Tag Archive | "Pimlico Race Course"

EHM Stables: Hard Work and Sacrifices, For The Love of Thoroughbreds; Thursday Opinions at Pimlico

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EHM Stables: Hard Work and Sacrifices, For The Love of Thoroughbreds; Thursday Opinions at Pimlico

Posted on 24 April 2013 by Gary Quill

As a result of the overwhelming success of 2012′s Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue TB Show, the Totally Thoroughbred Show at Pimlico Race Course and the Fair Hill Furlongs to Fences TB Show organizers formed the Thoroughbred Alliance Show Series. The series consist of several TB only horse shows in the Mid-Atlantic region including a year-end awards banquet to be held at Laurel Park.

Fran Burns, the Alliance Coordinator recently encouraged me to attend one of these shows and speak with the gals from one such TB Rescue Group, EHM Stables, which I did this past Sunday at St. Timothy’s School in Stevenson.

Betty McCue, a 2nd grade school teacher for the past 35 years in the Baltimore County School system, started EHM Stables for retired thoroughbreds (aka TBs) circa 1998. Betty, her sister Evelyn Martin and three (3) of the most energetic, young ladies I have met in quite some time work tirelessly to care for numerous retired TBs in order to transition them after racing to new careers as show jumpers, fox hunters or recreational trail horses. They also have a handful of ponies which they race and show.


From Left: Evelyn Martin, Meredith Miller, Sydney Parker, “Giant Talent” with Anastasia Vialov in the irons, Betty McCue

All three (3) young ladies, Sydney Parker, Meredith Miller and Anastasia Vialov are freshmen at Baltimore County High Schools when not spending time at EHM Stables, located on a farm in Whitehall, MD. When talking about the horses on the farm, their faces light up like proud mothers boasting about their “babies” accomplishments and cute mannerisms, which make each unique. I was AMAZED at their racing and breeding knowledge of each of the horses they are retraining.

Sydney shows Saratoga Jet (out of Pierpont Account by A.P. Jet) and points out, “He won over $100,000 in his career… now he loves to jump over water, from a small puddle to a wide stream, he’ll take a huge leap over it. I also ride and work with Caymen Condo who is a beautiful bay who is coming along.” Beaming from under her pink EHM Stables cap, is a child-like excitement seldom seen on a teenagers face as she proclaimed, “I LOVE TBs! So rewarding… all they want to do is please.”

Meredith rides Big Deal (out of Song of Dixie, by Petitionville). She has a soft spot in her heart for this 5-year-old who, “… never raced and just stood idle in a field for more than half of his life. We broke him (i.e. teach a horse how to allow humans near/on them) 2 years ago and just started showing him.”

Both Sydney and Meredith started helping McCue four (4) years ago. Under Mrs. Betty’s tutelage, they learned to ride in return for performing the daily tasks required on a horse farm… feeding, bathing, mucking out stalls, walking and riding. All which must begin at the ungodly hour of 4:00am. That’s right, 4:00am!!! How many teenagers do you know are willing to get out of bed at 3:00am in order to start their day at 4:00am?

Anastasia rides Prideland (out of Tequila Sheila, by Lion Hearted) pointing out, “He’s a MD-bred from Dark Hollow Farm who earned over $150,000 and was stakes placed during his racing career.” She added, “I also ride Giant Talent (out of Lady of Talent, by Giant’s Causeway). He was given to us by the Gaudet’s (Edmond and Linda). We love picking up horses straight from the track and turning them into our show horses. I started riding with Mrs. Betty while in 7th grade and fell in love with what she does with racehorses.”

On Sunday, April 7th at Pimlico, the Maryland Jockey Club presented the second annual Chasin’ for Children Pony Races between the thoroughbred races. Forty-eight runners took part in the six races. Anastasia “Nastya” Vialov guided EHM Stables’ Count Chocula to victory in the Mikey Smithwick Memorial Dash Medium Pony Flat Race.


Nicely done Nastya! Look out Rosie Napravnik. Bytheway, Count Chocula competed in a show 24 hours prior to winning this race. Pretty impressive little guy!

Mrs. Betty has a close working relationship with top Maryland-based trainers Hugh McMahon and Linda Gaudet. Hugh and his wife Demelza McMahon have been great friends of McCue. In addition to TB retirees, she takes his “lay-ups” (active racers who need some time off from training) and babies to break.

McCue finds new homes for her equine retirees simply by word of mouth, which has no geographical limits, as she shared one story. “I discovered through a friend, there was a young girl in Massachusetts who lost her father. She always wanted a horse, and her mom thought if she could have one now, it would help with her healing process. We had one available and she got a horse. It was truly amazing.”

