Kentucky Derby Primer & New England Celebrations

Churchill Downs Is The Center of the

Racing World This Week

The Kentucky Derby is so much more than part of horse racing’s Triple Crown. It’s one of the most famed horse races in the world, aptly named “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” It’s step one of the famed Triple Crown in horse racing. For the state of Kentucky, “The Derby” draws an average of 150,000 visitors each year, including residents, out-of-towners, celebrities,

Churchill Downs

presidents, and even members of royal families. For the official Kentucky Derby website, go to 2019 Official Kentucky.

Here are a few interesting facts about “the Derby:”

  1. The first Kentucky Derby race occurred in 1875
  2. The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It is an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint, and a sweet syrup and is traditionally served in a commemorative Kentucky Derby glass.
  3.  The Kentucky Derby is host to some of the longest standing racetrack traditions in the U.S. Each year, you will find fans sipping Mint Juleps (drink made from whiskey, mint and sugar) and eating burgoo (a meat stew) at the racetrack. Women appear in lavish outfits with big, elegant hats. The University of Louisville marching band plays Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home” as the horses are paraded before the grandstands.
  4. This is actually a 2-week festival – The annual two-week series of events held in Louisville beginning with Thunder Over Louisville and leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

Types of Kentucky Derby Bets Available

Mohegan Sun Racebook

  • Win – This is a bet for a single horse to win.
  • Place – This is a bet for a single horse to finish first or second.
  • Show – A bet the horse will place in the top three.
  • Across the Board (Win, Place & Show) – This is similar to a show bet, but if your horse wins second or first, the payout is much larger.
  • Exacta – This is a bet for the first and second places – in the exact order.
  • Exacta Box – This is like the exacta bet, except that the winners can be in any order.
  • Trifecta – This bet is for the top three finishers in a specific order.
  • Trifecta Box – Similar to the trifecta except the winners can be in any order.
  • Superfecta – This is the toughest bet but one with the biggest payout. It chooses the top four finishers in exact order.
  • Superfecta Box – This is the same as a superfecta except the order of the top four horses picked does not matter.

The Line as of Wednesday, May 1st at Westgate SuperBook

Kentucky Derby Celebrations at your New England Casinos.

KENTUCKY DERBY CELEBRATIONS – Foxwoods, Hollywood Bangor, MGM Springfield, Mohegan Sun, Oxford 

FOXWOODS – May 4th, 10AM, Grand Pequot Ballroom – Place a $50 wager and receive one (1) free food coupon for the Kentucky Derby Buffet, one (1) free mint julep coupon, and free Kentucky Derby T-shirt. Reserved Seating for account wagering players only in The Ultimate Race Book. Place a $25 wager and receive a free Kentucky Derby Cap.  One per Loyalty Card Holder, while supplies last, only in GPT Ballroom.  The Ultimate Race Book – Advanced Wagering begins May 2 / Kentucky Oaks Day • May 3

HOLLYWOOD BANGOR RACEWAY – May 4th. – The 135th season of racing at historic Bangor Raceway gets underway on Saturday afternoon with a day of events leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Live racing starts at 2:30 p.m. and a full slate of nine races is scheduled. Hollywood Casino will be offering prizes for the best hat and attire.Coverage of the Kentucky Derby begins at 4:30 p.m. and will be on display under the grandstand with opportunities to place wagers before the Derby post time of 6:46 p.m.Admission to the grandstand is free. Race programs will be sold at the track for $1 starting the day before each race card.

MGM SPRINGFIELD – May 3&4th – MGM Springfield will kick off a weekend of festivities on Friday, May 3, with the launch of “Food Truck Fridays” and what is billed as “Derby de Mayo Weekend” on the casino grounds.  “Derby de Mayo Weekend” kicks off Friday, May 3, at 11 a.m. with a performance by local cover band Feel Good Drift, lawn games and bites from “Food Truck Fridays” inaugural event. Guests can also enjoy TAP Sports Bar’s signature outdoor beer garden, which will open for the first time this season.On Saturday, May 4, at 4:30 p.m., the grounds off Howard Street will transform into an outdoor viewing party for the venerable Kentucky Derby race as it shown live on the 330-square-foot marquee screen. The event also will feature live music and three MGM Springfield food trucks.

