Tag Archives: horse racing

Multiple Graded-Stakes Winner Green Mask to Old Friends

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 30, 2018 – Multiple graded-stakes winner and sprint superstar Green Mask has been retired to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY.

Trained most recently by Brad Cox for owner Abdullah Saeed Almaddah, the now 7-year-old gelded son of Mizzen Mast was retired from racing in September of 2017 after suffering a fractured sesamoid in his left foreleg during a workout at Belmont Park.

In a career that spanned five seasons, Green Mask traversed the country — starting on 11 different ovals — as well as the globe, racing at Woodbine, Meydan, and Sha Tin.  His greatest victories include the Grade 2 Highlander Stakes, the Grade 3 Twin Spires Turf Sprint, and his last start, the Troy Handicap, where he posted a personal best 111 Beyer Speed Figure and pushed his career earnings over the seven-figure mark.

Before the career-ending injury, Green Mask was considered a top contender for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar last fall.

In his 24 lifetime starts Green Mask captured eight wins and career earnings of $1,064,761.

“Green Mask always gave 110 percent on the track,” said trainer Cox, “so when he was injured it was devastating to the whole team. We’re so thankful to New Bolton Center and Dr. Richardson, who help save his life and make retirement even possible. And we are so grateful that Green Mask will now spend his retirement years at Old Friends.”

“Our thanks to Brad Cox, Mr. Almaddah, and the people at Dell Ridge who took such good care of Green Mask following his surgery,” said Old Friends’ Blowen. “We’re very thrilled to have him with us. He was a wonderful racehorse that certainly earned his retirement, and his wonderful disposition, I’m sure, will make him a big fan favorite.”

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for over 180 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

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

Faugheen Heads to Cheltenham

Following his most recent run, Faugheen certainly has questions to answer but there is no doubting he is one of the greatest horses of recent times. Through his 15 starts he has only tasted defeat on two occasions this being his most recent run and to the ill-fated Nichols Canyon when he clearly badly needed the run. If Faugheen had not had his injury it would be likely we are talking about a three-time Champion hurdle winner to equal the likes of the Istabraq, who to many is the greatest champion hurdler in history.

Faugheen reached a peak RPR of 177 following his 2016 victory in the Irish Champion hurdle where he beat a top horse in stablemate Arctic Fire by 15 lengths with Nichols Canyon a further 13 lengths behind. When Faugheen was performing to this level would any horse have been able to defeat him? This is an unfortunate question that we will never get the answer to. With all this in question it was very unfortunate to see Faugheen be pulled up on his most recent start but no problems or answers have been found as to why this happened.

Faugheen will now head to Cheltenham looking vulnerable, but if he returns to the level he ran to on his comeback we are set for a fascinating clash between two Champion hurdle winners as Buveur D’air looks to defend his crown. The Cheltenham Festival 2018 odds on Paddy Power has the reigning champion as the clear favourite. Check this infographic out to see how Faugheen compares to the greatest Champion hurdlers throughout history.

2018 Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham festival 2018 is now just a few months away as anticipation continues to build for jumps racing premier fixture. The penultimate day is all about St Patrick’s Day as the Irish fans descend on Cheltenham to support the away side.  The main race on day three is the Stayers hurdle which this year looks to have a fairly open look to it. However, the underdog Sam Spinner will be looking to provide his small-time connections with success and he continues to improve on each ran. The latest Cheltenham 2018 Betfair odds has Sam at the head of the betting at 7/2.

There looks to be plenty of challengers that could include Apple’s Jade. She is likely to defend her crown in the Mares hurdle but if she took her chance would without a doubt head the betting as she continues to dominate. A key challenge as things stand looks to be Supasundae who looks a stayer to follow following a hard-fought defeat to the previously mentioned Apple’s Jade. Check out the infographic below to find out the key facts and horses in the main races come March.

Cheltenham Festival Racing 2018

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival will take place in March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK. The Festival 2018 will take place over 4 days from Tuesday March 13th with the Cheltenham Gold Cup taking place on Friday March 18th. The date of the horse races usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day which makes it popular for Irish visitors.

With 2018 here, the Cheltenham Festival gossip is starting to take shape now with Native River, Sizing John and Samcro all being hotly discussed ahead of next year.

