Posts tagged with "horse racing"

The Best Spots to Visit in Cheltenham

In the UK, the county of Gloucestershire is known for its docks, ancient Roman history, and of course, Double Gloucester cheese! However, one of its most popular spots for both tourists and locals is Cheltenham. A large spa town on the edge of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham is an affluent and beautiful area with lots to offer for anyone traveling to the UK. Due to its popularity, there are a few places that have become iconic to the area, and this list is a great starting point for anyone looking to have a memorable journey.

Restaurants

Thanks to the Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival, there is no shortage of culinary delights to explore in the town. In terms of restaurants, Cheltenham is home to a varied selection that is sure to satisfy any diner. However, our pick would have to be Lumiere. Opened in 2009 and located just off the famous Promenade, Lumiere showcases the best of British with menus that change to match the best ingredients of each season. It’s tucked away from the bustle of the town and provides a welcoming, relaxing atmosphere as well as its 3 AA Rosette Award-winning food.

Activities

One of Cheltenham’s most famous events is their annual Festival which is centered around the iconic racetrack. A place for royalty and regulars to come together and enjoy the sport, the racecourse is a fantastic venue for social events in its own right. If you are a newcomer to horseracing, you needn’t worry because Cheltenham betting is very accessible now, with odds, tips, and racecourse information all available at the click of a button. The prestige of the racecourse will guarantee that you have a day out that’s fit for the Queen, and you may even get lucky with some wins too!

Historical Sites

Cheltenham is rich in its history, being first recorded in 803, and in 1226 was awarded a market charter that solidified its status as a town. The discovery of the mineral springs in 1716 transformed Cheltenham into a spa holiday and health town, which means there are plenty of historical sites that would pique the interest of tourists. The Pittville Pump Room is probably the best place to take in the atmosphere of the Regency Era heyday that Cheltenham experienced thanks to its spa status. It also overlooks Pittville Park, home to beautiful grounds and lakes that are perfect for summer picnics with family or just lounging in the sun.

Shopping

In more recent years, Cheltenham has become famous for its shopping – in particular, its high-end brands and luxury boutiques. It has five main shopping districts, including the pedestrianized Promenade which is home to a bi-monthly Farmer’s Market where you can sample local delicacies and buy art and jewelry from local creators. In December, the market is extended to ten days and is a winter wonderland that is certain to get you in a Christmassy mood!

Whatever you are interested in, this historic British town has something for you, and its central location means that there are plenty of places to visit once you’ve had your fill!

7 Noteworthy Figures in North American Horse Racing

Horse racing dates back to the year 1665, with the first racing event in North America being supervised by New York’s colonial governor, Richard Nicolls. The subsequent years saw many rising in the game, including jockeys, horse breeders, and ranchers. 

Businessmen like Eugene Melnyk came into the horse racing industry as a breeder and raised reputable horses. His prowess and progress in the field are only well explained on his website. North American horse racing jockeys were the most noteworthy figures.

Over the years, the jockeys rose and shone in the game that brought both the affluent and impoverished together. So, who are these noteworthy figures in the North American horse racing industry? Let’s find out below.

The Remarkable Figures of the North American Horse Racing Industry

Many notable persons behind the scenes made sure the North American horse racing industry ran smoothly. However, the most visible figures are the horse racing jockeys. Let’s have a look at some of them below.

  1. Angel Cordero Jr. 

With an 18% winning percentage and over $167,570,000 total earnings, Angel Cordero Jr. became the most famous jockey originating to originate from Puerto Rico. He was the only person from Puerto Rico to win each of the Triple Crown.

He won the Kentucky derby thrice. This earned him a space in history books as one of the eight jockeys who have ever won the Race of the Roses three or more times. 

Cordero had an accident that saw him retire in 1992 but still pulled together in 1995 when he held his farewell race. He earned an induction into the National Museum of Racing and the Hall of Fame in 1988.

  1. Laffit A. Pincay Jr. 

Laffit Pincay Jr. was one jockey to watch, and his fellow competitors knew it. His resume was impressive, with 9,350 first-place finishes, a 20% winning percentage, and over $237,120,000 total earnings. 

He began his professional racing career in North America in 1966 after successful immigration from his native country, Panama. He has had a remarkable winning record in his racing career, which saw him gather the following winnings:

  • The Kentucky Derby in 1984
  • The Belmont Stakes in 1982, ’83, and ’84
  • The Santa Anita Derby seven times

Later on, he got inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1975 after he had retired.

  1. Russell A. Baze

Russell prides himself in a vibrant horse racing resume having finished first-place 12,842 times with a 24% winning percentage and bagging more than $199,334,000. He began his racing career back in 1974 and only recently hung his saddle in 2016.

When finishing his career, he decided to do it in a winning style. He made the most winnings there ever have been in the North American Thoroughbred Horse Racing history. He achieved these historical wins in December 2006. 

