Blue Grass, Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial Saturday

The Kentucky Derby picture will come into focus by sundown Saturday as three major prep races, the Blue Grass at Keeneland, Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita and the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct will have been run. Each race rewards the winner with 100 Derby-qualifying points which is a green light to the Derby starting gate. Second is 40 points, third 20 and fourth 10. Just one 100 point race, next week’s Arkansas Derby, remains.

Only 20 horses qualify for the Derby so the points matter, especially for a horse like Keepmeinmind, trained by Robertino Diodoro.  The colt is #20 on the Derby list now and will run in the Blue Grass. He will need to run well to make the gate and may need the points. There are many stacked up behind him that are also racing. Derby Fever is real. An owner that has a 3-year-old with sufficient points will more likely than not take that shot which means some are on the outside looking in.

The Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest features all 11 races on the Keeneland program plus the other two prep races, which along with the Blue Grass offer double contest points.  The rules for this free-to-enter contest are here.

Deadline to enter is first post at Keeneland at noon.

Blue Grass entries

Santa Anita Derby entries

Wood Memorial entries

Saturday Racebook Action Starts Early, Runs Late

International racing begins Saturday at 6AM with Dubai World Cup Super Saturday from Meydan with multiple ‘Group’ races previewing the March 27 Dubai World Cup program.  The Racebook opens for self-service betting at 5:45AM. The Club Info Center will open at 7AM.

The excitement and wagering opportunities continue all day and into the evening when Los Alamitos runs an eight-race card that includes three trials for the Los Alamitos Oaks.

Week six of the free-to-enter Road to Kentucky Handicapping Tournament will feature all 12 races at Tampa Bay Downs including the Tampa Bay Derby. Additional contest bonus races are the San Felipe, where prominent Derby contender Life Is Good is entered, as well as The Gotham from Aqueduct.  Road to Kentucky pays weekly prize money which means each week is a chance at cash. Full rules are HERE. Entry deadline will be first post at Tampa which is 11:15 AM.

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 & Kentucky Oaks Future Pool Friday-Sunday

Champion Essential Quality, off an impressive win Saturday, is the 7-2 Favorite in Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. The lone Kentucky  Oaks Future Wager is also open Friday through Sunday late afternoon. The  Oaks/Derby Future Double is also open at that time.

Here are the Derby and Oaks Pools morning lines.

Free Derby Pool 4 past performances from BRIS are also available.

Santa Anita Pick 6 Jackpot Force Out on Saturday

Play the Rainbow Pick 6 Mandatory Payout on Big ‘Cap Day, Saturday, March 6. The pool is estimated to approach $6,000,000! Here are the entries for a stakes-heavy Santa Anita program with first post of 2:00PM. The Pick Six begins with race 6 – the san Felipe and also includes the San Carlos, Kilroe Mile, and Santa Anita Handicap.

As of Thursday afternoon the Rainbow Pick 6 Single Ticket Jackpot Pool was at $580,061 and must payout on March 6.

Canterbury Eats Canterbury Eats Mobile App

Canterbury launched its mobile ordering app, Canterbury Eats, this week. Learn more here, sign up, and begin ordering from your phone while in the Racebook.

Track Openings Sure Sign of Spring
Hawthorne opens its thoroughbred meet on Saturday.
Remington Park begins its 49-day quarter horse meet on Sunday.

Road to Kentucky Contest Saturday; Saudi Cup Wagering Offered

While there are no Kentucky Derby prep races scheduled for this week, Canterbury’s Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest continues nonetheless, awarding cash weekly to the top five entrants as well as entry for the top three to an exclusive National Horseplayers Championship qualifier with a grand prize valued at $10,000.

The featured track Feb. 20 is Gulfstream Park with 12 races including the G3 Royal Delta Stakes. With no prep race there are no double-point bonus races. Congratulations to last week’s winner Craig Johnson as well as second and third-place finishers Greg Budnik and Tom Fozo. Gulfstream first post and contest entry deadline is 11:10 AM.

