Category Archives: Racing

Two-Time Breeders’ Cup Mile Winner, Da Hoss, Dies at 30

LEXINGTON, Ky. (January 4, 2022) – Two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile Winner, Da Hoss, died Sunday, January 2, at the Kentucky Horse Park where he had retired after a successful five-year racing career. At the age of 30, the gelding passed away due to infirmities of old age.  Da Hoss had been living at the Kentucky Horse Park since January 2000.

“We will miss Da Hoss greatly. He was a fan favorite as he proved that spirit can triumph over adversity,” said Nicole Rivera, Interim Deputy Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “I would like to extend a special thank you to Rob Willis and the Hall of Champions staff for the great care and affection they showed Da Hoss during his time here at the park.”

Sired by Gone West, out of Jolly Saint, Da Hoss was foaled on January 18, 1992.  Wall Street Racing bought the lowest priced Gone West foal, Da Hoss, as a Keeneland September yearling for $6000 that same year.  After racing as a two-year-old for trainer Kevin Eikleberry and Wall Street Racing, an 85% interest in Da Hoss was sold to Prestonwood Farm.  He was immediately shipped to Fair Hill training center to start training with Michael Dickinson and Joan Wakefield.

Da Hoss is one of only five horses to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile twice, and the only horse to win twice in non-consecutive years.  Between the 1996 and 1998 Breeders’ Cup Races, Da Hoss was injured three times and did not race for nearly two years. His inspiring finish in the 1998 Breeder’s Cup Mile produced one of Tom Durkin’s most memorable race calls, as he exclaimed: “The greatest comeback since Lazarus!”

“He was our horse of a lifetime,” said trainer Michael Dickinson of Tapeta Farm.  “We all loved him.  He brought us so many highs, even with his problems; we knew he would never let us down. He gave his all and loved to win.  He was spoiled but deserved to be.  He loved going out in one of his grass fields with his best friend Boomer for two or three hours every day.  He knew he was special. It was comforting to know he was always well looked after by everyone at the Kentucky Horse Park where he enjoyed a wonderful retirement.”

Da Hoss shared the Kentucky Horse Park Hall of Champions with other Champion horses including Thoroughbreds Go for Gin, Funny Cide, and Point Given, Standardbred pacers Western Dreamer and Won the West, and Standardbred trotter Mr. Muscleman.

Like the other great Hall of Champions horses that died in retirement at the park, Da Hoss will be buried in the Memorial Walk of Champions.

To learn more, visit www.kyhorsepark.com.

Contact: Kerry Howe
kerry.howe@ky.gov
859-259-4224

US Horse Racing Top 4 Betting Events

Interest in horse racing in the United States has never been higher, with increased media coverage helping to promote the sport to a much wider audience in recent years.

Nowhere is that point better highlighted than in the United Kingdom, where Sky Sports Racing broadcasts live action from the US on a daily basis. This has created a scenario where the top-class races in the US now attract significantly more international entries, thus boosting the quality of the action.

Read on as we take a look at the four standout events in the US racing calendar – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and Breeders’ Cup.

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses held over 10 furlongs at Churchill Downs in early May. It is the first leg of the Triple Crown alongside the Preakness and Belmont, and generally attracts a field of 20 runners.

Horses can qualify for the event by accumulating points in a series of 35 races dubbed the ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’, which take place at tracks across the US, Europe, and Asia.

Often called the ‘Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports’, the Derby regularly attracts more than 150,000 spectators to Churchill annually.

Preakness Stakes

Run over a slightly shorter distance of one and 3/16 of a mile, the Preakness Stakes is staged at Pimlico Racecourse on the third Saturday in May each year.

Attendance at the Preakness Stakes usually beats all other stakes races including the Belmont Stakes, the Breeders’ Cup, and the Kentucky Oaks. The only exception to this is the Kentucky Derby, which often attracts over 20,000 more spectators when it is staged earlier in the month.

Notable past winners of the Preakness include Secretariat, Affirmed, and American Pharoah, each of whom went on to complete the Triple Crown.

Belmont Stakes

Traditionally the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes is run at Belmont Park on the first or second Saturday in June. Run over one and a half miles, the race is widely viewed as the event which determines the best middle-distance horse in the US, according to the horse racing betting guide.

