Handicapping

Tips and picks for how to bet on Thorougbred horse racing

Stidham helps Flash Mash to overcome her fear

This year, Prime Equestrian's Flash Mash has required a lot of patience from trainer Mike Stidham and his team. Before Saturday's Giant's Causeway Stakes at Keeneland, the four-year-old Smarty Jones filly, with Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard, was walking through the tunnel to the track for the post parade, then she stopped and wouldn't move. Stidham, wearing a suit, went to the filly and jogged beside her and Hernandez to the first turn -- probably an eighth of a mile -- where he handed her off to the outrider. Flash Mash continued to near the starting gate, where she stood while her rivals continued to warm up.

Isn't He Clever switched to Asmussen

Isn't He Clever, winner of the Borderland Derby and eighth in the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby in his most recent start, has been transferred to trainer Steve Amussen, according to owner J. Kirk Robison, and a start in the $2 million Kentucky Derby is still under consideration.

Ward unsure of plans for All Squared Away

"It was fantastic. I'm very happy," trainer Wesley Ward said Sunday morning about winning Saturday's Grade 3 Lexington with 70-1 longshot All Squared Away. Ridden by Julio Garcia, the Bellamy Road gelding won the 1 1/16-mile race by 1 1/2 lengths over favored Summer Front in his first start for Ward.

Wise Dan throws down gauntlet in record-setting Ben Ali romp

Morton Fink's homebred Wise Dan was expected to be a prime player in the handicap division in 2012, but he turned his comeback in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland into an overwhelming statement of intent. Dragging jockey John Velazquez to the lead entering the backstretch, the Charles Lopresti trainee went on to spread-eagle the field by 10 1/2 lengths while breaking the track record.

Plan capitalizes on ideal trip in Santa Barbara

By Rock Hard Ten, and out of a daughter of the magnificent Dahlia, Capital Plan is now two-for-two at this 1 1/4-mile trip on the Santa Anita turf. With the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf being held over the same course and distance November 2, the lightly-raced four-year-old could emerge as a contender, if she keeps up the momentum she's begun in the Santa Barbara.

She's All In trounces foes in Sixty Sails

Trainer Donnie Von Hemel and jockey Luis Quinonez, who teamed up to take the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap with Alternation earlier this month, snared another graded stakes triumph Saturday with the five-year-old mare She's All In, who made an emphatic statement in the Grade 3, $200,000 Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne. Seizing control at the top of the stretch, She's All In opened up a commanding lead and kept increasing her margin to the finish, crossing the wire 8 3/4 lengths in front. The 5-1 fourth choice in the field of six returned $12.80, $5.60 and $3.20.

All Squared Away lights up Lexington toteboard

All Squared Away played "bombs away" in Saturday's $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, scoring as the 70-1 longest shot in the Grade 3 race. A former claimer making his first start for trainer Wesley Ward, the three-year-old gelding improved significantly upon a well-beaten sixth in the Grade 2 Spiral Stakes to post his initial stakes victory, completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:42 3/5 on Polytrack.

California Flag shows he still has it in San Simeon

California Flag won the second running of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita back in 2009, and could be heard from again when that Grade 1 race is renewed on November 3 after a visually impressive display in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 San Simeon Handicap. Showing his fondness for the about 6 1/2-furlong trip down the hillside turf course has not abated with age, the eight-year-old gray gelding made all the running and romped to a convincing 2 1/4-length score under Joe Talamo. Surprisingly overlooked at nearly 6-1, California Flag returned $13.80, $7.80 and $4.40.

The Lumber Guy returns to winner's circle in Jerome

Barry K. Schwartz's The Lumber Guy suffered his first loss on April 7 when stretching out to 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, but returned Saturday off the two-week break and cut back to eight furlongs at the Big A to capture the Grade 2, $200,000 Jerome Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths over a tenacious Brigand.

Reveron injured, out of Derby

Stipa Racing Stable Inc.'s Reveron has been withdrawn from Kentucky Derby consideration after a left fore condylar fissure was detected following a one-mile workout in 1:46 over a sloppy track at Calder Saturday morning.

Trinniberg changes plans, joins Derby cast

After previously declaring his multiple Grade 3-winning sprinter Trinniberg doubtful for the Kentucky Derby, owner Shivananda Parbhoo altered course Saturday, indicating that he is now likely to send his son of Teuflesberg to Churchill Downs for the first jewel of the Triple Crown.

Done Talking works at Laurel

Grade 3 Illinois Derby winner Done Talking breezed four furlongs in :49 3/5 at Laurel Park Saturday morning in his penultimate work before the $2 million Kentucky Derby. Regular rider Sheldon Russell was up on the Hamilton Smith trainee, who galloped out five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 over the fast track.

