Triple Crown Triumph: Skill or Chance?

Is horse racing a game of skill or a game of chance? Maybe it’s both. To reach the greatest heights in racing, you not only need great skill, but also a bevy of factors to properly align.

In 2015, American Pharoah proved himself early, overcoming troubled starts and bad weather, while taking down the competition time and time again. After his win in the Kentucky Derby (gr. 1), it was clear this was a special horse that could make his own luck.

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Playing the Ponies: Much-About Post Position

Any time a turf player opens up the Daily Racing Form to handicap a Thoroughbred horserace, they are bombarded with well, an infinite amount of pertinent tidbits. From Beyer Speed Figures to pedigrees, the list goes on and on, yet that portion of data known as â??post position(s)â? (or which numeric gate said racers will break from) more often than not also factors into the decision making process. There are many things to consider when playing the ponies.

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Q&A with Jonathon Kinchen: Horseplayer Eligible for $2 Million Bonus

KinchenJonathon Kinchen, a 33-year-old University of Texas graduate in real estate in Austin, is gunning for a record $2.8 million payday for a horseplayer if he wins the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship Presented by Racetrack Television Network and Treasure Island Las Vegas, set to kick off Thursday at Treasure Island. As winner of the season-long NHC Tour, Kinchen is now eligible for a $2 million bonus if he also wins the NHC finale, which carries an $800,000 first-place prize.

He will have the maximum two of more than 600 entries for the Jan. 28-30 championship.

As a rookie last year, Kinchen finished seventh and 11th in the championship, which Daily Racing Form contests editor Peter Fornatale called â??one of the most impressive feats in the history of the event.â?

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Tips: How to Wager on Horseraces at Smaller Tracks

Eric Floyd is a turf writer for various gaming publications as well as a Triple Crown pari-mutuel consultant for several national media outlets. Excerpts from his gambling memoir, “My First Decade Playing the Game,” can be found at LuLu.com.

Horseplayers who labor when the sun is shining often miss the opportunity to play major â??daytimeâ? racetracks like Churchill Downs, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Gulfstream Park and Belmont Park. Instead, they typically help fund the handle at intermediate â??night timeâ? ovals like Evangeline, Prairie Meadows, Canterbury, Mountaineer, Charles Town, Delta, Penn National, Remington, Fairmount and Assiniboia.

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Unleashing Brilliance: American Pharoah and the Triple Crown

American Pharoah and his jockey, Victor Espinoza, have secured the world’s attention. But, American Pharoah didn’t get off to a smooth start with his racing career. The only race in which he was defeated was his first, where he appeared anxious, responding to commotion and reacting negatively to the blinker hood he was wearing. He finished fifth.

Despite the disappointing maiden race, owner, Ahmed Zayat, and his trainer, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, believed the horse had potential and set out to find what he could do. Zayat has been quoted as saying, “We felt that he had brilliance in him. Unleashing that brilliance was the next step in creating a winner.”

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Tips & Tricks of the Triple Crown

The Triple Crown is the most elusive prize in sports.

Baseball has its own Triple Crown. It happens when a player leads the league in three statistical categories and since baseball began in 1838, there have been 17 batters and 38 pitchers that have accomplished this amazing feat.

In terms of other horsepower, to win the Triple Crown of motorsport is to capture Formula 1â??s most important races: the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Monaco Grand Prix. Only 17 drivers have won a single event while competing in all three, and just 1 â?? Graham Hill â?? has pulled off the near impossible.

This year will see horse racing celebrate the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby, the 140th Preakness Stakes, and 147th Belmont Stakes: and just 11 horses have captured all three. Unlike any other sport where an athlete can try for a Triple Crown over and over, a horse only has one chance to be three-years-old on the first Saturday in May. (more…)