The most famous winner of the race was Secretariat, whose winning time 2:24.00 remains a track and world record for the distance on dirt.

Justify’s stunning victory under jockey Mike Smith in the 150th running of the race in 2018 saw him become the 13th Triple Crown champion.

The Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup World Championships is a series of Grade I thoroughbred races staged annually at different tracks in the US or Canada. It was initially a single-day event, before expanding into a second day in 2007 due to the enormous global interest in the meeting.

The Breeders’ Cup kicks off with Future Stars Friday, which comprises five top-class juvenile races featuring racing’s brightest rising stars. Championship Saturday is one of the richest days in racing, culminating with the hugely prestigious $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Albert the Great Euthanized at Old Friends

Photo: Laura Battles.

GEORGETOWN, KY – NOV. 20, 2021 – Multiple graded stakes winner Albert the Great was euthanized November 19 at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement farm based in Georgetown, KY, where he has been pensioned since 2017.

According to attending veterinarian Dr. Bryan Waldridge, the 23-year-old stallion was euthanized due to chronic sinus infection.

Campaigned by owner Tracy Farmer and trainer Nick Zito, the son of Go for Gin had a short but very prestigious career. He earned his first graded stakes as a 3-year-old capturing the GR2 Dwyer Stakes in 2000 and, later that year, the GR1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. At Saratoga that summer he fell just a stride or two short of victory in the GR1 Travers Stakes.

At 4 he captured the Widener Handicap (G3) at Hialeah Park, the Suburban and Brooklyn Handicaps (G2) at Belmont Park, and ran second in four other GR1 contests, including the GR1 Woodward and Whitney Stakes.

Albert the Great retired from racing in 2001 following a 3rd place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic with a 8-6-4 record from 22 starts, 15 of which were made in graded stakes. His lifetime earnings totaled $3,012,490. He entered stud in 2002 at Three Chimneys Farm before relocating to Pin Oak Lane in 2008.

He sired such GR1 winners as Moonshine Mullin, Albertus Maximus, and Nobiz Like Shobiz, who is currently retired at Old Friends.

“Albert the Great was aptly named,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “He was the master and everyone else was just a serf. He didn’t need you to be his friend, just his servant. He was certainly a unique iconoclast and he’ll be missed. Our thanks to Three Chimneys, Tracy and Carol Farmer, and Nick Zito,” Blowen added. “They raised a great one.”

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

Will Texas-Based Asmussen Return to Glory with Echo Zulu?

Photo source: Unsplash.

Steven Asmussen is one of the most distinguished horse racing trainers in the United States, achieving victories at the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic over the course of his career. However, the 55-year-old has been thwarted in his attempt to win further crowns since 2017 when the last of his great horses, Gun Runner, triumphed in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Gun Runner was named the American Horse of the Year for 2017 before signing off his career with one final run at the Pegasus World Cup, winning the title for the first time for Asmussen. Since then, there have been no notable successes, but the daughter of Gun Runner, Echo Zulu, could be about to change his fortunes.

Echo Zulu is the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Fillies Juvenile event with odds of +150, although Asmussen does not have a proud history in the race, failing to win the previous 13 contests. Echo Zulu has exhibited the quality of her father on the track in the fledgling stages of her career, but delivering on the grand stage will be a challenge amid the talent in the race.

Even Gun Runner had issues competing against elite charges before he found his form at the top. He participated in the Kentucky Derby in 2016 and was one of the leading contenders after winning the Louisiana Derby. Gun Runner was competitive in his first Grade One race, but he could not cope with the pace of Nyquist, finishing four-and-a-half lengths behind the winner.

The American thoroughbred also underwhelmed as a three-year-old in the Haskell Invitational and the Travers Stakes. It took time for him to find his feet among the elite, returning to the track with vigour as a four-year-old. He won the Stephen Foster Handicap, Whitney Stakes, and Woodward Stakes ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Arrogate was the favorite for the race, having bested Gun Runner in the Dubai World Cup earlier in the year. However, Asmussen’s charge turned the tables on his rival to win the crown ahead of Collected, with Arrogate placing down in fifth. It was a flawless performance from Florent Geroux in the saddle, bringing out the best in Gun Runner. They signed off together with a victory at Gulfstream Park in the Pegasus World Cup, enjoying the perfect end to a career at the top.


