Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Saratoga Race Course... A Summer Treat!


"The Spa"  Saratoga Springs, NY

Saratoga Race Course opened in Saratoga Springs, NY on August 3, 1863, and is the oldest organized sporting venue of any kind in the United States. It is typically open for racing from late July through early September. The race course has two well-known nicknames -- The Spa (for the nearby mineral springs), and the "Graveyard of Champions" (for the upsets that have occurred there, including Secretariat).

The grounds at Saratoga Race Course contain several unique features. Patrons can get close up views of the horses being led to the paddock as the path from the stables runs through the picnic grounds. There is a mineral spring called the Big Red Spring in the picnic grounds where patrons can partake of the water that made Saratoga Springs famous. A gazebo is a prominent feature on the infield and a stylized version of the gazebo is part of Saratoga Race Course logo.

Saratoga Race Course is rich with tradition. A lake in the middle of the track contains a canoe that is painted annually in the colors of the winning stable for that year's Travers Stakes winner. Also, prior to each race a bell is hand rung at exactly 17 minutes prior to scheduled post time for each race. This is to call the jockeys to the paddock.

The 2016 meeting will be 40 race days long from Friday, July 22nd to Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5th. Saratoga will be the home of the 147th Running of the Travers Stakes on Aug. 27th this year. 
This is a meet to put on your "Bucket List" for sure!  And The Track Philosopher will have the full day cards available every day.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Keeneland... ever been? Wanna go?

Have you ever been to Keeneland? If your answer is no, then simply click on the picture of the Keeneland Rolex Clock and we will take you there. It's just a taste of what you might expect in a brief stay in the Lexington, KY area.

They have meets in the Spring and the Fall, pick one, but plan early. Keeneland's short sessions are one of the reasons they are always sold out.

You can find more Keeneland information on my website after your short tour. Let's go!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Oaklawn Park Records and Facts



















1905 - On February 24, Oaklawn Park Race Track opened its doors to a crowd of some 3,000 race fans. The day was declared a half-day holiday by Hot Springs officials.

1907 - Due to political problems in the state, racing was suspended.

1916 - Racing resumed at Oaklawn. The track is now owned by Louis Cella.

1936 - The Arkansas Derby was born with a purse $5,000.

1945 - Racing throughout the United States ended for an indefinite period at the request because of WWII. A 30-day season was held on November 5 through December 8 for the lost Spring meet. On opening day, an estimated crowd of 4,200 attended, and $189,289 was wagered.

1952 - Oaklawn gained national attention when its handle rose from a daily average of $336,341 to $434,667. Attendance climbs from 7,057 a day to 7,739.

1959 - The Meeting reached two milestones when its averages reached 10,000 in attendance and $500,000 pari-mutuel handle.

1960's - Par 3 golf course in the infield was used in the off season.

1965 - Arkansas Derby purse increased to $50,000.

1970 - Records continue to be broken. During the 50-day meeting, a total crowd of 556,000 attended and bet $43,366,921. The average attendance was 11,120.

1973 - The first running of the Fantasy Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies, took place.

1974 - The Racing Festival of the South was born.

1980 - More than 250,000 fans attended the Racing Festival of the South. Temperance Hill won the Arkansas Derby.

1983 - Largest Average Daily Attendance Record Set 23,271 (still stands)

1984 - The purse for the Arkansas Derby was increased to $500,000.

1986 - The standing record single day attendance of 71,203 was set.

1991 - The Oaklawn Club was completely renovated.

1996 - Oaklawn Park race track achieved a record handle of $10,653,518 on Arkansas Derby Day.

2000 - Instant Racing, a pari-mutuel electronic system which allows players to wager on previously-run races, was introduced and field-tested at Oaklawn Park race track.

2011 - The average daily attendance grew 3% in 2011 from 2010 to 11,649. Arkansas Derby Day saw an attendance of 62,364!