Cheltenham free bets 2018 will keep you updated with the festival in every way imaginable, making sure we don’t just bring you the best Cheltenham betting offers, but the finest free bets, tips, enhanced odds and predictions from across the web.

The festival is all about big betting with 600 million pounds expected to change hands during the 28 Cheltenham Festival Races. The feature horse race will now be the fourth race on the card each day supported with grade one races and handicaps. In September 2017 it was announced that all races will have 48-hour declarations. This is great news for punters and racegoers who will now have more time to study the runners, riders and race form.

The first day of the Cheltenham Festival features the Champion Hurdle and is the main race on day one. The other major races on the first day include the Arkle Trophy and the Supreme Novices Hurdle. There are also some very good handicaps to take in including the Festival Handicap Chase which is always competitive and the Novices Handicap Chase which gives the first season chasers a shot at glory.

Day 2 of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival is on the 14th March with the feature race being the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The Queen Mother Champion Chase is another favorite within the Freebets.com camp, and we’ll be sure to bring you the best odds when we get them.

Another top race on day 2 is the Neptune Novices Hurdle which is the long-distance hurdle for future Stayers’ Hurdle candidates. Run on a distance of around three miles on the new course, it’s a big race for punters, with plenty of money going on last year’s winner Nichols Canyon.

The Ryanair Chase is another of Thursday’s finest and has seen a Willie Mullins horse win for the last two years. Will he make it three in a row in 2018?

The highlight of the final day of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival will be the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Gold Cup day is one of the biggest in the horse racing calendar and the bookies will be begging you to use their Gold Cup free bets and promotions.

With a prize pot of over £500,000, it’s one of the most lucrative races in the sport and is run over three miles, taking in 22 fences. Last year was won by Sizing John, a 7/1 shot ridden by Robbie Power. He’s among the Cheltenham Festival favorites again with bookies already backing him at 6/1. However, there’s still a way to go and the race is well worth studying the form for.

The Triumph Hurdle kicks off day 4 and the Grand Annual is the last race on the card. The Foxhunters also get their chance on the Friday of the Festival.

Top Horses That Closed 2017 in Style

As the year comes to an end, horseracing provided us with some great action that will remain in our hearts and in our minds for many years to come. We saw some hot favourites justifying their tags while some underdogs emerged from deep down to create remarkable upsets that were as entertaining to watch, as they were gruelling to digest for many punters who had bet online against them.

Before we turn to a new chapter in 2018, we want you to remember 2017’s best horseracing moments and below we have listed the horses that gave us some heart-stopping performances during this year.

One for Arthur

In April during the Grand National Aintree showpiece, there were two names fans and punters were looking forward to seeing competing tight up to the tail end of the race that is Blacklion, Definatelyred, Saint Are and Cause of Causes. However, one horse came to spoil the party in the process raising the Scottish flag high while making many punters lose a few hundred dollars in wagers. This particular horse is One for Arthur. One for Arthur, as he did show us all the way to the end of 2017, was not just a one-event wonder.

Buveur D’Air

In 2016, Buveur D’Air had already started to show the world flashes of brilliance. It was not really a surprise when he went on to win the Stan James Championship Hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival, but what struck many people was the ease with which he won that race. Considering that the race included powerhouses such as Racing Post Aikle and Labaik, Buveur D’Air’s stunning display just stamped 2017 as Buveur’s best year so far on the track.

Special Tiara

We don’t know what owner, David Young, had seen when he prefixed this horse’s name with ‘special’ but whatever it is, he must have teleported to the future because Special Tiara was all about breaking records in 2017. She broke the duck for British horses winning the Novices Chase at Cheltenham Festival. She also broke Douvan’s unbeaten record during the Queen Mother Champion Chase, a race she won though she was the clear underdog according to several bookmakers.

Sizing John

Whether a seasoned horse with plenty of experience or a first-timer, any horse that manages to win the competitive and highly lucrative Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup deserves a place on the list of outstanding horses in a calendar year and as a result, Sizing John finds his place on our list. Besides the Gold Cup, Sizing John also won the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

Racing Warrior Midnight Secret Euthanized

Midnight Secret at Cabin Creek (Photo: Connie Bush)

GREENFIELD CENTER, N.Y. – NOVEMBER 17, 2016 – Racing warrior Midnight Secret was euthanized November 16 due to injuries sustained in a paddock accident.

