Sunday, November 9, 2014

Saturday's all-sources handle for GP West/Calder was  $5,223,848-- the best yet for the Gulfstream Park  West meet
Stay tuned for more analysis of Saturday's GP West races

Saturday, November 8, 2014

It's Wildcat Red vs. East Hall on "Florida-Bred Day"

By Jim Freer

Saturday, Nov. 8 - Here’s a bullet-point overview of today’s Florida Sunshine Millions Preview - or what you could call “Florida-Bred Day.”

 * It will be at Calder, the Miami Gardens, FL track that this fall was renamed  “Gulfstream Park West.”

* There will be seven stakes races, all restricted to Florida-breds and all with $100,000 purses. Basically, the event is the successor to Calder’s former Florida Million.

 * Wildcat Red and East Hall, two standout 3-year-olds stabled at Gulfstream Park, head the field for the feature Sunshine Millions Classic Preview.

The day is the biggest yet in the new Gulfstream Park West meet that Gulfstream is holding under a lease agreement with Calder.

 The Classic Preview is 1 1/16 miles on dirt for Florida-breds that are 3-year-olds and up. The field has eight entrants, including Tryer who is entered and more likely to run in the day’s Turf Preview.

 It is the eighth race with scheduled post time of 3:58 p.m. EST.

The Classic Preview will be the first race against older horses for Wildcat Red, a winner of three stakes races this year, and for East Hall, a winner of two stakes races this year.

But it appears that any of the other entrants would have to return to top form or run the race of a lifetime to beat both the speedy colt Wildcat Red and the late-running gelding East Hall.

Honors Stable Corp.’s Wildcat Red  has been this year’s top 3-year old at Gulfstream with three victories and two second place finishes in five starts.

The son of D’Wildcat won the seven furlong Hutcheson (Grade 3), the 1 1/16 mile Fountain of Youth (Grade 2) and the 1 1/16 mile Quality Road. He also  finished second by a neck to Constitution in the 1 1/8 mile Florida Derby (Grade I) and second by a head to General- a- Rod in the Gulfstream Park Derby.

In his first race after the Florida Derby, Wildcat Red finished 18th in the Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) after being bumped heavily after the start.

Wildcat Red raced outside Florida this summer and fall. He finished third in  the Haskell Invitational (Grade 1) at Monmouth Park and in  the Oklahoma Derby (Grade 3) at Remington Park and fifth in the King’s Bishop (Grade 1) at Saratoga.

Wildcat Red finished ahead of East Hall all four times they raced at Gulfstream between January and June. On June 28 East Hall finished second by 10 ½ lengths to Wildcat Red in the Quality Road.

But the son of Graeme Hall later made a big breakthrough racing outside Florida. He won the ungraded $300,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown, and on Oct.4 won the Indiana Derby (Grade 2) at Indiana Downs. Those two tracks have generally been less favoring than Gulfstream is to horses with  early speed.

East Hall has begun showing an ability to rate off the pace and not be forced to make up as much distance in the stretch, said his trainer Bill Kaplan.

In the Indiana Derby, he raced second most of the way to Vicar’s in Trouble.  He caught that rival in deep stretch and won by one length.

“Our horse has gotten better since the last time we ran against Wildcat Red,”  Kaplan said. “This will be his (Wildcat Red’s) first race at Calder.  We’ll see if things have changed.”

East Hall has raced four times at Calder, with one second place finish and two third place finishes.

Trainer Jose Garoffalo said he does not expect that Wildcat Red will have any problems with the Calder track.

“I was going to give him a break until next year,” Garoffalo said. “But he is acting like he wants to run, so we decided to go for this race.”

A key question in the Classic Preview will be whether Wildcat Red and jockey Edgar Prado can control the pace or whether it will be a speed duel that would set the race up for East Hall and rider Luis Saez.

Megamove, Sr. Quisqueyano and Schivarelli all have early speed and are in posts one through three respectively.

East Hall is in post four and Wildcat Red is in post five, outside the other speed.

Prado will ride Wildcat Red for the first time

Saez rode East Hall for the first time in the Indiana Derby,

Juan Leyva, East Hall’s jockey in previous races, stayed in South Florida that day to ride for Kaplan in stakes races at Gulfstream.

“He (Saez) asked to ride East Hall again,” Kaplan said. “When a jockey wins a Grade 2 for you and says he wants the mount again, you don’t say ’no.’”

Leyva, who is Kaplan’s go-to jockey, has mounts for Kaplan in three other Gulfstream Park West stakes today.
Saez has ridden Wildcat Red five times, including two wins.

Schivarelli, a 3-year-old racing in South Florida for the first time, could be the biggest treat to Wildcat Red and East Hall.

After winning his first two starts at Aqueduct last winter, Schivarelli finished fourth in the Wood Memorial (Grade 1) at that track in April. He returned from a six-month layoff to win a seven-furlong allowance at Keeneland on Oct. 12.  Paco Lopez will ride Schivarelli for trainer Eddie Kenneally.

Megamove is coming  off an impressive one--mile win at Fylfstream Park West on Oct, 13. Sr. Quisqueyano has two stakes wins at Calder and two stakes wins at Gulfstream. But he finished seventh in each of his last three starts.


1 - East Hall
2 - Wildcat Red
3 - Megamove
4 -  Schivarelli

Each Preview day race‘s $100.000 purse includes $25,000 from the sponsoring Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Classic and the Preview day’s Distaff (fillies and mares 3-years-old and up) and the Turf (3-year-olds and up) are preps for richer races next Jan.17 when Gulfstream will hold its annual Florida Sunshine Millions.

The four other Preview Day stakes are for 2-year-olds.

The Juvenile Sprint and Juvenile Filly Sprint are 6½ furlongs on dirt. The Juvenile Turf and Juvenile Filly Turf are one mile.






Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Brei-Gold Team on a Roll Heading into Sire Stakes

By Jim Freer

Monday, Aug. 4 -- The team of trainer Stan Gold and owner Fred Brei sent out two  winners at Gulfstream Park on Sunday.

That gives them six each and puts them at or near the top of standings for Gulfstream’s summer  meet that began July 1.  They will have a  strong chance to add more victories and some big purses when the Florida Sire Stakes for 2-year-olds begins at Gulfstream this coming Saturday, Aug. 9.

The Brei-Gold winners on Sunday were Grande Shores in the featured third race and first-time starter 2-year-old Twotwentyfive A in the eighth race.  Abdiel Jean  rode both.

Also on  Sunday, Cat ‘n Fiddle of the Brei-Gold stable crossed the finish line first in the first race. But he  was disqualified and placed second for interference with  Film Star in the stretch.

Brei and Gold have combined for  six summer meet victories and $260,042 in earnings, all from homebreds of Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm in Ocala.

Brei is first in  victories and in earnings among owners.  Gold  leads trainers in earnings  and is tied for third in wins.

For several years, Gold has trained  exclusively for Brei.

They are on a roll heading into next Saturday’s start of the Florida Sire Stakes series where, as usual, they have several contenders.