Gun Runner has appeared to pass his skills down his daughter, who dominated her first race at Saratoga. She then built on her performance in the Spinaway Stakes at the same venue, finishing four lengths ahead of the rest of the field. Echo Zulu has momentum on her side ahead of the contest as a two-year-old.

Asmussen could well have a champion on his hand in the Fillies Juvenile along with other leading events next season such as the Kentucky Derby. He has endured a four-year drought without a major crown, but courtesy of his former champion, the Texas-based trainer could well be on the way back to the top starting at the Breeders’ Cup.

Horseracing Series 2021

2021 has been another huge year for the horse racing industry worldwide. While many great events took place, the two main series in the United States were the Triple Crown in the spring and the Breeders’ Cup in the fall.

The Triple Crown

The Triple Crown began in May, making it one of the two most important months on the horse racing schedule. Online horse betting has reached a peak, including many options for betting on the go using horse betting apps such as these: https://horse-betting.pro/guides/best-horse-betting-apps/.

The Triple Crown series of races are traditionally run in May and early June of each year, although global events have resulted in schedule adjustments, such as in 1945 and 2020.

On the first Saturday of the month of May, and the first of the Triple Crown series, the legendary Kentucky Derby takes place at a distance of a mile and a quarter. With a purse of some $3 million and a huge worldwide following, the Derby is one of the top horse events on the planet.  Thunderous applause can be heard from afar during the Kentucky Derby at the gorgeous Churchill Downs (Kentucky).

It is dubbed “The Run for the Roses,” stemming from the blanket of roses draped over the winner, and in the United States it is also known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” because of its approximate duration. It is the first leg of the American Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes, and then the Belmont Stakes.

Three weeks after the Derby comes the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland with a distance of 9.5 furlongs (1+3⁄16 miles (1,900 m)) on dirt. It has been dubbed “The Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.”

The Preakness Stakes has also been termed “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” because a blanket of Maryland’s state flower is placed across the withers of the winning colt or filly. Attendance at the Preakness Stakes ranks second in North America among equestrian events, surpassed only by the Kentucky Derby.

An interesting history of the Preakness is that Pimlico officially opened October 25, 1870 with the colt Preakness winning the first running of the Dinner Party Stakes. Approximately 12,000 people attended, many taking special race trains arranged by the Northern Central Railway. Three years later the horse had the 1873 Preakness Stakes named in his honor.

The final leg in the American Triple Crown, open to three-year-old Thoroughbreds, is the Belmont Stakes, known by the nicknames “The Test of the Champion”/”The Run for the Carnations”/”The Third Jewel of the Triple Crown.”  The Belmont Stakes takes place on the first Saturday in June in Elmont (an unincorporated hamlet), New York.

When run at 1+1⁄2 miles, the Belmont Stakes covers one full lap of Belmont Park, known as “The Championship Track,” because nearly every major American champion in racing history has competed on the racetrack. Despite the distance, the race tends to favor horses with tactical speed: relatively few winners close from far behind the early leaders.

The 2021 Belmont Stakes was the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes and the 110th time the event took place at Belmont Park. It is the final race of the Triple Crown.

The Triple Crown has come to represent the pinnacle achievement in horseracing. In its history, only 13 horses have won all three races; two of them are still alive.

The Breeders Cup World Championships

Ending at one finish line is the of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, an annual series of Grade I Thoroughbred horse races held on the first weekend of November.  These races are operated by Breeders’ Cup Limited, and in 2021, The Breeders’ Cup will return to another iconic racing venue: Del Mar, where the turf meets the surf Southern California style.

The event was created as a year-end championship for North American Thoroughbred racing, and also attracts top horses from other parts of the world, especially Europe.

With the current 2021 year having $31 million in purses and awards, every horse, jockey, trainer, and owner around the world has this two-day, 14-race, year-end culmination of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in their sights.

Many Breeders’ Cup winners will go on to win the Eclipse Award in their respective division. For example, of the eleven flat racehorse categories, seven of the Eclipse winners in 2015 had also won a Breeders’ Cup race, while three others were in the money.

