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Post Time: Filly takes on the boys in Haskell

By Gene Kershner 

Trainer Steve Asmussen has been here before.

In 2009 he brought super-filly Rachel Alexandra to challenge the boys at the Shore in the Haskell and she thrashed the competition on her way to being Horse of the Year as a 3-year-old. Of course, she had faced the boys in the Preakness before, so making short work of them was old hat at that point.

On Sunday afternoon at Monmouth Park in the summer meeting's premier race, the filly Untapable will take on eight colts to follow in the footsteps of his trainer's ace filly. Like Rachel, Untapable already has the Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose under her belt, but will take on the boys for the first time.

She's had a lot of success at 8 1/2-furlongs, her only win at the Haskell distance of 9 furlongs is in the Kentucky Oaks against her brethren to don the Lilies the day before California Chrome staked claim to the best 3-year-old in the land. The daughter of Tapit will have something to say about that on Sunday afternoon should she beat a decent group of colts, headlined by Woody Stephens winner Bayern (5-2).

The son of Offlee Wild will look to give trainer Bob Baffert a record-increasing 7th victory in the signature race at Monmouth. He's trained five of the last nine winners and Bayern comes off a dominating 7 1/2-length romp in the 7-furlong Stephens against a formidable group. The question with Bayern is can he handle the extra distance where the best he's finished is third.

A horse that can thrive at the distance at speed-favoring Monmouth is Wildcat Red (10-1) who was a game second in the Florida Derby at the same distance. His connections picked this spot over the closer-stacked Jim Dandy and to me that is a sign that they have confidence in the D'Wildcat colt. I think he'll be a big factor in the race.

With the amount of speed in the race, one colt you can't count out is Medal Count. He's yet to establish himself in a big race, but he's faced big excuses every time he's run and Sunday just maybe his day. The Dynaformer colt has the breeding and stamina to overtake the speed in the race late. He finished a length behind the two front-runners in the Belmont and there's no reason to think he won't be around to overtake the filly on Sunday afternoon.

Post Time Outlook: 1 - Medal Count; 2 - Wildcat Red: 3 - Untapable

Here's the field for the Grade 1 Haskell InvitationaL: 

  Haskell Post Positions    
PP Horse Trainer Jockey Odds
1 Encryption Breen  Lopez 20-1
2 Bayern Baffert Garcia 5-2
3 Albano Jones Clark 6-1
4 Irish You Well Catalano Lezcano 12-1
5 Just Call Kenny McBurney Bravo 10-1
6 Social Inclusion Azpurua Prado 8-1
7 Untapable Asmussen Napravnik 2-1
8 Wildcat Red Garoffolo Saez 10-1
9 Medal Count Romans Albarado 8-1

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

Post Time: Prince of Wales draw complete

By Gene Kershner

FORT ERIE -- This afternoon the post position draw for the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes was held at the Racing Office on the backstretch of Fort Erie Racetrack. The Honorable Douglas Martin, Mayor of Fort Erie was the guest drawmaster and the field of 10 horses was set for Tuesday evening's second jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown.

The richest dirt race run in Canada will be part of a twilight card with the feature race going to post at 7:40 p.m. for the 79th time. The race run at 1 3/16-miles will be run on a Tuesday evening for the second straight year at the venerable race track affectionately known as the border oval.


Ami's Holiday was established as the 9-5 favorite by track handicapper and master of ceremonies Michael Dimoff for trainer Josie Carroll. Her horse is coming off a second-place finish in the Queen's Plate earlier in the month at Woodbine.

It may be one of the first appearances at the Fort for well-traveled jockey Chantal Sutherland-Kruse who will ride Rhythm Blues (8-1) for Fort Erie-based trainer Nick Gonzalez.

Mark Casse, who won the last two editions of the race, enters two horses including Matador (3-1), the second choice and East Side (6-1). Casse won his first Queen's Plate with Lexie Lou, but decided to pass on the second jewel for his star filly and will most likely run her next out west at Del Mar. 

