Archive for the ‘horse racing’ Category

City of Light won the third running of the $9 million Pegasus World Cup

February 9, 2019

The Pegasus World Cup was run for the third time on Jan. 29, 2019 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.  The purse was $9 million with $4 million for the winning horse: City of Light ridden by Javier Castellano and trained by W. M. McCarthy.

The two main contenders were City of Light, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, and Accelerate, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  Accelerate finished third behind City of Light and Seeking the Soul, a 30-1 longshot.  It was the final race for City of Light and Accelerate.  They will be retired to stud.

A heavy rain fell during the race which caused the track to be sloppy.

“City Light broke well from post 3, and Castellano punched Guiding City of Light to the outside behind early leader Patternrecogntiion, Castellano tapped the brakes and settled in to stalk the pace, hoping to save energy for the battle to the finish. If the downpour and condition of the track had been a worry before the race, any doubts Castellano felt were soon put to rest when he realized City of Light was actually enjoying the slop and playing with his competition.”  Source: Meredith Daugherty, City of Light Romps in Pegasus World Cup (Bloodhorse — Jan. 26, 2019).

“Approaching the stretch . . . Accelerate challenged for the lead and came within a length and a half of City of Light before the eventual winner found his final gear and kicked for home.”  (Source: Daugherty.)

City of Light won the race by 5-3/4 lengths over the late-closing Seeking the Soul, which finished 1-1/2 lengths ahead of Accelerate.

“Accelerate . . . never fired in the stretch run.”  Source: Tim Reynolds, City of Light wins $9 million Pegasus World Cup (Associated Press — Jan. 26, 2019).  “Accelerate . . faded late in the stretch to be overtaken on the inside by Seeking the Soul.”  Source: Gary Martin, 2019 Pegasus World Cup Results: City of Light Wins, Seeking the Soul Places, and Accelerate Shows (Forbes — Jan. 26, 2019).

City of Light returned $5.80 to win, $4.20 to place and $3 to show.  Seeking the Soul paid $19.20 to place and $8.20 to show.  Accelerate, the 3-2 favorite, paid $2.80 to show.

Bravazo was fourth, Audible was fifth and Gunnevera was sixth.  Other horses in the race were True Timber, Imperative, Tom’s d’Etat, Something Awesome, Kukulkan and Patternrecognition.

Accelerate ended his career with six wins in eight races.  Both losses came to City of Light.  Accelerate’s wins included the Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes, Pacific Classic Stakes and Awesome Again Stakes.  He also won the Grade II 2017 Gill San Diego Handicap by beating Arrogate, a two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (2016 and 2017) and the winner of the first Pegasus World Cup (2017) and the Dubai World Cup (2017).

City of Light never finished worse third in his career; his record was 6-4-1 including wins in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes, Triple Bend Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

The 2018 race was won by Gun Runner, ridden by Florent Geux and trained by Steven M. Asmussen.  Arrogate, ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Bob Baffert, won the inaugural Pegasus World Cup in 2017.

The Pegasus World Cup is the richest race in North America.  It is named for the mythical horse, Pegasus.  There is a 110-foot statute of Pegasus at Gulfstream Park.




A bad start ended Mendelssohn’s chance to be the first European-based horse to win the Kentucky Derby

May 6, 2018

There was a big build-up before the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby as to whether Mendelssohn, based in Ireland, would be the first European-trained horse to win the “Race for the Roses.” Mendelssohn, trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by jockey Ryan Moore, was among the favorites to win at Churchill Downs based upon his spectacular 18-1/2 length win at the 1,900 meter (approximately 9.5 furlongs) UAE Derby at Dubai in March — a Grade 2, $2.5 million race, which was Mendelssohn’s first try on dirt.

The closest a European-based horse had come to winning the Kentucky Derby was in 1986 when an English horse, Bold Arrangement, finished second to Ferdinand. “There have been 36 overseas attempts without success since then including Arazi who was eighth as a 4-5 favourite in 1992,” wrote Brian O’Connor in The Irish Times.

Danny Weld, the only trainer based in Europe to ever win an American Classic, predicted that Mendelssohn had a “wonderful chance” to win the Kentucky Derby. (Weld trained Go and Go, which won the 1990 Belmont Stakes.)

“It’s a pretty big call but this is quite doable and I believe he has a great chance to win,” Weld said. “I think he’s Aidan’s best chance of winning the Kentucky Derby and wouldn’t it be great to see it.”

“Even by Aidan O’Brien’s record-breaking standards victor for Mendelssohn . . . would represent a landmark in racing history,” wrote Brian O’Connor in The Irish Times.

A terrible start ended Mendelssohn’s chances. He was bumped out of the gate and was unable to recover in driving rain on a sloppy track. The bad result resulted in a last-place finish in the 20-horse field.

“He just got knocked over coming out of the gate and then got knocked over going in the first bend,” O’Brien said.

“He [was] beat up out of the gate, proceeded to check on the first turn and was never in a good place,” Moore said.  “The race was over for him then.”