The Breeders’ Cup Championship Saturday is one of the richest days in racing awarding over $22 million in purses and awards over 9 races, culminating in the defining event of the international racing season, the $6 Million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Her Majesty The Queen Triumphant on Day Three of Royal Windsor Horse Show

The action on day three of Royal Windsor Horse Show came thick and fast, opening with the Land Rover Services Team Jumping in the Castle Arena. Traditionally split into Military Working Horses and Non-Military Riding Horses, The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery D, with a team made up of SSgt Shaun Kershaw, LBdr Tara Kelly, and Sgt Hiliary Oldfield, took the Challenge Cup for the former. In the latter, Army Blenheim, comprising Capt Mary Pearson, Lt Fiona Denton, and Capt Zoe Andrew, claimed The Queen’s Plate. Both teams and the individual winner, FAC Amy Pritchard from Royal Air Force 1, had the honour of receiving their prizes from Her Majesty The Queen.

Her Majesty The Queen also presented the award for The Household Cavalry Best Turned Out Trooper supported by RBO Gold, with Trooper Gemma Dickinson from the Blues and Royals Squadron receiving The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup.

Over in the Frogmore Arena, the Inter Schools Show Jumping Competition supported by Martin Collins Enterprises was won by Hurstpierpoint College. Overjoyed with the win, team member Harry Wilkins said: “The competition was a lot of fun, and in the end it felt quite easy! It’s my first time competing at Royal Windsor Horse Show – the atmosphere and the experience has been amazing, and I love competing near the Castle. My favourite memory from today was winning the Inter Schools with my teammates, Harry Wilkins, Antonia Wade, and Scarlett Chatterton-Sim, and also watching the 5* show jumping.”

Holly Smith’s striking chestnut gelding Fruselli made it two from two taking the CSI5* Falcon Stakes in style, on the back of an impressive win in the Pearl Stakes. The 1.50m class was run over two rounds, with the top 10 riders from round one going through to a jump-off against the clock. As second to go in the jump-off, Jack Whitaker set the standard, jumping clear in a time of 38.99 seconds; however, it was Jessica Springsteen who was the first to pull out all the stops to take the lead in an impressive 36.09 seconds.

Springsteen’s lead was short-lived as following her into the famous Castle Arena was Britain’s Holly Smith – full of confidence following her Olympic selection – who shaved off valuable seconds, leaving out strides in the distances and making the tightest of turns to come home in an unbeatable time of 34.10. Israel’s Daniel Bluman put in a great effort to finish second aboard the 11-year-old gelding Colestina H, just 0.02 seconds faster than Springsteen in eventual third.

Speaking after her victory, Smith was full of praise for her horse: “Fruselli is very willing, very genuine and very forward going – he’s just a great type of guy. Once I’d done [jumps] one to two in seven strides instead of eight, I knew I was going to be able to keep galloping at the fences and keep turning and he’d be fine.” Holly continued, “It’s great to be back here at Windsor; you can tell everyone is so pleased to be here and really enjoying it; it’s such a great atmosphere.”

A top-class field contested the day’s feature class, The Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup. Six combinations went through to the jump-off, with World No. 5 Kent Farrington first to go to set the target. Riding the brilliant chestnut gelding Creedance, Farrington posted a fantastic round, making all the moves to finish in a time of 34.72. Ireland’s Daniel Coyle followed, also riding a superb round, but his time was no match to that set by Farrington. Several riders incurred penalties trying to catch the time required, including two of Britain’s upcoming Olympic team members, Ben Maher and Harry Charles. With just Laura Kraut left to go, the title was guaranteed to go to America; however, despite her best efforts, she posted a time of 37.83, finishing in third place, behind Daniel Coyle in second.

Following his win, Farrington said: “I’m thrilled with Creedance; he’s one of my favourite horses – so much blood; he’s naturally fast, he’s a real winner, and he has been his whole career. It’s one of my favourite shows so I’m happy to win here today.”

Looking ahead to the Rolex Grand Prix, Farrington continued: “It’s a world class field; tomorrow’s going to be the same; it’s always a great competition here and you’ve got the best of the best. It’s big money, with the best riders, with their best horses; it’s going to be tough competition and I think the course builder will set the course accordingly, so I think it’s going to be difficult and big and fast and not so easy to win.”

