DO NOT sign the petition that the ODTHA and Colonial Downs is spreading! The “Old Dominion Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association” is Colonial Downs’ made up group that they incorporated to sign a contract with themselves! Colonial Downs has been in the news media lying to the public about their contract dispute with the current horsemen’s group known as the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association or VHBPA. Colonial Downs has been playing the victim in the contract dispute claiming the horsemen won’t sign a contract which shuts down their thoroughbred simulcast operation. Virginia does not allow wagering on horse racing without a significant amount of live race days. Colonial Downs would love to eliminate live racing and only operate off track wagering parlors. Live racing cost them money and cuts into their profits so it’s understandable why a betting parlor operation would not want to fund live racing if they were allowed to accept wagers without it. If there was no live racing, then there would be no racing to bet on and many people lose jobs who are on the racing side of the industry. Colonial Downs is also not telling you that they are very profitable with their online wagering business. They conveniently leave that out of the discussions when they claim to be losing money.

Colonial Downs wanted to sign a contract for 6 days of racing and that was unacceptable to Virginia horsemen. Then Colonial Downs said they were willing to host 17 days of racing with 3 days of stakes races, but would not open the backside for stabling and training. How is that going to work when a lot of their horses come to stable and train from Florida and Maryland? What they are also not telling you is that they want most of the purse money to be designated to the 3 days of racing that does not stay in our local economy. This leaves little money left to spread over the 17 days of racing that most of us rely on.

What people may not realize is that there are many people who breed, raise and train horses to race in Virginia and without a race track, their business is crippled. This trickles down to the farmers who grow oats, hay and straw. The feed stores lose as well because there are less horses to feed. The blacksmith who puts shoes on the horses loses work. The tack shop that supplies bridles, supplements, medications and saddles is losing. The local veterinarians lose clients. The person who makes a living transporting the horses is now out of work. There are so many people involved in the thoroughbred horse racing industry that will be out of work if Colonial Downs fails to keep there promise to the Virginia horsemen.

“The Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (VHBPA) is a non-profit membership organization that represents thoroughbred owners and trainers who race at Colonial Downs. The VHBPA negotiates with the management and ownership of Colonial for race days, dates, and purses, and also provides educational, recreational, health, counseling, and religious programs for back stretch workers.” – http://VHBPA.org     


Can California Chrome win, what has turned out to be the biggest race of his life, on Saturday? The Kentucky Derby win made a trainer’s dream come true and now, beyond his wildest dreams, his colt could make horse racing history by winning the Triple Crown. California Chrome’s Preakness Stakes win has put this 3 year old colt in position to make horse racing history! A thoroughbred has not been able to win all three races since Affirmed, 36 years ago in 1978. This elusive feat makes for long odds, but the morning line handicapper feels California Chrome deserves odds at 3/5. Looking at the form, I would make this underdog turned super horse the favorite too, but he is the target for the rest of the field. I give him 2/1 to win the Triple Crown. Those are still great odds to win three major grade 1 stakes races in a row.

Here are the Free Past Performances for the Belmont Stakes 2014. Go California Chrome!

Brisnet Past Performances: http://www.crockerracingstable.com/data/Belmont_Stakes_Free_PP_Brisnet.pdf

Daily Racing Form Past Performances: http://www.crockerracingstable.com/data/Belmont_Stakes_Free_PP_DRF_2014.pdf

Equibase Past Performances: http://www.crockerracingstable.com/data/Belmont_Stakes_Free_PP_Equibase.pdf

