News - AmWager

  • 09

    Big 'Cap Preview

    big cap

    From Santa Anita

    ARCADIA, Calif. (March 8, 2017)–Jimmy Jerkens’ Shaman Ghost and Phil D’Amato’s Midnight Storm head a competitive field of nine older horses in Saturday’s Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap at a mile and a quarter. America’s longest continually run “hundred grander,” the Big ‘Cap, which was first staged in 1935, will be run for the 80th time at The Great Race Place.

    A solid second to the mighty Arrogate in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park, Shaman Ghost will be stretching out a furlong for Jerkens, while Midnight Storm, a winner of five out of his last six starts, including his last two, will try to stretch his speed out off a front-running tally here in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles San Pasqual Stakes on Jan. 1.

    SHAMAN GHOST: Based with Jerkens in south Florida, this 5-year-old son of Ghostzapper could rate top billing as he exits what appears to be the best race of his career in the Pegasus, a race in which he was beaten 4 ¾ lengths. A winner of the prestigious Grade I Woodward Stakes three starts back on Sept. 3 at Saratoga, he earned a career-top Beyer Speed figure of 112 in the Pegasus and will hope to be in high gear under four-time Eclipse Champion Jockey Javier Castellano on Saturday. Owned by Stronach Stables and bred in Ontario, Canada by their Adena Springs, Shaman Ghost showed good early foot in the Pegasus, easily outrunning California Chrome to the first turn. With a win and a second from three tries at a mile and a quarter, Shaman Ghost’s connections will hope Midnight Storm gets plenty of early pressure on the front end. Coincidentally, Castellano, who will be riding in his first Big ‘Cap, burst upon the national scene by guiding Ghostzapper to victory in the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Jerkens, in his first Big ‘Cap attempt a year ago, was third with Effinex. Stronach Stables will be looking for their third Big ‘Cap score, as their homebred Milwaukee Brew won the race in 2002 & 2003. Shaman Ghost is 14-6-2-2 overall with earnings of $3,089,311 ($1,750,000 of which was derived from his second place finish in the Pegasus).

    MIDNIGHT STORM: Thought to be most effective on turf, D’Amato shifted gears following his third place finish three starts back in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile (turf) here on Nov. 5 and tried him in the Grade III Native Diver Stakes, run at 1 1/8 miles over a “good” main track at Del Mar on Nov. 27. The result was a dominating gate to wire win by 7 ¾ lengths, which led D’Amato to begin plotting a course to the Santa Anita Handicap. A 1 ¼ length winner on a wet fast surface in the San Pasqual Jan. 1, there’s no mystery as to how the 6-year-old full horse by Pioneerof the Nile will approach the Big ‘Cap, as it’s fully expected he’ll be sent to the lead straight out of the gate. Owned by A Venneri Racing, Inc. and Little Red Feather Racing, Midnight Storm was off the board in his only career try at the Big ‘Cap distance. With earnings of $1,461,110, he has an overall record of 21-10-3-1.

    IMPERATIVE: A 7-year-old Bernardini gelding, he comes off one of his best-ever performances, a head victory in the 1 1/8 miles Poseidon Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 28, which was also his first start for trainer Bob Hess, Jr. He’s another that would benefit from a fast pace as he tries to break an 0-9 slide at a mile and a quarter. Owned by Loooch Racing Stables and Imaginary Stables, he’s a sharp horse whose connection are out to prove his last race was no fluke. With one win from 14 lifetime starts at Santa Anita, Imperative is 36-5-8-3 overall with earnings of $2,240,790.

    FOLLOW ME CREV: Always highly regarded by trainer Vladimir Cerin, he rallied boldly from off the pace to take a 1 1/16 miles classified allowance here on Feb. 20–overcoming a seven month respite. Owned by David and Holly Wilson, this 5-year-old Quality Road gelding was forced to miss last year’s Big ‘Cap due to a minor injury and will hope to be rolling late in his first attempt at a mile and a quarter.


    Race 10 of 11 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT

    • Midnight Storm–Rafael Bejarano–122
    • Gangster–Mario Gutierrez–115
    • Shaman Ghost–Javier Castellano–122
    • Isotherm–Flavien Prat–119
    • Hard Aces–Victor Espinoza–119
    • Follow Me Crev–Kent Desormeaux–116
    • Twentytwentyvision–Mike Smith–116
    • Hi Happy–Altair Domingos–116
    • Imperative–Antonio Gallardo–119
    Published in Thoroughbred Racing News
  • 09

    AmWager Sponsors New Vocations Open Barn & BBQ

    new vocations logoAmWager is excited to announce that it will be the Event Sponsor for New Vocations' Open Barn & BBQ event in late April at Mereworth Farm in Lexington. 

