Thursday, June 28, 2012
AMERICA'S BEST RACING Thoroughbred Notebook
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Black Caviar infiltrates worldwide Twitter trends for her heart-pounding performance in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II greets Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee winner’s circle. (Image via the @BoylesportsLB Twitter feed)
2011’s Juvenile Champion Hansen makes the trek to Prairie Meadows for his start in the Iowa Derby (Image via Grant Forster’s Twitter feed)

@NotTheToddster is the anonymous Twitter account chronicling the imagined thoughts of trainer Todd Pletcher—to the delight of racing fans nationwide. Although the real Todd Pletcher (who has a sense of humor himself) is not active on Twitter, he is aware of the @NotTheToddster account and says that he finds it very funny.

In honor of the actual Todd Pletcher’s birthday this week, @NotTheToddster has granted a rare interview—exclusive to America’s Best Racing.

Name:  Not The Toddster

Birthplace: Deep in the Interwebs – October 6, 2010

Most influential person in my career: The Toddster

My out-of-the-box idea for Thoroughbred Racing: Increase visibility of Todd Pletcher

My favorite racetrack: Saratoga

My fantasy job: Be THE face and hair for a men’s hygiene product that creates world peace.

What I like most about my job: Bragging, winning (not necessarily in that order)

Other sports/teams I follow: 1972 Dolphins

My Heroes: My Mom

What about me would surprise those who know me: 1) I’m not perfect. 2) Dos Equis owes me royalties and; 3) I once considered work in the field of astrophysics, but Hawking said I would solve all their problems.

My favorite athletes of all-time: Super Saver, Rags to Riches

Most treasured possession/memento: Direct Message from Christina Olivares

A Pet Peeve: Everything rolls off the back of a finely-made Italian suit

What book(s) I am reading or have recently read: Great to Perfect (Unpublished sequel to Good to Great)

Favorite Magazines: GQ, Esquire

Favorite websites I visit daily/weekly:

Gadget I cannot live without: Binocs

Hobbies away from Thoroughbred Racing: Winning

Last concert I attended: A large group of people follow me wherever I go. I walked into Roger Waters’ The Wall show, and I didn’t even realize it

Favorite foods: Seafood (mainly caught with my bare hands)

What I drive: Odds down

If I could be a guest on any TV talk show it would be: NYRA Raceday to go over my daily highlight reel.

If I could appear on any television show it would be: I’m too big time for the small screen

If I could be a guest on any talk radio show it would be: My face is way too good for radio

If I could be on stage I would play what instrument: No instrument, lead vocals.

Favorite Musician/Band: Queen (especially “We are the Champions”)

Favorite Actor: Isn’t all of the world a stage? Therefore, me.

Newspaper I read daily: Newspapers are yesterday’s news, that I already made.

Best racetrack food can be found at: Ascot

Accomplishment I am most proud of: Being mentioned in Pletcher’s NTRA news conference

Things I collect: Eclipse Awards, winning checks

Celebrity/prominent personality friends include: Phil Hellmuth, Bobby Flay

Favorite authors: Todd Pletcher.  Keep an eye out for my memoirs.

Favorite animal other than a horse: Honey badger

What actor would play me in a movie: George Clooney and Brad Pitt are currently fighting over the role.

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island.

What historical figure do you most identify with: Zeus

What living person do you most admire: The fellow in the mirror.

Twitter Handle: @NotTheToddster

People I follow on Twitter: Only those who wish they were me.

No. 1 Bucket List Item: All of my buckets are full.

Congratulations to photographer Joe Nevills on winning the June 27 Fan Photo Contest! From Joe: “Brittany Vandenberg gets doused after riding her first winner in her first career start aboard Kool Sacchi on June 17 at Mount Pleasant Meadows.” Want in? E-mail your submissions with a brief caption to!


Jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr., quoted by Tina Akouris in the Chicago Sun-Times, on finding out she was pregnant:  
“I was stunned, and I was in shock. I went through an emotional roller coaster. In racing, you don’t want to lose your business.”  

Ron Kantowski in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Doug O’Neill’s friendliness while visiting a Primm, Nev., casino to cash a 200-1 Derby future book bet he had made on I’ll Have Another:
“O'Neill finished telling three local reporters that he always reads their stuff when he's in town - morning line on this being true: 500-1.”


