Track Times Today

Monday, July 16, 2018
Only delighted is MIA . . .

    Haven't written this for a long time - one of my all-time pet peeves. For decades, industry stake-holders have complained that the people who put on the shows at the nation's racetracks lack vision and imagination, the vision and imagination needed to find ways to put bodies back in the seats.

    For a while, Betfair crowed that it had implemented exchange wagering in New Jersey, a supposedly innovative idea that I constantly rapped because I knew it had no chance. Where is exchange wagering now, many months later? I don't hear a peep about it.

    I always said that the lack of imagination always pops up in the various types of press releases emanating from the tracks. Whenever there's a new employee announced, or a new position, or any kind of novel idea, the track publicity offices always resort to the same old tired cliches. Actually, I don't know if it's the publicity offices or the speakers themselves who write in cliches. They all love "thrilled, delighted, excited and pleased," when describing the event.

    Recent case in point. A few days ago, Blood-Horse reported the news that Fasig-Tipton was stepping in to the California sales ring as Barretts goes out of business.

    Here are the quotes from the principals. From my friend Tim Ritvo, The Stronach Group COO: "We're THRILLED to have Fasig-Tipton back in California . . .  etc." 

    From Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning Jr., "We are very EXCITED to be returning to the auction marketplace in California."

   From Miguel A. Santana, president and CEO of Fairplex, where Barretts used to hold its auctions. "We are PLEASED that Santa Anita and Fasig-Tipton are joining the auction arena . . . etc." 

   If there was one more exec making a statement, we could have added "delighted" and hit the superfecta. 

  Surely there's somebody out there who's sharp enough to bury my pet peeve forever. Please.  

   ALMOST A DEAD-HEAT - The general sire leader in Florida has been bouncing back and forth all season between Double Diamond Farm's First Dude and deceased Wildcat Heir, former Journeyman Stud stallion who led the list for so many years, even after his passing in 2015. As of today, the pair are less than $1,000 apart for 2018 and it looks like it will go down to the wire.

    In third place is Songandaprayer, who took up residence at Journeyman this year after a career in Kentucky. He's 20. Fourth is High Cotton, who is now pensioned at Ocala Stud Farm.

    That means Two Step Salsa is in fifth place, but Get Away Farm's son of Petionville is second among those still active, and who have been here since the beginning. Two Step is remarkable: he had his best year in 2017 - more than $1.9 million, and he's closing in on $1.2 million already this year, so a record is on the horizon. In addition, he has 23 runners who have surpassed $100,000 in earnings, and his colt, Fully Loaded, is headed for the $100,000 Dr. Fager in the Florida Sire Stakes series and it looks like he'll be the favorite. Exciting times for Manny Andrade, who also has seen freshman sire Drill get off to a good start with three winners, one of them stakes-placed. 








Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Surprising Cajun Breeze is the leader . . .

    He's Had Enough, from Woodford Thoroughbreds, became the sixth of eight Florida freshman sires to get his first winner when Garbar Boy broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park on July 8. The gelding was bred by Karen Silva.  

    Even with only eight frosh, as a group the Floridians are showing great promise. The most surprising, of course, is Stonehedge Farm South's Cajun Breeze, who is not only the Florida leader with progeny earnings of $212,770, the son of Congrats leads the country as well. He has just eight 2-year-olds, five of whom have started, with three winners. 

    All of the Cajun Breezes who have helped contribute to the earnings total are the product of Shadybrook Farm and owner/trainer/breeder Michael (Bo) Yates. Bo, who owns an interest in the stallion, took a page out of Wesley Ward's book and had his string of Cajun Breezes ready to roll when the first 2-year-old races were programmed at Gulfsteam three months ago. There are three winners and one repeat winner, Nancysaidso, who leads the money-winners with $89,700.

    In second place with $175,600 is Ocala Stud Farm's Uncaptured, a son of Lion Heart who has the most Florida winners with four, and is second nationally behind Spendthrift Farm's Goldencents, who has 119 2-year-olds and six winners. 

    Pleasant Acres Stallions Handsome Mike is next in Florida with $62,500 and two winners. But the son of Scat Daddy is likely to have another in the near future since his filly, Here Comes Jackie, finished a fast-closing fourth on the Monmouth grass on Sunday. She was off last going five furlongs after being destroyed leaving the gate, and was some 14 1/2 lengths behind after three-eighths. With a huge move on the turn, she was seventh in the stretch, 9 1/2 lengths behind, and a monster late run put her in fourth place at the wire, a nose out of third, and just 4 1/2 lengths from the winner.  