There has never been a turf track at Oaklawn Park.
Horseplayers Association has ranked Oaklawn Park as the 9th best track in all of North America. And, in my opinion, should be a "must see" by all who love the sport of Kings.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Thank You Keeneland and American Pharoah

 

American Pharoah's Historic "Grand Slam" Victory on NBC is Highest-Rated Breeders' Cup Telecast in 20 Years

STAMFORD, Conn. – November 3, 2015 – American Pharoah’s final competition made history as the Triple Crown winner raced to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and NBC posted the highest-rated Breeders’ Cup telecast in 20 years. A venue-record 50,155 watched the event in person at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, KY, on Saturday afternoon. With his dominating win last weekend, American Pharoah became the first horse to win racing’s “grand slam,” consisting of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

NBC’s telecast (5:07-6:13 p.m. ET) earned a 2.6/6 household rating, marking the best rating for a Breeders’ Cup telecast since 1995, when NBC analyst and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey rode Cigar to his 12th consecutive victory (2.8/9 rating on NBC).

The 2.6/6 rating is up 53% from last year’s primetime Breeders’ Cup Classic (1.7/3), which featured Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome finishing third to Bayern.
An average of 4.6 million viewers tuned in between 5:45-6 p.m. ET, as American Pharoah ran to a 6½-length victory, up 39% from last year’s race quarter-hour (3.3 million).

Viewership for the complete 5:07-6:13 p.m. ET telecast averaged 3.9 million viewers to rank as the best Breeders’ Cup telecast since 2010 and up 50% from last year (2.6 million viewers).
In addition, viewers streamed more than 275,000 live minutes via NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday – more than triple last year’s Breeders’ Cup (88,000).

Quotable from American Pharoah’s Breeders’ Cup Classic victory:
“A Triple Crown winner, a Breeders' Cup winner, a horse of a lifetime!” – NBC race caller Larry Collmus
“Those of us who have seen a lot of racing over the years are just as thrilled as those out there in the crowd!” – NBC host Tom Hammond
“Victor (Espinoza) navigated this excellently. He saved him in the beginning and then he parceled out that speed in that finish a little bit at a time around the turns. We got to see American Pharoah run hard through the stretch – what a horse!” – NBC analyst and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey
“His legacy as one of racing’s all-time greats is assured with a dominating victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.” – NBC analyst Randy Moss

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The 142nd Kentucky Derby, Saturday, May 7, 2016 on NBC is only 185 days away!
Tuesday, November 3, 2015 http://www.breederscup.com/article/

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Where Does Your Favorite Thoroughbred Track Rate


Of the 62 race tracks across North America, many of which are from the small local circuit, HANA or Horseplayers Association of North America spends the time collecting data to put together a spreadsheet of comparisons from takeouts to fields of races and handle trends to name a few. 

If you want to view the rankings of those areas you are interested in just click on the title boxes on top of the spreadsheet and see where your favorite tracks rank. Also included are the tracks website addresses and some scoring and grading that HANA has put together for overall category ranking.

Enjoy your stay:


To get to Horseplayers Association of North America or HANA main website just click their logo:
http://www.horseplayersassociation.org/hanablacklogo2.jpg

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Two Classic Summer Tracks


  "The Spa"  Saratoga Springs, NY

Saratoga Race Course opened in Saratoga Springs, NY on August 3, 1863, and is the oldest organized sporting venue of any kind in the United States. It is typically open for racing from late July through early September. The race course has two well-known nicknames -- The Spa (for the nearby mineral springs), and the "Graveyard of Champions" (for the upsets that have occurred there, including Secretariat).

The grounds at Saratoga Race Course contain several unique features. Patrons can get close up views of the horses being led to the paddock as the path from the stables runs through the picnic grounds. There is a mineral spring called the Big Red Spring in the picnic grounds where patrons can partake of the water that made Saratoga Springs famous. A gazebo is a prominent feature on the infield and a stylized version of the gazebo is part of Saratoga Race Course logo.

Saratoga Race Course is rich with tradition. A lake in the middle of the track contains a canoe that is painted annually in the colors of the winning stable for that year's Travers Stakes winner. Also, prior to each race a bell is hand rung at exactly 17 minutes prior to scheduled post time for each race. This is to call the jockeys to the paddock.