Video: Black Caviar’s heart-stopping victory in last Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot (shalakhani YouTube channel)

Audio: I’ll Have Another to have great life in Japan (Jockey World Radio)

Video: Arlington Park jockey Tim Thornton gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at his job (

Video: With the help of “Helmet Cam”, Thornton takes the fans along with him on Prairie State Festival day at Arlington Park (Arlington Park Videos)


Monmouth Park in driver’s seat to host 2013 Breeders’ Cup (Paulick

Eclipse Awards set for January 19 at Gulfstream Park (

Churchill Downs adjusts weekend schedule because of predicted heat (Daily Racing Form)

Iowa Derby attracts Hansen (

Little Mike heads West for Saturday’s Grade I Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood (Thoroughbred Times)

Trainer Mike Mitchell to undergo surgery tomorrow for brain tumor (Daily Racing Form)

I’ll Have Another sold to Japanese interests (Thoroughbred

Doug O’Neill shows up at Nevada casino to cash his 200-1 Derby future book ticket (Las Vegas Review

Black Caviar connections play down retirement talk (Wales Online)

Frankel: The most valuable racehorse ever? (

It’s Secretariat…faster today than in 1973 (New York Times.Com)

Rachel in foal to Bernardini – and it will be a girl! (

Jockey nominees announced for ESPY Awards (The

Jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr., balancing motherhood with racing career (Chicago Sun

Japan’s leading jockey to ride at Churchill this weekend (Louisville Courier-Journal)

Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes deliver strong levels of out of home viewing (BizJournals)

Churchill wields heavy hand in Derby grading system (Las Vegas Review

A leap forward for horse racing? (

For regulators, Lasix debate just beginning (The

Thoroughbred trainer is second horseman facing demorphin suspension (

Lukas, Hancock discuss medication in testimonials for Jockey Club site (

New Mexico Commission limits drug use in racing (New York Times)

The Borderland Derby at Sunland Park will be re-named the Mine That Bird Derby (Thoroughbred

Path to Thoroughbred success runs through Vancouver (

Hastings hopes incentive plan will increase field sizes (Thoroughbred

Birzer second jockey with 1,000 Prairie Meadows victories (

Delaware jockeys support nutrition education program (Jockeys’ Guild)

NTRA Top Ten Poll: Why Ron The Greek is No. 1 this week (

NTRA Advantage savings to industry tops $100 million mark (The

Hollywood Wildcat dies at age 22 (

Civil War changed racing forever – starting with re-capture of Asteroid (

Pimlico to host Totally Thoroughbred horse show July 14 (Paulick


Union Rags could face Dullahan and Bodemeister in the Haskell (

Mother Goose, Hollywood Oaks and Black Caviar (Daily Racing Form)

U.S. race meetings that are as regal in their own way as Royal Ascot (America’s Best Racing)

Saying goodbye to I’ll Have Another (

Why no one should fret over racing’s older fanbase (Daily Racing Form)

Is free admission a bad thing for racetracks? (

Profile on Unsung Hero, an off-the-track Thoroughbred looking for a new home (Paulick Report)

Qualifiers to the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, presented by Sovereign Stable and Treasure Island Las Vegas, are taking place online and across the country as the summer tournament season kicks into high gear. will be hosting a one-day event Saturday, June 30.  A maximum of five NHC spots will be awarded, with three spots guaranteed.  The contest entry fee is $160 and is limited to the first 300 entries.  Click here to enter. 

Horse Players Qualify is conducting a Players Challenge qualifier on June 30.  For more details on the Players Challenge and a schedule of Players Challenge qualifiers click here. is awarding two NHC seats in their TSOHS Monthly Final tournament on June 30.  Players can buy in for $200 or qualify for as little as $25 in the monthly satellite contests. Players must be members to participate. Visit for details.

Monmouth Park's Preakness Day Handicapping Contest, which was canceled due to technical issues, has been rescheduled for July 7.  Contact Brian Skirka, for more details.

Start making your reservations for the Surfside Race Place July 13-15 event.  The Friday mini tournament is limited to the first 50 registrants.  The contest entry fee is $300 plus a mandatory, live money $2 win/place wager per race ($32 total).  Two NHC berths are guaranteed and if the contest draws the full limit of 50 entries, then three NHC berths will be awarded. The Saturday-Sunday event entry fee is $200.  Each contestant will make 16 mythical, $20 win and place wagers on eight races that you select from the last six races at Hollywood Park and Belmont Park.  A maximum of four NHC berths will be awarded.   Click here for more information.