    The other two Floridians with at least one winner are Drill, from Get Away Farm, who has two, including stakes-placed Drillit, and Global Response, from CoCo Ranch. Black Onyx (Stonewall Prestige Stallions) and Fort Loudon (Ocala Stud) are the two who have been blanked so far although the latter has had just one starter.  

    The individual money leader nationally is New Mexico's Hustle Up (by Abstraction) who has earned $150,537 and is 4-for-4 at Sunland Park and Ruidoso Downs, with a stakes victory at each. 

Friday, July 6, 2018
Handle is record 334 million . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park’s Spring meet, which concluded Saturday with the Summit of Speed, set new standards for total and average handle despite six fewer days of racing.

    Gulfstream’s total handle for the Spring was a record $334 million, up $22 million over 2017. Total handle on the Spring meet has climbed approximately $88 million since 2015.

    Average daily handle topped $6 million ($6.312) for the first time since Gulfstream began running in the spring. This year’s average was up $1.012 million from 2017 and $2.1 million since 2015.

   Highlights of the Spring Meet included victories by Stormy Embrace in the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a ‘Win & You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup race, X Y Jet winning the Smile Sprint, and a three-way tie for leading trainer among Todd Pletcher, Oscar Gonzalez and Victor Barboza Jr.

   “We continue building and shaping Florida racing’s Spring and Summer meets,” said Bill Badgett, General Manager of Gulfstream Park. “We’re building a strong, year-round program with quality racing and full fields, and fans and horsemen are supporting our program. There is still more to do and much more to accomplish as we continue to combine racing with entertainment events. We’re looking forward to a wonderful summer at Gulfstream starting with Wednesday’s free July 4th celebration and the Florida Sire Stakes.”




Sunday, July 1, 2018
Rainbow 6 pays $196,953 . . .


    HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park’s Spring meet ended Saturday with longshot Stormy Embrace winning the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), X Y Jet running away with the $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3), and a mandatory payout in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 which resulted in multiple winners earning $196,953.84.

    There was $3,468,161 of new money bet into the Rainbow 6 Saturday.

    The mandatory payout of the Late Pick 5 returned $21,309.25.

    In other stakes races on Summit of Speed Day, highlights on Summit of Speed included Alter Moon’s easy victory in the $75,000 Azalea Stakes, Pay Any Price winning the $75,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint for his eighth victory in last 11 starts, and War Giant impressed when winning the $75,000 Carry Back.

    The standings for the Spring meet ended with jockey Tyler Gaffalione winning the riding title while Arindel took home the leading owner award.

    The trainer’s title ended with a three-way tie at the top with 17 wins between Todd Pletcher, Victor Barboza Jr., and Oscar Gonzalez.

    Gaffalione, a Florida native who had 63 wins, finished third in the rider standings during the Championship Meet and has won two previous summer titles. Arindel, which finished with 14 wins this spring, won last year’s summer title.






Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Jockey and trainers races are close . . .

     HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot at Gulfstream Park went unsolved for the 26th consecutive racing program Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot of $801,668.76 for Thursday’s program.

   Multiple tickets with six winners Saturday were each worth $2,917.40.

   There was a $755,719 carryover jackpot going into Sunday’s six-race sequence that spanned Races 7-12, generating a handle of $191,508 on the multi-race wager.


    The jockey and trainer races are both going down to the wire for Gulfstream’s Spring Meet, which concludes with Saturday’s Summit of Speed program.

    Defending Spring Meet champion Tyler Gaffalione tops the jockey standings with 59 wins, with four other riders in hot pursuit. Emisael Jaramillo ranks second with 56 wins, one more than Edgard Zayas and Miguel Vasquez, who have both ridden 55 winners. Nik Juarez ranks fifth with 53 trips to the winner’s circle.

   As hotly contested as the jockey race is, the race for the training title is even more competitive with eight trainers separated by one win. Victor Barboza Jr. and Oscar Gonzalez share a tenuous lead with 16 winners each, one more than defending champion Todd Pletcher, Stanley Gold, Ralph Nicks, Armando De la cerda, Antonio Sano and Ralph Ziadie.