Gulfstream is holding that series for 2-year-olds for the first time. It has three races for fillies and three for males--this year on Aug. 9, Sept. 6 and Oct. 4.

The series was known as the Florida Stallion Stakes from 1982 until last year, when it was held each year at  Calder Casino & Race Course.

The series  is open only to Florida-bred sons  and daughters of Florida-based stallions whose owners have nominated them for the program.

Since 2009, Brei and Gold have won 12 of the  30 races in the series.  They swept the male division with Jackson Bend in 2009 and Fort Loudon in 2011 and swept the filly division with  Awesome Feather in 2010.

Saturday’s opening legs are the Dr. Fager for males and the desert Vixen  for fillies.  Both have $100,000 purses and are six furlongs on dirt.

Sing Praises and Of Course are likely starters for Brei and Gold in the Dr. Fager.

Sing Praises  won the Birdonthewire Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs at Gulfstream on July 12. Of Course finished fourth in that race.

Standard  Deal and Dogwood Trail are among likely starters for Brei and Gold in the Desert  Vixen.

Entries will be out late Wednesday afternoon for the Saturday card.

The Sire  Stakes will continue Sept. 6 with the Affirmed for males and the Susan’s Girl for fillies.  Both are seven furlongs  with  $250,000 purses.

The series will conclude Oct. 4 with the  In  Reality for males and the My Dear Girl for fillies.  Both are 1 1/16 miles on dirt with $350,000 purses.

* Meet leaders Edgard Zayas leads jockeys in wins with 25, followed by Ramsey Zimmerman with 23 through Sunday  and 20 days of the summer meet that extends through Oct. 5.

Jesus Rios and apprentice Timothy Ritvo each have  12 wins and are tied for third.

Antonio Sano and  Gustavo Delgado are tied for first, each with seven  wins, in the trainers’ competition.

Gold, David Fawkes, Ralph Nicks,  Kirk Ziadie and Gennadi Dorochenko are tied for third with  six each.

Brei’s six wins outs him one ahead of Frank Carl Calabrese,  who  was first by a  wide margin at last year’s Gulfstream summer meet, and Raut LLC, of which Dorochenko is among owners.

Gulfstream has racing Thursdays through Sundays with first post time of 1:15 p.m.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gulfstream: A Look at Upcoming Weekend

By Jim  Freer

Thursday, July 31 -- Gulfstream Park will resume its Thursdays-to-Sundays summer meet today with nine races and regular first post time of 1:15 p.m.

It will be Gulfstream’s 17th and final race day this July--the first since June  2013 in which it did not  have head-to-head weekend racing with Calder Casino & Race Course.

Gulfstream’s nine-race program has 87 entries plus five Main Track Only runners.

As we have been reporting, Gulfstream’s field sizes and handle have been considerably higher this month than in the April-to-June quarter.

For its first 16 race days this month Gulfstream averaged 9.3 starters per race and $3.8 million in all-sources handle, according to our review of Equibase Co. charts.  Last month, Gulfstream’s averages were about eight starters and about $3 million in handle

In  an upcoming article  we will have a  detailed analysis of the field size, purses and handle trends at Gulfstream--both before and  after its July 1 dates settlement agreement with Calder.  

One top question this weekend is whether Ramsey Zimmerman will be able to remain within range of Edgard Zayas in the jockey competition.  It could soon be known as the battle of the Z-Men.

Zimmerman rode eight winners from last Friday through Sunday, including the first three on Sunday’s  card.

That gave him 18 wins for the  summer meet--three behind Zayas’s 21.  Apprentice Arny Fontanez is third with nine for the meet that runs through Oct. 5.

Zayas has mounts in all nine races today, while Zimmerman has rides in six races.

Zimmerman  is in his first year of riding in South Florida, after spending most of his  career at  tracks in Illinois and other Midwestern  states.

He sat out most of 2012 and 2013  to focus on  rehabilitation from a drug  abuse  problem.

“I had some personal problems that I had to get under control, which I do now.” Zimmerman  told the Gulfstream media office in late March.

In May 2011, Zimmerman was arrested in Des Moines, Iowa, and charged with four felonies including possession and intent to distribute crack cocaine. He spent 110 days in Polk County Jail before being released directly into rehab. During his hiatus, he worked at J.J. Crupi’s New Castle Farm in Ocala.

Zayas arrived from Puerto Rico late in 2012. He led Calder jockeys in  wins during its 2013 Calder meet and tied for second n  its  Tropical meet.

During the head-to-head months between Gulfstream and Calder, Zayas was prominent among jockeys who on some days rode early races at one  track and then  hopped in an  agent or friend’s car for the eight-mile drive  to ride at the other.

Zayas was seventh in wins, with 57, at Gulfstream during the first six months of this year.  During that period he led Calder in  wins  with 81.

From  this January  through  June, Zimmerman tied for 13th in Gulfstream wins with 31.  He rode only  seven  times at Calder, with no victories.

* On Saturday, Gulfstream will have the $75,000  Soaring  Softly Stakes at one mile on turf for fillies and  mares 3-years-old and up.

E B Ryder and Angelica Zapata, both  winners of multiple stakes in  South  Florida,  head a ten-horse field.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Burn the Mortgage Wins Gulfstream Stakes

Staff Report

Sunday, July 27 -- Burn the Mortgage rallied from sixth place entering the stretch and beat Decisive Moment  by a  decisive 4 ½ lengths in Saturday’s  $75,000 Eight Miles East Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Dustymour finished third, another half length back, in the 1 1/16 mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up.

It was the first stakes victory  for Burn the Mortgage, a  5-year-old  son of Kitten’s Joy. Burn the Mortgage  is owned and  trained by Mike Maker.

Edgard Zayas rode Burn the Mortgage, the 8-5 favorite.  He won in 1:43.97  over  a course listed as yielding,  following heavy rain earlier in the day.  Skies had cleared by the start of the race day.

Gulfstream will have 11 races today with first post time of 1:15 p.m.  There are  no stakes races on the card.

There will be a guaranteed payout of at least $50,000 if there is just one winning ticket on the Rainbow 6, which requires picking the winners of the last six races. There were multiple winners Saturday, with each ticket paying $384.62.

*Gulfstream had 105 starters in its 11 races Saturday. It has averaged an impressive 9.3 starters per race during its 15 racing days since July 1,  following the end of head-to-head racing with Calder.

Gulfstream had all-sources handle of $4,357,297 on Saturday. It has averaged $3.8 million per day this month, compared with about $3 million during the second half of June.

Weather conditions undoubtedly cost Gulfstream at least several hundred thousand in handle on Saturday.  Three races were moved from turf to dirt,  with a total of 13 scratches  in those races.




Saturday, July 26, 2014

‘Mortgage‘, Grand Tito Head Gulfstream Stakes Field

Staff  Report

Saturday, July 26 --  Burn the Mortgage and Grand Tito are the likely favorites in what  shapes up as a non-stellar but solid and competitive field for Saturday’s $75,000 Eight Miles East Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

The  race is 1 1/16 miles on  turf for 3-year-olds and up.  As of 10:30 Saturday morning, nine horses were set to run.  Empire Builder was scratched on Saturday morning. Black Diamond Cat was a Main Track Only runner.