While making the historic wins in 2006, he was already on an impressive winning mission where he led all North American jockeys with 13 wins from 1992 to 2014. The Vancouver native was officially honored by an induction into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1999.

  1. Chris J. McCarron 

Chris J. McCarron is remembered for his stellar performance in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. As many jockeys struggle to win one Breeders’ Cup Classic, the case was different for McCarron. He did win the race a quintet of times between 1988 and 2001. 

With 7,141 first-place finishes, 21% winning probabilities, and a total earning of $263,986,000, Chris became a household name in the North American horse racing duel. Some wonder why he has one of the highest total purses amounts the horse race has ever seen, but not until they see more of his achievements which include: 

  • Two victories at the Kentucky Derby
  • Two victories at the Belmont Stakes
  • Two victories at the Preakness Stakes

Chris McCarron was later, in 1989, inducted into the National Museum of Racing and the Hall of Fame. 

  1. Pat Day

Triple Crown Races were some of the coveted prizes in the North American horse racing championships. However, not all jockeys could pride themselves in winning as much as Day won in the Triple Crown. Day won nine Triple Crown races in his entire career, putting him in the spotlight as one of the most successful racers.

His 8,803 first-place finishes, 22% winning percentage, and a lump sum of more than $297,914,800 as total earnings bring him to the coveted list of successful jockeys. He also found great success at the Breeders’ Cup Classic, winning four times over 15 years. 

Pat Day had his induction into the National Museum of Racing and the Hall of Fame in 1991.

  1. Bill Shoemaker 

Bill Shoemaker, popularly known as ‘The Shoe,’ started his riding career while a teenager back in 1949. Shoemaker is famously remembered for his 11 Triple Crown overall race wins and four Kentucky Derby wins. 

He achieved his Triple Crown race wins with the help of ten different horses. Damascus was the most successful one of the ten horses, helping him win two top 11 Triple Crown races. The two races he won while riding Damascus were the Belmonte Stakes and the Preakness Stakes in 1967. 

Shoemaker held the title of top winner in North American horse racing for 29 years in his entire career. He managed 8,833 first-place finishes, a total of $123,375,524 earnings, and maintained a 22% win rate. 

Before retiring as a jockey in 1990, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and the Hall of Fame in 1958.

  1. Russell Baze 

While he may not be as high-profile as the other jockeys on the list, he boasts of the most winnings in the North American horse races. He managed about 13,000 first-place finishes in his career, at a 25% winning rate and more than $199,334,200.

He holds the record of most winners in a season and is a ten-time American champion jockey. He mastered the art of winning so much so that he could partner to victory, one of every four racehorses he rode on in his career. 

He might not have had a success story in the Triple Crown or Breeders’ Cup races, but he is worth the honors he received. However, he did participate in the Kentucky Derby and other Grade 1 races. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and the Hall of Fame in 1999. 

Final Words

Current Jockeys, investors, and horse breeders have much work to do to match the quality of work those who went ahead of them did. Investor and horse breeder, Eugene Melnyk, has done great already in his quest to see the North American horse racing sports continue. Upcoming jockeys are also doing a commendable job to make the sport exciting and competitive.

2021 Could Be A Record-Breaking Year In Horse Racing

There is so much to look forward to in 2021 around the world in horse racing. Over in the UK, it is just weeks until two of the biggest National Hunt meetings in the sport, the Cheltenham Festival, and the Grand National. Over in the States, the best three-year-olds will begin their Triple Crown campaigns.

Here is a look at where history can be made this year with some storylines you do not want to miss.

Al Boum Photo’s Gold Cup Hat-Trick

As you can see from the Cheltenham race results, Al Boum Photo has won the last two renewals of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, so goes into this year’s contest looking for a hat-trick.

Watch video HERE.

Not many horses in the history of the Cheltenham feature have won it on three occasions. Since 1960, only Arkle and Best Mate have managed that feat, so Al Boum Photo would be joining great company. Willie Mullins’ runner made a winning return to action in Savills New Year Day Chase at Tramore earlier this year, so a triple win could be looking promising. Al Boum Photo also tops the betting to prevail in the Blue Riband event in the sport again on March 19.

Tiger Roll Bidding For Grand National History

A month after the Cheltenham Festival, the Grand National takes center stage at Aintree. There is one horse people will be talking about ahead of this year’s race and that is Tiger Roll. The 2018 and 2019 winner will be vying to become only the second horse to win the marathon contest three times.

The great Red Rum won his third Grand National in 1977, in what was his fifth appearance in the race. This will be Tiger Roll’s third run in the world’s most famous steeplechase, so his achievement would arguably be even greater.

Like Red Rum in the 70s, Tiger Roll has a huge fan following. He is currently the +1400 favorite with the bookmakers after being handed a weight allocation of 11st 9lb by the handicapper. Only three horses in the race have been given more weight than the reigning champion, so he faces a tough task ahead.

Bob Baffert Could Win Seventh Kentucky Derby

Watch video HERE.

