Fort Erie Race Track, May 27 @ 6:55 PM ET

Race of the Day, May 27

Fort Erie Race Track, Fort Erie, Ontario, Race 7, 6:55 P.M. ET

6 ½ Furlongs, Optional Claiming First Level Allowance. Fillies & Mares, Purse:  $18.6K

Despite its uncertain long-term future, Fort Erie opens today for its 117th season of racing.  The meet – running on Sunday and Tuesday late afternoons—is highlighted by the Prince of Wales Stakes, the second jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown on July 29.

Tonight’s featured race is an allowance for fillies and mares for the largest purse on the card.  At 6 1/2 furlongs, it is tied for the longest distance run this night, and has the classiest horses on the card.  Mountain Echo (#3, 3-2) loves Fort Erie, having gone at stellar 9 for 13, including an overnight stakes win here last August.   She’s 4 for 9 at the distance.  The main concern is the effort last out at Laurel back in February.  That race, however, was against much better horses and can be thrown out.

Seeyouinthetown (#4, 6/5) ships from Woodbine to make her Fort Erie debut while dropping in class.  She has the advantage of having run more recently than Mountain Echo, but that’s about it.  I’d be surprised if she was the favorite.  Silver Shasa (#7,6-1) figures on speed, but is coming off a long layoff.  The work tab is nice, and she figures to be the main threat to Mountain Echo.  Evangeline’s Hope (#6, 9/2) is 1 for 22 and eligible for non-winners of 2.  She’d have to love the switch to dirt to figure. Bears Lady (#5, 20/1), has some tactical speed, but is outclassed here.


  1. Can we throw out that last effort for Mountain Echo?  Or is it a sign that this 8-year old mare is in decline?
  2. Will Evangeline’s Hope love the switch to dirt?  Her trainer does well at this move.
  3. Will Silver Shasa be sharp off the layoff?  If she runs like she’s been working, she’s a threat to win, and a good bet for second.


Mountain Echo has a speed advantage and simply loves this track.  I’m willing to throw out that last one at Laurel, especially now that she’s back at Fort Erie.  It’s her race to lose, with Silver Shasa rating a solid outside shot.

Belmont Park, Race 4, May 23 @ 2:40 ET

Race of the Day, May 23

Belmont Park, Turf, Maiden Claiming $65K, 1 1/16 miles, Purse: $50K


Four questions for the 4th at Belmont:

1. Will In Speight Ofital  like the turf?  He has some nice back performances on the turf, including two second place finishers.  It was a long time ago, but the prowess could very well be there and puts him in the mix.

2. Will Romans Paradise improve again?  He’s coming off the best race of her career, and on paper, looks poised to improve again with a class drop.  If he does, she may be very hard to beat.

3. Will Ahead of the Curve appreciate the class relief and will it be enough? His trainer excels with this top of drop.  If he’s sharp at this level, he still might be slower than either Corinthian Summer or Romans Paradise.  So, he’ll need to perform well and also have the other not perform well.

4. Does Corinthian Summer have an excuse for that last race?  He had trouble and was steadied in the stretch, but only lost by 1 length. Still, it was a slow race overall, and he’ll likely need to find a new turf top to win.

Tune in on twitter at 2:40 ET (11:40 PT) @alldayracing.  See you then!


Recent Triple Crown History at Belmont

Recent history has been unkind to winners of the first two legs of the Triple Crown.  Let’s review the past ten years:

2003:  Funny Cide The plucky NY-bred beat heavily favored Empire Maker in the Kentucky Derby and romped in the Preakness while Empire Maker rested.  Watch what happened when they met in the Belmont:


2004:  Smarty Jones “It’s been 26 years.  It’s just one furlong away.”  Heartbreak.

2008:  Big Brown The least compelling recent Triple Crown attempt, likely due to the scandals surrounding trainer Rick Dutrow.  Still, I thought he’d win.  I never expected this.

2012:  I’ll Have Another Quite possibly the most disappointing of them all.  He scratched the day before the race due to injury and was promptly retired.  We never got to see him attempt the race.  It was like Wally World was closed.

