Jay Privman joined Daily Racing Form in 1998, covering the Southern California circuit plus such national events as the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup. After establishing himself as one of the sport’s leading writers, his association with racing will change dramatically as Jay recently announced his retirement with DRF. Normally during Breeders’ Cup season, we would seek him out for a guest appearance in between deadlines or television rehearsals. This year we had to wait until the Padres/Phillies game was over as he was taking in “America’s Pastime” rather than the “Sport of Kings.” We’ll let Jay take us down memory lane, lined with outstanding horses, races and horsemen he got to cover over his decades. Jay is the author of Breeders' Cup: Thoroughbred Racing's Championship Day and a contributor to Champions, and is a six-time winner of the Red Smith Award for best Kentucky Derby story, among numerous other writing honors. Tom LaMarra, a native of New Jersey, has been a racing fan since the mid 1970s. He graduated from Rutgers University, got a job as a newspaper reporter, and eventually landed at Daily Racing Form. He and his wife, Karen, moved to Lexington, Ky. in 1994, and have been there since. Mr. LaMarra had been the News Editor of The Blood-Horse magazine for more than 10 years. He is an award-winning writer and is currently Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Director of Communications and Backstretch Services. As we parse the possibilities for the Breeders' Cup, the graded-stakes calendar, Keeneland and the Belmont at Aqueduct meet offer a handful of graded stakes this weekend. Front and center this week is Laurel Park as they host the Maryland Million Classic, the second biggest race in the state. This day is filled to the brim with full fields competing in 12 races, eight of them stakes, starting at 11:30 a.m. – an opportune day to cash in a Big ‘Un with your E-Z Win Forms! Tom will select his favorite races of the day and join John to analyze each on the show.
Our first guest is Nick Tammaro, who is announcer and morning-line odds maker at Sam Houston Race Park. This season he has added the morning line at Keeneland. Tammaro is very familiar with Keeneland racing, having won a handicapping contest there and placing in its Grade 1 Gamble. In addition to making the line at Sam Houston, Tammaro consulted with BetMakers on setting its fixed odds for Thoroughbred racing in New Jersey. There may be no greater challenge in setting odds than the boutique meets at the historic Lexington track. Overflow fields come from every region of the world to compete for the rich purses in various divisions on turf and dirt. It will be interesting to see how Tammaro approaches such a mind-boggling task. Tammaro, 38, a contributor of handicapping content at TwinSpires, replaces long-time odds-maker Mike Battaglia, who had made the line at Keeneland since 1974. Battaglia is still the morning-line maker at the Churchill Downs Inc. owned Kentucky properties of Turfway Park and Churchill Downs Racetrack. Vance Hanson has been an associate editor with TwinSpires.com and Brisnet.com since 2008. A member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, he previously served as a handicapper with Daily Racing Form and began his career in racing as a publicity assistant at Canterbury Park. His focus has been on Keeneland of late and the Lexington, Ky. Track will feature three graded stakes races over the weekend – a rare sight during this pre-Breeders’ Cup lull at major tracks. Vance and John will look for the horses to watch – the Keeneland payoffs have been generous. On Friday we’ll see the Grade 3 Sycamore at 1 1/2 miles on turf for 3-year-olds and up. Seven runners from the Kentucky Downs Turf Cup (G2) are entered in this overflow field, including winner Red Knight, who’s 2-for-2 this year, and Arklow, who rallied to finish second in the July 31Bowling Green (G2) in his first start of the year before finishing sixth in the Turf Cup. Saturday features the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup a G1 at 1 1/8 miles over the greensward for 3-year-oldfillies. Depending on who shows up, the invited field includes McKulick, who is 5: 2-3-0 this year with wins in the Jockey Club Oaks (G3) last out and the Belmont Oaks (G1) in July. Bellabel’s second-place finish in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) was her first loss of the year after wins in the Blue Norther and San Clemente (G2). Cairo Memories is looking for her first win since back-to-back victories in the Providencia (G3) and Honeymoon (G3). On Sunday fast fillies go on the grass in the Franklin (G3), at 5 1/2 furlongs for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up. Major players include Change of Control who had finished no worse than fourth in her last nine wins before her ninth-place finish last out in the Presque Isle Masters (G2) and Twilight Gleaming, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint winner, who has an 8: 5-3-0 career record and is coming off 2 straight wins.
The Record-Setting Keeneland Fall Meet Begins Friday with Fall Stars Weekend and laying out the schedule for us all is Amy Owens longtime veteran as Keeneland Communications Associate. Get out your calendars as Amy will layout the highlights and wagering options for Keeneland’s Fall Meet, which opens Friday for 17 days through Saturday, Oct. 29. The season precedes the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which Keeneland will host Nov. 4-5 for the third time. Get out your E-Z Win Forms because during the Fall Meet, Keeneland will offer 22 stakes worth a record $8.9 million! Big bets are not going to hurt your odds. The season opens with the three-day Fall Stars Weekend, which features 11 stakes, including nine “Win and You’re In” events, with total purses of $5.45 million. Post time for the first race each day of the Fall Meet is 1 p.m. ET. As Keeneland Communications Associate, Amy Owens assists Keeneland’s Communications Department with a variety of projects related to races and sales. Her days start early and she does an outstanding job giving us the inside scoop on all of the top connections. Owens, who hails from St. Charles, Missouri, is a graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. She most recently worked as a freelance writer and editor, handling a variety of assignments for publications, organizations and farms in the racing industry. She has assisted in managing Keeneland’s press box since 2006 and serves as editor of the track’s race-day program wrap. Byron King is currently the Associate Editor at the Blood-Horse. He will become a very familiar face around the track as Keeneland will present its star-studded fields competing on “Fall Stars All Stars Weekend.” No sooner will he hit the “send” button on his last weekend story, will he head out the door to start on the Breeders’ Cup preview coverage – it all happens at Keeneland. Byron will join John in analyzing a few select races from an extensive menu of quality competitors.