Dashing  David, Decisive Moment and Padilla  also will have their supporters at the betting windows.

None of  the  entrants have won a turf stakes at Gulfstream.

Burn the Mortgage  has three wins and two second  place finishes in five Gulfstream turf starts.  This Feb. 7 at Gulfstream, he won a 1 1/16  mile race in the  fast time of 1:39.32.  On March 29, he finished third in the Mervin Muniz (Grade 2) at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Fair Grounds.

Edgard Zayas will ride the  5-year-old Burn  the Mortgage for trainer and owner Mike  Maker.

Grand Tito is wheeling back after finishing second  last Saturday at Gulfstream in the $75,000 Skip Trial at 1 1/16 miles on dirt.  He finished 1 ¾  lengths behind Csaba.

On May 24, Grand Tito won the Miami  Mile (Grade 3) on the turf at Calder  Casino  & Race Course.  He is a 4-year-old son of Candy Ride.

Manoel Cruz will ride Grand Tito for trainer/owner Mike Maker.
The Eight Miles East  has several horses, including Decisive Moment,  that likely will seek the lead.  That could ensure a fast pace and help horses such as Burn the Mortgage, Grand Tito and Dashing David that  will not be on the the lead.

The Eight Miles East is named for an aspect of  the July 2013 to June 2014 head-to-head weekend racing between Gulfstream  and Calder.  Gulfstream, in Hallandale Beach, is eight miles east of Calder  in Miami Gardens, Fla.

The  Eight Miles East is the ninth  race with post time of 5:30 p.m.

By the Numbers: Gulfstream had 96 starters in its ten races Friday. It has averaged an impressive 9.2 starters per race during its 14 racing days since July 1,  following the end of head-to-head racing with Calder.

Gulfstream had all-sources handle of $3,607,927 on Friday. It has averaged $3.8 million per day this month, compared with about $3 million during the second half of June.

The Gulfstream handle was almost $400,000 more than Monmouth Park which began its biggest annual weekend that will be topped by the Haskell Invitational (Grade 1) for 3-year-olds on Sunday.

Monmouth in Oceanport,  N.J., had  $3,281,307 in handle  for 10 races.  It had 74 starters.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gulfstream Report: Golden Jason Wins Turf Feature


Staff Report

Thursday, July 24 -- Golden Jason led gate to wire and  beat Drover Road  by 3 ½ lengths  in today’s feature race at Gulfstream Park.

The 4-year-old colt won the $40,000 one mile turf race in 1:36.30 over a course listed as firm.  As the 8-5 second choice, he paid $5.20, $3.60 and $3.20.

The win was the second in a row for Golden Jason at Gulfstream. On June 22, he won a seven furlong dirt race--again showing early speed.

In today’s turf race, Tale of the Heart finished third followed by the 7-5 favorite Tenth Star.

Jose Valdivia Jr.  rode Golden Jason in both races.

On June 15 at Gulfstream, Tenth  Star rallied down the stretch to win a 1 1/16 mile $25,000 optional claimer on turf. Golden Jason finished third after racing in second place most of the way.

The difference in the rematch was that Golden Jason was able to set a comfortable pace with fractions of :25.10 and :49.26 for the first half mile before pulling away to victory.

Edward Coletti, Jr., Golden Jason’s trainer, said he chose Thursday’s race based more on race conditions than surface.  It was a $62,500  optional claimer for horses that had never won two races other than maiden, starter or claiming races.      

“He runs just as well on the turf as he does on dirt. The two-other-thans don’t come around too often, and the mile (distance) was good,” Coletti said.

Unless his trainer can find another condition, Golden Jason is likely to return in a stakes race on turf or dirt.

Golden Jason, a son of Kitten’s Joy, is owned by Olympia Star Inc. He has three wins in 13 career starts, hitting the board in all but three races. Those were turf stakes last year--two at Monmouth Park and one at Arlington Park,

Rainbow 6:  There were multiple winning tickets on the Rainbow 6, with each receiving a payoff of  $2,553.44.

This  Quay Home, at 3-1, won by a nose over the late-running Afleet Allie, at 9-2, in the ninth and  final race.

By the Numbers: There were 79 starters in today’s nine races,  for an average of 8.8.   All-sources handle was $2,671,805.

Since July 1 and  the  end of head-to-head weekend racing against Calder  Casino &  Race Course, Gulfstream has been  averaging 9.3 starters per race and almost $4.0 million in daily handle.

Thursday is usually Gulfstream’s lowest handle day because  it has nine races,  compared with ten on Friday and  Sunday and 11 on  Saturday.

What’s  Ahead: Gulfstream will have  ten  races on Friday with first post of 1:15 p.m.

On Saturday, the feature will be the $75,000 Eight Miles East at 1 1/16 miles on turf for 3-year-olds and up.

Large Fields Again This Week at Gulfstream

By Jim Freer

Thursday, July 24 -- Gulfstream Park will  resume its Thursday-to-Sunday summer meet this afternoon with a nine-race card that has 91 entrants, including one Also Eligible.

Gulfstream’s number of entrants per race  also is just over ten for this Friday  and Saturday. That sets it up for a continuation of the impressive handle it has generated this month, following the June 29 end  of its head-to-head weekend racing with South Florida neighbor Calder Casino & Race Course.

Our review of Equibase Co. charts shows  that Gulfstream has averaged 9.3 starters per race with average daily all-sources handle of $3.9 million for its 12 racing days between July 1 and July 20.

For the four days between July 17 and July 20, Gulfstream averaged 9.5 starters and $4.0 million in handle. Breakdowns between live and off-site handle were not available.

Gulfstream’s fields are among the largest at the country’s leading Thoroughbred tracks, and last weekend  its total handle virtually tied for third place with  Monmouth Park.  Only Saratoga and Del  Mar are generating higher handle than  Gulfstream.

Gulfstream’s July numbers compare very favorably with  last month, when its average daily handle was in the $3 million  range and  average starters were just over eight per race.  Calder’s handle was in the $800,000 to $900,000 range during  the second half of June, with averages of six  or seven  starters most days.

Basically,  the schedule change has  left South Florida with one track racing four days a week rather than two tracks racing every Friday through Sunday--with Gulfstream’s higher and rising purse structure.

Calder was averaging about $100,000 in purses per day for its eight-race cards.

Gulfstream this month is averaging ten races a day.  It had average purses of $220,000 for the four days between July 17 to July 20. Starting today, it is raising purses an  average of 10 percent a day under an agreement with the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and  Protective Association.

Trainer Carlo Vaccarezza is among South Florida horsemen who, along with  Gulfstream management, expect that the track’s field sizes and handle numbers will grow during  the next several weeks.

“I think the field sizes and handle are fantastic, and (Gulfstream) vice president of racing) P.J. Campo is doing a great job,” said Vaccarezza, the managing partner of Little  Dreams Racing LLC.

“P.J. came down here in the middle  of the mess with Calder,” he added.  “Now he and the racing office can  plan a schedule where they don’t have to  deal with Calder also running. We  will  keep seeing the 12-horse fields that bettors like.”