Preakness Recap: How Champions Look

Greatness comes from everywhere.  Even from a $2,500 Stud Fee and a $8,000 mare.  California Chrome looked all the part of a champion today.  Social Inclusion ran well — right up to him on the turn — and California Chrome had more.  When Ride on Curlin made a solid run at his down the final furlong, I yelled at the TV “DIG DEEP!” as to implore the big fella to fight on for another hundred yards.  He obliged, quite willingly.

Ride on Curlin ran well out of the Derby, and Social Inclusion was solid off both the injury and the foot bruise.  Not sure that anyone else really impressed at all in this group.  There will be plenty of return shooters from the Kentucky Derby in three weeks at Belmont, plus some notable new shooters, like Tonalist and Commisioner, who both come ran in the Peter Pan Stakes.

It will be an exciting three weeks, with coverage of the sport at its likely highest level since Smarty Jones’ Belmont try in 2004.  We’ll be back with the race of the day on Monday at around 6:00 ET with the 4th race from Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver.

Mountaineer, Claiming 8:32 ET

Race of the Day, May 11, 2014

Mountaineer Race TrackChester, WV, Race 5, 8:32 ET

5 1/2f, Claiming $5K, Restricted to Fillies and Mares, non-winners of 2 races in six months, Purse $9.7K

We return to Mountaineer racetrack for one of their specialties — a conditioned claiming race.  Most horses at Mountaineer always run for a $5,000 tag (there are exceptions primary with allowance horses and younger maidens).  To maintain parity, they run a number of conditioned levels, typically based on either lifetime wins or wins in a preceding time period (usually either six months or a year.)  The horses in today’s race are better than most — they have each won a race — at any level — in the past 6 months.  Some of them, however, aren’t fast enough to win at this level and will race here until they can drop into a lower level (winners of no races in six months, winners of 1 race in a year), and we typically can find a few eliminations.  Distance is always an important factor at Mountaineer, with horses quite sensitive to the difference between 5 and 6 furlongs.

Waltzing Time (#1, 4-1) won on the lead at this level on April 22.  Last year, she raced in 5K claiming races, but they were unrestricted (any number of wins in any period) and she managed to win one last fall.  She’s had a long career at the Mountain (57 of her 76 lifetime starts) and has one 1/4 of all her starts at this distance.  Acacian Spice (#2, 3-1) won last time out, but at a lower level (horses that hadn’t won even one race in 6 months).  She is 0 for 6 at this distance.  This Cats On Fire (#3, 6-1) won at the harder non-winners of three level after the layoff, but seemed to fall off form against these last time.   A turnaround labels him a strong contender.  Sweet Moonbeam (#5, 12-1) is a notch below the others, but won at this level two back.  French Dawn (#6, 8-1) won at this level before, but seems to need another race or two to get back in racing form. Angel of Fire (#7, 5-1) has been solid since arriving at Mountaineer.  She changes barns, but is certainly fast enough to win here.  Shock Me (#9, 9-2) seems to have lost her best days. Sunday Choir (#10, 8-1) is a contender as well.  She switches to a lower percentage barn,  but gets some class relief, moving from open $5K claimers.  She starts on the way outside, though.


  1. WIll Angel of Fire maintain his form for the new barn?  The barn wins less, but does well with them the first time.  If he does maintain his form, and there’s pace, he should win easy.
  2. Will This Cats on Fire rebound, or did she go off form?
  3. How will the outside post affect Sunday Choir?


This race seems to begin and end with Angel of Fire. The trainer switch from Brent Angelle raises some questions that demand that you get some bit of a price. Past Angel of Fire, the race is very deep, and certainly could be a place to find a price.  Sunday Choir shoes some promise and may offer the price that we’re looking for.

Tune in @allldayracing on twitter for live coverage!


Good pace, and Angel of Fire was the answer, paying $6.00 for a $2.00 win bet.  Sunday Choir looked sharp, but wilted in the stretch.  This Cats on Fire ran a solid race, but was never in real contention.  Waltzing Time was sharp, but Angel of Fire has a better set-up and was just a bit better.