Kentucky Derby winning trainer Eric Reed will once again join the show. He’ll tell us about the challenges that Rich Strike has taken on since his triumphant Run for the Roses. “Richie” has left the comfortable confines of Reed’s Mercury Training Center and is bedded down at Churchill Downs to take his game up a notch facing older horses for the first time. Eric will talk about the progress “Richie” has taken since his return to Louisville and the deep field he will be meeting in the Grade 2 Lukas Classic on Saturday that includes the extremely talented Hot Rod Charlie and Happy Saver after their solid efforts in the Whitney. Eric Wing is not only the Communications Director for HorseTourneys.com, but a man who has been known to cash in on a few tourneys himself. We’ll be putting him to the test in our handicapping segment. It looks like a great weekend for tourneys and an excellent time to go for the “Big ‘Uns using the WinningPonies E-Z Win Forms.
Richard Eng covers the Horse Racing industry. Handicapping for Dummies is one of the many handicapping books he wrote. He also is a writer for Las Vegas Review Journal and the Daily Racing Form. Rich will give us a “final edit update” on his revisions of the popular “Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies,” a must-have book he penned for teaching anyone about the basics of the racing game. Rich will join John to review the unbelievable card that Parx will present on Saturday. You'll need your E-Z Win Forms as opportunities abound. The 13-race day kicks off at 12:05 pm and features 10 stakes races! There will be five consecutive graded stakes headed up by star-studded line-ups in the afternoon’s feature races. Cyberknife and Taiba, separated by a head in the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park, head a field of 11 3-year-olds entered Monday for Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx. In addition to Cyberknife and Taiba, the field includes two additional Grade 1 winners - Zandon and White Abarrio. Secret Oath, the Kentucky Oaks winner, will face eight opponents but will not have to face her recent nemesis, Nest in the Grade 1, $1million Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies. Secret Oath, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, is coming into the race off back-to-back runner-up finishes to Nest in the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama. The connections of Nest did not want to cut back to 1 1/16 miles and are looking at either the Grade 2 Beldame on Oct. 9 or training up to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Nov. 5. Joe Nevills, Bloodstock Editor of The Paulick Report, will take a well-deserved break from the seemingly endless stream of eye-catching thoroughbreds making their way to the Keeneland Sales Pavilion over the past week. With 2,180 yearlings sold so far, we’ll just ask Joe to weigh in on a few of the many million-dollar babies. Cumulatively, 2,180 yearlings have sold through the ring for $389,605,000, an increase of 14.69 percent over the same period last year when 2,125 horses sold through the ring for $339,691,500. Average price of $178,718 is up 11.80 percent from $159,855 in 2021, while the median of $100,000 is 11.11 percent above last year’s $90,000. This year’s sale has 12 sessions compared to 11 sessions in 2021, and it ain’t over yet folks. The September Sale runs through Saturday. Those who follow Joe on Facebook are often treated to his real-life adventures. One that caught our eye was his search for an aging horse called Mary Murphy, named after his grandmother. After reading about the trail her life took after racing and the outcome of his search for her, has all the elements of an upcoming feature with the Joe Nevills byline.
The best racing on the thoroughbred calendar this weekend is north of the border at Woodbine. The 12-race action starts at 1:10 and will feature no less than four graded stakes. Talk about inside information, we will be joined by the Head Clocker, Ernie Perri. The horses going to post on Saturday have mostly been based at the Woodbine ovals where he has had the opportunity to intimately observe their morning routine. Ernie will share his observations and let us know how he settled on his morning line odds for these very contentious races. Ernie has been a horse racing enthusiast and handicapper most of his adult life. So, it was natural that he became a clocker over 15 years ago. He moved on to Head Clocker 10 years ago at Woodbine. He also has been the morning Line odds maker for over 10 years. Currently he is the official Racing Analyst for Woodbine Entertainment. We will again get a visit from one of the real, good guys in the game. After establishing the now landmark farm in Georgetown, Kentucky. Visiting the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland? Put “Old Friends” on your to-do events in Kentucky. Michael always throws a wonderful get-together open to the public the day after the BC and he will fill us in on the details. Old Friends' founder and President Michael Blowen discovered his unique bond with Thoroughbreds while working as a volunteer groom at Suffolk Downs during the 1990s, eventually buying and racing a small stable of claiming-level horses before leaving his position as Arts & Entertainment reporter and film critic for The Boston Globe to become operations director for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. That move to Kentucky gave Michael an even greater appreciation for plight of older, displaced Thoroughbreds and led him to the idea of creating a permanent retirement home in the Bluegrass for horses who need a place to go when their working days are over.
Our first guest is Robbie Davis' daughter jockey Jackie Davis (need bio which I will write.) Our second guest Southern California Railbird Tweeter Tom Quigley will be giving us the West Coast Update.
They say there is no such thing as a sure thing. One thing we are sure of, is that another historic meet at Saratoga, comes to a conclusion over Labor Day. And with that closing comes the shuttering of the office door at the Saratoga Special and our annual “end of the meet” interview with Tom Law. The President of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters publishes the widely read publication with two other Eclipse Award winners – the Clancy brothers Joe and Sean. Tom will share his reflections on their favorite stories they gleaned from their early morning rounds on the backstretch and winner’s circle jubilations. It was a season that may have crowned a 3-year-old champion and saw Jackie’s Warrior sadly see his named added to the chapter of Saratoga lore titled, “Graveyard of Champions.” The show’s not over yet folks! Great quality racing opportunities abound through Labor Day at the Spa and Tom will join John to go over the top selections of the remaining stakes.