Amie's Dini gallops at Churchill, has Sunday breeze planned

Mike Walker and Lou Sutterfield's Amie's Dini, a major contender for the Grade 1, $1 million Kentucky Oaks, visited the muddy Churchill Downs track on a cold, damp Saturday morning for a 1 7/8-mile gallop during the 15-minute training period reserved for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders.

Pachattack outduels Kathmanblu to take Doubledogdare

Friday's Grade 3, $100,000 Doubledogdare Stakes turned into a battle royale down the lane at Keeneland as Pachattack and Kathmanblu hooked up rounding the turn to duel all the way to the wire. Making her first start since being purchased by Flaxman Holdings for $1.2 million at Fasig-Tipton's November Sale last year, Pachattack began earning back her sell price when gutting out the neck victory under jockey Rajiv Maragh.

Union Rags gets in work at Keeneland

Rather than worry about the prospects of a cold, damp weekend in Kentucky, trainer Michael Matz opted to work Kentucky Derby contender Union Rags on Friday morning at Keeneland.

Oaks hopefuls out in force on Friday

On Fire Baby, a leading contender for the Grade 1, $1 million Kentucky Oaks, breezed seven furlongs on the fast main track at Churchill Downs Friday morning in 1:26 4/5 for trainer Gary Hartlage.

NHC purse to be guaranteed minimum of $1.5 million

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced Friday that the purse for January's 14th annual Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) at Treasure Island Las Vegas has been guaranteed at a minimum of $1.5 million.

I'll Have Another, Take Charge Indy breeze for Derby

I'll Have Another, who established himself as a top Kentucky Derby contender with a game win over Creative Cause in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, breezed six furlongs in 1:13 3/5 over the Hollywood Park's Cushion Track Thursday morning.

Dayatthespa enjoys uncontested lead in Appalachian

The Chad Brown trainee had both tactical and recency advantages over Somali Lemonade, the 8-5 second choice, who had not run since her sixth in the November 4 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Dayatthespa had likewise run below par in that same Breeders' Cup race, finishing ninth on unsuitably rain-softened ground, but had the benefit of two strong stakes wins under her belt this campaign.

Wise Dan returns in Ben Ali

Wise Dan concluded 2011 in smashing fashion, posting big wins in the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes and Grade 1 Clark Handicap, and the Charles Lopresti-trained gelding will look to make it three straight when opening his five-year-old season in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland. The versatile chestnut tops a field of seven in the 1 1/8-mile test over the Polytrack.

Princess Arabella retired with injury

Peachtree Stable's undefeated Princess Arabella, who would have been a major contender in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, has been retired due to injury. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert revealed the news on HRTV Thursday.

Secret Circle out of Derby

Grade 2 Rebel Stakes winner Secret Circle is out of the Kentucky Derby with a sesamoid injury, according to the Blood-Horse. The Bob Baffert pupil was most recently a distant runner-up to stablemate Bodemeister in last Saturday's Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.

Lukas still hoping Optimizer makes Derby field

Bluegrass Hall LLC's homebred Optimizer, most recently ninth in the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, is still being pointed to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

St. John's River prepares for La Troienne return

Dede McGehee's St. John's River, who was narrowly defeated by Plum Pretty in last year's Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, is being pointed to a return to the races after an eighth-month layoff in the Grade 2, $300,000 La Troienne, which is to be run on the Kentucky Oaks Day undercard on May 4.

Baffert duo face The Lumber Guy in Jerome

After landing a one-two punch in last week's Grade 1 Arkansas Derby with Bodemeister and Secret Circle, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will attempt to do the same in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Jerome at Aqueduct with California shippers Stirred Up and Brigand. The one-mile Jerome, which will be run for the 142nd time, is the final graded stakes of the Aqueduct spring meet as racing in New York shifts to Belmont Park next weekend.

Nicholson stepping down as Keeneland president

Keeneland President and CEO Nick Nicholson on Wednesday announced that effective September 1, he will retire from Keeneland Association after nearly 13 years at the helm. Bill Thomason, currently Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, has been selected by the Keeneland Trustees as successor to Nicholson.

Creative Cause works with blinkers

Creative Cause, recording his first workout since a nose second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby April 7, completed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 over the Cushion Track at Hollywood Park on Tuesday. It was the 16th fastest of 37 works at the distance.

Bodemeister feeling good after big win

The top-two finishers in last Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park arrived at Churchill Downs in good order Monday afternoon to continue their preparations for the 138th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby, which is to be run beneath the Twin Spires on May 5.

Pachattack faces seven in Doubledogdare

Pachattack, a leading mare on synthetic surfaces in North America the past couple of seasons, get back to work Friday at Keeneland in the Grade 3, $100,000 Doubledogdare over 1 1/16 miles. The race will mark her first start for the Niarchos family's Flaxman Holdings, which purchased the six-year-old for $1.2 million at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale.

Most Popular Stories