The 20-year-old gelding was pensioned at Old Friends at Cabin Creek, the Thoroughbred Retirement Farm based in Greenfield Center, NY, an official satellite to the Old Friends Farm in Georgetown, KY.

Bred in New York by Flying Z Stables, Midnight Secret (Key Contender – Flannel Sheets, Triocala) raced almost exclusively at Finger Lakes and earned $212,749.  In 111 starts the game gelding had 14 wins and hit the boards and additional 51 times.

Debuting as a 2-year-old under trainer David Donk, Midnight Secret moved to Gregory Martin, then as a 4-year-old entered the barn of Oscar S. Barrera, Jr., who trained him for the rest of his career. Barrera transferred him to Finger Lakes, which was to remain his home track. There, he had a rivalry with fellow Old Friends at Cabin Creek resident Karakorum Patriot – from several square-offs, they scored about even. But few can beat Midnight Secret’s hardihood.

Barrera retired the horse at Cabin Creek in 2009.

As Barrera once noted: “You never read stories about horses like this, but they’ve got something special in their heart. For a 12-year-old, he was like a 2-year-old. I walked him every day and he’d be prancing.”

“He may not have been a stakes winner, but he was a champ to us,” said Cabin Creek farm manager Joann Pepper.  “He will be deeply missed.”

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for 175 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Joann Pepper, (518) 698-2377, cabincreek4@hotmail.com

Fall Happenings at Old Friends – Breeders’ Cup and More

1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup (Photo © Laura Battles)

The Breeders’ Cup always brings back great memories, whether it’s Black Tie Affair and Alphabet Soup winning the Classic or our four Sprint winners: Precisionist, Gulch, Amazombie, and Cajun Beat. The greatest day in American racing brings the best to run against the best every year. Now, I always look at the entries for both handicapping information and, more importantly, speculating on who might be a future Old Friends resident once their racing and breeding careers are complete.

Special thanks to Hall of Famers — trainer Bill Mott and jockey Jerry Bailey — for signing the limited-edition, commemorative Maker’s Mark/Breeders’ Cup Champions for Charity “Cigar” bottle.

A few are still available and information about ordering can be found HERE.

All the money will be shared by Old Friends and The Edwin J. Gregson Foundation. For those who have already purchased one, we thank you for your support!

(PS: You don’t have to be at Breeders’ Cup to collect your bottle — other options are available.)

Keeneland’s 5th Annual Sporting Auction will be held Sunday November 19th at 2 pm at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion, and an item in the catalog will benefit Old Friends. “Sheep in a Meadow,” a 36″ x 57″ oil on board by German artist August Friedrich Albrecht Schenk, has been consigned by our friend Jim Smith, and proceeds from the sale will help the horses. You can see the catalog and register to bid online by CLICKING HERE.

For more information on any of our Fall happenings, call us at the office: (502) 863-1775.

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for 175 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

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

Mikimoto a Strong Contender for Western Australian Guineas

Photo: AusHorse_TBA via Twitter.

The Western Australian Guineas will offer a chance for the Group 2 selection of horses to make their mark for the 2017-18 flat season. The site of the race Ascot Racecourse in Perth adds prestige to the contest, sharing a name with its famous namesake in England.

Variation won the contest last season and there are a number of strong competitors that will be vying for the crown this term. As a result, punters will be looking to track the best odds by comparing the value online with ChampionBets, with Mikimoto certainly worthy of attention for the meet.

The three-year-old won the opening race of her career with a strong performance at Bunbury. In a small field, the bay filly was able to rise to the top to deliver a convincing victory to claim her maiden placing in the winners’ circle. Mikimoto followed that outing with another winning display at Belmont. Grant Williams’ charge dominated the rest of the field to secure the victory by over two lengths, building off her initial success.

The stakes were raised at Amelia Park Lamb Handicap and William Pike in the saddle produced a solid ride to guide the bay filly to the win. The horse struggled to pull clear of the field through the early stages of the race and was in second place with 400m remaining in the meet.