Santa Anita, Claiming, 8:37 PM ET

Race of the Day, May 9, 2014

Santa Anita Race Track, Arcadia, California, Race 6

8:37 P.M., Claiming $12.5K, 1 Mile, Purse: $21K

Our first trip to Southern California brings us to the 6th race at Santa Anita.  It kicks off the late Pick 3 and is the second leg of the late Pick 4.  A straight claiming race, every horse in the race can be purchased for $12,500.  This insures a bit more parity, as few trainers would be willing to give a horse away for a bargain.  A well-placed horse often suggests a trainer going for a victory here and willing to risk the loss of the horse to a rival owner.  The original owner keeps all the winnings from this race.  Understanding the small moves is essential to profiting and having a fun time playing these sort of races.

The favorite is Fit to Rule (#2, 9/5), coming off a wins  at the $16K and $8K level.  He comes off the claim, and appears sharp.  Cook Inlet (#8, 2-1), a Jerry Hollendorfer trained gelding ridden by Rafael Bejarano.  After switching barns a bit, he returns to a level where he’s won before, albeit on the artificial Hollywood surface (Santa Anita is dirt).  He’s a solid horse, does have a fast dirt performance on his resume, but he doesn’t overwhelm the field.  Graeme Crackerjack (#6, 5-1), moves to the Jeff Bonde barn.  He’s moving slightly up in price (from $10K) and is removing blinkers.   Tuckers Point (I keep picturing the Meth Addict #1 in Breaking Badyelling constantly for Tucker) (#5, 8-1) moves up from a $8K claim into the barn of Dean Greenman, who doesn’t excel off the claim.  Twin Six (#1, 4-1) is another coming off a claim.  Fast enough, he’s won 2 of 3 at this distance. A few turf horses, probably in here for sharpening (running on dirt to get horse to be more involved in next turf race), Cloud Hopper (#3, 12-1) and Sharp Richard (#4,10-1) are here as well.  Trucial State (#7, 20-1) is another outsider.


  1. What will the pace be like?  In evenly matched races like this one, secondary factors like early pace can often make the difference.  Too fast favors closers. Too slow favors front-runners.
  2. How will the horses respond new trainers and the rise in class?  There are speed/pace differences between these levels.


There might be a little more pace than Fit to Rule likes (both previous races were at a slow pace). The safest bet — in a race with lots of question marks — appears to be class-dropping Cook Inlet, who has shown success at this level and the speed on dirt.  A deep closer could be in the works as well — at the very least to hit the board.


Fit to Rule was the best.  He controlled the pace and he remained razor sharp.  Cook Inlet who went off as the favorite rallied to be second, but couldn’t get to the much-the-best winner, who paid $6.80.  Fit to Rule goes to the barn of Peter Miller, where we will likely seem him in a lower-level claiming race in Southern California again soon.

Prairie Meadows, Allowance, 10:37 P.M. ET

Race of the Day, May 8, 2014

Prairie Meadows Racetrack, Altoona, Iowa, Race 8

10:37 PM EST, Allowance for non-winners of 2 lifetime. 1 Mile. Purse $30,500

Prairie Meadows Racetrack, an example of the racino vision at it finest, is our focus for their eighth race tonight.  I visited Prairie Meadows back in 2005, spending the night at a Holiday Inn near the track.  A racino is a combination of a casino and a racetrack, kind of a gambling free-for-all.  I was impressed. Beers were cheap, the weather was warm, and the casino was quite state-of-the art.  I won $20 playing Price is Right Slots.  It was a fun experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone, especially to local looking for a fun night.

Tonight’s race is the likeable “non-winners of two lifetime” allowance.  This differs from the slightly higher level “non-winners of one other than”allowances (n1x) which might include horses that have won plenty in the claiming or starter ranks.  This class of horses is likeable because it’s slightly easier than n1x, but this isn’t widely appreciated by the public.  So, often you can find a price on a subtle class drop.

The morning line favorite is Bruvver Max (#3, 9/5), a Kenny Smith trained/Terry Thompson piloted colt, who looked fantastic last time out. He cuts back in distance a small amount and drops from the N1X allowance.  He’ll likely face competition from Tap the Admiral (#1, 2/1), a Chris Richard second off the claim, who was just a bit slower than Bruvver Max last time out.


  1. Will Tap the Admiral improve — at least enough to turn the tables on Bruvver Max — with the added time in the Richard barn?
  2. Will that large effort hurt the form of Bruvver Max and Tap the Admiral? Will someone be able to capitalize?
  3. If not the top two, who will be a contender?