DRF’s Dan Illman will join us for Travers Day coverage. A popular Winningponies guest, Dan is one of the most widely watched handicappers on the internet through his drf.com platform. Almost daily, he matches wits with Mike Beer for interesting angles and observations of the Race of the Day. There is no doubt what the race of the day will be on Saturday as Saratoga presents the 153rd running of the Travers Stakes. Trainer Eric Reed joined us last week and wasn’t surprised that Rich Strike will be a longshot once again. The Kentucky Derby winner at odds of 80-1, Rich Strike drew post 2 and was made the 10-1 sixth choice in the field of eight entered Tuesday for Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers at Saratoga, a race where Epicenter, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner-up, was made the 7-5 favorite on David Aragona’s morning-line. “That’s fair,” Eric said of his odds. “His running style makes him hard to pick no matter what. He’s got all the speed in the world, but for whatever reason he wants to spot these horses.” Epicenter has already proven he can handle Saratoga’s main track, having taken the Grade 2 Jim Dandy here on July 30. Epicenter is still seeking his first victory in a Grade 1 stakes. Cyberknife, the lone dual Grade 1 winner in the 3-year-old division, drew the rail for the Travers. He had that same post when he won the Grade 1 Haskell, setting a stakes and track record for 1 1/8 miles. The Travers undercard includes four Grade 1's topped by the Sword Dancer and DRF’s David Grening posted this thumbnail outline of these top races. First contested in 1864, the Travers is the oldest race for 3-year-old thoroughbreds in the United States. It has been won by numerous immortals of the sport, including Man o’ War, Twenty Grand, Whirlaway, Native Dancer, Gallant Man, Buckpasser, Damascus, and Holy Bull, among others. The race’s 150th renewal will take place on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Saratoga Race Course. Brien Bouyea is the Hall of Fame and Communications Director at the National Museum of Racing and he will join the show again to put a spotlight on Saturday’s “Mid-Summer Derby,” the race that traditionally draws the best 3-year-olds in training to test their mettle again at 1 ¼ miles. Prior to joining the Museum, Bouyea spent 10 years working as a sports writer and editor at the Troy Record and The Saratogian, where he won numerous national and state writing awards. He is co-author of “The Travers: 150 Years of Saratoga’s Greatest Race,” along with Michael Veitch. “The Travers” was a finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award. Bouyea is also the sports editor for Saratoga Living magazine, writing mostly about horse racing and Capital Region sports. He has also done work for New York Horse magazine and the Albany Times Union. He enjoys photography, is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, and basically lives at Saratoga Race Course from mid-July through Labor Day when he isn’t in the Museum.
Look who just came in town! Just after 2 p.m. on Aug. 14, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) winner arrived at Saratoga Race Course Rich Strike , the late-running 80-1 winner of the Run for the Roses was quietly taken to his home for the next two weeks, at the barn of trainer Dale Romans. Rich Strike will be running in the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) on Aug. 27. Rich Strike started his trip to the Spa from trainer Eric Reed's Mercury Equine Center in Lexington, Ky., at 12:30 a.m. Aug. 14. He's a good shipper, said Reed, who drove separately and beat Rich Strike to Saratoga by a few hours. He sleeps right in the box stall. Eric has been gracious with his time with Winningponies, before and after the historic Kentucky Derby win, and he will join us again this week. With that Derby on his career resume, “Richie” hopes to add the “Mid-Summer Derby” to his list of accomplishments. Eric will discuss the horse’s training regimen up to this revered jewel and what his plans are for the next 9 days in bringing him up to the premier race of the summer in the U.S. Speaking of outstanding races with a long and storied history. North of the border they will hold the legendary Queen’s Plate. Moira has been tabbed as the 5-2 favorite by linemaker Ernie Perri for the 163rd running of the $1 million stake on Sunday at Woodbine. She was an easy winner of the Woodbine Oaks on July 24, got post 8 in the 11-horse field and will be ridden by Rafael Hernandez in her quest to become the 38th filly to win the 1 1/4-mile event for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds. Who better to discuss thoroughbred racing at Woodbine than the “Dean of Canadian Racing” – Sandy Hawley. He was revered as a national racing treasure there. His career started in 1966 as a 17-year-old boy, hot walking horses at a Toronto racetrack. Two years later, he became a regular rider at racetracks in Ontario. He learned how to ride under the tutelage of Duke Campbell a trainer Sandy still credits today as one of his greatest sporting influences. Hawley went on to become North America's top apprentice jockey in 1969 and then led in victories for the years 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1976. In 1970 he was the continent's leading race-winning jockey with 452 wins. In 1972 he tallied another North American title with 367 wins, and in the 1973 season, he became the first jockey to ever win 500 races in one year breaking Bill Shoemaker’s record. Sandy Hawley was inducted into the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame 1986 , the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1992, and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. Sandy has moved his home to Lexington, Kentucky with his wife, former rider Kaoru Tsuchiya. He is very active in supporting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund with personal appearances throughout the country.
Joe Kristufek is a self-proclaimed horse racing ambassador, and fan development has always been his passion. In addition to serving as the Churchill Downs paddock host, Kristufek is also the host for the Fair Grounds during the winter season. Joe will be making a rare mid-August appearance on Saturday as Churchill Downs is keeping the spirit of tradition alive by hosting the Arlington Million, a race that would have disappeared with the closing of Arlington Park. It will certainly be a rare and unique day as the virgin turf course will play host to the feature races of the day – The Grade1 $500,000 Beverly D. for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 on the greensward and the legend-making Grade 1 $1,000,000 Arlington Million for 3-year-old males at 9 furlongs on the turf. As always, both races have attracted a cast of international competition. Joe will share his thoughts on these races and any other catch his eye on this inaugural edition of the Arlington Million presented by and at Churchill Downs. Terry Meyocks is currently the National Manager of the Jockeys' Guild Inc. Saratoga is the “summer place to be for racing enthusiasts and that’s where we will find him this week. Terry will update us on current issues that the Guild is facing, including the maze of requirements HISA has invoked on the sport, particularly race riding. There is apparent nation-wide confusion as to how new rules of race riding under HISA restrictions are to be applied and enforced. We’ll see how the Guild is responding to this and a myriad of topics that effect the riders. Terry’s experience in the sport was garnered through almost every facet of the industry. In 2004 Meyocks was named Vice-President for the NTRA Racing & Industry Memberships. In December of 1996 he was named Chief Operating Officer of New York Racing Association and remained with NYRA until April of 2004. Prior to that Meyocks was hired in 1979 as Racing Secretary for Calder Race Course, then in 1991 was hired at Gulfstream Park to become Director of Racing and he stayed at both tracks until 1993. Other tracks where he served in different capacities include Oakland Park, Arlington Park, Hawthorne, Churchill Downs, Hialeah Park, Delaware and Liberty Bell.
