05/23/2009 1:32PM

Holiday Weekend Begins


There are 16 graded stakes this holiday weekend, including two Grade 1's on Monday, the Met Mile at Belmont and the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood. Here's the three-day lineup, including three other ungraded stakes worth $150k or more:

 I'll update this chart with results as the weekend wears on.

Zenyatta's return in today's G2 Milady at Hollywood is obviously the biggest racing news of the day. Last year's champion older filly, and runner-up in the Horse of the Year balloting, puts her 9-for-9 record on the line against fellow John Shirreffs trainee Life Is Sweet after scratching out of the Louisville Distaff on Oaks Day. (Considering what's happened with Rachel Alexandra, it would have been fascinating to see how the two would have stacked up against the clock running on the same card, though Zenyatta's race earlier on the card was run on a wet track labelled "good" and the track had dried out and was "fast" by Oaks time.)

Today's G2 Sheepshead Bay at Belmont is DRF's "Race of the Day," which means that you can get free access to the Formulator pp's and other goodies by following the link on the homepage or by clicking here. The Sheepshead Bay is the most manageable leg of an otherwise chaotic guaranteed $350k late pick-4 at Belmont, preceded by a firster-laden maiden race and a turf sprint and followed by another turf sprint. By manageable, I mean that Criticism appears to be a rock-solid favorite with only Backseat Rhythm and Mushka looking like plausible upsetters. I was interested in the Clement longshot Shadiyna, but she was an early scratch along with Russian Rosie.

There's an all-stakes pick-4 at Arlington that's worth a look: the ungraded American 1000 Guineas, the G3 Hanshin, the G3 Arlington Matron and ungraded Arlington Classic.

--Strangest Racing Book Title of the Year: "You Bet," about to be published in England and subtitled "The Betfair Story: How Two Men Changed the World of Gambling." Presumably, the book was titled before Betfair bought TVG, which competes in the American account-wagering market with a company called...YouBet.

It's as if the late Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's, had titled his memoir "Burger King."

Sml_cover--Strangest Google Search Result of the Day: A query for some background on the Milady Handicap yielded the following, from the April, 1933 edition of Modern Mechanix magazine:


Derby Man More than 1 year ago
Great chats, great write-ups... keep it coming. As you previously highlighted a few days (or weeks) ago - Belmont has moved their Grade 1 on Saturday to race 4, ie. pre-pick-6!!! I mean where is the consistency? It's a field of 7. Let me please stick around for the starter allowance and claimers. Should I even start to mention the non marketing plan post the Belmont. Ok, I won't get started today. Cheers,
Greg B More than 1 year ago
Hey Steven, How did the Memorial Day Handicap get graded? My understanding was that it was ineligible: http://www.toba.org/news/2008/2008%20Grading%20Session%20Press%20Release.pdf
Diceman More than 1 year ago
Hi Larry_ and Steve, Thanks for your comments comparing Racinos and Slots on the previous post. You cannot be seriouis! You are Right and I'm Wrong! Really? Serious Handicappers are bored to death with Slots. Slots are a mindless game requiring no skills whats so ever. Admttedly, Slots have saved some marginal Racetracks and have raised purses. Horseman, bettors and track personnel have all benefited from this positive develoment. As you know, Slot takeout on average is between 9 to 12%. Racing parimutuel take out is between 15 and 25%, the higher figure applies to exoctic. Casino Table Games, Craps and Blackjack the only beatable games, averages 1 to 2% if played correctly. I remain firm in my convicions. Racinos with Table Games and Slots (for the mindess)are the salvation of our wonderful racing game! Thanks for mentioning Prairie Meadows in Iowa. I have never been there and don't intend to visit in the near future. Iowa is a beautiful State and the People are great and polite. I have driven thru Davenport several times. It's also a beautiful and serene city. The only eye-sore near-by are two Riverboat Casinos. Both are ugly as ugly gets. I stopped there and played table games and won! In the meantime, One Boat was washed down the Mississipe River, the other filed for Bankruptcy. I'm note entirely sure of my facts. My conclusions about Racinos follows: They must be built and operated by Major Ractracks,including Belmont, Saratoga (forget Aqueduct - it's too ugly,) Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Arlington, Pimilico, West Coast Tracks, etc. Steve, would like to see your views on this important topic. Good Luck and Good Health! Diceman
yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Steve, A run out bit and blinkers and we can enter Milady in the Acorn. Seriously though, any reason for moving the Vagrancy up to fourth race position today other than horizontal wagering purposes? Geez, there's a 5 horse field going 7F in race 6. Don't get it. Let's everyone cross out fingers for Rene Douglas. I was at Belmont the day Ron Turcotte got rolled over on. Here's hoping for the best.
callmetony More than 1 year ago
i really didn;t think M smith was going to make it she was so far back . Very impressive . I don;t know if its the poly or not but its kind of too bad the BC will be run on that crap again . Its not fair to all the horses that run on Dirt all year . Steve, do you think they would ever even consider bringing this horse east say to Saratoga ? They brought her earlier to CD only to scratch her . Could she close from that far back on the dirt? I tend to doubt it .
Bobby Branch More than 1 year ago
SC, I know this is old territory but I still can't figure out who is more disinterested in racing fans, the tracks or the legislatures...26% takeout on P6 @ BEL defies logic. KY tracks in trouble, HOL closing...one can go on and on. At least I get free DRF's & drinks in Las Vegas.
Walt More than 1 year ago
Couple of notes from the last blog: Personally, I don't see what the big deal is about having Belmont Stakes Day start at noon. Sure, it's a long day, but it's also the largest on-track crowd of the year at Belmont and one of the best days as a whole. If anything, I would have first post at 11:00 AM on Belmont Day and go with 15 races instead of 13 as part of a condensed three day week of racing that I would do as follows: No Racing Wednesday. I would be looking for a public site in Manhattan (perhaps the South Street Seaport) to stage the draw for post positions for the Belmont Stakes that afternoon, most likely around Noon-12:30 PM as people are out for lunch. Thursday -- Special 2:30 PM post time with 10 races, and for those who come that day, after 6:00 PM patrons can get a FREE Formulator Print version of the PPs for the entire Belmont Day card if possible, plus a handicapping session following the last race, which would be around 7:30 PM or so (and Belmont staying open until 10:00 PM or so that night only) Friday -- 12:30 PM post time with 12 races, free admission for all. Saturday (as noted above) -- 15 races with an 11:00 AM first post. Depending on post time for the Belmont Stakes itself, there would be two or three races following The Belmont. No Racing Sunday. The condensed three day racing week on Belmont week I think would assure there of being the best possible cards that week. Since in 2010 The Belmont is on the Saturday following Memorial Day, for next year only there also would be no racing on the Wednesday preceeding Memorial Day (since in this format, the Wednesday before the Belmont would be dark anyway). On another front, NYRA should look at adjusting the stakes schedule and perhaps stick an overnight state-bred stakes even in the spot the Manhattan is scheduled for (with the other stakes run one race earlier) UNLESS ABC agrees to show the Manhattan as part of its telecast (as was the case in 2006 although as I remember, a number of non-racing TV critics heavily criticized ABC for doing so that year).
Patrick A. DiCocco More than 1 year ago
First time with Formulator. Unbelievable. Look forward to using.
AndyScoggin More than 1 year ago
WOW--Zenyatta! Forget, the Belmont let's get ready for Zenyatta v. Rachel A. Hold all the honors until RA tries the monster from the west!
spectacularbid More than 1 year ago
why is there not more buzz about zenyatta? she went from 15 back to the lead in a quarter mile. 10 for 10 and every race is sensational. is it the poly?