Luis Rey Downs, trainer Peter Miller brought speedster #11 No Limit Poker off a six-month layoff to win convincingly.

Garrett Gomez broke this 4-year-old gelding sharply, but #5 Kinky Rule and #7 Saint Jack  competed for the early lead also. They ran three abreast down the backstretch with Kinky Rule on the rail, No Limit Poker on the outside and Saint Jack in between.

And on the turn, they stayed that way — giving No Limit Poker the dreaded 3-wide trip. But this 4-to-1 shot was such a superior animal of these 11 runners, that Gomez shook of the pace setters in the lane then found another gear when #13 The Emerald King came running.

I had several betting scenarios based on the post time odds, which can be seen by clicking the following link. I ended up betting $200 on #11 No Limit Poker, and $150 on both #6 Sky Patriot, at 5-to-1, and #13 The Emerald King, at 6-to-1.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

3 1 Justinero (CA) Navarro D Wallace, II J 103.80 10
4 2 Already Wild (CA) Enriquez I Pender M 84.00 8
5 3 Kinky Rule (CA) Nakatani C Sise, Jr. C 2.70 4
6 4 Sky Patriot (KY) Rosario J Sise, Jr. C 5.30 6
7 5 Saint Jack (FL) Baze M Hess, Jr. R 6.30 9
9 6 Cut (KY) Linares M Stutts C 62.70 3
10 7 Royal Albert (CA) Delgadillo A DeLeon R 27.60 7
11 8 No Limit Poker (CA) Gomez G Miller P 4.30 1
12 9 Second Hand Lion (CA) Potts C Sherman A 3.30 5
13 10 The Emerald King (CA) Rios J Monteleone F 6.70 2
SCR Goodlookindude (FL)    
SCR Water (KY) Olguin G Alcala J
SCR Seven Below (CA)    
SCR Golden Delight (CA)    
Pgm Win Place Show
11 $10.60 $4.80 $3.60
13 $7.80 $5.20
9 $18.40
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $47.60 (11-13)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $126.40 (4-4-11)

Results, Santa Anita Sunday Race 1 — won $585


Coming into this race, Black Magic Mama lost five starts, but was bet down to 4-to-5 because of the company she was keeping. She competed in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, two other Southern California stakes and twice lost to Eclipse Award winner Stardom Bound. 

But her top Beyer Speed Figure was just an 81, which tops the 80 median figure needed to win this race, but does not justify her short price.

Because Black Magic Mama was bet too low, it increased the prices on some of the other contenders, namely #1 Air Fair. This filly, ridden by Joel Rosario, trailed the field down the backstretch then rallied wide on the turn to reach contention. It was a long stretch battle, but Air Fair finally wore down first-time starter #6 Ultra Awesome in the lane.

Black Magic Mama didn’t fire and finished fourth is this six horse field.

I bet $150 on #1 Air Fair at 7-to-2. 

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Air Fair (KY) Rosario J Paasch C 3.90 1
2 2 Black Magic Mama (FL) Bejarano R O’Neill D 0.90 4
3 3 Moon Over Malibu (KY) Baze M Guillot E 27.60 6
4 4 Broken Silence (KY) Talamo J Biancone P 2.50 2
5 5 Panorama Ridge (KY) Gomez G Frankel R 7.30 5
6 6 Ultra Awesome (KY) Baze T Yakteen T 26.20 3
Pgm Win Place Show
1 $9.80 $4.20 $3.40
4 $3.40 $3.20
6 $6.20
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $14.90 (1-4)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $105.80 (1-4-6)
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