Handicapping

Tips and picks for how to bet on Thorougbred horse racing

Jones on first foray to Santa Anita with Joyful Victory

Larry Jones is back and racing is the better for it. The 56-year-old trainer, who retired at the top of his game on November 7, 2009, returned in early 2011 with the same fervor as the day he left. Anyone talking with the personable Kentuckian could recognize that in a heartbeat.

Pletcher double-handed in both Matron and Futurity

Trainer Todd Pletcher shoots for a Grade 2 double with his team of juveniles at Belmont Park on Sunday. Unbeaten Grade 2 Adirondack heroine Kauai Katie looms large in the $200,000 Matron Stakes for fillies, and debut maiden winner Unabashed gives the barn a promising second string. But the Pletcher duo in the $200,000 Futurity -- Overanalyze and Drum Roll -- must step up their game while meeting hot-shot maiden winner Carried Interest, speedy New York-bred Weekend Hideaway and Grade 2 Sanford runner-up Handsome Jack.

Belmont cancels Friday card in expectation of heavy rain

Due to anticipated heavy rain, Friday's live racing card at Belmont Park has been canceled to ensure the track surfaces are in optimal condition for Saturday's card, which features six graded stakes, all part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Challenge Series. The winners of those races qualify for an automatic starting position in the corresponding Breeders' Cup Championship race with pre-entry and entry fees paid.

Bourbon Bay, Slim Shadey return to action in John Henry

Two of the top contenders in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 John Henry Turf Championship Stakes (formerly the Clement Hirsch) at Santa Anita, Bourbon Bay and Slim Shadey, will return to races following a stint on the sidelines. Bourbon Bay makes his first appearance since capturing the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap in April, and Slim Shadey has been freshened since a fifth in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes on Del Mar's opening weekend.

Tony Bennett to perform at Breeders' Cup

Over 50 years after his initial performance of the song at Carnegie Hall, Grammy-award winner Tony Bennett will perform his classic hit "The Best is Yet to Come" at the 2012 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, Breeders' Cup announced Thursday at a media event featuring Tony Bennett at Siro's Restaurant in Manhattan.

Pataky Kid, Gold Edge on target for Keeneland

Swifty Farms' Pataky Kid, three-length winner of the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity on September 8, breezed a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 Monday morning at Chicago's northwest suburban oval in preparation for Keeneland's upcoming Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity on October 6.

Shackleford, To Honor and Serve meet in Kelso

Ostensibly a prep for the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, Saturday's Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park might serve as a launching pad to the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic if the Bill Mott-trained To Honor and Serve pulls off a win in the one-turn mile. The Hall of Fame conditioner left some wiggle room earlier this week when asked which Breeders' Cup race his Grade 1 Woodward winner would ultimately target.

Zenyatta statue to be unveiled Saturday

The legendary Zenyatta, winner of the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita and Horse of the Year in 2010, will be honored for all-time by Santa Anita Park as a life-sized statue of the great mare will be unveiled in Santa Anita's Paddock Gardens area at noon (PDT) this Saturday.

So Many Ways will bypass Breeders' Cup

Undefeated two-year-old filly So Many Ways, winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes and Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes, will not travel to California to run in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, it was announced Wednesday.

Third Chance serves up ice cream for Arlington fans

On Saturday, she wrapped up her gifted history at the local oval with a victory by almost seven lengths, and that led to the ice cream celebration that had been publicly promised to the racing fans on hand by the acknowledged dean of Chicago newscasters.

Mazza honored with Buddy Raines Award

"I am honored and very proud to receive this award," said Mazza, who has trained horses for Holly Crest Farm and other stables in New Jersey for 46 years. "It is very meaningful to me."

Book Review stars in Charles Town Oaks

Gary and Mary West's homebred Book Review rolled to a convincing victory as the 7-5 favorite in Saturday night's $400,000 Charles Town Oaks. Making her two-turn debut in this seven-furlong scramble around Charles Town's tight oval, the Chad Brown trainee circled the field on the final turn and kicked 1 3/4 lengths clear.

Fort Larned, Hymn Book drill for Jockey Club Gold Cup

At Belmont Park on Sunday, Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap winner Fort Larned turned in his final serious work for Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational, covering five furlongs in 1:01 shortly after 6:30 a.m. (EDT).

Little Mike, Point of Entry on course for Joe Hirsch

Trainer Dale Romans, who has already has established a personal record for single-season North American earnings in 2012, has confirmed Little Mike and Finnegans Wake for Saturday's Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational and Dullahan primed for the Grade 1, $400,000 Jamaica Handicap on October 6.

Mike delivers Handsome upset in Penn Derby

J. Paul Reddam's Handsome Mike parlayed a front-running trip into a two-length upset in Saturday's Grade 2, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, winning as the 19-1 longest shot at Parx Racing. The Scat Daddy colt proved resilient after setting a moderate pace beneath Irad Ortiz Jr., withstanding challenges from Alpha and Stephanoatsee before re-asserting command in deep stretch, and snapped a seven-race losing skein in the process.