However, Mikimoto made a strong surge down the final throes of the contest to secure her third win on the bounce. The three-year-old made her debut at Ascot with Pike once again in the saddle, with the horse being considered the leading contender for the victory.

Source: CSBlackwell69 via Twitter

However, on this occasion the bay filly got off to a poor start, dropping towards the back of the field through the first 400m. Mikimoto managed to gradually move her way through the field to close on to the heels of the leaders within sight of the finish line. She ended the race with a powerful drive for the line, beating out Medom by a length to notch her fourth victory on the bounce.

Williams’ charge has known nothing but success in her fledgling career, but will face a greater challenge at the meet at the end of November. Another horse trained by Williams could be on course to battle his stable-mate as Arcadia Prince is also poised to compete at Ascot.

The bay gelding has quality, although he has not quite enjoyed the unrelenting success of Mikimoto. Pike has manned the Australian horse for all five of its meets, with the three-year-old finding his form over the last two outings. Arcadia Prince had a slow start to his race at York in the WA Country Builders Maiden, but came through the field to win the event by a comfortable margin.

In his last outing at the Crown Bar Sports Plate at Ascot, the bay gelding was not on form through the opening two thirds of the race. Williams’ charge struggled at the back of the field in sixth place at the 800m-mark, but Pike rallied the horse for a strong finish to clinch the win by 0.2 lengths ahead of Necklet.

Williams’ charges could be set for an enticing duel at Ascot, with the winner perhaps earning the favour of their trainer for the rest of the 2017-18 flat season.

Anthony McCoy and Frankie Dettori Announce Their Teams to Compete at Olympia

Sir Anthony ‘AP’ McCoy and Frankie Dettori, MBE, have announced a stellar line-up of jockeys, past and present, to take part in the Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund at Olympia, The London International Horse Show (12-18 December 2017).

For the first time ever, ten of Britain’s most legendary jockeys will go head-to-head in the Olympia Grand Hall on the evening of Friday 15 December, for one of the all-time greatest jockey showdowns, as flat and jump jockeys compete on a level playing field. The competition will be part of Race Night at Olympia and will be hosted by renowned broadcaster, Clare Balding.

The most successful National Hunt jockey in history, AP McCoy, winner of 20 consecutive Championship titles and over 4,000 races, will be gunning for glory alongside his team of former racing stars. The line-up will include Richard Dunwoody, three-time Champion jockey with credits including two Grand National wins and four King George VI victories, two of which were aboard the illustrious Desert Orchid.

Eight-time Champion jockey Peter Scudamore and seven-time Champion jockey John Francome will be adding to the team’s long list of achievements, which between them includes 38 National Hunt Jockeys Championships. The final member of the team of Champions will be nine-time Irish Champion jockey, Charlie Swan, holder of the most winners ever ridden in an Irish race season, and three-time consecutive winner of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham aboard the great Istabraq.

AP McCoy said: ‘I rode at Olympia in 2015 and it was great fun. Last year I had to watch the flat jockeys win so I decided to come back this year with the best possible team behind me and take the crown back for the jump jockeys!’

Representing the current generation of flat racing legends, Dettori and his teammates undoubtedly have the credentials to give McCoy’s gang a run for their money as they collide in the Markel Champions Challenge. The compelling line-up will consist of Ryan Moore, three-time Champion Jockey, with a history of achievements that have led to many hailing him as one of the world’s best flat jockeys. Moore will be accompanied by Richard Hughes, who after an extremely successful career, winning three Championship Series after over 25 years in the saddle, has channelled his knowledge to become a highly successful trainer.

Richard Hughes said: ‘It’s great to be involved in Olympia Horse Show and the Markel Champions Challenge. We will certainly be looking to set the pace against McCoy and his golden oldies! The event is also in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, a fantastic cause, and a great chance to raise awareness of the incredible work they do.’

Last season’s Champion jockey Jim Crowley will be adding to the team’s prestige, with a history of jump and flat racing which started in the Shetland Pony Grand National. Crowley is sure to bring a competitive-edge. Jamie Spencer, who in August of this year rode his 2,000th winner, one of only twenty-two jockeys to have reached this landmark, will be hoping to lead his team down the home straight as the final member of Dettori’s team.

