Monthly Archives: May 2018

Virginia Betting Handle At OTBs and On-Line Continues To Trend Upwards In April

Betting handle on horse racing in Virginia continued to trend up through the first four months of 2018 when compared to 2017. Total handle, which includes monies wagered at four in-state off Track Betting (OTB) Centers and four Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) providers, was $36,105,169 through April this year versus $31,078,917 a year ago. In 2016, before any of the Virginia Equine Alliance’s (VEA) OTBs opened, that four month handle figure was $23,837,747.

The Windmill OTB in Collinsville is on the second floor of the Dutch Inn hotel.

Through April 30th, handle from the OTBs is $10,557,455 while ADW handle is $25,547,714. The four OTBs, listed in order by handle, are in Chesapeake ($3,991,941 at Buckets Bar & Grill), Henrico ($3,219,808 at Breakers Sports Grille), Richmond ($2,489,156 at Ponies & Pints) and Collinsville ($856,549 at The Windmill OTB Sports Grill). The latter site opened in early March and is located just outside of Martinsville at the Dutch Inn hotel. The four ADW providers in handle order are TVG ($11,970,634), TwinSpires ($8,938,981), XpressBet ($4,103,970) and NYRA Bets ($534,127).

Crowds filled Richmond’s Ponies & Pints OTB on Kentucky Derby Day.

In the month of April, ADW handle was $6,674,410 and OTB handle was $2,842,901. Twin Spires and NYRA Bets had their best month of  2018 in Virginia so far —the former handled $2,640,303 while the latter did $156,598. At the OTBs, $2,017,192 was bet on thoroughbred signals and $825,708 was wagered on harness. For the year, the breakdown of thoroughbred versus harness handle at the OTBs is 73.55% versus 26.45%.

The Buckets OTB in Chesapeake has averaged over $32,000 in handle daily since it opened in mid-November.

The month of May of course featured the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. With Bob Baffert’s Justify going for the Triple Crown June 9th in the Belmont Stakes, OTBs and ADW providers could both see those upward trends continue.

More Than Ready Colt Hammers For $750,000 At Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale

The following appeared in The Paulick Report May 22nd. Kaleem Shaw of Northern Virginia made the day’s biggest purchase of a 2 year old More Than Ready colt.

Numbers at the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale remained relatively steady Monday with the 2017 auction’s first day. Total sales of $12,066,000 were up 4.5 percent over last year’s opener, while average of $70,151 was down 1.5 percent. The median of $36,000declined by 10 percent.

The RNA rate for the first session was 23 percent, down slightly from the 25 percent that went unsold during the opening day in 2017.

Ben McElroy, left, with Kaleem and Arman Shah

A 2-year-old son of More Than Ready brought a final bid of $750,000 to top Monday’s opening session. Consigned as Hip 204 by Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds, the colt had been purchased for $500,000 as a yearling. His dam, Embur’s Song (Unbridled’s Song), was champion Canadian older mare and is a half-sister to Dawn Raid, dam of Preakness winner Exaggerator.

Fasig-Tipton listed the buyer as Mr. Ed Savant Jr., a name used at previous horse sales by Thoroughbred owner Kaleem Shah, who along with his son, Arman, looked at prospective purchases with agent Ben McElroy and trainer Simon Callaghan.

Hip 204 went a furlong in 10 1/5 seconds in the under tack show, one-fifth of a second off the fastest time posted during the sale previews.

Michael Lund Peterson, who won last year’s Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park with More Spirit, paid $600,000 for a chestnut colt from the first crop of G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man. Consigned by Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables, agent, Hip 278 was produced from Itsagiantcauseway (by Giant’s Causeway), whose second dam, Strike  a Balance, was the dam of 10 winners, including Canadian Horse of the Year and leading sire Peaks and Valleys. The Mucho Macho Man colt posted the fastest time for a quarter mile, 21 1/5 seconds, among the sales entries breezing the distance in the under tack show.

