Tyler Gaffalione

Runhappy Meet at Kentucky Downs Generates Record Handle

The Runhappy meet at Kentucky Downs, which concluded Wednesday, Sept. 16, saw record betting handle across the six days of live racing that totaled $59,828,44 for a total of 62 races (average per race $964,975), including $9,487,705 on the final day. The previous record of $41,239,699 (average $824,794) was set in 2019. Even with a modest reduction in prize money owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and a two-month absence of revenue from historical racing machines, a record total of $12,337,000 was paid out over the course of the meet, bettering...

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First Samurai Filly Glides Home at Kentucky Downs

Duly favored after an easy two-length win going 1 1/16 miles at Saratoga on debut July 23, she made the jump up to black-type company look easy at Kentucky Downs Monday. Well off the pace while saving ground against the fence, she continued to rate patiently at the half-mile mark in :48.23. Set down for the drive and shifted out to the center of the course through the long Kentucky Downs stretch, the chestnut seized command inside the final 300 yards and quickly put the race to bed, winning with...

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Jockeys Pledge Support to Injured Rider Vinnie Bednar

Jockeys Javier Castellano, Mike Smith, John Velazquez, Manuel Franco and Tyler Gaffalione have pledged a percentage of their earnings from the GI Kentucky Oaks and GI Kentucky Derby race cards to help rider 28-year-old rider Vinnie Bednar, who suffered a catastrophic fall at Los Alamitos Racetrack Aug. 22. Bednar is currently experiencing lower-limb paralysis following initial surgery at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles. He remains hospitalized while awaiting transfer to the Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado, a world-renowned, premier center for spinal and brain injury. The accident occurred in...

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Coronavirus Leads to New Debate on Weights

Throughout the sport, the coronavirus has meant adjustments, For most jockeys, that includes no longer being able to use the "hot box" to take off weight. For several racetracks and racing departments, that has meant a concession to the jockeys in the form of raising the scale of weights. But will these temporary solutions become permanent when life returns to normal and might eliminating the saunas in jockeys' quarters ultimately prove to be a solution that helps riders stay healthy? These are questions already being discussed. The saunas, which many...

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War of Will Back to Winning Ways in Maker’s Mark

Looking for his first trip to the winner's circle since annexing the GI Preakness S. some 14 months ago, Gary Barber's War of Will (War Front) did it toughest, but called on all his class and determination to scratch out a short-head success in the GI Maker's Mark Mile as the Keeneland summer meeting reached its mid-point Friday. Drawn widest in the field of 10, the handsome blaze-faced bay raced three off the fence leaving the stretch for the first time and punched the breeze from up close as High...

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Churchill Downs Spring Meet Concludes on a High

All-sources wagering on Churchill Downs' abbreviated 27-date Spring Meet totaled $240.5 million, which was a 53.3% increase from the 32 days of racing that followed last year's Kentucky Derby. Additionally, the average daily handle was up 81.7% from $4.9 million one year ago to $8.9 million this season. Shortened to seven weeks from May 16-June 28, the 2020 meet was staged under strict government-sanctioned protocols and without spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This season, Churchill Downs experienced four of the track's six largest non-Derby, Oaks or Breeders' Cup betting...

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Tap It to Win Living Up to Casse’s Expectations

Even back when Tap It to Win (Tapit) lost the GI Clairborne Breeders' Futurity by 43 1/2 lengths and the Street Sense S. by 21 1/4 lengths, Mark Casse was telling owner Charlotte Weber and anyone else who would listen that the horse was special. On Saturday, the trainer could be proven right. After some twists and turns in his 2-year-old year, Tap It to Win has won his only two starts this year and doesn't look to be in over his head in Saturday's GI Belmont S., this year's...

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Guarana Cruises at Churchill in 4-Year-Old Debut

8th-Churchill Downs, $74,691, Alw (NW3$X)/Opt. Clm ($80,000), 6-4, 3yo/up, f/m, 7f, 1:22.58, sy. GUARANA (f, 4, Ghostzapper--Magical World, by Distorted Humor), a multiple Grade I-winning 'TDN Rising Star', made a successful return to the races Thursday at Churchill, stalking the pace and drawing off to an easy allowance victory to kick off her 4-year-old season. Dominating on debut last April at Keeneland to the tune of a 14 3/4-length romp at 4-5, the bay validated that effort with a scintillating six-length score in the GI Acorn S. at Belmont and...

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Zulu Alpha Skims Rail En Route To Pegasus Turf Upset

Sent off at odds of 11-1 making his first appearance since a running-on and wide fourth in the GI Breeders' Cup Turf, Michael Hui's Zulu Alpha (Street Cry {Ire}) enjoyed a cozy inside passage from gate one beneath Tyler Gaffalione and snuck through underneath Magic Wand (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) at the eighth pole en route to a two-length victory in Saturday's GI Pegasus World Cup Turf S. at Gulfstream Park. "Just a great horse," winning trainer Mike Maker said. "I thought he got unlucky in the Breeders' Cup or he...

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