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Executive editor John Pricci provides his insights on everything thoroughbred racing. Big horses, big races, politics, it's all here in his "Morning Line" blog and "On the Line" column
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Lynne Snierson's "Equal Time." She has done it all, from former industry executive, to radio and television commentating, to newspaper reporting.
Tom has been a sports writer, columnist, and an editor at various times throughout a journalistic career that spans more than four decades. His passionate writing and reporting on thoroughbred racing can now be read in his &"Ante Post" blog.
Horse racing has always been an entertaining sport which has always been associated with casino style games such as what you might find at the Spin Palace Casino, it's fun easy to get the hang of, not to mention that if lady luck is on your side you could be in for a reward!
UK Horse Racing Epsom Derby 2013, a personal favourite is fast approaching. A really great resource to read ahead of the event is the Racing Post's Derby microsite. It covers all news stories as they unfold as well providing all the racecards, free tips and plenty more.
Royal Ascot The Queens horse racing show piece. Latest news, odds and tips provided courtesy of the Racing Post.
There’s two things we need, or would like to see, for Saturday’s Preakness. One is Orb winning, thus keeping the Triple Crown alive. Two, a dry, fast track.
If the latter holds true, then the former might have trouble.
Twenty horses go to Kentucky and maybe five or six travel to Baltimore. This year is no different with Orb, Oxbow, Will Take Charge, Mylute, Itsmyluckyday and Goldencents committing to Black-eyed Susan. That’s a whopping seven, including Orb, and kudos to those trainers, owners and the horses for being ready and taking a chance on short leave. Maybe they looked recent history.
The time after the Kentucky Derby feels like those boozy hangover-ridden mornings where the only cure is a chicken-fried steak and one of those memory-erasing sticks they use in Men in Black.
Just like the cure for the hangover is more booze, the cure the Derby hangover is more betting. So let’s move this narrative along to Maryland.
No sooner does the Kentucky Derby winner—Orb in this case—cross the finish line do the Triple Crown questions start. Orb has the running style to do it. He proved he can run on an off-track (though will an off-track at Pimlico or Belmont be equivalent to Churchill? Probably not. As we know, mud in the Kentucky is a better class of mud.).
Orb is lightly raced, but also has enough experience, too.
But I just don’t see him winning the Triple Crown, and it will be his trainer who pulls the plug.
Let’s assume Orb wins the Preakness, which, with the new shooters and some good Derby horses wheeling back, is no lock. Shug McGaughey always says let the horse bring him wherever—the Breeders’ Cup, the Derby, Applebees.
If Orb hangs his head a centimeter lower than he normally does, this horse will be at the farm faster than you can 1978.
ELMONT, NY, May 13, 2013—With one eye on Derby accomplishment and the other on Saturday’s Preakness, a mixed signals view of the 2013 sophomore class in the HRI Triple Crown Power Ratings, Week 10.
Orb, as previously stated, has the best chance to sweep the Triple Crown since Spectacular Bid in 1979. (Sorry, Smarty, there just were those nagging mile and-a-half doubts. It turned out that you got the distance, your rider, not so much).
With Shug McGaughey Malibu Moon colt shipping to Maryland as this is being written, eight are lining up against him--if Vyjack is numbered among them. As of now, that will be an entry-time decision.
A Maryland contact trying to acquire seats for the Preakness was informed late last week that the event was entirely sold out. There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.
But given the Derby’s strong handle figures and TV ratings, everybody seems interested, apparently even the casual fans. Either the Derby points system was a resounding success or there’s something mystical about the Preakness favorite.
He just might be the lunatic Triple Crown fans have been waiting for. Here’s a closer look:
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, May 5, 2013—At this moment, five horses from the Kentucky Derby are expected to challenge Orb in the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, a week from Saturday.
Three of the five are considered definite; Goldencents, and the Wayne Lukas pair of Will Take Charge and Oxbow. The connections of Mylute and Itsmyluckyday are expected to decide within a few days.
The second, third and fourth finishers will pass, their connections not wanting to run their horses back in two weeks. *According to Daily Racing Form in a May 6 post, Normandy Invasion is currently under consideration.
As of today, Stuart Janney's and Ogden Mills Phipps' colt is a 3-1 proposition to sweep the Triple Crown according to Bovada, an online wagering site.
The six expected to ship to Maryland probably would prefer more time, too. This year is just the latest example of the Triple Crown failing to adapt to today's equines and the needs of modern day horsemen. Until it does, the series never will be as good as it can be.
And as long raceday Lasix is permitted, the breed doesn't figure to improve any time soon. Remember when improving the breed mattered in this sport?
LOS ANGELES, May 11, 2013--The 2013 Kentucky Derby is now in the record books and its new eligibility system awaits critiquing and tweaking. Apparently, however, the new rules had little effect on a trainer who was completely focused on a single entrant and probably picked the same spots he would have under the old rules in his attempt to annex the first leg of the Triple Crown.
The best horse won, and the manner in which it was prepared may have re-established the one-horse-one-trainer tradition for Derby Trail aspirants. With tremendous patience and mastery of his craft, Claude McGaughey made a convincing case for concentrated conditioner care; at least for those paying premium prices for premier bloodlines.
In contrast, Todd Pletcher displayed equally masterful management expertise in making multiple TC hopefuls eligible for multiple clients. Yet even with five starters (of which four were widely considered strong contenders), there was no trip for the trainer to the winner’s circle. Perhaps one his owners must be wondering whether full focus on his particular colt would have made a difference; then there are alternatives.
Joel Rosario eliminated all doubts that he is the nation’s top jockey. This year’s game of musical mounts returned Rosario to Orb but appeared to weaken Pletcher’s hand. Recently injured John Velazquez retained his choice of Pletcher mounts on Verrazano.