Colt from first crop of Mucho Macho Man sold for $625,000 to Michael Lund Peterson

At $325,000, the top-priced filly on Monday was Hip 246, a dark bay or brown daughter of Bernardini out of a Giant’s Causeway mare, Great Look, the latter an unarmed full sister to multiple graded stakes winner Winning Cause. Consigned by Paul Sharp, agent, the Bernardini filly was purchased by Charles J. Zacney, whose current stable star, Federico Tesio Stakes winner, Diamond King, races in the name of Zacney’s Cash Is King Stable in partnership..

The next-highest price point during Monday’s session was $300,000, shared by an Uncle Mo filly and a Maclean’s Music colt. The filly, consigned as Hip 106 by De Meric sales, was purchased by George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stables. She is a half-sister to five winners from as many to race out of the stakes winning Smart Strike mare Bisbee’s Prospect. She is from the immediate family of graded stakes winners Buy the Barrel, Demarcation, Fishy Advice, and Mauk Four.

The colt, consigned as Hip 146 by Scanlon Training and Sales, was purchased by Steve Young as agent. He is the second foal out of the unraced Indian Charlie mare Cheyenne Autumn, whose second dam is Test S. (G1) winner Missed the Storm. The colt’s immediate family includes champions Chris Evert, Chief’s Crown, Winning Colors, and Deep Sky, as well as Grade 1 winners Classic Crown, Sightseek, Tates Creek, Etoile Montante, and Tap Dance City.

Hips 301 – 600 are scheduled to be sold on Tuesday, May 22, with the session beginning at 2:00 p.m.

For full results, click here.


Health Alert From Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center

On May 16, 2018, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) confirmed a diagnosis of Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) in one horse at a sport horse farm in Fauquier County northern Virginia.

The horse first showed mild neurologic signs on May 10 and was directly admitted into the isolation unit at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center on May 16, 2018. The EMC is not under quarantine and is operating normally. The farm in Fauquier County is under quarantine and all exposed horses are being monitored twice daily for fever (temperature over 101.50 F) and other clinical signs. The horse has not travelled off the farm prior to exhibiting clinical signs.

The Equine Disease Communications Center Biosecurity web pages have more information on best practices for disease prevention in horses and VDACS has more information on EHV-1 at

Virginia Rules At Virginia Gold Cup

The following appeared on the National Steeplechase Association’s website and was written by Don Clippinger.

Virginia ruled at Saturday’s 93rd edition of the $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup when Virginia-bred Zanclus led from the early stages of the four-mile timber classic and won by 3 3/4 lengths for his Virginia owner-breeder and Virginia-based trainer with Virginia resident Kieran Norris in the saddle.

Just for good measure, Virginia-owned Personal Start surged to victory in the afternoon’s featured hurdle race, the $75,000 David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 1) for Virginia-based trainer Richard Valentine.

Nothing was fishy about Zanclus’ front-running victory in the Virginia Gold Cup even though he is named for a rare genus of fish commonly known as the Moorish idol. The named is a nod to owner-breeder Sara E. Collette’s husband, Bruce, a marine zoologist, and she has two jumping dolphins on her silks.

But Zanclus was a tribute to the breeding operation of Sara Collette, a resident of Casanova, Va. She bred multiple generations on the dam’s side, and she also bred his sire, Xenodon.

Zanclus’ Virginia Gold Cup was the fourth for trainer Neil Morris, who previously won with Lord Kenneth in 2003 and Miles Ahead in 2005 and 2006.

Morris said that Zanclus’ high cruising speed dictates that he will be a pacesetter, and the eight-year-old showed that speed three weeks earlier when he devastated a quality field by more than 25 lengths in the My Lady’s Manor. Morris said he chose the three-mile Maryland race to give Zanclus sufficient time to get ready to go four miles on the undulating Virginia Gold Cup course.