Aurelia outduels Questing to stay unbeaten in Cotillion

Last year's unbeaten champion two-year-old filly My Miss Aurelia outdueled pro tem divisional leader Questing by a head in Saturday's $971,200 Cotillion Stakes, in a climactic finish to the first Grade 1 event ever staged in Pennsylvania. The 1 1/16-mile test served up a clash worthy of the occasion -- a virtual match race, with Eclipse Award implications -- and it lived up to the advance billing.

Optimizer scores first graded win in Kent

After an unsuccessful Triple Crown campaign, Optimizer looks to have found his home back on the turf. The D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt captured his first graded stakes win in record fashion on Saturday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park.

The Factor retired to Lane's End

Multiple Grade 1 winner The Factor has been retired from racing and will enter stud at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Kentucky, for the 2013 breeding season. Raced by George Bolton and David Shimmon's Fog City Stable, The Factor won six races, five of them graded, including the Grade 1 Malibu and Grade 1 Pat O'Brien.

Certify among 11 remaining in Fillies' Mile

Godolphin aims for a third consecutive victory in the Group 1, £163,500 Fillies' Mile with Certify going for the highlight of the second day of the Cambridgeshire Festival at Newmarket this upcoming Friday. The Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained filly is one of the ante-post favorites for next year's Group 1 One Thousand Guineas, back at Newmarket, following three impressive victories that included a cozy neck success in the Group 2 May Hill over a mile at Doncaster on September 14.

Paynter could race again

Owner Ahmed Zayat is holding out hope that his star colt Paynter, who has waged a terrific battle against the twin evils of colitis and laminitis, could actually make it back to the races.

Nine-year-old veteran Awesome Gem retired

West Point Thoroughbreds announced the retirement of its nine-year-old warrior Awesome Gem on Friday. A well-traveled Grade 1 winner, all-surface performer, and earner of more than $2.8 million, the Awesome Again gelding remarkably won or placed in at least one graded stakes in each of his seven seasons of racing.

Pletcher choosing spots for top runners

Trainer Todd Pletcher said he wants to survey weekend workouts before he plots paths for many of his Belmont graded stakes contenders, but did confirm four-year-olds San Pablo and Stay Thirsty for the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles on September 29.

Trailblazer to represent Japan in BC Turf

Japanracing.jp reports that the Yasutoshi Ikee-trained Trailblazer is currently in Southern California in preparation for his scheduled run in the Grade 2 Arroyo Seco Mile (formerly known as the Oak Tree Mile) on October 6. Trailblazer, a son of Zenno Rob Roy, is aimed ultimately for the November 3 Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita.

Hollywood stakes schedule worth $3.8 million

The Grade 1, $750,000 CashCall Futurity, an annual stop for future Triple Crown contenders, will once again be the most lucrative event on the stakes calendar for the 2012 Autumn meet at Hollywood Park.

Fort Larned, Ron the Greek head Jockey Club probables

The Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational on September 29 at Belmont Park is the centerpiece of Super Saturday, which features four additional Grade 1s and the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap, each a "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup on November 2 and 3 at Santa Anita Park.

Gutierrez, Puhich to receive Mr. Fitz Award

Gutierrez, 25, and Puhich, an agent since 1944, will receive the Mr. Fitz Award, named for the late Hall of Fame trainer James "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons, for typifying the spirit of racing. Gutierrez rose from the relative obscurity of Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver to sweep the opening two legs of the Triple Crown aboard I'll Have Another.

Awesome Feather rates a perfect 10 in comeback

"You never can predict something like that," trainer Chad Brown said of the blowout. "She's been very strong in her gallops. Six weeks out from the Breeders' Cup, I think she needed a race, so I'm not at all upset about winning by that many and having a strong final time. I think she needed the race and we got the race we needed."

Breeders' Cup launches Blazing Silks

The Breeders' Cup has announced the launch of Blazing Silks, Breeders' Cup Edition, an interactive social network game that allows horse racing fans and social gamers to train and care for Thoroughbred horses. Fans can then race their horses against friends and past Breeders' Cup Champions in photorealistic 3D races at some of the most famous racetracks in the world. Blazing Silks combines the thrill of racing with immersive role-playing gameplay, allowing the ownership, training and caring for your own Thoroughbred with the interactive elements that have helped propel social gaming into the mainstream.

Spurious Precision euthanized after fracturing knee

Spurious Precision, the undefeated winner of the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on August 12, was euthanized Tuesday morning. The two-year-old, who was preparing for the Grade 1 Champagne on October 6, suffered a fractured left knee during a workout at Aqueduct Monday. The preliminary diagnosis indicated the injury might be repaired surgically, and he was sent to the Hogan Equine Clinic in Cream Ridge, New Jersey, but additional X-rays revealed extensive damage to the bone structure of the knee.

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