Frank Angst is the features editor for the Blood-Horse. He also knows his way around the tracks he covers and the shortest route to a betting window. He’s not afraid to give his opinion on a horse and back it. Frank will join the show to give his analysis of another sensational card that will be presented on Saturday, with no less than five stakes races, four of them graded. The “main event” if there is one, would be the $1,000,000 Whitney for older horses at 1 1/8 miles. The obvious “good thing” would be now-trained Todd Pletcher charge Life Is Good, a freakishly fast son of Into Mischief who sports a near-perfect lifetime record and earnings of $3,551,700. But hold on a second you chalk-searching souls – this is a talented field and we are, after all, at Saratoga. A sizeable field will go on the greensward at 1 3/16ths mile Caesars Saratoga Derby Invitational. The top four finishers of the Belmont Derby will enter the starting gate for a rematch. The front end of this all-stakes pick-3 is the Longines Test. It is hard to make a case against Matareya who is undefeated in four career starts this year. The Brad Cox trainee has made picture perfect progression in 2022 with an allowance win followed by wins in a Grade 3-2-1. Only the curse of Saratoga looks like it will stop this filly. Jockey Julio Felix is a name you should be familiar with if you have been a fan of racing in the Midwest over the past two decades. A natural born athlete from a family of ten, he was raised in the Virgin Islands – not the most smoothly paved road to success in the U.S. Growing up his sport of choice was baseball, where he rose to be the starting pitcher representing the Virgin Islands against rival Puerto Rico. That game outgrew him, and his size and athleticism fit the saddle perfectly. Julio has a wonderful story of overcoming challenges as a young rider, but with his talent apparent, he was chosen to ride in the most prestigious Governor’s Cup of St. Croix/St. Thomas for his first career victory! Since then, he has been looked upon as a beloved success story and sports hero by the people of the Virgin Islands. Felix was part of a three-man triumvirate along with owner/breeder Ron McKay and trainer Mike Nance that won over 100 stakes races among his 3,355 career victories and nine riding titles at Thistledown. Felix moved his family to the Chicago area where he made a good living riding primarily at Arlington Park. Julio will not only discuss his career in racing, but the impact the closing of Arlington Park has had on his life and many others in aspects of the game who called the Chicago circuit their home.
If you have ever glanced at a racing publication, odds are good you have seen some of the work of Barbara D. Livingston. She is the Chief Photographer for the Daily Racing Form, has won six Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Photography and is the author of seven books. As if that doesn’t keep her busy enough, she has taken it upon herself to preserve the historical photo/negative collection of some of racing’s earliest equine photographers. Barbara will join us after a day at her home base of Saratoga. She gets to the track before the sun rises and edits her work long into the evening. We’ll discuss her evolution as a photographer and the great collection of racing’s legends she has assembled. If you do take a trip to Saratoga this meet, visit the National Museum of Racing where Barbara has loaned her collection of the Jim Raftery for display. Raftery photographed many of the greats in thoroughbred racing during his career, including Hall of Fame members such as Bold Ruler, Kelso, Nashua, Swaps, James “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons, John Veitch, Bill Hartack, Bill Shoemaker, and many more. Ed Meyer is not only a professional odds-maker, he’s had a knack for finding a horse that is a money maker against his projected odds. We’ll let “The Fellow Who Bellows at Belterra” cherry-pick a few races that will have big pools where big bets won’t shift the odds much (Time to pull down the E-Z Win Forms). The Grade 2 Jim Dandy has a field that is just that. Three horses that competed well in the Kentucky Derby (Epicenter (2nd); Zandon (3rd) and Tawney Port (7th)) are in the field and set to meet them is Preakness Stakes winner Early Voting. The Grade 1 Alfred Vanderbilt should see champion Jackie’s Warrior cast in the role of the heavy favorite…which isn’t always a good thing at Saratoga.
Richard Eng is the author of Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies. For 20 years, he was Turf Editor and Handicapper for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Rich is a frequent guest on the show and was very informative over the months about the scene at his home base of Las Vegas. He vividly described the changes the town went through during the pandemic. Things are sunnier there now and the Del Mar summer meeting begins Friday. Del Mar is offering record overnight purses this year, as well as an enhanced bonus program for horses shipped to the state from other circuits. The boutique meet starts with the Oceanside Stakes for 3-year-olds trying the turf and it has drawn a full field. Rich will select his top contenders in this race filled with numerous betting opportunities. Back east it is Haskell Day at Monmouth Park, with a sensational card that features five graded stakes! Rich and John will discuss the Haskell itself that features two young eye-catching colts. The current “Best of the West” – Tiaba ships in to challenge “The Beast from the East” – Jack Christopher. It could be a race for the ages and will have championship implications. Gun Runner, the 2017 Horse of the Year and a leading sire, will begin covering mares for the Southern Hemisphere season. Three Chimneys is exploring the Southern Hemisphere market with its top sire, Gun Runner , without physically shuttling this year's leading second-crop sire overseas. Tom Hamm, director of stallion nominations for Three Chimneys, confirmed a report by Thoroughbred Daily News. He said Gun Runner will stand the season at the central Kentucky farm for a fee of $75,000. Tom will join the show to explain how this unique scheduling process works at the farm and what it is like to have such a valued stallion standing at Three Chimneys.
Who are we to break with tradition? Tom Law will make his annual rite of summer by appearing on Winning Ponies. It’s opening week of the long-awaited race meet at historic Saratoga! No team does a better job at creating the feel of a day under the ancient elms than Tom and the Clancy brothers – Joe and Sean. And no publication intimately tells stories about the people, their horses, the day’s racing amid the atmosphere of Saratoga than the “Saratoga Special.” Joining us immediately after the opening day of racing, Tom will discuss the on-going production and coverage planned for the meet. Known to make a wager on the speed of a steed, he will join John to look at the fields for the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple; Grade 3 Sanford and Grade 1 Diana Stakes featuring the undefeated Bleeker Street. Ron Flatter will be joining us to recall he life of the legendary broadcaster, gambler and horseplayer Hank “The Hammer” Goldberg I remembered in his special, pop-up episode of the Ron Flatter Racing Pod. Guests include former ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne, producers Steve Nagler and Kris Kugler and TV director Bob Fishman. Hank Goldberg was a bombastic and witty sports talk radio and television personality in Miami who became nationally known for handicapping horse races and N.F.L. games on ESPN, died on the 4th of July his 82nd birthday, at his home in Las Vegas. As a former resident of Las Vegas himself, Flatter has more than four decades of sports journalism experience spanning four networks on two continents, longtime national broadcaster and writer Ron Flatter came to Horse Racing Nation in 2020, and is now the managing editor with his move to Louisville in the spring of 2021. With horse racing part of his duties at nearly every stop of his career, Flatter has covered nearly every Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup since 2007, missing only the 2020 races because of the pandemic. He has also covered multiple runnings of the Pegasus World Cup, the Arlington Million and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in addition to assignments at the Dubai World Cup, British Champion Stakes and the Melbourne Cup.