“Ryan Moore was slow to stride from stall 14 aboard Mendelssohn and appeared to take a bump as his jockey went inside to try to find a position that gave him a chance to travel and attack,” wrote Greg Wood in The Guardian.  “He ended up buried in the midfield, however, and while Moore did his best to work his way towards the leaders, he accepted three furlongs from home that it was not going to be his day. . . . [A] combination of the torrential rain and his slow start meant he never got a chance to show what he could do.”

Mendelssohn “got slammed badly at the start and ended up at the back of the pack,” wrote Steve Silverman in Bleacher Report. “He was never able to recover.”

Mendelssohn was the second choice behind Justify (5-2 favorite and a half-brother of Mendelssohn), which won 53-1/4 lengths ahead of Mendelssohn’s last place finish. Justify, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by 52-year-old jockey Mike Smith, became the first horse since 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old. (Apollo did it 136 years ago.)  Justify finished 2-1/2 lengths ahead of Good Magic in the 1-1/4 mile race. Audible was a close third.

Smith is the second oldest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby.  Jockey Bill Shoemaker won in 1986 on Ferdinand at age 54.

“Mendelssohn eased to the wire and walked off, 23-3/4 lengths behind Magnum Moon, which finished next to last after entering as another highly regarded contender,” the Associated Press reported.

Mendelssohn, a bay colt, was bred in Kentucky.  His sire was the late Scat Daddy (out of Johannesburg) and he is a half-brother of the retired Beholder, a four-time Eclipse Award winner, and Into Mischief, a multiple graded stakes winner.

Mendelssohn and Beholder “looked so much alike” said Clarkland Farm’s Fred Mitchell, who bred them both.

Mendelssohn was purchased for $3 million at the 2016 Keeneland Yearling Sale by Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor. Mendelssohn posted a modest 1-for-4 record to start his career in Europe but in November 2017 he won on grass at the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar, CA. Going into the Kentucky Derby, Mendelssohn was 4-1-0 in seven starts with earnings of more than $1.9 million. Mendelssohn was one of four nominees in 2017 for the title of Champion Two-Year-Old Colt but lost out to U S Navy Flag, who was trained by O’Brien and also owned by Smith, Magnier and Tabor.


Wings of Eagles is a surprise winner at Epsom

June 3, 2017



Wings of Eagles (by Pour Moi) was a surprise winner of the Investec Epsom Derby (also known as the English Derby) on June 3, 2017 at Epsom Downs in England.  The Aidan O’Brien trained horse, ridden by Padraig Beggy, was second-to-last before going on to win the race by three-quarters of a length over Cliffs Of Moher (by Galileo), trained by O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore, a horse with 5 to 1 odds.  Cracksman (by Frankel), trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori, the 7-2 favorite, came in third.  Emiment (by Frankel), trained by Martyn Meade and ridden by Jim Crowley, was fourth.

The odds of Wings of Eagles winning was 40 to 1.  Wings of Eagles was the longest priced Derby winner since 1974, when Snow Knight won the race at 50 to 1 odds.

Wings of Eagles paid $113.20 to win, Cliffs Of Moher paid $5.20 to place and Cracksman paid $3.60 to show.  The $2 exacta paid $1,170.20 and the $2 trifecta paid $8,460.60.

It was O’Brien’s sixth win in at the Epsom Derby.  O’Brien trained six of the 18 horses in the 238th running of the classic horse race.  (O’Brien trained horses have won the race four times in the past six years.) The Telegraph called this year’s race “the richest race ever run in Britain.”  (Epsom Derby 2017 result: rank outsider Wings of Eagles pulls off shock victory — June 3, 2017.)  Wings of Eagles earned 931,000 British pounds ($1.2 million).

Wings of Eagles, a three-year-old colt, is the son of Pour Moi, a horse that won the 2011 Epsom Derby.

It was the first English Derby win for jockey Padraig Beggy, 31, who joined O’Brien in January 2015.  Beggy previously raced in Australia until he received a 15-month drug ban at the end of 2014.  (He tested positive for cocaine.)

“I got into a bit of trouble in Australia, a bad mistake and something that I’ve put behind me,” Beggy said.  “I was knocked down then, I had to pick myself up and I’ve come back out fighting and today I think I’ve proved that.”

Beggy said that he did not know that he would be riding Wings of Eagles until the Thursday before the Saturday race.

The Guardian capsulized Beggy’s jockey career:

“Beggy started in Ireland in 2003, rode for eight seasons with some level of success but never achieved more than 22 winners in a year in a country that has never been short of riding talent.  He came to Britain in 2011, basing himself with John Quinn one year and David Evans the next, adding another eights wins before deciding to try his luck in Australia.” (Derby -winning rider Padraig Beggy: “I thought big winners had gone by me” — June 3, 2017.)

“I traveled the whole way round the wold to get on a horse like this but it didn’t happen until I came back home,” Beggy said.