Clare Balding, MBE, who will be joining the fun as commentator in the ring, said: ‘The Markel Champions Challenge at Olympia Horse Show is going to be particularly exciting this year, with so many highly-acclaimed jockeys competing under one roof. It’ll be a very special occasion, and I am thrilled to be involved. We know they can all jump at speed but let’s see which one can do that without sending poles flying.’

The Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, will take place on Friday 15 December as part of ‘Race Night’ at Olympia, an evening of race-themed entertainment, including the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, in aid of the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford, gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Can Arrogate Defend His Breeders Cup Classic Crown for the Final Time?

Photo source: Clockers Corner via Twitter.

By James Hall

The Bob Baffert-trained Arrogate is one of the stars of thoroughbred racing and is aiming to clinch successive Breeders Cup Classics when he takes to the track at Del Mar on November 4. The lucrative race is set to be Arrogate’s final outing before heading to stud at Juddmonte Farms in Kentucky. The multiple Grade 1 winner faces stiff competition from Steve Asmussen’s Gun Runner, who will be aiming to crash the party and steal the headlines.

Arrogate’s trainer enthused about his chances in the race and was left beaming following a successful workout at Santa Anita. “That went perfect,” he declared after watching his charge travel the six furlongs in 1:13.20, whilst rider Rafael Bejarano boldly declared, “He’s ready now.”

After clinching a track record during his first ever Stakes race appearance, Arrogate was always destined for the top and the Baffert-trained horse will be hoping to end on a high after a mixed 12 months. Success in the Dubai World Cup in Meydan was followed by two underwhelming performances (by his high standards) which both came here at Del Mar. Some are blaming the track for the fourth place in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap but the four-year-old must prove his credentials and ability to bounce back at this particular venue on November 4th.

Arrogate’s last competitive action came here at the end of August when finishing behind Collected in the Pacific Classic Stakes, going down by half a length.

Whilst all eyes will be on Arrogate, the Baffert stable comes into this race extremely strong-handed as they aim to land the $6million prize-pot on offer to winning connections. They are likely to pitch Collected, West Coast and Mubtaahij into the contest and all three thoroughbreds are likely to be in the top six of the betting. The latter is an Irish-bred five-year-old who will be aiming to make it back-to-back successes in Grade 1 company after taking the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita at the beginning of October.

Source: JSC Communications via Twitter

Gun Runner is the current favourite for the one and a quarter mile contest and is fancied by many punters to steal Arrogate’s thunder. He has also been working out at Santa Anita ahead of the Grade One contest completing five furlongs in 1:00.40 and reportedly looking “fantastic” according to XBTV reporter Camilla Yakteen. She later added that the horse has a “huge reach”.

Trainer Steve Asmussen was equally impressed by his charge, claiming, “Gun Runner looked great galloping out throughout the wire; he cooled out nicely.” He comes off the back of successive Grade One victories, including making all in the Whitney and Woodward Stakes at Saratoga. The stable will be desperate to avenge the narrow defeat to Arrogate in the aforementioned Dubai World Cup back in March.

Another fascinating rematch arrives in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, where the Wesley Ward-trained Lady Aurelia comes up against Marsha once again, with just a nose separating the pair in the Nunthorpe at York racecourse earlier in 2017. It will be a debut Breeders’ Cup for both trainer Sir Mark Prescott and jockey Luke Morris and they’ll be hoping to make a winning start at the annual meeting.

No European representative has ever been successful in the Turf Sprint and the pair will be aiming to set records tumbling this year. Another British hope likely to be partaking in the Breeders Cup is Ribchester, although the Richard Fahey trained four year old also has an entry for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot’s Champions Day, a race in which the horse will be the 15/8 second favourite according to racing analytics site Timeform.

Arrogate is undoubtedly the star of the show once again and the Baffert stable appears to be pleased with his progress ahead of the showdown with Gun Runner. Despite a poor couple of runs here at the track, the four-year-old does have a victory to its name here at Del Mar but that success came back August 2016 when starting 1/10 favourite in an Allowance Optional Claimer, finishing narrowly ahead of Kristo. The Asmussen horse is the narrow favourite but Arrogate will be determined to add one final triumph to his already glittering racetrack record.