Unbeaten, untied and un-scored upon in three starts at two, Thoroughbred racing fans were poised to see how McCraken would perform in his first start at age three. He didn’t disappoint. The bay colt by Ghostzapper, out of Ivory Empress, bred in Kentucky by owner Whitham Thoroughbreds, first popped the gate back in October at […]

Read more

Yours truly loves this time of year. Each weekend, now through mid-April, we’ll enjoy heated competition between the nation’s top 3-year-olds—male and female—as connections chase Kentucky Oaks and Derby glory. Horseplayers, likewise, will pursue pari-mutuel success: weekly, in crowded prep races, and long-term, with an eventual assault on monster Oaks and Derby pools the first […]

Read more

Trainer Bob Baffert was right on…again. He described Arrogate’s pre-Pegasus condition as “Super Cherry.” Urban Dictionary’s online definition of ‘cherry’ isn’t what Baffert meant. And he also wasn’t inferring that his horse was a strange color. By way of explanation for the under-60 crowd, ‘cherry’ is 1960’s slang for nice, good or terrific. Period synonyms […]

Read more

Listen to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and ex-jockey turned veteran trainer Art Sherman talk, and you’d be positive that Arrogate, conditioned by the former, and California Chrome, saddled by the latter, can’t help but finish in a dead-heat Saturday in the world’s richest horse race—the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream […]

Read more

Horseplayers routinely ‘review as preview.’ That is they analyze what’s happened in the past in order to predict what might happen in the future. Prognostication is so at the heart of the game–for owners, trainers and jockeys, too– that along with racing licenses they ought to hand out crystal balls. Perhaps, the game’s only contributors […]

Read more

Nothing like a new beginning. A fresh start. Clean slate. That’s what landed on our doorsteps less than two weeks ago. The gift of the New Year. Hope. Opportunity. The future. An empty canvas beckoning a masterpiece. A blank Word doc anticipating the Great American Novel. A zero win/loss Xpressbet balance. ‘Now’ represents a golden […]

Read more

Beat the Host, Xpressbet’s popular and profitable weekly handicapping competition, begins Saturday (Jan. 7), when blogger and handicapper Jeremy Plonk squares off against account holders itching to knock his block off. If you are an Xpressbet account holder not playing to play Beat the Host on at least one Saturday in January and February, what’s […]

Read more

I just voted for the second time in 2016. Once in November—for the office of President of the United States and for assorted governmental positions and referendums. This time, I helped to determine winners of Eclipse Awards, to be presented Jan. 21 at Gulfstream Park. In November I considered myself reasonably informed about candidates, platforms […]

Read more

2016 is nearly out of gas. Needle’s on ‘E.’ Between now and January 1 we’ll run on fumes. No worries. We’ll make it. We always do. Move on. Turn the page. Gas up. Proceed. Toward what? #Whoknows Guess that’s an advantage the past has over the future. Hindshight. 20/20 vision. We know where we’ve been, […]

Read more

This time of the season, in Thoroughbred racing, things generally are a bit slow on the racing front. Sure, Laurel, Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Fair Grounds, Los Alamitos and many more tracks are in action, but the product doesn’t compare to the quality that will be available to horseplayers in another six weeks or so. However, this […]

Read more

This fall, for the third consecutive year, on 15 occasions, just before the impatient sun disappeared into the Pacific, Thoroughbred racing was offered where the Turf Meets the Surf. FYI, that’s Del Mar–the same summer hotspot where iconic gatherings conclude with sufficient daylight for attendees to ‘hang ten’ before dinner. Think of it as your […]

Read more

Thanksgiving is here. That’s the holiday when family members gather to watch parades, wager on football and to devour a celebratory feast.   What? At your house you don’t watch parades?   Traditional Thanksgiving feasts include turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans and the most appropriately named dish ever: stuffing!   On this occasion, it’s […]

Read more

Debate surrounding 2016 Horse of the Year honors likely will extend beyond Jan. 21, when California Chrome’s connections triumphantly occupy center stage at Gulfstream Park’s Sport of Kings to accept the coveted golden Eclipse statue synonymous with that distinction.   How do I know California Chrome will win the Horse of the Year vote? Because […]

Read more

It’s over. Results are in. Finally. The matter settled by a dirt-flying race that culminated in a photo finish accompanied by tears, cheers, exaltation and despair. Afterwards, candidates and respective camps celebrate, wring hands, lick wounds and, most importantly, plan for future campaigns. Breeders’ Cup 2016 is in the books! Gotcha! You assumed I was […]

Read more

In California, standing on the apron at Santa Anita Park anxiously awaiting the 2016 Breeders’ Cup, it suddenly occurs to me that several of this year’s races are so interesting that I’d gladly pay to see them. I won’t, of course, that is pay to see them, because I’ve got a valid press credential. However, […]

Read more