All is to play for going into the final day of Royal Windsor Horse Show following the Marathon phase of the CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix. Five-time Four-in-Hand Driving World Champion, the ever-consistent Boyd Exell, finished in second place, matching his result in the Dressage phase, meaning the Australian becomes the overall leader with 130.68 points. Dressage winner Dutchman Ijsbrand Chardon had a disappointing Marathon phase, finishing fifth, and drops one position on the overall leader board (133.21 points), slotting into second place behind Exell. Chardon’s fellow countryman, Koos de Ronde, triumphed and moves from fifth place overall to third, meaning he’s still in with a slim chance of being crowned champion. However, it looks as though Exell and Chardon will be battling it out for supremacy, with the 10-time Royal Windsor Horse Show title-holder knowing he can’t afford to knock down any balls if he is to guarantee an extraordinary 11th title.

Her Majesty The Queen had a great start to the third day of the Show when her home-bred former racehorse, First Receiver – a bay gelding by New Approach, and out of Her Majesty’s dam Touchline – headed a hotly contested Retraining of Racehorses class in her own back garden. The four-year-old, formerly trained by Sir Michael Stoute and now produced by the Jerram-Hunnable team, won four times – netting almost £20,000 – in his two-season Flat career, running his final race in June last year under Frankie Dettori, when finishing second to Russian Emperor at Royal Ascot. Here, he was beautifully shown in-hand by Chris Hunnable who, with wife Katie, is producing him in preparation for a new career in the showring, following in the footsteps of the great Barbers Shop, a former Royal Windsor ridden Supreme.

India Till claimed the prestigious Novice Show Pony title with her new ride, the delightful four-year-old Rotherwood Fancy That. This victory went some way to making up for the sudden recent loss of her reigning Horse of the Year Show and previous Royal Windsor Champion Show Pony, Drakemyre Puttin On The Ritz.

The Open equivalent fell to an overjoyed stand-in jockey and an equally overcome breeder. Lisha Leeman’s aptly named 128cm Kellythorpes Tiny Dancer glided to the top spot and the coveted trophy, partnered by 11-year-old Macie Donaldson, who was deputising for England team junior show jumper Cate Kerr. Although the Leeman family has had many wins at this Show, this was their first with a home-bred pony.

For full results from Royal Windsor Horse Show, CLICK HERE.

To find out more, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Where Next for Saudi Cup Winner Mishriff?

Source: Unsplash.

Mishriff produced the performance of his career to claim the 2021 Saudi Cup earlier this year at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh. John Gosden’s runner got the better of the American horse Charlatan in the closing stages of the prestigious dirt contest.

His win in Riyadh opens a lot of doors for the British-based horse, including some of the major races on the surface which are set to take place in the United States over the course of the rest of the year. Here is a look at some of those targets.

Royal Ascot Likely to Be Next

The Royal Meeting at Ascot is one of the biggest weeks of the year in Europe and given Mishriff is based in the UK, it would be a surprise if he did not line up in one of the races across the five days.

If he runs at Ascot in June, it will be his first appearance at the track since coming home at the back end of the field in the Champion Stakes last October. It will be interesting to see how Gosden’s runner fares in the horse racing predictions for the meeting.  As the community speculates on who will win, tools such as this will consider all elements when deciding odds. He has yet to win at the track but his latest form is excellent, two factors that will be worked into the tools used to predict the winners. These systems can offer greater insight which may even change your betting patterns.

Options at Royal Ascot include the Queen Anne Stakes (1m), Prince of Wales’s Stakes (1m2f), and Hardwicke Stakes (1m4f). The middle of those three races looks the most likely. Gosden has been successful on four occasions in that contest, including last year with Lord North.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Must Be a Target

Consideration is surely going to be given to the Breeders’ Cup Classic this year for Mishriff. The feature race of the world championship meeting is one of the most prestigious events in world racing. Success in the race would help elevate the horse into one of the best of his generation.

This year’s Breeders’ Cup meeting takes place at Del Mark Racecourse in California. A rematch with Charlatan could take place in that race in what would be a fascinating dual. It is Bob Baffert’s runner who currently tops the betting for the 1m2f contest on day two of the meeting.

Gosden became the first European trainer to win the Breeders’ Cup when he was successful with Raven’s Pass in 2008. If he can land the prize again 13 years later, it will be a huge achievement for the man who was once based in California.

