Picks and Ponderings: Equestricon, from a smaller circuit perspective

I spent the first half of this week at Equestricon.  Despite the exhausting timing – it fell right after the Arlington Million – I’m glad I went.

Since coming home, my mind has wandered to how Equestricon could better engage horse racing communities outside the marquee circuits. Smaller circuits matter for the accessibility, and therefore the long-term health, of the sport.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, and read my thoughts on how Equestricon can be even better for smaller circuits next year.

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Arlington Million Recap

On a clear, sunny Saturday at Arlington, two Breeders’ Cup bids were on the line.  Though the mid-seventies temperature was moderate enough to be surreal at this time of the year, the results were not: two Breeders’ Cup bids went to horses in high-flying turf trainer Chad Brown’s barn.

In the Beverly D, a Win and You’re In for the Filly and Mare Turf, Brown sent out three — and it was DACITA who found a solid rally and held to the wire.  That was familiar territory for Brown, who has now won the last three renditions of the Beverly D., and four overall.  About forty-five minutes later Brown won his second Arlington Million, as BEACH PATROL held off a scrum of horses to take the Arlington Million.

Relive Arlington Million Day with my latest at Picks and Ponderings!

the Arlington Million: all you need to know!

Chicago’s biggest day of racing is almost here!  As always, I’ve taken an in-depth dive, and you can find my analysis right here.

I discussed all six stakes races on Saturday in depth at Picks and Ponderings, and you can read those right here:

In addition, I wrote a discussion of the full Arlington Park card at Danonymous Racing.  The stakes races are only half the card — but the first half is loaded with classy allowances and fascinating maiden races, so take a look and have fun playing Arlington all day.

Happy Million!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Haskell Invitational Preview

The breather after the Triple Crown season is over.  The first of the summer’s top races for the sophomore dirt route set happens this Sunday, and it’s also the marquee race for the entire Monmouth Park meet: the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Haskell Invitational Stakes.  In addition to the biggest share of that seven-figure purse, the winner of the Haskell also gets a Win and You’re In berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, to be run November 4 at Del Mar.  It is the only automatic Breeders’ Cup Classic berth offered in a race limited to three-year-olds.

This year’s edition drew a field of seven.  Though none of the Classic winners will contend the Haskell, a pair of Classic-placed horses will: BATTLE OF MIDWAY finished third in the Kentucky Derby (G1), and IRISH WAR CRY was second in the Belmont Stakes (G1).  This space likes one of these Classic-placed horses, and advises taking a stand against another.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of this year’s competitive renewal of the Haskell, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Diana Stakes and Sanford Stakes Preview

Summer has officially found its stride.  After all, racing action returns to Saratoga this weekend.

Picks and Ponderings turns it attention this week to the pair of graded stakes on Saturday at the Spa.  In the Grade 1 Diana Stakes, a select field of six — including proven star Lady Eli and rising stars Antonoe and Dickinson — will tussle for the honour of becoming the first top-level winner of the Saratoga meet.  One race before that, eight juveniles will clash in the Sanford Stakes.  All entrants have a win to their name — Direct Dial and Admiral Jimmy have stakes experience, but whoever wins the Sanford will tally the first added-money victory of their career.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Saturday’s pair of graded stakes races at Saratoga, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: Introducing the Chicago Racing Review!

For the last few years, we have reported live race results on our Twitter account, @picksponderings.  Recently that has become untenable due to my chart calling responsibilities for Equibase at Arlington, and we will no longer be able to post race results as they happen.

Of course, that’s not the end of our presence on Twitter.  The Twitter account will remain active for discussion of races, posting links to our newest blog posts, and sharing news about Chicago racing and Illinois horses.

Picks and Ponderings remains as engaged in Chicago-area racing as ever, but we need a different avenue to keep you, the readers, informed about what goes on beyond the stakes races.  Hence?  Chicago Racing Review.  In this new weekly column, we’ll highlight what you need to know, and who you want to follow.

At Picks and Ponderings I discuss the most interesting performances of the week at Arlington Park, and a sire angle that you may not know…but probably should.  Read the first issue of Chicago Racing Review, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Indiana Derby and Indiana Oaks Preview

This Saturday is Indiana Grand’s biggest day of Thoroughbred racing.  The day’s card features a pair of competitive Grade 3 stakes for the three-year-old set.  Eleven horses have entered to vie for a $500,000 Indiana Derby; eight fillies will contend for a $200,000 purse in the Indiana Oaks.  The fields feature the combinations that make the midseason Derbies so interesting: those familiar Classic contenders from the spring clash with later bloomers who hope to make their mark as their sophomore year progresses.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Saturday’s Indiana Derby and Indiana Oaks, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: Ghost Hunter, Dona Bruja, Keystoneforvictory, and Sonic Boom Lead the Ride to the Million

Saturday’s card at Arlington International Racecourse featured four graded stakes races, each of which intended as local preps for the Arlington International Festival of Racing.  In addition to the purse money for each race, the top three finishers in each of today’s graded stakes races also earned the right to have their fees waived if they enter the corresponding Festival race next month.

Jockey Julien Leparoux shined during the stakes portions of the card, winning the American Derby with SONIC BOOM and then the Stars and Stripes with KEYSTONEFORVICTORY.  Both Florent Geroux and Santo Sanjur placed in two different stakes today, as well.  Though Geroux knows graded success at Arlington well, Santo Sanjur had never before hit the board in a graded race.  He did so with a pair of longshots today for local trainers.  Sanjur crossed the wire third in the American Derby with MY BARILEY for conditioner Anthony Granitz, and later second in the Arlington Handicap with Brian Williamson’s charge OAK BROOK.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my look back at Saturday’s Ride to the Million, and let me know in the comments about who you’re most looking forward to seeing on Million Day!