Keeping Pace

Staff writer Frank Angst examines racing, handicapping, and other mysteries.

4.5 Million Reasons to Love the New Tax Rules

About 2,000 bettors went home happy after playing the mandatory-payout Rainbow 6 wager March 31 at Gulfstream Park. Thanks to new tax reporting and withholding rules put in place during the fall, the joy figures to spread through racing for quite some time. Betting the Rainbow 6 on this year's Florida Derby day card at Gulfstream has provided the best example yet of how pari-mutuel wagering will benefit... Read More

Four Horses on the Derby Bubble

The connections of four horses being considered for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) will be watching the season's final two Road to the Kentucky Derby points races closely April 14. The race with the most potential to upset the apple cart is the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park, which offers points on a 100-40-20-10 scale to its respective top four finishers. Also in play is the... Read More

International Runners Could Shape Derby Points Bubble

Because a pair of international races could generate several Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) starters, this weekend's points races will be the most important weekend in determining where this year's Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points bubble will fall. As many as three horses based outside of North America could secure Derby spots this weekend, and a fourth horse, who likely... Read More

On Derby Trail, Horsemen Weigh Their Options

After punching through on the inside and rolling to a 4 1/2-length victory in the Feb. 19 Southwest Stakes (G3) in his first start at Oaklawn Park , a return trip to the Hot Springs, Ark., track seemed to be in order for My Boy Jack . But before owners Don't Tell My Wife Stables (Kirk Godby) and Monomoy Stables (Sol Kumin) and trainer Keith Desormeaux committed to a return trip to Oaklawn for the ... Read More

Automatic Bids, Qualifying Points Provide Clarity for Fans

As last-second shots fly, setting off celebrations or disappointment during this weekend's men's college basketball tournament, every fan understands what's on the line: a trip to the NCAA Tournament. In recent years, horse racing's biggest events have done a decent job of providing similar clarity for fans through such tools as the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system, used to determine which... Read More

Derby Points Can Make or Break a Stakes (or Steaks)

Welcome to March, when the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) field begins to take shape thanks to increased prep race qualifying points that essentially ensure winners of races like the Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2), San Felipe (G2), and Rebel (G2) stakes a spot in the Derby gate. This year, Turfway Park 's top Derby prep, the Spiral Stakes—in 2018 it's the Jeff Ruby Steaks ... Read More

Gun Runner's Woodward Top Equibase Speed Figure of 2017

A look at Gun Runner's Equibase Speed Figures for 2017 adds a bit more evidence of the consistently brilliant season enjoyed by the son of Candy Ride. In winning five of six starts, including four straight grade 1 wins to close out the season, Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm's runner not only registered the top ESF of the season with his 131 in the Woodward Stakes presented by NYRA Bets... Read More

Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge Sports Big Money

Just as the big purses of the Breeders' Cup World Championships catch the attention of the owners of top horses, the big money available in the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge attracts interest from top horseplayers. This year's total prizes are expected to exceed $1 million with a first-place prize of $300,000. While entries continue to be accepted, contest director Tim Schram said they've already... Read More

Kentucky Downs Horses Shine at Keeneland

The success enjoyed on opening weekend at Keeneland by horses who made their previous start at Kentucky Downs serves as the latest example of the improving quality of horses competing at the lucrative September meet in Franklin, Ky.... Read More

Malibu Moon Up to This Year's Challenge

The Challenge, sponsored by Darby Dan Farm appears each week through Breeders' Cup, typically Saturday, in BloodHorse Daily. Of active, United States-based stallions, Malibu Moon leads the group of 2017 Breeders' Cup Challenge winners. A look at this year's Challenge, which concluded Oct. 11, shows Malibu Moon was the only active U.S. stallion with three individual Challenge winners in: Ransom the... Read More

California Takeout Increase Falls Short

Since California lawmakers approved a takeout hike effective for the 2011 racing season, the price increase on horseplayers has failed to deliver projected purse increases and has been followed by reduced handle and race days.... Read More

Recent Hialeah Park Meet Sends Wrong Chills

In recent years I have been fortunate to make three trips to the winter Quarter Horse meet at Hialeah Park, where even though the breed changed, the walls-adorned with famous silks and photos of famous people-still told stories. And those walls echoed with new stories, specifically cheers of young fans enthusiastically encouraging horses, even sprinting with horses through the stretch. Hialeah president... Read More

NYRA Bets Pick 5: Smaller Pool, Bigger Value

It didn't take long for value-conscious horseplayers to see the benefits of the NYRA Bets Pick 5 rolled out July 4 for players at the advance-deposit wagering site, as well as on-track and in-state players. The winning 50-cent payout was $8,181.75. A look at the comparable win-bet parlay return for the five races involved--$1,620--reveals the potential value in this exclusive, low-takeout wager. The... Read More

Arrogate Powering Baffert, Smith to Earnings Heights

Earning back-to-back Horse of the Year titles in 2007-08, Curlin won 11 of 16 starts to become the first North American-based horse to surpass $10 million in earnings. Juddmonte Farm's Arrogate has blown by that total in two starts this season: victories in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) at Gulfstream Park and the $10 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline... Read More

NTRA Staying Busy in Washington

While the Triple Crown races are approaching beginning with the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) in Louisville, Ky., the National Thoroughbred Racing Association continues a busy stretch in Washington putting the industry's message forward on immigration and tax issues. The political mood on immigration issues may be too steep a challenge for horse racing and other industries that want... Read More

Every Picture Tells a Story, or Two

Horsemen talk about the ups and downs of racing; those hills and valleys can occur in the same season, same day, or even the same race. The latter occurred in the 1945 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park when trainer Tom Smith—of Seabiscuit fame—sent out Maine Chance Farm's eventual champion 2-year-old male Star Pilot and eventual champion 2-year-old filly Beaugay. Star Pilot would register a one-length... Read More

Tapwrit Would Give Sire Tapit Shot at Belmont History

Should the connections of Tapwrit decide to enter the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner in this year's Belmont Stakes (G1), it would provide his sire, Tapit , a shot at history. Tapit, of course, has piled up accolades while leading the North American sire list each of the past three seasons. A Belmont Stakes victory by Tapwrit, or any other starter by the sire in the 1 1/2-mile classic, would... Read More

Examining Top Derby Prep Days for Possible Track Bias

A look at recent Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) dirt prep races in the United States could determine if any potential bias toward a particular running style on the main track existed on particular race days. One less thing for handicappers to worry about? Note that all tracks for race days involved were listed as fast. Sunland Derby (G3), March 26 at Sunland Park Of the six races contested... Read More

Pletcher Ready for Another Kentucky Derby Run

Considering Todd Pletcher will have one of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) favorites in Florida Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming and several other promising starters in this year's Louisville classic, it's even money the most-repeated Derby-week stat will be the multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer's 1-for-45 mark in the Louisville classic. Pletcher currently has five horses ranked... Read More

Show Time at Oaklawn Park

In a move designed to build the confidence of new horseplayers while emphasizing that racing offers a different form of gambling from random gaming like the lottery, Oaklawn Park is paying more money for winning on-track show wagers this year.... Read More

Thunder Snow and Godolphin's Kentucky Derby Starters

While trainer Saeed bin Suroor did not commit to pointing the UAE Derby Sponsored by the Saeed and Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2) winner Thunder Snow to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), Godolphin's Dubai-based trainer said the Louisville classic will get a long look when he meets with Sheikh Mohammed. Should Thunder Snow start in the Kentucky Derby, he would be the 10th Godolphin... Read More

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