Category Archives: General

Belterra Park at a Glimpse – 2021 Racing Season

Belterra Park in Ohio sits less than a 1/16th of a mile from the original site of historic River Downs. A dirt mile oval with a 6 1/2f chute and a 7/8th turf course showcases live racing excitement from April 29th – October 7th, 2021 with the first post of 12:35 pm. The backdrop of the Ohio River and rolling hills of Kentucky make this oval a picturesque gem of Thoroughbred racing.

Here’s are some helpful tools that will give you an idea of what to look for, and how to watch and wager on the Belterra Park races.


Dirt and Turf 

Belterra Park has a one mile oval that plays kind to early speed especially during the dog days of summer. If there has been any rain in the forecast the night before or during the day, the track plays kind to stalkers and closing types. You’ll want to pay attention to announcements and updates on track conditions.

The turf has some tight turns but offers plenty of excitement as they cut the corner and turn for home on the sod. The grass plays kind to closers overall. You’ll see runners make a move into the far turn and swing out for the drive to the wire.


Top Riders

John McKee is a talented rider who excels on speed and closers equally well. He was the leading rider in 2020 and won at a 24% win clip on the dirt and 13% on the greensward. He is 45% ITM with favorites at Belterra.

Perry Ouzts will turn 67 years young this year and is the 6th leading rider in history. A speed riding machine that always needs to be factored into your wagers. In 2020, he won 19% on the dirt and 21% on the grass. Overall, he is 29% ITM with an average win payoff of $8.50.

Joe Ramos is a versatile young rider who shipped over from Kentucky last year and scored 21% on the dirt and 13% on the grass. His average win payoff was $9.50.


Riders to Watch This Meet

Gerardo Corrales is a talented young rider who is next up on the radar for jockeys taking their game to the next level. He has been riding at Turfway Park and owns a 23% win clip and 46% ITM overall.

Sonny Leon has been doing extremely well wherever he hangs his tack. I see him making an immediate impact on the rider standings from his first mount. He is winning at a 20% clip this year and 55% ITM.

David Cabrera ships in for agent Jose Santos and scores a 13% win clip and 41% ITM. It may take a little time to gain traction to build business, but he should be fine by the first month into the meet.



Larry Smith was the leading trainer of 2020 and was winning at a 17% win clip on the dirt. When he teams up with his go to rider Perry Ouzts, good things are bound to happen.

Tim Hamm is making his presence felt everywhere he saddles a horse.  He could be at Belterra today and Saratoga the next day. Anytime you see a Hamm horse coming to the paddock it deserves a good hard look before wagering. Last year he won 18% on the dirt and 31% on the greensward.

Susan Anderson is currently racing in Kentucky and must be respected when bringing a horse to the paddock. Last year she won 25% on the dirt and 8% on the turf. You’ll get good value as her average win payoff was $9.60.


Trainers to Watch

Wesley Ward when he ships over to Belterra Park. Thom Drury is always dangerous and deserves extra consideration when riding John McKee. Eric Reed won 14% on the dirt and 20% on the turf last year from a small sampling. Keep your eyes peeled for Ron Kahles who won 23% from 40 starts last year with an average win payoff of $10.00. Michael Evans II started heating up in 2020. James Chapman is starting to rebuild his stock ready to score in Ohio.


Stakes Races / Daily Racing

For the 2021 season, there are 15 stakes featuring the Best of Ohio series on May 28th, featuring five $100,000 stakes races going to post. 

Daily racing takes place Tuesday – Friday with the first post of 12:35pm and eight live races. The only exception is during the Triple Crown where racing will be conducted Wednesday – Saturday.

Racing in the Cincinnati area has a rich history. From Coney Island race track in the 1920s to historic River Downs. Belterra Park is proud to continue the long standing history of Thoroughbred racing in the Cincinnati area.

What is your betting strategy?

Picking winners doesn’t always mean you are making money at the races.  Successful betting strategies usually does though.