Canterbury’s Racebook opens well before that at 7 AM to offer wagering and viewing of the Saudi Cup races which includes the headliner $20m Saudi Cup, the world’s most valuable race. Charlaton, Knicks Go and Sleepy Eyes Todd are three of the 14 entered in the field. For more information about the race day check out the Saudi Cup website.

Thorough analysis is provided around the web. The USRacing website  has excellent profiles of the competitors for those looking for a deeper dive.

Fonner Park in Grand Island, Nebraska begins its spring meet Friday and will run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through May 1. Canterbury live meet players will find some horses and trainers at Fonner familiar to them. Last year when the pandemic was raging and tracks were shut down across the country, Fonner ran week days and capitalized on the lack of content, boosting handle to record levels and introducing gamblers to the wonders of a bull ring.

Star of the North, winner of the 2020 Northern Lights Debutante at Canterbury, recently won a stallion stakes at Sam Houston and is entered again to race in the next leg of that stallion series, a $75,000 sprint, on Saturday night in Houston. Ry Eiklebery rides the Minnesota bred filly owned and bred by Michael Grossman and trained by Francisco Bravo.


Laissez le bon temps rouler

Let the good times roll!

Saturday’s 13-race program at Fair Grounds in New Orleans is a Mardi Gras celebration on its own, just days before Fat Tuesday. Six stakes, four of them graded, make for a competitive feature track for the third week of the Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest.

The $400,000 Risen Star Stakes is a Kentucky Derby prep and has attracted 13 entries including Robertino Diodoro trainee Keepmeinmind. Factor This, owned by Minnesota Cutshall brothers, is entered in the G3 Fair Grounds Stakes.

First post at Fair Grounds and thus entry deadline for R2K is noon. An additional bonus prep race is on the slate as well: the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

It was reported Tuesday that Minnesota-bred filly Charlie’s Penny, winner of the Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds, will be scratched from the G2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes due to a hairline fracture of the shin. She is owned and bred by Robert Lothenbach of Wayzata.

Defending R2K Champion Josh Taarud finished third last week, confirming that he again is a serious contender. The weekly winner was Ben Monnens and  Bret ‘Bozo’ Hoffman was second.

Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager begins Friday and runs through Sunday afternoon. More information can be found here:

Something’s Gotta Give Saturday On Road to Kentucky

The annual Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest was off to a good start last Saturday. With plenty of room to spread out on both Clubhouse and Mezzanine levels, race fans were treated to a competitive day of racing including the R2K feature track Gulfstream Park.

Handicapper Michael Tindall earned 1,912 points in R2K to win the week and $200. Phil Marudas, yes THAT Phil Marudas, who in the early days of Canterbury was the prognosticator for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, scored 1,750 for second place and $150, while Michael Olson was third with 1,484 earning a $100 prize.

Those top three also earned Canterbury Handicapper of the Year points, three for first, two for second and one for third, which are awarded each of the 14 weeks.

This Saturday the Road stops at Tampa Bay Downs for the Sam F. Davis Stakes, a prep for that track’s premier race, the Tampa Bay Derby.  For those not familiar with the R2K contest, see below for the scoring system. There is an additional bonus race, the Withers from Aqueduct, in the contest. The nor’easter should have blown through by then and the track will be ready for a day of racing.

Tampa Bay Downs has an excellent card, 12 races in all, with three other stakes in addition to the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis: the Lambholm South Endeavour, a Grade 3 turf race; the Suncoast Stakes; and the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes on the grass.

Santa Anita has three graded stakes Saturday as well and Minnesota-bred stakes star Mr. Jagermeister is entered at Oaklawn in the King Cotton Stakes. The Racebook and Mezz level simulcast area open at 9:30 a.m.  R2K Entry deadline is first post at Tampa at 10:50 a.m.