Other trainers should consider EHM Stables for their “lay-ups” because McCue’s crew obviously does a great job with them. For example, a 5-year-old mare named Too Clever by Half who spent time at EHM Stables made her first start in 9 months last Sunday at Pimlico for trainer Hugh McMahon. The result was a convincing victory at odds of 15-1 to return $32.80 to WIN, $10.60 to PLACE and $7.40 SHOW.

What better endorsement could you ask for when talking about top-notch care for a thoroughbred? If you have a horse, looking for a horse or interested in riding lessons, I encourage you to contact (text) Betty McCue at (410) 404-0857 or via email (bettymccue@comcast.net).

For those who frequent facebook, check out the EHM Stables group page.

Frankie Lovato’s JockeyWorld.org racing term of the day #115, “Fractional Times

Selections for the Day 13 Pimlico Thursday, April 25th card are on Page 2.

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Opinions on Illinois Derby, Lexington Stakes and 11 Exciting Chase Scenes on Saturday at Pimlico (Day 11)

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Opinions on Illinois Derby, Lexington Stakes and 11 Exciting Chase Scenes on Saturday at Pimlico (Day 11)

Posted on 19 April 2013 by Gary Quill

Two weeks from Saturday is the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby. A full field of 20 starters is expected, and with the exception of one or two runners, horseplayers can perform some advanced handicapping on the race.


Drawing courtesy of Mel @dailyracefunies. To see more of Mel’s work, click here.

This Saturday, Hawthorne Race Course celebrates their single biggest day of horse racing as they host the $750,000 G3 Illinois Derby. A race snubbed by the folks at Churchill Downs (CDI) who designed the new Derby Point system. A system which designated specific races where 3-year-old colts, geldings and/or ridglings could earn points for a chance to run in the Kentucky Derby.

No valid explanation was provided as to why a $750,000 Grade 3 centerpiece race was excluded while  another Grade 3 race run on the same day, with only a $200,000 purse run on a synthetic surface is part of the Derby Point system. No explanation was needed, the evidence was clear. The latter race is the Coolmore Lexington Stakes, run at historic Keeneland in the Blue Grass state of Kentucky.

Welcome to the wonderful world of politics within the horse racing industry. It’s no different than any other industry. In this scenario, Coolmore Farm is the marquee sponsor of the Lexington Stakes. No doubt that they have representation on the Derby Points System committee. If the Lexington Stakes was excluded, Coolmore most likely pulls their sponsorship.

We all know the saying, “Money Talks, and Bull Sh-t Walks”. Thankfully, Hawthorne still offered a fat purse and drew a full field of fourteen (14) 3-year-olds whereas the Lexington Stakes attracted ten (10), including a filly who is the Morning Line favorite.

Illinois Derby: #12 (Siete de Oros; 5-1) – #4 (For Greater Glory; 15-1) – #3 (Street Spice; 20-1)

Coolmore Lexington: #8 (Cerro; 5-1) – #11 (Pure Fun; 7-2) – #7 (Examen; 5-1)

The JockeyWorld.org racing term of the day is #110…  “Flip

Recapping Pimlico’s Friday 10-race card posted just 4 winners but all 4 were Top Selections (BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $9.20 (3rd race), $15.20 (7th), $7.20 (8th) and $3.80 (10th).

The BEST BET of the Day (9 5-0-1) Wire Funds (R3 #7 7-2 PT; 7-2 M/L) broke well from the gate, challenged for the early lead but the jock decided to back off and stalk. That turned out to be a winning move as all but one of the early speed weakened in the stretch. Wire Funds battled that one through the final furlong, being able to get a neck advantage at the wire to pay $9.20 to WIN, $4.80 to PLACE and $3.80 to SHOW.

The LONGSHOT PICK (9 4-0-1) Cooperstown (R1 #6 11-1 PT; 12-1 M/L) certainly did not put in a Hall of Fame effort here. He chased the pace, was three deep when lightly steadied entering the far turn, then gave way and drifted out in upper stretch to finish 5th.

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $55 on More Than a Cruise (R9 #1; 1-1 PT, 7-5 M/L) certainly made it interesting just to get third in a six horse race as the prohibitive favorite, for a very shaky 10% ROI, paying $2.20 to SHOW. It adds $5.50 to the current $55.00 SHOW parlay amount for Day 11.

Selections for the Day 11 Pimlico Saturday, April 20th card are on Page 2.

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Kentucky Derby Certain To Have 20 Starters; Selections for Fan Friday at Pimlico (Day 10)

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Kentucky Derby Certain To Have 20 Starters; Selections for Fan Friday at Pimlico (Day 10)

Posted on 18 April 2013 by Gary Quill

With just two (2) weeks until the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby, it appears that a full field of 20 will be entered. In the initial year of the Derby Point system determining the pecking order (instead of graded stakes earnings) as to who gets in and who’s left out. There are a few who have enough points to start in the Derby, but their connections do not live in a fantasy world and believe their horse is not cut out to compete at the 1¼ mile distance.