Arc Hard to Refuse

Another race the British horse is likely to be campaigned for in 2021 is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris. That race takes place on turf, something which should not be a problem for him as he recently scored in the Sheema Classic.

The Arc attracts the best middle-distance horses from Europe, Japan, and other places around the world. It is a difficult race to win as it is often a large field, leaving the runners short for room on the course at Longchamp.

Gosden has won the Arc three times. He did so with the Derby winner Golden Horn in 2015, while the super mare, Enable, was victorious in 2017 and 2018.

This could be the final year we see Mishriff on the track before a career at stud. The more valuable races he sweeps up before then, the higher his value will become once he retires from the track.

Two-Time Graded Stakes Winner Slim Shadey Dies

Photo: Slim Shadey at Old Friends by Laura Battles.

GEORGETOWN, KY – APRIL 11, 2021 – Two-time graded-stakes winner Slim Shadey has died. The 13-year-old gelding had been a pensioner at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement farm based in Georgetown, KY, since 2019.

Old Friends’ attending veterinary, Dr. Bryan Waldridge, released this statement: “Slim Shadey showed signs of colic and was referred for further diagnostics and treatment. Exploratory surgery revealed a twisted large intestine that was corrected. Unfortunately, he fractured a hind leg recovering from anesthesia. Bone fractures during recovery from anesthesia are uncommon, but an inherent risk of equine anesthesia.”

Slim Shadey was bred in Great Britain by Phil Cunningham and spent two seasons racing throughout England and Ireland. He made his U.S. debut for Cunningham and trainer Simon Callaghan in 2012 at Santa Anita, kicking off what was to become his banner season.

In February of 2012, Slim Shadey captured his first graded-stakes, the GR2 San Marco at Santa Anita (a race he would win again in 2013). Then, in September of that year, Slim Shadey took the top spot in the GR2 John Henry Turf Championship, which served as a steppingstone to a run in the GR1 Breeders’ Cup Turf where he finished 8th.

By 2014 Slim began a series of claims to trainers David Jacobson and John Servis (for owner Michael Dubb), before ending with owner Michael Hui and trainer Mike Maker in June of 2018 at Belmont Park.

Retired in 2019, Slim Shadey ended his career with 83 starts, 14 wins, and earnings of $1,278,855.

“Slim Shadey was on Old Friends’ radar for nearly two years,” said Old Friends President Michael Blowen. “Between Michael Dubb and Michael Hui, I knew he was in great hands. When Hui called to say he was ready, I was overjoyed. Today I was equally devastated,” Blowen continued. “You try to do what’s best and, even then, it doesn’t always work out.”

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

Grand National 2021

The 2021 Grand National is scheduled to be the 173rd annual running of the Grand National horse race on April 10th, for three days at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, giving it the name Aintree Grand National. The event will once again be sponsored by Randox Health, also giving it the name Randox Health Grand National.

One of the biggest horse racing events in the world presents you with lucrative free bets for the Grand National. To separate the fine grain from the chaff, we thoroughly scrutinize the deals before endorsing any of them.

On February 3rd, 106 entries were announced for the Grand National, of which a maximum of 40 will start. The early favorite in ante-post betting was the 2018 and 2019 winner Tiger Roll, with weights due to be announced on 16 February 16th. Being a proven winner of the race, we can expect the horse to have to carry much more weight. The two-time Grand National winner didn’t get the chance to defend his crown in April 2020, but he should be back for another shot in 2021.

Tiger Roll has time on his side being the age of 11 in 2021. This Gordon Elliott-trained runner become the first back-to-back winner of the Grand National since Red Rum (1973 & 1974). Will we see him become trainer Gordon Elliott’s fourth winner in the race as he also won the 2017 National version with Silver Birch?

Pleasant Company is another potential Willie Mullins runner. This horse does, however, have plenty of Grand National experience as many will remember him running a head second in 2018. He also finished ninth in the 2017 renewal. In the 2019 Grand National, he was in fourth at the time when he threw his jockey four fences from home, so at 13 years old, he could be well to place in 2021.

Anibale Fly is a horse Aintree Grand National fans will remember from 2019 as he had an outstanding run to be fifth. He was beaten by 11 lengths twelve months ago but with now that he has that experience and has another year on his back, he can be expected to be a big player in 2021. He’ll be 11 years old in 2021 and also is considered in top form after running a fair third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018 and following that up with a second in the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup a year later.

