News and Notes

the gate

Earlier this week it was announced that Canterbury Park and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (LLBO) signed a management agreement that would allow for simulcast horse racing at Northern Lights Casino in Walker, MN. The agreement must be approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission and the Minnesota Racing Commission before the simulcast operation would open. The approval process is expected to begin soon.

LLBO also signed a purse fund contribution agreement with Minnesota HBPA and the Minnesota Quarter Horse Racing Association that would use a portion of simulcast wagering revenue to increase purses.

There are racing fans across the state and many from the Twin Cities that vacation in Northern Minnesota that would find this beneficial should the management agreement be approved. It also has the potential to expose others to this sport.

The press release can be found here.

Road to Kentucky Contest – Golden Gate Fields

This Saturday’s free-to-enter handicapping contest features the El Camino Real and eight other races from Golden Gate Fields.

I can already hear the grumbling from those that don’t play the Gate….can’t play that track, the fields are short, favorites always win, Baze wins all the races, Hollendorfer can’t be beat etc etc.

Those folks are wrong.

Sure Baze wins a lot. He is currently at 30%. He is a master of his craft and has earned the mounts he gets and bettors get their money’s worth from him. He rides to the wire every time. The Muscle often gets over bet and loses. Why would that not be an advantage to the horseplayer? The Hall of Famer gets beat twice as often as not. In this contest format you need to play against the chalk (and yes the favorites win. The past two weeks of Road to Kentucky have proven that).

Saturday Baze rides seven of the nine races and is the morning line choice in three. He could win all three and three more. But he could lose seven and that is the way to play this. When you know he is short, play a price that can compete. Winning Road to Kentucky weekly prize money is about points not winners.

I guess I have a soft spot when it comes to Northern California racing in general and the El Camino Real. The race isn’t known for producing Kentucky Derby winners, or even contenders. But in 1992, an unknown female trainer and a little horse with a big engine named Casual Lies were a source of pride for those in the Bay Area. He was a 5-1 winner in the El Camino for trainer Shelley Riley and jockey Alan Patterson after most recently running third in the Hollywood Futurity behind A. P. Indy and Dance Floor.

The ambitious trainer knew she had a racehorse and ventured south again for the Santa Anita Derby where A. P. Indy had the upper hand. But a third place finish was good enough to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby. There was grumbling from race fans when Riley spun Patterson for Gary Stevens even though everyone knew it was the right move. Casual Lies finished second in the Derby, third in the Preakness and fifth in the Belmont. It was a hell of a story, chronicled in a book written by Riley: Casual Lies-A Triple Crown Adventure.