Drawing courtesy of Mel @dailyracefunies. To see more of Mel’s work, click here.

At this writing, fifteen (15) 3-year-olds have already arrived at Churchill Downs for the Run For The Roses, the first leg of horse racings Triple Crown .  A few others who qualify are on the fence which keeps the connections of those who sit just beyond #20, between a rock and a hard place, not knowing whether to ship to Louisville or not.

On Saturday, the G3 Coolmore Lexington Stakes offers up 20 Derby points to the winner, 10 points to the runner-up and 5 to the 3rd place finisher. There are eleven (11) entered, ten colts and one filly. The filly (Pure Fun) is already penciled in for the Kentucky Oaks. Therefore unless she wins, the winner of this race could conceivably get into the Derby field.

Here is the current Derby point standings…

The JockeyWorld.org racing term of the day is #109… “Flatten Out”

Recapping Pimlico’s Thursday 9-race card posted had only 4 winners (2 Top Selection in BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $6.20 (1st race), $14.80 (2nd), $5.80 (4th) and $15.60 (8th).

The BEST BET of the Day (8 4-0-1) Storm Catlilly (R9 #8 2-1 PT; 9-2 M/L) got pinched at the start and was unable to use his speed to be among the early leaders. Moved up on the far turn but extremely wide and ran evenly through the stretch to a disappointing 6th as the betting favorite.

The LONGSHOT PICK (8 4-0-1) Fiji Boy (R1 #6 6-1 PT; 20-1 M/L) went off as the 4th choice in a 5 horse race (after 3 scratches), allowed the 7-5 and 9-5 chalk duel on the lead, then pounced on both entering the stretch. Found resistance from the 9-5 runner throughout the lane, but was able to shake him off in the final strides to pay $14.80 to WIN, $6.00 to PLACE and $3.20 to SHOW.

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $50 on Snap It (R2 #5; 9-5 PT, 9-2 M/L) did his job by finishing in the money (2nd), but the SHOW pay-off suffered (only $2.20) as 3 of the 8 entered in this contest were scratched. It adds $5.00 to the $50.30 SHOW parlay amount for Day 10.

Selections for the Day 10 Pimlico Friday, April 19th card are on Page 2.

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40th Anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown To Be Celebrated; Pimlico Picks for Thursday (Day 9)

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40th Anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown To Be Celebrated; Pimlico Picks for Thursday (Day 9)

Posted on 17 April 2013 by Gary Quill

BALTIMORE, 04-17-13Secretariat’s legendary Triple Crown campaign in 1973 has marveled three generations of racing fans, fascinated by the mark he left on history and his stunning performances that rewrote the record books. “Big Red’s” 40th Anniversary Celebration continues on this season’s Triple Crown trail with special events and appearances by the Meadow Stable team at the Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness.

Tickets are available for festivities that begin Tuesday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m., when a live taping of ESPN’s In the Gate Thoroughbred racing podcast series comes to the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD. Hosted by Barry Abrams, the Roundtable Discussion, “Secretariat’s 40th Anniversary,” will feature Secretariat’s owner Penny Chenery and jockey Ron Turcotte and offer an in-depth conversation about the phenomenon that was Secretariat, as well as the now-settled controversy of his record-breaking race time in the Preakness. Audience participation will be encouraged for the Roundtable Discussion, which will subsequently be available on ESPN.com leading up to Preakness day. The panel includes Secretariat: The Making of a Champion author Bill Nack, journalist Steve Davidowitz, Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas and members of the Maryland Racing Commission among others.

At 7:30 p.m., immediately following the ESPN podcast, the National Film Board of Canada will present the highly anticipated documentary Secretariat’s Jockey-Ron Turcotte . This touching film, directed by award-winning filmmaker Phil Comeau and produced by Maryse Chapdelaine, follows Turcotte as he returns to the people and places that marked the storied life of this resilient and legendary jockey, whose  impressive 16-year career in the irons ended in 1978 when a fall left him paraplegic.

A VIP reception at 9 p.m. will toast this incredible evening with appearances from the Meadow Team and Roundtable panel, as well as the Maryland Horse Industry Board’s presentation of its May “Touch of Class” Awards. The awards, presented monthly by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Secretary of Agriculture, recognize individuals or horses who demonstrate national or international excellence.

Tickets for the May 14 trio of events which include the ESPN Roundtable, AFI film screening and VIP reception, can be purchased for $50 through www.secretariat.com. A special discounted rate of $25 is available for children 14 and under.