MOHEGAN SUN – May 4th – Sky Convention Center And Uncas Ballroom.  Open seating for approximately 1,000 people on a “first come” basis; VIP section for invited guests; 30 Betting terminals; 9 large screen displays dedicated to the races; Special Guest Handicappers: Mike “Mut” Mutnansky – Host of Mut and Callahan from 6am to 10am on  Sports Radio 93.7 WEEI in Boston. Anthony “Big A” Stabile – Co-host of Talking Horses on NYRA and HRRN, Jim Mazur – from Progressive Handicapping; Giveaways: With $25 wager ..Commemorative Mohegan Sun Derby 2019 T-shirt. With $50 wager…A pass to enjoy the Derby Festival Buffet.; Advance Wagering:  in the Race Book available on Friday, May 3rd. Make a $50 advance wager on the Derby and receive a souvenir cap*. Windows open at 11:00am.

OXFORD CASINO (Owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated) – On Saturday, May 4 from Noon to 6:30pm – Sixth Annual Derby Dash! Pick your favorite pony in the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby and you could win a share of the Derby Dash prize pool of up to $15,000* Free Slot Play. Then watch the race at the Oxford Event Center.


Sports Betting Progress in New England

The renovated Westgate Casino Racebook., Las Vegas.

Two New England states were listed in an article by Abby Messick of in an interesting list of “Top 10 US states to legalize sports betting.”  Massachusetts and Connecticut were listed as 7th and 2nd respectively behind New Jersey to be the soonest to offer sports betting.  All of this relies upon the legalization of sports betting in the U.S. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (A.K.A. PASPA), is a law that defines the legal status of sports betting throughout the United States, which basically outlawed sports betting nationwide, excluding a few states, Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana, the four states that were grandfathered in and can currently offer sports betting.

New Jersey continues to try to pave the way for the rest of the states with attempts from 2012 to authorize sports betting laws that challenged PASPA.  According to Gary Trask of  “The case, Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, centers around the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 and pits outgoing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie against the NCAA and the four major professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball), but could also very easily pave the way for other U.S. states to quickly begin offering regulated sports betting.”

Massachusetts & Connecticut

On to Abby Messick’s post, and then a brief look at the rest of New England’s sports betting possibilities.

7. Massachusetts
There are no sports-betting-specific bills in Massachusetts right now, but key lawmakers are generating interest. State Senator Eileen Donoghue has introduced SD 2480, which would form a committee to study, regulate and examine further the idea of legal sports betting.
A white paper released by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in March touches on legislative movement in other states, takes a look at any other federal laws that could possibly impact sports betting in the U.S., and eyes potential operators. Plainridge Park, [Encore] Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield are throwing their support behind sports betting, as well. Perhaps most importantly, the white paper comes to the conclusion that sports betting would be a welcome new source of revenue for the state. And we all know how convincing an argument money is……..

We also think that the massive lobbying tactics of MGM could help turn PASPA around.  Both Wynn & MGM have tons of experience from their Las Vegas casinos. MGM’s Borgata in New Jersey is already setting up it’s racebook area, anticipating a change in legislation.

2. Connecticut

Mohegan Sun Racebook

The Connecticut Lottery Corporation remarked in a meeting last week that it’s “ready to operate sports betting.” Director of IT Steve Wager commented that sports betting is particularly suited to the lottery scene, and it would “just be another option.”  [The latest bill] will allow casinos, horse racing tracks and off-track betting facilities to offer sports betting, in addition to language that allows for internet wagering and online lottery sales. But….the egregious 15% tax revenue, which, as we know from prior experience, is killer……….
Not to mention that the state’s tribes aren’t exactly happy with the bill’s proposed integrity fee. In a written statement on behalf of Foxwoods, Executive Director of Online Gaming Seth Young said, “While we support the legalization of sports gambling, as written this bill takes the power out of the hands of the state and transfers it directly to the sports leagues, where the leagues themselves would have the sole power to decide whether or not Connecticut will be allowed to try to recapture its illegal black market. The demands of the sports leagues make supporting this bill, as written, a vote for the continued success of the unregulated black market, a vote against revenue enhancement to the state, and a vote against common sense.”

Just last week, CT Legislators ended their term without consideration for the sports-betting bill. The next time it would be able to be revisited would be in the fall.

The Rest Of New England


According to Gov. Gina Raimondo included $23.5 million in revenue from legal sports betting at Twin River Casino and Tiverton Hotel Casino in a plan to fund state operations. The budget plan does not count on online sports wagering, but does open the door for future consideration.  Of course, as the other states’ plans, it would require a victory for New Jersey’s case against the federal sports betting ban, PASPA.