The horses in this race have been strategizing and training to beat California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes. They know California Chrome’s running style and may be able to exploit a weakness, if the has one. If this horse can pace the 1 1/2 mile distance, then he should have it in the bag. This horse has had problems at the break and he crossed the wire in the Derby, just before he got run down by the competition. After all, he only won by a 1 1/2 length in the Kentucky Derby and 1 3/4 in the Preakness. That certainly leaves room for an error on California Chrome’s part and an improvement from Ride On Curlin or Commanding Curve. Even though Social Inclusion placed 3rd to California Chrome in the Preakness, he couldn’t sustain a strong run. He is lightly raced and his workouts are nothing to write home about. He only worked 3f in preparation for the Belmont. Someone tell the trainer that this race is 1 1/2 miles, not 5f. Wicked Strong has published three works, one being a mile and the other two 5 furlongs. This trainer seems a little more serious about winning the Belmont Stakes. Samraat has 3 works with two of those being a mile. I can work my 5k claimers a few miles, but that doesn’t make him strong enough to beat this group of three years olds. It does tell me this horse is sound and serious about making up some ground in the Belmont. Although it may be too little, too late, for most of these horses. Ride On Curlin worked 7 furlongs on June 1st and nothing impressive from Commanding Curve. I do think Ride On Curlin could be a threat and possibly Wicked Strong this time, but we will see on Saturday. Some say the jockey, Victor Espinoza, throttled California Chrome down, but others say he tired. It’s hard to tell if the jockey is simply using every ounce of Chrome in his stretch run or if the horse is tiring as a few of his rivals come at him strong. He looked superior in the Preakness, but his stronger Kentucky Derby rivals are back for the challenge. It’s been said California Chrome had shown signs of wear, but running races like these are bound to take something out of a horse. This horse certainly has been running on heart since his breeding is modest and his training is light. The trainer, Art Sherman, has backed off his fast paced gallops and he has only worked 4 furlongs since the Preakness Stakes. Will he be a little rusty taking it easy for three weeks or will being fresh pay off? I hope the easy, 4 furlong work will be enough to keep this horse sharp enough to win the Belmont Stakes. This race has always been the true test of a champion thoroughbred and Saturday the world will finally know if California Chrome is an iron horse by winning the Tripe Crown.

GOES LIVE MONDAY, MAY 19th @ 10:00 a.m. TUNE IN!

Tune into this YouTube Channel for a live broadcast of the Colonial Downs, Va Horsemen and Virginia Racing Commission meeting to find out if Colonial Downs will follow state law and accept what the Virginia Racing Commission has ordered. The Virginia Horsemen, HBPA, has compromised away from a 8 and 7 week request, down to a 5 week contract agreement that Colonial Downs refuses to sign to this point, even though it has been ordered by the Virginia Racing Commission. They may lose their license to operate para mutual wagering in the state of Virginia if they do not sign this contract Monday, May 19th 2014.

This race didn’t come up so easy for Kentucky Derby winner, California Chrome. Even though he is the 3/5 morning line favorite, going into the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the triple crown, don’t be so sure he can’t be beat.
Social Inclusion has only three starts, but has room for improvement if experience was any question. He may have his front running style going against him if California Chrome can sit right off his hip and make a power move in the stretch to wear him down. Social Inclusion could hook California Chrome and we could see them both go head to head in a speed duel, ruining the chances for both, as the pacers conserve their energy.
Pablo Del Monte is not joke either. He looks like he could get better. He seems to have an even run based on his previously run route races and set the pace in his last start, in the G1 Blue Grass Stakes, where ran 3rd by 3 1/2. His best races look to be on the turf and synthetic, so maybe he will upset back on the dirt. All his recent workouts have been on synthetic as well, so this is a tough one to call.
Calvin Borel jumped off a 10-1, Ride On Curlin, to ride a 30-1 filly, Ria Antonia, who lost the Kentucky Oaks by 16 lengths. I think Borel, aboard Ride On Curlin, spotted the Kentucky Derby field too many lengths, even though he has been very successful with this riding style. Maybe just the name Curlin haunts him after a mistake he made, on Street Sense, gave Curlin just enough to nose him out of a triple crown dream. If Borel can’t figure out a perfect trip with Ride On Curlin, then I don’t think the new rider will.