    AmWager and its parent company AmWest Entertainment has always supported aftercare programs. Founded in 1992, New Vocations has become the largest racehorse adoption program in the country and has facilities in: Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and New York. 
    The program’s mission is to rehabilitate, retrain and rehome retired Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses. In 2016, the program took in over 450 Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds and has placed close to 6,000 retired racehorses since its inception.
    Published in Thoroughbred Racing News
  • 07

    Woodbine Harness Mandatory payout of $578,231.58

    From Woodbine Entertainment

    TORONTO, March 6 – Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) today announced a mandatory payout date of Saturday, March 11 for the current Standardbred Jackpot Hi-5.
    The Standardbred Jackpot Hi-5 was suspended on Saturday, March 4th but will be offered again on the last race of the card Saturday, March 11th. There will be a mandatory payout of $578,231.58 with the potential of over $2M bet into it!*
    The current Jackpot Hi-5 carryover has been growing since January 7, which was the first card to offer Hi-5 wagering following a mandatory payout on December 23.
    *The most recent mandatory payout (December 23) had more than $2 million of new money wagered into the pool, which featured a carryover of $548,396, to create a total pool of $2.6 million.
    A winning $0.20 ticket on the December 23 Jackpot Hi-5 returned $4,842.70.
    The December 23 mandatory payout was not the first time the total pool exceeded $2 million.
    A mandatory payout on October 24, 2015 at Woodbine generated a total pool of more than $2.2 million, with $1.6 million of new money wagered into the Hi-5 that evening. The $0.20 payout was $12,746.60
    On August 30, 2014 at Mohawk, the Jackpot Hi-5 total pool was $2.5 million, while a mandatory payout on May 17, 2014 at Woodbine had a total pool of $2 million.
    The Jackpot Hi-5 requires horseplayers to select the top-five finishers in order and features a $0.20 minimum wager with a 15 per cent takeout.
    More details regarding the mandatory payout on March 11 will be distributed this week. Post time Saturday is 7:30 p.m.
    Written by Published in Harness Racing News
  • 28

    Jon Stettin - Makes His Daily Picks for AmWager

    Pick 6 King

    A long time student of the game & professional handicapper, Past the Wire's Jon Stettin is the winner of over $2 million in Pick 6s, with the biggest a $540K score  at the Spa. He makes his daily picks for AmWager. 

    Friday, April 14
    Race 7 (Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes) #3 Watershed, delivers on promise today with big race
    Published in Thoroughbred Racing News
  • 03

    Steven Molyneux’s Meydan Overview and bet selections

    Meydan Overview

    News that had become more likely with the passing of time broke this week when it was announced that Arrogate would in fact make the trip to Meydan for the Dubai World Cup. A good thing, right? Well, yes in that it is important that the second richest race in the world attracts the best horses - and there is no doubt Arrogate is that on dirt at the moment - but as a spectacle, is the race now going to be hideously one-sided? Probably. That even factors in Mike de Kock's Mubtaahij losing little in defeat when prepping last week. He finished second to Etijaah, giving that one 15lbs. De Kock was doing cartwheels out of Meydan afterwards, but not before he had another little dig at the dirt surface. “I didn’t want him to run again before the Dubai World Cup as I don’t want him to visit that track more than he has to,” the trainer remarked. Work that one out for yourself.

    Super Saturday is unlikely to unearth a credible challenger to Arrogate, with the third round of the Al Maktoum Challenge, which is a Group One, being the official prep. Furia Cruzada and Second Summer are renewing rivalry from the second round, the latter fully expected to reverse form given he should have won last time. Special Fighter is back to defend his crown, although he has not been seen since finishing fourth to California Chrome last March. He also hails from a stable in turmoil in recent weeks, after Musabah Al Mheiri was banned for 12 months for cobalt use. Special Fighter would be a fairytale winner of sorts for Maria Ritchie, who has taken over the reins at the yard, but his absence is an obvious concern.  Then there is Lani, who won a bad UAE Derby last year and has since looked fried after an American campaign. Godolphin have rolled the dirt dice one last time, Move Up arriving on the up but completely unproven on the surface. Second Summer is the deserving favourite and gets the vote from these quarters.

