Decades ago, the horse racing industry would study the Las Vegas casino business hoping to emulate its success. The business here was booming, and racing was starting to take on water.
Last week’s Breeders’ Cup came and went as advertised, a thrill ride like no other in horse racing. So many highs and lows that it would take a book to fully chronicle.
More often than not, the Breeders’ Cup decides, on the playing field, who will be the Horse of the Year. This should be one of those years, as the top three candidates — Game On Dude, Wise Dan and Princess of Sylmar — will be racing at Santa Anita Park.
The Breeders’ Cup offers two of the best betting days of the year for horseplayers. The Daily Racing Form Breeders’ Cup Advance edition is available in all race books. You’ll need a week to get familiar with 172 horses that pre-entered into 15 championship races.
As if you hadn’t seen enough drama last weekend, this weekend offers up 20 more graded stakes. Included are eight Grade 1 races as racing’s super stars prepare for the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1 and 2.
The next eight days will tell a lot about the horses prepping for the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 1 and 2 at Santa Anita Park. By the way, the grand Great Race Place is opening today and will show off more than $15 million of improvements.
There are two $1 million stakes in North America this weekend at a racetrack you might not guess: Parx Racing. With two seven-figure purses fueled by an on-site casino, the Pennsylvania Derby and Cotillion co-headline an outstanding card in Bensalem, Pa.
When Ken McPeek won his first horse race as a trainer, I was there. McPeek had invited me and a mutual friend to River Downs because his horse Final Destroyer had a big shot.
I am old enough to recall when statistical data was bare bones in the Daily Racing Form. Old-school handicappers, who kept their own records, had a big edge over those who relied solely upon past performances.
Two of the year’s most important races are this weekend in the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday and the $1 million Pacific Classic Stakes at Del Mar on Sunday.