This year marks the fourth year in a row that the Plate winner will skip the Prince of Wales. Here's a look at the post draw for Fort Erie's biggest race of the year:

  Prince of Wales Post Positions    
PP Horse Trainer Jockey Odds
1 East Side Casse Stein 6-1
2 Ami's Holiday Carroll Contreras 9-5
3 Ascot Martin Keough Campbell 20-1
4 Matador Casse Husbands 3-1
5 Money Talks Tharrenos Olguin 20-1
6 Coltimus Prime Nixon da Silva 12-1
7 Smart Spree Frostad Wilson 20-1
8 Lynx Lynch Pennington 5-1
9 Rhythm Blues Gonzalez Sutherland-Kruse 8-1
10 Lions Bay Attard Moran 5-1

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

Post Time: Dandy formidable prep race for Travers

By Gene Kershner 

In the past 16 years, the winner of the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes has emerged as the Travers champion 10 times and in four of the last five editions. Last year was the lone exception, although the runner-up, Will Take Charge went on to win the Midsummer Derby and later claim the 3-year-old champion Eclipse Award.

That's some interesting statistics and will most horseplayers will have a keen eye towards the Saratoga Race Course on Saturday afternoon when six colts and a ridgling will head to the gate in the 1 1/8-mile $600,000 race.  The 51st edition of the Dandy will feature the Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist (8-5) who will look to add a third straight graded stakes victory to his improving ledger.

With California Chrome off for some rest and relaxation on the left coast, this weekend will be the opportunity for several horses to step forward to start challenging his stranglehold on the 3-year-old division. The Grade 1 Haskell Invitational is on Sunday at Monmouth and has also attracted some high-end sophomores.

Tonalist's chief competition will come from Wicked Strong (2-1), the fourth place finisher in both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. The Wood Memorial winner will look to rebound for trainer Jimmy Jerkens.

Here is a look at the field (post position, trainer, jockey, ML odds in parenthesis) for Saturday's feature:

1 - Cousin Stephen (Brown, Velazquez, 12-1) Best finish in a graded stake was a third in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby for the son of Proud Citizen. He comes out of an allowance win at Parx and seems to be in over his head with this group as he is stepping way up in class.

2 - Legend (Bond, Saez, 12-1) The only ridgling in the field had a twisted testicle that was removed after he raced in Florida, and he immediately rebounded to win in New York and finished second to Kid Cruz in the Easy Goer on Belmont day. An improving 3-year-old who could be used underneath in superfecta plays at best.

3 - Ulanbator (Wilkes, Leparoux, 15-1) Longest shot in the field for trainer Ian Wilkes finished third to Kid Cruz on Stars and Stripes Day at Belmont in the G3 Dwyer after having trouble at the break. Has only one win in seven starts and is another that seems to be in deep waters here.

4 - Tonalist (Clement, Rosario, 8-5) His Triple Crown death ray went mostly overlooked in the Sunday papers after the Belmont, but after further inspection he ran a superb race. He's been off since then and training well for Christophe Clement, mainly known for his turf horses. Rosario in the irons has struggled to win so far early on at the Spa. He's giving four pounds to Kid Cruz and six to Commanding Curve.

5 - Kid Cruz (Rice, I. Ortiz, Jr., 8-1) Will be at juicy odds for trainer Rice who has loved the way her fast closing horse has responded after a dull effort in the Preakness. May be maturing at just the right time and the distance seems to suit him perfectly. May be the right price to pull the upset, just not sure if there's enough pace for him to close into.

6 - Commanding Curve (Stewart, Bridgmohan, 5-1) Disappointing ninth place finish in the Belmont after looking like a million bucks the week before the final jewel of the Triple Crown. Like the Tonalist and Wicked Strong, it will be the son of Master Command's first race back off that lackluster effort. He's rebounded off other clunkers in his career, so which Curve will we be thrown on Saturday? His workouts appear sharp, but like Kid Cruz, he'll need some early pace to run into late.