Let’s begin realizing every race is a little different. Why is that?  Well there are  underlays, overlays, big or small fields, where the race is in the race card to name a few. If you are a bettor that bets the same way and amount in each race, then you are behind the eight ball right way. STOP THAT!!

Your need to adjust your betting according to the race and how confident you are on the race. How and what should we do?

Here are some do’s and don’t; hopefully you are on more of the do’s.
-Don’t bet the same amount on each race, there is no way you like each race equally.
-Do step up a little more when you have a strong play, step down when there are to many unknowns
-Don’t be one of those people that tell me they never bet favorites.  Why is that when they win around 30% of the time?
-If you avoid favorites you have already lost on 30% of the races. Favorites have value at times, too.
-Do understand when to box horses and when to make it a wheel.
-You should figure out the percentage of the horses in question; if equal, box, if different wheel.
-Don’t be that lazy handicapper that plays the caveman ticket in pick 4s or 5s.
-Most times you need to play multiple tickets – that saves you money and takes advantage of your handicapping ability.

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Here are a few other handicapping tips to set you up for success
-Do take advantage of all the new and improved handicapping tools out there to help you pick more winners.
-Don’t be that handicapper that thinks they know it all and has bet the same for 20 years.
-Do the research and pick your spots and make yourself some money at the races.

Comments are always welcome as I want to get better each day as well.

Next Week: Part 2 of Betting strategies, sequence bets,

Why Watch Horse Racing Replays?

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Are you a handicapper that is only a numbers guys or do you like to look at replays? My opinion, numbers do not tell you the entire picture. There are more numbers guys than replay guys. To get the value you need in this game, get on the side of the minority of horse players.

The replays are found on most track websites but BetPTC has the feature built in for you to view all tracks and all races shown on the website. I use it all the time and rarely not use it for every race I am capping.

What to look for (or not) when watching a replay:
-The start of the race, how did the horse break
-a speed horse needing to be near the lead, break poorly –  very important
-a closer that usually is at the back – not as important
-Horses making middle moves
-outside losing ground on the turn –  important
-outside in the back stretch  – not as much because not losing lengths, but still good to see
-begins a move and has to check and loses their momentum – very important
-How much the jockey has to go to the whip
-If the jockey is already using the whip early, usually means the horse doesn’t want to run and needs to get interested
-If no whip is used until the stretch or very little in the race, I like seeing this, horse is giving it his all and wants to run, game
-Finishing the race
-I like to see good gallop outs after the race, especially if the horse is stretching out after this last race
-Did the horse have nothing left at the wire with their win, or lots left, says the horse can move up in class if has some left

Why watch replays, here is another reason. Do not trust the comment lines. What I mean by this, the charter might not put the important part of the race in the limited comments line.

Here is a recent example:  SEPTEMBER 6, 2020 – Century Mile Race #11 horse#2 Bang on.   Please watch it.
Tell me if you agree with the comment line, Fractious, needed more.
Sept. 25 at CTM Race #8   Horse #5 Bang on.  raced next time out. Watch this one.

Anyone not like $12.60 to win after the Sept. 6th replay?

There are many more of these out there.  Just watch some races, make some stable notes and look out for some nice prices that the numbers guys don’t get.

Good racing,

Kentucky Derby 146 – Analyzing the Favorite

Churchill Downs finishBy ART PARKER for “Racing’s Best Kept Secret”

Not long ago a friend of mine that pays a small amount of attention to horse racing asked me, “Who will win the Derby?” I learned long before the turn of the century that answering that question is tough, if not impossible, for any good horseplayer. So, I answered with my usual smarty pants response of, “The one that crosses the line first.”

My friend would have none of that and responded with, “That’s what you said last year but that guy got disqualified,” referring to Maximum Security being the first Derby winner in 145 years to be disqualified for a racing violation during the running of the race. My next comeback was a simple, “I don’t know.” Then I came up with a verbal guarantee and proclaimed, “But I can guarantee who the favorite will be!”