Kid Cruz loves Laurel Park and Pimlico as he has won his last two stakes races at those tracks with Julian Pimentel, a hometown jockey favorite. Kid Cruz has not won a graded stakes, but there is a first time for everything.
Bayern has only 4 previous starts to go by, but has won a graded stakes. His pace setting style may hurt him here as this will be the toughest group he will face to date. Jockey Rosie Napravnik began her successful career in Maryland, so she may know how the pace at Pimlico should set up better than anyone.
General a Rod was not kept close enough to the pace in the Kentucky Derby, but ran pretty even. Even if he sets up closer this time, he still may not have enough to fend off a powerful California Chrome, who dominated the stretch in the Derby.
I would watch out for Ring Weekend and Social Inclusion, but I may change my opinion in the morning. The concern I have about California Chrome is no workouts published since the derby, not even a 3/8th move. The lack of speed work seems to be working for this trainer, but I think to ultimately win the triple crown, this horse needs some honing. This guy has been doing right by this horse to this point so I’ll just shut up now and hope this horse can go all the way. I’m going to jump on the California Chrome bandwagon for the win, but not going to bet him since there is really no value there.

Get the Preakness Stakes Past performances FREE here courtesy of Brisnet and Equibase. Here are links for easy download. Enjoy!

Equibase: https://www.equibase.com/rotw/fullpp.pdf
Brisnet: http://www.brisnet.com/php/bw_pdf_viewer.php?track=PIM&race=12&param1=4380&param2=1241&param3=1933440

#20 Wicked Strong, #4 Danza, #1 Vicar’s In Trouble. My #Longshot, CROCKER SHOCKER PICK™ could be #10 Wildcat Red! California Chrome going to choke outside his home state. #KentuckyDerby Free Kentucky Derby Form for the whole race card. http://www.brisnet.com/php/bw_pdf_viewer.php?track=CD&race=11&param1=3740&param2=204&param3=1484318Image

There is still a glowing ember hoping to ignite Virginia racing in 2014. As of April 2014, the Virginia horsemen’s group, not the Colonial Downs horsemen’s group, agreed to a 5 week meet like Colonial Downs hosted in 2013. The state told Colonial Downs that their para mutual wagering license was in jeopardy, if they didn’t agree to at least the same meet that was run last year. It’s simple, no racing, no license for Colonial Downs. Colonial Downs has not yet publically responded to this arrangement, but has until May 7th, at the next Virginia Racing commission meeting, to do so. Even though this deal brings us right back to where we started, it would be something for the horsemen that look forward to running their Virginia breds and turf horses. I’m not happy with it, especially since I retired my Va bred because of all this, but maybe he can make the last week of the meet. I also feel Colonial Downs still get’s their way. Maybe at least this was a hard lesson for Colonial Downs, which cost them well over a million dollars. The only thing that could save them is, if they agreed to the horsemen’s compromise and get up and running for wagering on the Kentucky Derby.

The impact of the standoff could reduce the quality of the meet as the purse structure could be as much as 30% lower, if not more. If reasonable prizes are not offered, then the field sizes could drop considerably as well. It is hard to speculate how much purse money the track has actually lost for the Virginia horsemen, while playing hard ball, but we will soon find out if Colonial Downs agrees to what’s now on the table. If they don’t agree to this, then it’s very possible Virginia racing will be gone in the state for a while. There are also talks about having a Virginia meet in Maryland. It obviously won’t be the same as far as turf goes, but at least Virginia breds will have an opportunity to run for breeder’s and owner bonuses. At this point, the Virginia horsemen have not lost nearly as much as Colonial Downs. In all actuality Virginia horsemen have not lost anything at this point, since they would be running their horses in neighboring states at this time of year anyway. For all the people who love horses and the sights and the sounds of the race track, we can only hope racing can get back the way it was in Old Virginny when the whole summer was dedicated to the sport of kings. The ball is in your court, Colonial Downs. The horsemen gave in to your original offer, what are you going to do?