Category Archives: Horse Racing

148th Belmont Stakes – 11 June 2016

Tomorrow’s Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York promises to be the most challenging of the three races in the Triple Crown contest for 3 year old horses this year. A field of 13 will enter the starting gate at 6:37 pm to run the daunting distance of one and a half miles. No horse will have a chance to win the Triple Crown this year; but Exaggerator does have a chance to be only the 4th horse in history to win both the Preakness and Belmont after loosing the Kentucky Derby.

The large field means there is no respect for Exaggerator. Doubt stems from his rather trim frame and come from behind running style. Early speed has entered the race as part of a Steve Ausmussin entry-Gettysburg (a great name to me being from central Pennsylvania). He weakened two back in the Arkansas Derby and figures to only be a rabbit for his stable mate Creator.who won the Arkansas Derby and is in the 13 hole; but can barely run at a 90 Beyer Speed figure. I doubt he can win.

Many think a Suddenbreakingnews (4) has a shot at 10-1 since he finished 5th in the Derby and had some racing trouble. I don’t. Stradivari(5), is also in and has a shot to show speed just behind Gettysburg. He ran an excellent 4th in the Preakness and if he holds his speed for the distance has a shot to win this one. There are several horses with no shot in here. Trojan Nation (9), Seeking the Soul (7), and Forever D’Oro (8). Governor Malibu (1) won the Tesio at Laurel but skipped both the Derby and Preakness and has little chance here. I also find it hard to get to Lani (10 ) though he closed well in the Preakness his Japanese connections are just too inexperienced.

I still think Exaggerator will win this year. He has shown an ability to recover physically very fast, is the fastest horse in here and can run forever. If he gets a decent pace in front of him, a clean trip and can hold off the closers down the lane, he will win. He has the best jockey who has won before over the “Big Sandy” Belmont surface.

Cherry Wine cannot be overlooked. He did close for second in the Preakness ( damn )…but remember he showed an ability before in the slop and Nyquist’s jockey should not of moved out off the rail to chase Exaggerator. But he did improve in the Preakness, has good breeding for the long races and this is important to look for when evaluating the race. Remember who I picked to run third in the Derby….Destin big winner in the Tampa Bay Derby. Well Destin (2) is back and was bumped hard in the Derby and then he skipped the Preakness. So I like him. Brody’s Cause (12) will probably run a big race in here and I like him in the gimmicks.

I have attended the Belmont Stakes twice to watch my Derby / Preakness winners run for the Triple Crown….War Emblem and Charismatic. Both lost and Charismatic broke down while War Emblem stumbled out of the gate. It is a tough, tough race to win and a tougher one to handicap. I always say in the longest of races like this that the jockey has a lot more influence in the race’s outcome than many give him credit for (something I never say in shorter races).

Here are my picks:

Exaggerator (11) to Win (if 2-1 or better at post time, bet him hard)

Exacta Box (3):
Exaggerator (11) and Destin (2); Exaggerator (11) and Cherry Wine (3); Exaggerator (11) and Brody’s Cause (12)

Trifecta Box:
Exaggerator (11), Destin (2), and Cherry Wine (3).

Good Luck.

Barry’s Update on the Preakness Stakes

Tomorrow, May 21st the gates will crack open for the running of the 1 3/16 mile Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse at about 6:45 pm on NBC. The forecast is 100% chance of rain. This usually means we should expect a sloppy track, not a wet track as the DRF likes to say. The Derby was run at 1 1/4 mile.

The race looks like a two horse affair with Nyquist at 3-5 and Exaggerator at 3-1. The field of 11 includes 8 new contenders who did not run at Churchill Downs two weeks ago. Of particular note, Gun Runner dropped out. Of these, at least 4 will go to the early lead into the first turn with the favorite Nyquist. Only two horses challenged early in the Derby. I predict all four of these…..Uncle Lino (2), Awesome Speed (4), Laoban (8) and Abiding Star (9) will out gun Nyquist to the first turn. If so, it will cause a big challenge to the undefeated Nyquist. Stradivari (11) will play his violin as a close up closer and run next to Nyquist as will Collected (7) who also likes to stalk the pace and close. That will leave late runners Cherry Wine (1) no shot, Lani (6) no shot, Fellowship (10) no shot ; all of whom will hope to close from far back along with my choice, Exaggerator (5).

Key to the race and perhaps the only hope for Exaggerator to beat the talented Nyquist; is for Stradivari ridden by JR Velesquez one of the best riders out there to get up and over and box Nyquist in near the rail behind the 4 front runners going through the first turn. Nyquist has beaten Exaggerator FOUR TIMES now; so logic suggests he should win again. Also, if the track is sloppy it is a plus for the closer. Don’t believe what they say about running on a sloppy. No horse likes the slop….some just run the same in it while most do not.

Keith Desormeaux thinks his horse, Exaggerator has a great ability to “recover” from a big race like the Derby. Doug O’Neil, Nyquist’s trainer, said his horse was laying down in his stall sleeping more. Nyquist ran only twice this year so maybe he will be a bit off in the Preakness due to only two weeks to rest up after the Derby. Whatever. I think we have two great horses and then the rest are more or less, gonna just get in their way.