Here is how the R2K scoring system works:

Entrants (players can enter once per week and cannot submit entries for others not present) select one horse in each race at the featured track and one horse in any additional bonus races. Entry cards will be distributed to entrants in the Racebook who then write the official program number of each selection in the designated slots.  Entry cards need to be submitted before the start of the featured track.

Points will be awarded based on the official outcome of the races based on the amount of points that equals the total dollar amount of the official mutuel return on each selection based on a mythical $20 across-the-board wager. For example:  Selection finishes first and the official mutuel results are as follows: $6.00 to win; $4.00 to place; $2.40 to show, the player will receive 124 points for that pick. If a selection finishes second and returns $15.00 to place and $8.80 to show, the player would receive 238 points.       The maximum points possible for win will be 600 points, for place 400 points and for show 200 points. The bonus races are doubled for scoring purposes.

Points are totaled and the best scores win.

Free To Enter Handicapping Contest Saturday

The Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest continues Saturday. There is no fee to enter. Prize money is paid to the top four players based on scores determined by the Win-Place-Show payouts of selections in each race at Saratoga.  In addition, the top two players earn an entry to the Grand Prize contest  which will award a $3 million National Handicappers Championship entry.

Saratoga has quite a card on Saturday, 11 races in all beginning at 12:10 p.m. There are four stakes on the program, including the G3 Saranac, the G2 Amsterdam, the G1 Forego and the G1 Win and You’re In Breeders’ Cup Turf Sword Dancer with a half a million dollar purse.

Road to Kentucky contest entry deadline is post time of the first race at Saratoga.

Kentucky Derby Day Tickets Available

Only eight day until the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby.  Although Churchill Downs will not have spectators, Canterbury Park will. There are capacity limits by Executive Order so anyone wishing to enter the grandstand that day will need a ticket. There are a few tickets remaining and they can be purchased with credit card or 500 MVP Rewards points here:

While limited capacity in not a great business model, what it does mean for guests is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy a wonderful day of simulcast racing. Churchill begins that morning at 10 a.m. Arrive before and enter the final Road to Kentucky Contest as well.

Those that can’t make it on the first Saturday in September can advance wager beginning Thursday at noon in the clubhouse or at the walk-up windows in the ticket office.

Road to Kentucky Contest Continues at Thistledown

Yes you read the headline correctly. Thistledown is the contest track, with the double-point Ohio Derby as the feature.  Post time and contest entry deadline is 11:20 am.

The Canterbury Racebook opens at 10:30 am. Make your free reservation to let us know you are coming here:

Just select date and time of arrival, provide name and phone number and submit. Bring a face mask. It is the times we are in and the regulations we operate under. Your cooperation is much appreciated.

While the entrants in the Ohio Derby are not household names there is one that race fans recognize: Storm the Court, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at 45 to 1 odds. He has not won since and really has not been close facing Nadal and Authentic. He may stand out here at 3 to 1 on the line but he has the 13 hole in a 1 1/8 mile race.  Contest victories are not made of chalk in the double-point race from the 13 post.

Here are the rules for this free-to-enter weekly contest:  RULES 

There is weekly money to be had and bucks paid for the best accumulated scores. The contest ran nine weeks before the COVID-19 closure and contestants earning points in those events retain those points and they will be added, minus the lowest score from those weeks, to the 10 best scores earned through Sept. 5 at the end of the contest.  We are working on finding an easy way to post those earlier scores.

Congrats to Terry O’Connor who housed the contest last week followed by Pamela Kight, Patrick Quinn and Tim Jacobson. They all earn cash.

Come on in. The racing is fine.

Three Derby Preps Saturday; R2K Handicapping Contest Features Tampa Bay Downs; Derby Future Pool 3 Opens Friday

Kentucky Derby prep races will be held from coast to the other Saturday with the Gotham at Aqueduct, the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs and the San Felipe at Santa Anita. Canterbury’s Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest will focus on the first 11 races at Tampa which begins at 11:15am but also includes the other preps. Always in this free weekly contest the Derby preps count as double points.  Find the contest details on the R2k webpage.  The entry box closes with the first race at Tampa at 11:15.

