Category Archives: Racing

Cheltenham Festival Tips and Predictions

Even if you’re not entirely invested in betting on horse racing, the opportunity to bet on some of the bigger race meetings is something that a lot of people will take an interest in. This is an occurrence that’s been proven through the sudden interest that vast numbers of people take in the Aintree Grand National when it arises, where it seems like everyone across the UK will place their bets on a horse to win or finish each-way.

In terms of festivals, Cheltenham Festival is likely to be the only horse racing event where everyone remains engrossed from start to finish. If you’re yet to try your hand at backing your own Cheltenham Festival tips, it’s not something that you should completely rule out, as it’s certainly worth considering due to the fun that can be had from horse racing betting when it’s done responsibly.

Whether you’re a regular punter with an eye for winning horse tips, or if you like the thought of having a go and seeing what all the fuss is about, we’ve considered the factors that make betting on Cheltenham Festival tips so worthwhile:

More than one hotly-contested race meeting

Although the Cheltenham Gold Cup is undoubtedly the biggest race at Cheltenham Festival, there’s more races to indulge in, with it being one of the only festivals where it’s not primarily focused on one race ahead of all others. This is very different to Aintree Festival, where everything hinges on the massively popular Grand National.

Bookmaker odds available months in advance

If you’re interested in betting on The Festival to such a point that you want to lock in your bets as soon as possible, you’ll be able to do this on most bookmaker websites and apps months before all horses are even confirmed to race. By doing this, experienced punters are able to get the best available price before anything changes, but it’s unlikely that any newcomers to betting on horse racing will be quite so keen.

Plenty of places to pick up a tip and back your bets

Building your own Cheltenham Festival tips is possible through the many websites that provide all of the statistics and form necessary prior to placing your bets. While it’s to be expected that you might have a go at making your own bets, there are other means of finding a Cheltenham bet, including on the many horse tipster websites on the internet. The same can be said for backing your bets, where bookmaker websites and apps come in high numbers to accommodate you in choosing the one that best suits your needs.

Shetland Pony Grand National Returns to Olympia, The London International Horse Show

From 17-23 December 2018, Olympia, The London International Horse Show, will welcome the return of the much-loved Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, a fast and furious race showcasing some of the UK’s young, talented, and up-and-coming jockeys.

This year’s line-up features some of the brightest young names in horse racing, including Olive Nicholls, daughter of 10-time British National Hunt Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls, who no doubt will be giving Olive a tip or two in her preparations for Olympia. Nicholls will compete against Alice Crowley, daughter of 2016 British Flat Racing Champion Jockey, Jim Crowley. The pair has the equestrian genes to contend, but how will they fare in Olympia’s Grand Hall?

Entrants are required to be aged 8-14 and must be under five feet tall. Riders race around a track, jumping obstacles mimicking those at the Aintree Grand National, only in miniature form. The event is the pinnacle of the Shetland Pony Grand National calendar and is set to attract hordes of spectators from the 90,000 attendees, who are due to visit Olympia over its seven days of competition.

Although undoubtedly a fun-filled event, there is also a real spirit of competitiveness among the riders. Many of them are aiming to emulate past competitors, who have graduated from the Shetland Pony Grand National to become professional equestrians, including Sam Twiston-Davies and Tom Garner, who are now established names on the racing circuit.

Following in the footsteps of the Twiston-Davies brothers, Gloucestershire has another Shetland Pony Grand National competitor tipped for the top: nine-year-old Lucas Murphy, whose father, Timmy Murphy, has ridden over 1,000 winners in the professional jump racing world. Joining Murphy and his pony Shelcroft Buttercup will be Lucy Aspell, daughter of back-to-back Grand National winner, Leighton Aspell. Aspell will be returning for her second successive year at Olympia and is likely to pull out all the stops to go the distance.

All proceeds from the Shetland Pony Grand National will go to the nominated charity, The Bob Champion Cancer Trust. Founded in 1983, the charity has raised an incredible £16 million for cancer research and will be the direct beneficiary of the money raised by the young jockeys, who last year managed to raise a terrific £42,500.