“Paddy Beggy is a brilliant rider,” O’Brien said. “He’s strong, he’s got a great mind and is tactically very aware. . . . An absolutely world class rider.”

O’Brien’s previous winning horses were Australia (2014), World (2013), Camelot (2012), Chaparral (2002) and Galileo (2001).

Douglas McArthur, trained by O’Brien and ridden by Colm O’Donoghue, led for much of the race before Cracksman took the lead and appeared to be on the way to victory.

Wings of Eagles was 16th of 18 horses with three furlongs to go and made up five lengths during the final furlong.  Wings of Eagles managed to catch Cliffs Of Moher with 50 yards to go to the finish.

“Still my best furlong was the last furlong and that is the one that counts,” Beggy said.

Queen Elizabeth attended the race.  Sophie Hamilton wrote in the Hello Magazine: “The Queen looked to be having a wonderful time at the races on Saturday as she attended the annual Epsom Derby.  Dressed in a bright yellow coat, a floral patterned dress and a yellow hat with pretty flower detail, the monarch looked radiant in her summery ensemble.  She teamed her cheerful outfit with pearl earrings and a matching pearl necklace, completing her look perfectly.”  (The Queen enjoys a day in the sunshine at the Epsom Derby! — June 3, 2017.)  Princess Alexandra also attended the event in the Queen’s party.




Breeders’ Cup betting: another day of uncashed tickets; is there a “winning system” for the horse races?

October 26, 2008

Before I launch into my idea for a new “winning system,” a few comments about the races are in order.  On Friday, Zenyatta stayed undefeated in nine races when she won the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic by 1-1/2 lengths over Cocoa Beach.  The filly’s impressive win may result in her being named horse of the year.   The race may be viewed here:



On Saturday, Midnight Lute won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint for the second year in a row as jockey Garrett Gomez won his third race of the day.  (Mr. Gomez also won while riding Albertus Maximus and Midshipman.  He was third on Whatsthescript (IRE) in the Mile.)   In the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday, Curlin was unable to defend his title and may have lost his chance for horse of the year honors.  Raven’s Pass led a 1-2 British sweep of the Classic with Henrythenavigator placing second. 

It should be noted that horse racing guru Andrew Beyer tipped off the racing public of the potential for Raven’s Pass to win the Classic.

“Besides Curlin, the most talented horses in the field are the three European invaders — Duke of Marmalade, Henrythenavigator and Raven’s Pass — who have accounted for 10 Grade I wins against the  best competition on the continent,” Mr. Beyer wrote in his column that appeared Friday morning in the Washington Post.  Raven’s Pass is the only one of the three who appears to be coming into the Classic in peak form, and I will gamble that he takes to the Pro-Ride and pulls an upset.”

My “winning system”

Now to my winning system: pick the same three horses (i.e., 1-2-3, or 3-6-9, or 4-5-6, or any three numbers you want) in each and every race to win.  Using 3-6-9, here is how my winning system would have worked on Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup if $6 to win was bet on each horse.

FIRST RACE (MARATHON) — $18 bet for no return.  (The winner, Muhannak (IRE), was No. 5.)

SECOND RACE (TURF SPRINT) — No. 9 Desert Code paid $75.  Betting $6 to win, the take was $225. 

THIRD RACE (DIRT MILE) — $18 bet for no return.  (The winner, Albertus Maximus, was No. 7.)

FOURTH RACE (MILE) — $18 bet for no return.  (The winner, Goldikova (IRE), was No. 4.)

FIFTH RACE (JUVENILE) — $18 bet for no return.  (The winner, Midshipman, was No. 11.)

SIXTH RACE (JUVENILE TURF) — $18 bet for no return.  (The winner, Donativum (GB), was No. 4.)

SEVENTH RACE (SPRINT) — $18 bet for no return.  (The winner, Midnight Lute, was No. 4.)  (Horse racing writer Billy Witz of The New York Times wrote that “Midnight Lute was the nickname given years ago to the University of Arizona men’s basketball coach Lute Olson by Jerry Tarkanian, his counterpart at Nevada-Las Vegas, after Olson swooped in to steal a prize recruit from him.)

EIGHTH RACE (TURF) — No. 9 Conduit (IRE) paid $13.60.  Betting $6 to win, the take was $40.80.

NINTH RACE (CLASSIC) — $18 bet for no return.  (The winner, Raven’s Pass, was No. 8.)

Now for the net gain or net loss.  Amount wagered: $18 x 9 = $162.  Amount collected: $265.80.  Net gain: $103.80.

A “winning system” remains elusive

While the result looks impressive, the nice take depended on winning the biggest longshot of the day: Desert Code’s surprising win in the Turf Sprint.  The longshot colt had to pass eight horses in the final 150 yards to edge past Diabolical by a half-length.   Without Desert Code’s longshot win, it would have been just another losing day at the race track by the user of my alleged winning system.

My conclusion: I still have not found a “winning system.”

Photo Credit:

Zenyatta in the Ladies’ Classic (photo by Bob Mayberger; copyright @ Storm Watch Photo 2008)