Gulfstream has 1,250 horses in its stables and access to 450 more at Calder.  Its affiliate Palm Meadows training center in Boynton Beach is closed for resurfacing and will re-open by September.

From his own contacts and information from Gulfstream, Vaccarezza has heard that some trainers  who do the Saratoga-Belmont-Gulfstream circuit will send some of their horses directly to Gulfstream after  Saratoga ends its meet early in September.

In addition, he expects that a continuation of strong Gulfstream numbers will result in some trainers soon sending down some horses from Arlington Park  near  Chicago and from Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.
                                                                                                                                                                    Those  horses also will be available to run at Calder from Oct. 7 to Nov. 30 in a meet conducted  by Gulfstream.

On Friday, Gulfstream will have ten races with 111 entrants.  That includes three Also Eligibles and five  Main Track  Only  runners.  Saturday’s 11-race card has 117 entrants, including four Also  Eligibles and two for the Main Track Only.

Even with routine numbers of scratches, the average field size should  be near or above ten each day.

Gulfstream this afternoon will release  its entries for Sunday.

One point of reference for Gulfstream is that from last Friday  through  Sunday, it beat Monmouth Park in average handle per race--with about $430,000 per race compared with $390,000.

Monmouth has a long-entrenched summer-fall meet that is popular with fans  in its surrounding New Jersey shore communities and it has a nationwide simulcast and ADW fan base.

By keeping  pace with Monmouth, Gulfstream is showing the popularity of its brand for fans watching on TV and computer screens--even though it is in just its second season of summer racing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gulfstream-Tested East Hall Wins Ohio Derby

By Jim Freer

Sunday, July 20 -- A headline today in the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s  on-line edition /reads:  East Hall shocks favorites in $300,000 Ohio Derby at ThistleDown Racino.

Well,  Cleveland,  a lot of racing folks here in Florida beg to differ about the word “shock.”  East Hall’s exciting Ohio Derby win on Saturday was far from a surprise to those who saw his very respectable races this year in Gulfstream Park’s stakes for 3-year-olds.  

East Hall, trained by Bill Kaplan, ran in four Gulfstream stakes races.  He finished between second and fifth while chasing the likes of Constitution, Wildcat Red and  General a Rod across the finish line.

The competition was easier but still respectable in the 1 1/16 mile Ohio Derby at Thistledown in North Randall, which is  near Cleveland.

On Sunday, back at Gulfstream, Kaplan said that going into the Ohio  Derby “I felt we were the best in the field.”

Still, East Hall was the third  betting choice  at 9-1.

East Hall, always a strong closer,  passed five horses in the final furlong and beat Jessica’s Star by a nose. He was ridden by his  regular jockey Juan Leyva and ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.22 in a light rain on a track listed as wet fast.

Jessica’s star, at 2-1, finished 2 ¼ lengths ahead of  the 3-2 favorite Almost Famous. Those two horses battled for the lead during most of  the race.

At  Gulfstream  this year, Almost Famous finished fourth in the Holy Bull (Grade 2) and 11th in the Fountain of Youth (Grade 2). East Hall did not run in the Holy Bull and came in fourth in the Fountain of Youth.

Jessica’s Star came into  the Ohio Derby off a  victory in the Iowa  Derby (Grade 3) at Prairie Meadows on June  28.

East Hall won the Ohio Derby despite having the outside post in the 11-horse field.  He was forced several paths wide on the first turn.  Leyva kept him in the  clear on the backstretch.  Then he began his move that led to him catching Jessica’s  Star at the wire.
It was the first stakes win and third victory in 16 career starts for the Florida-bred East Hall, who is owned by H. Jack Hendricks and Roger Justice.

“He ran against some of the best 3-year-olds in the country in his Gulfstream races,” Kaplan said.  “I felt that we had a very good chance (in Ohio) even after we drew the outside post.”

The gelded son of Graeme Hall finished third in the Gulfstream Park Derby, fourth in the Fountain of Youth (Grade 2) and fifth in the Florida Derby (Glade 1).  He prepped for the Ohio Derby with a second-place finish behind Wildcat Red in the Quality Road  at Gulfstream on June 28.

At least thus far, none of  the 3-year-olds that ran at Gulfstream are regarded as superstars. But based on stakes wins at other tracks and their strong showings  in Triple Crown races, that group is one of the deepest to come out of Gulfstream in several years.

On Sunday, Kaplan mentioned the $75,000 Monarchos Stakes, at one mile at Gulfstream on Aug. 30, and the $400,000 Super Derby (Grade 2)  at 1 1/8 miles at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 6, as possible targets for East  Hall.
Because he is a gelding,  fans can look forward to seeing East Hall run in stakes races in South Florida and nationally for several more years. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Csaba Wins Skip Trial at Gulfstream

By Jim Freer

Saturday, July 19 --Trainer Phil Gleaves calls Csaba “a grinder,” and his veteran  star showed that grit again on Saturday in winning the $75,000 Skip Trial Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Csaba caught the leader Palatine  Hill in the final turn and  dueled with him until taking the lead about 150 yards from the  wire.  Csaba then held off a late run by Grand Tito and won by 1 ¾ lengths.

Palatine Hill, the 5-2 favorite, and Kings  Over finished in a dead heat for third--one half length behind Grand Tito.

Csaba, at 7-2,  paid $9.40, $5.40 and $3.00.

With regular jockey Manoel Cruz riding, Csaba covered the 1  1/16 mile distance in the solid but not  spectacular  time of  1:43.12 on a track listed as fast.

It was Csaba’s ninth stakes win, and his third at Gulfstream.  The other six were at Calder Casino & Race Course.

Csaba was equipped with blinkers for his second straight stakes victory.  That previous win was in the Memorial Handicap at Calder on May 24.

“I put blinkers on him for his last two starts. That’s given him a new lease on life. He’s gotten a lot sharper,” Gleaves said. “He was acting sharper saddling; he was sharper in the paddock. It was something to change him up a little bit.”
Gleaves said Csaba’s next race likely will be the $100,000 Alydar Stakes on Aug. 17 at Saratoga.

Gulfstream Rainbow 6 Hit for $149,051

Staff Report

Saturday, July 19 -- There was just one winning  ticket, for $149,051, on Gulfstream Park’s Rainbow 6 bet for Saturday.

All other tickets were eliminated when 52-1 Eclipticalswildcat rolled to a gate-to-wire victory in the day’s 11th and final race, a $6,250 claimer at 5 ½ furlongs on the dirt.  In addition, that longshot’s win prevented anyone from hitting the Super Hi-Five on the last race--leading to a third straight carryover.

The Rainbow 6 winning 9-9-5-9-6-12 ticket was purchased on Xpressbet, the Advance Deposit Wagering service owned by Gulfstream’s parent The Stronach Group.  As of Saturday night, the winning bettor had not been identified.

Gulfstream is guaranteeing that there will be a payout of at least $50,000 if there is just one winning ticket on Sunday’s Rainbow 6. It  begins with the fifth race abd scheduled post time of 3:21 p.m.
The Rainbow 6 is a 20-cent only bet that requires picking the winners of each  of the  day’s last six races. Multiple horses are permitted in each race for the bet.

