Handicapping

Tips and picks for how to bet on Thorougbred horse racing

Turbulent Descent, Musical Romance highlight deep Gallant Bloom

Saturday's Grade 2 $200,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park serves as a dynamite prep for this year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on November 2. The deep field features Turbulent Descent, an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes in her first start for Todd Pletcher; defending sprint champion Musical Romance, who has been freshened off her victory in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney in early July; Grade 1-winning sophomore Emma's Encore; and C C's Pal, who notched her second Grade 2 score this season when taking the Honorable Miss at Saratoga last out.

Champion Chief Bearhart dies in Japan

Chief Bearhart, who was voted champion turf male of 1997 and was twice named Canadian Horse of the Year in 1997-98, died Tuesday in Japan. The 19-year-old, who was suffering from heart failure, had been a stud at the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association (JBBA) Shizunai Stallion Station.

NTWAB announces award winners

The National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association will honor Kentucky Derby and Preakness-winning jockey Mario Gutierrez and his agent, Ivan Puhich, recently retired Churchill Downs track superintendent Raymond "Butch" Lehr, and two-time Eclipse Award recipient Bill Mooney at its annual awards dinner on October 31 in Pasadena, California.

Del Mar announces extra 10 percent purse payment

Del Mar's horsemen earned an extra 10 percent payment on top of already record-breaking purse payouts as final figures became available for the track's 2012 summer racing season. Meeting Friday, the Thoroughbred Owners of California's board of directors approved the additional payout, which totaled $1,466,532.

Preakness winner Deputed Testamony dead at 32

Deputed Testamony, the most recent Maryland-bred to win his home state's most prestigious event, the Preakness at Pimlico, died Tuesday at Bonita Farm in Darlington, Maryland. At the time of his death, Deputed Testamony, 32, was the oldest living winner of a U.S. classic.

Benton, Moore awarded Jockey Club Jack Goodman Scholarships

Matthew Benton and Christina Moore, students at the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program (RTIP), have been awarded The Jockey Club Jack Goodman Scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year, it was jointly announced Tuesday by Matt Iuliano, executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club, and Doug Reed, director of the RTIP.

Fairbanks sires first winner

Grade 2 victor Fairbanks got off the mark as a sire when Golden Heart City captured Monday's 1ST race at Parx Racing, a $40,000 maiden claimer for juvenile fillies, by 1 1/4 lengths under Stewart Elliott. Owned by CJZ Racing Stable and trained by Tony Dutrow, Golden Heart City completed six furlongs in 1:12 and pushed her career earnings to $29,870 from a line of 2-1-0-0.

Questing can secure a title on lucrative Parx card

Questing can tighten an already firm grip on three-year-old filly divisional honors with a victory Saturday in the $1 million Cotillion at Parx Racing. Elevated to Grade 1 status this year, the Cotillion will be the first top-level race ever contested in the state of Pennsylvania, which saw pari-mutuel Thoroughbred racing introduced in 1969 at the defunct Liberty Bell Park.

Get Stormy calls it a career

Multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Get Stormy has been retired to stud, according to reports published Monday. At his best from a mile to nine furlongs on turf, the Tom Bush charge was last seen finishing third to Wise Dan in the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga August 11.

Hansen officially retired

Hansen, last year's champion two-year-old colt who was recently diagnosed with a tendon injury, has officially been retired, co-owner and breeder Dr. Kendall Hansen told The Paulick Report late Sunday night. Stud plans are still in the works for the striking gray son of Tapit.

Limited number of reserved seats left for Breeders' Cup

The Breeders' Cup announced Monday that a limited quantity of reserved seats remain for the two-day international festival of racing, November 2-3, at Santa Anita Park, as advanced sales have outpaced 2008 and 2009, the last time the event was held in Southern California.

Brown eyeing Flower Bowl, Spinster for Zagora's next start

On Saturday, Grade 1-winning Zagora put in her second work since setting a track record of 1:39.07 when taking the Grade 2, 1 1/16-mile Ballston Spa on August 25 at Saratoga Race Course. The five-year-old French-bred daughter of Green Tune breezed four furlongs in :49 4/5 on Saturday, the same time she clocked exactly one week prior.

Stealcase runs down Ontario Derby

Stealcase, sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade 3, $158,934 Ontario Derby, certainly did not disappoint at Woodbine on Sunday. Coming off a subpar seventh in the Grade 1 Travers, he bounced back here to earn his first graded stakes win.

Wise Dan dismantles the field in Woodbine Mile

Morton Fink's homebred Wise Dan was in a class of his own in Sunday's Grade 1, $1,031,168 Woodbine Mile, stamping himself as a leading threat for the Breeders' Cup Mile. Although the impressive 3 1/4-length winner earned an automatic berth to the Mile, connections have not yet ruled out a tilt at the Breeders' Cup Classic on dirt for the superstar who can run on any surface.

Wigmore Hall outduels Al Khali to repeat in Northern Dancer

Mark B. Hawtin's globetrotting Wigmore Hall had endured an eight-race losing streak since his victory in last year's Grade 1, $500,000 Northern Dancer Turf, but a return to Woodbine for Sunday's renewal helped the English invader regain the winning thread. After a rousing stretch duel with Al Khali, the Michael Bell charge  successfully defended his title by a hard-fought neck.

It's Tricky readies for Beldame; Questing, Alpha work for Parx engagements

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin worked a quartet of stakes runners for Godolphin Racing this weekend at Saratoga's Greentree Training Center, with multiple Grade 1 winner It's Tricky and promising juvenile Fortify turning in breezes for upcoming stakes races at Belmont Park, and top sophomores Questing and Alpha working toward engagements at Parx Racing.

Barefoot Lady shows Canadian rivals a clean pair of heels

Jockey Davey Moran landed a fortunate pick-up mount aboard English shipper Barefoot Lady in Sunday's Grade 2, $323,217 Canadian Stakes at Woodbine, and delivered a perfect ride to land the spoils. Trained by Richard Fahey for Mrs. H. Steel, the 7-1 chance saved ground while tracking the pace, angled out for the drive, and rolled to an emphatic 1 1/2-length victory over All Star Heart.

Brown praises Samitar, plans to stretch Dealbata out

Trainer Chad Brown reported Sunday morning that Samitar came out of her narrow victory in Saturday's Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont Park in good shape, and next will point for the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on October 13 at Keeneland.

Maid of Heaven kicks off Kentucky Turf Cup undercard

Team Block's homebred Ioya Bigtime took the lead soon after the start of Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Kentucky Turf Cup and never looked back when scoring by a half-length under jockey Jeffrey Sanchez. The bay five-year-old was exiting a runner-up effort in the inaugural American St. Leger at Arlington Park on August 18, but got back on the winning track here when completing 1 1/2 miles on the firm Kentucky Downs turf in 2:30.

Ioya Bigtime wires Kentucky Turf Cup

Team Block's homebred Ioya Bigtime took the lead soon after the start of Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Kentucky Turf Cup and never looked back when scoring by a half-length under jockey Jeffrey Sanchez. The bay five-year-old was exiting a runner-up effort in the inaugural American St. Leger at Arlington Park on August 18, but got back on the winning track here when completing 1 1/2 miles on the firm Kentucky Downs turf in 2:30.

Naples Bay scores minor upset in Noble Damsel

Edward Cox Jr.'s Naples Bay rallied to the lead in midstretch and easily withstood the late rally of favored Dealbata in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Noble Damsel Stakes at Belmont Park, registering her first stakes victory with a 1 1/2-length decision. She was overlooked at 13-1 odds among nine rivals, returning payouts of $28, $10.20 and $5.90, and Jose Lezcano had the mount for trainer Christophe Clement.

Samitar holds on in Garden City

Martin S. Schwartz's Samitar was a rough-trip third in her American debut in the Grade 2 Lake George at Saratoga, but the Irish classic winner had a much cleaner opportunity in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Garden City Stakes at Belmont Park. Under a textbook stalk-and-pounce ride by Ramon Dominguez, the 4-5 favorite struck the front in midstretch and fended off the rallying Somali Lemonade by a measured head.

O'Brien regrets not running pacemaker in St Leger

Trainer Aidan O'Brien reflected on beaten Triple Crown hopeful Camelot, who suffered his first career loss in Saturday's Group 1 St Leger. Held up off the pace as usual by his son Joseph O'Brien, the 2-5 favorite had to wait for room in the stretch, but couldn't kick as strongly as the victorious Encke and settled for second.

Godolphin celebrates sixth St Leger success

"We are probably not going to be the most popular winner on Town Moor today," Racing Manager Simon Crisford admitted, "but from our point of view it was a fantastic result, giving Godolphin its sixth St Leger success."

Encke stuns Camelot to deny Triple Crown

Godolphin's unheralded Encke stunned 2-5 favorite Camelot Sept. 15 in the St. Leger (Eng-I) at Doncaster, denying the hitherto unbeaten colt's historic quest for the English Triple Crown.

Trio work for Jockey Club Gold Cup

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott expressed his satisfaction Saturday morning after Ron the Greek and Flat Out turned in "very good" works at Saratoga in preparation for the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on September 29.

Wise Dan takes on Cityscape in Woodbine Mile

American stand-out Wise Dan and international Group 1 performer Cityscape clash in Sunday's Grade 1, C$1 million Woodbine Mile. The valuable prize has served as a major stepping stone to the Breeders' Cup Mile, a status further recognized by its designation as a "Win and You're In" event.

Certify, Sir Prancealot get up in time

Godolphin's Certify justified 4-6 favoritism in Friday's Group 2 May Hill Stakes for juvenile fillies at Doncaster, just getting up to edge Purr Along by a head to remain unbeaten. The pair came eight lengths clear of third-placer Light Up My Life.

Turf juveniles aim for BC bids in Summer, Natalma

Woodbine kicks off a terrific weekend of turf stakes with a pair of Grade 2 events for Breeders' Cup-aspiring two-year-olds on Saturday. The C$250,000 Summer Stakes is a "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, while its companion race, the C$250,000 Natalma Stakes, offers a berth to the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Each is contested at a mile.

Musical Romance to join strong cast in Gallant Bloom

Trainer Bill Kaplan confirmed Friday that 2011 champion female sprinter Musical Romance will make her next start at Belmont Park in the Grade 2, $200,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap on September 22. The Gallant Bloom is run at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Arlington Park reveals 'The Eliminator' handicapping contest

Arlington Park and all Illinois Trackside Off-Track Betting locations will unveil their new handicapping contest, "The Eliminator," on September 22. The contest allows players to earn a share of a $250 weekly prize, move on to subsequent rounds and eventually to the November 10 finals where the grand prize will be $1,000.

Jockey Club reports smaller decrease in foals born

The Jockey Club on Friday reported that 2,620 stallions covered 39,838 mares in North America during 2011, according to statistics compiled through September 10, 2012. These breedings have resulted in 22,500 live foals of 2012 being reported to The Jockey Club on Live Foal Reports received as of September 10, 2012.

John Dunlop to retire at season's end

John Dunlop, one of Britain's longest-serving and most respected trainers, has announced that he will retire at the end of the season. Doncaster Racecourse will make a presentation to Dunlop Friday to mark his achievements at the home of the final classic, the Group 1 St Leger.

Camelot could make additional history for O'Brien in St Leger

Apart from Camelot's attempt to become the 16th colt to win the English Triple Crown and the first since Nijinsky in 1970, the Group 1 St Leger could produce a statistic unique in Turf history. Victory in Saturday's race would make Aidan O'Brien the first trainer to win all five British classics in a single season.

The English Triple Crown in focus

The English Triple Crown comprises the Group 1 Two Thousand Guineas over Newmarket's straight mile in early May, the Group 1 Derby over Epsom's switchback 1 1/2 miles in June and the Group 1 St Leger over Doncaster's sweeping extended 1 3/4 miles in September. To win all three a horse must own speed, stamina, soundness and durability as well as class.

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