The 2015 meeting will be 40 race days long from Friday, July 24th to Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7th. Saratoga is the home of the 146th Running of the Travers Stakes on Aug. 29th this year. The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and the NBC Sports Group have announced the schedule for this year’s Summer at Saratoga series, check your listings for this great HD experience.
 

Just some of the 2015 highlights:
  •     July 25:  Grade 1, $500,000 Diana
  •     August 1:  Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy
  •     August 8: Grade 1, $1,250,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap
  •     August 15: Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap
  •     August 15: Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack
  •     August 22: Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama
  •     August 29: Grade 1, $1,000,000 Sword Dancer Invitational
  •     August 29: Grade 1, $750,000 Personal Ensign Invitational
  •     August 29: Grade 1, $500,000 King’s Bishop and Grade 1, $1,250,000 Travers
  •     September 5:  Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward
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"Where the Turf Meets the Surf" Del Mar, CA

Del Mar Race Track is an American Thoroughbred horse racing track at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in the seaside city of Del Mar, California, 20 miles north of San Diego. Operated by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, it is known for the slogan: "Where The Surf Meets The Turf." It was built by a partnership including Bing Crosby, the actor Pat O'Brien, Jimmy Durante, Charles S. Howard and Oliver Hardy.

The first Bing Crosby Handicap was held at Del Mar in 1946 and that same year the Sante Fe Railroad began offering a racetrack special bringing spectators, bettors and horses to Del Mar from Los Angeles. Throughout the late 1940s and 1950s the track became the Saratoga of the West for summer racing. The track had large purses for many stakes, over half of which were won by the legendary jockey, Bill Shoemaker.

The track has a one-mile main dirt track and a seven furlong turf course. The meet runs during the summer at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and can stable more than a thousand horses. Del Mar is known for its tan stucco grandstand located directly in view of the Pacific Ocean.

The first race of the meet on opening day (this year Thursday, July 16th) starts at 2:00pm when track announcer Trevor Denman begins each racing season with his trademark call: "And there's the roar from the Del Mar crowd as the Del Mar meet is underway!" An estimated crowd of 40,000 plus will be in attendance. This year racing will be from Wednesday thru Sunday with a 2:00pm start time except for Friday when first post is 4:00pm and followed by a concert.

In addition, 2015 will continue to hold a second season at Del Mar with opening day set for Friday, Oct. 29th through Sunday Nov. 29th.

Your Bucket List

If you enjoy the sport of kings and love to spend a summer afternoon at the track then put these two venues on your bucket list and get planning. Whether it's at "The Spa" in upstate New York or "Where the turf meets the surf" in sunny Southern California you will be in for a special treat indeed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Triple Crown: Expect More Soon!


Many things come in bunches after long intervals and repeating the past - like fruit or hail stones or traffic jams.  It might be a while in between their occurrence but they never fail to come.  Some think events come in a series like bad luck is supposed to come in 3's (good luck comes in ones if we are lucky).  So why not expect the Triple Crown to do the same as it has in the past.
 

In 1919, Sir Barton won the Derby, Preakness and The Belmont and the Triple Crown was born.  But immediately a drought set in and it wasn't until 11 years passed that the feat was reached again by Gallant Fox.

That accomplishment in 1930 triggered 2 more Triple Crown winners in the next 7 years.  Then again, after a 4 year quiet period, starting in 1941 we had 4 more but then, as it did in the past, a drought set in and this one was for 25 long years. 


Just when talk was suggesting that it was unattainable the super horse Secretariat got the ball rolling again in 1973 and he triggered a series of 2 more Triple Crown sightings.  Critics began lamenting that it was too easy to achieve and plans were designed to make it harder.  But once again a drought came along and this one was a doozy - 37 years!


In that time race tracks across the country suffered at the hands or paws of the rise of the greyhound tracks and then the Casinos - which eventually linked up with many of the smaller tracks in order to save them.  But that didn't put an end to racing or the 3 races that make up the Triple Crown - they are thriving as much as ever. Last year California Chrome came very close to the crown and this year, 2014, Champion American Pharoah ended the drought.


If history is any lesson of the future then expect to see 2 to 3 more Triple Crowns between now and 2020 - that's when the next drought is forecast.