Gulfstream pays out the full Rainbow 6 pool (each day’s bets plus any carryover) only on days when there is just one  winning ticket.   On other days,  winning  ticket holders divide 70 percent of the  day’s Rainbow 6 bets, with the remainder going into the carryover.

On Sunday, Gulfstream will have a carryover of
$54,480.81 on its Super Hi-Five bet on the tenth  and final race.  The $1 minimum bet requires picking the first five horses in the day’s final race--a superfecta plus one.

Saturday was the third straight day when no bettors hit the Super Hi-Five.

Holdinbullets, the 4-5 favorite, finished second behind the 52-1 winner. The odds on the third through fifth place finishers were 138-1, 32-1 and 16-1.

Gulfstream paid a consolation 12-6-ALL-ALL-AL of $136.50.  There were winners of the superfecta, at $5,520.03 for a10-cent bet.

The race had 13 starters,  on a day  when Gulfstream had 105 starters in 11 races.  That average of  9.5 has been  reached by Gulfstream several times since July 1--after Calder Casino & Race Course stopped racing on  the  same days as Gulfstream.

As expected, the large field sizes have helped Gulfstream increase its  average daily all-sources handle to almost $4 million this month, compared  with about $3 million per day in June.

In many races, particularly  claiming,  longshots  are coming in and bringing  about huge payoffs.          

This past Friday was an  example, when 75-1 long shot Argavi won the ninth and last race.

That produced the rare situation of no Rainbow 6  tickets with all  six winners.  So, the bet paid off on five of six winners, with each ticket worth $5,334.20.

With no bettors hitting  Friday’s  Super Hi-Five,  the consolation 4-10-ALL-ALL-ALL  payoff was $154.70.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Csaba Heads Saturday Stakes Field at Gulfstream

Staff Report

Saturday, July 19 -- Csaba, a career winner of eight stakes races, heads the eight-horse field for today‘s $75,000 Skip Trial Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

The Skip Trial is 1 1/16 miles on dirt for 3-year-olds and up. It is the 10th race, with scheduled  post time of 6:03 p.m.  Gulfstream will have 11 races with  first post at 1:15 p.m.      

The 5-year-old  Csaba will make his first start since winning the   Memorial Handicap, also at 1 1/16 miles  on dirt, on May 24 at Calder Casino & Race Course.

Manoel Cruz rode Csaba in that race and has the mount again for trainer Phil Gleaves.
Two of Csaba’s stakes wins have been  at Gulfstream and six have been at  Calder. He is generally regarded as the  top  older  stakes  horse stabled most of the year at Gulfstream.

Csaba has raced on the lead in  some races and has used  stalking tactics in others.  Gleaves and Cruz could use  the second tactic because four other Skip Trial entrants often seek the lead.

They are Palatine Hill, Kings Over, Sr. Quisqueyano and Grand Tito.  Csaba has post six, outside all but Grand Tito.

Leadem In Ken and Flatter This likely will  trail  in the early stages and could hit the board if a fast pace cooks some early leaders.

Argentine Tango is winless in his last eight races, and will probably be the longest price in the race.  But it should be noted that he is from  the barn of owner Fred Brei and trainer Stan Gold. They have become known for hitting the board with longshots in  South Florida stakes races, as well as their stellar record in  2-year-old stakes.    

Rainbow 6  Carryover
Gulfstream on Saturday will have a guaranteed carryover jackpot of $150,000 on its Rainbow 6 bet on the day’s last six races.

The Rainbow 6 is a 20-cent only bet that requires picking the winners of each  of the  day’s last six races. Multiple horses are permitted in each race for the bet.

Gulfstream pays out the full Rainbow 6 pool (each day’s bets plus any carryover) only on days when there is just one  winning ticket.   On other days,  winning  ticket holders divide 70 percent of the  day’s Rainbow 6 bets, with the remainder going into the carryover.

Friday was  a  rare day when there were no Rainbow 6  tickets with all  six winners.

That happened because 75-1 long shot Argavi won the ninth and last race. So, the bet paid off on five of six winners, with each ticket worth $5334.20.      


Wildcat Red Aims to be The Boss in Haskell

By Jim Freer

Friday, July 18 --When Wildcat Red and the other horses come onto the track for the $1 million Haskell Invitational, Monmouth Park’s sound system will be blasting out “Born to Run” by New Jersey’s legendary Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

“That’s Red.  He loves to race and  always  wants to keep running when  he’s out there in the morning,” Wildcat Red’s co-owner Josie Martino Delfino said Friday when told that Springsteen’s breakthrough  hit is the signature song for the Haskell (Grade 1) that will be run July 27.

It is the biggest  race each year at the track in Oceanport, N,J,--about ten miles north of the clubs in Asbury  Park where  the saga of “The Boss” and his band began in the 1970s.

At Gulfstream Park in  Hallandale  Beach. Fla., this year, Wildcat Red won the Hutcheson (Grade 3)  and Fountain of Youth (Grade 2) and finished second by a neck to Constitution in the Florida Derby (Grade 1).  He will be among the favorites in the Haskell, at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds.

“I know the song,” Martino Delfino said by phone from Caracas, Venezuela, with her enthusiasm almost seeping through the line. “Yes.  Red was born to run, and that makes it more exciting,”

She owns Wildcat Red with her husband Salvatore Delfino.  They have homes in Venezuela and in the Miami area, and are in the restaurant and wine import-export business.

“We’ll be getting there (Monmouth Park) next Thursday the 23rd, and we can’t wait to see Red again and see the race,”  said Martino Delfino, who usually  refers to the horse by the shortened  version of his name. “He is just our second horse and he is like a family member, almost like a son.”

Wildcat Cat left his home track Gulfstream by van on Monday and arrived at Monmouth Park on Tuesday.  He is under the  care  of Nick Galati, the top assistant to trainer Jose Garoffalo who will travel to New  Jersey  early  nest week.  Garoffalo plans to have Wildcat Red breeze on the Monmouth  track this Sunday.

“Jose called and said that Red loved the track when he galloped this morning,” Martino Delfino said  “He tells us that Monmouth is a lot  like Gulfstream, and that makes it a good track for Wildcat Red.”

That means speed-favoring. Wildcat Red has raced on or near the lead in  almost all of his races--with five  wins and  three second place  finishes in nine starts.

Wildcat Red’s only race  away from Gulfstream and only finish lower than second was 18th  in the Kentucky Derby on May 3, when he was bumped and squeezed twice during the run to the first turn at Churchill Downs.

Wildcat Red suffered a one-inch cut near his right front cannon bone and also came out of the race with bruises on both left legs.

After some rest and an un-rushed  return to  training, Wildcat  Red came back to win the $75,000 Quality Road Stakes at Gulfstream on June 28.  He beat East Hall by 10 ¼ lengths and won the  1 1/16 mile race in the fast time of 1:42.70 while being ridden out by Luis  Saez.