Secretariat fans can enjoy more of the 40th Anniversary Celebration when it continues Black-Eyed Susan Day, May 17, and Preakness Day, May 18, at Pimlico Race Course. Members of the Meadow Stable team including Turcotte and exercise rider Charlie Davis as well as Nack are currently scheduled to host an autograph signing and meet and greet both days. Secretariat enthusiasts can also purchase an assortment of official Secretariat merchandise and memorabilia at the Secretariat Tent.

For more information about tickets or the Secretariat 40th Anniversary Celebration and scheduled events, go online to Secretariat.com, the official website for the legendary Thoroughbred champion and visit www.blackeyedsusanday.com and  www.preakness.com for full details.

The JockeyWorld.org racing term of the day is #108… “Flat Race

Recapping Pimlico’s Sunday 9-race card posted had 4 winners (3 Top Selections in BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $10.00 (2nd race), $10.60 (4th), $6.20 (7th) and $3.60 (8th).

The BEST BET of the Day (7 4-0-1) Princessoftheland (R2 #7 8-5 PT; 3-1 M/L) was thought to be a good bet to get a rather easy lead. Unfortunately, one of her rivals hell bend on not letting her get it, and both of them paid the price. The two set too quick of a pace and before they turned for home, the Best Bet threw in the towel and finished 6th.

The LONGSHOT PICK (7 3-0-1) Smart n Smokin (R5 #5 4-1 PT; 6-1 M/L) was off well, but in no hurry for this 5 furlong turf sprint. She unleased a furious rally on the far outside to get up for the victory by just under a length to return $10.60 to WIN, $5.60 to PLACE and $4.20 to SHOW.

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $36 on Change of Command (R7 #7; 2-1 PT,7-2 M/L) got a great, patient ride and was kept clear of any traffic to the quarter pole, where on his own pulled even with the leader, took command in the final furlong and held off the late charge of the runner-up to return $6.20 to WIN, $3.20 to PLACE and $2.80 to SHOW. That adds $14.40 to the $36.90 parlay amount for Day 9.

Selections for the Day 9 Pimlico Thursday, April 18th card are Page 2.

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Secretariat 40th anniversary to be recognized Preakness week

Posted on 17 April 2013 by WNST Staff

MARYLAND JOCKEY CLUB ANNOUNCES SPECIAL PREAKNESS EVENTS TO COMMEMORATE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF SECRETARIAT’S TRIPLE CROWN CAMPAIGN

 Preakness & Black-Eyed Susan Appearance, AFI Silver Theatre Screening & ESPN Roundtable Highlights 

 

BALTIMORE, 04-17-13—Secretariat’s legendary Triple Crown campaign in 1973 has marveled three generations of racing fans, fascinated by the mark he left on history and his stunning performances that rewrote the record books. “Big Red’s” 40th Anniversary Celebration continues on this season’s Triple Crown trail with special events and appearances by the Meadow Stable team at the Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness.

 

Tickets are available for festivities that begin Tuesday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m.,  when a live taping of ESPN’s In the GateThoroughbred racing podcast series comes to the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD. Hosted by Barry Abrams, the Roundtable Discussion, “Secretariat’s 40th Anniversary,” will feature Secretariat’s owner Penny Chenery and jockey Ron Turcotte and offer an in-depth conversation about the phenomenon that was Secretariat, as well as the now-settled controversy of his record-breaking race time in the Preakness. Audience participation will be encouraged for the Roundtable Discussion, which will subsequently be available on ESPN.com leading up to Preakness day. The panel includes Secretariat: The Making of a Champion author Bill Nack, journalist Steve Davidowitz, Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas and members of the Maryland Racing Commission among others.

 

At 7:30 p.m., immediately following the ESPN podcast, the National Film Board of Canada will present the highly anticipated documentary Secretariat’s Jockey-Ron Turcotte . This touching film, directed by award-winning filmmaker Phil Comeau and produced by Maryse Chapdelaine, follows Turcotte as he returns to the people and places that marked the storied life of this resilient and legendary jockey, whose  impressive 16-year career in the irons ended in 1978 when a fall left him paraplegic.

 

A VIP reception at 9 p.m. will toast this incredible evening with appearances from the Meadow Team and Roundtable panel, as well as the Maryland Horse Industry Board’s presentation of its May “Touch of Class” Awards. The awards, presented monthly by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Secretary of Agriculture, recognize individuals or horses who demonstrate national or international excellence.

 

“It is a privilege to honor the greatness of the magnificent Secretariat at each and every one of his pivotal anniversaries,” said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas. “The celebration of his 40th is even sweeter following the official confirmation last year that Big Red did, in fact, set a track record with his 1973 Preakness win.  Secretariat’s star power is timeless, as his legion of fans can well attest.”

 

“The Maryland Jockey Club has been most gracious in pulling together such an enriching event,” Mrs. Chenery said. “I am very much looking forward to an engaging panel discussion hosted by ESPN, seeing the documentary film about Ronnie and sharing this memorable occasion with friends and fans.”