7 - Wicked Strong (Jerkens, Maragh, 2-1) Jerkens sticks with Maragh and was established as the second choice on the morning line and assigned the same weight as Tonalist. He'll wear blinkers for the first time which may have him closer to the pace. The wide post doesn't help going quickly into the first turn and he joins the other two closers in the race.

Looking at race shape, I can't see anything other than Tonalist as the lone speed in the race and he should be able to control the pace much of the way. Playing him on top of the three closers in a trifecta appears to be the best bet.  Bet: $5 Trifecta Key 4 over 5, 6, 7 (cost $30).

Post Time Outlook: 1 - Tonalist; 2 - Kid Cruz; 3 - Wicked Strong; and 4 - Commanding Curve

Check back later this afternoon for the post positions and morning line odds for this year's Prince of Wales Stakes, scheduled for Tuesday July 29 at Fort Erie Race Track.

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

Post Time: Thursday racing notes

By Gene Kershner 

There's a lot going on in the thoroughbred racing world and in our little neck of the woods, the biggest race of the year, the $500,000 Prince of Wales is right around the corner.  The second jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown will be held at Fort Erie Race Track on Tuesday evening, July 29, post time for the big race is 7:40 p.m. 

Here are some news, notes and thoughts from around the track… 

- Queen's Plate winner Lexie Lou will skip the Prince of Wales for some rest and relaxation and due to the fact she's not proven on dirt, the border oval's surface for the race. However, several Plate horses including runner-up Ami's Holiday should be in the gate on Tuesday and the likely morning line favorite.

- The other Plate horses other than the second place finisher that were nominated to the Prince of Wales include Coltimus Prime, Lions Bay and Matador.  There looks to be 10 probable entries for the race.

- The draw for the second jewel is at 1 p.m. tomorrow (Friday) at Fort Erie and The News will be on site. Check back here at the Sports, Ink tomorrow for a recap of the draw and some preliminary thoughts on the race. The News will also have print coverage before and after the race.

- Saratoga's opening short week is complete and Todd Pletcher and Javier Castellano, last year's top trainer and jockey are already on top of their respective leaderboard. Handle and attendance were both up after the first three days. The Wednesday through Monday week resumed yesterday and will continue through Labor Day, Sept. 1.

- It was great to see French jockey Frankie Dettori bless the Spa with his presence over the weekend.  After a luggage mishap at JFK which caused him to miss his first two mounts he arrived on opening day for the 7th race. Through Monday he amassed two wins and three placings in 11 mounts. His flying dismount was on display twice for the Saratoga crowd, generating lots of noise down by the famed winner's circle.

- Can't wait for next week's Whitney Invitational when Will Take Charge will take on Palace Malice in the $1.5 million purse-enhanced race. Will Take Charge looked good breezing five furlongs in 1:01.02 on the Oklahoma dirt training track on Monday morning in Saratoga. Palace Malice is coming off a spectacular Met Mile win on Belmont Day from a tough inside post. The race is the feature on Saturday Aug. 2 at the Spa.

- On Sunday, former Buffalonian and Eclipse-winning writer Paul Moran's ashes were spread on the Saratoga infield at the site of Go For Wand's grave. In 1990, his entry about Go For Wand's breakdown in the Breeders' Cup is one of the best racing stories ever written. The obituary of his death last Nov. 9 in The News can be found here. I had the good fortune to meet Moran at last year's Preakness in the radio room prior to us both going on the air. He spoke fondly of his time in Buffalo and was very passionate about the game of racing.

- The Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Stakes on Sunday is shaping up to be an interesting race to handicap with the talented filly Untapable trying the boys and Bob Baffert sending his speedster Bayern in attempts to win his seventh Haskell.