“He overcame all the problems he had in the (Kentucky) Derby,” Garoffalo told the Gulfstream media office. “He now is a bigger horse, stronger than he was a couple of months ago. Mentally, he has grown as a racehorse.”

The Delfinos had several dozen friends and family members with them in the winner’s circle after the Quality Road--similar to the gatherings for Wildcat Red’s other Gulfstream races.

“Not  having all  of  Red’s fans there will be the thing we’ll  miss most about not racing at Gulfstream,”  Martino Delfino said.  “The Gulfstream  fans love him.  When we were in the winner’s  circle after the Quality Road, some of them were saying  ‘Red’s back,  Red’s back.’”

They will have a cheering  section, although smaller, with several family members for Wildcat Red at the Haskell.   Saez will again have the mount.

The  Delfinos go to Gulfstream to  see Wildcat Red most mornings when  they are in Florida.  They talk  by phone with  Garoffalo, a native of Venezuela, on other days.

Wildcat  Red is a son of D’wildcat, a  multiple sprint stakes winner. His mother Racene has a distance-heavy pedigree.

Wildcat Red is one of the five horses the Delfinos own for their Honors Stable Corp.

It is  named for Trippi Honor, their first  horse who won four races while trained  by Garoffalo.  Now a  6-year-old, she is in Ocala where she will become a broodmare.

The Delfinos’ three other horses are in training with Garoffalo at Gulfstream.  Capriccio Blue is a 4-year-old filly.  Lucky Delfino and Black Martino are 2-year-old colts that Garoffalo is preparing for their first starts.

The Haskell will be the first match-up of Wildcat Red and Social Inclusion, another Gulfstream-stabled star owned and trained by native Venezuelans.  

Social Inclusion set a Gulfstream track record of 1:40.97 for 1 1/16 miles when he won an allowance on March  12.  He later finished third in the Preakness Stakes.  Ron Sanchez  and his Rontos Racing Stable own Social Inclusion, who is trained by Manny Azpurua.

The Haskell will attract national attention partly because of the filly Untapable, the winner of this year’s Kentucky Oaks (Grade 1).  Bayern, Medal Count,  Albano  and Just Call Kenny also are likely entrants  in a  field  that could be as large as ten horses.

Bayern, Albano and Social Inclusion  also have  early  speed.  Post positions will be among factors  for Garoffalo to decide whether Saez should  seek the  early lead or keep Wildcat Red several lengths off it.

The Travers (Grade 1) at 1 ¼ miles at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 23 is the likely next race for Wildcat Red and other horses if they turn in  good showings in the Haskell.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Gulfstream to Raise Purses

Note: This article is based on an article  click here  published Thursday by click here
Both  are written by Jim Freer, Blood-Horse correspondent and editorial director of  this Web site.

Friday, July 18 -- Gulfstream Park announced on Thursday that it will increase purses an average of 10 percent starting with its July 24 Condition Book and also offer a $250 starter incentive to help horsemen offset the cost of workers' compensation.

In  a news release, Gulfstream said  the  purse increase is the result of an agreement signed July 1 between Gulfstream and Calder Casino & Race Course that ended a dates conflict and head-to-head weekend racing.

Gulfstream did not provide specific numbers.  But a comparison of upcoming  Fridays  shows purses  of $194,375 for  nine races  on July 18 and  of $238,000 for nine races July 25.   Both days’ numbers  include Florida Owners’ Awards.

Gulfstream, in Hallandale Beach,  Fla., added that “since the agreement was signed, Gulfstream's total handle and field size has increased significantly.”   It did not provide specific numbers,.

However,  a Blood-Horse review of  Equibase  Co. charts showed that Gulfstream averaged an impressive $3.9 million in all-sources handle for its eight race days between July 1 and July 13.

The last day of head-to-head racing was June 29.  Gulfstream’s average daily handle was in the $3 million range  and Calder’s was in the $800,000 to $900,000 range during  the second half of June.

This past weekend of July 11-13, Gulfstream had average daily all-sources handle of $4.3 million. Gulfstream had 30 races over the three days with  an average of 9.6 starters per race.  It averaged  about eight horses per race during the second  half of last month.

Last weekend’s average wagering  per day on Gulfstream races was 59 percent higher than its $2.7 million on the June 27 to June 29 weekend--the last during which Calder  also had racing.

Gulfstream added that it has also made significant strides in reinvigorating the Florida 2-year-old program and the $1.4 million Florida Sire Stakes, which begins August 9.

"The solid increases we've seen in field size and handle confirms our long-held belief that a dates agreement would benefit racing and horsemen," Gulfstream President Tim Ritvo said. "Our strategy is to continue building Florida racing for our bettors, horsemen and breeders and create a healthy year-round racing program.”

Ritvo added: "Because of our increase in handle we will offer a $250 starter bonus to our horsemen through October 4 to help offset the cost of workers' compensation. While this will help in the short-term, our goal continues to work with horsemen on a long-term solution to workers' compensation."

Phil Combest, president of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA), said: "Florida horsemen are excited about summer racing again for the first time in years. A purse increase, starter incentive, the best field sizes in the country, and a track that is marketing and publicizing the sport. Why wouldn't we be optimistic?"

Gulfstream  is in  its  summer meet that will  run  through Oct. 4.  It has racing  Thursdays through Sundays,  with first  post time of   1:15 p.m.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Gulfstream: First Post of 1:15 Starting Friday

Wednesday, July 16 -- Gulfstream  Park announced today that it will have  a first post time of 1:15 p.m. Eastern starting this Friday July 18.

Gulfstream’s  first post tomorrow will be 1:25 p.m. for its nine races.  Gulfstream will have racing Thursdays through Sundays until Oct. 4. Racing will then shift to Calder Casino & Race Course for eight weeks before going back to Gulfstream from December through  next June.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gulfstream Handle Rises Sharply Following Calder Deal

By Jim Freer

Now that it has stopped racing head-to-head with Calder Casino & Race Course, Gulfstream Park is generating some impressive and expected increases in its handle and field sizes.

Gulfstream’s all-sources handle fot July is approaching an average $4 million  a day--up about 30 percent from last month. The average field size, under eight some days last month, could hit ten for this week.

The two South Florida  tracks signed their landmark race dates  agreement on July 1. Their last head-to-head racing day was Sunday June 29.

For its eight race days this month, Gulfstream is averaging $3.9 million in daily all-sources handle.  A  review of Equibase Co. charts for the second half of  June shows Gulfstream with average handle in the $3 million  range and Calder in the $900,000 range.

Rather than both tracks racing Fridays through Sundays, for a total of  six race cards, South Florida’s only Thoroughbred racing is now Thursdays through Sundays at Gulfstream.

There are fewer races, the overall quality is better and there are more horses per  race.  That  has led to more interest from bettors, at Gulfstream and at other tracks and home computers around the country.

This past weekend of July 11 to July 13, Gulfstream had average daily all-sources handle of $4.3 million. Gulfstream had 30 races over the three days with  an average of 9.6 starters per race.  It averaged  about eight horses per race during the second  half of last month.