Hawthorne Race Course is hosting a July 14 live money event awarding two NHC berths and an estimated cash prize of $30,000.  Click here for more details.

Click here to view the current Daily Racing Form NHC Tour schedule.

Click here to view the current list of NHC 14 qualifiers. 

The July 31 conclusion of the first-half of the Daily Racing Form NHC Tour is right around the corner. The top 10 finishers on the first-half Leader Board will receive cash prizes totaling $50,000.  The winner of the first-half of the Tour season will be pocketing $15,000. 

There has been little movement of late in the Leader Board standings.  Mark McGuire (Newbury Park, CA) is still in the number one position on both the full and first-half Leader Boards. 

Click here to view the overall full Leader Board standings. 

Click here to view the first-half full Leader Board standings.

The top 100 on the overall year-end Leader Board will be guaranteed entry in the 2013 NHC. Click here to view the top 100 standings.


1st half Points


Yearlong Points

Mark McGuire


Mark McGuire


Mark Streiff


Edmund Teicht


Christopher Larmey


Christopher Larmey


Edmund Teicht


Mark Streiff


Eric Moomey


Ken Seeman


Player Profile




Christopher Larmey
Chris is pictured here with his daughter, Klara Larmey. Chris and Klara finished first and second, respectively, in the March 17 Spring Handicapping Challenge at Emerald Downs.  Chris' son, Alex, is also an NHC contest player. 
Chris finished first in the Emerald Downs contest on June 3.  He had previously qualified on on May 12.  Look out for Chris in Las Vegas this January!
Click here to read Chris' complete NHC Tour player biography. 

Click here to watch Chris' victory interview on YouTube.

June 28, 1906: Rockingham Park opened its doors for the first time. A crown of more than 10,000 came to the tiny outpost of Salem Depot, N.H., by train from as far away as New York City. The facility, which cost over $1 million to construct, was proclaimed by the press to be the world's finest.

June 28, 1977: Steve Cauthen, on his first day as a journeyman jockey, won with his first three mounts at Belmont Park.

June 28, 1989: Arlington International Racecourse opened in Arlington Heights, Ill. It had been rebuilt after a fire destroyed the old facility, July 31, 1985.

June 29, 1968: Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye won his first race, at Evangeline Downs, aboard Brown Shill.

June 29, 1968: Gamely, Princessnesian and Desert Law—all owned by William Haggin Perry and trained by Jim Maloney—finished 1, 1A and 1B, respectively, in the Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park.

June 29, 1969: Jockey Ray Sibille won his first career race, at Evangeline Downs.

June 29, 1983: Jockey Angel Cordero Jr. won his 5,000th career race, aboard Another Rodger, in the ninth race at Belmont Park. He was the fourth rider in history, behind John Longden, Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay Jr., to hit that mark.

June 30, 1973: Three weeks after he won the Triple Crown, Secretariat scored another victory, a nine-length win in the Arlington Invitational Stakes at Arlington Park, where he was sent off at the shortest odds in his career, 1-20. With no place or show wagering on the four-horse race, which was run with a three-horse field against Secretariat, the track had a minus win pool of $17,941. More than 40,000 spectators turned out for the event.

June 30, 1978: Spectacular Bid won his first race, at Pimlico, by 3 1/4 lengths.

June 30, 1990: Retired jockey Bill Shoemaker won his first race as a trainer, sending two-year-old filly Tempest Cloud to her maiden victory at Hollywood Park.

June 30, 1991: One year after his first victory as a trainer, Bill Shoemaker recorded his first Grade I win, with Alcando in the Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park.

July 1, 1966: Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. won with his first mount in the United States, at Arlington Park, aboard two-year-old filly Teacher’s Art, owned and bred by Fred W. Hooper.

July 1, 1998: Hall of Fame jockey Sandy Hawley retired from race riding after competing in the Dominion Day Handicap at Woodbine Racecourse.

July 1, 2001, Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel won two Grade I races on opposite coasts, on different surfaces, both via disqualification. First, Senure was elevated to the top spot in the United Nations Handicap, a turf race at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., following the disqualification of With Anticipation for a bumping incident in midstretch. Then, just 30 minutes later and on the same CBS telecast, Aptitude was placed first after Futural was disqualified for a similar infraction in the Hollywood Gold Cup, a Grade I dirt race at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.