Well, I didn’t say I was brave and going out on a limb with that prediction.

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Tiz the Law will be the favorite if he goes to the post, and as of this moment, there is no reason to believe he will be left out of the proceedings. There is no doubt in my mind and the mind of anyone who knows anything about horse racing in 2020.

The New York bred has won six of seven, four of which are Grade Ones. You rarely see that with any horse that is Derby bound. As a three-year-old he has won almost all of the big races. His victories include the Florida Derby, the Travers, and the Belmont Stakes (at a changed distance of nine furlongs). As a juvenile, he notched his first Grade One with a victory in the Champagne Stakes – one of the most important races for the two-year-olds.

In the Derby points standing he has not only accumulated more points than anyone in history (372 points), his closest rival in the standings is a very good colt named Authentic with only 200 points.

He is beautifully bred. His nicely bred sire, Constitution, was a Florida Derby winner that never had a complete chance to show how good he was. That means that Tiz the Law is a grandson of Tapit, the world’s top stallion. His dam is Tiz Fiz by Tiz Now. We all know that Tiznow is the only two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Need I say more about the breeding of Tiz the Law?

His races have been impressive. He is quick from the gate but doesn’t need the lead. He has a good tactical speed to be close to the pace and stalk leaders. Tiz the Law is the epitome of class in my book because he appears to do the most important thing a racehorse can do – he follows orders and does what he is told to do. I saw this when he won the Holy Bull at Gulfstream. He was up close and in good position but pinned on the rail and had to take up down the backstretch. His rider, Manny Franco, checked his mount slightly, moved him outside of horses for a clear run, and asked him to advance. About the time Tiz the Law regained position, Franco said “Enough for now” and Tiz the Law went back to cruising instead of attacking. When it came time to attack Franco encouraged him slightly to go and he went into semi-assault mode. Once clear in the stretch Franco suggested a total attack and it quickly became a bad day for the rest of the field.

This appears to be his normal race. Get position, advance quietly to challenge then pounce – and take no prisoners.

In watching his races I have only seen one potential problem for Tiz the Law. He sometimes appears to have a little trouble in the turns. The difficulty is probably not enough to not cause concern, but in the Derby and a big field, anything can cost even the best horse the race. Franco has won over 1,000 races and is not viewed as one the classic riders, but I think Tiz the Law is in good hands and thus far Franco has been a great partner.

Others may believe that Churchill Downs may be a problem for him because that is the venue of his only loss, the Kentucky Jockey Club last November. I have a hard time buying that. Tiz the Law bobbled some leaving the gate and was in good position on the rail, but never had anywhere to go and was throttled back on a couple of occasions. He finally found a hole but the odds were stacked against him by that time. The track was off that day, and some may think that was an issue in the race. The rough trip was the downfall for Tiz the Law in his only loss.

I’m not touting Tiz the Law simply because I don’t like favorites from a wagering standpoint. However, if Tiz the Law is healthy, if weather and track condition are not an issue, and if he has a fair trip, then I will be shocked if he doesn’t win.

I don’t consider this three-year-old crop to be all that great. I’ve seen almost forty Derbies, and Tiz the Law is probably good enough to have won several of them. He is not Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Man o’ War or Affirmed, but when one combines his talent with the weak competition he seems invincible in 2020.

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Horse Racing Graded Stakes Analysis – July 18th Saratoga and Monmouth coverage

Horse Racing Graded Stakes Analysis – July 18

by: Ed Meyer


Race #3 – The G-2 Hall Of Fame – 1 1/8 on the turf – 2:18 pm EDT Selections / #7 – Decorated Invader / #5 – Gufo / #1 – Domestic Spending

#7 Decorated Invader hails from the Christophe Clement barn and is 2 for 2 ITM at Saratoga. 2nd start off the layoff looking for three in a row. Joel Rosario is the pilot for this closer and he wins 18% with late runners. His last race showed good things to come and should be a major player. #5 Gufo ships in from Delaware and is seeking his 5th straight win. He relishes the turf and should be rolling from the back under David Cohen for Clement. The barn scores at a 20% win clip making the 2nd off the shelf move. #1 Domestic Spending is a lightly raced colt from the Chad Brown barn. He had a nice mid pack stalking win at CD and should be closer to the front waiting to pounce. This is a step up in class and the barn wins 29% off a last race win.