The Tampa Bay Derby is a major prep for the First Saturday in May. It drew a field of 12 featuring Sam F. Davis winner Sole Volante and Chance It, winner of the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream in January. Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. scratched Chance It from the Fountain of Youth due to his outside post and this Saturday has the four hole. The two will take the majority of the wagering action making others long odds for those looking to win the R2K contest with one fell swoop. The Tampa Bay Derby, one of five stakes on the card, is race 11.

Each Derby prep awards the top horses points and the 20 with the highest point totals can advance to the Kentucky Derby. The current leader is Ete Indien with 54 points, winner of last weekend’s Fountain of Youth Stakes but he will have company as each of the three preps Saturday will award 50 points to the winner.

The Grade 3 Gotham is the 10th race at Aqueduct with a 3:42 p.m. post and a field of 11. None of the entrants are included in this weekend’s Future Wager Pool 3 but the winner, despite his current credentials or lack thereof, will earn points sufficient to make the Derby field on May 2.  Mischevious Alex won the seven furlong Swale at Gulfstream by seven lengths. Based on his speed figure from the Swale, he should be one of the favorites in the Gotham. Flap Jack was the longshot winner of the Arlington Washington Futurity in September. He has been training at Fair Grounds and ships north to make his 2020 debut.

The San Felipe will also play an important role as Thousand Words, currently one of the top 3-year-olds, is entered along with Baffert stablemate Authentic, winner of the Sham Stakes. Storm the Court won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and is fourth on the Derby leaderboard. He ran fourth in the seven furlong San Vicente and needs to prove his BC win at 45 to 1 was not a fluke. All three are offered as betting interest in the Future Pool.

Anyone longing for the ‘old days’ when Santa Anita was king should appreciate the program assembled for Saturday. The 12-race card begins at 1:30pm. Four graded stakes include the San Felipe and the Big ‘Cap, the Santa Anita Handicap. Top to bottom the fields are full and the handle will be immense.

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3 this Weekend

The third Kentucky Derby win and exacta future wager pool opens Friday and is playable at the Canterbury Racebook through Sunday afternoon. The first Kentucky Oaks pool is also offered along with the Oaks / Derby Double Future Wager.

The opening odds sheet along with rules is available here.

Mr. Jagermeister In Action At Oaklawn

Minnesota bred Mr. Jagermeister is entered in Saturday’s $150,000 Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn. The tight yet competitive field of six will race six furlongs. Leandro Goncalves has the mount. They combined Feb. 8 for a win in the Phoenix Gold Cup for trainer Valorie Lund covering six furlongs at Turf Paradise in 1:08.

One-two finishers in the Feb. 8 King Cotton at Oaklawn, Share the Upside and Whitmore, are also entered. The pair met in last year’s Hot Springs and Whitmore had the upper hand beating Share the Upside by a length and a half.

Mr. Jagermeister has an allowance win at Oaklawn in 2019 and a second in a stake in 2018. He posted a workout over the surface on Sunday.

Fountain of Youth Saturday as R2K Handicapping Contest Continues

Week seven of the free-to-enter Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest continues Saturday in the Canterbury Racebook.  The feature track is Gulfstream Park. Those hoping to enter the contest should note the 10:30 a.m. start time and contest entry deadline. Post times at Gulfstream can be a moving target and this extra-early start is no exception. Early birds enter the contest!  Action in the Racebook starts at 7 a.m. anyway with the Saudi Cup card getting underway. See below for details on that event. Contest entry cards will be available at 10 a.m.

