Monthly Archives: April 2017

Here’s Your Kentucky Derby & Oaks Betting Guide For May 5 & 6

Kentucky Derby weekend is as good as it gets for horseplayers. Kentucky Oaks Day on Friday May 5th kicks things off with a 13 race card featuring six graded stakes including the Grade 1, $1 Million Kentucky Oaks. On Derby Day itself, Saturday May 6th, Churchill Downs plays host to 14 races, including 7 stakes races, a $1 million Guaranteed Pick-6 pool and of course, the $2 Million Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.

First post BOTH days is 10:30 AM; the Richmond OTBs at Breakers Sports Grille and Ponies & Pints will open at 10 AM both days. The Oaks itself goes to post at 6:12 PM Friday and the Derby itself goes to post at 6:46 PM Saturday.  Advance Derby betting is available all day and evening on Friday, and again on Saturday from 10 AM on.

The Ponies & Pints OTB in Richmond will have a day-long party in their parking lot on May 6th complete with betting terminals and flat screen TVs.

There are also two unique bets available — the Kentucky Oaks-Kentucky Derby Double, and a Kentucky Oaks-Woodford Reserve Turf Classic-Kentucky Derby Pick-3. Both wagers will close when the Oaks goes off on Friday at 6:12 PM.

Here is a listing of the stakes Churchill Downs will host both days:

Friday May 5

*$1,000,000 Kentucky Oaks (Gr. I)

*$400,000 Alysheba Stakes (Gr. 2)

*$300,000 La Troienne Stakes (Gr. I)

*$200,000 Eight Belles Stakes (Gr. 2)

*$150,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (Gr. 3)

*$150,000 Edgewood Stakes (Gr. 3)

Saturday May 6

*$2,000,000 Kentucky Derby (Gr. I)

*$500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (Gr. I)

*$500,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (Gr. 2)

*$300,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (Gr. 2)

*$300,000 Humana Distaff (Gr. 1)

*$300,000 American Turf Stakes (Gr. 2)

*$250,000 Pat Day Mile (Gr. 3)

The Breakers Sports Grille OTB in Richmond will serve mint juleps in the official souvenir Kentucky Derby glass.

Hope to see all racing fans at the OTBs Derby weekend! If you can’t get to Richmond, there are four partner on line betting companies Virginia residents can place bets with —,, and All have great “match play” bonus offers going on for new customers — take advantage of these in time to make your Derby weekend wagers. And don’t forget, the Virginia Gold Cup Races at Great Meadow (in The Plains, VA) on May 6th will finish the Kentucky Derby simulcast and yes, you can wager all day at the Gold Cup event too!

Virginia-Breds Continue With Post-Easter Winning Ways

Virginia-bred horses continued an Easter weekend streak that saw victories every day at tracks around the county, all the way through April 22nd.

Virginia-bred Just Call Kenny scored a 1 1/4 length victory April 21st in a $47,000 allowance optional claiming race at Laurel. Bred by Althea Richards, the 6 year old Jump Start horse won by 1 1/4 lengths over Double Whammy after coming three wide in the turn. The winner pushed pushed in ’17 bankroll over the $40,000 mark while his lifetime earnings climbed to $332,565. He is out of the Green Dancer mare, Green Jeans, and is owned by the ABL Stable, Dominic Bossone, James Cahill and Peter Donnelly.

Just Call Kenny, bred by Althea Richards, won by 1 1/4 lengths over Double Whammy April 21st at Laurel. Photo courtesy of Jim McCue.

The Riverview Farms owns a pair of Virginia-breds that each won a maiden claiming race on consecutive nights at Penn National last week. Their Shenandoahlove Rvf captured a 5 1/2 furlong sprint April 19th while Preacherman R V F was victorious the next card in a six furlong test. The former, bred by Rose Ann Howell, got to the winners circle for the first time in nine career starts. The 3 year old daughter of Greeley’s Conquest dueled for the lead between horses at the quarter pole, drew off from there and won by three lengths in 1:06.93.  She is out of the Itaka mare, Itaka’s Brianna.

Shenandoahlove Rvf scored a three length triumph at Penn National April 19th. Photo courtesy of B&D Photography.

Preacherman Rvf won a close race by a head over S W Gilley Time and paid $30.20 after being sent off at 14-1. The 3 year old son of Greeley’s Conquest won his first race in six career outs and a beat seven others in 1:14.62. The victor rallied from second with a three wide move turning for home. Riverview Farms bred Preacherman Rvf, who is out of Acting Grand by Grand Slam.