Last weekend’s average wagering  per day on Gulfstream races was 59 percent higher than its $2.7 million on the June 27 to June 29 weekend--the last during which Calder  also had racing.

“Our field sizes have quickly grown over the last two weeks and are the largest in the country this weekend,” Gulfstream Park President Tim Ritvo said on Friday July 11.  “Now that we are racing four days a week, we expect the quality of our racing to continue growing with our weekend stakes.”

Breakdowns are not readily available for Gulfstream on live handle, betting at other tracks and  advance deposit wagering.

Gulfstream’s summer meet will extend until Oct. 4.  Racing will move to Calder for  two months from Oct. 7 to Nov.30, with Gulfstream running the meet under its lease agreement.

This is Gulfstream’s second summer of racing, and first without same day competition from Calder.

Partly due to the popularity of its brand name for simulcast bettors. Gulfstream is approaching the well-entrenched Monmouth Park  in handle.  Monmouth, in Oceanport. N.J., had average daily all-sources handle of $4.8 million last weekend.

Gulfstream’s $4.3 million average was one of its best for a weekend since this past April. Gulfstream had average daily all-sources handle of $8.3  million for its 2013-14 winter meet.

A big test of Gulfstream’s summer popularity with bettors around the country will start when Saratoga begins its annual meet this Friday.

Gulfstream will compete with sheer numbers, and with at least one stakes race each Saturday.

There are 1,250 horses stabled at Gulfstream and 450 at Calder.  Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s affiliate training  center in Boynton Beach is closed for resurfacing until  early September.

This Thursday, Gulfstream  will have nine races with 108 entries including also eligibles and  main track only runners.  On Friday, it will have nine races with 102 entries including AE and MTO runners. First post is 1:25 p.m. each day.

Gold, O'Connell 2-Year-Olds Win at Gulfstream

The trainer-owner teams of Fred Brei-Stanley Gold and Gilbert Campbell-Kathleen O'Connell were almost  dominant the past several years in stakes for 2-year-olds at Calder Casino & Race Course.

On Saturday, they continued that success as South Florida's 2-year-old stakes shifted to Gulfstream Park.

Sing Praises, from the Brei-Gold barn, won the $75,000 Birdonthewire Stakes for males.  Coco's Wildcat, from the Campbell-O'Connell, won the $75,000 Cassidy Stakes for fillies.  Both races were 5  1/2  furlongs on dirt.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Gulfstream-Calder Racing Dates Truce Announced

 by Jim Freer
Saturday, July 5 - The Gulfstream-Calder racing dates battle is finally over, and thoroughbred racing is back to normal in South Florida with only one track racing at a time.

Gulfstream Park will be that track for ten of the next 12 months. Calder Casino & Race Course will have racing this October and November, with Gulfstream running that operation as part of a six-year lease agreement.

The two tracks, just eight miles apart, raced head-to-head on weekends from last July through Sunday June 29. 

On Tuesday July 1, the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering approved the peace agreement between the two tracks and their parents.  The financial details of the transaction are not yet available. But we will attempt to find that information - and when we uncover anything we will quickly post it on this Web site. 

Details on the Gulfstream-Calder dispute and settlement and what’s ahead can be found in our July 4 Blood-Horse article

Through Oct. 5, Gulfstream will have racing Thursdays to Sundays, with first post at 1:25 p.m.

Gulfstream will have its Summer Stakes Spectacular today, with five sprint stakes on its 11-race card.


The stakes are substitutes for the graded stakes races that were to be part of Calder’s Summit of Speed that was scheduled for July 5. Calder on June 16 cancelled the Summit of Speed in anticipation that it would not be running this July,


Details on today’s Gulfstream stakes are on the track’s Web site:

We will have a report on those stakes races tomorrow.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Belmont Picks Fall Short, with California Chrome

By  Inside Florida Horse Racing  Staff

Sunday, June 8 - Our selections for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes went down the drain along with California Chrome’s bid to win the race and become the first Triple Crown champion since 1978.

None of our $50 in recommended bets produced a wining ticket.

Still, we came out ahead for the three Triple Crown races because of our winning bets on  the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

Our combined three-race wagers of  $138 produced a payout of $235.60. Our recommendations made $97.60; a 71 percent return on investment.
Our Belmont bets lost because we did not include second-place finisher Commissioner  and only had the winner Tonalist second in an exacta and on the bottom in a trifecta and a superfecta.

We will resume our  handicapping in July, with analysis of the stakes races at Gulfstream Park.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Our Belmont Stakes Picks Today

By Inside Florida Horse Racing Staff

Saturday, June 7th
Hallandale Beach, Florida

It will be California Chrome followed by the same horses that chased him home in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

That is our prediction for today’s Belmont Stakes. We are picking Ride on Curlin to finish second with Commanding Curve, Wicked Strong, Tonalist and General a Rod also in the exacta and trifecta mix. Our race analysis can be found in the story immediately underneath this posting. 

Our strategy is based on placing between $40 and $50 in hedge-style bets.

Here are the Belmont Stakes entries:

1 - Medal Count
2 - California Chrome
3 - Matterhorn
4 - Commanding Curve
5 - Ride on Curlin
6 - Mastuszak
7 - Samraat
8 - Commissioner
9 - Wicked Strong
10- General a Rod
11- Tonalist

 Suggested bets:

* $3 place and show on 4 and 5, $12 total

* $1 exacta box 2 4 5 9, $12 total

* $1 exacta part wheel, $8 total           

First      2 5
Second 2 4 5 10 11

* 50 cent trifecta box 2 4 5, $3 total

* 50 cent trifecta part wheel, $9 total

First 2
Second 4 5 9
Third 1 4 5 7 9 10 11

* 50 cent superfecta part wheel, $6 total 
First 2
Second 5
Third 4 9 11
Fourth 4 7 9 10 11

Total wagers - $50

Predicted order of finish:

First -- California Chrome 
Second -- Ride on Curlin 
Third -- Commanding Curve
Fourth -- Wicked Strong

Note -- In our combined Kentucky Derby/Preakness selections we wagered $88.00 for a return of $235.60. As part of a hedging strategy, we hit the $1 exacta for $170 in the Derby and the $1 trifecta for $38 in the Preakness.


Friday, June 6, 2014

All Signs Point to Chrome Shining Brightly

by Jim Freer

Friday, June 6 - It seems like it will be downright un-American to root against California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.

It also might be downright foolish to bet against the colt  and  his colorful owners as he attempts to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

California Chrome by all accounts still appears fresh following his wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, which earned him a bandwagon of followers and accolades as the latest “America’s Horse.”  In those two victories, Victor Espinoza had  him geared down near the finish.  He should have gas in his tank for the 1 ½ mile distance, and should get another trip that would enable him to hold  off any closers.

We will post our Belmont Stakes predictions and suggested bets on Saturday morning. A starting point for our handicapping is that California Chrome will again control the race, but in  a slightly different way. Unlike the Kentucky Derby and  Preakness, the Belmont does not have entrants that will likely stage  a speed duel that California Chrome will stalk for  the first  mile or so.
Instead, the versatile California Chrome could  take an early lead and with his tactical speed prove difficult to catch. 