July 2, 1989: Jockey Steve Cauthen became the first rider in history to sweep the world’s four major derbies after winning the Irish Derby with Old Vic. He had previously won the Kentucky Derby with Affirmed (1978), the Epsom Derby with Slip Anchor (1985) and Reference Point (1987) and the French Derby with Old Vic (1989).

July 2, 2007: Following a four-day carryover of $3,274,505, Hollywood Park’s Pick Six pool reached a record $10.87 million. The day’s 13 winning tickets were worth $576,064.40 each.

July 3, 1937: The Del Mar Turf Club, with crooner Bing Crosby as president and actor Pat O’Brien as one of the club officers, opened for racing.

July 3, 1977: Seattle Slew’s nine-race winning streak came to an end in the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park, when he finished fourth, beaten 16 lengths by J.O. Tobin.

July 3, 1982: D. Wayne Lukas-trained Landaluce, ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., won the first of her five consecutive victories at Hollywood Park. The daughter of Seattle Slew, owned by Barry Beal and Lloyd French, died of a viral infection in November of that year, but was posthumously voted champion two-year-old filly of 1982.

July 4, 1950: Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens saddled his first winner, sending out Populace to victory in the third race, a $5,000 claimer, at Aqueduct.

July 4, 1954: Two-year-old Ribot won his first race, the Premio Tramuschio. He concluded his career in 1956, with 16 wins in as many starts.

July 4, 1972: Two-year-old Secretariat, ridden by Paul Feliciano, ran fourth to winner Herbull in his racing debut, blocked badly throughout the race, at Aqueduct. It was the poorest placing of Secretariat’s career.

July 4, 1976: Charlie Whittingham swept the top three spots in the American Handicap at Hollywood Park with his trainees King Pellinore, Riot in Paris and Caucasus. On July 26, he repeated the feat in the Sunset Handicap, with Caucasus first, King Pellinore second and Riot in Paris third.

July 4, 1978: Trainer D. Wayne Lukas won his first $100,000 stakes race—over the turf—taking the American Handicap with Effervescing, ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., at Hollywood Park.

July 4, 1998: Elusive Quality ran the fastest mile in history in the Poker Handicap at Belmont Park. The five-year-old horse was timed in 1:31 3/5 over a firm turf course.

July 4, 2000: Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze scored his 7,000 career victory aboard This Is the Moment at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, Calif. Baze became the sixth jockey to join the 7,000-win club.

July 5, 1991: Jockey Ray Sibille won his 3,000th career race, aboard Sporting Surf at Pleasanton.

July 6, 1975: Locust Hill Farm’s undefeated filly Ruffian engaged Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure in a match race at Belmont Park. Racing on the lead, Ruffian sustained a severe leg injury and was pulled up by jockey Jacinto Vasquez.  The filly was euthanized the following day when efforts to save her proved futile.

July 6, 1977: In the second of their 10 meetings, Alydar defeated Affirmed to win the Great American Stakes at Belmont Park. This was the first of Alydar’s three victories over Affirmed.

July 7, 1934: Mary Hirsch became the first female to be licensed as a Thoroughbred trainer, in Illinois. Hirsch subsequently was licensed in Michigan that year and two years later, on April 9, she was licensed by The Jockey Club to train in New York.

July 9, 2010: Jockey Eibar Coa became the 59th jockey to win 4,000 races when he guided Maddy’s Crowd to victory in the ninth race at Monmouth Park.

July 10, 1935: Suffolk Downs opened for business in East Boston, Mass. Jockey Carl Hanford piloted Eddie Wrack, a three-year-old gelding, to victory in the inaugural race before a crowd of 35,000.

July 10, 1982: Landaluce, a two-year-old daughter of Seattle Slew, won the Hollywood Lassie Stakes by 21 lengths under the guidance of Laffit Pincay Jr. She ran the six furlong race in 1:08, just 3/5 of a second off the track record at Hollywood Park.

July 11, 1997: Breeders’ Cup Ltd. announced that supplemental entry fees would be added to the purses of Breeders’ Cup Championship Day events.