All three states prohibit Nevada-style sports betting. Such laws would need to be repealed or amended before full-scale sports wagering would be permitted. These states do not have any publicly announced bills devoted to sports betting legalization. Both New Hampshire & Vermont would need the lottery to possible be the conduit to sports betting, since both do not have brick-and-mortar casinos (not that New Hampshire hasn’t tried, and tried, and tried……).  Maine does have two casinos that could include sports betting, but state laws against it would have to be repealed.


The AGA has been a major proponent for legalized sports gambling.  It sites the following stats to back the opinion that PASPA has failed:

  • $58 Billion in illegal bets were placed on the NFL and college football games last season, with only $2 Billion bet legally
  • Americans bet more than $15 billion on the Super Bowl and March Madness — 97% was bet illegally.


This is a quick overview of some very intricate wheeling and dealing going on.  Legislators are now taking a break in most states, so news will slow.  But I believe more a more intense movement will follow in the fall.




Preakness Primer – 4 Questions, 4 Answers Each

Now that the Kentucky Derby has come and gone, let’s turn our attention to the 2017 Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.  Post time for the Preakness is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. and the race will begin shortly after. Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming will start the Preakness side by side with his chief rival, Classic Empire, setting up a potential duel for the ages. Lookin At Lee, a veteran of 10 races who always runs hard, will start from the No. 9 post as a 10-1 third choice.

This year’s post positions are:

1. Multiplier

2. Cloud Computing

3. Hence

4. Always Dreaming

5. Classic Empire

6. Gunnevera

7. Term of Art

8. Senior Investment

9. Lookin at Lee

4 Questions – Each With 4 Answers

What is a brief history on the Preakness? Horse Racing

  1. The Preakness Stakes is an American flat thoroughbred horse race held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
  2. First run in 1873
  3. The 142nd Preakness Stakes will be on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (TODAY)
  4. The Preakness Stakes were run for the first time two years before the Kentucky Derby.

What makes the Preakness different from the Kentucky Derby?  images

  1. The Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, may not create quite the stir that the Kentucky Derby does, but it does bring with it some subtle differences that make the race just as compelling.
  2. It is not a great deal shorter than the Derby, but that extra 1/16 of a mile makes it easier for horses to go full speed right from the start. The Preakness Stakes plays much faster because everyone is allowed to jump right out of the gate as hard as they can.

    The start at Pimlico

    The start at Pimlico

  3. Unlike the Kentucky Derby, which is based more on power than speed, depending on the weather conditions, Pimlico plays as a faster race track.
  4. Pimlico’s surface is much more firm than what you will find at Churchill Downs. As a result, the horses are able to gain better traction with their footing.

How does this translate to BETTING DIFFERENCES?  Here are four considerations:

Inside Pimlico - Betting Windows

Inside Pimlico – Betting Windows

  1. The shorter distance means that horses that struggled to get the Derby distance might handle this one better.
  2. Horses who run in the Derby and the Preakness have to race just two weeks. While this used to be typical for racing, the “big Horses” now are used to more time between important races. The ability to handle a shorter rest is a big factor in how well they will do in the Preakness.
  3. Related to the previous difference, about half the field in the Preakness is made up of horses that did not run in the Derby. Some of these new horses are going to be much fresher than the Derby horses, and in many cases they are more familiar with running at Pimlico than the Derby horses will be.
  4. The Preakness is capped at 14 runners. The Derby has 20 horses in the field, bringing fewer potential concerns for a winning path. As a result, while in the Derby, horses are almost guaranteed to encounter trouble of some sort at one point, in the Preakness it can be easier for a horse to find a smooth trip.

Finally, Jeremy Plonk, from ESPN, lists the following differences for those attending.  It’s just not the same tourist-fest that the Kentucky Derby is, but Pimlico and the Preakness have their own quirky traditions:Preakness 1

  1. Fashion: Like the Derby, it depends on the area of the facility. Those with reserved seats will be finely fashionable to business casual. Those in the infield, well, it’s unofficially “clothing optional.”
  2. Drink: The Black-Eyed Susan is a mixture of vodka,
    The Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico.

    The Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico.

    light rum and Cointreau, along with pineapple juice and orange juice. Shake the ingredients, pour over crushed ice, garnish with lime.

  3. Traditions: The Preakness’ version of “My Old Kentucky Home” is “Maryland, My Maryland,” the state song.
  4. The black-eyed Susan, the Maryland state flower, is nearly synonymous with The Preakness. The flower has yellow leaves and is black in the middle. After the race, the Preakness winner receives an arrangement consisting of about 2000 blooms sewn on to a mesh of black rubber and decorated with a variety of greens.

There you have it.  You’re primed for the Preakness.

That’s all for now.