Talkischeap is an improving long-range chaser in the making. He rounded off the 2018-19 season by winning the Gold Cup in great style. He’ll only be 9 years old when the 2021 Grand National comes around. His strength will be better after he has run another summer and certainly looks a horse to have in your sights for the 2021 Grand National.

Burrows Saint is a Willie Mullins runner who won the 2019 Irish Grand National.  We use that race often as being a good guide for the Aintree Grand National showing then he’s another horse to note. He will only be 8 years old by the time of the 2021 Grand National comes around and the last horse of that age to win the race was back in 1940! He loves extreme distances so he might be a National horse in 2 or 3 more seasons time as it is hard to ignore that 8-year-old age stat.

The mare Magic of Light is a Jessie Harrington-trained stayer with a gallant second in the 2019 Grand National, and with age on her side she can go well in the 2021 running. She’s likely to have more weight in 2021 after having 11 lbs. in 2019. With that proven experience of the fences, she could be in for a big season ahead in the top staying races.

The average odds of a winning Grand National horse are around 20/1 – while 23 of the last 29 Grand National winners returned a double-figure price. Seven winners had minimum of four runs before going on to win the Aintree Grand National. The only three who had fewer in recent years were Ballabriggs in 2011, One for Arthur in 2017, and Tiger Roll in 2019 with only 3 runs each.

Do note that the best each-way bet usually combines the most likely winner and good odds. Having said that, they may also look into things like outsiders and handicappers and how the first could make a great pick, especially if the market underestimates them.

Florida Horse Racing Fans Face First Year without Calder Track

Horse race at Fonner Park, Grand Island, Nebraska. Grand Island Tourism.

For horse and racing fans in Florida, 2021 will mark the end of an era. The 40-day run at Calder Race Track (which has been rebranded as Gulfstream Park West), which took place last October, was the last that is ever hosted at Calder race course. The track has been an integral part of the Florida racing calendar since it first started operating in 1971. With that in mind, we take a look back at the long and illustrious past of the Calder Race Track.

First Opened in 1971

Horse racing has long been in the blood of many Florida residents, and that was shown no more than on the day that Calder opened: 6th May 1971. There were officially 16,263 race fans in the park that day, but reports showed that so many people were trying to get into the track to ensure the racing on its opening day that people were being turned away, and the gates were closed to new arrivals. Fifty years later, and it looks like those days of Calder Park being a bustling hive of activity will be a thing of the past.

It was thanks to Calder that the concept of year-round horse racing in Florida was introduced. At that point, there was a gap between the winter and early spring meets in the State, and the meets at Calder served to bridge this gap. It may not have been one of the most glamorous tracks on the racing schedule, but it has made its mark on racing history, thanks to the huge number of world class horses, trainers and jockeys who all got their start there. Calder is perhaps best known for the initiative it introduced in 2000, the ‘Summit of Speed’: this was a series of sprints which were all high stake races, ensuring that the meet attracted plenty of attention, and for all the right reasons.

In 2014 the racing operation on the site was leased to Gulfstream Park’s current owners, The Stronach Group. It was the Stronach Group who renamed the race track Gulfstream Park West. This has been the status of the track site until the end of 2020, when the lease between Churchill Downs Inc and the Stronach Group expired and, for the first time in fifty years, the TSG created a 2021 racing schedule that didn’t have any racing at Gulfstream Park West (or Calder) included on it.

A Working Man’s Racetrack

At its heart, Calder was a no-nonsense, working man’s racetrack. But when it was taken over by Churchill Downs Inc in 1999 (at a cost of $87 million), the focus of the track began to change. In 2010, Churchill opened a casino at Calder, and this became the main focus of the site: in order to maintain a casino license for Calder, Churchill had to run a race on the site at least once every 40 days but found a loophole in the law and argued that any form of pari-mutuel wagering would satisfy the requirements for a casino. Sadly, this didn’t fly with Florida State’s Department of Business, and the courts determined that the track was not fulfilling its obligations. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Whilst there will be horses continuing to be stabled at Calder, the agreement to keep the horses there expires on April 1st. Whilst many people will continue to remember the heydays of this glorious race track, those days are gone and the many great horses and jockeys that raced at Calder will be a thing of the past.