For more information on how to purchase tickets, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gtelford@revolutionworld.com +44(0)7717 776928

Breeders’ Cup Event and Little DEVIL Charm

It’s all treats at Old Friends… even on Halloween. Recently, we’ve been treated to a great ride on Next Shares who flew to victory in the $250,000 Old Friends Stakes at Kentucky Downs. In the winner’s circle, trainer Richard Baltus explained that one reason he brought his five-year-old gelding from his home ground at Santa Anita and Del Mar to Franklin, Kentucky was because the winner was assured a lifetime retirement at Old Friends at the appropriate time. Baltus explained that being in the winner’s circle with Next Shares was one of the great thrills of his life. And the best was yet to come. Last Saturday, Next Shares was ignored by the betting public in the $1,000,000 G1 Shadwell Turf mile and roared home to victory, astonishing everyone, even Baltus. Since that was a win-and-you’re-in race, he’s now headed for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Classic. We’ll welcome him to Old Friends when the time comes but, in the meantime, we’ll be rooting him home. Old Friends Karma.

Breeders’ Cup Celebration at Old Friends
Sponsored by Red Brand Fence
Sunday, November 4, 12:00 – 4:00pm

Come the Celebrate Breeders’ Cup. Join us for a party at the farm and a tribute to the 20 year anniversary of Old Friends retiree Gulch’s victory in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Live & Silent auctions of racing memorabilia, equine art, collectible stallion halters, and more. Live music, Proud Mary BBQ, farms tours.

Admission is $30; 2018 Membership holders $15; kids under 12 free.

Special $10 discount to Equestricon convention attendees with proof of attendance. Please note Kentucky sales tax is now collected on our tickets and auction items due to a new law enacted in July.

Click here for tickets or call us at 502-863-1775.

Little DEVIL Charm Shirts

Grab ’em QUICK as time is running out. Tees, Long Sleeve Tees, and even Hoodies.  Click here to order.

For more information, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.

2018 British Champions Series and the Breeders’ Cup

The 2018 British Champions Series is a series of 35 of the UK’s top flat races. It began with the 2,000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket on May 5th, and culminates with British Champions Day at Ascot on October 20th, where thousands of punters at courses across the country will be primed to take a bet on this horse race.

British Champions Day is a thoroughbred horse race which has been held at Ascot Racecourse in October annually since 2011, acting as the end of season show piece of British flat racing. The culmination of the British Champions Series, it features the finals of the five divisions of the series, together with a valuable one-mile handicap race. The richest day in British racing; more than £4 million in prize money was earned across the six races in 2016.

Beginning in 2007, the Breeders’ Cup, this year to be held in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, developed the Breeders’ Cup Challenge, a series of races in each division that allotted automatic qualifying bids to winners of defined races. Each of the 13 divisions has between two and 12 of these “Win and You’re In” qualifying races. In the Breeders’ Cup Turf Division, runners are limited to 14 with up to 11 automatic berths.

Starting in 2011, the Breeders’ Cup also pays the entry fee and provides a travel allowance for the connections of the challenge race winners. For 2018, NBC Sports Group will both broadcast and live stream 11 shows, from June to October, covering many of the “Win and You’re In” challenge races.

Cheltenham Festival: No Horsing Around

If ever in doubt about the popularity of horse racing and the excitement it evokes in enthusiasts, bookmakers, and pundits, it is important to note that even with six months to go for the Cheltenham Festival, punters are already analysing horses and jockeys, looking for the next big bet.

March 12th will see the commencement of the four-day festival that is considered one of the top racing events in the entire world. Cheltenham Festival, in comparison with the Grand National, is more local with few international entries. It also has more hurdle races unlike the flat tracks of other competitions. These differences make Cheltenham a lot more challenging and thrilling for jockeys as well as bettors who have more than 25 races to place bets on, increasing their chances of winning.