Tonalist and  Samraat are the other horses that  could  inherit the early lead by default. We are among those who expect that neither will be able  to stay with California Chrome after the field comes out of the final turn.

Samraat joined California Chrome in tracking the pace in the Derby, and held on to finish fifth. 
The lightly-raced Tonalist was a fast winner of the 1-1/8 mile Peter  Pan at  Belmont on May  10.  He did  that  on a sloppy track that apparently didn’t suit some rivals.  On Saturday, the sandy and deep Belmont track will be fast and the competition will be tougher.

So with California Chrome almost certain  to be less than even money, we are planning a strategy of exotic bets with  him on top - and then determining the order of  finish underneath  him in the trifecta and superfecta wagers.

It also would be wise to bet some exacta boxes - including one with California Chrome and three other horses that would pay off well if two of the others finish first and second.

We are leaning toward the closers Commanding Curve,  Ride on Curlin and Wicked Strong who have all had one strong Triple Crown race.  Medal Count, Tonalist, General a Rod and  Samraat also should be considered for the trifecta and superfecta.
Here are pros and cons of several contenders:
* Commanding Curve - He finished second in the Kentucky  Derby at 37-1, running a fast closing quarter mile as  he surged past tiring horses without  posing a threat to California Chrome.  He did not run in the Preakness, and thus will be fresh in the Belmont. There are still plenty of doubters - thus presenting another betting opportunity.

 * Ride on Curlin - His second  place run in the Preakness was as impressive as  Commanding Curve in the Derby. One concern is that the Belmont will be his fourth  race since April 12.  But he reportedly is looking strong, and might have the best chance to upset California Chrome. He will have his fifth jockey in as many races in John Velazquez.  Joel Rosario, who rode him  in the Preakness, is staying on Tonalist.
* Wicked Strong - He finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby  despite a troubled trip.  This aptly named high - strung colt  has  big upside potential, or could run a clunker.

Note - In our combined Kentucky Derby / Preakness selections we wagered $88 for a return of $235.60. As part of a  hedging  strategy, we hit the $1 exacta for $170 in the Derby and  the $1 trifecta for a $38 payoff in the Preakness.

Some History
California Chrome is the ninth horse since 1997 that has won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.  Seven of  the eight other horses lost the Belmont - with six of them leading or in contention as the field came out of the final turn.

In 2008,  Big Brown was boxed in early and then was unable to make his expected move around the final turn. Jockey  Kent Desormeaux  then pulled Big Brown up for a Did Not Finish  that was unpopular and is still controversial.

In 2012, I’ll Have Another did not  run in the Belmont because of  a career-ending  injury that his connections discovered  the day before the race.

Belmont Park’s dirt track is 1 ½ miles.  It  is 1,097 feet (about 360 yards) from the end of the  far turn to the finish line.  The  Belmont Stakes is one lap. 
Do the math, and you’ll find that the horses will have run 1 ¼ miles - the Kentucky Derby distance, when  they  are coming out of the turn.
California Chrome and the other horses will be entering  some un-chartered waters; or make that dirt.
For  various reasons, these recent  Kentucky Derby-Preakness winners came up short in the Belmont: Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), Charismatic (1999), War  Emblem (2002), Funny Cide (2003) and Smarty Jones (2004).

We expect that California Chrome will “outrun his pedigree,” handle the added distance and end the 36-year Triple Crown drought.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Our Handicapping Wins - Preakness Trifecta Follows Kentucky Derby Exacta

by Inside Florida Horse Racing Staff
May 19, '14

If you made our suggested Kentucky Derby and Preakness bets you almost tripled your money via some hedge betting.  

Inside Florida Horse Racing’s Triple Crown handicapping has produced a winner in both races, with a combined profit 2.7 times our suggested bets - and we owe it largely to second place finishers Commanding Curve and Ride on Curlin. 

Our predictions blogged Satuday on the Preakness Stakes included a winning $1 trifecta box of California Chrome, Ride on Curlin and Social Inclusion.  That $6 bet paid $38.00 and helped produce a total payoff of $65.60 on $42 in bets - for a 56 percent return on investment. 

That followed our Kentucky Derby bets of $46 that returned $170, all on a $1 exacta box with five horses that included favorite California Chrome and the 37-1 shot Commanding Curve. 

Through these two races, our $88 in betting has paid $235.60. That is  a 167 percent return on investment, also  calculated as a return 2.67  times the money bet, using a hedge betting strategy. 

Our Preakness predictions, posted Saturday morning, had two $1 exacta boxes.  Both came through, and both paid $9.10 with California Chrome and Ride on Curlin. 

Unfortunately, one of those bets was a $1 exacta box with  five horses for a $20 outlay. We had California Chrome, Ride on Curlin and three other horses. We knew that the $1 payoff  probably would pay less than our $20 wager if California Chrome won. But the payoff would be very good if California Chrome did not win or finish  second. We were ahead because of a similar Derby bet, so we figured “let’s try it  again.”  

We hit the Preakness trifecta with a box that numerous bettors used. But as noted below,  we predicted it cold.

Our other Preakness bets were $2 to Place and Show on Ride on Curlin and on Kid Cruz, who came in eighth. Ride on Curlin paid $5.60 and $3.80. 

For the Preakness, our predicted order of  finish was:  California Chrome, Ride on Curlin, Social Inclusion, Kid Cruz.  That fell through  when General a Rod came in fourth.  We did not have a superfecta in our recommended bets. 

Our handicapping is based on a hedge-type strategy for a bettor who can spend about $40. Naturally and caveat emptor, it can be used with bets larger than $1 and $2.Our next handicapping will be for the Belmont Stakes on June 7th. Starting June 15th we will handicap each Saturday’s feature stakes race at Gulfstream  Park, or at Calder Casino &  Race Course. Stay tuned for a summer of racing.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Our Preakness Picks

by Inside Florida Horse Racing Staff

17 May '14
For  the Kentucky Derby, our main bet was a  $1 exacta box with five horses, including California Chrome and Commanding  Curve. That $20 bet returned $170.

For the Preakness, we are again suggesting several hedge exactas for bettors with a budget in the $40 range. 

We expect a speed duel with Social Inclusion and Bayern in front coming out of the final  turn. California Chrome will then tackle them, with Ride on Curlin and Kid Cruz making late runs.

Horses in our Preakness  mix:

2 - General a Rod
3 - California Chrome
5 - Bayern
7 - Kid Cruz
 - Social  Inclusion
10- Ride on Curlin
Note - If California Chrome wins, the five-horse exacta box payoff could be less than our $20 wager.  If he is not in the exacta, the payoff could be very big indeed!


$2 Place and Show   7,10             $8  total

$1 Exacta Box  -  3, 5, 7, 8,10      $20 total

$1 Exacta Part Wheel                   $8 total 

First leg       3,10

Second leg  1,2,3,8,10


$1 Trifecta Box                             $6 total



Our Predicted finish

1st -   California Chrome

2nd -  Ride on Curlin

3rd -   Social Inclusion

4th -   Kid Cruz