Horse racing venues in New York, Kentucky, California shift this week

By Jeremy Plonk  (Xpressbet Editor-in-chief) 


America’s three premier horse racing circuits — New York, Kentucky and California — all will have a change of address this week with the opening of new meets at Aqueduct, Churchill Downs and Los Alamitos. The New York scene will call Aqueduct home until spring of 2023 because of construction at Belmont Park. The September meets at Churchill and Los Alamitos will be exclusively on dirt; turf racing has been shelved at Churchill because of course conditions and is unavailable at Los Al.

Churchill looks ahead to the 2023 Kentucky Derby in Saturday’s Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes for 2-year-olds, the first official Derby points chase race. Aqueduct offers $1.7 million for its Jockey Club Derby and Jockey Club Oaks on turf for 3-year-olds Saturday. But it’s the $1 million Woodbine Mile near Toronto that will garner the North American spotlight. The Woodbine Mile — featuring last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Modern Games via his home base in the UK — is one of five graded stakes races over the weekend at Canada’s premier racing venue.

For those betting Woodbine this weekend, here are the key local stakes stats for stakes races over the past local seasons.


Percentage of winning stakes favorites: 40.5%

Average win odds in stakes: 4.49-1

Hot stakes trainers: Mark Casse (56-317, 18%), Robert Tiller (9-32, 28%), Stuart Simon (8-35, 23%), Mike Trombetta (7-29, 24%), Josie Carroll (19-123, 15%).

Hot stakes jockeys: Rafael Hernandez (43-186, 23%), Patrick Husbands (32-160, 20%), Justin Stein (25-174, 14%), Kazushi Kimura (23-170, 14%).

What to watch for this week

Del Mar’s 2022 summer season wrapped Sunday with a record average daily handle of $18.68 million. … Tracks concluding their seasons this weekend include Canterbury Park (Saturday) as well as Monmouth (Sunday) and Emerald Downs (Sunday). … Gulfstream Park features the Our Dear Peggy Stakes for 2-year-old fillies Saturday, while Golden Gate Fields presents the Golden Gate Fields Turf Distaff.

Friday weekend firestarter

A 50% profit at Pimlico on Friday gave us three straight winning weeks in this space, so here’s to making it four in a row as we stick to the home of the Preakness. In Friday’s Race 7 at Pimlico, #1A Wentz is a solid play. Offspring of Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver have a remarkable 31% win rate on the Pimlico main track with a wild $1.36 ROI for every $1 bet. Wentz’s only prior local try was in a major stakes race on the 2019 Preakness undercard when fourth. Expect him to be very tough against this level of competition for high-percentage trainer Jamie Ness.

1/ST BET App top handicapping tracks of the 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:

50% Monmouth Park

50% Arizona Downs

47% Presque Isle Downs

46% Penn National

43% Assiniboia Downs

Tracks with most reliable favorites last week (by win %)

52% Assiniboia Downs

50% Pimlico

50% Presque Isle Downs

47% Thistledown

46% Canterbury Park

Tracks that were long-shot havens last week (most winners 10-1 or more)

7 Woodbine

7 Kentucky Downs

6 Del Mar

5 Remington Park

5 Colonial Downs

America’s hot jockeys last week

Juan Gutierrez (6-15, 40%) at Emerald Downs

Thiago Canuto (7-20, 35%) at Belterra Park, Kentucky Downs

Marshall Mendez (7-20, 35%) at Charles Town

Irad Ortiz Jr. (14-41, 34%) at Saratoga, Kentucky Downs, Colonial Downs

Ry Eikleberry (6-18, 33%) at Canterbury Park

America’s hot trainers last week

Devon Gittens (4-7, 57%) at Assiniboia Downs

Yendri Pena (4-8, 50%) at Mountaineer

Joel Berndt (6-13, 46%) at Canterbury Park

Flint Stites (4-9, 44%) at Penn National, Pimlico, Charles Town, Presque Isle

Kathleen Crook-Demasi (4-9, 44%) at Penn National, Parx, Monmouth

$20,000 September Sweepstakes

Horseplayers who bet on 1/ST BET and Xpressbet in September are entered into drawings every time they make a bet on either platform. Each wager provides a contest entry into the random drawings at month’s end that will give away a total of $20,000 in wagering credits across various prize amounts.

— Statistics courtesy Betmix


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