Altior

Punters are eagerly awaiting March 13, 2019 to see Altior in action at the Cheltenham Festival. With odds of 6/4, he is already a favourite among bookmakers to win the all-important Queen Mother Champion Chase. Altior dominated the Champion Chase during the festival in 2018 coming in first and had won the Arkle Chase year before that. With speed and stamina both evident in every stride, punters need to keep a keen eye on this one as he is bound to perform spectacularly in 2019 as well.

Samcro

Samcro has been one of the most debated horses in the competition. Whether he will run in the Gold Cup or should he wait out another year, everyone associated with horse racing has been discussing his future and second-guessing decisions taken by the owners. Nevertheless, he remains a favourite when it comes to the Arkle Trophy with 5/1 odds and the RSA Chase with 8/1 odds, both of which are undoubtedly favourites when it comes to betting. Trained by the legendary Gordon Elliott, Samcro won the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdles in 2018 in a remarkable manner, making him the one to look out for.

Midnight Bite

The “big one” at the Cheltenham Festival is the Gold Cup. A dream win for every jockey, trainer, and horse, it is hotly contested, on the field and in the stands. For a punter too, this is the ultimate race to partake in at the festival and Cheltenham betting offers for 2019 are already looking positive with options that can add to the winnings. The nine-year-old Midnight Bite is presently the favourite with 5/1 odds having come in second at last year’s Gold Cup. He is followed closely by Presenting Percy, another horse that has proven its popularity, and Native River, both of whom are listed at 6/1 odds.

Commander of Fleet

Not ignoring some of the other races that are part of this institutional festival, Commander of Fleet is among bookmakers’ choice for winning the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at 16/1 odds and also the Champion Bumper with 25/1 odds. The “smaller” races are an excellent opportunity for bettors to further their winnings and with limited horses running, they require less analysis, which is a big bonus. But, do keep in mind that Cheltenham is an experience that not only consists of racing but also dance, music, food, and even shopping, so make sure you enjoy every aspect of this great festival.

Game Winner on Course for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Success?

Source: HR_Nation via Twitter.

Game Winner is the horse to watch at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, heading into the showdown at the beginning of November with a 100% record in his three races. Bob Baffert has a potential star in the two-year-old, with the veteran trainer aiming to secure his first win at the event since 2013.

The American horse does have the strongest credentials entering the meet, although, with only three races under his belt, it’s difficult to predict the outcome at the Churchill Downs. Both Endorsed and Mind Control will be out to dethrone the leading contender for the crown. Therefore, while he may look one of the best horse racing bets with odds of 7/4 at William Hill, it may be worth waiting before committing to a punt on the race, given there is ample time for the prices to alter before the fences are opened.

Game Winner only took to the track for his first race during August in the Maiden Special Weight at Del Mar. He was not considered the favourite for his debut as Dueling was present in the field. However, Baffert’s charge quickly made a statement in his bow over six furlongs, dominating the meet to win by five-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of Dueling. The two-year-old’s display did not earn him the respect of the bookmakers for his next outing in a Grade One meet at Del Mar.

His stable-mate Roadster was the leading contender for the Del Mar Futurity, but Game Winner was able to brush aside him, along with the rest of the field, to claim his second career victory by one-and-a-half lengths. Baffert put his charge forward for the American Pharoah Stakes in his first race over a mile at Santa Anita. With Joel Rosario in the saddle, the bay colt was able to clinch his first major triumph, defeating his nearest rival, Gunmetal Grey, by four-and-a-half lengths. Game Winner has improved at every race, although bigger challenges lay ahead for the two-year-old.

Mind Control made his debut in July at a Maiden Special Weight at Delaware Park. He was off the pace in his first outing, finishing behind Call Paul at Delaware Park. However, the two-year-old was able to bounce back in his second meet – this time competing at Monmouth Park.

Gregory Sacco’s charge controlled the race and was able to secure the victory by a comfortable margin to get off the mark in his career over six furlongs. Mind Control faced his first major test at the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. He was not considered the favourite for the event but produced a brilliant effort to defeat the perceived leading contender, Mucho, displaying the pace down the stretch to claim the win by three-quarters of a length.