J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, handicapper, and horse racing historian who counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite racehorse. He is an avid collector of horse racing books and writes regularly for Bloodhorse.com, TwinSpires, Horse Racing Nation, and America's Best Racing. He will be our first guest. Brien Bouyea is the Hall of Fame and Communications Director at the National Museum of Racing, a position he has held since 2010. Prior to joining the Museum, Bouyea spent 10 years working as a sports writer and editor at the Troy Record and The Saratogian, where he won numerous national and state writing awards. He is the author of two books: “Bare Knuckles and Saratoga Racing: The Remarkable Life of John Morrissey” and co-author of “The Travers: 150 Years of Saratoga’s Greatest Race,” along with Michael Veitch. “The Travers” was a finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award. Bouyea is also the sports editor for Saratoga Living magazine, writing mostly about horse racing and Capital Region sports. He has also done work for New York Horse magazine and the Albany Times Union. He enjoys photography, is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, and basically lives at Saratoga Race Course from mid-July through Labor Day when he isn’t in the Museum.
Kevin Kilroy is currently anchored in Louisville at Churchill Downs, where they will provide the on-track fireworks this Holiday weekend. The two-time National Horseplayers Championship qualifier will join John to analyze three stakes on Saturday. In the Grade 2 Stephen Foster, official 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Mandaloun will return to the site of his greatest victory where he hopes to bounce back from a disappointing ninth-place effort in the rich Saudi Cup. Two of the most consistent distaffers racing today, will square off in the Grade 2 Fleur De Lis. The headstrong Shedaresthedevil ($2,513,458) will perform her “dare you to run with me” style, against the likes of Pauline’s Pearl ($1,504,200) who has already recorded a Grade 1 win at Churchill this year. With 15 graded stakes scheduled for the 4th of July weekend, we thought we’d bring in our favorite handicapper, Ed Meyer who monitors racing from the harness tracks of the Netherlands to the match races at Cajun Downs in Louisiana. Perhaps the marquee matchup of the weekend will take place in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud Stakes at Belmont Park. The sensational Life Is Good ($3,414,200) is looking for a return to his winning ways after a fourth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup. Waiting for him is Speaker’s Corner ($672,130), a grade 1 winner who is 3 for 3 at the 7-furlong distance. Also on the handicapping menu is the Grade 2 Princess Rooney and Grade 3 Smile Sprint from Gulfstream Park.
Our good friend Jennie Rees made the following observation about our first guest on winningponies, “Dave Basler sees betting on table tennis in Asia and envisions it being replaced with horse racing in America's burgeoning sports books.” “We can fill that void a lot of times during the day so that they don't have to play table tennis from China or cricket from Australia–things that people have no idea about,” Basler, the executive director of the Ohio HBPA, said in March during a session of the National HBPA Conference at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. “That's not just attractive to sports books, that's attractive to horsemen and racetracks for the opportunity to increase our revenue.” “Pari-mutuel wagering is not going to be in the sports books,” Basler said. “Fixed-odds wagering will be. So we need to take advantage of that ability to bring in customers and get our product in front of millions and millions of potential new fans.” Basler said fixed odds could make “an unbettable race now a bettable race.” “There's a graded-stakes race with six horses and a 3-5 shot in there,” he said. “There's a good chance the bookmaker will take the 3-5 shot out of the pool entirely and price everybody else as if that horse weren't in the race. There are a lot of things that we don't have the ability in parimutuel pools that fixed odds can offer and perhaps enhance our product.” In addition to Basler’s views on fixed odds wagering we’ll ask him about the horsemen’s reaction to the new Horsemens' Integrity and Safety Act. The National HBPA held a national zoom conference earlier this week concerning HISA and its looming registration deadline among other new rules they would expect to see in place. The Ohio Derby itself presents a great opportunity for handicappers, with no less than three horses that competed in the Kentucky Derby in the field. The cast of competitors includes jockeys Tyler Gafflione, Irad Ortiz, Jr., Brian Hernandez. Jr., Raphael Bejarano and Kendrick Caramouche plus trainers D. Wayne Lukas, Brad Cox, Ken McPeek, Joseph Saffies, Jr. and Mike Maker. The supporting races on Saturday the $250,000 Lady Jacqueline (field of10) and two Ohio-bred stakes – the $75,000 George Lewis Memorial (field of 13) and $75,000 Daniel Stearns Cleveland Gold Cup (field of 8). Saturday is the biggest day on the Ohio racing calendar as Thistledown presents the $500,000 Gr. 3 Ohio Derby, serving as the headliner for four consecutive stakes on the card. Rich Ruda will make his annual winningponies appearance. Rich is a familiar face to fans of Thistledown as he hosted the on-air handicapping show for over a decade and he is familiar to horsemen through his work in the racing office who put together a highly competitive racing program with betting angles galore (time to pull down our E-Z Win Forms)!
Our first batter will be Handicapper Eric Wing. We will discuss the eventful Triple Crown season. Now that the Triple Crown is over, Mark Gill, Dean of School of Business, Equine and Sport Management will be our second guest. His discussion with John will center around Midway U., historical connection to the Equine Industry and the new career program that Mark Gill offers.