- One of Tom Durkin's best calls of the weekend was when Broncos star receiver Wes Welker's 2-year-old colt Eightythree was sweeping around the far turn….."Eightythree is starting his end around…"  That's why Durkin is one of the best in the game.

- Monday's overnight stakes, the Smile Again, was one of the best non-graded races I've seen in a long time. Better Lucky stormed home on the outside passing the dueling Grace Hall and My Miss Aurelia to win a race with only four entries that has been the best horse race to date at the Spa. Grace Hall ran a tremendous race after being bumped completely out of the picture by My Miss Aurelia to regain second in the late going. Watch out for her next time out. 

Remember to check back here at the Sports, Ink blog tomorrow afternoon for the post positions and morning line odds for next Tuesday's Prince of Wales. 

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

Post Time: Fashion Alert impresses in Schuylerville

By Gene Kershner 

SARATOGA SPRINGS - High class fashion is kind of Todd Pletcher's thing.

The well-dressed trainer arrived in the winner's circle for the first time at the 146st Saratoga meeting in the third race when his ace 2-year-old filly Fashion Alert gutted out a dueling stretch drive with Take Charge Brandi to win the 96th edition of the Schuylerville Stakes.

She won the 6-furlong race in 1:11.78 beating the game daughter of Giant's Causeway by 1 1/2 lenghts. Tulira's Star completed the cold trifecta for trainer Rick Mettee.  Fashion Alert paid $2.40 to win for her backers and $2.10 for place and show. Take Charge Brandi paid $3.40 for the place and $2.20 for the show. The $2 trifecta paid $9.20 as the heavy favorite was Pletcher's first 2-year-old winner of the meet.

"She trained really well this winter and came in with a big reputation and she's followed suit by winner her first two wins in stakes, we're lucky to have her" said Pletcher. "She showed some guts. I know that Wayne likes his filly a lot. They got into a prolonged speed duel and you could tell they were both getting a little tired. But she showed some guts and determination," said Pletcher.

A win on opening day means a lot from the six-time Eclipse winning trainer. "You always want to get that first one out of the way and just missed in the first race. We were happy to get today in the Schuylerville, a race we've always held in high regard," said Pletcher.

It's a beautiful opening day here at the Spa, 77 degrees and comfortable for a solid crowd of race-goers.

Some things just don't change  much here in Saratoga when it comes to Pletcher, fashion and arriving promptly in the winner's circle with a 2-year-old stakes winner.

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

Post Time: Schuylerville headlines Spa opening day card

By Gene Kershner 

SARATOGA SPRINGS - It's game on at Saratoga Race Course tomorrow afternoon.

The 146th meeting opens on Friday afternoon at the historic race track headlined by a Grade 3 $150,000 Schuylerville that drew five 2-year-old fillies.  The race, which typically is the first graded stake of the meet, will be run for the 96th time as the third race on the 10-race opening day card.

Another highlight of the opening weekend is the placing of the $500,000 Grade 1 Diana on Saturday afternoon, moving the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks to Sunday.

In the Schuylerville, the deadly Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez combination will be the team to beat for owners George Bolton and Barry Hall who will send out the 3-5 favorite, Fashion Alert. The daughter of Old Fashioned out of a Tiznow mare broke her maiden in a non-graded stake at Belmont Park and is clearly the class of the field.

Here's a look at the field for the G3 Schuylerville (post position, trainer, jockey and morning line odds in parenthesis).

1 - Mast Cove (Robb, Betancourt, 20-1). The daughter of Derby runner Cowboy Cal broke her maiden in a $30K maiden claimer last time out at Delaware Park after two so-so efforts at Pimlico. Stretches out to 6 furlongs for the first tie and will have her word cut out against this group.

2 - Tulira's Star (Mettee, Bravo, 5-2). Trainer Rick Mettee sends out this daughter of Congrats for Team Valor International and will look to move forward off an impressive maiden score at Arlington Park on the Polytrack. She was heavily bet winning her debut and the second place finisher came out of that race to break her maiden. Contender.

3 - Evrybdymstgetstonz (Contessa, Montanez, 12-1) About the only thing this filly has is the best name in the field. All kidding aside, the daughter of Bustin Stones broke her maiden winning by 6 lengths at Belmont Park on July 2. She'll contend to hit the board coming off a sharp 3-furlong workout on Monday morning.

4 - Fashion Alert (Pletcher, Velazquez, 3-5). The class of the field will be at a very short price for the dynamic duo. She won the $100K Astoria by 4 3/4-lengths after a bad start, so let's see what she can do if she breaks well. It's tough to see her anywhere other than on top.

5 - Take Charge Brandi (Lukas, Lanerie, 6-1). The daughter of Giant's Causeway out of a Seeking the Gold mare obviously wants to go longer and should keep moving forward.

Post Time Outlook: 1 - Fashion Alert; 2 - Take Charge Brandi and; 3 - Tulira's Star

Trifecta play: $2 Trifecta - 4 over 2,5 over 2,3,5 (cost - $12)

The other stakes race on the opening day card is the $100,000 Sir Cat to be run at a mile on the inner turf. The race has attracted some high profile 3-year-olds that were on the Triple Crown trail including Derby runner and Tampa Bay Derby winner 7-Ring Weekend (10-1) and Preakness runner 3-Pablo Del Monte (2-1).

Hall of Famer Velazquez will ride Ring Weekend and European jockey Frankie Dettori will ride Pablo for Wesley Ward. This is Dettori's first-ever meet at Saratoga.

Those two will be challenged by the top two choices on the morning line, 5-Tourist (8-5) and 1-Storming Inti (9-5). Tourist is coming off two straight wins on the weeds and will employ the services of top jockey Joel Rosario to ride for Bill Mott. Storming Inti was third in the $500K Penn Mile at Penn National in May and has battled well in graded company.

With an inside post, early speed and the dangerous Castellano in the irons, I'm going to favor Storming Inti to get the job done in the Sir Cat. He's been working well for Chad Brown and should turn back these foes on Friday afternoon.  We'll look for 6-J to the Croft to split the exacta with Jose Lezcano who gets it done on the turf.

Post Time Outlook: 1 - Storming Inti; 2 - J to the Croft; and 3 - Tourist

Check Friday's print editions for my advance on the 40-day meet with some tips on what to see and do when you're at the Spa.

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

Post Time: A day at the track

By Gene Kershner

Thursday afternoon was a beautiful day to spend at the track and I found myself in the comforts of Finger Lakes Race Track watching a card full of $5,000 - $15,000 claimers. I was with my childhood best friend from Syracuse who met me halfway for a round of golf and his maiden voyage to a horse racing venue.

Bringing potential new fans to the race track and teaching them the art of wagering is a great way to get people excited about horse racing and the thrills it can provide over an afternoon of sunshine, adult beverages and cashing a few tickets. By mid-afternoon my friend hadn't cashed a ticket but was getting the hang of the game.

We played a joint trifecta ticket (I was forced to put my money where my mouth was) keying a favorite over three horses, an easy bet to teach when you have a pretty solid favorite and we cashed. The important thing when bringing a potential new fan to the track is to make sure they cash at least one ticket. Well we took the $12 that we bet and the $5 that we won and we rolled it into a $17 show bet on a horse named Winco in the 5th that proceeded to close hard down the stretch for second, doubled our money and produced some high-fives. Mission accomplished.

It was only a few bucks, but I could see that he was hooked to at least give the track another try again someday, whether it is at the Finger or Saratoga. Going to the track with a bunch of friends and creating a show pool like we did is a good way to introduce potential fans to the game and ease them into the betting without going too deep into how to read the form.

I spent some time educating him on certain things on the form like speed figures, wins at the distance, running lines and the type of horse (early pace, stalker, closer) each runner was, but could see that it was starting to intimidate him and we just stuck to the basics. Learning how to call out a bet is just as intimidating to reading a racing form.

In the "new thing happened to me at the track" category, I cashed the strangest and perhaps, luckiest Pick-4 (P4) ticket of my wagering lifetime during the card's early Pick-4. It was the first time in history I cashed a P4 with only two winning horses on my ticket crossing the finish line. How does that happen?

My ticket was a $12 play for $0.50 (4x2x3x1) with a big single in the final leg to heavy favorite New York Tough. It got off to a rousing start when 9-Seek to Destroy won the first leg paying $8. The second leg is where things got interesting. I had two horses, neither whom won as 5-Afuwa finished third and 8-Contender's Queen had issues getting out of the gate and finished last. I thought the ticket was dead until I heard announcer Tony Calo say that the stewards were reviewing the gate break and decided Contender's Queen did not have a fair start and deemed him a non-starter.

Well that meant that my bet on Contender's Queen transferred to the post time favorite, 6-Kicken Livi, who just happened to win the race. Boom, I'm still alive. Things then began to really get strange.

In the third leg I had three horses, including the 9-Head Spin was around 7-1 at post time. For the third time on the day there was an issue at the gate and the track veterinarian decided to scratch the 1-horse, Axspect the Best, who was not on my ticket. However, he was a coupled entry with 1A-Alpha Galpha Amber, so the stewards determined that he would run for purse money only and would not be a wagering interest. When 1A-Alpha Galpha Amber finished ahead of Head Spin, I thought my ticket was dead for the second time and even uttered a bad word.

Fortunately, he was only running for purse money and my 9-horse was put up as the $15.40 winner. Holy Toledo, batman, the racing gods were with me. At this point there is no way my single can win. I've received all the racing luck that any one individual could have.

The P4 will-pay if 8-New York Tough wins was $67.12, a $55 profit on my $12 investment. No hedging for me, if he wins, I win. God bless that nice New York Tough, who won by a cool 8 1/2-lengths running away from the field, eliciting more high-fives and a nice cold beverage.

I've had my share of bad beats and losing photo finishes. Let's just say I won't be complaining the next time either happens to me.

Sometimes you step in the mud and pull out a $20 bill. On Thursday afternoon at the Finger, it just happened to be a bigger one.

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

Post Time: Big field set for Sunday's Queen's Plate

By Gene Kershner

TORONTO – The post position draw for Sunday’s 155th running of the $1 million Queen’s Plate, the oldest continuously run race in North America took place in the walking ring at Woodbine Racetrack this morning. A large field of 14 colts and one filly will head to the post at 5:38 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. We Miss Artie (8-5) was made the morning line favorite with the filly and Woodbine Oaks winner Lexie Lou (4-1) made the second choice. 

Here are some quick hitters from the post draw:

  • Trainer Mark Casse sends out three horses in hopes of capturing his first Queen’s Plate after 17 attempts. Casse will send out the filly Lexie Lou, Matador (8-1) and Majestic Sunset (15-1) in attempt to break the drought.
  • Roger Attfield, who has a record-equaling eight Queen’s Plate training victories always the showman, selected post No. 12 for Tower of Texas, stating he has won two plates from that gate in his storied Hall of Fame career. John Velazquez, a Hall of Famer himself, will fly in to ride the son of Street Sense.
  • In addition to Velazquez another big name jockey will be heading north to Woodbine this weekend, as Javier Castellano, the current leading rider at Belmont Park, will be aboard We Miss Artie for trainer Todd Pletcher. Both Pletcher and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey will be making the trek up north for Canada's biggest race. Pletcher will be seeking his second Queen’s Plate, winning his last 14 years ago with Archers Bay in 1998.
  • Julien Leparoux, who will make his second Plate appearance, will fly in to ride Matador for Casse.
  • The Plate will be a family affair of sorts for the Attard family. Father Sid trains Cap in Hand (50-1) for last year's Plate winning owners Tucci Stables and his two sons will also saddle horses in the race. Cap in Hand will break from the rail, the same spot last year's winner, Midnight Aria started from in giving the owners their first Plate victory.
  • Attard's sons will saddle Niigon Express (Paul) and Lions Bay (Jamie) and have bet each other a round of golf on the outcome. Paul Attard selected post No. 13 for his horse, the same spot that his sire, Niigon, won the Plate from in 2004.
  • Trainer Reade Baker who recently won his 1,000the career race is also seeking his first Plate with two contenders.  Asserting Bear (10-1) will have jockey Chantal Sutherland-Kruse in the irons and Baker describes his colt's best quality in one word, "guts." Baker will also send Man o' Bear (30-1) postward for Bear Stables and will have the other female jockey in the race, Emma-Jayne Wilson, who won the 2007 Plate aboard Mike Fox.