 

Tickets for the May 14 trio of events which include the ESPN Roundtable, AFI film screening and VIP reception, can be purchased for $50 through www.secretariat.com. A special discounted rate of $25 is available for children 14 and under.

 

Secretariat fans can enjoy more of the 40th Anniversary Celebration when it continues Black-Eyed Susan Day, May 17, and Preakness Day, May 18, at Pimlico Race Course. Members of the Meadow Stable team including Turcotte and exercise rider Charlie Davis as well as Nack are currently scheduled to host an autograph signing and meet and greet both days. Secretariat enthusiasts can also purchase an assortment of official Secretariat merchandise and memorabilia at the Secretariat Tent.

 

For more information about tickets or the Secretariat 40th Anniversary Celebration and scheduled events, go online to Secretariat.com, the official website for the legendary Thoroughbred champion and visit www.blackeyedsusanday.com and www.preakness.com for full details.

 

Secretariat 40th Anniversary: Preakness

 

Tuesday, May 14,

AFI Silver Theatre

8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD

ESPN Roundtable Podcast Taping, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Ron Turcotte Film Screening, 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Reception, Meet & Greet and Touch of Class Awards , 9 p.m.

Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18,

Pimlico Race Course

Meadow Team Stable Appearances

Secretariat Tent

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Jockey Reflects On “WILD” Ride aboard Spicer Cub in Pimlico’s Saturday Finale

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Jockey Reflects On “WILD” Ride aboard Spicer Cub in Pimlico’s Saturday Finale

Posted on 14 April 2013 by Gary Quill

BALTIMORE, 04-14-13–-It did not make SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays, but #12 - Spicer Cub’s eventful trip in Saturday’s 11th at Pimlico Race Course has gone viral and is generating interest outside of horse racing circles.

The Mary Eppler trainee took the early lead but bolted midway on the far turn before jockey Xavier Perez was able to straighten the son of Louis Quatorze at the head of the stretch. The 4-year old gelding regained the lead at the top of the stretch but bolted again, causing Perez to lose his irons inside the three-sixteenths pole. The duo then raced between the parked starting gate and the outside rail in midstretch and closed determinedly under strong urging to just miss breaking his maiden, losing by a nose to #1 - Turbin.


PHOTO CREDIT-Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club

“It was wild. He didn’t give me any warning, especially the second time and went straight for the gate,” Perez said. “My life went before my eyes for a few seconds. I was thinking about bailing but saw there was enough space between the gate and the rail to get through, so I grabbed his mane and hoped for the best. Once we cleared the gate he re-broke again and almost won the race. It was really close. In fact, Forest Boyce (who was aboard Turbin) congratulated me after the wire.”

The replay of the race on YouTube has been viewed more than 13,000 times from 6:30 p.m. Saturday to 3:30 p.m. Sunday and it has been well received on both Twitter and Facebook.

“I have watched the replay many times with my fiancé and I still cannot believe what happened. I am grateful to be here,” added Perez, who has been a regular rider in Maryland since September 2011. “The guys in the room were impressed. When I came back to the jocks room it was funny because nothing bad happened but Mary Eppler was apologizing to me, but this is part of the business. I had ridden him three times before and he never did anything like that before. He is a nice, kind horse.” 

Eppler reported Sunday afternoon that Spicer Cub “is fine” with no nicks or cuts from his adventure.

Perez’s remarkable ride and track announcer Dave Rodman’s outstanding call of the race have received plenty of positive attention.

“It was probably the wildest race I have ever called,” said Rodman, who has called races at the major Maryland tracks since March 1991. “It beats the Afleet Alex incident in the 2005 Preakness and tops the guy running on the track (1999 Preakness day). All I could do was keep my eyes on the X-Man (Perez’s nickname) and Spicer Cub. I can’t believe he went through that hole between the outer rail and the gate. It was really something else. I really thought he was going to win the race. Xavier did an amazing job. It was certainly a gutsy ride.”

The 25-year-old Perez has 480 winners in a career that began in 2007, including a victory aboard Haitian Nation in Sunday’s second race. He finished seventh in the recently completed Laurel Park winter meet standings.

On a personal note, I loved Rodman’s mention that “…Spicer Cub has bolted out to Northern Parkway” (the road which borders Pimlico Race Course) as the gelding bolted on the far turn. The photo above captures the fact that Perez never got his boots back in the irons, yet like a barrel racer at a rodeo, emerged from between the starting gate and outer rail like, to borrow a title from Meatloaf’s biggest selling album/CD, a “Bat Out of Hell“. I would think that X-Man’s agent got a few more calls than usual today.

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Dave Rodman Shines at Pimlico while Frank Mirahmadi’s Arkansas Derby is sub-par

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Dave Rodman Shines at Pimlico while Frank Mirahmadi’s Arkansas Derby is sub-par

Posted on 13 April 2013 by Gary Quill

This past weekend there were two Kentucky Derby prep races. The Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland race course and the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. Each of these races is the premier event for the respective tracks. As the Kentucky Derby is to Churchill Downs, as the Preakness is to Pimlico and the Belmont Stakes is to Belmont Park. To a race caller it is their Super Bowl.

Track race callers are a rare breed. It takes a unique individual having a unique mindset and word association skill to be able to recognize the jockey sliks and associate them with the horses’ name. They have roughly 15-20 minutes between races to study, take the test (i.e. call the race) which lasts between 54 seconds (4½ furlong race) to 2 minutes (1¼ mile race).

Two years ago I gave longtime Oaklawn Park track announcer Terry Wallace’s call of the Arkansas Derby, a public tongue lashing, calling it “Worst Race Call Ever”. A year later he retired and was replaced by Frank Mirahmadi, a talented caller in his own right, but his call of Saturday’s Arkansas Derby is one he’ll soon want to forget.

As the field approached the quarter pole (aka far turn), Mirahmadi mentioned the favorite, War Academy was “trying to get involved” when in fact he was dropping back out of contention, being pulled up out of the race. Something that Frank did recognize a few calls later. Obviously flustered by his blunder, he then picked up the call as the field turned for home calling the 5-2 second choice Oxbow ,”trying to get involved” while Oxbow raced wide well behind 5-6 rivals. Not his best call when it was his time to shine.

On the other hand, approximately 15 minutes prior to the running of the Arkansas Derby, at Pimlico race caller Dave Rodman was finishing up his day by calling final (11th) race. It was a 1 1/16 miles maiden claiming event with a field of seven. Ironically, just past the quarter pole, the same spot where Miramadi unraveled, Rodman shined brightly, as he does day in and day out. What unfolded from the quarter pole to the finish was almost as remarkable as Rodman’s description of it.

Here’s how the Equibase chart described #12 – Spicer Cub’s race, “… assumed the early lead, set the pace slightly off the rail, bolted midway on the far turn, was in third position entering the stretch, was straightened at the head of the stretch to the six path, regained a clear lead in upper stretch, bolted inside the three sixteenths pole causing the rider to lose his irons, raced between the parked starting gate and the outside rail in midstretch, closed determinedly under game urging and just missed.”

The JockeyWorld.org racing term of the day is #104… “Field

Recapping Pimlico’s Saturday 11-race card posted had 8 winners (6Top Selections in BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $9.80 (1st race), $2.60 (2nd), $8.40 (3rd), $7.60 (4th), $4.80 (5th), $3.60 (9th), $2.20 (10th) and $6.00 (11th).

The BEST BET of the Day (6 4-0-1) Tale of the Dragon (R1 #6 7-2 PT; 4-1 M/L) was in no hurry in the early stages as she trailed into the backstretch, passed all rivals just before entering the stretch and went on to a convincing 7½ length victory to pay $9.80 to WIN, $5.00 to PLACE and $3.20 to SHOW.

The LONGSHOT PICK (6 2-0-1) Seeyouinthetown (R5 #7 7-5 PT; 12-1 M/L) was bet down significantly when this race was taken off the turf and the field was cut to seven starters. She didn’t disappoint her backers in winning by 2¼ lengths returning $4.80 to WIN, $3.20 to PLACE and $2.40 to SHOW.

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $33 on Moon Legacy (R7 #13; 6-5 PT, 3-1 M/L) sent off as the post time favorite ran to form, barely getting beat in the final jumps to finish second for the fifth time in as many career starts, returning $3.00 to PLACE and $2.20 to SHOW. That adds $3.30 to the $33.60 parlay amount for Day 8.

Selections for the Day 8 Pimlico Sunday, April 14th card are Page 2.

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Blue Grass Stakes & Arkansas Derby Analysis plus Saturday (Day 7) Selections at Pimlico

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Blue Grass Stakes & Arkansas Derby Analysis plus Saturday (Day 7) Selections at Pimlico

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Gary Quill

Three weeks from Saturday is the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby and there are only a few more races between now and then for 3 year olds to crack into the Top 20 of the Derby Points System List. The Derby is limited to twenty (20) starters, and the pecking order is based on the number of points accumulated via the inaugural year of this new system.

Drawing by Mel @dailyracefunies. To see more of Mel’s work, click here.

This Saturday is ideally the latest that any colt or gelding should race if they are to be in top condition to run in the Derby on May 4th. On Saturday, there are two…the $750,000 G1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in Lexington, KY and the $1,000,000 G1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, AR. Both races are run at the distance of 1 1/8 miles and will be broadcast live on NBC Sport during a 90 minute telecast which starts at 5:00pm EDT.

The Blue Grass Stakes (Post Time 5:40pm EDT) attracted fifteen (15) entries even though the race is restricted to fourteen (14) starters. So #15 – Divine Ambition (50-1) will only run if one of the other 14 scratch by Saturday morning, but he is cross-entered in the Arkansas Derby, and will likely run there. Based on the Morning Line oddsmaker, there is no clear cut favorite as #7 – Uncaptured is the lukewarm 7-2 favorite with #4 -  Java’s War and #13 – Rydilluc are both 4-1.

HOW I SEE IT: WOW! If a horseplayer could hand pick a race to be a prime example of a “great betting race”, this one would have to be it. Fourteen starters, no prohibitive favorite, all carry 123 lbs., you can make a case for any of the 14, and there’s a good mix of running styles. Bottom line: The best horse (on this day) wins. Six of them have already tested the 9 furlong distance, but only one (Uncaptured) hit the board. Assuming the Keeneland oval is playing ‘favor’, I’ll lean on the Brisnet All-Weather surface figures and workout patterns for my Top 3, which include two huge prices.

The Blue Grass “Go Big or Go Home” Play: $10 WPS on #9 – Tesseron (50-1)
$2 EX BOX 7-9-10 (Uncaptured – Tesseron – Footbridge)

At approximately 6:28pm EDT, a field eleven (11) will break from the starting gate for the Arkansas Derby. Bob Baffert has been golden in graded stakes in the past at Oaklawn Park and this year was more of the same when Super Ninety Nine destroyed the field in the Southwest Stakes but was a beaten favorite in the Rebel. Not to worry. Bob rolls back into Hot Springs with the 2-1 M/L favorite #2 – War Academy, a very impressive winner in his 2-turn debut last out, against allowance company.

Baffert will also start #5 – Den’s Legacy (6-1) who was third in the Rebel Stakes while D. Wayne Lukas will give a leg up to jockey Gary Stevens on the 5-2 second choice #10 – Oxbow who was nosed out of a win in the Rebel by stablemate Will Take Charge. The 4-1 third choice #9 – Overanalyze will try to give Todd Pletcher another Derby starter if he finishes in-the-money. Calvin Borel puts his Kentucky Derby mount hopes on #7 – Texas Bling (20-1).

HOW I SEE IT: This field is not lacking speed, but is short on a proven Closer that can compete at this level. Oxbow, has broken from the 10 or 11 post in 4 of his last 5, so he’ll be right at home breaking from #10 and will certainly get to the front, with #3 – Divine Ambition, #4 – Falling Sky and #6 – Heaven’s Runway keeping him company early. There should be a log-jam of runners in the second flight, so whoever can get the cleanest trip may get to the Winners Circle. Only two starters have previously covered the 9 furlongs distance… #8 – Frac Daddy (7th in FL Derby two weeks ago) and #9 – Overanalyze (won Remsen in Nov.).

The Arkansas Derby Play: $10 WPS on #9 – Overanalyze (4-1)
$2 EX BOX 2-9-10 (War Academy – Overanalyze – Oxbow)

The JockeyWorld.org racing term of the day is #103…  “Figure Eight

Recapping Pimlico’s Friday 9-race card posted had 6 winners (1 Top Selection in BOLD type) from 7 races, as in 2 of the races taken off the turf, resulted in all 3 selections being scratched. With the fields depleted by scratches due to sloppy track made for some chalky$2 WIN pay-offs of $3.40 (1st race), $10.40 (2nd), $5.20 (4th), $3.40 (6th), $5.20 (8th) and $9.80 (9th).

The BEST BET of the Day (5 3-0-1) Empedrado (R6 #5 3-5 PT; 5-1 M/L) took on the role of favorite after when scratches cut the field to four (4). He was last by 7 lengths at the quarter pole, but in a blink of an eye he swooped by his 3 rivals at the head of the stretch, and won by 9 ¾ while geared down approaching the wire to return $3.40 to WIN and $2.20 to PLACE as there was no SHOW wagering.

The LONGSHOT PICK (5 1-0-1) Francesco Punch  (R3 #7 n/a PT; 15-1 M/L) was scratched along with many others in this race originally scheduled on the turf.

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $24 on War Relic  (R7 #13; n/a PT, 3-1 M/L) was a NO BET as he was also scratched when all turf races were taken off and run on the main track sloppy surface. No worries, there’s always another day. Day 7 in fact.

Selections for the Day 7 Pimlico Saturday, April 13th card are on Page 2.

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Fan Friday and Fearless Picks at Pimlico on Day 6… It’s all FREE

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Fan Friday and Fearless Picks at Pimlico on Day 6… It’s all FREE

Posted on 11 April 2013 by Gary Quill

NOTE: NO TURF RACES on FRIDAY due to weather conditions! ALL What happened to Spring in B’more?! During opening week at Old Hilltop there was still a chill in the air as old man winter wasn’t ready to leave town just yet. Well, this week spring was abruptly pre-empted by a preview of the Summer of 2013, as temperatures hit the mid-90’s.