It is a stellar Saturday at Belmont Park. There will be eight Grade 1 races with “The Test of the Champion,” the 1 ½ mile Belmont Stakes, serving as the headliner. Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike is becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of the 3-year-olds. He’s getting no respect from the majority of the East Coast media and was installed at odds of 7-2 morning line and may go higher at post time. We are bringing on an integral part of the story and the observations of a national handicapper to weigh in on the $1.5 million Classic. Eric Reed, trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike, was on “The Regular Guy Radio Show” on winningponies.com before and after the Kentucky Derby. A man of his word, Eric has returned to tell us about the rapid development of his muscular chestnut colt. After Eric’s post-Derby decision to rest his classic winner and point to the Belmont, Rich Strike has returned to training with vigor. We’ll get an up-to-the-minute report - straight from the horse trainer's mouth. We’ve engaged the handicapping talents of Byron King, Associate Editor of the Blood-Horse, who has been tracking the 3-year-olds through his “Derby Dozen” column. He’ll need only come up with a “Belmont Eight” on Saturday, but an interesting eight it is, with theories of the race pace scenario dominating press box conversation. We’ve engaged the handicapping talents of Byron King,Associate Editor of the Blood-Horse, who has been tracking the 3-year-oldsthrough his “Derby Dozen” column. He’ll need only come up with a “Belmont Eight” on Saturday, but an interesting eight it is, with theories of the race pace scenario dominating press box conversation. While the Belmont is “The Race of the Champion,” Byron will weigh in on several the championship match-ups that will take place leading up to the Belmont. We’ll see the multi-million-dollar earning mare Letruska take on the newly-turned 4-year-old Malathaatin the Ogden Phipps. Champion Echo Zulu faded to fourth in the Kentucky Oaks and will be shortening up to a mile in the Acorn, while 3-year-old sensation Matareya stretches out to the distance. Flightline will fly in for a rare appearance. The $1 million dollar baby has shown brilliance in every start, though he has only made three in his career. His speed figures have been through the roof, but the well-seasoned Speaker’s Corner comes into the race off three straight graded stakes wins while recoding 102+ Beyer Speed Figures.
Ron Flatter has covered the Kentucky Derby since 2007 as a paddock reporter for ESPN Radio, which won an Eclipse Award (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eclipse_Award (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_Derby)) for its 2009 broadcast. He’s been covering the Triple Crown this season and his observations can be read daily in Horse Racing Nation. We’ll ask Ron to share his most vivid memories of the first two jewels of racing’s 3-year-old season and how he sees things developing as we head for “The test of the Champion” in the Belmont Stakes. A man with international bloodlines that has covered famous sporting events from around the globe, Flatter will have plenty to share about his live in various aspects of the media. From Australia to America, his career has led him from homes in California, New York and now nestled in the hear of bluegrass country. He has also covered every Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup ( since 2007 and every Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and Arlington Million ) since2008. Flatter also covered the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa (, both for ESPN Radio and RSN927.) Additional assignments for Flatter have included the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles (1984), and Winter Olympics both in Salt Lake City (2002) and Vancouver (2010) plus coverage of Usain Bolt ’s world records in the IAAF World Championships at Berlin (2009). Tom Dawson, our Quarter Horse specialist, will be our guest handicapper. Some of the season’s best action will take place this Saturday at Remington Park. They will be playing host to many of the “Stars of Tomorrow” presenting 10 stakes races worth $2.5 million, with purses ranging from $30,000 to $250,000. So pull down those E-Z Win Forms from winningponies, listen to the picks provided by “The King of the Quarters” and play your best bets with Bet-US.com for guaranteed payouts.
We have a plethora of Stakes races from Pimlico on both Friday and Saturday to handicap, so come on over and pull down your E-Z Win Forms, listen to the broadcast/podcast guests and dial up your Bet-U-S account and enjoy the action. The Grade 1 $1.5 million Preakness Stakes on Saturday is the focal point of the weekend. The 14 race card starts at 10:30 a.m. and in addition to the Preakness the afternoon offers three Grade 3 stakes, with the Preakness followed by the Grade1 UAE President’s Cup for Arabians. While Epicenter will be the center of attention at the betting windows, legitimate contenders will enter the starting gate including the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath. Whoever you land on, your wagering opportunities expand over the two day racing fest with the popular Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness Double. Friday showcases three Grade 3 races supporting the Grade 2 $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan. With thirteen 3-year-old fillies entered, there should be odds to your liking. They will be looking for a chink in the armor of Adore Manner, who is a Bob Baffert transfer that was most recently seen running a game 2nd in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks. We are bringing in two award-winning racing writers to help unravel this ball of racing yarn – Tom Law and Bob “Railbird” Roberts. Tom Law Tom Law is the Managing Editor of ST Publishing, Inc., the award-winning publishing company that produces The Saratoga Special and Steeplechase Times. He joined the team of Sean and Joe Clancy in early 2013. Law, a native of Saratoga Springs, is currently the President of the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters, which he served as president of from 2006 to 2012. The former longtime managing editor for Thoroughbred Times, Law was recognized in 2011 with the Eclipse Award in the Multimedia/Internet category for coverage of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup. Bob “Railbird” Roberts a native Clevelander who grew up in Willowick, an eastern suburb. He knew he wanted to be a sportswriter when his father took him to an Indians game and he asked who those guys were typing on a counter top behind home plate in the upper deck of old Municipal Stadium. “They’re sportswriters,” said his dad, “that's their job.” Roberts began his career at the Mentor Morning Monitor before heading over to The News Herald where he was named sports editor in 1970 at the age of 22. Roberts was hired by The Cleveland Press in 1973 and returned to The News Herald when The Press folded in1982. The Cleveland Plain Dealer hired Bob in 1985 and he remained there for over 20 years before accepting a buyout in 2006. Roberts is a multiple award winning writer who has covered racing for the Cleveland Press and Plain Dealer for over 40 years. His duties included his daily selections. Roberts covered every Kentucky Derby from Secretariat to Barbaro and is an avid handicapping contest participant.
Only one podcast featured trainer Eric Reed BEFORE the Kentucky Derby – Winninponies. After the Run for the Roses, Eric stopped his State Trooper escort to come over to our host John Engelhardt. Giving each other a big bearhug, Eric said, “My Man! I’ll be on your show this week too.” A man of his word, no matter how swamped he is with the media camped out along the entrance to his Mercury Training Facility, he will be our first guest. It's only a short time before movie producers are wrestling over the rights to “The Rich Strike Story.” We’ll let Eric describe his early years with his wife Kay and the building blocks to their success at blue-collar tracks to the creation of their Mercury Training Facility, the tragic fire where they lost 23 horses, and the shot in the arm they got from horsemen around to country to rebuild their facility. Oh yes, there’s a great story about winning the Kentucky Derby Eric needs to tell us about too! This year’s Kentucky Derby was a point in time for the spotlight to shine on many of “the little guys” that make the racing game a great one. Our second guest will be making a return appearance, Jeff Perrin is the agent for Derby winning jockey Sonny Leon. Relatively an unknown until Saturday, Leon, 32, is a native of Venezuela and rides regularly in Ohio at Belterra Park and Mahoning Valley where he has earned multiple riding titles. The Kentucky Derby was Leon’s first graded stakes win. Since coming to the United States in 2015, Leon has won 770 races from 5,176 mounts with purse earnings of more than $15 million. Jeff Perrin is an interesting story in himself. A native of Australia, we’ll learn how he became involved in the sport and his years long relationship with Sonny.