London Company Stakes, 3yo, $90,000, 1 1-8M (T), Belmont Park

Richter Scale Stakes, 3&up, $85,000, 6 1-2F, Belmont Park

Iowa Sprint Handicap, 3&up, $125,000, 6F, Prairie Meadows

Iowa Distaff, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, 1 1-16M, Prairie Meadows

Saylorville Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, 6F, Prairie Meadows

Red Legend Stakes, 3yo, $400,000, 7F, Charles Town

Shoemaker Mile Stakes, 3&up, $300,000, Grade I, 1M (T), Betfair Hollywood Park

Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap, 3&up, $300,000, Grade III, 1 1-8M, Prairie Meadows

Triple Bend Handicap, 3&up, $250,000, Grade I, 7F, Betfair Hollywood Park

Iowa Derby, 3yo, $250,000, Grade III, 1 1-16M, Prairie Meadows

Dwyer Stakes, 3yo, $200,000, Grade II, 1 1-16M, Belmont Park

New York Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $200,000, Grade II, 1 1-4M (T), Belmont Park

Iowa Oaks, 3yo fillies, $200,000, Grade III, 1 1-16M, Prairie Meadows

Chicago Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $150,000, Grade III, 7F, Arlington Park

Bashford Manor Stakes, 2yo, $100,000, Grade III, 6F, Churchill Downs

Eatontown Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, Grade III, 1 1-16M (T), Monmouth Park

Wild and Wonderful Stakes, 3&up, $100,000, 7F, Charles Town

Lighthouse Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $75,000, 1 1-16M, Monmouth Park

Lady Charles Town Stakes, 3yo fillies, $75,000, 7F, Charles Town

Dominion Day Stakes, 3&up, $200,000, Grade III, 1 1-4M, Woodbine

Firecracker Handicap, 3&up, $150,000, Grade II, 1M (T), Churchill Downs

Bed o’ Roses Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $150,000, Grade III, 7F, Belmont Park

Blue Sparkler Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $75,000, 6F, Monmouth Park

Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $250,000, Grade III, 1 1-16M (T), Parx Racing

Windward Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, 1M, Presque Isle Downs

Firecracker Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $75,000, 1M (T), Mountaineer Park

Independence Day Stakes, 3&up, $75,000, 1M (T), Mountaineer Park

Swaps Stakes, 3yo, $150,000, Grade II, 1 1-8M, Betfair Hollywood Park

Poker Handicap, 3&up, $150,000, Grade III, 1M (T), Belmont Park

Red Bank Stakes, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 1M (T), Monmouth Park

Northern Pride Oaks, 3yo fillies, $100,000, 1M (T), Canterbury Park

Sam J. Whiting Memorial Handicap, 3&up, $75,000, 6F, Pleasanton

Western Larla Stakes, 3yo, $85,000, 6F, Belmont Park

Hollywood Gold Cup, 3&up, $500,000, Grade I, 1 1-4M, Betfair Hollywood Park

United Nations Stakes, 3&up, $500,000, Grade I, 1 3-8M (T), Monmouth Park

Princess Rooney Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $400,000, Grade I, 6F, Calder

Smile Sprint Handicap, 3&up, $400,000, Grade II, 6F, Calder

Suburban Handicap, 3&up, $350,000, Grade II, 1 1-8M, Belmont Park

Monmouth Cup Stakes, 3&up, $200,000, Grade II, 1M, Monmouth Park

Royal Heroine Mile Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $150,000, Grade II, 1M (T), Betfair Hollywood Park

Azalea Stakes, 3yo fillies, $150,000, Grade III, 6F, Calder

Carry Back Stakes, 3yo, $150,000, Grade III, 6F, Calder

Victory Ride Stakes, 3yo fillies, $150,000, Grade III, 6F, Belmont Park

Ohio Derby, 3yo, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1-16M, Thistledown

Arlington Sprint, 3&up, $100,000, 5 1-2F (T), Arlington Park

Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, 5F (T), Calder

Hollywood Wildcat Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, 7 1-2F (T), Calder

Dance Smartly Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $300,000, Grade II, 1 1-8M (T), Woodbine

Long Branch Stakes, 3yo, $100,000, 1 1-16M, Monmouth Park

Mr. Prospector Stakes, 3&up, $75,000, 6F, Monmouth Park

Indiana Downs Distaff Stakes, 3yo fillies, $125,000, 1M (T), Indiana Downs

Golden Bear Stakes, 3&up, $100,000, 1 1-16M, Indiana Downs