Race #10 – The G-1 CCA Oaks – 1 1/8 – 6:16 pm EDT Selections / #1 – Tonalist’s Shape / #6 – Paris Lights / #3 – Altaf

#1 – Tonalist’s Shape comes in for Saffie  Joseph and get blinkers on today where they win 26% on the equipment change. He owns a sharp work and wins 31% off a last race win. Look for this stalker to get in the game at the top of the stretch. Irad Ortiz is the pilot. #6 Paris Lights is a daughter of Curlin for Bill Mott. She looks for her 3rd straight win and Mott wins 13% with graded runners. She’s a stalker and Tyler Gaffalione is in the saddle. #3 Altaf is a closer from the Chad Brown barn. She exits off a strong win at CD and the barn wins 30% with shippers. She steps up in class getting the acid test.

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Monmouth Park

The G-1 United Nations – 1 3/8 on the turf – 5:10 pm EDT Selections / #1 – Arklow / #3 – Muggsamatic / #5 – Aquaphobic

#1 Arklow hails from the Brad Cox barn and makes his 3rd off the layoff move where the barn wins 30%. He is 2 for 2 ITM at the distance and will come calling late under Mike Smith. He is eligible to improve in his 3rd off the shelf move. #3 Muggsamatic makes his 2nd off the layoff for Mike Maker. He is 5 for 7 ITM over the course and comes rolling from the back of the pack. Paco Lopez in the irons and he wins 19% with his turf runners. #5 Aquaphobic comes from the Mike Maker barn with Joe Bravo aboard. This is his 3rd off the layoff move and ran a solid 4th in the G2 Wise Dan. He’s a pressing type runner and will make a move around the far turn.

Race #12 – The G-1 Haskell – 1 1/8 – 5:46 pm EDT Selections / #2 – Authentic / #1 – Dr. Post / #7 – NY Traffic

#2 Authentic hails from the Baffert barn and has Mike Smith aboard. A real speedy colt who can put out their lights early oif left alone on the lead. Baffert has won this race eight times and looks the one to beat. Catch him if you’re gonna beat him. #1 Dr. Post is a solid closer type for Todd Pletcher and Joe Bravo in the saddle. If the pace is solid, he may be the one to play the role of the spoiler. 2nd time off the shelf and has a sharp work coming into the race. That was a very good race running 2nd to Tiz the law last out in the G-1 Belmont Stakes. #7 NY Traffic is a speedy type runner for Saffie Joseph with Paco Lopez in the driver’s seat. He can break quickly as Lopez wins 25% with early style runners. If the favorite doesn’t break well this guy may do the heavy lifting.


Horse Racing Without Fans. Let’s Make it Work Everywhere!

Oaklawn RacingAbout a month ago I whined about so many tracks not following the lead set by Tampa Bay Downs, Gulfstream, and especially Oaklawn Park regarding the coronavirus. These tracks and a couple of smaller ones carried on racing without spectators. My complaint was simple. If we race without patrons very little will be different than the days when there is no racing at all. Open the doors, be diligent with all precautions regarding the coronavirus, let the patrons play online, and let’s run.

Part of my reasoning is that we already have 85%-90% of our handle from online wagering, or so I am told by several experts. There is no doubt in my mind that this percentage will only increase in the future. One thing for sure, right now, relying upon online wagering is the only option.

Just consider the following two excerpts I read the other day. First from America’s Best Racing: “Records shattered-On April 18, Oaklawn’s handle was $19 million, breaking the record set last year on Rebel Stakes day. Arkansas Derby day more than doubled that record, with $41,007,201 wagered.”