Sacco’s charge along with Endorsed will be the challengers to Game Winner. Endorsed has only competed once in his career, which came in August at Saratoga in a Maiden Special Weight. He produced an accomplished display to defeat Ahead Of Plan by a neck, setting up a potential challenge for Game Winner along with Mind Control at the Churchill Downs at the beginning of November.

Old Friends Again Named Charity Beneficiary of Breeders’ Cup Champions for Charity

Old Friends is so proud to have been chosen, for the third consecutive year, as one of the charities to benefit from the Breeders’ Cup Champions for Charity program.

Maker’s Mark®, Kentucky’s original premium bourbon, and the Breeders’ Cup, Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious international event, have again joined forces to create a beautiful, limited-edition bottle honoring a legend of the annual championships.

This 2018 edition will pay tribute to trainer D. Wayne Lukas, the all-time leading trainer in Breeders’ Cup history with 20 victories during his career.

Old Friends will share in this campaign with the Kentucky Derby Museum, one of the premiere attractions in the Louisville region, and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this commemorative bottle will go to the charities.

Bottles are available for a donation of $400, and fans can secure their collectible right now through the Champions for Charity website:  https://www.breederscup.com/champions-for-charity.

Donors can collect their bottles during a Champions for Charity event in Louisville, KY (details to be announced) prior to the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs, November 3rd and 4th.

Pick up will also be available at the Breeders’ Cup offices in Lexington, KY 10 days after the event, and information about additional retrieval options will be made available soon.

We are especially excited about honoring our friend and supporter D. Wayne Lukas, who trained Old Friends retirees Charismatic and Gulch, who won the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Also, don’t forget to also reserve your tickets to the Old Friends Breeders’ Cup Party at the Georgetown, KY farm on Sunday, November 4th and come celebrate the 30th anniversary of Gulch’s Breeders’ Cup win. Tickets are $30 ($15 for 2018 membership holders; kids under 12 are free) and can be ordered via our website (www.oldfriendsequine.org) or by calling the office at (502) 863-1775.

A P Valentine, Son of A. P. Indy, Euthanized at 20

A P Valentine © Laura Battles.

GEORGETOWN, KY – SEPTEMBER 3, 2018 – A P Valentine, a Gr. 1 winner, was euthanized due to complications from colic on September 1 at Park Equine Hospital in Woodford County. The 20-year-old son of A. P. Indy had been pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement farm in Georgetown, KY.

Campaigned by Rick Pitino’s Ol’ Memorial Stable (formerly Celtic Pride Stables) and trainer Nick Zito, A P Valentine (out of the Alydar mare Twenty Eight Carat) was a leading 2-year-old of 2000 having captured that year’s Gr. 1 Champagne Stakes.

The following year the colt broke the 1/16 miles track record at an optional claiming race for 3-year-olds and upwards at Hialeah Park before embarking on the Triple Crown trail, where he placed second to Point Given in the 2001 Preakness Stakes.

A P Valentine was retired from racing in 2001 to Ashford/Coolmore Stud but was soon pensioned due to unresolvable fertility problems.

In 2004, A P Valentine was pensioned with veterinarian Dr. William C. Day, a stallion reproductive specialist based in in Brenham, TX.  While preparing to sell his farm, Dr. Day retired the horse to Old Friends earlier this year.

“I loved that horse. He was very kind, very gentle,” said Dr. Day. “I have about 30 stallions on the farm, and he was by far the most affectionate. He didn’t have an evil bone in his body.”

“I first noticed A P Valentine before his Preakness Stakes because his silks were white with a green shamrock and he raced for Rick Pitino’s Celtic Pride Stable,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “As a longtime Celtics fan, I rooted for him as if he was Larry Bird. When he came here to Old Friends, it was love at first sight for virtually all of our volunteers and employees.”

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Old Friends August Newsletter

Green Mask (Photo: Laura Battles)

News from Michael Blowen:

Our visit to Saratoga Springs in New York was really great. The support for Old Friends, in general, and Old Friends at Cabin Creek, specifically, has never been better.

