Handicapping

Tips and picks for how to bet on Thorougbred horse racing

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.

Went the Day goes very Well in Spiral

Providing a strong sense of deja vu, Team Valor International's Went the Day Well booked his ticket to the Kentucky Derby with a convincing victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $500,000 Viver Racing Spiral Stakes

Triple Crown late nomination deadline looming

Thoroughbred owners and trainers who wish to make their late-blooming three-year-olds eligible to compete in the 2012 Triple Crown series of classic American races have until Saturday to add their horses to the roster of late nominations to the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Eight set for Sunland Derby

With its lucrative $800,000 purse, the Grade 3 Sunland Derby is an attractive prep race for Kentucky Derby hopefuls lacking graded earnings, and three-year-olds from the barns of notable trainers Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher and Steve Asmussen have shipped into the New Mexico track this year in search of a guaranteed berth to the Run for Roses. The 1 1/8-mile race gained notoriety in 2009 when producing Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.

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