Sick of the Whip – The Osterman Files

Where animals are concerned, we live in a kindler, gentler time and this is a good thing. Too bad horse racing hasn’t gotten the message. In a sport that is in dire need of more folks in the seats, racing continues to not only support, but generally demand, that jockey’s beat up horses during each and every race even if it turns off untold numbers of potential fans. They do it in full view of anybody who happens to be watching and do it without apology. Why? Well, because that’s the way it’s always been done, no other reason. Decades and decades of animal abuse has sent the message to fans that horses need to be hit by the whip over and over again in order for the betting public to get a fair shake for their wagering buck. When a jock puts away the stick on a horse that’s

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Rebel Stakes recap

The luck of the Irish was with trainer D. Wayne Lukas as his runners finished 1-2 in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park Saturday, March 16.  Will Take Charge rallied to just catch Oxbow at the wire at 25/1 which was a great rebound off his 6th in a sloppy Grade 3 Feb 18.  Oxbow finished 4th in a blanket finish in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds Feb 23 and it seems he proved that race was legit as he earned a similar Final Time Rating of 152. Rebel: The route races that day at Oaklawn seemed to favor the off the pace types as no runner who was 1st or 2nd at the second call finished in the top 2.  Oxbow was basically four-wide until he got to the 1/8th pole where he moved towards the rail, he was within striking range throughout, made a bold move around

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Verrazano, Vyjack, and Gulfstream News from the ECHR

MORE FROM THE ECHR! Derby Contenders Verrazano – We’re not jumping onto the bandwagon of this guy. Following his Tampa Bay win this past weekend, he’s been receiving a ton of praise, but the effort did nothing to boost our opinion of him. At times he appeared intimidated, not the trait we’d like to see for a runner who’ll need to line up against 18 others in front of 125,000 on the first Saturday in May. He won easily, but he beat little, and though “geared down,” let’s remember he’s by More Than Ready, a sire whose progeny are not real useful past 1 1/16 miles, with 1 ⅛ pushing it, and 1 ¼ a distance that we believe is too long. A couple of More Than Ready’s better runners have included Augusta Proud and More Joyous, runners who competed in Australia and New Zealand respectively, with their best distances

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The San Felipe Mystery – The Osterman Files

Back east, they’re still flashing the “V” sign. It used to be for Violence but now it’s for the unbeaten Verrazano. Out west, they’re just scratching their heads trying to make sense of Saturday’s San Felipe. Was it the unveiling of a top-class gelding in Hear the Ghost or was his win simply a byproduct of silly rides from Julien Leparoux on Flashback and Kevin Krigger aboard Goldencents? Opinions vary but, one thing for sure, Bob Baffert lost a valuable opportunity to have his flashy colt schooled when his rider inexplicably turned Flashback loose on the first turn to ensure he’d become involved in a seemingly suicidal pace duel. Leparoux rode Flashback like his only real intent was to get Goldencents beat. Nicely tucked in along the fence behind the quick tempo in the early going, the jock then angled out and made no effort to settle Flashback and what

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Tampa Bay Derby and San Felipe Stakes recap

A pair of Stakes for the Kentucky Derby Championship Series were run on both coasts this past Saturday, March 9 with both victors earning their first Graded Stakes wins. Verrazano remained undefeated after capturing the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs while Hear The Ghost rallied for the win in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. Tampa Bay Derby: Verrazano was dominant in his two wins in one-turn races at Gulfstream Park and he passed his first two-turn test with flying colors. He challenged for the lead early and received pressure from both sides until he entered the backstretch where he dueled with Falling Sky to his inside. Verrazano took over entering the far turn and raced straight in the stretch while never feeling the whip to win by three lengths. He is a big horse and he finished well despite the early fast fractions. Listed below are

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More Gulfstream Park Notes and Stats from the ECHR

  As we wind down the Gulfstream Meet, still lots going on!  The Rainbow Pick Six Carryover was hit a few weeks back, but don’t look now, as the carryover is now well over $300,000, and it’s very likely the carryover will continue to grow with more attention on this wager following the massive 3 million carryover which ended with one lucky winner taking the elusive pot of gold, and as a result, it’s unlikely another single ticket will take home the whole pot before closing day on April 5th, meaning, there could be a massive carryover on that final day, which would be split among all pick six winners!  In the meantime, it doesn’t mean there’s not profits to be made. On February 8th, the ECHR suggested a $2.40 Pick Six to our members – It returned $3,521.60!!……….RYDILLUC took a huge step towards getting a Derby opportunity with his

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Just How “Big” was the Big Cap? – Osterman Files

In an apples and oranges world, Santa Anita had a big day on Big Cap day. An on-track crowd of 26,000+ is pretty good by today’s standards, even if it’s just a shell of what they got back in the good old days when 76,000+ was hardly unusual for the track’s signature event. Of course, even with an attendance of that sort, the track didn’t handle anything close to $18 million for the day. Of course, they didn’t have 11 races back then and they sure as heck didn’t get 82% of the handle from outlets all over the state, not to mention the country. Of course, that was then and this is now. Apples and oranges. Blah, blah, blah. So, was it truly a “big” day or just another day at the office? Who’s to say that if racing and Santa Anita, in particular, was marketed better that they

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News of the Day

The big days at Santa Anita are yet to come but news is already starting to drift out of Hollywood Park, some of it good, some of it not-so-good. The track continues to be very much on life support while going on a year-to-year, meet-to-meet basis until the land management company that owns the place decides to pull the plug in order to put up condos, business complexes and strip malls. The economy will tell them just when to shut it all down in Inglewood and, barring a double-dip recession, that won’t be long now. For 2013, though, they’ll still be running at the track of the lakes and flowers, for better or worse. On the “better” side, they recently announced the end of Friday night racing. This is a good thing for serious handicappers. No longer will they have to deal with the quick turnaround from Friday night to

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The Gotham Stakes recap

There was only one race last weekend that qualified for the Kentucky Derby Championship Series and that was the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct Saturday, March 2. This was the 2013 debut for two-time Grade 2 winner Overanalyze for the Todd Pletcher stable and he went off as the favorite. However, it was the undefeated Vyjack who rallied for the win as the second choice for the Rudy Rodriguez barn. Gotham: Vyjack was on or near the lead throughout in his narrow win in his first route which was a Grade 2 Jan 5, but this time he raced near the back of the pack early and rallied wide for the impressive victory. Overanalyze tracked the leaders throughout, but basically ran evenly as he held his ground for 5th. He looked like he may have needed that one and we would not be surprised to see him move up

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Insider Handicapping Tips at Gulfstream Park

It’s been a fantastic Meet from South Florida, even better with Derby Fever in the air! It’s been interesting to watch the main track of late. For the first two months, we saw a listless track, very uncommon for this particular Meet, a bit on the slower side, with horses often times not switching leads due to the tiring nature of the strip. But then the rains came 2 weeks ago. The track was sealed creating the usual faster surface over the wet going, but since drying out, obviously the maintenance responded differently, or perhaps the composite following the rains have changed things, as this main track now has that familiar Gulfstream zip in the surface we’re accustomed to seeing, quick throughout, now favoring those on or near the front end………..On the Derby scene, it was sad to see a career ending injury to Pletcher’s promising Violence, who’s been turned

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