Joanne’s party at the Saratoga National Golf Club and Joe Bokan’s soiree at Anne’s Washington Inn were both enthusiastically attended and raised a lot of awareness and funds. Many owners and trainers who retired Thoroughbreds with us inquired about their horses, and others asked about eventually sending their horses to Old Friends.

The reception from fans was over the top, and it was great spending time with Lorita and Anthony and Jack Knowlton, in particular. It’s helped us re-double efforts to expand our facilities to meet the demand for all these amazing athletes.

The demand for Dagmar’s beautiful book, The Art of Old Friends, has been justifiably frenetic. The office has been working hard to get them packaged and sent to all that have placed orders, so if you have not received yours already, know that they are on their way soon. And if you have not ordered a copy yet, call the office today. They will also be on sale in our gift shop.

Green Mask is doing great. The efforts spearheaded by Dr. Bryan Waldridge and Park Equine Hospital in Woodford County has led to a marvelous recovery by this flashy turf sprinter. Special thanks to all who helped, especially Kirsten Johnson at KESMARC, Sallee Vans, the New Bolton Center Veterinary Hospital at Penn, and Dr. Dean Richardson, who performed Green Mask’s surgery.

We expect a huge crowd for our post-Breeders’ Cup Party on Sunday November 4th at the farm. Look for information about tickets on our Facebook page, Twitter feed, and on our website. Tickets are on sale now ($30; $15 for 2018 membership holders).

The Breeders’ Cup / Maker’s Mark Champions for Charity is excited to have once again been named the charity beneficiary for the new bottle honoring trainer D. Wayne Lukas. They are available now via the Breeders’ Cup Champions for Charity website. CLICK HERE

Once again, thanks to all of you for making Old Friends home to so many deserving athletes.

For more information: (502) 863-1775; www.oldfriendsequine.org; michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Is There a Stereotype for a Horse Racing Bettor?

Betting has now been around longer than anyone could possibly remember. Whether that be betting on sporting events, playing poker, or enjoying blackjack at a casino, people from all walks of life enjoy doing so. Many stereotypes are associated with different types of gambling, such as the belief bingo players are all old women or anyone who plays roulette in a casino is a wannabe James Bond. One of the most popular types of gambling is to bet on horse racing, but why do all different types of people enjoy this and what are the different motivations for wanting to bet on horse racing?

Some of us are just casual bettors and will occasionally place bets on sporting events usually when a big event comes around for example the Grand National or Ascot. These are usually the same bettors who will place a bet on the FA Cup final. These bettors don’t tend to use a strategy and when it comes to horse racing are likely to just bet on a horse because their friend told them to or because they liked the name. Casual bettors might also find themselves enjoying a day at the races and places bets as a part of the experience and to increase their interest in the races.

There is a small percentage that bet on horse racing who are actually professional gamblers and make a living from doing so. They will research and analysis statistics and use this information alongside their own knowledge before placing bets on horse racings. Those that also use betting exchanges to trade on horse racing will also fall into this category and will use deviations and mathematical probability to profit from races.

The bookies’ favourite type of horse racing bettors are known as ‘punters.’ These types of bettors will usually be found in betting shops and will go there on a very regular, sometimes daily basis. They will spend a lot of their income betting, do so with any real strategy and chase the thrill of winning and praise from their fellow punters. Some will even venture into the realms of online horse betting with Betpoint and other popular brands.

There are many other types of horse racing bettors too, such as those who just love the whole thing about gambling and have to very careful in how they spend their budget as well as winnings, all the way to those who are ‘semi-professional’ and bet with a strategy to make a steady income of profit, similar to those who do so full time.

Even though many people may associate different characteristics with those who enjoy betting on horse racing, it is clear that there is no correct stereotype associated with horse racing bettors. There are many different reasons why everyone chooses to bet on horse racing, whether that be a job, the social aspect of it, to try and win big, or because they are interested in stats. What is important is that whatever the reason, it must always be fun and balanced.