Here is my betting choices:

(5) Exaggerator to win at 3-1 ; hard to bet Nyquist to win at only 3-5.

(3) Nyquist and (5) Exaggerator in an exacta box again ( like i said in the Derby). Bet heavy since it won’t pay much.

(3) Nyquist, (5) Exaggerator with both (11) Stradivari and Abiding Star (9) in a Triple Box.

We look forward to a great and very interesting race. If Exaggerator wins then the Belmont Stakes in three weeks in New York will be a fantastic grudge match. Good luck !


The 141st Preakness Stakes – May 21, 2016 – Pimlico Raceway

Only one week away. This year’s Preakness Stakes at “Old Hilltop” Pimlico Raceway in Baltimore Maryland will be amazing. Nyquist wants to be the first horse since the 1977/1978 years to win the Triple Crown the year after it was just won. Only Seattle Slew and Affirmed did that in 1977/1978 and so it could be American Pharoah and Nyquist in 2015/2016.

We have a probable field of 12 horses so far with 8 new names of horses who skipped the Kentucky Derby and only 4 beaten by Nyquist there. Interestingly, the additional horses are expected to show a lot of early speed. In the Derby, I felt that there was little early speed. This may of contributed to the outcome of the race in the sense that Exaggerator and others had a more difficult time catching the front running Nyquist. Others will point to the fact that Danzing Candy set a fast pace…but remember Nyquist layed back off this and didn’t get pressured. Since there will be more early speed horses this “may” not happen in the Preakness.

Exaggerator is in and his trainer says he is full of energy. Nyquist galloped a mile and a quarter on Friday. Of the new comers watch out for Stradivari who worked 5 furlongs in a very fast 59 3/5ths on Friday and Uncle Lino who worked the 5 furlongs (1/8 mile is one furlong) in 1:004/5ths.

Gun Runner who ran third in the Derby is also expected to be at Pimlico this Saturday.

I have raced horses many times at Pimlico and even once on Preakness day. It is a track that boasts of a lot of fast closers who win…more than most other venues. I stand by my Derby pick Exaggerator making a comeback here. Remember it is the home track for The Desormeaux brothers. I picked Hansel in 1991 to win the Derby, he lost; but came back to win the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. Perhaps Exaggerator can do the same this year.


Barry’s 2016 Kentucky Derby Update

April 2nd’s million dollar Florida Derby needs to update my last summary of the standing for the Run for the Roses on May 2. Normally I would wait till my next weekly report; but the Florida Derby was so impressive and since I failed to mention the winner; we must tell you about this race.

Nyquist an unbeaten horse in 7 starts won the Florida Derby in impressive and memorable fashion. His jockey, Mario Gutierriz, gave an incredible ride to demolish a 10 horse field and dash any hopes of a Derby win for second choice Mohaman. The replay shows Gutierriz muzzled the horse for nearly the first half mile of the race and he still had the lead setting a moderate pace which some handicappers will criticize unfairly. Two other horses pressured him down the back stretch, a tactic which will wear down many lesser horses. Mohaman lay just off his two rivals set to pounce on Nyquist as they entered the far turn. But no ! With a single look between his legs, Gutierriz hand rode his horse through the turn and into the stretch as Mohaman seemed incapable of gaining on him. He made his only mistake when he tapped Nyquist twice with his whip which made the horse veer out slightly as he moved to the wire; but soon gathered him and regained his momentum. He finished strong increasing his lead to 4 lengths.

One final point, my sentimental favorite Airoforce put in a dismal performance in the April 2nd Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park and is dropped from my Derby Watch List. April 9th will tell the rest with the Wood Memorial in New York, the Blue Grass Stakes at Keenland and the Santa Anita Derby at LA’s Santa Anita Racetrack.

2016 Kentucky Derby – May 7 – Churchill Downs

April 2 may mean Spring to most; but to me, it means one month to the most important day of the year….the first Saturday in May….DERBY DAY !

Well it is clearly too soon to predict a winner as I did last year…well sorta; but it is time to outline the top contenders:

We have Gun Runner a nice horse who had a winning albeit easy trip in the recent Louisiana Derby. He needs blinkers and a better rider; but may improve before May 7.

I like Flexibility who may be the first New York horse in a long time with a real chance to win the Derby. His win in the Withers however was a joke and his rider Ortiz sucks. So he will need some improvement.

Exaggerator is impressive. His close in the San Felipe Handicap was amazing and caught my attention. Watch out for this long shot at Churchill in May.

Airoforce One is my long shot early pick; but he ran terrible in his last start at Louisiana Derby finishing 10th. But if he recovers I am telling you this one has the strongest right lead in the stretch and I hope they give him another start.

Gun Runner is the likely favorite at this point. Picking a winner now is like trying to figure out who can win the Republican nomination…lol. I have a lot more research to do and races to watch so stay tuned.