Even though the forecast calls for more spring-like weather for the weekend, Friday’s throughout the Pimlico Spring meet will always be hot… as far as entertainment value. The Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) rolled out plenty of promotions which include “Fan Fridays”. In an attempt to entice horse racing fans to start their weekend early, fans can park FREE, are admitted FREE and can pick-up a “live” racing program FREE.

Drawing by Mel @dailyracefunies. To see more of Mel’s work, click here.

You can parlay that FREEsome by using my FREE opinions offered here, not only on Friday’s, but on every live racing day (Thursday – Sunday) throughout the 36-day Pimlico meet, which ends on June 8th.

The JockeyWorld.org racing term of the day is #102…  “Fence

Recapping Pimlico’s Thursday 9-race card posted had 6 winners (2 Top Selection in BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $3.00 (1st race), $5.00 (2nd), $6.60 (3rd), $4.60 (6th), $3.40 (7th) and $3.20 (9th).

The BEST BET of the Day (4 2-0-1) Dance With Bull (R4 #3 n/a PT; 5-1 M/L) was a very late scratch. Unfortunately did not see this race live and the Equibase chart only offers “Veterinarian” but wasn’t posted on their website until actual Post Time. This indicates there must have been an incident at or in the gate.

The LONGSHOT PICK (5 1-0-1) Seeking Millie (R7 #5 27-1 PT; 10-1 M/L) broke well but after one furlong abruptly ducked out, the jock lost the irons and wasn’t able to get back in them, so smartly eased her out of the race. Ouch!

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $24 on No Satis Action (R3 #4; 2-1 PT, 3-1 M/L) was outrun early as she usually does, but made her way to the middle of the track and made a furious rally to take charge with 100 yards to go and coasted in hand to the wire, returning $6.60 WIN, $3.60 PLACE but for this wagers purpose, $2.80 for the SHOW. Add $9.60 to the $24 wager and try to build on it for a 3rd consecutive day on Day 6 (Friday).

Selections for the Day 6 Pimlico Friday, April 12th card are Page 2.

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Kentucky Derby Field is taking shape; Selections for Thursday (Day 5) at Pimlico

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Kentucky Derby Field is taking shape; Selections for Thursday (Day 5) at Pimlico

Posted on 10 April 2013 by Gary Quill

With just three (3) weeks until the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby, it appears that a full field of 20 will be entered. In the initial year of the Derby Point system determining the pecking order (instead of graded stakes earnings) as to who gets in and who’s left out, about 15 3-year-olds have secured their spot.

The Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby, both run on Saturday, are the final two Derby preps that could catapult four (4) 3-year-olds into the Kentucky Derby. Each race awards 100 points to the winner and 40 points to the runner-up. There are plenty colts who fit that bill. Carve, War Academy, Divine Ambition, Heaven’s Runway, Texas Bling, and Frac Daddy all race in the Arkansas Derby. The Blue Grass Stakes is filled with turf and synthetic surface runners hoping to crash the Derby Party. Those in need of no less than a top 2 finish are My Name Is Michael, Undrafted, Palace Malice, Channel Isle, Charming Kitten, Tesseron, Footbridge, Balance The Books, Rydilluc, and Fear the Kitten.

The JockeyWorld.org racing term of the day is #101…  “Feature Race

Recapping Pimlico’s Sunday 9-race card posted had only 4 winners (1 Top Selection in BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $4.20 (4th race), $4.20 (5th), $12.40 (4th), $7.40 (7th) and $5.20 (9th).

The BEST BET of the Day (4 2-0-1) Ellipse (R7 #5 5-2 PT; 3-1 M/L) took the lead right out of the gateand maintained it while jock Sheldon Russell slowed the 2nd quarter to 23.48 after a 22.36 opening quarter. When rivals got in gear he had enough left to pull away to the victory, returning $7.40 to WIN, $4.80 PLACE and $2.40 SHOW.

The LONGSHOT PICK (4 1-0-1) Termsofengagement (R1 #5 4-1 PT; 6-1 M/L) lead from the gate to the top of the stretch, got collared by the favorite, but ran on gamely to salvage 3rd, returning $2.80 to SHOW.

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $20 on Proud Daddy (R3 #6; 9-5 PT, 5-2 M/L) was outrun early as the betting favorite, never was a threat to win, but did manage to rally in the stretch for an uneventful 3rd to pay $2.40 for the SHOW. Add $4 to the $20 wager and try to build on it in Day 5.

Selections for the Day 5 Pimlico Thursday, April 11th card are Page 2.

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