    A competitive Al Bastakiya kicks things off and the clear temptation is to oppose Fawree, who will have to break from stall 12. Concerns over his temperament have been well voiced by De Kock, but so far he has behaved impeccably on the racecourse, albeit only winning a maiden last time at the expense of Bee Jersey. Fawree was beaten by Capezzano on his debut but looks more progressive than that one, particularly as the latter has shown a tendency to pull and the longer trip is a worry. There are interesting newcomers in the form of Zumurudee and Thegreatcollection but with all of these stepping into the unknown stamina-wise, it looks a race to leave alone. 

    The betting for the Mahab Al Shimaal is dominated once again by Muarrab, who hasn’t looked himself this season. A more aggressive ride last time may have seen him account for Cool Cowboy with only a neck separating them at the finish but an aggressive ride saw him beaten by Reynaldothewizard the time beforehand, so there is no middle ground with him at the moment. Reynaldothewizard has been kept fresher than that pair and, with the heart perhaps ruling the head, I would just favour him again. 

    Postponed is arguably the star attraction on the whole card as he preps again for the Dubai Sheema Classic in the Dubai City Of Gold, the six-year-old looking in good form as he breezed clear of his work companion King Bolete on Wednesday morning. His long odds-on status is fully justified and there seems little point in trying to oppose him, even if the Godolphin pair of Prize Money and Emotionless are fully up to speed and this will be their cup finals. 

    The Burj Nahaar is probably the weakest of the races on the card with Le Bernardin heading the market despite a poor draw in stall 10. He impressed in the first round of the Al Maktoum Challenge but broke from stall one then, while stalls six and nine have been enough of an excuse for him not to win previously this term. Stormardal is the one for me, despite having had a setback that has ruled him out of the entire Carnival thus far. Prior to Christmas he looked a much improved performer and is a horse with an excellent record fresh. He has now won his last three, listing defeats (emphatic ones) over Heavy Metal and Nathr in that time and from stall one he can get a perfect ground-saving trip under Adrie de Vries and earn his spot in the Godolphin Mile. 

    The Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint is a typically competitive affair, and many connections are no doubt relieved that Ertijaal stayed at home. In Jungle Cat and Baccarat, Charlie Appleby has a strong hand but they are priced accordingly. Fityaan is possibly the value given he tends to pop up when least expected, and won this last year at 50-1 although that is hardly sound reasoning for a bet. Talking of Ertijaal, the De Kock-trained version does go in the finale, the Group One Jebel Hatta. Not out since finishing fifth to Light The Lights on the opening night in January, we still haven’t seen the best of him in Dubai. However, the absence hardly suggests things have run smoothly in the interim. Roger Charlton's Decorated Knight is favourite and very much going the right way. In all likelihood this does not require a massive amount more despite it being a top-level race compared with the Listed race he won last time. For the same reasoning, Promising Run and Earnshaw firmly enter calculations. 

    One that needs an even bigger step up, but with grounds for believing he can, is Folkswood and he looks the value. He got a perfect ride when beating Elleval in handicap company, but the time compares well to what Promising Run achieved over the same course and distance earlier in the Carnival with Folkswood carrying significantly more weight. Stall 12 need not be an issue as William Buick is likely to have him well-positioned in a race that lacks too much pace. Time and time again we see the benefit of thriving horses at the Carnival doing well when perhaps ratings suggest they may have a bit to find.

    Stephen Molyneux's Super Saturday bet selections:

    08:45am (ET) Meydan: Stormardal

    09.55am (ET) Meydan: Second Summer

    10.30am (ET) Meydan: Folkswood

    Written by Published in International Racing News
    Last modified on Thursday, 24 August 2017 18:33
  • 18

    Dubai World Cup Carnival Week 3 Analysis

    Below is Steven Molyneux’s Meydan Overview and selections for the third meeting of the 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival.

    Meydan Overview:

    It was not quite an “I was there” occasion, but it will be a surprise if the victory of Reynaldothewizard in the Dubawi Stakes last week is surpassed when it comes to moments of the 2017 Carnival. One of three on the day for Satish Seemar and Richie Mullen, it provided further proof that the locals are nigh-on impenetrable when it comes to racing on the dirt. If there is a racing nation to do it, then it could well be Korea who send out three runners this week and will have taken heart from the performance of Power Blade 7 days ago who finished third to North America. There is a general feeling that having tested the water here last year, the group that have made the trip this time around are more realistically weighted and hopes will be high that one of Triple Nine (considered to be the best of them), Seoul Bullet or Main Stay can give the burgeoning racing nature their first winner on international soil when they line up on Thursday.

    Published in Thoroughbred Racing News