Preacherman Rvf won by a head over S W Gilley Time April 20th at Penn National. Photo courtesy of B&D Photography.

Class Brahms, a 9 year old Brahms gelding, closed out the week with a neck triumph in a $20,000 allowance steeplechase race, contested April 22nd at the 3 1/4 miles distance at the Grand National Racecourse. Bred by Mede Cahaba Stable and Stud, LLC, the long distance winner was 14 lengths behind at the 2 3/4  miles mark but rallied in deep stretch.  Class Brahms beat ten other horses and crossed in 6:30.20. He is out of the Class Secret mare, Class Babe.

Betting Handle In Virginia Continues To Rise

Virginia wagering figures on horse racing have been tabulated for the month of March 2017 and the first quarter itself, and handle placed via the four partner Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) sites continues to rise.

TVG, which handled $2,724,759 in bets from Virginians last month, continues to lead the way in activity. TwinSpires and XPressBet though, each had their best month of the first quarter, handling $2,093,806 and $1,135,952 respectively. NYRABets, newest player in the Commonwealth, handled $55,144. The four combined to generate $6,009,662 in handle, just shy of January’s $6,053,361 when the inaugural Pegasus World Cup was held at Gulfstream Park.

For the quarter that includes January through March, the four combined to handle $17,976,686. That compared with 2016’s figure of $16,937,019, which is a 6.14% increase. TVG is up 7.59% while XPressBet and TwinSpires have gains of 3.62% and 2.67% respectively.

The OTB at Breakers Sports Grille handled $2,919,342 in the first quarter of 2017.

The Virginia Equine Alliance’s (VEA) first two Richmond based Off Track Betting (OTB) Centers continue to do robust business, even as on line (ADW) betting figures climb. Breakers Sports Grille, the first to open back on November 2nd, handled $2,919,342 in the first quarter while the newest one, Ponies & Pints, generated $1,783,096 in wagering activity. The latter opened on January 16th.

When combining both the ADW and OTB figures, a total of $22,679,125 in horse race bets were placed in the first quarter.

Focus now is on the upcoming Kentucky Derby, slated for Saturday May 6th. Both Richmond OTBs are expecting their busiest day of the year. Additional manned and self betting machines are being installed to handle extra demand and parties are planned at both locations. Ponies & Pints is having a party in their parking lot in addition to their inside OTB. The party will feature big flat screen TVs, outdoor betting areas, a disc jockey, “winner take all” $1,000 Fancy Hat Contest, VIP area, beer, mint julep and food stations. Breakers will also hold a Fancy Hat Contest at 5:30 PM, serve Mint Juleps in commemorative Kentucky Derby glasses, and have an “Express Derby Betting Station” on their patio for people who simply want to place a Derby bet.

Virginia-Breds Thrive Over Easter Weekend

Virginia-breds had a solid Easter weekend, bagging five wins over Saturday and Sunday then for an encore, collected additional wins the immediate Monday and Tuesday after.

Horses bred by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin reached the winners circle three times in that span — Lovin d’Cause, Talk Less and the hot American Dubai. The wins came respectively at Mountaineer, Mahoning Valley and Sunland Park. The first two broke their maidens while the latter won his fourth straight race, all in 2017.

Lovin d’Cause is a 3 year old Creative Cause filly who surged from second in mid-stretch of her five furlong maiden special weight race April 15th to win by 3 1/2 lengths. The Michelle Helms trainee connected for the first time in four career outs. She is out of the Not For Love mare, Hawaiian Love.

Talk Less also was best in his maiden special weight test at the one mile, 70 yard distance. The 3 year old Blame colt won handily by five lengths after being sent off as the heavy betting choice. He is out of Aristra by Afleet Alex.

American Dubai, captured his first race of 2017 Feb. 14 at Sunland. Photo courtesy of Coady Photography.

American Dubai captured the $150,000 Sunland Park Handicap Easter Sunday with an effort that has been well documented. The 4 year old E Dubai colt continues to roll at Sunland Park, winning for the fourth straight time. The Rodney Richards trainee has earned over $150,000 this year and $244,022 from 11 career starts. He is out of the Bates Motel mare, Smash Review.

Susan Cooney and her 5 year old Closing Argument gelding, Made Bail, had a happy Sunday holiday as well. He was best in a $50,000 allowance race that featured a thrilling finish. Made Bail crossed inside, a nose over Elusive Joni and a neck over Grandiflora. He was making his first start since November 23rd and with the triumph, saw his bankroll rise to $180,607.

Made Bail (inside) wins a thriller over Elusive Joni and Grandiflora on Easter Sunday. Photo by Jim McCue.

The other three extended weekend victors gained their first lifetime wins. Balistes won a $20,000 maiden claiming steeplechase race at the Tryon Block House in Columbus, North Carolina with connections that thrived at the fall International Gold Cup card at Great Meadow. Trainer Neil Morris and rider Kieran Norris led the Sara Collette bred Balistes to a come from behind, three-quarter length win at the 2 1/8 miles distance. The 5 year old gelding is by Xenodon out of Jordani by Two Smart.

Sister Says was nearly 12 lengths behind in her $33,000 maiden claiming sprint at Laurel Easter Sunday, but came on in the last half to win by two. Bred and trained by Thomas Beal, the 3 year old Ecclesiastic filly did not race as a two year but has three “in the money” finishes in 2017, good for $30,990 in earnings.

The final victory of the seven was authored by Paper Moon at Parx on Tuesday. The 4 year old Henrythenavigator filly was making her first lifetime start and dominated, winning by 7 1/2 lengths at the one mile, 70 yard distance. She is out of the El Prado mare, Art Student, and was bred by the William Backer Revocable Trust.

Four of the seven also won bonuses  for their owners as part of the Mid-Atlantic incentive program, sponsored by the VTA and HBPA. Lovin d’Cause, Made Bail, Sister Says and Paper Moon each won an additional 25% for their winning efforts.

American Dubai Rolls To Victory In The $150,000 Sunland Park Handicap

American Dubai was on the Derby trail early in 2016 and has blossomed at the current Sunland Park meet as a 4 year old. Bred by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, the E Dubai colt has won 4 straight at Sunland including the $150,000 Sunland Park Handicap Easter weekend. Here’s the recap from the Daily Racing Form.

American Dubai won his fourth consecutive race Sunday when he darted home by four lengths over Neck ‘n Neck in the $150,000 Sunland Park Handicap.

The race was one of two stakes on the card. On the Low Down won his maiden in the $110,000 Copper Top Futurity.

American Dubai ($6) broke last in the Sunland Park Handicap, but recovered and attended an opening quarter of 22.75 seconds. He proceeded to put up fractions of 46.68 for the half-mile and 1:10.68 for six furlongs. American Dubai increased his advantage through the stretch while covering the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:47.44, not far off the track record of 1:47.37.

Ken Tohill was aboard the winner for trainer Rodney Richards.

American Dubai’s streak has been built over the course of the Sunland meet. He won an optional $10,000 claiming route Feb. 14, then accounted for an optional $25,000 claiming route in track-record time March 7, covering a mile in 1:34.50. American Dubai won at the same level one start later, on March 26.

American Dubai, captured his first race of 2017 Feb. 14 at Sunland. Photo courtesy of Coady Photography.

American Dubai earned $90,000 for his win in the Sunland Park Handicap. He has now won five career races from 11 starts, for earnings of $244,022. He is a son of E Dubai and races for Richard Keith. The Sunland Park Handicap was the first career stakes win for American Dubai.

Fincher exacta in Copper Top

Horses trained by Todd Fincher accounted for the exacta in the $110,000 Copper Top Futurity, when On the Low Down won by 1 1/4 lengths over Red Raider. The 4 1/2-furlong race was for 2-year-olds bred in New Mexico.

On the Low Down covered the distance in 51.17 seconds. Tracy Hebert rode the winner for Dale Taylor, Bobby McQueen, and Suzanne Kirby. On the Low Down is a son of Dome. He won his maiden in the Copper Top, which marked his second career start. He has now earned $75, 556.

Virginia-Bred ’15 and ’16 Champion Horse Set For Friday’s Grade Apple Blossom Handicap At Oaklawn

Stellar Wind and Victor Espinoza, left, hold off Beholder and Gary Stevens to win the Grade I $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA.
©Benoit Photo

Oaklawn Park’s Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) has been an ideal springboard for West Coast-based fillies and mares for some time—think two-time winner Zenyatta and three-time winner Azeri. The 2017 running of the 1 1/16-mile race April 14 in Hot Springs, Ark., puts another California-based champion in the spotlight as Stellar Wind is among six entered for the $600,000 race.

Hronis Racing’s daughter of Curlin   makes her 5-year-old bow in the Apple Blossom and will carry top weight of 122 pounds, four more than Stonestreet Stables’ homebred Terra Promessa, a five-time winner at Oaklawn, and five more than Nancy Vanier and Cartwright Thoroughbreds’ Streamline, upset winner of the Azeri Stakes (G2), Oaklawn’s prep for the Apple Blossom.

Stellar Wind at Oaklawn Park relaxing before Friday’s Grade I Stakes. Photo courtesy of Coady Photography.

Stellar Wind, who will have regular rider Victor Espinoza in the irons, was champion 3-year-old filly of 2015 and topped champion Beholder twice in their four meetings last year. Last year Stellar Wind fell just 1 1/2 lengths shy of Beholder in the Vanity Mile Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita before topping Beholder in back to back efforts at the Apple Blossom distance in grade 1 stakes in Southern California. Stellar Wind closed out the year with a fourth in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), won by Beholder.

For Stellar Wind’s first start since her Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup race, trainer John Sadler has been able to put in a steady string of works in the chestnut mare, her last coming April 7 at Santa Anita where she went five furlongs in 1:00 3/5. Out of the Malibu Moon   mare Evening Star, Stellar Wind makes her first foray out of Southern California since running second in the 2015 Distaff at Keeneland.

“We gave her a vacation after the Breeders’ Cup, and with Southern California having such a wet January and February, we were going to be pressed to have her ready for the Santa Margarita,” Sadler said. “The Apple Blossom is such a classic and prestigious race.”

Hronis Racing’s Stellar Wind and jockey Victor Espinoza, outside, outleg Beholder (GaryStevens), inside, to win the Grade I, $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA.

Terra Promessa, also by Curlin, and out of the Yes It’s True mare Missile Bay, counters Stellar Wind’s Oaklawn debut by having won three graded stakes over the track. Last year she swept the grade 3 stakes for 3-year-old fillies—the Honeybee and Fantasy stakes—and this year won the listed Pippin Stakes and grade 3 Bayakoa Stakes for trainer Steve Asmussen. Traffic issues in the seven-horse Azeri contest may have compromised her from doing her best as she finished fifth at 3-10 under Irad Ortiz Jr. Ortiz’s brother, Jose, will ride in the Apple Blossom.

Streamline has a 2-2-3 career mark in seven starts at Oaklawn and made her biggest splash last time out with her one-length score in the Azeri at 12-1 after finishing behind Terra Promessa in the Bayakoa and Pippin.

Vanier is the widow of longtime top trainer Harvey Vanier, who trained top runners such as Play Fellow and Western Playboy prior to his death in 2013. Streamline (Straight Line  —Love Handles, by Sahm) is a fifth-generation product of the Vaniers’ breeding program. A $15,000 purchase, Streamline’s sire, by Boundary, won the 2004 Iroquois Stakes (G3) and the 2005 Ack Ack Handicap (G3) for Nancy Vanier and William Cartwright.

A year ago Streamline was second in the Apple Blossom behind Forever Unbridled.

Virginia Owned Dortmund Is Now Retired

A day after the 2017 Santa Anita Derby (G1), the race’s 2015 winner officially ended his racing career.

Dortmund, who won the Santa Anita Derby with a relentless effort two years ago, has been retired, owner Kaleem Shah said April 9.

“He’s been so good to us,” Shah said. “It’s time to take care of him.”

After his determined victory in the Santa Anita Derby, the massive chestnut son of Big Brown   rolled into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) undefeated in six starts. He finished third in the Run for the Roses to Bob Baffert stablemate and eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah  , then ran fourth in the Preakness Stakes (G1).

Dortmund is owned by Vienna, Virginia businessman Kaleem Shah. Photo courtesy of Chad Harmon

BALAN: Dortmund Unrelenting in Santa Anita Derby

“The ride he took me and my family on—to go six-for-six into the Kentucky Derby—is something I’ll never forget,” Shah said. “If he didn’t get a bout of colic the week before the Kentucky Derby, who knows what happens.”

He came back to win two more stakes—the Big Bear and the Native Diver (G3)—to close out his 3-year-old year, but never won again, although he gave California Chrome   the stiffest of challenges in the 2016 San Diego Handicap (G2).

BALAN: ‘Chrome’ Edges Dortmund in Del Mar Battle

After a winless 4-year-old campaign and a split with Baffert, Shah moved Dortmund to trainer Art Sherman and he went winless in two 2017 starts for Sherman—a sixth-place run on grass in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1T) and a fourth-place finish in the April 1 Santana Mile Stakes back on dirt.

Kaleem Shah’s Dortmund and jockey Martin Garcia, right, hold off Firing Line and jockey Gary Stevens to win the Grade III $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes February 7, 2015 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA.

“He had some issues when I got him and that makes it a little bit tough with him getting up in age,” Sherman said. “But he’ll be a good stallion. I believe that.”

Shah said there is no current stud deal in place for Dortmund, but that he has already received inquiries from interested farms. Dortmund retired with an 8-2-2 record from 16 starts and $1,987,505 in earnings. Before his Santa Anita Derby win, he won the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), Robert B. Lewis (G3), and San Felipe (G2).

“A lot of horses have some sort of issues, but we weren’t going to let him go through what Bayern   went through,” Shah said.

Sportsman, business impresario Randolph ‘Randy’ Rouse dies at 100

Reprinted from the Fauquier Times

By Vicky Moon and Leonard Shapiro: Apr 8, 2017

Randolph D. “Randy” Rouse, a business impresario and a dashing, dapper and daring sportsman died on Friday, April 7. He was 100 years old.

Widely known throughout Northern Virginia, and particularly in the horse country of Fauquier and Loudoun counties, Rouse recently also showed his philanthropic side when he donated the Middleburg Training Track, which he’d owned since 2006, to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

He signed the papers on Dec. 29, the day before he turned 100, and told the Fauquier Times “at my age, you have to start thinking about the future.”


Rouse maintained a 10-acre estate as his home in Arlington. He would often pick up his beloved saxophone and entertain awe-struck guests who gathered all around to hear him play. The walls of his home are lined with photos of his many champion point-to-point and steeplechase horses, including – Cinzano (caught up in a controversial horse swap) and Ricacho winner of the 1960 Virginia Gold Cup with the late legendary Joe Aitchenson Jr., up. There are also many images in his home of memorable moments in the hunt field.

Rouse joined the Fairfax Hunt in the late 1940s and became Joint Master of Foxhounds (Jt. MFH) in MFH in the mid-50s, a title and position he maintained for 55 years until his death. “He WAS the Fairfax Hunt,” his friend, Joseph Keusch of Middleburg, said. Keusch also served as a Jt. MFH. “He was a true Southern gentleman.”

“His real love was the world of fox-hunting,” said another long-time friend, Will Allison of Warrenton, the president of the Virginia Gold Cup Races. “He was a legend, and to be invited to hunt with Randy Rouse was the ultimate invitation. To be invited to come up front and hunt with him, it was like sitting at the right hand of God.”

After first joining Fairfax Hunt, Rouse built a clubhouse for the group while it was located in Reston at Sunset Hills Farm and owned by the Bowman family. He also built a steeplechase course in Reston and later at Belmont along Route 7 in Fairfax. Due to creeping civilization and development, the hunt, along with many others, eventually migrated west. It is now known as the Loudoun-Fairfax Hunt.

He also was also the oldest steeplechase trainer to saddle a winner at age 99 with Hishi Soar at the Foxfield races in Charlottesville last spring. That horse was a also a winner at the Orange County Point-to- Point races recently.

As a rider and competitor, Rouse will be forever noted as one of the winningest amateur steeplechase and point-to-point jockeys of this era. He supported steeplechasing through his sponsorship of the Virginia Professional Horseman Benefit races, the Gold Cup races at Great Meadow and Colonial Downs. He recently was honored with the F. Ambrose Clarke award from the National Steeplechase Association as one who has “improved, encouraged and promoted the sport’s growth and welfare.”

Rouse’s first wife was the late actress Audrey Meadows, a co-star with the late comedian Jackie Gleason in “The Honeymooners,” the wildly popular 1950s television series. They divorced in 1958 after two years.

Between wives, Rouse was a frequent escort to many A-list Washington area women. With his own charming demeanor, good looks, and elegant manners, he was usually considered the arm candy. He swirled in high circles on the dance floor at the Washington International Horse Show, hunt balls and embassy receptions, yet was equally comfortable and welcome in the stables and at race tracks everywhere.

“He was a great sportsman, a great lover and one of the great story-tellers of all time,” Allison said. “He kept you enthralled for hours with his exploits.”

Everyone was his friend, including the flamboyant and bombastic late Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke. Rouse was a regular in Cooke’s private box at RFK Stadium and later, FedEx Field, and more than occasionally had a seat on the team plane to away games.

His widow, Michele Rouse, who he married in 1983, told the Washington Post in 1998: “He’s just amazing. He attacks every day with enormous passion.”

Indeed, the day before he died, he tried to reach a friend in Middleburg from his hospital bed to say he was sorry he couldn’t make it for lunch that day.

Arrangements for services are pending.