It's here! Kentucky Derby and Oaks days, let the racing begin. Two solid days of high stakes racing with the best competitors from around the world assembled beneath the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. Well, we have assembled a top trio of nationally recognized handicappers representing every region of the U.S. to weigh in on their selections. First up will be TVG’s west coast-based Rich Perloff, who will deliver his opinions with the succinct style he developed back in his days as a college professor. Not assigned to any specific geographic area of the racing circuit, Rich is called upon to cover racing from coast to coast and passes along his observations with solid rationale. His ability to put horses from all points on the map in a place where they will compete together will be put to the test in the days ahead. Dan Illman of the Daily Racing Form will not be sipping Mint Juleps from Millionaire’s Row while picking the ponies this weekend and will be our second guest. He will be piloting the DRF starship from his New York base where he produces an array of video analysis of all the major racing with his handicapping partner Mike Beer(seen on DRF.com). While he was raised on Big Apple racing, he has no problem taking a few bites off the buffet of healthy race action from around the country. We would be remiss not to include a Kentucky-based handicapper to round out our trifecta of prognosticators and former Winningponies host Ed Meyer will put on his hard boots and wade into the waters and come up with a few “big ones.” A player in the Bluegrass since he could steal daily double money from his father’s coat pocket, Ed will bring his many years of expertise to the table for these two huge days of betting opportunity. With the pools that will be overinflated from money around the world, there is no better chance to score on some real “value” odds that will be available throughout the two days of non-stop quality racing at Churchill Downs. So listen to the experts opinions, combine those with betting strategies garnered from the E-Z Win Forms at winningponies.com and play as you please with the proven mainstay in the industry, Bet-U-S dot com. You bet. You win. You get paid.
?Eric Reed is a lifetime horseman from a family of horsemen. His father Herbert trained for over 40 years apprenticing under the guidance of Mack Miller. Eric has trained since 1983 and has grown up with horses his entire life. The racing game has provided Eric and his wife Kay with unique, potentially career changing situations – none like the one they face in the days ahead. Like a kid waiting to get picked for a spot on the school yard baseball team, Eric is on the outside looking in, hoping to get in the Kentucky Derby game with his 3-year-old colt Rich Strike who sits three horses deep on the also-eligible list. What’s most amazing is not the fact that he has a Derby hopeful, it’s the fact that he is still in the racing game at all. In 2016, a devastating fire swept through one of the main barns at their Mercury Training Center and the Reed’s lost 23 thoroughbreds in the tragedy. Facing a mound of financial and emotional challenges after the gut-wrenching event, the Reeds had to give thought to changing careers paths. Horsemen from all parts of the country came to the aid of the Reeds in an overwhelming display of support. Mercury Training Center has literally “risen from the ashes.” Through the on-going backing of his loyal owners, Mercury is back in business. We will talk to Eric about the rebuilding that took place at Mercury and his hopes for his graded stakes-placed Rich Strike to work into a spot in the gate for the Kentucky Derby. Rich Eng is the author of 'Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies' and can be found almost daily on Race Day Las Vegas with handicapper Ralph Siraco, their programs are broadcast live on 1400 KSHPAM and streamed live on the internet. While Rich specializes in the west coast action, come Derby time he has an international view on cashing tickets. Rich will join us on the show not only to discuss this year’s Kentucky Derby and Oaks, but to talk about the project he has in re-issuing 'Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies' with an updated look at the new basic tools one has to start at the betting window. For 20 years, he was Turf Editor and Handicapper for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. You can follow him on Twitter @RichEng4ProPick and on Facebook.
Matt Bernier's style and presence on “Horseplayers” led to a position with the Daily Racing Form, evolving into several on-air hosting appearances on major broadcasts ,including a recent trip to cover the rich Saudi Cup. Bernier’s meteoric rise through his appearances on DRF.com and television experience has grown into his own show on YouTube -“The Matt Bernier Show.” It’s hard to believe that he is currently airing his Episode 112! Matt’s delivery has really hit a comfort zone where he discusses intelligently and passionately the top races he reviews and previews. This week’s show highlighted his views on the Kentucky Oaks – and that’s where the discussion will begin. There has been some outstanding racing at the Oaklawn Park Meet in 2022 and there is a delicious, Grade 1, $1 million Apple Blossom awaiting an extremely talented field. Over half of the abbreviated field are millionaires including two champions – Letruska and Ce Ce. Nancy Ury-Holthus does an outstanding job of preparedness for each, and every race. We’ll reflect on the season in Hot Springs and see what races left the most impression on her. In addition to examining the Apple Blossom we’ll analyze the Grade 2, $1 million Oaklawn Handicap where the invader Fearless will take on the hometown hopes that last finished 1-2-3-4in the Grade 3 Essex Handicap. A native of Hot Springs, Ark., Nancy Ury-Holthus joined the broadcast team at Indiana Grand in 2014 as the on-air paddock analyst. She has served in that capacity for more than a decade, including a position as host and handicapper for TVG. She currently works as the on-air racing analyst and media coordinator at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas during the winter months. Holthus’ background in racing is very extensive, as she has also served in several key capacities at racetracks, including stall superintendent for 10 years at Hollywood Park as well as racing office positions at Arlington Park. Holthus and her husband, Paul, a Thoroughbred trainer, oversee a stable of a dozen horses, creating a racing circuit between Oaklawn Park and Indiana Grand. She has also served as part of the broadcast team at Arlington Park for the Illinois Derby in its final years
Jay Privman covers the Southern California circuit plus such national events as the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup. He is the author of Breeders' Cup: Thoroughbred Racing's Championship Day and a contributor to Champions, and is a six-time winner of the Red Smith Award for best Kentucky Derby story, among numerous other writing honors. He joined Daily Racing Form in 1998. He will join John with his opinion about this year's Kentucky Derby. Our second guest is a newcomer to this show. His name Tom Dawson quarter Horse expert. Tom was Racing Secretary at Ruidoso Downs, Albuquerque and Sunland Park from 1972 to 1978; then he was Analyst for live QH racing telecasts for All American Network from 1974 to 1980. From 1981 to 2002 he was Analyst and Co-producer for Syndicated and ESPN QH live racing telecasts. From 1998 to 2006 he was also Racing correspondent for America's Horse, Racehorse Digest and Wire to Wire on ESPN. From 1987 to 2009 Tom was Lead Horse Racing producer for ESPN Thoroughbred racing (over 500 network shows). From 2005 to 2013 he was Host of AQHA Live Racing Awards Announcements. From 2011 to 2018 he was Writer/Producer for AQHA Hall of Fame Kiosk. All American Futurity video history. in 2014-2015 Tom was an Associate Producer of Fox Sports 1 Thoroughbred Racing Series. From 2006 to Present Tom was segment producer for Breeders' Cup Coverage on ESPN and NBC. And from 2010 to Present Tom was Producer and host of various QH racing video projects and webcasts. From 2016 to 2020 Tom was Co-producer and analyst for Ride TV QH racing coverage. And from 2020 to Present he was Coordinating producer and Analyst for Cowboy Channel QH racing coverage. He will chat with our host on Quarter Horses.
