Archive for November 2016

Yes, There *Are* More Than Three Horse Races a Year

I watched a little horse racing when I was young.  Specifically, I watched three races a year: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.  Everything else eluded me.  I had no clue about prep races, the handicap division, horses who ran on grass, or lunchpail horses who did not run for seven-figure... Read more »

2016 Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante Preview

We had to wait until December, but the stakes season at Hawthorne has finally arrived.  This year’s stakes calendar features a pair of stakes races for two-year-olds.  This week’s stakes race, the feature event for Illinois-bred juvenile fillies carries the name of the name of longtime Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation (ITBOF) board member... Read more »

Thursday Superfecta Carryover at Hawthorne

Chaos ensued in Saturday’s Hawthorne finale, as the first-, third-, and fourth-place horses all went off at odds north of 20/1.  No one hit the superfecta.  Though that meant ticket confetti for everyone who played the wager for Saturday’s 9th — it also means a $15,659 carryover into the superfecta pool for Thursday’s 1st.  Hawthorne... Read more »

2016 Handicapping Feast: Cigar Mile Preview

Saturday’s card at Aqueduct features a stakes-laden card, anchored with the Grade I Cigar Mile — the subject of this preview. This year marks the 28th running of a race originally inaugurated in 1988 as the NYRA Mile.  The race has always been contested at the one-turn mile over the Aqueduct course, though it was... Read more »

2016 Handicapping Feast: Clark Handicap Preview

The sun rises in the east, the sun sets in the west, and the Clark Handicap will be run at Churchill Downs this year: just as it has been every year since 1875.  The race is named after Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, who started the Louisville Jockey Club along with his cousins, John and Henry... Read more »

2016 Handicapping Feast: Falls City Handicap and River City Handicap

Thanksgiving weekend always offers a feast of top-notch racing, and Picks and Ponderings visits several of the highlights.  Thursday’s graded action at Churchill Downs is replete with locals, so we focus there to start the weekend.  Friday’s action finds its anchor in the Grade I Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs; Saturday’s lone Grade I is the... Read more »

2016 Delta Jackpot Day Stakes Preview

Delta Downs hosts its flagship card this Saturday: Delta Jackpot Day.  The card features eight stakes races, two graded.  Both graded events, the $1,000,000 Delta Jackpot (GIII) and the $400,000 Delta Princess, feature juvenile runners.  Cajun country has marked itself a lucrative stop along the Derby Trail and the Oaks Trail, and with Preakness winner... Read more »

Hats Off to Hapman

Until what age can a racehorse run?  It depends. Some horses retire at two, three, four: to go to stud, because of injury, or because they just don’t want to be racehorses. Many others run longer, despite what those who watch just the Kentucky Derby may know.  Hawthorne’s Friday card was drawn today, and all... Read more »

2016 Commonwealth Turf Stakes Preview

The Breeders’ Cup may be over.  Horse racing still goes on, and so does Picks and Ponderings. As we move into November, we move into the precarious last few weeks of the turf racing season in the midwest.  Similarly to last year, the cold weather has been slow to set in — great news for... Read more »

2016 Breeders' Cup Classic Preview

The Breeders’ Cup runs today and tomorrow, and Picks and Ponderings has Friday and Saturday picks to carry you through the weekend.  The weekend’s richest race, however, is the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI): ten furlongs on the dirt for a $6 million purse. The race drew a field of ten, and Nicolle Neulist and Paul... Read more »