From The Blood Horse: “Fonner Park, while conducting spectator-less racing since that date in a state that does not permit ADW wagering, —all handle is coming from out-of-state—wagering has averaged $2.43 million. Those figures do not include the phenomenal $7.26 million bet Tuesday, April 5 when the track’s popular Dinsdale Pick 5 Jackpot wager featured a mandatory payout pool of $4.2 million. In short, wagering is about 10 times the previous norm.”

The bottom line is that most places missed the boat, and, generally speaking, it was because of terrible government decisions. I could only imagine how well Woodbine could have done with their normal mid-April opening since reasonably nearby markets New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago were closed (especially New York).

Oaklawn is not necessarily one of the real big boys but they are far from one of the little guys. I salute them for stepping up to the plate, and I imagine they feel good about it when reviewing their handle figures.

I’m happy for a little track like Fonner Park. The Nebraska bullring stepped up and provided a product to the overall market and knocked it out of the park with handle.

As I have said before, we missed a generation or so when the thoroughbred industry shied away from television. COVID-19 provided the industry an opportunity to go into every home and office (and cell phone) in North America and expand its share of the sports and entertainment market. I can hear it now, “There’s nothing to do since the concert has been canceled.” “Oh yeah? I’m staying home so I can play the Pick Four at Woodbine.”

How could the tracks that have raced without spectators make it work so well when others ran into the corner with fear?

I just looked over my list of tracks that say they will open within thirty days. I’m glad to hear it. I hope they do open and others follow suit.

The time is now. We really missed a chance to get ahead and make up for lost ground in the last couple of months.

Now, as many areas begin to open up we have to try and survive, again.  ~ Art Parker

A Salute to Oaklawn

By ART PARKER for, “Racing’s Best Kept Secret”

Oaklawn saved the day and the weekend.

The Kentucky Derby, originally scheduled for the first Saturday in May, has been moved to September because of the corona virus. The original day for the Derby was May 2.

Oaklawn RacingAs usual it was going to be a big weekend for me. Just a little more important than other Derby weekends. I will be 65 years old on May 1. Horseplayers always have excuses to play the races but at this time of year I always had the best excuse available since my birthday came about the same time as the Derby. And since I have my Medicare card I was going to have a big time Derby weekend 2020.

The normal Derby weekend would begin by a reminder I would give my wife. She was forbidden to ask me to do anything – cut the grass, take out the garbage – you name it. I always tell her it is her job to take care of the food for the weekend. Most importantly she must appeal to my southern taste and heritage by making my favorite thing – peanut butter pie. My wife makes the best one in the world. She has learned that the weekend always starts on Thursday night, the eve of the Kentucky Oaks, which has been postponed also. Plus, I tell my office not to call me and simply leave me alone until the Monday after the Derby.

You can only imagine the disappointment I felt when this Derby was postponed and since it was my 65th birthday – but that doesn’t mean I have surrendered to the circumstances.

Just a couple of days ago my wife began to tell me she thought we should do this and that (she also mentioned yard work – ugh!) since I would not be occupied with “The Derby.” At that moment I knew I had to summon all of my mental powers and think of a way out of the impending doom. And then I remembered.

“No, no, no,” I responded to her. “They are running the Derby the weekend of my birthday.”

She looked at me funny and asked, “When did this happen?” I quickly came back with, “Just a few weeks ago. And they will run the big handicap race that weekend also,” I exclaimed with excitement.

“Hmm. Okay,” she said.

Whew…I dodged the bullet. Of course she doesn’t know I’m talking about the Arkansas Derby and all the other races Oaklawn will have. It was a great idea by Oaklawn to pounce on that date when Churchill Downs delayed the Kentucky Derby. They saved a lot of us from being in a state of deep depression. They saved my 65th birthday plans. I will get to have my big weekend thanks to Oaklawn Park.

Just don’t tell Mrs. Parker the truth. If you do, I will be in serious trouble. I won’t get to play the races that weekend – and I’ll not get my peanut butter pie.

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