Long a fixture on the rail near the paddock at Del Mar, Tom Quigley has parlayed his perfect attendance at the races into a full-time, year-round job. It became known as Quigley's Corner and now has a sign in place during the race meet. Santa Anita offers 12 races and 5 are graded stakes events highlighted by the G1 $750,000 Santa Anita Derby. We will see several horses that have entered “The Bob Baffert Transfer Portal” in action. In the Derby, two stablemates to square off are Messier, a 2-time graded stakes winner coming off his seasonal debut win in the R.B. Lewis vs. Tabia, a $1.7 million colt who popped some eyes with career debut 103 Beyer. They will have their work cut out with Forbidden Kingdom in the field after winning all of the major stepping stones to this race. The G2 Santa Anita Oaks offers 100-40-20-10 Ky Oaks points. Adare Manor, another transfer from Baffert's barn, broke her maiden on third try and then won the Las Virgenes (G3) by 13 lengths. Also formerly trained by Baffert, Under the Stars will try to punch her ticket for the Ky Oaks. She had a great prep with a closing rally to just miss in the Santa Ysabel. We were able to grab our favorite racing guru Ed Meyer in a rare scheduling lull as he transfers his talents from Florence, KY to Cincinnati, OH. He’s going to do a deep dive into as many stakes as he can, including several Derby/Oaks preps. The G2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct is offering 100-40-20-10 Ky Derby points. Morello won the Gotham (G3) by 3 1/2 lengths. Early Voting beat Un Oho by 4 1/2 lengths in the Withers (G3). Mo Donegal was third in the Holy Bull (G3) in his only start since winning the Remsen. Barese is 3-for-3, with wins in his last two starts. The Gazelle (G3) at Aqueduct is offering 100-40-20-10 Ky Oaks points. Venti Valentine had her only loss coming by a neck to Nest in the Demoiselle. Last out, she beat Shotgun Hottie– also expected here – by 7 lengths in the Busher Invitational. Classy Edition also had her only loss to undefeated Kathleen O. in the Davona Dale (G2). Keeneland has a sensational Saturday program, headed by Smile Happy who rallied to finish second to Epicenter last out in the Risen Star (G2), his first start since scoring in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last fall. Zandon's third-place finish in the Risen Star was his first start since a runner-up effort in the Remsen (G2). D. Wayne Lukas' other 3-year-old, Ethereal Road, was beaten a half-length by Un Ojo in the Rebel (G2). Blackadder, a former Bob Baffert trainee, is expected here after new trainer Rodolphe Brisset scratched him from the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G1). The Ashland (G1), their Oaks points race will help open the Keeneland Spring Meet on Friday. Nest won the Demoiselle (G2) to close out 2021 and won the listed Suncoast in January. Happy Soul's win in the Dixie Bell at Oaklawn was her 1st start since June. Miss Mattie B was third in the Santa Ynez (G2) before her 5th place finish in the Rachel Alexandra (G2).
Pete Aiello is more than just the booming voice who has mastered the art of storytelling as a live event unfolds at Gulfstream Park, he is a keen student of the game. Pete will join us to pass along a few gems he may have unearthed through his binoculars while watching many of Saturday’s entrants in competition. Pete has a long day in store for him with the first of fourteen races starting at 11:30 a.m. There will be six graded stakes on the card headed by two 100-40-20-10 points races for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks. The post position draw for the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby was very fair to the top contenders with the short run to the first turn in the 1 1/8-mile race at Gulfstream Park. None of the four morning-line favorites drew outside post 7, which is where Holy Bull winner White Abarrio will break. He was established as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind 5-2 favorite Simplication, who came back from his second-place finish in the Holy Bull to win the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth with authority, under Jose Ortiz four weeks later. Simplification, who has trained extremely well since the Fountain of Youth, drew post 3 with Ortiz again named to ride. Tyler Gaffalione takes his regular seat astride White Abarrio. Both multiple graded stakes winner Classic Causeway, the likely pacesetter, and last-out maiden breaker Charge It were set at 7-2 in the morning line. In the Grade 2, $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks Todd Pletcher-trained Goddess of Fire has been given morning line odds of 9 to 5 off her game second-place effort in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds. So, who is the second favorite, you may ask? SHE IS! Kathleen O has been instilled as the early favorite at odds of 4 to 5. Trained by Shug McGaughey, she is now undefeated in three starts, and has two stakes wins at Gulfstream Park, her last being an impressive effort in the Grade 2 Davona Dale. Byron King, Associate Editor of The Blood-Horse has been giving us updates on his weekly “Derby Dozen” and he will join us to talk about this week’s shake ups and this weekend's potential bracket busters. We’ll discuss Epicenter’s eye-popping performance while setting a track record in the Louisiana Derby. Saturday’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby features D. Wayne Lukas-trained filly Secret Oath taking on the boys and at Turfway Park a very talented group of synthetic and turf performers will vie to take the Animal Kingdom route to Louisville via the Grade 3, $600,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks.