Handicapping

Tips and picks for how to bet on Thorougbred horse racing

Breeders' Cup board offers discount on early, online foal nominations

In response to its popularity among horsemen over the past three years, the Breeders' Cup board of directors has again approved an early foal nomination program deadline which allows for a $100 discount off the standard $500 nomination fee for all foals nominated electronically by August 1 to the Breeders' Cup program.

New Vocations hosts 'Thoroughbreds For All!'

New Vocations will host "Thoroughbreds For All!" -- an evening of education and fellowship for people who favor off-the-track Thoroughbreds combined with an invitation for equestrians to shop in Kentucky for the Thoroughbred of their dreams -- on April 28 shortly following the Rolex cross country at 5 p.m. (EDT).

Epsom Oaks draw 95 early entries

A total of 95 fillies have been entered for the Group 1, £350,000 Epsom Oaks, highlight of Ladies Day at the Derby Festival at Epsom Downs on June 1. The figure is two more than the 2011 entry and way ahead of the 2010 total of 77.

Musical Romance seeks better trip in Inside Information

Champion female sprinter Musical Romance experienced a troubled trip when opening 2012 in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint, grabbing a quarter and ripping off a shoe at the start, but the five-year-old will look to rebound when she lines up for Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Inside Information at Gulfstream Park. The Bill Kaplan-trained mare will square off against 10 rivals, including the top four finishers from the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie Stakes on February 29.

Roster announced for Taste of Derby

The perfect Kentucky Derby appetizer returns May 3 as Churchill Downs stages its third annual Taste of Derby -- a celebration of cuisine and racing on the eve of the Kentucky Oaks. Taste of Derby attendees will mingle with horse racing and Hollywood celebrities and savor exquisite cuisine and delectable wines from racing destinations across the country as nationally-renowned chefs serve samples of their regional specialties.

Betfair acquires Hollywood naming rights

Betfair US and Hollywood Park on Tuesday announced the completion of a ground-breaking agreement intended to transform the customer experience for racing fans at the historic venue, online and on television. Under the terms of the five-year deal, the venue will be renamed "Betfair Hollywood Park" in the first naming rights agreement ever for a horseracing venue in the United States.

Gulfstream to host 2012 Claiming Crown

Gulfstream Park will host the 14th running of the Claiming Crown on the opening day of its 2012-13 meet on December 1. The 2012 event will see a significant increase in purses to $850,000 for seven races with the individual race purses ranging from $100,000 to $200,000. In addition to the six Claiming Crown races conducted at the 2011 event, the Tiara for fillies and mares on the turf will return this year.

Florida Derby Festival raises money for charities

Gulfstream Park will offer fans a week of activities and attractions leading up to the $1 million Florida Derby on Saturday, March 31, including a concert by a mystery Grammy-winning country artist as well as golf and poker tournaments, a cocktail party with jockeys serving drinks, and the official Florida Derby cocktail party with live and silent auctions.

Craft Unicorn wins on debut at Ocala

Dennis J. Manning's first-time starter Crafty Unicorn stayed close to the early pace of the 23rd running of the $100,000 OBS Championship Stakes, contested Monday at the Ocala Training Center in Florida. Crafty Unicorn fought to the lead along the inside in the stretch and beat Burn the Mortgage by 1 3/4 lengths, with Moon Traveler checking in third.

Havre de Grace puts in final work for New Orleans Ladies

Reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace put in her last workout in advance of Saturday's $150,000 New Orleans Ladies this morning at Fair Grounds, breezing five furlongs in :59 3/5 with regular exercise rider Jen Brasser aboard. The five-year-old mare worked in company with an unraced three-year-old filly, Just Jan, who went the same distance in 1:00 under Rosie Napravnik while breezing to the inside of Havre de Grace.

Animal Kingdom to miss Dubai World Cup

Champion Animal Kingdom will miss his intended start in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup on March 31 after developing lameness in his left hind leg over the weekend at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida.

NTRA updates safety, integrity standards

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced Monday that an updated set of racetrack safety and integrity standards has been circulated to members of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, and that it is now available for public comment. After finalization, the compliance standards will serve as the basis for future racetrack Alliance accreditation, including the re-accreditation of tracks previously accredited by the Alliance. The Alliance, formed in October 2008 with the goal of establishing national uniform standards in the areas of safety and integrity, includes 55 racetracks in North America and every major national horsemen's organization. Twenty-two racetracks have been accredited to date by Alliance safety teams.

Musical Romance probable for Inside Information

Pinnacle Racing and Bill Kaplan's five-year-old mare Musical Romance closed out an Eclipse Award campaign in 2011 winning the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs on November 4, but her 2012 season debut did not go well when she finished fourth in the Florida Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint at Gulfstream Park on January 28.

Kid Sidney waiting in the wings for Rebel

There's a buzz back at the barn of Jinks Fires this spring a year after the magical run by Archarcharch that culminated in a victory in the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby for his longtime clients Bob and Val Yagos. This time another set of longtime owners are eagerly hoping Kid Sidney can make up for lost time and get into the Grade 2, $500,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.

Izzy Rules in Las Flores

George and Mary Clare Schmitt's Izzy Rules lived up to her name, and her 6-5 favoritism, in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Las Flores Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Grabbing command soon after the start, the Jeff Bonde trainee led all the way home to finish the 6 1/2-furlong, fast track event in 1:14 2/5. The five-year-old daughter of Peace Rules paid $4.60, $3.20 and $2.80 to her faithful supporters.

'Santa Anita Uncorked' returns March 25

Santa Anita will present its fifth annual "Santa Anita Uncorked" wine and culinary festival on March 25. The event will be staged in the track's paddock gardens area beginning at noon (PDT) and will feature a wide array of boutique and hand-picked wine selections, cuisine sampling from 14 popular local restaurants, a paddock art show and a full day of exciting Thoroughbred racing.

Mucho Macho Man rolls in Gulfstream Park Handicap

Mucho Macho Man continued to establish himself as a serious player in the older horse division Saturday, posting a convincing victory in the Grade 2, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap. A smart winner of the 1 1/8-mile Sunshine Millions Classic January 28, the leggy bay colt cut back powerfully to a one-turn mile while extending his win streak to three. Ramon Dominguez was up for trainer Kathy Ritvo.

On Fire Baby battles to Honeybee victory

Anita Cauley's homebred On Fire Baby was sent off the 2-5 favorite in Saturday's Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park, but the gray miss had to work for the win as 3-1 second choice Amie's Dini refused to yield in the lane. It was only nearing the wire that On Fire Baby managed to pull away, posting a two-length victory under jockey Joe Johnson to return $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10 to her backers.

Creative Cause masters Bode in San Felipe

The San Felipe was widely viewed as the deepest Derby prep race so far this season. Despite the withdrawal of Out of Bounds, who is sidelined by a fractured ankle, and Fed Biz, who had a minor hiccup but is still on the trail, the 1 1/16-mile test lured a terrific group of classic hopefuls.

Prospective gamely scores in Tampa Bay Derby

Prospective made his move to the lead on the far turn, was headed in midstretch by a surging Golden Ticket, then came back again to prevail in Saturday's Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby. Winner of the Grade 3 Grey Stakes at two and second in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes in his previous start, the Mark Casse-trained colt likely guaranteed himself a spot in the Kentucky Derby field by increasing his graded earnings to $365,452.

Mikhail Glinka snaps losing streak in Dubai City of Gold

Mikhail Glinka foreshadowed what Master of Hounds would accomplish two races later in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta. Interestingly, both had been stablemates under the tutelage of Aidan O'Brien, and neither had managed to win since the summer of 2010. Mikhail Glinka last visited the winner's circle after a photo-finish score in the Group 3 Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot.

Trinniberg blitzes rivals in Swale

Shivananda Parbhoo's Trinniberg is a colt to be reckoned with in the major three-year-old sprints later this year after an impressive 2012 debut in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Swale at Gulfstream Park. Making his first start since November and racing without blinkers for the first time, the son of Teuflesberg assumed command at the start, led by a length through splits of :22 3/5 and :45, and exploded through the stretch to win by six lengths under Willie Martinez. Final time for seven furlongs over a fast track was a sharp 1:21 3/5. Trinniberg, sent off at 7-1, returned $17.20, $9.60 and $6.40.

Capponi surprises in Maktoum Challenge

Ahmed Ajtebi picked up the mount as Godolphin's other associated riders piloted more accomplished entrants. Frankie Dettori, who had ridden Capponi in all three of his starts this season, got off to partner Prince Bishop for Saeed bin Suroor, who also sent out Mendip with Kieren Fallon. Al Zarooni saddled two other contenders -- Monterosso, piloted by Mickael Barzalona, and Biondetti, who drew in from the also-eligible list with Silvestre de Sousa. But none of them threatened Capponi.

Master of Hounds steals Jebel Hatta

In the early going, Master of Hounds was tracked by Secrecy, Pisco Sour and Derbaas, and City Style was also well placed in fifth. The same could not be said of several major contenders, including Master of Hounds' stablemates, River Jetez and Mutahadee. Christophe Soumillon, who got off Master of Hounds to ride Mutahadee, anchored him near the tail of the field. River Jetez was almost as far back. Defending Jebel Hatta champion Wigmore Hall was likewise in a poor position, and reigning Duty Free hero Presvis lagged in last after his habitual slow start.

Zagora zooms home in Hillsborough

Zagora was given a textbook ride by regular pilot Javier Castellano. The odds-on choice was reserved in sixth early, six lengths off the pace established by 96-1 longshot Megaspiel through fractions of :23 2/5 and :47 1/5. Unbridled Humor stalked in second, followed by Sea Level Drive and Federation. Zagora commenced her move entering the far turn, cutting her deficit to just 2 1/2 lengths when the leader reached six furlongs in 1:11 2/5.

Agave Kiss flies home in Cicada

Despite an initial early challenge in Saturday's Grade 3, $147,000 Cicada Stakes, Agave Kiss easily ran away with the six-furlong contest to move her career record to a perfect four-for-four under jockey Ryan Curatolo. The Rudy Rodriguez trainee was made the 1-4 prohibitive favorite by the betting public and delivered when crossing under the wire three lengths the best.

Shackleford targeting Carter

Preakness winner Shackleford will be among the star studded cast of horses lining up for the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter on Wood Memorial Day at Aqueduct on April 7.

Take Charge Indy to scratch from Tampa Bay Derby

Take Charge Indy, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line for Saturday's Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, will be scratched from the race and point instead to the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 31. Trainer Pat Byrne confirmed the change in plans to Daily Racing Form on Friday.

Van Berg to serve as auctioneer at Perrodin fundraiser

When the devastating news came out that jockey E.J. "Tee Joe" Perrodin was diagnosed with brain cancer just days after retiring from the saddle -- and that Fair Grounds would be hosting a charitable crawfish boil on March 20 to benefit the popular rider's family -- one of the first people to volunteer his services at the upcoming event was Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, who will be returning to New Orleans that afternoon as an auctioneer.

Southwest winners to work for possible Rebel showdown

With a stable full of Kentucky Derby contenders, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is juggling talented three-year-olds every weekend, but he's counting on the strong performances by Secret Circle and Castaway in their split divisions of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes to help him decide to whether to send them both back for the Grade 2, $500,000 Rebel at Oaklawn Park March 17.

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