But Javier Castellano took himself off Revolutionary after having guided that colt to successive victories. There was no Garrett Gomez for Palace Malice because he already took a commitment aboard Vyjack. Joe Bravo opted off Charming Kitten for Black Onyx, who suffered a minor injury and was an early scratch.
It appeared that Orb was a selection more among those who could appreciate the effectiveness of his lengthy preparation at Churchill Downs; something that did not leap off the past performance charts but was noted by several workout observers. Orb’s potential was also camouflaged somewhat by many speed figure makers who thought his Florida Derby was on the slow side.
The sloppy track, the final piece of the handicapping puzzle, left many of us scratching our heads right up until post time.
Finally, did the new rules live up to expectations with respect to the outcome? Yes and no.
LOS ANGELES, April 30, 2013—The Pull The Pocket blogger launched a true thought-provoker last week.
The piece, "Television is Not Trending Racing's Way" observed in part that "Churchill, the Jockey Club and others have been paying to have racing televised, with the hopes it catches on with the masses that matter - a new viewing audience. So far, it looks like things are not going overly well."
After observing that viewership of the preps had not increased appreciably, he asked "What strategy can be used to up viewership and get people excited to watch racing as a live event?"
The underlying problem is that while such telecasts currently acquaint the new viewer with the actual running of a live race, along with the pre and post-race pageantry, they provide very little of what gets most of us excited about watching a race -- the handicapping and wagering strategizing that precede it.
Until novices get to see the variety of ways players use past performance data to make selections and construct wagers -- and then connect that with what happens both in the pools and on the track -- it’s hard to appreciate all the rewarding challenges the game can generate.
Additional TV money should provide extended exposure as to how past performance data products are used to support informed betting decisions prior to a live race broadcast.
Cold hearted orb
That rules the night
Removes the colors
From our sight
Red is gray and
But we decide
Which is right
Which is an Illusion
ELMONT, NY, May 21, 2013--Music fans were unsure what Justin Hayward had in mind when he wrote those lyrics for the Moody Blues nearly a half century ago, and so the interpretation of the entire piece, “Nights in White Satin,” briefly became a cottage industry unto itself.
The story of yearning love from afar was the popular notion, but the lyrics turned out to be the autobiographical story of one relationship ending and another beginning, according to its author.
In the same fashion, racing fans are trying to interpret another Orb these days, deciding which is right; the Orb that dominated his rivals in Florida and Kentucky, or were those hints of greatness only an illusion?
No one knew it at the time, not the horse’s trainer, jockey, or owners, believing they were entering another scale-weights classic. What they failed to realize was that Preakness 138 was a handicap.
And Orb could not carry the weight of the entire racing world on Saturday in Baltimore.
If the Pimlico Special-Preakness double means anything, which it does, it appears that Orb is likely to be 4-5 or possibly less at post time.
Orb looms the most probable winner, whether you believe there's a lot more in the tank, which I believe there is, or his last was indeed a very big forward move, he's coming back in two weeks, and has drawn the rail.
All his success in two turn races this year have come racing outside of horses. The reason for the short price, the horse notwithstanding, are the popular connections, the talents of Joel Rosario and the public wants it.
(Remember, the public wanted better background checks, too).
But Orb is a very good horse, and good horses show up on the day. When they don't, they still win. Orb definitely should win, but that's not the way to bet, as the saying goes.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sunday, May 19, 2013) – There were nothing but smiles on the faces of those working in D. Wayne Lukas’ barn at Churchill Downs on the Sunday morning following Oxbow’s upset victory in the Preakness (Grade I).
May 19 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
• Orb returns to Belmont Park following Preakness loss; Preakness winner Oxbow ships to Churchill, is expected for G1 Belmont Stakes • After skipping Preakness, Pletcher has deep lineup for Belmont Stakes, Memorial Day stakes • Clement to run Mystical Star in G2 Sheepshead Bay, either…
May 19 | Categories: Belmont Park - Live, | Comments (0)
ORB ‘FINE’ AFTER DULL TRY; ITSMYLUCKYDAY MAKES GRADE
BALTIMORE, 05-19-13 – Back in the 1980’s and ‘90s when trainer D. Wayne Lukas was winning Triple Crown races with astonishing regularity, the catch-phrase “D. Wayne off the plane” followed him from track to track as he made…
May 19 | Categories: Preakness Stakes, | Comments (0)
KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER ORB DISAPPOINTS AS ODDS-ON FAVORITE
BALTIMORE, 05-18-13 – Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas made history at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday when he saddled Oxbow for a front-running upset victory in the 138th Preakness Stakes (G1). The 15-1 long shot gave his 77-year-old…
BALTIMORE, 05-17-13 – Karl Watson, Michael E. Pegram & Paul Weitman’s Fiftyshadesofhay closed with a rush to claim a narrow victory in the 89th running of the $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at Pimlico Race Course.
May 18 | Categories: Pimlico - Live, | Comments (0)
Baltimore, Md. -- After Walkwithapurpose’s final gallop this morning in preparation of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, she took a bad step and bruised her foot making her unable to compete in the race tomorrow. X-rays have been taken and showed…
May 16 | Categories: Pimlico - Live, | Comments (0)
Derby Winner Tops Field of 9 for Middle Jewel of Triple Crown at Pimlico
BALTIMORE, 05-15-13 – Kentucky Derby champion Orb was installed as the even-money morning-line favorite for Saturday’s 138th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1) after post positions were drawn Wednesday…
May 16 | Categories: Preakness Stakes, | Comments (0)
NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, May 16, 2013) – If Kentucky Derby winner Orb does not win Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (GI) at Pimlico Race Course and is therefore denied a shot at sweeping the Triple Crown, there is a good chance it will be a horse that raced in New Orleans playing the role of spoiler. Four…