The $400,000 Fountain of Youth, an important stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby that almost assuredly places the winner in the Derby field of 20, has attracted 12 three-year-olds including the 2-1 morning line favorite Dennis’ Moment, unseen since stumbling and finishing last as the betting choice in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. The Fountain of Youth is race 14 on a 14 race program. For R2K contest purposes, the Derby prep provides double points in the mythical $20 WPS scoring system.

Check out the weekly winners and overall contest leaders by clicking here.

2020 Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year

One expects to see the surname Meyer in the top 10 of the Handicapper of the Year standings but it has for years been associated with the given name Bruce, six-time winner of HOY honors. Bruce Meyer is currently off the board but Adam Meyer, via second and third place finishes in weekly R2K contests, is tied for second with three points, just one behind Ron Hafner, the 2010 winner.

Handicapper of the Year points are awarded weekly in various contests. More information can be found HERE.

Stevens Nears 5,000th Win

Jockey Scott Stevens, a longtime member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame, is approaching his 5,000th career thoroughbred victory. Stevens, 59, is currently riding at Turf Paradise in Phoenix where he is second in the standings. He has 4,995 career thoroughbred wins and is named on two horses Saturday and three on Sunday.

Stevens’ overall win total, adding in recognized quarter horse, Arabian, and mixed breed races is 5,160, not including the countless times he out rode brother Gary in the backyard of their Idaho home in his youth.  Scott recorded his first thoroughbred win at Les Bois Park in 1976.

Racing from Saudi Arabia Friday and Saturday

Two days of racing, Feb. 28 and 29, from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia will be simulcast in the Racebook with the line-up listed below. Saturday is the $29.2 million Saudi Cup Day with $20m alone the purse for the Saudi Cup. Midnight Bisou will take on the boys, including 3-year-old Maximum Security, in the 1800 meter race that also attracted McKinzie and Mucho Gusto. Daily Racing Form has been providing extensive coverage of the Saudi Cup including THIS STORY by correspondent Brad Free.


No Derby Prep But Free Handicapping Contest Continues

This Saturday lacks a Kentucky Derby prep race but Canterbury’s Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest, with $850 in weekly prize money and $25,000 overall, continues nonetheless using Gulfstream Park’s 12-race program.  Post time in Florida, and thus the contest entry deadline, is 11am. There will be no double-point prep bonus race but the mythical $20 WPS scoring system remains intact.

Last Saturday featured Fair Grounds with its split Risen Star and the added El Camino Real from Golden Gate. Points were ample and the winning score was again huge. Roger Reigstad amassed 3,017 points to win $300 in prize money.

With just five weeks of results thus far it is too early to get excited about the overall scores but do keep in mind that to determine the top players’ accumulated scores, the lowest three weekly numbers will be deducted.  A bad week or two does end the dream.  There is cash for the top 30 overall and the best eight earn a coveted spot in the Grand Prize contest that will send a player to the $2.5 million National Handicapping Championship in 2021.

Horse Player World Series Satellite Results

With a total of 53 entries in last Saturday’s HPWS Satellite, two players won a trip to Las Vegas in March to play in the Horse Player World Series at The Orleans Hotel Casino. Ron Hafner finished first with Rick Dahl second. Each will play in this three-day handicapping event where the top prize is in the neighborhood of $300,000. Over the years, several local players have cashed in the HPWS. Canterbury has long been involved in sending players to HPWS; in fact the first Road to Kentucky contest, which pre dates the NHC, offered the winner an entry

Odds and Ends…..

Weekly $10 super satellite handicapping contests continue Thursday through Saturday with weekly winners earning entry to the April 11 satellite…… complementary soda is available in the Racebook via a dispensing machine located on the north end of the floor near the Homestretch Diner… racing fans may have noticed a story in last weekend’s Daily Racing Form where owner Danny Caldwell states that he plans to send his stable, trained by Frederico Villafranco, to Shakopee this meet. Caldwell has won several top owner titles at Oaklawn, Prairie Meadows and Remington.