Legendary US trainer Bob Baffert matched Ben Jones’ record of six Kentucky Derby wins in 2020. Authentic prevailed at Churchill Downs in the race which is considered to be the “two most exciting two minutes in sports.”

Baffert has had some excellent three-year-olds in his yard over the last three decades. It will be interesting to see who the next star could be from his barn. The early evidence suggests that it could be Life Is Good who is the ante-post favorite for the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

Life Is Good made a winning start to his career at Santa Anita back in January. He looked a smart prospect when claiming the Grade Three Sham Stakes in a 1m contest. Big things are expected from the colt who may have a good chance of becoming the latest Triple Crown winner in the US.

Hopefully, 2021 lives up to be a great year in horse racing and at the end of it, there will be a number of champions who go down in the history books in the sport.

Horse and Jockey illustration by Ivory Rowen

A New Day For Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is the Run For The Roses. It’s about mint juleps, gloriously-oversized hats and singing My Old Kentucky Home.

It’s known as the fastest two minutes in sports.

And it’s always held the first Saturday in May, contested in front of the famous twin spires at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

Well, almost always.

Among the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic is the Kentucky Derby’s status as the launching pad to Triple Crown glory in thoroughbred horse racing. When racing in the state of Kentucky was put on hiatus during the coronavirus lockdown, among the events shelved was the Derby.

Instead, the Kentucky Derby will now be contested on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, as the entire Triple Crown order was juggled and reorganized. This year, it was the Belmont Stakes, normally the third jewel in the Triple Crown, that set the stage. The Belmont moved from June 6 to June 20. 

The Derby will serve as the middle leg in this triumvirate of races to determine the legacy of the world’s best three-year-old thoroughbreds. The Preakness Stakes, normally a mid-May race and the second leg of the Triple Crown, could potentially crown a Triple Crown winner for the first time ever when it completes the 2020 Triple Crown circuit at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore on Oct. 3.

It’s just the second time in history that the Derby was rescheduled. In 1945, the Derby was moved from May 5 to June 9 due to World War II. 

A Different Challenge

The Triple Crown is considered the most daunting quest in horse racing, and since just 13 horses have managed to win all three of its races, certainly the mark of a true champion.

Normally a rugged five-week grind, this year’s Triple Crown is requiring an entirely different approach for those who condition the world’s best three year olds.  

“Would have preferred the traditional Triple Crown but we are all just trying to get through this,” two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert told Sports Illustrated. “Glad they didn’t cancel them. It will still be very exciting races and probably tougher because of the time between races.”

Interesting that Baffert, who’s sent out Triple Crown winners American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018), finds the longer time frame between races to be a more difficult challenge but there’s good reason for that. 

At the age of three, a racehorse is still physically maturing. Just like kids, some get there earlier in the year, while others are late bloomers. The horse that finished up the track in June at the Belmont, or was in fact not yet ready for prime time, could be in prime condition when the Preakness rolls around in October. 

As well, champion race horses tend to operate like world-class race cars. They can go out of tune very easily and lose their winning edge in the blink of an eye. 

Rule Of Law

Tiz The Law was established as the horse to beat and the only one left with a shot at the Triple crown off his impressive victory in the Belmont at Belmont Park. Across the board in the current Kentucky Derby Vegas odds, the Barclay Tagg trainee owned by the Sackatoga Stable is listed as the 5-2 favorite. The same trainer-owner tandem teamed up to win the 2013 Derby with Funny Cide. 

Eleven weeks is a long stretch between races, though. A lot can happen in such a lengthy passage of time. Tiz The Law is expected to tune up for the Derby by competing in the $1 million Travers Stakes for three year olds on Aug. 8 at Saratoga Race Course. Interestingly, only Whirlaway (1941) has ever been able to win both the Triple Crown and the Travers Stakes.

Another contender to keep an eye on is Santa Anita Derby winner Honor A.P. The John Shirreffs trainee is at 5-1 in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Shirreffs sent out 2005 Derby victor Giacomo at odds of 50-1.

Perennial contender Baffert, who’s won the Derby on five occasions, has four contenders listed among the Derby future book. A name to keep an eye on could be Uncle Chuck (20-1). He posted a four-length victory for Baffert in Saturday’s $150,000 Los Alamitos Derby.

You Can Leave Your Hat On

While the Belmont was contested without spectators, the Derby remains hopeful that its annual festival of outlandish headgear will continue unabated. However, the race that normally draws an attendance in excess of 100,000 will be conducted under strict guidelines to limit crowd density due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following consultation with Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and state and local health officials, Churchill Downs has agreed to reduce the capacity permitted in general admission, outdoor reserved seating, premium dining and the track’s suites. Those in attendance will be strongly encouraged to wear masks, practice social distancing and to wash and sanitize their hands frequently.

The Kentucky Derby is one of those events on every hardcore sports fan’s bucket list, though. These restrictions have served to drive up ticket prices in the secondary market. Currently, the average price for Derby tickets is a reported $1,423 according to Ticket IQ.