The big question was how he would stack up against Irv Naylor’s Ebanour, who was shooting for his third straight win in the Virginia timber classic.

When starter Graham Alcock dropped the flag, a nervous Hill Tie jumped to the lead, but Zanclus settled readily and assumed his accustomed position on the front end with Norris, 2016’s champion jockey. They easily opened five lengths on the field as Norris worked to spread Zanclus’ natural speed over 32 furlongs.

At times, Zanclus showed signs of wanting to go a bit faster, but Norris gently tempered the pace, which turned out to be approximately average for Virginia Gold Cup winners. In the final mile, with the field relatively tightly bunched behind Zanclus, Ebanour made the first serious move under Darren Nagle. The back-to-back Gold Cup winner, making his first start of the current season, drew even with stablemate Super Saturday, the Middleburg Hunt Cup victor, but made no further impression.

A half-mile out, jockey Jack Doyle pushed on Michael A. Smith’s Le Chevalier, and they moved up sharply on the outside to pose the only threat to Zanclus. Norris heard no footsteps closing on Zanclus and pressed his mount forward to victory in 8:43.80 on turf rated as good.

Naylor’s Super Saturday, ridden by Gerard Galligan, finished third, 9 1/2 lengths behind Le Chevalier, who is trained In Virginia by Julie Gomena. Ebanour finished fourth, a length farther back.

Personal Start’s Semmes

Without question, jockey Barry Foley had a tough task aboard Magalen O. Bryant’s homebred Personal Start in the 2 1/8-mile Semmes. He couldn’t forfeit his mount’s closing kick in a speed duel with front-runner Balance the Budget, Stonelea Stable’s Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) winner, nor could he remain so far off that Balance the Budget would have an unsurmountable advantage.

Counseled by trainer Valentine by phone a few days before the race and in the paddock, Foley found the perfect spot for the seven-year-old Jump Start gelding. At the head of the trailing group, Personal Start kicked into gear going into the final fences, took the lead two out, and drew clear to an 8 1/4-length victory in 3:53.60.

Virginia Lazenby’s Hardrock Eleven finished second under Bernie Dalton, and Balance the Budget checked in third with Mark Watts, his regular jockey.

Personal Start had led all the way to win the $75,000 Carolina Cup for novices on the same program as the Colonial Cup on March 31. Valentine liked his chances going against Gomena-trained Balance the Budget, who had run 2 3/8 miles compared with Personal Start, a winner over 2 1/8 miles, albeit in good company. Moreover, Personal Start was getting 12 pounds from Balance the Budget, the 156-pound highweight.

Valentine said he told Foley to ride the race as it came up but with a sensible approach to the pace. “We didn’t want to set the race up for the other light-weighted horses,” the trainer said. Foley heeded the advice, keeping in touch with Balance the Budget’s pace before dropping the hammer on the final turn and securing Personal Start’s first graded stakes victory for his owner-breeder, who lives close by Great Meadow Race Course.

Andi’amu’s Steeplethon

The Virginia Gold Cup featured three stakes races over fences, and the $40,000 Steepleton went to French-bred Andi’amu, who has found a new specialty over courses of varied obstacles such as hurdles, timber, banks, and water.

Owned by Illinois-based Ballybristol Farm, Andi’amu always has been a brilliant jumper, trainer Leslie Young said, but he was finishing out of the top spot in hurdles races and needed a new game. She sent him into Middleburg Spring’s $20,000 Alfred M. Hunt over mixed obstacles on April 21, and he won.

She asked jockey Jack Doyle if he believed Andi’amu could come back in two weeks with another winning effort, and Doyle responded affirmatively. The current leading jockey schooled him on Wednesday and gave Young the thumbs-up.

Always in good position, Andi’amu surged to the front and won by 5 1/4 lengths over Boogie Biz, who had set the early fractions. Longshot Triton Light finished third. Andi’amu ran the Steeplethon’s three miles in 6:02.