The post position draw with trainer, jockey and morning line odds is included below: 

PP Horse Trainer Jockey Odds
1 Cap in Hand S. Attard Bahen 50-1
2 Coltimus Prime Nixon Campbell 20-1
3 Athenian Guard DePaulo Moreno 50-1
4 Asserting Bear Baker Sutherland-Kruse 10-1
5 Man o' Bear Baker Wilson 30-1
6 We Miss Artie Pletcher Castellano 8-5
7 Majestic Sunset Casse Boulanger 15-1
8 Lions Bay J. Attard Moran 30-1
9 Heart to Heart Lynch da Silva 30-1
10 Matador Casse Leparoux 8-1
11 One Destiny Fehr Stein 30-1
12 Tower of Texas Attfield Velazquez 20-1
13 Niigon Express P. Attard Olguin 30-1
14 Lexie Lou (f) Casse Husbands 4-1
15 Ami's Holiday Carroll Contreras 10-1
  (f) filly      

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

Post Time: Triple Crown among mid-year high points

Editor's note: Our apologies for not posting this earlier. It was published in Saturday's editions of The Buffalo News. 

* * *

By Gene Kershner

We’ve hit the midpoint of the thoroughbred racing season, and the first half of the year gave racing fans plenty to cheer about.

The 3-year-olds, led by California Chrome, took us through a great spring, and the older horses and handicap division will start to take center stage this summer.

The second half of the season will take us first to the summer destinations of Saratoga, Monmouth and Del Mar before returning in the fall to Belmont Park and Keeneland Race Course before the season culminates at Santa Anita Racetrack where the Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

The race for Horse of the Year is wide open with several horses in position to claim the sport’s most prominent award next January at the annual Eclipse Awards ceremony.

Here are some thoughts on the year’s highs and lows in racing at the halfway mark of the 2014 season:

Continue reading "Post Time: Triple Crown among mid-year high points" »

Post Time: Queen's Plate field shaping up

By Gene Kershner 

The 155th running of the Queen's Plate is just over a week away and the field is shaping up to be a competitive one. Woodbine is currently listing 14 probables for the oldest continuously run race in North America to be held on July 6 at the suburban Toronto track.

 Leading the way is Kentucky Derby qualifier We Miss Artie, son of 2005 Breeders' Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller, who won the Plate Trial stakes by 3/4-lengths in the key prep race for the Plate. Trained by five-time Eclipse winning trainer Todd Pletcher, the winter book favorite, will likely sustain that role when he steps in the gate a week from Sunday. Add Eclipse winning jockey Javier Castellano to the mix and you have the ingredients for a potential Canadian Triple Crown run.

On paper We Miss Artie is the one to beat on the Polytrack, but they don't run the race on paper. Several contenders will try and stack up to the favorite and give him a battle in the mile and a quarter race. 

Let's look at the top contenders he will face on Plate day, in no particular order.

Continue reading "Post Time: Queen's Plate field shaping up" »

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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.