On paper, it looks like a two horse race between Bruvver Max and Tap the Admiral. Bruvver Max ran faster last race, but Tap the Admiral could improve and also has the benefit of the rail, especially beneficial with the short run to the turn at this distance.  Both are coming off big efforts and may be a little dull.  Those looking for alternatives should take a look at Sheriff Curly closed slightly into a slow pace to win here last month and doesn’t face the toughest field here.  I’d keep an eye on his price.  Riot Act — an Awesome Again gelding — will be routing for the first time under his new trainer.  An improvement is not out of the question, but probably would need the other three to falter to factor.  


Bruvver Max was not hurt by the large effort and maintained his form by winning convincingly by 9 1/4 lengths.  He dominated this group — Tap the Admiral fell off form and finished last and Sheriff Curly closed, but was too far back to make a difference.  I doubt it would have mattered — Bruvver Max was too good. Riot Act finished next to last and didn’t show much.

See you tomorrow!

Belmont Park, Maiden Claiming, 2:22 P.M.

Race of the Day, May 7, 2014

Belmont Park (Elmont, NY), Race 3, Maiden Claiming $20K

2:22 P.M. EST, 6 1/2 furlongs, 3&up.  Purse:  $35K

Welcome back to beautiful Belmont Park, a racetrack which we will stop often during the summer.  Great racing at all levels.  Today, we’re focused on a group of maiden claimers running a slightly longer sprint in 6 1/2 furlongs.  Every horse in this race can be purchased for $30K — interested? Go see the racing secretary!

The even-money morning line favorite is Master Yank (#6, 1-1).  He’s making his NY-debut, after two races in South Florida.  The most recent effort was in a Maiden Claiming event ($35K) in which he finished a strong front-running second on a speed favoring Gulfstream track.  Now, about 5 weeks later, the four-year old gelding made his way to Belmont.

Despite the low morning-line, Master Yank is only one of several contenders in this race. Pillar of Strength (#4, 4-1)showed well last time out — running faster than Master Yank’s last out.  He has a style that should be favored by his first trip over the Belmont surface.  In Speight Ofitall (#3, 8-1) has outside connections, but certainly has the speed to compete.  Tony D (#2, 5-1) has run fast enough — it’s simply a question of whether he brings his best today.  Golden Doc (#7, 6-1) gets another start in the Davidson barn.  Another improve makes him a contender, and, at any rate, a speed factor.


  1. How much better is Master Yank than the rest of the field?
  2. Will Pillar of Strength improve on the Belmont surface?
  3. Will Golden Doc be a speed factor?


Master Yank is a terrible favorite as he doesn’t even own the highest last race speed figure.  Pillar of Strength seems to be the best bet to come off the pace duel of Golden Doc and Master Yank.  There’s risk all around here though — even Nicholson (#5, 10-1) has an outside shot — so make sure that you get a price on your pick.  For those in the Pick 3 or Pick 4, I’d try to beat Master Yank here and would be willing to go wide to do it.


Master Yank looked vulnerable and he was.  He finished an off-the-board 4th, behind an impressive performance from much-the-best winner Pillar of Strength.  Golden Doc showed pace, but finished last.  Nicholson and In Speight Ofitall rounded out the trifecta.

Races like this happen across America all day and every day.  The public —- while better than you on average — make mistakes on favorites like this often. Having the courage to go against horses like Master Yank makes the difference between winning days and losing days.  Besides, it’s much more fun!  See you tomorrow.

Mountaineer, Maiden Special Weight 8:55 PM ET

Race of the Day, May 4, 2014

Mountaineer Race Track, Chester, WV, Race 6

Maiden Special Weight, 5f, 3 and up,  8:55 EST, Purse: $19,400

After a few days with the royalty of the sport, let’s take a trip to the Mountain.  Mountaineer Race Track in Chester, W.V., races about 10 months out of the year, Sunday through Wednesday, starting at 7:00 EST. It features all levels of racing, but mainly feasts of a steady diet of $5,000 restricted claimers.  Many horses will race at the Mountain towards the end of their careers.  It can make for some very interesting backstories and give a locale for some old tough warriors to earn their keep.

We have a maiden race and an allowance at that.  Some horses are here to win, some to prep for the eventual drop to maiden claiming.  Always pay special attention to horses that shipped from Turfway or Keeneland.  These horses are typically in better condition than locally raced horses.


  • Will Zion Hill (1, 12-1) be a first-timer of importance? We can check the board for clues.  If he’s under 6-1, he might be live.
  • Who is in better form, Pampero Storm (#6, 5-2) or Phil’s Wildcat (#7, 7-5)?
  • If there’s a good pace, will Western Seeker (#4, 6-1) be able to close into it?


It seems like a likely two horse race between Pampero Storm and Phil’s Wildcat.  I like Pampero Storm a bit better. It’s his second time in the barn of trainer, Luis Jurado, and he ran well last time.  I expect an even sharper effort today, and would be happy to take a price of 2-1 or higher.   Playing multi-race wagers, such as the Pick 4 that begins here or the Pick 5 that began the race before, I’d want to include both of the top horses.  Good luck and enjoy the Mountain.  We’ll be back Wednesday for a new week of racing.


Wow, a dead heat between Pampero Storm and Phil’s Wildcat!  Western Storm has a bad start and Zion Hill received no support (and he didn’t finish).  The stretch drive was thrilling, and I expected Phil’s Wildcat to go by, but Pampero Storm was resilient and showed his good form. It’s often much easier to eliminate bad horses in maiden races than in higher level races, and you can often find some decent prices.  You can follow our race of the day live on twitter at @alldayracing.

The Kentucky Derby, 6:24 ET

Churchill Downs, Louisviille, KY, Race 11, Kentucky Derby

Post Time: 6:24 EST, Purse: $2.2 million

There’s great racing all day, but there’s nowhere else to go on Derby day than the race we’ve been waiting for all year.  I’ve gone into great detail on the Derby elsewhere on this site (, so this will mainly be my analysis of the race.

The Derby is the biggest race for this sports, both to insiders and outsiders.  Today, we’ll have 19 three-year olds attempting to run 1 1/4 miles — longer than they’ve ever gone before.  While any horse in the field can win the Derby (and often it’s a surprise), there are a few betting tips that I typically follow.

First, I like to see a horse have the ability to come off the pace and close.  With 19 horse, you often get the horses going too fast too early.  Second, I like to see a horse that is bred well and should get the extra distance. Third, I like to get a price — it doesn’t have to be huge, but it should compensate for the risk.


  • Will California Chrome bring his California speed to Churchill Downs?  This is the question of the race.  If he runs his best race, he’s going to win.
  • Will there be a hot pace?  A hotter pace?  A suicidal pace?
  • Will any of the frontrunners — Vicar’s in Trouble, Uncle Sigh, Samraat, Uncle Sigh, California Chrome, General A Rod, Wildcat Red, or Chitu — be faster than the others?
  • Will Medal Count like the dirt surface?


The Derby often is influenced by the trip the horse will get.  And it’s notoriously difficult (and usually not useful) to predict trips.  So, we have to demand a price to deal with this risk .

With all that in mind, let’s turn to the horses. After going through the field, I was most impressed with Wicked Strong, who ran fast enough to win here in his Wood outing.  He benefitted from a fast pace there, but he should here, too.  Danza is another that catches the eye, along with an impressive General A Rod.  I expect Samraat to be noisy on the turn and stubborn in the stretch.  Medal Count could be the winner, too.  He’ll need to like the dirt and improve, but the Dynaformer breeding is very tempting.

I usually play the Derby Trifectas and Superfectas — it’s the only time of the year that I play those bets.  But there’s a bit of a mythicism about those bets and how they often pay in the tens, if not hundreds of thousands.  It’s Wicked Strong on top for me, combined with some Saamrat, and the above horses.  Here we go!  


Sometimes champions come from humble beginnings.  California Chrome is a champion.  Bravo and congratulations.  Commanding Curve, Danza, andWicked Strong all ran well but the pace wasn’t too fast and California Chrome was just too good.   It is will be interesting to break down why the pace was surprisingly soft. On to Baltimore, where I wouldn’t be surprised to see California Chrome at odds-on.