This week in horse racing: busy holiday weekend


Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will be in action Friday at Churchill Downs in the Grade 1, $750,000 Clark Handicap, adorning a Thanksgiving week lineup bursting with big races. Major venues like Churchill Downs, Del Mar, Fair Grounds and Laurel offer live racing on the Thursday holiday and lead into a very important, late-season weekend in Kentucky, New York, California and Maryland.
Rich Strike will try to make a final stomp for the 3-year-old championship when he takes on older horses in Friday’s Clark. A second Grade 1 score on the campaign, joining his run for the roses in May, will give voters something to think about when deciding the title. Travers winner and Derby/Preakness runner-up Epicenter would appear the favorite at this point.
Thanksgiving Week includes five stakes at Laurel Park in Maryland split between Friday and Saturday. Among those races is Saturday’s $100,000 Richard W. Small Stakes, which matches recent Maryland Million Classic winner Ournationonparade against star Maryland-bred Cordmaker, who looks to top the $1 million mark in career earnings with a top-3 placing. At Del Mar, four straight days with graded stakes features are slated Thursday through Sunday, including the Grade 2, $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup on Friday.

What To Watch For This Week

Tampa Bay Downs opens Wednesday this week for its winter-spring season … Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2 will be offered Thursday through Sunday, including at 1/ST BET and Xpressbet, with wagers accepted on 40 parimutuel betting interests … Late Saturday night on the east coast,  wager on the prestigious Group 1, $7.5 million Japan Cup from Tokyo Racecourse … Churchill Downs completes its Fall Meet on Sunday before the Kentucky racing action shifts next week to the synthetic track at Turfway Park. Mandatory payouts in all multi-race bets will be in play Sunday at Churchill Downs.


Friday Weekend Firestarter

Dicey Mo Chara finally gets a chance to lengthen back to a mile and one-half on turf in Friday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar (Race 7). Runner-up over this trip in March at Santa Anita, he’s consistently come with his run in subsequent races at shorter distances. He missed by a half-length in the Del Mar Handicap at one-eighth of a mile shorter and is a two-time winner over the course. Look for Dicey Mo Chara to make the last move a winning one Friday.

1/ST BET App Top Handicapping Tracks of Week

The free 1/ST BET app allows you to apply millions of data points across dozens of handicapping factors in mere seconds and immediately place your wagers. Here’s where the artificial intelligence was most dialed-in last week by win percentage:

47% Charles Town 
38% Mahoning Valley 
38% Finger Lakes 
35% Del Mar 
35% Golden Gate Fields

Tracks With Most Reliable Favorites Last Week (By Win %) 
54% Mahoning Valley 
53% Charles Town 
43% Mountaineer 
41% Woodbine 
40% Gulfstream

Tracks That Were Longshot Havens Last Week (Most Winners 10-1 or More) 
8 Aqueduct 
7 Parx 
6 Laurel 
5 Remington 
5 Churchill Downs

America’s Hot Jockeys Last Week 
Victor Santiago (6-15, 40%) // Hawthorne 
Julio Hernandez (6-17, 35%) // Penn National, Laurel 
Miguel Vasquez (7-25, 28%) // Gulfstream  
Joseph Ramos (7-27, 26%) // Indy 
Reylu Gutierrez (6-23, 26%) // Churchill, Fair Grounds, Indy

America’s Hot Trainers Last Week 
Vladimir Cerin (4-5, 80%) // Del Mar, Golden Gate, Turf Paradise 
John Robb (5-10, 50%) // Laurel 
Rohan Crichton (4-8, 50%) // Gulfstream Park 
Chris Englehart (7-17, 41%) // Finger Lakes, Aqueduct 
Bret Calhoun (6-20, 30%) // Churchill, Fair Grounds, Remington

November Sweepstakes Rolls On

Throughout November, every bet at 1/ST BET and Xpressbet enters players into random drawings at month’s end worth $20,000. Top prize is a $1,000 wagering credit.

– Statistics courtesy Betmix